Copyright and Licensing
If you are adapting an existing open textbook, the adaptations you make will be released with a CC-BY license, while the rest of the book will be released under the license of the original book. In other words, you need to respect the license of the original work. You cannot license what you do not create. You can only attach a CC-BY license to the parts of the book you have created that are new.
However, there is a caveat. If the textbook you are adapting has a Share-Alike license attached to it, then you can only release the book with the same license that it was originally licensed as. The Share-Alike clause means that you must use the exact same license that was used in the original for ANY adaptation.
The license should be noted in a few places in the book.
- In the preface of the book there should be a statement that makes it clear that this book is a derivative of an original textbook.
- There should also be a list of what changes were made in the book from the original version so people can know exactly what bits are newly created and what are from the original source.
So, in the preface of the book, you could say:
Here is what a license might look like from a textbook that was modified. This was taken from the Modern Philosophy textbook in the open textbook collection. The only change that BCcampus made to the textbook was to create a version of it in PressBooks (a format change). However, the BCcampus format change into PressBooks was based on a modified version of an original work, meaning we have to give created to both the original author, and to the person who did the first modification.
Here is what the preface copyright notice looked like.
Remember to include a summary of the substantial changes you made to the textbook. You don’t have to note minor things, like fixing spelling mistakes, or minor stylistic changes (although if you wanted to be thorough you could note these details). Concentrate on acknowledging the substantial changes. An example might look like:
- A new chapter (chapter 4) was added covering Feminist Theory
- Chapter 2 was rewritten to remove references to American data and replace with Canadian data
- The topic “Unusual Behaviour” in Chapter 8 was modified to remove references to dyslexia
Keep in mind that the person reading this book could be viewing a printed copy with page numbers, or an electronic version with no page numbers, so do not use page numbers as references. Instead, use topics and chapters as reference points within the book.