Brian Kelly again on this session, thinking more about the openess of content, as opposed to software:
A way of granting rights to re-use of content. I saw a really interesting talk by Lawrence Lessig who is the driving force behind this (at Hay-on-Wye a couple of weeks ago). The important thing here is that anything that (I think) anything you publish is automatically granted copyright – this makes it illegal for others to use that content (excluding fair use) without your permission.
If you are actually happy for people to reuse the content you create, you have to say so – explicitly. Creative Commons is a way of doing this, without necessarily just giving away all your Intellectual Property rights.
What about Web 2.0 and Open content? Re-usable content is a key part of Web 2.0 – for example, ‘mashups’ (combining data from disparate sources to provide a richer application) can only work if their is data available and you are free to re-use it. Google Maps is a good example. However, Amazon is perhaps a counter example of how it is possible to allow re-use in a commercial context (you can use Amazon data as long as you make it link to Amazon – to drive traffic to Amazon).
So – institutions need to give serious thought to how we relate to Intellectual Property for both Open Source software (can your software development team develop open source software and contribute back to the community – or is this not allowed by your institution?)