Gerry, it depends on the type of licence you are referring to. If it is a a Creative Commons Licence than it should be quite clear on how you can use the materials based on the type of licence assigned to the materials. If it is the Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike licence than you do not need to request permission from the author. Permission is automatically granted to remix, tweak and build upon the materials in the OER when the author assigns this type of licence to his or her products. If the licence say No Derivative Works than the must use the materials as they were written. No remixing or tweaking is allowed.
Would this mean that we are not allowed to use a photo in a ppt presentation with a different title?
What do the words "remix"and "tweak" entail exactly? Any concrete examples?
Where do we draw the line?
Barbara: Take a look at this link http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/. It provides a legal interpretation of the different licence conditions.
If you used a photo in a PowerPoint presentation, the first question is where did it come from. All OER materials have either a Creative Commons licence or a unique copyright restrictions based on the institution you downloaded it from. The safest way to intrepret copyright is to assume (which is legally correct) that everything that is published, be it text, video, audio, photos or graphics automatically is protected by copyright. The copyright owner must grant you permission to use those materials and may restrict how they are used. Thus the need for a CC licence since it eliminates the need to always go to the copyright owner before publishing, reusing or re-mixing.
One of the issues that causes traditional univesities grief is that once you include an OER into a course than the course must conform to the Creative Commons licence of the original OER. Therefore if TRU even re-purposes the content they must make it available (without restrictions) for others to download. Otherwise the institution violates the licencing agreement.
Now that being said, I am not sure who enforces this policy. It would be a very difficult task to follow the different re-use/re-mix variations that are based on single OER.