Copyright Basics Part V: Open Licensing, Creative Commons, and Open Source

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 81 minutes
Recorded Date: April 26, 2019
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  • Brief recap of copyright basics and the rights copyright holders are granted (5 minutes)
  • Examining the basics of standard licensing and how “open licenses” differ (10 minutes)
  • Describing the business model around open source licenses, some terms of art, and practice pointers around client use of open source code (20 minutes)
  • Describing Creative Commons licenses and how clients can use these as either licencors or licensees (40 minutes)
  • Practice notes for drafting, negotiating, and advising clients around open license agreements (15 minutes)
Runtime: 1 hour and 21 minutes
Recorded: April 26, 2019


Attorneys have to navigate copyright issues on a daily basis: whenever marketing materials are made, videos get recorded, client websites get updated. Although the term open licensing might seem esoteric, openly licensed code (“open source software”) and “open content” licenses like Creative Commons affect our lives everyday. A large proportion of software and websites contain open source code (Google, Uber, and WhatsApp). Many services that run the internet are fully open source projects (Wordpress, Apache, mySQL, and Linux). Openly licensed non-software content is available through and used by museums, academic research projects, and individual artists. Projects like Wikipedia are fully openly-licensed.

Sooner or later, attorneys who work with these types of projects must understand the practical significance of how openly licensed material must be used and how their clients can use it to their advantage.

This course is the fifth part of our series on “Copyright Basics.” It can be watched on its own or as part of the series.

We start with basics of standard licensing and how “open licenses” differ. We will describe the business model around open licenses, some terms of art, and some practice pointers around client use of open source. Most of the program will center around Creative Commons licenses for openly licensing content. Throughout, we will give practice notes for how to understand these licenses and relate the material here to other parts of this series.

This program was recorded on April 26th, 2019.

Provided By

New Media Rights


Art Neil

Founder/Executive Director
New Media Rights

Art is the founder and Executive Director of New Media Rights, and specializes in internet, intellectual property, privacy, and media law. As an adjunct professor at California Western School of Law, Art teaches Internet & Social Media Law as well as the Internet & Media Law Clinic. He writes about legal issues for creators and small businesses as a Contributor for Forbes.

Art is the author of the book Don’t Panic: A Legal Guide (in plain English) for Small Businesses and Creative Professionals which is used by universities across the country to teach legal concepts to students. He is also is the creator of the Fair Use App, which is licensed by the University of California to teach concepts surrounding fair use and content reuse to staff and faculty.

In 2011, 2013, and 2015 Art was appointed as a member of the Federal Communication Commission’s Consumer Advisory Committee, where he served as Co-chair of the Broadband Working Group. He has published numerous articles on copyright and net neutrality including in the Journal for Internet Law, the Tulane Intellectual Property Law and Technology Journal, and CEB Business Law Quarterly (a publication of the State Bar of California and the University of California), among others. He speaks regularly on his areas of expertise, and has been a speaker at the Copyright Society of the USA, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, and the California State Bar Intellectual Property conference.

Art received his J.D. from University of San Diego School of Law in 2006, and his B.A. from the College of William & Mary in 2001.

Shaun Spalding

Assistant Director
New Media Rights

Shaun Spalding is Assistant Director of New Media Rights and an IP attorney specializing in digital entertainment transactions and licensing. New Media Rights is a non-profit that represents creators and startups working on educational or innovative projects who may not otherwise be able to afford legal services.

In private practice, Shaun represented a handful of the top-40 most watched and subscribed to Youtube channels in the world.

Shaun is an adjunct professor at California Western School of Law teaching an Internet and Media Law clinical course. Outside of academia, over 10,000 working creators have enrolled in his online courses aimed at teaching legal basics to creatives.

Before practicing law, Shaun worked as a commercial filmmaker producing and directing brand integrations for companies like SWISS Airlines, Sharp Televisions, the Motion Picture Association of America, and Henkel.

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