It is time to celebrate and spread the dream that everyone in the world can access a high quality, affordable education if we collectively share our educational resources and spend our public resources wisely!
The second annual Open Education Week will take place March 11-15, 2013 (see schedule). Open Education Week is a five-day celebration of the global Open Education movement, featuring online and local events around the world, video showcases of open education projects, and lots of information. The week is designed to raise awareness of both the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide.
Open Education refers to the growing set of practices that promote the sharing high quality, openly licensed educational resources (OER) and support for learners to access education anywhere, anytime. Open Education incorporates educational networks, open teaching and learning materials, open textbooks, open data, open scholarship, and open-source educational tools.
As part of Open Education Week, Creative Commons and its affiliates are hosting and participating in local events and webinars on OER, Version 4.0 of the CC licenses, the Open Policy Network, School of Open, and more. In addition, the School of Open will officially launch its first set of courses next week, including courses on copyright and Creative Commons for educators. Courses will be free to take and free to reuse and remix under P2PU’s default CC BY-SA licensing policy.
And a special thanks to our friends at the OpenCourseWare Consortium for organizing the 2nd annual Open Education Week.
See you all next week!2 Comments »
After more than two years of hard work, the CC China Mainland 3.0 licenses are ready for use. Congratulations to Chunyan Wang and the entire CC China Mainland team. Thank you to everyone who helped create these licenses, including the community members who participated in the public discussion.
The China Mainland licenses are now available on the CC license chooser. You can learn more about the CC China Mainland team and their work on the CC wiki and at http://creativecommons.net.cn/. The CC China Mainland 3.0 licenses are one of the last 3.0 ports to conclude, with the few other remaining suites expected to be launched prior to publication of the version 4.0 licenses. As announced to affiliates at the CC Global Summit in Warsaw almost a year ago, and reiterated last October and this past February, other than a very few ports then well underway, Creative Commons put the porting process on hold. This has allowed staff and our affiliates to focus more fully on the important work of versioning the license suite. We encourage all affiliates, CC community members and others interested in CC licenses to contribute to the 4.0 discussions currently in progress.1 Comment »
A few days ago the Students for Free Culture (SFC) published a provocative blog post called “Stop the inclusion of proprietary licenses in Creative Commons 4.0.” The article urged Creative Commons to deprecate (meaning “retire” or similar), or otherwise change the way Creative Commons offers licenses containing the NonCommercial and NoDerivatives terms, because they “do not actually contribute to a shared commons.”
The SFC blog post raises important questions about the opportunities and challenges presented by the NC and ND licenses. The NC and ND licenses currently make up four of the six licenses in the CC license suite:
These issues have surfaced frequently over the years, in varied forums and by a variety of stakeholders. CC studied the NC issue from 2008 to 2009, investigating how online populations understand noncommercial use in the context of the NC licenses. The previous year, CC acknowledged the differences between the NC and ND licenses on the one hand, and BY and BY-SA on the other, by announcing placement of the free cultural works seal on the BY and BY-SA deeds as part of an “effort to distinguish among the range of Creative Commons licenses”.
At the same time, CC celebrates successful adoption of the NC and ND licenses, in part because those licenses signal a desire to be more open than the alternative of “all rights reserved.” Moreover, those adopters may eventually migrate to more open licenses once exposed to the benefits that accompany sharing. But this duality opens CC to criticism (if not also confusion) about our identity and mission.
CC committed to addressing this issue most recently with the launch of the 4.0 license process following consultation with the CC affiliates at the 2011 Global Summit in Warsaw. We fully intend to engage in a manner that is inclusive of a wide range of voices and interests. In this way, CC will be best positioned to make informed, thoughtful decisions with the input of our community (defined in the broadest sense), our affiliates, and our adopters (both would-be and existing).
While the specific challenges to NC and ND are not tied to the 4.0 versioning process per se, they’ve been raised in the context of the 4.0 NonCommercial dialogue. The decision not to change the definition of NonCommercial itself in 4.0 now gives way to the broader policy discussion of the role that the NC (and ND) licenses serve, and CC’s stewardship of and communications around those licenses.
As license steward, we are accountable to our stakeholders and global community, and must be transparent about decisions and how we act (or not) on the proposals that have been put on the table. These proposals span a wide range and include more clearly differentiating the licenses aligned with the Definition of Free Cultural Works from those that are not, to providing more education to licensors about the consequences of license choice, to disassociating Creative Commons from the NC and ND licenses altogether, among others.
Here’s what you can expect from CC:
- Please continue to use the CC-Community list (as opposed to the CC license development list) as the venue for discussions about the various options, proposals, and considerations for NC and ND.
- CC will collect, analyze and synthesize ideas and proposals, identify possible policy changes, and communicate potential implications of each. CC will look to these various proposals with the recognition that any policy change cuts across the entire community and organization, including education, data and science, legal, technical, etc. CC will share this information publicly in an easy to understand fashion that includes the relevant historical and contextual framing.
- CC will hold stakeholder consultations that include adopters, CC affiliates, funders, and the broader community. These might take the form of email discussions, community phone calls or IRC chats, etc.
Other suggestions for actions are most welcome.22 Comments »
We are pleased to post for public comment the first discussion draft of version 4.0. This draft is the product of an extended (and unprecedented) requirements gathering period involving input from CC affiliates, community and stakeholders. Thanks to all of you who contributed your valuable time and energy in the policy discussions and drafting sessions in support of this draft.
We crafted this first draft (v4.0d1) mindful of the overarching design goals first articulated at the 2011 Global Summit:
- Producing a 4.0 suite that addresses pressing challenges of important adopters, including those in countries where localized version of CC licenses have not existed, and never may, for any number of reasons;
- Maximizing interoperability, reducing license proliferation and promoting standardization where possible; and
- Longevity and ease of use.
We have also been mindful of supporting those for whom version 3.0 is working well. We will continue efforts to ensure those constituents are aware of our support throughout this process and our eagerness to see those implementations thrive.
We’ve documented and discussed all of these at length, and are excited to hear back from our community on how we can still better accomplish these goals. Here are some highlights of the major policy and drafting choices reflected in the draft, as well issues on which we would especially value your input. Join the discussion!
As anticipated, the license fully licenses database rights on the same terms and conditions as copyright and neighboring rights. We have heard no compelling reason for reversing course on this new policy, and all early feedback suggests this is a welcomed change despite questions about their utility. We have taken care to ensure that the license only applies where permission is needed and the licensor holds those rights.
Other copyright-like rights
Rights beyond copyright and neighboring rights are more complicated, however. We know from our community that other sui generis, copyright-like rights exist and more have been or will be proposed. These include press publisher rights in Germany and catalogue rights in Nordic countries. We remain concerned that these “ancillary rights” (the term coined for use in the draft) could undermine or interfere with expected uses of the licensed work, much as sui generis database rights (and their treatment in 3.0 and its ports) have vexed CC licensors and licensees in Europe for years.
We have taken the approach in this first draft of requiring waiver of those ancillary rights, but only if possible and then only to the extent necessary to allow the work to be used as intended under the license. (These ancillary rights do not include the traditional group of rights long excluded from CC licenses and reserved to licensors, such as trademark, privacy and personality rights, and similar.) We look to our community for input on this important policy choice.
Treatment of moral rights is the other central policy issue addressed in this draft. In 3.0 (unported) and a rough majority of the 3.0 ports, moral rights are generally reserved and unaffected by the license. Yet in other ports, those rights are reserved only where they cannot be waived, suggesting the licensor is waiving those rights where possible, and possibly without limitation. The difference is nuanced but not trivial, and merits consideration.
For purposes of this first draft, we have chosen a middle ground: where waiver is possible, a limited waiver (or non assert) is granted to allow the work to be used as otherwise permitted by the license. For all other purposes (or where a waiver or non assert is not permitted), those rights are fully reserved. This proposal draws heavily from the proposal made for 3.01, and is intended to re-start the discussion for 4.0 where that discussion left off. We look forward to hearing the views of our community on this proposal as well.
Proposals under development
A few policy decisions are still under consideration and will benefit from further public discussion before formal proposals are made. To the extent these decisions involve existing terms in 3.0, we have [bracketed] related provisions in the draft. These include technical protection measures and the definition of NonCommercial. On the former, discussion during the requirements gathering period was robust and productive, but not conclusive on any approach. We plan to use a portion of this public discussion period to curate use cases that will inform a formal proposal. Ideally, these use cases will be based on demonstrated needs (or lack thereof) by licensees for a change from the prohibition in 3.0. As for NonCommercial, more discussion is necessary if any of the current proposals or arguments for changing that definition are to be advanced. Consequently, we have left the definition unchanged in this first draft. On both of these issues, look for prompts from us on the license discussion list and this blog, and please contribute your voice to the discussion.
The draft license has several new features deserving of attention and your feedback. Attribution and marking requirements are now centralized in a single location and clarified for ease of understanding and compliance. The collecting society provision is dramatically simplified, though operating in the same spirit as in 3.0. Overall, we have strived to simplify, better organize, internationalize and enhance usability whenever possible. We welcome your ideas for making this license still better in these respects and more.
We need your input!
One of our highest priorities is to ensure to the extent possible that the 4.0 licenses work seamlessly in as many jurisdictions, and for as many constituents, as possible. Please help us identify provisions that could be improved to operate better in your locale and for the communities of CC adopters you care about.
We have updated the 4.0 wiki with a special page dedicated to this first draft, where you can find the full draft of BY-NC-SA and a detailed chart comparing this draft to version 3.0, among other resources. The primary discussion forum continues to be the license-discuss list. We look forward to hearing from you!No Comments »
The Venezuelan 3.0 license draft is open for public discussion!
We welcome all those who are interested to view the Venezuela BY-NC-SA draft and contribute their comments this month. The next step for the Venezuela team will be to incorporate changes from the public discussion and to prepare the remaining five licenses for a complete Venezuela 3.0 license suite.
A huge thank you to CC’s Venezuelan Affiliate, Centro Nacional de Tecnologías de Información (CNTI) and to the CC Venezuela Team led by John Piñango for all their hard work!
A reminder to all that Creative Commons is wrapping up the 3.0 porting process. There will be a few more public discussion announcements as the last remaining ports enter this stage. The 4.0 development process is well underway. Contributions can be made at http://wiki.creativecommons.org/4.0.No Comments »
Many who follow Creative Commons and its work already know that we have begun working on the next version of licenses, the 4.0 suite. Even while this process has begun, we are finishing a few remaining, important 3.0 ports.
One of these is the Uganda 3.0 license suite, which we are pleased to announce is now open for public discussion. This is particularly noteworthy, as the Ugandan license suite is only the second tailored suite from the Sub-Saharan Africa region to reach the public discussion stage (after South Africa). These new licenses will be useful to many Anglophone African countries that share similar copyright laws and legal histories.
We welcome all those who are interested to view the Uganda BY-NC-SA draft and contribute their comments this month. The next step for the Ugandan team will be to incorporate changes from the public discussion and to prepare the remaining five licenses for a complete Uganda 3.0 license suite.
A huge thank you to CC’s Ugandan Affiliate, the National Book Trust of Uganda (NABOTU) and the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), and the large CC Uganda Team led by Moses Mulumba for all their hard work!No Comments »
Congratulations to Mozilla on the release of the Mozilla Public License 2.0 after a two year versioning process. As Mozilla chair Mitchell Baker writes “Version 2.0 is similar in spirit to the previous versions, but shorter, better, and more compatible with other Free Software and Open Source Licenses.”
MPL 1.1 is one of the more popular free and open source software licenses, most famously used for Mozilla’s own Firefox browser. That MPL 2.0 is now compatible with the GPL, the most popular free and open source software license, is a big step forward for software. Why? Read Make Your Open Source Software GPL-Compatible. Or Else. which we link to in our FAQ explaining why CC licenses shouldn’t be used for software (except CC0). But the principle of lessening incompatibility among licenses is a general one, and applies to licenses used for cultural and scientific works, public sector information, databases, and more, as well as software. Thus one of our highlighted goals for version 4.0 of the CC license suite:
Interoperability – maximize interoperability between CC licenses and other licenses to reduce friction within the commons, promote standards and stem license proliferation;
This is a difficult goal, requiring long-term thinking and collaboration with other license stewards. We have a number of other goals for version 4.0 of the CC license suite as all; we hope the cumulative effect will make for a much better license suite than 3.0. Of course each license (e.g., BY-SA) will also remain similar in spirit. Shorter? We’ll see, balanced with everything else.
As the MPL 2.0 announcement notes, numerous people made valuable contributions to the development of that license. Possibly a first for a software license, even making the license look nice was addressed — something CC thinks is important, and another opportunity for people with different skills to help make licenses more useful. With a far greater diversity of projects using CC licenses, our need for community-wide feedback is even greater. We urge you to get involved in the CC 4.0 process.2 Comments »
We are pleased to announce the beginning of the public discussion process that we expect to result in version 4.0 of the Creative Commons license suite.
Timeliness and Opportunity
The 4.0 discussions held at the 2011 Global Summit confirmed for CC the need to commence the 4.0 discussion process now if we wish to consider issues relevant to important would-be adopters in a timely manner. As explained following legal sessions at the Summit, version 3.0 is working (and will continue to work) really well for many adopters, but the reality is different for others. The treatment of sui generis database rights in the 3.0 licenses continues to be a show-stopper for many, including governments in Europe. This fosters an environment in which custom licenses proliferate, inevitably resulting in silos of incompatibly-licensed content that cannot be maximally shared and remixed. But there exist still other reasons for pursuing 4.0 at this time, including the desire to adjust the licenses to more fully support adoption by intergovernmental organizations and those looking for a more internationally-oriented license suite.
The consequence of not addressing these challenges now is one of opportunity — bridging these differences sooner rather than later (where possible) is always advisable, especially if a more inclusive commons may result. For those fond of version 3.0, rest assured that CC will continue to support existing and future implementations and adopters that rely on those licenses. We will take pains not to create a 4.0 suite that undermines or otherwise presents challenges for those communities.
Process – Discussion Forum – 4.0 Wiki
Importantly, for the first time in CC’s history we begin the versioning process without publishing a draft of the new licenses for review. This is intentional, and it is designed to ensure we hear from the community first. During this 2-3 month requirements gathering period, we urge everyone with a proposal, concern or other input to please put it forth, as our goal is to make the first draft as comprehensive as possible. We will alert the community when the requirements period draws to a close, expected to be mid-February 2012. As in the past, we will publish at least two drafts of the licenses before finalizing, which we anticipate will occur late 2012.
As with past versioning efforts, the central discussion forum will be CC’s license discuss list (subscribe now). New to the 4.0 process, however, is a dedicated group of wiki pages (accessible through the main 4.0 wiki page) where topics and proposals under discussion on that email list will be documented, annotated, and evaluated. We have pre-populated the wiki pages with several of the issues we expect to address during this process, framing key topics to help shape the discussion and including known and anticipated proposals related to each. Among others, we expect healthy debates regarding the treatment of moral rights, the definition of NonCommercial, scope of ShareAlike, treatment of sui generis database rights, and much more. The issues are organized by topic with cross-references to related issues throughout the wiki, but there is also an open forum (the Sandbox page) where you should be encouraged to suggest other topics you feel are important to discuss for version 4.0 (a few placeholders already exist).
For a fuller description of CC’s objectives, the process and expected schedule, visit the 4.0 wiki homepage.
We encourage everyone who is interested in the future of Creative Commons, and open licensing generally, to participate in this process. The more voices that chime in to raise issues and debate the merits of various proposals, the stronger version 4.0 will be, helping us achieve our goal of creating a set of robust licenses that will endure long into the future. If you have an opinion about how to simplify CC’s attribution requirements, for example, or any of the other important issues we plan to examine during the process, please post your suggestion to the CC license discuss list (subscribe today) and add it to our 4.0 wiki. We look forward to hearing from you.
The Version 4.0 process and many other activities are supported by contributions from our community. As a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools, Creative Commons has always relied on the generosity of both individuals and organizations to fund its ongoing operations. Please consider donating to our Annual Campaign, going on now. Thank you.1 Comment »
The Creative Commons 2011 Global Summit was a remarkable success, bringing together CC affiliates, board, staff, alumni, friends and stakeholders from around the world. Among the ~300 attendees was an impressive array of legal experts. Collectively, these experts brought diversity and depth of legal expertise and experience to every facet of the Summit, including knowledge of copyright policy across the government, education, science, culture, and foundation sectors. We designed the Summit’s legal sessions (pdf) to leverage this expertise to discuss our core license suite and the 4.0 license versioning process.
The 3.0 License Suite
The current 3.0 license suite has been in service since 2007, and is faring extraordinarily well for many important adopters. Notably, government adoption and promotion of the licenses for releasing public sector information, content and data has increased in the intervening four years, predominantly leveraging the 3.0 licenses. From the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing Framework, to the explicit acceptance of CC BY by the Australian government as the default license for Australian government materials, to the official websites of heads of state, to numerous open data portals, governments are increasingly looking to and depending on CC licenses as the preferred mechanism for sharing information.
As robust as the 3.0 continues (and will continue) to prove for many adopters, we also have learned that limitations exist for other would-be adopters that inhibit use of our licenses. These limitations set the stage in some instances for the creation of custom licenses that are at best confusing to users and at worst incompatible with some of CC’s licenses. One of the more compelling limitations driving the need for versioning now is the existence of sui generis database rights throughout the European Union, and the treatment of those rights in CC’s 3.0 licenses. But other limitations also exist for important categories of those would-be adopters. For example, although 55+ jurisdictions have ported some version of the CC licenses to their jurisdictions, there remain many others that want to leverage CC licenses but are without necessary resources to undertake the time-intensive process porting demands, and do not wish to use the international (unported) suite however suitable those licenses are for adoption worldwide.
So as well as our 3.0 licenses operate for many, we recognize as license stewards there exists room to improve if we are to avoid risking a fragmentation of the commons. Of course it bears emphasizes here and throughout the versioning process that 3.0 license adopters can continue to count on our stewardship and support for that suite, just as we have done with all prior versioning efforts. We are committed to remaining alert to revisions that might undermine or compromise pre-4.0 license implementations and frameworks, and will now more than ever look to the expertise and dedication of our affiliates to assist us with the process and the subsequent adoption efforts.
Beginning the 4.0 Process
Against this backdrop, Professor Mike Carroll, CC board member and founder, led a discussion around CC’s plans for beginning the versioning of its licenses from the current 3.0 version to 4.0. His remarks provided a detailed explanation of the reasons leading CC to version in 2012, given the limitations for several adopters in the existing suite, the many opportunities at hand, and the current environment of accelerating adoption by governments and others.
CC’s goals and those of our affiliate community for 4.0 are ambitious, and include:
- Internationalization – position our licenses to ensure they are well received, readily understood, and easily adopted worldwide;
- Interoperability – maximize interoperability between CC licenses and other licenses to reduce friction within the commons, promote standards and stem license proliferation;
- Long-lasting — anticipate new and changing adoption opportunities and legal challenges, allowing the new suite of licenses to endure for the foreseeable future; and
- Data/PSI/Science/Education — recognize and address impediments to adoption of CC by governments as well as other important, publicly-minded institutions in these and other critical arenas.
- Supporting Existing Adoption Models and Frameworks – remain mindful of and accommodate the needs of our existing community of adopters leveraging pre-4.0 licenses, including governments but also other important constituencies.
These goals for 4.0 are not arbitrary — rather, we have recognized them as important levers for the CC license suite to support achieving CC’s mission and vision.
Addressing Restrictions Beyond Copyright – sui generis database rights and more
By design, CC licenses are intended to operate as copyright licenses, granting conditional permission to reuse licensed content in ways that would otherwise violate copyright. Once applied, wherever copyright exists to restrict reuse, the CC license conditions are triggered, but not otherwise. Yet what about that category of rights that exist close to, or perhaps even overlap with, copyright, making it difficult to exercise rights granted under CC licenses without additional permissions? This question drew the focus of Summit attendees across several of the legal sessions, particularly in the context of sui generis database rights that exist in the European Union and a few other places as a result of free trade and other agreements. Participants evaluated the practical problems associated with continuing CC’s existing policy of waiving CC license conditions (BY, NC, SA and ND, as applicable) in the 3.0 EU ported licenses where only sui generis database rights are implicated. Among others, Judge Jay Yoon of CC Korea provided a practical perspective on the challenges associated with CC’s current policy.
Sui generis database rights are widely criticized as bad policy, and are unproven in practice to deliver the economic benefits originally promised. While these views were shared by the vast majority of affiliates attending the Summit, many also agreed that a reconsideration of CC’s current policy is appropriate, and that we should shift to licensing those rights in 4.0 on the same terms and conditions as copyright. This change in policy would be pursued in the greater interest of facilitating reuse, meeting the expectations of licensors and users, and growing the commons.
As foreshadowed earlier this year, and now with support from CC’s affiliate network, CC intends to pursue this course in 4.0, absent as-of-yet-unidentified, unacceptable consequences. Importantly, we will take great care to ensure that by licensing these rights where they exist we do not create new or additional obligations where such rights do not exist.
As the steward of our licenses and one of several stewards of the greater commons (including the Free Software Foundation and the Open Knowledge Foundation), we remain mindful and take with utmost seriousness the risks associated with shifting course. We fully intend to (and expect to be held accountable for) strengthening our messaging to policymakers about the dangers of maintaining and expanding these rights within the EU and beyond, and of creating new related rights. We also plan to develop ample education for users to help avoid over-compliance with license conditions in cases where they do not apply.
Further Internationalization of the CC Licenses
Until version 3.0, the CC licenses had been drafted against U.S. copyright law and referred to as the “generic” licenses. At version 3.0, that changed as we made our first attempt to draft a license suite utilizing the language of major international copyright treaties and conventions. While a vast improvement over pre-3.0 versions, there remains ample opportunity to improve to reach those who cannot or would prefer not to port. Thus, one of our major objectives with the process will be to engage with CC’s knowledgeable affiliates around the globe with the intention of crafting a license suite that is another step further removed from its U.S. origins, and more reflective of CC’s status as an international organization with a global community and following. This focal point will impact the versioning process in several respects, and will require the engagement and focus of our affiliate network, other legal experts and the broader community. But it will also impact our work post publication, where the legal expertise of our affiliates will become still more relevant to adoption efforts and implementations.
As part of this discussion at the Summit, Paul Keller of CC Netherlands and Kennisland led a robust conversation on the wisdom of the CC license porting process, and Massimo Travostino of CC Italy and the NEXA Center gave a presentation on the legal and drafting issues involved with creating global licenses.
Defining Noncommercial; License Enforceability
The legal program also included a presentation by Mike Linksvayer on the definition and future of noncommercial and an update from Andres Guadamuz on CC license enforceability. While a decision about retaining or modifying the definition of NC in 4.0, and branding thereof, remains open, any change has a high barrier to demonstrate it would be a net benefit to the commons, given the broad use and acceptance of CC licenses containing the NC term. And CC’s licenses in court continue their strong enforceability record, most recently with a favorable decision in September 2011 that enforced BY-SA in Germany. We plan to take caution when drafting 4.0 to avoid making changes that could compromise this record.
Next steps in the versioning process will be announced shortly to this blog and the CC license discuss list. Subscribe to stay apprised of future announcements about the 4.0 process and how you can contribute.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the license discussions and helped make the Summit a success!No Comments »