In the second lesson of the OpenEdMOOC, the instructors provided a comprehensive overview to the very grey areas of Copyright, the Public Domain and the Commons. Though the course content focuses on US copyright and case studies, we learned that sharing information (legally) is fundamentally different across the world, often by region. One of the points that resonated with me is everything is copyrighted by default, you have to opt out if you want to share. Licensure systems have been created and regulated to ensure that sharing is costly and ineffective, for example Mickey Mouse.
As an instructional designer, we can advocate and consult course authors/instructors about open resources. However, we must be able to work through a process to determine if the material intend to share is copyright protected and if there’s a licence or permission request to cover use. Though there isn’t an official policing governing body to manage material useage, the internet has become a vehicle to copy and share materials at mass proportion. If a creative tangible object goes “viral” and wasn’t distributed appropriately, most likely the internet community will socially regulate. And that’s where “commoning” comes into play. Commoning is the communal practice to develop, steward, sustain and reiterate values to share and distribute materials. Instructional designers can be stewards in this social sharing system by modeling best practices, educating other educators, and creatively enhancing (or customizing) materials for educational use. We can work (together) within systems to make material sharing processes more agile and less complicated. We’re better in numbers.