(image and license belong to James Gurney)

Can the movement to try and make things open also make the simplest act of sharing that more complicated?

Do we really need licenses and legal language on everything? Are there not things out there that implicitly we share (air?).

I’m going to likely land way off mark here. I fully understand the reasons for people asking the questions that came below, but it almost seems to leap right over what should be obvious.


This started with (and this is the second or third time someone has asked) when Clint LaLonde asked

And yes, there are no explicit licenses or usage statements attached to the ds106 assignment site or the individual assignments. They have been contributed to the site via a web form, so I wonder if anyone who shares an idea this way (much the same way we add comments to web sites, to we attach licenses there?) has to think about putting a license on their ideas?

Just look at a random ds106 assignment http://assignments.ds106.us/randomassignment. Does that really need a license on it for you to share?

Plus, as Jim noted, many assignments are borrowed from elsewhere:


I understand the desire to make things sharable, and people would like to see more things inside nicely organized boxes of resources. Believe me, I have built those collections myself. It makes sense.

But do we have to attach legalese to everything? Aren’t we filled with so much “No signs” around (rather then “signs of knowing”) that we do not recognize when it implies “yes”?

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Aren’t there things that are intuitively sharable? Like ideas? Sez the man puffing on the cigarette–

Ideas are born from what is smelled, heard, seen, experienced, felt, emotionalized. Ideas are probably in the air, like little tiny items of ozone.

Ideas are in the air. They are for everyone. Do we need little signs to reassure people the air is ok? Is that what it takes to be “open” is to have licenses on everything?

I’m just asking.

FWIW- On the OER Commons site where CLint started his journey, under Conditions for Use, I consider our ds106 Resource as being “No Strings Attached”

No restrictions on your remixing, redistributing, or making derivative works. Give credit to the author, as required. Includes Public Domain, Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY), Creative Commons Public Domain, and any item that explicitly says no restrictions.

(my emphasis added). To address that portion, I’ve augmented our About page to include:

We should say that all of the assignments listed here have been shared freely by participants or just people interested in ds106. Many of them are ideas borrowed from others. While we do not attach any specific license to an assignment, all of them are shared implicitly with no restrictions. That said, it is worth crediting the person who submitted the assignment and linking back to the url where it is found.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Well, since I provoked the response, I guess I should clarify why I asked. I was working on a blog post about submitting a resource to the OER Commons, and wanted to use the DS106 Assignment library as an example to submit. Submitting to OER asks for types of license, hence my question to you since it wasn’t explicit on the website.

    I’m hesitant to comment beyond that because my intent wasn’t to draw attention or question or criticize in any way the lack of license on the site. The site is actually secondary to what the post is about (hence my DM to you about not wanting to open a can of worms, but apparently…) and I don’t want to say something that might be construed as detracting from the awesome work that has been done enabling the collection of these resources, and making these resources available. In fact, my intent of using the ds106 assignment archives as an example in my blog post was (in my own meager way) try to bring a bit more attention to this incredible bit of work.

    I do want to respond to your point that “we do not recognize when it implies “yes”?” by saying a a great deal of why I recognize the yes implication is simply because I have followed you and Jim for years and know, from your work, how you feel about this issue. In fact, both of you have greatly influenced how I feel about sharing. But for others who do not know you or how you feel about it, maybe the implicit yes isn’t so clear? Might that actually hurt the possibilities that the resources would be reused by others?

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