Finding Open Stuff and Re-drawing images

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Health OER Project Administrator University of Cape Town

Nov 30, 2011, 1:43:27 PM11/30/11
Hi global dScribes,

Thank you for the message, Kathleen.  We are lucky to have some great people on the UCT team working on interesting and exciting materials.  In case you haven't come across it yet, Shihaam did a workshop on finding open images, audio, video etc for Open Access week this year at UCT. Her presentation is available here: If you know of other great places to find resources, please feel free to share them :)  

I would also be interested in knowing how people go about re-drawing images when there are copyright restrictions.  Often the lecturer is looking for a specific image and it can be tricky to find and perhaps more efficient to re-draw.  We have also been having issues with converting materials to OER that have corporate brands in them too. A simple example, is a medical diagram where the lecture has used an analogy with a Smarties box (as a different way of viewing the inguinal canal).  It would be sad to remove the image completely as does make the presentation more interesting.  I was thinking of re-drawing the box but am not sure to what extent I can mimic the original e.g. would having the words 'Smarties' on the box be a problem.


Health Open Education Resources (OER) project administrator
Education Development Unit (EDU), Health Sciences, UCT
email: | tel: 021 406 6827, 084 477 6089

More information on: 
Open Education Resources | Creative Commons licensing
Finding OER content: OER Africa | UCT Open Content |

On Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 7:26 PM, Kathleen Ludewig Omollo <> wrote:
Hi global dScribes,

During our teleconferences, we've discussed various strategies for
educating staff, lecturers, and students at our universities about
copyright and Creative Commons. Copyright can be a complex issue to

Mike (and others?) from the Open UCT team just posted a very short (35
seconds!) video explaining the restrictions of all rights reserved and
encouraging use of CC content. You can find the video on YouTube at You can also read more
about it on their blog:
Well done, UCT!


Kathleen Ludewig Omollo

Dec 16, 2011, 10:08:00 AM12/16/11
Hi Sam, 

I hope others will chime in, but I can share a little about replacing third-party images at U-M. 

Thanks for sharing the Finding Open Stuff presentation. KNUST put together a similar presentation in September (see slides 82-87). U-M uses many of the sites mentioned in those two presentations, though the open comics sites that Shihaam mentioned are new to me. Those are great!

Your question about how much to mimic an original image in creating/drawing/finding a replacement is a very good one. At U-M, we try to look more at the meaning of the image (what about the image is important to the instructor's example?) rather than the specifics of an image itself. For example, in the diagram you mentioned, without seeing the images you mentioned, I'm guessing that the instructor was trying using the Smarties box because they are round, small, and possibly stacked. The only reason he used Smarties is probably because students are familiar with that brand, but other round, small, stacked objects would also work for the instructor's example (and may even be better for the example and more visually interesting). There are a couple options: 
1) You could actually buy a pack of Smarties and take a photo. Since you took the photo, there are no copyright concerns with the image. Copyright is different from trademark (ie brands). Yes, Smarties are trademarked, but since you are using the photo to refer to actual brand, there's no confusion or dilution (the two tests for using trademarks), that's ok. 
2) Search or draw a replacement that incorporates small, round, stacked objects. Something like a stack of poker chips, cookies, potato chips;  jars or bins of various candy; etc. You could also use insert-Shape in PPT or look for open clipart (like of a single 3D circle and then copy-paste to create a stack. 

If I were you, I would do #2. 

I hope that's helpful!

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