Today marks the final day of deliberation for the creation of a creative commons educational license. After 8 months of heated exchanges, great insight, and countless hours of careful thought that have been invested in the numerous posts, the group will have to reach a compromise on the wording of the license. The main disagreement was around the issue of using the term 'educational institutions' in the license wording. Many believed that this would be too restrictive and would leave out the many informal learning channels that exist - especially on the Internet - today. The problem was that, if you use other terminology to include as wide a range of possible users as possible, you create a license that is basically meaningless and you exclude the companies, organisations and institutions who may want to make their material available only for educational use. Unfortunately 'educational use' can only legally have meaning if it is associated with a legal body. As a compromise, David Wiley, project lead and director of the OSLO (Open Sustainable Learning Opportunity) research group, added an option for users to choose whether they wanted to restrict use to educational institutions and non-profit groups or whether they wanted to open their materials to everyone associated with the learning process. It seems that, for some people, this is not enough and, after 8 months or deliberation and a considerable degree of compromise, 'tyranny' has still been proclaimed. It makes me realise how pliable the word 'democracy' has come to be. And how difficult it is for a new movement to appease a vast number of different interest groups in an effort to become a really strong alternative. Also, how alternatives are so dearly required by so many groups.
We'll be running a research project to track use of the licenses - and to see whether the needs of informal learning channels are not being adequately met by the current cc licenses.