Some thoughts on Licensing – or a License Smoothie

This is a bit of a ramble around a few ideas about licensing – so bear with me.

I license some of the content on this blog as creative commons, under the CC BY SA, which is one of a number of Creative Commons licenses that can be chosen. I also choose to not put a CC license on some of the materials. Some of them I cannot put a license on, or at least that is how I view it as it may have content that cannot be re-licensed.

So this brings me to some the reasoning behind this post.

Blending Licenses

Think on the following issues:

Scenario 1

Person A presents at a conference using his copyrighted slides, possibly with express permission at the conference to use a 3rd party image, diagram or some content for that presentation.

Person B takes a photo of the screen/presentation slide and uploads to Flickr, assigning a CC license, or records a video and uploads it with a license CC. Or perhaps even to a system which does not specific a license at all.

Person C then re-uses the shared content thinking it CC in a course, or blog post, or presentation.


  • Does Person B have any right to redistribute someone else’s licensed content?
  • What about Person C actions?

Scenario 2

What about Person X,Y,Z who collaborate during the conference to create a google doc of notes, content etc from the slides of various presenters and share it with others specifying a license (have seen the restrictive cc-by-nc-sa used for this). Some of the original content on those slides may have been this license, and some maybe be not be CC, and so on.


  • So something to think on is: How can a collective apply a new license to content derived from already licensed content? Slides may have had CC BY SA license and then NC is being added to it when (to my knowledge and I am not a lawyer) that is not allowed under the original license.
  • If the original slides are licensed as no derivatives then even making the notes using some of the content is probably not allowed is it?.


What is right, lawful, fair in these scenarios? Do people who share at conferences or events think about the rights they may or may not have?

What about presentations or a learning object using licensed content with different licenses. I have  seen slide decks that have some CC BY SA and cc-by-nc-sa in the same presentation with the presentation have one of them or another. So is having two different types of licensed content in the same presentation or learning object prohibit being able to correctly license it? Is it possible to use the content with the open and closed license at the same time?

I know I have given presentations which sometimes were and sometimes were not CC licensed. I know some of the presentations used CC images which I cited on the presentation and also licensed the presentation CC. But I guess I probably mixed licenses too.

** I moved the 2nd of this post to a separate post as it probably should have been at first. See Files for use in E-Learning


What are your thoughts on the above issues? How do you address them? How they could be addressed?

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2 Responses to Some thoughts on Licensing – or a License Smoothie

  1. If I’m not mistaken, and I could very well be on this murky issue, “fair use” allows Person B to utilize a copyrighted resource only as a reference in their own resource. For example, a slide presentation where they indicate that XYZ is the truth, according to Gavin (protocol is to credit). This would also be the case for Person C who is excerpting material from Person B, perhaps without even knowing about the original source. The magic word here in my understanding is “reference.” In no situation is Person B or Person C allowed to commercially exploit any copyright reference material without permission. Simply mentioning a reference source in ones own resource is not exploitation, unless one is benefiting commercially from that resource. If the copyright reference material is being exploited commercially in any way by Person B or C, that is not allowed.

  2. ghenrick says:

    I think the main concern is the mis re-licensing of content.

    What license should a presentation be if it includes both CC-BY-SA images cc-by-nc-sa images ? If cannot be cc-by-nc-sa as that breaks the first one… headwrecker.

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