Randall Munroe on XKCD’s Book & Creative Commons

Fred Benenson, April 20th, 2009

XKCD Excerpt
Today’s New York Times reports on XKCD cartoonist Randall Munroe‘s foray into IRL publishing, so we wanted take the opportunity to congratulate Randall for the book deal, but we also wanted to point out his typically pithy and brilliant perspective in the NYTimes article on the book’s copyright and his choice to use Creative Commons:

Does that mean that the book won’t carry a traditional copyright and instead take its lead from the online comic strip itself, which Mr. Munroe licenses under Creative Commons, allowing noncommercial re-use as long as credit is given?

“To anyone who wants to photocopy, bind, and give a copy of the book to their loved one — more power to them,” he said. “He/She will likely be disappointed that you’re so cheap, though.”

Randall’s award winning webcomic XKCD is updated frequently and released under our Attribution-NonCommercial license.

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Buy art, support CC: 20×200 benefit edition now available!

Allison Domicone, April 7th, 2009

Love art and CC? Head over to the 20×200 homepage and check out this special benefit edition by designer Matt Jones, just released. Proceeds from the sale of these exhibition-quality art prints will go to benefit Creative Commons; so for as little as $20 you’ll have the opportunity to acquire this special edition work, all the while supporting CC. The prints are going fast, so hurry and secure yours before they run out!

Thank you to Matt Jones for his generosity in selecting CC as the beneficiary for his special 20×200 edition, and thanks to everyone taking advantage of this unique opportunity to support CC.

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250,000 Images Donated to the Commons

Michelle Thorne, April 2nd, 2009

Not wanting April Fool’s Day to overshadow this announcement, we’re posting today about the 250,000 images recently donated to Wikimedia Commons, a sister project of Wikipedia.


The images, part of the German Photo Collection at Saxony’s State and University Library (SLUB), are being uploaded with corresponding captions and metadata. Afterward, volunteers will link the photos, all available under Germany’s ported CC BY-SA 3.0 license or in the public domain, to personal identification data and relevant Wikipedia articles. The collection depicts scenes from German history and daily life.

As a bonus for the donating library, the metadata supplied by the German Photo Collection will be expanded and annotated by Wikipedia users, and the results will be seeded back into the collection’s database.

The donation marks the first step in a collaboration between SLUB and Wikimedia Germany e.V., the pioneering Wikimedia chapter who faciliated a similar 100,000-image-strong cooperation with the German Federal Archives last December.

Fotothek df n-06 0000031.jpg” by Eugen Nosko,  provided to Wikimedia Commons by the Deutsche Fotothek of the Saxon State Library (SLUB) as part of a cooperation project. The file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License.

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20×200 Benefit Edition: Buy Art, Support CC

Allison Domicone, April 1st, 2009

On Tuesday, April 7th, 20×200, a project started by Jen Bekman that produces affordable, exhibition quality art prints and sells them exclusively online, will release a special benefit edition by designer Matt Jones with proceeds to benefit Creative Commons. This is an incredible way to support CC, so be sure to sign up for the twice-weekly 20×200 newsletter to to be among the first to collect Matt’s print for as little as $20. Popular editions often sell out via the mailing list before they’re even available on the 20×200 homepage, so add yourself to the list for your best shot at getting one of Matt’s prints and supporting CC in this unique way.

We are honored that Matt Jones has chosen CC as the beneficiary for his special 20×200 edition, and as always, we are extremely grateful for the generous support of our community! Find out about all the ways you can support CC and participatory culture.

Also, if you’re in San Francisco, you can check out the 20×200 Collector’s Confab, a cocktail party co-hosted by 20×200 and Chronicle Books on Monday, April 6, from 6-8pm, at Chronicle Books in San Francisco (Map and Directions). Space is limited, so please RSVP via Facebook or Upcoming, or send an email to rsvp [at] 20×

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Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase Winners Announced

Greg Grossmeier, March 26th, 2009

Once again the Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase has selected great creative works to include in the latest version of Ubuntu, this version due out in April. As with the previous Show Case, all of the winning entries will be bundled with the Ubuntu release and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. This time, however, there were three categories, so three winners. The categories are: Audio, Video, and Image.

The winning audio entry was by Jean Francois Marais (aka: MoShang) for his song “Invocation.” Invocation is from his Stone Bell EP.

Taking the video category is Robbie Ferguson for his video “Spirit of Ubuntu” (ogg video). Robbie hosts the Category 5 Technology TV show which is a live question and answer style show. His entry is a discussion of the Ubuntu community and what it means.

The winning image is a photograph by William J McKee Jr titled “Canadian Clouds” that was taken soon after crossing the boarder into Canada from New York State.

Amazing works from all 3 winners (for more information on the winners, see the official announcement), and the group of submissions (still available on the submission site, but only temporarily) was of great quality!

Be sure to remember that this contest will happen for each new Ubuntu release, which is every 6 months. So, get those submissions ready for the Free Culture Showcase for Ubuntu 9.10 released in October of this year!

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The Magnes Collection

Fred Benenson, March 25th, 2009

Turkish Dress2The Judah L. Magnes museum is a museum of art and history focused on the Jewish experience located in Berkeley, California. Since late 2007 the museum has been posting their digital assets both on their website and on their Flickr account. On Flickr, all of the high resolution images are licensed under our Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license. The image to the left is of a 19th century Turkish Wedding dress which was a gift from Sara Levi Willis.

Recently, the museum has been blogging at their opensource blog, but you can also check out all of their collections on their Flickr account here. As more and more cultural institutions come online, it is important to recognize those that understand the value in sharing their assets, so congratulations to The Magnes for taking the lead!

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Analysis of 100M CC-Licensed Images on Flickr

Michelle Thorne, March 25th, 2009

Since last weekend we’ve been celebrating the number of CC-licensed photos on Flickr, which now has reached over 100 million — the largest pool of CC images to date. We’ve received some great feedback from the community, including the following analysis from Christian (metawelle):

On July 29, 2004 Flickr announced that anyone who wanted to release their Flickr photos under a Creative Commons license could do so. Within the first year 10 million photos were published with the help of CC’s six different licenses. Now in the fifth year since the initial collaboration between the Canadian photohosting service and the non-profit organization Creative Commons, there are currently over 100 million photos in Flickr’s massive database. And the photos are not just to look at; you can also download, print, and distribute the photos legally and free of charge. Plus, a large portion of the photos explicitly allow derivative works, and a surprisingly larger percent allow for commercial use.

100 million CC-licensed photos on Flickr — reason enough to take a closer look at the figures.

100,043,383 free images on Flickr

Today there are 100,043,383 free images on the Flickr servers. 33% of them are equipped with the most restrictive CC License, BY-NC-ND. That means that over 32 million photos are available to download, display publicly, and distribute, as long as the author is attributed and no changes are made to the original image. The second most frequent license is BY-NC-SA. It allows derivative works for non-commercial purposes as long as those resulting works are made available under the same license. 29%, or 29 million images, can be used in this manner.

Restrictive licenses are more popular

Thus it would seem that the bulk of photos are licensed rather restrictively. That basically means authors rarely tend to release their works with creative and commercial freedoms. 76% of all photos bar commercial use. At the same time, it means that 24%, or 24 million photos, do allow for commercial use with minimal restrictions. For example, over 12 millions photos are completely free to use, as long as the author of the image is attributed.

If you take the time to click through Flickr’s gigantic image pool, you’ll notice that it doesn’t just host snapshots. Among these 12 million photos you’ll find numerous professional photographs. Aside from commercial freedom in these works, creative freedom is most important for a functioning digital culture. Approximately 63 million of all available image files allow for derivative works; in other words, they can be used for photo montages, collages, films, animations, or similar projects, without having to ask permission or clarify rights (although naturally we must distinguish between commercial and non-commercial uses).

Monthly growth rate

Also very surprising is the growth rate of the number of CC-licensed photos. The monthly growth rate sunk from an initial 13% (April 2006) to about 4% (November 2008), at which point growth more or less stabilized.  Presently, the pool of free images is increasing about 4% in comparison with the previous month. That means that the absolute number of monthly gain in photos is rising. It is also important to mention that here you can interpret this as a gain in freedom.  Increasingly, there are more licensed images bringing high creative and commercial freedoms. In other words: consistently more authors are equipping their photos with more freedoms. Thereby they are more frequently granting the public derivative or commercial use of their photos. However it should be noted that this development is very slow.

CC Content bei Flickr von 04/2006 - 11/2008 (Bild: CC BY-SA
Absolute number of CC-licensed photos on Flickr, from April 1, 2006 – November 1, 2008 (Click the graphic to enlarge.)

Altogether the range of freely available photos is enormous. The 100 million works on Flickr make up the majority of CC-licensed content worldwide, and the consequences of such a pool are not to be underestimated. Especially for schools, who should be promoting creativity, such a massive image archive offers many advantages. Freely available images can be used for example, in presentations, educational websites, or other digital projects.

But this archive also offers big advantages in commercial fields. A positive example is Spreeblick Verlag KG, a German publisher that uses gratis and commercially available images in a Flickrpool on their blog. It surprises me that more publishers and editors don’t take advantage of this enormous offering. Probably knowledge about Creative Commons is still not distributed widely enough in the minds of the online editors — let alone the print world.


Translated from Christian‘s “100 Millionen freie Bilder bei Flickr“, available under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 License. This translation is available under the same license.

We’ve been collecting Flickr licensing stastics on our wiki for some time now, and we are very happy that members of our community such as Christian have taken such proactive steps to analyze our data. Anyone else out there should feel free to do the same!


Celebrate 100 Million CC Photos on Flickr with Joi Ito’s Free Souls

Fred Benenson, March 23rd, 2009

Free Souls Image

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been keeping a close eye on the number of CC licensed photos of Flickr. Our calculations now show that Flickr has surpassed 100 million CC licensed photos sometime during the day on Saturday, March 21st, 2009. As of Monday, we’re calculating the total number of CC licensed photos at 100,191,085.*

These photos have been used in hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia articles, blog posts, and even mainstream press pieces; all examples of new works that might not otherwise been created without our standardized public licenses. Flickr’s integration of CC licenses was one of the first and best; not only do they allow users to specify licenses per-photo, but they offer an incredible CC discovery page which breaks down searches for CC licensed materials by license. This means that you can look for all the photos of New York City licensed under Attribution and sorted by interestingness, to give an example.

As part of our celebration of Flickr passing this historic milestone, we are offering a dozen copies of Creative Commons CEO Joi Ito’s Free Souls book at our $100 donation level. Naturally, all of Joi’s photos are not only licensed under our most permissive Attribution license, but they’re also available on Flickr for download. By donating to Creative Commons today you can support the work that we do and receive one of the 1,024 copies of Joi’s limited edition book.

*We are linking to CSV files generated per-day based a simple scrape of Flickr’s CC portal. To generate the total number of licensed photos, we SUM()‘d the 2nd column of the CSV file. March 21st yielded approximately 99 million and March 22nd yielded over 100 million, hence our estimate that 100 million was passed sometime during the day on Saturday.


Week Left in Pooling Ideas Competition!

Michelle Thorne, March 15th, 2009

Pooling Ideas

There’s about a week left to enter CC Australia’s Pooling Ideas competition before it closes on March 23. They’re giving away cool prizes, including an internship with ABC Radio National to co-produce The Night Air and mountains of CC gear.

Contestants are invited to creatively interpret the theme We are what we share, and upload their creation to Pool. It’s free, and there are no time limits or format requirements. Just tag your work we are what we share when you upload.

You can already check out the first few entries: a poem, a story and a picture (with some great accompanying text). So what are you waiting for? Grab your camera, pen, computer and get creative!


Sketchory: CC-Licensed Sketches

Cameron Parkins, March 6th, 2009

Sketchory is a new site featuring over 250,000 CC-licensed sketches, available broadly under a CC BY-NC license that allows for open sharing and remixing. In a unique twist, Sketchory allows the commercial use of up to 5,000 sketches through using our CC+ protocol.

Sketchory currently needs help tagging images to improve their search functionality, so be sure to lend a hand when possible.

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