EDUCAUSE, which is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting “the intelligent use of information technology” in higher education, has recently been offering a series of sort informational pamphlets call “7 things you should know about… ” The most recent item in this series is 7 things you should know about Creative Commons, and it is worth the attention of faculty seeking material that they can use in their classrooms without any of the copyright hassles that often arise.
The Creative Commons is a movement to encourage creators of all kinds of material to make their work available with only “some rights reserved” and with specific authorization for educational and other non-commercial uses already attached. Faculty who can find appropriate articles, image, video or music that is released under a Creative Commons license are way ahead in their ability to build a class without worrying about when and if the need to seek copyright permission. The two page PDF brochure linked above offers examples of teaching with Creative Commons materials, as well as more detail about what the Creative Commons is and how to find CC licensed material.
So what is the 8th cool thing about the Creative Commons? It is this article from the NY Times that describes the upcoming US tour by Brazilian songwriter and pop star Gilberto Gil, who also hapens to be the Minister of Culture for his nation. As a musican and a government official, Gil is an important advocate for the Creative Commons, which is rapidly becoming an international movement. As the article says, “One of Mr. Gil’s first actions after becoming the culture minister in 2003 was to form an alliance between Brazil and the nascent Creative Commons movement.” To anyone teaching about Latin American music and culture, that alliance should be good news indeed.