CC BY-SA

Thanks to Creative Commons, OER university will provide free learning with formal academic credit

Cable Green, March 21st, 2012

Creative Commons licenses are enabling an international partnership of accredited universities, colleges and polytechnics to provide free learning opportunities for students worldwide with pathways to formal academic credit. The OER university (OERu) will create a parallel learning universe for learners who cannot afford a tertiary education by offering CC-licensed courses — with the opportunity to acquire formal academic credit at greatly reduced cost when compared to full-tuition studies. The OERu will assemble courses from existing open educational resources (OER) under CC licenses, reducing the overall cost of development. It has adopted the Free Cultural Works approved licenses (CC BY and CC BY-SA) as the default for OERu courses.

The OER Tertiary Education Network, the force behind the OERu, includes an impressive line-up of education providers, including: Athabasca University, BAOU (Gujarat’s open university), SUNY Empire State College, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, NorthTec, Open Polytechnic, Otago Polytechnic, Southern New Hampshire University, Thompson Rivers University, University of Canterbury, University of South Africa, University of Southern Queensland, and the University of Wollongong. BCcampus and the OER Foundation are supporting the network as non-teaching partners. These founding OERu anchor partners are accredited institutions in their respective national, provincial or state jurisdictions, which means that the OERu will be able to provide formal academic credit towards credible degrees in Africa, Asia, Oceania and North America — all using CC-licensed courses. Senior executives of the network have facilitated agile and rapid progress targeting the formal launch of the OERu operations in 2013. (More on that here.)

The OERu anchor partners have shortlisted eight university- and college-level courses to be developed as prototypes for refining the OERu delivery system:

  • College Composition
  • Art Appreciation and Techniques
  • Regional relations in Asia and the Pacific
  • A Mathematical Journey
  • General and Applied Psychology
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Why Sustainable Practice
  • Introduction to Management

Collectively, these courses — all first year courses except for Critical Reasoning, which is a 2nd year-level course in Philosophy — will carry credit towards a Bachelor of General Studies, the inaugural credential selected at the OERu meeting in November 2011. Two of the courses will be based on existing course materials under CC BY from U.S. Washington State’s Open Course Library project and the Saylor Foundation.

The OER Foundation has been trailing technologies and delivery approaches of large OER courses to help inform the design and development of these prototype courses. One such course is Open Content Licensing for Educators, which was designed as a free online workshop for educators and learners to learn more about OER, copyright, and CC licenses. The course materials, also under CC BY, were developed collaboratively by volunteers from the OER Foundation, WikiEducator, the OpenCourseWare Consortium and Creative Commons, with funding support from UNESCO. In January, Open Content Licensing for Educators was conducted online with 1,067 participants from 90 different countries — demonstrating the success of a large, collaborative, and high quality OER project. The OERu model will build on successes such as these, and demonstrate how CC licenses can maximize the return on investment in education at a massive scale.

Kudos to Wayne Mackintosh and all of his colleagues at OERu. Well done!

To learn more, visit WikiEducator.

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Sharing and remixing class notes on GoodSemester under Creative Commons

Cable Green, March 19th, 2012

GoodSemester, a new learning platform geared toward academic productivity, has just announced Creative Commons note sharing, copying and remixing. GoodSemester allows learners to find, copy and modify CC-licensed notes throughout its learning service, then integrate these notes directly into their classes. The default license for all new notes created on GoodSemester is CC BY-SA.

While GoodSemester has made CC BY-SA the default, users can still opt out of sharing their notes. To encourage open sharing, GoodSemester has made sure there are noticeable benefits to keeping notes under the CC license. Restricted notes cannot be copied, shared or remixed. Learners who do share their notes have the opportunity to join a vibrant community of active learners and creators, and to contribute to a growing commons of open educational resources.

In addition, GoodSemester is releasing its own materials under the same CC BY-SA license, as noted in the footer of their website:

All text and images by GoodSemester are released under an open license. We love open things. To show our support for the open learning movement, all text and images on GoodSemester created by GoodSemester are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

This is just another great example of a company integrating CC licenses into its platform to increase the functionality of its tools and the value to its community.

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Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license enforced in Germany

Mike Linksvayer, September 15th, 2011

The Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license (BY-SA) has been enforced by a judicial injunction in Germany. Legal analysis will be added to our case law database in the coming days. Till Jaeger reported the case (in German; English machine translation) at ifrOSS (Institut für Rechtsfragen der Freien und Open Source Software), where one may also find a PDF scan of the ruling. John Hendrik Weitzmann of CC Germany has provided an English translation of the ruling, below.

Thilo Sarrazin am 3. Juli 2009
Thilo Sarrazin am 3. Juli 2009 by Nina Gerlach / CC BY-SA
The photo at left was used without providing attribution to the photographer and without providing notice of the license used, both core requirements of all CC licenses. This is an exciting ruling for CC, as the attribution and notice requirements are very clearly stated and upheld.

Additionally, we have been permitted to reveal that the defendant was a far-right party. This is somewhat ironic, given that an occasional objection to using a CC license is that one’s work could be exploited by Nazis (or other extremely objectionable parties). Of course the defendants could have correctly complied with the license (if they were smart and diligent enough), but then CC licenses contain further protections for reputation and integrity.

The photographer and plaintiff, Nina Gerlach, is an active editor of German Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects (all of which use BY-SA as their default license), and a member of Wikimedia Germany, where her spouse, Mathias Schindler is employed. The case was handled by Till Jaeger (who wrote about the case at ifrOSS, see above), a partner at the law firm JBB and a widely recognized expert in open licenses.

Gerlach said “I wanted to support the concept of free licenses that give permission for everybody to use content but come with a set of requirements, such as attribution.” She will donate any damages awarded by the court if there is money left in the end, and has already donated 100 euro to a project that created public domain and freely licensed songbooks for kindergartens.

Creative Commons is once again pleased that among millions of uses of its licenses, the courts are rarely involved — the licenses allow licensors and licensees to easily avoid transaction costs, let alone the costs of court. We are equally pleased that when a case involving a CC license is taken to court, whether to uphold the rights of the licensor (as in this case) or the licensee, that courts have held that the licenses are enforceable copyright licenses as one would expect.

English translation of ruling

Key

ZPO is the civil proceedings act,
UrhG is the Urheberrechtsgesetz (copyright act),
BGH is the Federal Supreme Court,
KG is the Berlin Supreme Court,
GRUR, NJW and WRP are journals,
to “credibly show” something is roughly to establish prima facie evidence.

Translation and key provided by John Hendrik Weitzmann

PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION RULING

In the preliminary injunction matter

of Ms. …
Applicant,

- Proceedings Representatives:
JBB Lawyers,
Christinenstraße 18/19, 10119 Berlin,-

against

the …
represented by its chairman
Defendant,

it is commanded by way of preliminary injunction, due to special exigency without oral hearing, according to s. 935 ff., 91 ZPO:

1. The Defendant is, in order to avoid a penalty to be ordained by the Court for every case of non-compliance of up to 250.000,00 EUR, alternatively arrest for disobedience to court orders, or an arrest of up to six months, the latter to be executed in the person of the party chairman, prohibited, to reproduce and/or make publicly available the following photo without naming the creator and adding the license text or its full internet address corresponding to the license terms of the Creative Commons license “Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported”:

[photo of Thilo Sarrazin]

2. The Defendant has to bear the costs of the proceedings.

3. The proceedings value is set to 4.000,00 EUR.

Rationale:

I.
The Applicant has credibly shown the following:

She has created the photo mentioned in the decision and released it for further use under the terms of the so-called Creative Commons license “Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported”. According to these terms, in case of use the creator must be named and there must be either a copy of the license text attached or the full internet address in the form of the Uniform Resource Identifier must be provided. The Defendant published the photo on its website under the address www.die-rechte.info without giving the aforementioned information. The applicant first took notice of the publication on September 9th 2010.

II.
This triggers the urgent entitlement to injunctive relief according to s. 97 ss. 1 in combination with s. 19a UrhG.

The photo enjoys copyright protection as a photographic work in the meaning of s. 2 ss. 1 No. 5 UrhG or as a photograph in the meaning of s. 72 UrhG. As the Defendant put the photo on its website while in breach of the aforementioned license terms, this constituted a use not covered by the permission of the Applicant and thus an unlawful use in the meaning of s. 97 ss. 1 UrhG.

The risk of recurrent infringement as a prerequisite for the entitlement follows from the occurrence of the breach; the risk could have been dispelled only by a declaration under penalty of law to cease and desist (BGH GRUR 1985, 155, 156 = NJW 1985, 191, 191 – Penalty up to … ! – mentioning further sources).

A preliminary ruling seems also “necessary” in the meaning of s. 940 ZPO, because the Applicant cannot be expected to tolerate a possible further infringement of her rights until main proceedings are run.

The set value of the proceedings equals two thirds of the value of the main proceedings (see KG WRP 2005, 368, 369).

Dr. Scholz Klinger von Bresinsky

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Support for Creative Commons grows in Russia

Jane Park, July 11th, 2011

Since Creative Commons Russia was initiated in March of last year, our Russian Affiliates have been working to make the CC licenses compatible with Russian law. Here, we give an overview of CC progress in Russia to date, while also celebrating the recent contribution of valued wartime images to Wikimedia Commons by Russian news agency RIA Novosti as part of the “Eternal Values” Project.

RIAN_archive_+662733_Recruits_leave_for_front_during_mobilization.jpg
Recruits leaving for the front during mobilization, Moscow. by RIA Novosti archive, image #662733 / Anatoliy Garanin / CC BY-SA 3.0

Currently, certain provisions of Part IV of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation do not permit authors to voluntarily grant copyright permissions. Thanks to work by CC Russia, the Council on Codification and Improvement of the Civil Legislation under the President of the Russian Federation is considering proposed revisions to Part IV of the Civil Code, which will facilitate introduction and use of CC licenses in Russia.

Our Affiliates in Russia believe that use of CC licenses will positively influence the socioeconomic and innovative development of the country, stimulating growth of open content as well as broadening public access to it. The proposed amendments are strongly supported by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who gave instructions to prepare the legislative amendments to the Civil Code late last year. Medvedev wants the existing framework to be adjusted to reflect not only the interests of copyright owners, but also the needs of the users.

It is important to note, however, that the matter is less complicated for Russian creators who want to share their works with the rest of the world. Syb Groeneveld, a past CC volunteer in Russia notes, “Every CC license is intended to be effective on a worldwide basis, whether “ported” to a specific jurisdiction or not… CC’s Unported licenses were created using standard terms from the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and other international treaties related to copyright and intellectual property… If you are the author and the copyright holder of a specific work, it is safe to publish something under the unported CC license. In fact, this is what many Russian musicians like Timur Izhbulatov and Melnar Tilromen are already doing at websites like www.Jamendo.com.”

The foremost example of a Russian creator sharing his works is perhaps the Russian President himself; his presidential website, www.kremlin.ru, is licensed under the CC Attribution 3.0 Unported license in an official letter to Wikipedia.

President Medvedev also uploaded the above 100th image of the “Eternal Values” project to Wikimedia Commons under the CC BY-SA license. The “Eternal Values” project celebrates the 70th anniversary of RIA Novosti by releasing the most valued images from its archives to the public.

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Commonwealth of Learning adopts CC BY-SA as part of new OER policy

Jane Park, June 14th, 2011

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL), an intergovernmental organization that “helps governments and institutions to expand the scope, scale and quality of learning,” has defined a new policy on open educational resources (OER). In addition to recognizing the importance of OER for teaching, learning, and collaboration among institutions and governments, the Commonwealth of Learning states that it will “encourage and support governments and institutions to establish supportive policy frameworks to introduce practices relating to OER.”

The new policy specifies that COL will “release its own materials under the most feasible open licenses including the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license.” The CC BY-SA license is currently used for more than 17 million Wikipedia articles in 270 languages, not to mention a plethora of other Wikimedia Foundation projects. Furthermore the CC BY license is compatible with CC BY-SA, and CC BY is used by OER platforms like Connexions and Curriki.org.

We are thrilled at this new development by COL, one of the leading intergovernmental organizations in education! Read the full policy here, and learn more about how IGOs benefit by adopting Creative Commons licenses for their own works.

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Learn how to get your Creative Commons project funded

Jane Park, March 1st, 2011

If you are serious about a Creative Commons project idea, you may be interested in the free, online course, “Getting your CC project funded,” set to run in April. The course consists of a series of workshops and seminars that will take you through the steps from an initial idea to having a finished project proposal for submission, including assistance in identifying and finding funding bodies and collaborations relevant for your project. You provide the idea; the course provides the guidance to turn it into a proposal that can’t be refused.

The course will be run by Jonas Öberg from the Nordic CC network, a lecturer at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden with extensive grant writing and reviewing experience with the European Commission and several Nordic cultural foundations. “Getting your CC project funded” will run on the Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) in April, and we especially invite CC Affiliates and friends to participate!

As with all P2PU courses, the course is free to take. Though only 15 active participants will be accepted into the course, the entire course, material, and other information, including the proposals which you write in the course, will be open for anyone to follow on the P2PU platform under the CC BY-SA license.

You can read more at http://p2pu.org/general/getting-your-cc-project-funded. You may start brainstorming at anytime, but official sign-up opens March 31.

If you already have experience writing and reviewing funding proposals… you may be interested in joining the team of expert external reviewers. More info on the current team is available on our wiki. If interested, please contact Jonas directly or janepark [at] creativecommons [dot] org. Though the course itself will be run in English, project proposals may be written and reviewed in English, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Russian and Bulgarian. More languages may be added depending on the final team of reviewers.

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Sintel, 4k edition (and why it’s useful)

Chris Webber, February 19th, 2011


A frame of Sintel by the Blender Institute / CC BY

This week brings us another open movie milestone: a 4k release of Sintel! This super-high definition version (4096 x 1744 pixels) is being hosted by the fine people at xiph.org. As mentioned in the article, there will be some screenings, though you can also download the files yourself. Be aware however that the files are very large. From the article:

The original 4k version (8 bits per color, tif) now is available via the The Xiph.Org Foundation download site too, which is 160 GB of data! We are currently also uploading the 16 bits per color files, 650 GB of data, and which will be finished around 25 February.

We’ve done an interview with Ton Roosendaal, Sintel’s producer and also have mentioned previous blender institute high resolution releases. But perhaps it’s worth answering the question… why is this useful? Besides possibly doing a super-high-resolution screening, maybe marveling at some individual frames, why might this matter?

So I asked Ton Roosendaal what he thought the 4k release might be useful for. He replied with:

[Our previous film] Big Buck Bunny has become kind of a reference for video devices worldwide. Here’s a good example, an e-ink display playing video. I just got this link today, but I get these all the time.

The (film) industry is incredibly protective, so for a lot of researchers our films are very useful. Like the Xiph.Org Foundation, they support OGG and open codecs; for codec developers, having access to the uncompressed HDR (3×16 bits color) is really cool. That’s how Pixar and Disney manage to make superior DVDs or BluRay encodings.

The film industry will move to 4k as well, and having free / openness here is relevant. Most films nowadays are also shot in 4k digital cameras; 2k or HD is for home usage. In a couple of years it will be 8k even. This is going to be pushed a lot by the industry, like stereoscopic film is. So, instead of having Creative Commons as an expression of “democratic” mass media, we use it for innovation and research first. It’s a small but relevant target audience (who are also very happy users of Creative Commons).

Aside from the usefulness question, I wanted to also ask Ton about the difficulty level of this release. I asked: “<troll>Isn’t rendering in 4k just upping the resolution setting in the render panel and walking away from your renderfarm for a while, perhaps to get a lot of coffee?</troll>”

I also would like to write an article about the 4k experience [editor's note: see also Pablo Vazquez's post on the challenges of rendering in 4k]. For some weird reasons, moving from ‘video’ to HD seems to be easier than from HD to 4k. Computers, networks, hard drives etc work fine for HD work. We can play HD realtime, and any computer user expects such.

The other strange thing is that detail level becomes totally intimidating. You watch an HD screen as a TV still. When looking at a 4k picture you watch it more like in a theater; your eyes wander around the picture to check details. This is why ‘film’ for cinemas usually is much richer and more detailed than TV shows.

But the troll could be right; in theory you just set the button to “4k” and let it render. Our artists didn’t do it, they produced the detail levels that justify 4k screening as well. They may be not optimal, as we only had a couple of 4k screenings to view our work.

So there you have it. The Sintel 4k release shows hope for helping open video codecs, device manufacturers, and the technology industry in general. And, of course, a beautiful sight to see, all under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported. Congratulations to the Sintel team on this release!

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P2PU launches 3rd round of courses, with “Copyright for Educators”

Jane Park, August 26th, 2010

The Peer 2 Peer University, more commonly known now as P2PU by a growing community of self-learners, educators, journalists, and web developers, launches its third round of courses today, opening sign-ups for “courses dealing in subject areas ranging from Collaborative Lesson Planning to Manifestations of Human Trafficking.”

P2PU is simultaneously launching its School of Webcraft, which is a collaboration with the Mozilla Foundation and “is a powerful new way to learn open, standards based web development in a collaborative environment. School of Webcraft courses include Beginning Python Webservices and HTML5.”

In addition, Creative Commons Counsel Lila Bailey is co-facilitating the Copyright for Educators course this round, which will focus on United States law. The course is “for educators who want to learn about copyright, open content material and licensing” and “is taught around practical case studies faced by teachers when using copyright material in their day to day teaching and educational instruction.” For more information, see the course page.

Sign-ups for all other courses are available at http://p2pu.org/course/list. The deadline to sign up is September 8, and courses will run until October 27th. All courses are free to take and openly licensed under CC BY-SA. For more information, see the full announcement, but stay tuned for more courses!

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Mozilla and the P2PU School of Webcraft

Jane Park, June 29th, 2010

In September, Mozilla and P2PU are launching the P2PU School of Webcraft, and they invite you to participate. The partnership leverages Mozilla’s experience and the P2PU community to create a social learning environment for those who want to “learn the craft of open and standards-based web development.” The P2PU School of Webcraft is a set of courses centered on the open web, including “Introduction to HTML5″ and “Building Social with the Open Web.” From the call for proposals,

Following on the delivery model developed by P2PU, course organizers volunteer to take existing open learning materials or develop their own content and lead a group of peers through 6 weeks of online classes. Courses focus on project based learning in a peer environment and are proposed, created and led by members of the web development community – so the content will always be up to date with the latest technologies.

We’d love for you to become a part of this project and until July 18 we’re inviting course proposals for P2PU School of Webcraft. We’ve made it really easy to get started, just fill out the proposal form, it takes less than 5 minutes!

The school is completely free and open, with all P2PU produced material licensed under CC BY-SA—which means anyone can build on the courses and run their own. But anyone can also get involved with P2PU by proposing a course or participating in one, or just learning more. You can also check out the School of Webcraft in 103 seconds.

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Joi Ito to run Digital Journalism course on P2PU

Jane Park, May 28th, 2010

Joi Ito is teaching his Digital Journalism course again at Keio University this summer, but this time with a twist. In addition to the traditional semester, where Joi will be teaching within the university, the course will also have an open and online component where anyone may apply to join via the Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU). Digital Journalism 2010 will run for seven weeks with seven physical meetings which will be webcast and allow for online participation. Additionally, asynchronous communications will continue between classes on mailing lists, the class blog, wiki, and the P2PU platform.

Digital Journalism 2010 is “an introduction to online journalism, citizen media and the use of social networks for journalism and collective action. Participants will work on self defined projects either as individuals or in groups using any combination of media types including video, photographs, illustrations and text as well as online tools such as blogs, wikis, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and any other reasonable tool the participant or team would like to use.” In addition to learning about how the journalism landscape is rapidly changing, participants will learn to research and create news online by publishing stories of their own in teams. These stories will be presented to the class (and the world).

The course is a work in progress, so the community can contribute by suggesting readings, activities, and more. P2PU is looking for course organizers to facilitate the P2PU end of things. If interested, please contact thepeople [at] p2pu.org. To participate in the course remotely via P2PU, you can sign up to apply at www.p2pu.org/journalism. Sign-up is open now and the course will begin on Friday, 4 June.

Joi teaches Digital Journalism annually as part of the Keio Graduate School of Media Design. He has contributed pieces to the New York Times, the Asian Wall Street Journal, and Wired. He is also a prolific photographer and if you didn’t already know, the CEO of Creative Commons.

The Peer 2 Peer University is “a grassroots education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls.” In addition to leveraging existing OER, P2PU licenses all of its own courses under CC BY-SA. For more on why P2PU chose this license, visit http://p2pu.org/license.

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