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Open Licensing Made Plain: A Primer on Concepts, Challenges, and Opportunities for Publishers

Copyright protection is no longer the reliable gatekeeper it once was, partly because digital content is so easy to copy and share but, in education and research, increasingly also because many governments and donors now require some form of open licensing for many types of publications. Open licensing alters the way in which rights are protected, but also offers some protection in a world in which illegal copying is so easy to do. For this reason, African publishers will benefit from understanding the concepts, challenges, and business models associated with open licensing if they wish to develop and maintain a sustainable and vibrant publishing sector. This primer aims to introduce some key terms and provide concrete examples of how publishers can use open licensing creatively to increase visibility and sales.