“Street Legal” Openly Shared Learning

  • Shalin Hai-Jew


Creating open-shared learning resources for global use means that the works have the potential to be high profile and widely accessed. This means that it is especially important to get the legal and ethical aspects right. Designer/developers need to be aware of all the potentially relevant laws right and to adhere to them, in both the letter of the laws and the spirit. The ethical implications should be recognized as well. Following the law serves to control for designer/developer risk, communicates respect to the other stakeholders in the publishing and learning spaces, “future proofs” the learning resources, encourages broader usage of the resource around the world, and ultimately benefits the open sharing work. Being aware of the legal requirements early on saves on the overall amount of work needed to ensure that the legal standards are sufficiently met. Legal considerations are present at every stage of the design and development and launch work. This chapter has at its center the idea that whatever is created to benefit people in open learning should not also cause harm to anyone. This chapter addresses legal concerns (including controlled information, intellectual property, (IP) software, accessibility, media law, data handling, ethical research, and others). It also highlights the challenges with global publishing and distribution, given the patchwork of laws in different nation-states and the risks therein.


Controlled information Intellectual property Creative commons licensure Accessibility Universal design Disability laws Accommodations Universal design for learning Media law Privacy protections Defamation Libel Trespass Data handling Ethical research Human subjects research review 


Keyterms and Definitions


The conveyance of information on several perceptual channels (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell) and via multiple methods of symbolic processing (to enable understanding), usually through communicating through multiple modalities to ensure that those who have differing abilities can still access the information and related learning; the provisioning of information which enables users to maintain as much control over the consumption and learning experience as possible

Closed Captioning

Timed text representing verbatim speech for audio and video files

Controlled Information

Information (such as technical data, trade secrets, and others) that is sufficiently sensitive to a nation-state so that its export and sharing is restricted


The legal right to temporary ownership of a creative work that one has created


Harming a person’s public reputation and name through incorrectly shared information through publication (libel) and broadcast (slander)

Intellectual Property

A creative work that may be protected under copyright, patent, trademark, or other IP protection


A false statement that is published about a person or entity

Media Rights Release

A contract that releases the rights to use the signer’s likeness in a recorded medium for particular defined purposes

Right to be Forgotten (“the right to silence on past events in life that are no longer occurring”)

The ability to request that past online information (text, photos, audio, video, and other modalities) about an individual be removed from the Web and Internet

Universal Design

A framework used to “provide multiple means of representation,” “multiple means of action and expression,” and “multiple means of engagement” in online learning (according to the National Center on Universal Design for Learning)


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Additional Reading Section

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shalin Hai-Jew
    • 1
  1. 1.Information Technology Services (ITS)Kansas State UniversityManhattanUSA

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