Skip to main content

Using the Makerspace

Intellectual property guidelines

We are committed to co-creating a culture of mutual respect, value and appreciation in the Library Makerspace. One way this will be achieved is by members being aware of how to acknowledge creative endeavours.

These Intellectual Property Guidelines are to help members to understand how to protect their rights and the rights of others, with respect to ideas and creative outputs.

1. What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property refers to creations, such as designs, inventions and artworks, including writing, logos, and objects. These creations are protected by various laws and regulations to encourage innovation and ensure creators are rewarded for their efforts. They specify that original creations can only be shared and reused in the ways creators agree to through copyright.

2. What is copyright?

Copyright legally protects original creations like art works, designs, technical specifications and software. Copyright establishes the legal ownership and control of creators over the things they make. It allows creators to control how they can be copied, used as inspiration for others’ work and how they are credited as a creator.

There are different types of copyright that can be applied:

  • All Rights Reserved:
    This is the where the creator retains all exclusive rights to their work. Others need permission to use, distribute or modify the work. Obtaining copyright for a creative work involves a legal process.
  • Public Domain:
    Creative works are shared freely in the public domain. They have no copyright protection, so anyone can share them without citing the creator.
  • Creative Commons licences:
    There are a range of licences to choose from that promote open knowledge. These licences set the terms of how your work is shared, used and attributed, so you can share your creations and contribute to a wide community of creators and learners.

3. Intellectual property in the Library Makerspace

Understanding intellectual property is crucial to build a healthy and mutually respectful community. Members should respect each other by:

  • acknowledging each others' ideas
  • acknowledging other people's creative contributions when working in groups in a collaborative project
  • valuing their own ideas and protecting the outcomes of their creative thought processes.

If you are a student in higher education, you may recognise some of the above guidelines as being familiar from your studies. They are similar to when you cite sources of information in your learning as you create your own insights.

4. Creative Commons licences

Creative Commons (CC) licences enable creators to share their work with specific usage permissions They allow creators to maintain some rights while granting others the freedom to use, modify and distribute their works.

Creative Commons licences can be a way you can share your work publicly whilst also maintaining the level of control you want over how your creations are used.

You could choose one that fits your personal philosophy on sharing and ownership of ideas. Or you could select a licence for each project you complete, depending on how you feel about sharing that particular creation.

The following licences are available:

  • CC BY (Attribution):
    Allows others to use, modify, and distribute the work, as long as they give appropriate credit to the original creator
  • CC BY-SA (Attribution-ShareAlike):
    Requires others to credit the original creator and share any derivative works under the same licence.
  • CC BY-ND (Attribution-NoDerivs):
    Permits others to use and distribute the work without modifications, as long as they provide credit to the original creator.
  • CC BY-NC (Attribution-NonCommercial):
    Allows others to use, modify, and distribute the work non-commercially while providing credit to the original creator.
  • CC BY-NC-SA (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike):
    Requires others to credit the original creator, use the work non-commercially, and share any derivative works under the same licence.
  • CC BY-NC-ND (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs):
    Permits others to download and share the work non-commercially, without making any changes, and with credit to the original creator.

This video provides a good explanation of the differences between licences.

5. Respecting intellectual property

These are some ways to respect the intellectual property of others:

  • always give credit to the creators of the resources or designs you use
  • familiarise yourself with the type of licence associated with shared materials and follow its requirements
  • seek permission or obtain proper licences when using copyrighted material
  • consider using Creative Commons licences for your own work to encourage others to respect your intellectual property rights.

Final Note

Creative thinking is not meant to imply that you must originate ideas completely yourself – you can absolutely take inspiration from others as a catalyst to create something new. The Library Makerspace aims to help with inspiration, and provide the chance to play and experiment.

By understanding intellectual property and using the principles of Creative Commons, we can create a collaborative, trusting and supportive environment where innovation flourishes and where creativity is respected. Be a part of building this culture in the Library Makerspace!