UOC UNESCO Chair in Elearning Third International Seminar. OER: Institutional Challenges – Report (III)

By Ismael Peña-López
ICTlogy (ISSN 1886-5208). Issue #38, November 2006


Notes from the UOC UNESCO Chair in Elearning Third International Seminar. OER: Institutional Challenges)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Open Educational Resources: legal aspects
Raquel Xalabarder, Department of Law and Political Science, UOC

In principle, intermediaries (i.e. OER repositories) are liable for infringement of intellectual property rights. Nevertheless, there are safe harbours (exceptions) where intermediaries are not liable, provided they pass the awareness of knowledge test. Mainly it deals with knowing you’re consciously infringing the law and your ability to quickly remove content when required to.

Big problem: there’s no consensus on which law should apply to what at the international level.

Three things that the law empowers the author (not the industry) to do: distribute, communicate to the public and transform. But there are exceptions to the author does not abuse his monopoly, and education is one of them. OER repositories, though intended to teaching — thus, fair use — do open those contents to anyone, be their purpose teaching or not, so we have a problem here of possible infringement.

Creative Commons is, in no way, a registry: you should (also) register your work in the Copyright registry to protect your rights, regardless of what you intend to do with them.

The advice for the OER community should not be just try and see how I apply the law but to lobby and see how this law can be changed, changed so educatinoal purposes are always an exception to copyright, to enhance consumer protection (vs. the industry’s). OER practitioners should aim to bring the debate to the international fora, not just to keep it in the scope of their own (immediate) needs. Rights should be about exploitation, not use.

Open Educational Resources and Virtual Universities
Susan D’Antoni, Head of UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning, IIEP Virtual Institute

Knowledge is not merchandise, knowledge divide is deeper than the digital divide [personal note: this is because we think of digital divide as ICT infrastructures divide, i.e. forgetting about informational literacy], OER has the potential to address national policy objectives on the Knowledge Society.

UNESCO (and, actually, the OER community taking part in the fora) should be in position to design a policy framework to enchance/foster/refer OER development and implantation.

Yochai Benkler, The wealth of networks: The importance of policy choices – and the social political choides behin them – in the move towards the information society.

Closing Session
Julià Minguillón, Vice-Director Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, UOC

If you cannot see the embedded object, please visit http://ictlogy.net/?p=487

The OLCOS project has drawn a roadmap and some tutorials on how to implant OER.


  • There’s a need for information, to spread the word of open access and OER
  • Top-down and bottom-up approaches
  • Remove producer-consumer barriers, in the sense that consumers can become producers, and producers become consumers
  • Stick to standards
Update 20061220: The presentations can now be downloaded here
Update 20070517: The videos can now be downloaded here

UOC UNESCO Chair in Elearning Third International Seminar. OER: Institutional Challenges (2006)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2006) “UOC UNESCO Chair in Elearning Third International Seminar. OER: Institutional Challenges – Report (III)” In ICTlogy, #38, November 2006. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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ICTlogy Review

  • ISSN 1886-5208