[Foundation-l] Open teaching materials in the Netherlands

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Wed May 20 05:51:06 UTC 2009

Dedalus wrote:
> Ziko wrote:
> "Nearly all already existing initiatives for open teaching materials use the
> CC-NC-SA, the Creative Commons license that prohibits commercial use. I was
> told that you cannot explain to teachers why others should have the right to
> commercially exploit their work..."
> What a great news! All those wat too expensive school teachers that
> are a burden to the Dutch taxpayer voluntarily move to become
> volunteer teachers. Please pass the champaign on this. Let's
> celebrate!
One shouldn't be so harsh on the teachers, who probably haven't given 
much thought about the implications on NC licences.

It's a natural reaction for the unfamiliar to believe that NC merely 
keep things away from commercial exploitation.  We all know that the 
opposite is true, but at the same time it's counterintuitive.  Those 
teachers just need to be educated a little.  Yes, commercial publishers 
would be able to print and sell the freely licensed material, but they 
would need to compete with the non-profit sector.  It would be mostly 
uneconomical for them to do that.  Although their printing costs might 
be less through economies of scale, they will still have the costs of 
marketing and distribution added to that, along with a small profit on 
top of that. 

A teacher can produce and print what she needs for a class of 30 at a 
fraction of the cost, less if she doesn't bother with the chapters of 
the book that are not relevant to her class.  Producing single chapters 
is even less economical for the big publishers, because the distribution 
costs do not go down with the size of the publication; they are likely 
increased because of the added administration.

What will make open licences work will not be the proscriptive clauses 
in such licences, but their undermining of established economic 

The Encyclopædia Britannica has learned that the hard way. The record 
and movie manufacturers are still in the middle of their lesson.  The 
newspapers are in full panic.  Once the teachers have figured it out it 
will be the turn of the textbook publishers.


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