Press Releases

Creative Commons Names Ryan Merkley as Chief Executive Officer

Elliot Harmon, May 14th, 2014

Ryan Merkley
Ryan Merkley / Rannie Turingan / CC0

Mountain View, CA May 14, 2014: The board of directors of Creative Commons is pleased to announce the appointment of Ryan Merkley to the position of chief executive officer. Ryan is an accomplished strategist, campaigner, and communicator in the nonprofit, technology, and government sectors. Ryan was recently chief operating officer of the Mozilla Foundation, the nonprofit parent of the Mozilla Corporation and creator of the world’s most recognizable open-source software project and internet browser, Firefox. At the Mozilla Foundation, Ryan led development of open-source projects like Webmaker, Lightbeam, and Popcorn, and also kicked off the Foundation’s major online fundraising effort, resulting in over $1.8 million USD in individual donations from over 44,000 new donors.

Ryan is a well-known and respected voice in the open source community, and recognized for his unwavering support to open government and open data initiatives.

“As the board has gotten to know Ryan after the past several weeks, he’s articulated a strong vision to us for the future of the organization,” board chair and interim CEO Paul Brest said. “He understands that the internet has changed a lot since we first launched the CC licenses, and that our relevance requires an evolving technology strategy. He also recognizes that this is a crucial moment for CC and its allies: we must work together to strengthen and protect the open web.”

“A public commons, enabled by the open web, is the most powerful force to foster creativity, inspire innovation, and enhance human knowledge around the world. Those who believe in its potential need to join together in a global movement to ensure its success,” said Ryan Merkley. “At Creative Commons we’re making that case, and supporting, inspiring, and connecting the various communities that are building the commons — from open education, to science, to film and photography — and working to provide tools, solutions, and policy on their behalf.”

Creative Commons provides a set of licenses that creators can use to grant permission to reuse their work. With over half a billion openly licensed works on the internet, Creative Commons is internationally recognized as the standard in open content licensing. Ryan will lead a global team of legal and technology professionals who manage and support the licenses, as well as experts who lead CC license adoption efforts in areas like education, culture, science, and public policy.

Ryan joins Creative Commons after a career working to advance social causes and public policy in nonprofits and government. Outside of his work at Mozilla Foundation, Ryan was senior advisor to Mayor David Miller in Toronto, where he initiated Toronto’s Open Data project. He was also seconded to the City of Vancouver as director of corporate communications for the 2010 Winter Games. Most recently, Ryan was managing director and senior vice president of public affairs at Vision Critical, a Vancouver-based SaaS company and market research firm.

Ryan will take up his new position on June 1, 2014. He will be based in Toronto, and will split his time between Toronto and the Bay Area.

Official biography and high-resolution images can be found at:
http://creativecommons.org/staff/ryan

Additional information

Bios and photos of Creative Commons board and advisory council members
http://creativecommons.org/board

Creative Commons launches Version 4.0 of its license suite
http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/40935

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/) is a globally-focused nonprofit organization dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Creative Commons provides free licenses and other legal tools to give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions and get credit for their creative work while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make specific uses of it.

For more information contact:
Elliot Harmon
Communications Manager, Creative Commons
elliot@creativecommons.org

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Creative Commons welcomes new energy and expertise onto its board

Elliot Harmon, December 16th, 2013

Creative Commons, a globally-focused nonprofit that provides legal and technological tools for sharing and collaboration, welcomed eight new members to its board of directors today. It also announced a new advisory council to complement the board and provide input and feedback to CC leadership. Several alumni of the CC board will be transitioning to the advisory council. CC co-founder Lawrence Lessig will lead the advisory council and transition to emeritus status on the board.

The announcement comes on the anniversary of the first Creative Commons licenses, which were launched in 2002. Since then, thousands of creators around the world have used Creative Commons licenses, amassing a selection of over half a billion CC-licensed works, spanning the worlds of education, art, academia, data, science, and much more.

“With the continuity of current board members and a fresh outlook brought by the new members, Creative Commons is well prepared to engage with a very different environment from the time of its founding,” board chair Paul Brest said. “The board includes some of the world’s foremost experts in technology, intellectual property law, the internet, and business and social entrepreneurship. It’s appropriate that we’re announcing the new board on December 16, the date when it all began eleven years ago.”

The new board members reflect the broad diversity of the global Creative Commons community. Four of the new board members — Renata Avila (Guatemala), Dorothy Gordon (Ghana), Paul Keller (Netherlands), and Jongsoo Yoon (South Korea) — are Creative Commons affiliates, experts who represent Creative Commons around the world and localize CC licenses and other materials for their jurisdictions.

Creative Commons also gained board members with substantial experience in technology and product development, like Ben Adida, a director of engineering at Square who previously served as CC’s first technology lead; and Christopher Thorne, a veteran technology entrepreneur and private equity investor. The new members also bring additional legal acumen to the organization, including Microsoft intellectual property counsel Thomas C. Rubin and New York University Law School professor Chris Sprigman. Together, these individuals will augment Creative Commons’ existing capacity in technology and intellectual property law.

Creative Commons CEO Cathy Casserly will be leaving her role as CEO in early 2014, but will continue to serve on the newly formed advisory council. “While my role in the organization will be changing, I’m proud to continue to serve the CC community alongside this diverse and talented group of leaders,” Casserly said. “Through our collective efforts, we will continue to work toward our vision of a truly collaborative, free internet.”

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Press release: Creative Commons launches Version 4.0 of its license suite

Elliot Harmon, November 26th, 2013

Download the press release (67 KB PDF).

Creative Commons launches Version 4.0 of its license suite
Refreshed copyright licenses function globally and cover new rights

Mountain View, CA, November 26, 2013: Creative Commons (CC) announced today that Version 4.0 of its licensing suite is now available for use worldwide.

This announcement comes at the end of a two-year development and consultation process, but in many ways, it began much earlier. Since 2007, CC has been working with legal experts around the world to adapt the 3.0 licenses to local laws in over 35 jurisdictions. In the process, CC and its affiliates learned a lot about how the licenses function internationally. As a result, the 4.0 licenses are designed to function in every jurisdiction around the world, with no need for localized adaptations.

In a blog post celebrating the launch, CC general counsel Diane Peters acknowledged the role that CC’s affiliates played in developing the new licenses. “The 4.0 versioning process has been a truly collaborative effort between the brilliant and dedicated network of legal and public licensing experts and the active, vocal open community. The 4.0 licenses, the public license development undertaking, and the Creative Commons organization are stronger because of the steadfast commitment of all participants.”

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Creators and copyright holders can use its licenses to allow the general public to use and republish their content without asking for permission in advance. There are over half a billion Creative Commons–licensed works, spanning the worlds of arts and culture, science, education, business, government data, and more.

The improvements in Version 4.0 reflect the needs of a diverse and growing user base. The new licenses include provisions related to database rights, personality rights, data mining, and other issues that have become more pertinent as CC’s user base has grown. “These improvements may go unnoticed by many CC users, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important,” Peters said. “We worry about the slight nuances of the law so our users don’t have to.”

Additional Information:

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Catherine Casserly to step down as Creative Commons CEO

Elliot Harmon, September 25th, 2013

Download the press release. (63 KB PDF)

Mountain View, CA, September 25, 2013: Catherine Casserly announced that she will transition out of her role as CEO of Creative Commons in early 2014. Creative Commons, a Silicon Valley nonprofit that provides legal and technological tools for sharing and collaboration, was launched in 2002. Casserly became the organization’s first full-time CEO in 2011 after serving on the board of directors. Casserly helped to secure the organization’s considerable gains from its first decade and to lay a foundation for its second. She worked with the board and staff to integrate and grow existing programs, increase public impact, articulate key priorities and outcomes, and strengthen core operations.

One of Casserly’s significant accomplishments was Creative Commons’ role in the development of open education policies, both in the United States and around the world. In 2012 alone, the governments of Poland and California passed major legislation in support of open educational resources (OER) and others, like British Columbia, provided major public funding for OER. Similarly, the US Department of Labor is currently awarding $2 billion in grants for OER development through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.

In an email to Creative Commons’ global network of volunteers, Casserly expressed pride in three years of growth as a movement and optimism about the possibilities for the organization’s new leadership. “Together, we’ve grown our community and movement tremendously — both in size and in our ability to impact the world. For me and for the organization, the three-year mark is the right time to usher in a new generation of leadership.”

Creative Commons board chair Paul Brest noted that Cathy’s tenure as CEO has brought major changes to the organization. “The focus that we’ve seen over the past three years is remarkable, and what’s even more impressive is the clarity of mission and priorities that Cathy has brought to the organization. Under her leadership, the growth in the use of CC licenses generally, in the field of OER, and particularly in government-adopted OER mandates, has brought us substantially closer to our vision — universal access to knowledge and culture — than ever before.”

Casserly agreed, and predicted that the next CEO will play a major role in scaling Creative Commons’ achievements. “We’re currently developing products and tools with the potential to transform how sharing and collaboration work on the internet. Realizing that potential will require a CEO who deeply understands both our mission and the broader technology landscape.” The Creative Commons Board of Directors plans to formally begin the search for a new CEO in October.

Edited October 2: Previous version incorrectly listed British Columbia as a government that had passed OER legislation. Read this article for information on British Columbia’s support for OER.

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Paul Brest Named Creative Commons Chair

Cathy Casserly, November 29th, 2012

Read the full press release. (PDF)

I’m delighted to announce that Paul Brest has been elected chair of the Creative Commons board. Paul will begin as chair in December, coinciding with CC’s tenth anniversary celebrations.

Throughout his career, Paul has bridged the worlds of law, philanthropy, and academia, most recently as president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and, before that, dean of Stanford Law School. He’s widely recognized as an expert on constitutional law, problem solving and decision making, and philanthropic strategy, having written books and taught classes at Stanford on these subjects.

I can’t think of a better choice than Paul. He has that rare combination of strong instincts and the knowledge and rigor to back those instincts up. He’s the leader we need to carry CC into the next decade.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to recognize Joi Ito for his years of service as chair. During Joi’s time as chair, he’s helped CC grow as an organization, both in global influence and in its relevance to a changing technology landscape.

Please join me in thanking Joi and welcoming Paul.

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500px Announces Creative Commons Licensing Options

Elliot Harmon, November 16th, 2012

Read the full press release. (PDF)

This morning, photo-sharing platform 500px announced that it now offers Creative Commons licensing options. 500px has become a hub for talented photographers in recent years, and it’s great to see it join the ranks of CC-enabled platforms.

From the press release:

“While our platform still defaults to full copyright protection as it always has, we want to give our photographers as much flexibility as possible to spread their work and build their profiles and businesses,” says Oleg Gutsol, CEO, 500px. “Our move to offer Creative Commons licensing is another way we’re providing additional services and value to meet the needs of our growing community.”

With tens of millions of high quality professional photos potentially now available through Creative Commons, 500px is planning for the increased traffic from bloggers, publishers and media outlets that have been clamoring to get at the content for several years.

“We’ve built content searching by keywords and applicable license right into the functionality,” says Gutsol. “Our hope is that this targeted searching makes it seamless for people to find the content they’re looking for.”

With this rollout, 500px joins the ranks of other prominent rich media communities such as Vimeo, SoundCloud and YouTube who already have Creative Commons in place.

“500px is a great addition to the family of CC-compatible media platforms,” Creative Commons CEO Cathy Casserly said. “500px caters to a talented and intelligent community of photographers, just the sort of users we’re always excited to see licensing their work under CC. I’ll be curious to see how creative people everywhere reuse and remix the work of 500px photographers.”

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Using Free and Open Educational Resources to Support Women and Girls in STEM

Cable Green, September 28th, 2012

Download press release (PDF)

Mountain View, CA and Cambridge, MA — Creative Commons and the OpenCourseWare Consortium announce the formation of a task force to determine how open educational resources (OER) can support the success of girls and women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in support of the Equal Futures Partnership, announced on September 24 by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“The gender gap in participation in STEM areas around the world is significant,” said Cathy Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons. “We need to address the barriers to girls’ success in STEM to ensure that the future is filled with bright, ambitious, well-educated people of both genders who are able to contend with future global challenges.”

The OER-STEM task force will examine how OER can attract and support girls in STEM education, including additional support services necessary to ensure high levels of success. OER are high-quality educational materials that are openly licensed and shared at no cost, allowing learners and educators to use, adapt, change and add information to suit their education goals. The task force will include experts in STEM education for girls and women along with experts in OER to determine specific projects that will advance achievement in these important areas.

“We are seeking innovative support solutions for girls to succeed in STEM subjects using open educational resources,” said Mary Lou Forward, Executive Director of the OpenCourseWare Consortium. “Since OER can be accessed freely by anyone, anywhere, and modified to fit different cultural contexts and learning needs around the world, we are looking at this issue from a global perspective.”

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a globally-focused nonprofit organization dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Creative Commons provides free licenses and other legal tools to give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions and get credit for their creative work while allowing others to copy, distribute and make specific uses of it.

About the OpenCourseWare Consortium

The OpenCourseWare Consortium is an international group of hundreds of institutions and organizations that support the advancement open sharing in higher education. The OCW Consortium envisions a world in which the desire to learn is fully met by the opportunity to do so anywhere in the world, where everyone, everywhere is able to access affordable, educationally and culturally appropriate opportunities to gain whatever knowledge or training they desire.

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Announcing the Liberated Pixel Cup: an epic contest for gaming freedom

Chris Webber, April 11th, 2012

Liberated Pixel Cup banner

We’re pleased to announce the launch of the Liberated Pixel Cup, a free-as-in-freedom game authoring competition being launched in cooperation between Creative Commons, the Free Software Foundation, and OpenGameArt!

Liberated Pixel Cup outdoor example artwork
Liberated Pixel Cup example outdoor artwork / Lanea Zimmerman / CC BY-SA 3.0

Liberated Pixel Cup is a two-part competition: make a bunch of awesome free culture licensed artwork, and program a bunch of free software games that use it. Hopefully many cool projects can come out of this… but that will only happen if people like you get involved!

Technically the project will run in three phases. One of the major goals of the project is for the community to be able to produce content that’s stylistically consistent. To that end, “phase zero” of the project is to produce a style guide that people can work off to produce content that meshes together nicely, something along the lines of what the Tango style guide does for icons. We’ve been working with a few excellent artists to commission a base example set to build the style guide out of, and we’re fairly thrilled with where things are going!

Liberated Pixel Cup outdoor example artwork
Liberated Pixel Cup example indoor artwork / Lanea Zimmerman / CC BY-SA 3.0

And this is where you come in: “Phase one” of the competition will then be building artwork that matches that guide that should then be uploaded to OpenGameArt and dual licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 and GPLv3. This part of the project will run from June 1st through June 30th. “Phase two” of this competition will be building GPLv3 or later games that incorporate artwork from the artwork building phase of the project. People can work in teams or individually, and this portion of the contest will run from July 1st through July 31st.

Afterwards will be judging entries and handing out awards. We’re planning on giving out some prizes for both the content building and the game programming phases. To see more details about all this, check out the rules page.

We’re very proud to be working on this collaboration with OpenGameArt, but especially the Free Software Foundation, a true ally of ours in the quest for user freedom in all domains. And it seems that feeling is mutual:

The FSF is happy to join with our peers and support this contest. We’re already excited about the new free software games that will come out of it — not only because we like games, but because this is an area that is still very much in the grips of proprietary software companies using nasty Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), and an area holding back free software adoption for many users.
– John Sullivan, Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation

We think Liberated Pixel Cup is a great opportunity for the commons in many ways! Right now it’s hard to find free culture content to bootstrap games that match a consistent style and hard for artists to collaborate on such. We’re also very interested in areas where free software and free culture directly intersect, which we don’t always see enough of (and which sometimes can even get a bit complex, so it’s good to have opportunities to think about them when we can), and games are a great example of this overlap. We hope you’ll participate!

And on that note, there’s several things we’d like to fund with this project. First of all, we’d like to pay the artists that have we’ve commissioned for this style guide actual money, as laying down a set of fundamentals for the artwork is a lot of serious work. Second, we’d like to be able to do cool things like give out prizes for people who win the various stages of the competition.

To that end, we’re trying to raise some money for the Liberated Pixel Cup. So please help make that happen, and donate today!

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org) is a globally-focused nonprofit organization dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Creative Commons provides free licenses and other legal tools to give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions and get credit for their creative work while allowing others to copy, distribute and make specific uses of it. Donations to support Creative Commons work can be made at https://creativecommons.net/donate/ and also by contacting development@creativecommons.org.

Contact
Christopher Allan Webber
Senior Software Engineer
Creative Commons
+1 (773) 614 2279
cwebber@creativecommons.org

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users’ right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software — particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants — and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF’s work can be made at http://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

Contact
Joshua Gay
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
campaigns@fsf.org

About OpenGameArt

OpenGameArt.org was founded in 2009 for the purpose of archiving art for use in free and open source games. Since then, OGA has grown into a vibrant community of artists and developers who are passionate about games and free culture. You can join the community or explore by visiting http://opengameart.org/.

Contact
Bart Kelsey
Founder, OpenGameArt.org
bart@opengameart.org

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Launch of the Why Open Education Matters Video Competition

Timothy Vollmer, March 5th, 2012

Creative Commons, U.S. Department of Education, Open Society Institute launch high profile video competition to highlight potential of free educational materials

Mountain View, California and Washington, D.C., — March 5, 2012

Today Creative Commons, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Open Society Institute announce the launch of the Why Open Education Matters Video Competition. The competition will award cash prizes for the best short videos that explain the use and promise of free, high-quality Open Educational Resources—or “OER”—and describe the benefits and opportunities these materials create for teachers, students and schools.

Video submissions are accepted until June 5, 2012 and winners will be announced July 18, 2012. Cash prizes, provided by the Open Society Institute, include $25,000 (first), $5,000 (second), and $1,000 (Public Choice Award). Judges include prominent artists and education experts, including Davis Guggenheim, Nina Paley, James Franco, and many others. The competition website is whyopenedmatters.org and features an introductory video by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. All entries must be shared under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan underlined various benefits of OER. Duncan, in a video that appears on the Why Open Education Matters contest website, said, “Open Educational Resources can not only accelerate and enrich learning; they can also substantially reduce costs for schools, families and students.”

Catherine Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons, pointed out the importance of raising awareness for Open Educational Resources. “Both Creative Commons and Open Educational Resources are 10 years old this year, and there’s been an amazing explosion in the amount and quality of free, openly-licensed educational content being shared online. Now is the time to push awareness of OER into the mainstream.”

The launch of the Why Open Education Matters Video Competition coincides with the first annual Open Education Week (openeducationweek.org), which runs from March 5-10, 2012. Open Education Week is a global event that seeks to raise awareness about the benefits of free and open sharing in education.

About Creative Commons
Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org) is a globally-focused nonprofit organization dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Creative Commons provides free licenses and other legal tools to give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions and get credit for their creative work while allowing others to copy, distribute and make specific uses of it.

About U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education (http://ed.gov) coordinates most federal assistance on education. It works with state and local partners to promote excellence and equity for students at all levels of education to ensure that our citizens are college and career ready and can compete in a global economy.

About Open Society Institute
The Open Society Institute (http://soros.org) works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens and, through its Information Program, works to increase public access to knowledge, including increasing access to open, high quality, educational materials.

Contacts
Timothy Vollmer
Creative Commons
tvol@creativecommons.org

Jane Glickman
Department of Education
(202) 401-1307

Darius Cuplinskas
Open Society Institute
Darius.Cuplinskas@osf-london.org

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Announcing new CC Board Member Brian Fitzgerald

Joi Ito, September 26th, 2011

Creative Commons is delighted to announce the appointment of Prof. Brian Fitzgerald as a new Director of the corporation and member of the Board.

Brian-Fitzgerald
Brian Fitzgerald by Joi Ito / CC BY

Many of you may be familiar with Brian, who has been the legal lead of CC Australia since 2004 and has made an outstanding contribution to the CC and broader open access communities. The adoption of CC licenses by the Australian government, in which he was critically involved, continues to be a leading example of CC implementation, particularly as data management becomes a more and more prominent issue in open access debates.

Brian is Professor of Intellectual Property and Innovation at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia. He holds postgraduate qualifications in law from Oxford University and Harvard University and is acknowledged as a leading scholar in the areas of Intellectual Property and Internet Law. From 1998-2002 he was Head of the School of Law and Justice at Southern Cross University in New South Wales, Australia and from January 2002 – January 2007 was appointed as Head of the School of Law at QUT in Brisbane, Australia. Brian is currently a specialist Research Professor at QUT and a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation.

Brian’s appointment is a product of the first Affiliate Recommendation Process for Board Candidates, which petitioned members of its Affiliate network to recommend new members of the Board of Directors. Having supervised law students from over 30 different countries in his role as director of the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic at Queensland University of Technology and beyond, Brian brings to the Board not only his own formidable expertise but also that of a significant international network.

Brian was formally elected to the Board on Friday, September 16, and his appointment was announced publicly at the Creative Commons Global Summit.

We thank the Affiliates and especially the nominees for their willingness to undertake the recommendation process and to contribute even further to the future of Creative Commons.

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