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What are the copyright issues in creating new courses


We are creating an extensive course in developing happy and productive workplaces. Inevitably there is a lot of material out there which may or may not belong to somebody.

On Strengthfinder its easy. You buy the Marcus Buckingham book and get a licence to the online survey.

But how about something like the Social Styles model, originally created by Merrill & Reid in 1981 (Driver, Expressive, Amiable, Analytical). Can one use the communications questionnaire that they publicised in their book. If one has to pay a licence, who to? 

Similarly using the Chimp Paradox idea. By using the ideas that Steve Peters publicised in his book, we are effectively promoting him further. And this is a concept rather than a questionnaire or method.

A similar example is Honey & Munford's Learning Styles (though we are not using this one) - I know few people paid any licence or even gave credit, but I also know Honey and Munford weren't happy about this.

So where is the line drawn on copyright in learning? When should one pay a licence fee and when is something effectively in the public domain? And added complication is that we may want to licence the course to others!

2 Responses

  1. Copyright and intellectual

    Copyright and intellectual property is a broad and important area.

    From my limited knowledge I know that you wont be able to copy someone's quizzes for resale in your own courses. It's their IP and not for resale.

    Similarly, you can't copy Steve Peters. You would have to create your own way of expressing his ideas – which would mean not using chimps.

    The grey area is long-time established models such as learning styles but someone specialising in IP law would give a definitive answer.

    Maybe someone on here has already sought similar advice?

  2. Ha. In my experience lawyers

    Ha. In my experience lawyers seldom give definitive answers!

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