Yelabuga Medieval Tower / Ерней / Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Every day, millions of people rely on CC licenses for all manner of sharing, from merely redistributing recordings or using images found on Flickr in presentations, to leveraging massive collaborative works developed on wikis in educational settings. All of this normally happens very quietly and without fuss or exception, so long as simple license conditions are respected and those involved have no other reason for complaint. But the exceptional (rare, that is) conflict proves the simple rule that CC licenses operate as designed and as advertised: disregard the license conditions and copyright is at issue; follow the conditions and copyright is not.
As an example of the former, almost exactly a year ago we announced that the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike (BY-SA) license had been successfully enforced in a case in Germany. There, a far-right political party had used a photo under BY-SA without providing proper attribution to the author and other information required by the license. The photographer sued to enforce the license, and the district court of Berlin agreed and issued an injunction against the user.
As an example of the latter, members of the Wikitravel community (together with many who left long ago to found Wikivoyage) recently announced plans to migrate to a new travel project hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation (meaning a new sibling project alongside Wiktionary, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wikipedia and others). All of these sites use BY-SA, which enables the reuse of content among those sites even when conflicts arise or differences of opinion exist about website administration or community management, for example. Indeed, BY-SA was designed precisely to enable this kind of reuse and repurposing of content. In this particular instance, Internet Brands, which currently runs WikiTravel, sued (PDF) two Wikitravel volunteers for trademark infringement, unfair business practices and conspiracy, and seeks a court order enjoining them generally from doing anything that misleads the public into believing the new website is affiliated with Wikitravel, among other things.
Wikimedia Foundation decided to support those volunteers (who are also Wikimedia volunteers) in their legal defense, and in its blog post explained that it did not think it appropriate for Internet Brands to attempt to intimidate the volunteers from communicating freely on their dissatisfaction with IB’s management of the Wikitravel community. As a result, Wikimedia Foundation filed a separate request for declaratory judgment (PDF) seeking a declaration that, “under the terms of the CC License, [Internet Brands] may not restrict the use, reproduction, sale, or modification of content on the Wikitravel website in any manner other than requiring attribution to the creator of the content and that the content be maintained under the same licensing terms”. In addition, the Foundation argues that “[Internet Brands] has no lawful right, title or interest under the CC License to prevent use of such content created by volunteer users and administrators on the Wikitravel website”.
A few claims in the dispute provide the opportunity to highlight some important features of BY-SA and the other CC licenses. First, all CC 3.0 licenses contain mechanisms that protect licensors wanting to distance themselves from the projects and individuals reusing the CC-licensed content in ways allowed by the license, for any reason whatsoever. Our licenses contain a “no endorsement, no sponsorship” clause that prohibits users from implicitly or explicitly asserting or implying “any connection with, sponsorship or endorsement by” the author, the licensor or others to whom attribution is being provided, either for the licensee herself or the work as reused. Additionally, anyone modifying content (when allowed by the license, as BY-SA does) must clearly label or identify that changes have been made, thereby ensuring modifications are not wrongly associated with the original author. Finally, where the original author or licensor wants to completely disassociate themselves from particular reuses, they have the right to request that all attribution and mention of them be removed, and those reusing the work must do so to the extent practicable. These mechanisms provide effective tools for those concerned about being affiliated with permitted reuses of their works.
Second, an assertion in the dispute relates to whether proper attribution has been provided. While the factual underpinnings of this claim are not provided in the court filings and it does not appear the content is question is being used at this time, it’s worth mention that Creative Commons tools provide a sophisticated yet flexible method for reusers to provide proper attribution. All CC licenses permit attribution to be provided in a manner “reasonable to the medium or means” used by the licensee, and for credit to be provided in a “reasonable manner.” This flexibility facilitates compliance by licensees – minimizing the risk that overly onerous and inflexible attribution requirements are simply disregarded as being too difficult – while at the same ensuring that credit is still provided. This makes it easy for reusers to “do the right thing.”
Whatever the decision the court makes regarding the other claims by Internet Brands against the Wikitravel volunteers, it is clear that under the terms of BY-SA, the Wikitravel content can and should be used on other websites, so long as the users comply with the requirements of the license.4 Comments »
Some of you may have heard about a School of Open, especially if you follow us on Twitter/Identi.ca/Facebook, or if you’re already a part of the P2PU community and follow their blog. Whether you have or not, the School of Open is still very much a concept, and one which we invite you to join in building.
What is School of Open?
The School of Open is a collaboration between Creative Commons and P2PU (Peer 2 Peer University). Its aim is to provide easily digestible educational exercises, resources, and professional development courses that help individuals and institutions learn about and employ open tools, such as the CC licenses.
Why is CC doing this?
Also known as,
Several reasons, including, but not limited to:
- Universal access to and participation in research, education, and culture is made possible by openness, but not enough people know what it means or how to take advantage of it. One solution: peer learning on what “open” means and how it applies to you, powered by mentors and learners like you, self-organized into study groups which themselves leverage existing “open” learning materials. We imagine artists, educators, learners, scientists, archivists, and other creators improving their fields via the use of open tools and materials. Eventually, we’d like to offer certification around “open” skills that result in the spread of openness.
- The CC community has often expressed a need for more community/communications support regarding best practices, explanatory materials, help generally in convincing entities (whether GLAMs, IGOs, governments) to use CC and other open tools. The School of Open is a great place for this.
- Community members have also expressed priorities regarding open advocacy and policy activities. The School of Open could be one venue for open advocates to work together to develop and provide these resources.
- In regards to content that Creative Commons itself will develop: We want to provide better education around CC tools, and we would love community appropriation and adaptation/translation of these resources.
Working with P2PU
School of Open leverages P2PU’s active peer learning platform for developing courses, challenges, and study groups. The P2PU community has been a part of the open education movement since 2009 and promoted openness to the education sector. P2PU ran a number of successful courses on licensing for educators, which will become part of the School of Open. All peer-produced resources on p2pu.org are defaulted under CC BY-SA, the same license as Wikipedia.
School of Open is hosted on the P2PU platform, but courses will also link out to other websites and use a variety of social media tools. We want people to use (open) tools they are already comfortable with. The School of Open is the umbrella under which all of these activities are to take place, a landing spot for those who want get involved but follow different tracks.
You should feel free to develop materials in your native language, especially since we want education around openness to reach all cultures and sectors of society. Depending on interest/demand, the P2PU platform may incorporate additional languages (current user interface already translated into Spanish, Swedish, and Mandarin), or as mentioned above link out to the tools/resources that are being run in your language.
What is CC doing on School of Open now?
Jane Park (that’s me) is transitioning to be Project Manager in education at CC. A major component of my new position is to establish School of Open in collaboration with the CC, P2PU, and related open communities. First thing is to lay a road and skills map for School of Open, and seed the School with a few core resources and courses. Imminent events include:
- Berlin, Germany (July 2012): School of Open month-long workshop as part of the P2PU pop-up office. Jane and P2PU community members will start mapping and developing some key components of the School. An evening hands-on event will be held Thur, 26 July in Berlin that is open to the public. You’re invited (RSVP here). If you’re nearby, please join us!
- Helsinki, Finland (September 2012): OKFestival’s Open Research and Education track includes an “Open Peer Learning: School of Open and School of Data” workshop to engage the OKFN, CC, and European open communities. Will take place Wed afternoon, 19 September before the CC Europe regional meeting to allow CC affiliates to participate.
- Palo Alto, CA, U.S. (October 2012): School of Open and Open Policy Institute convening to get key funders and representatives from the various “open” sectors on board and involved, eg. open policy, open licenses, open GLAM, open data, open science, open education, etc.
- CC affiliate regional meetings (various): discussion and/or workshop on School of Open at these meetings (led by CC Affiliate Coordinator Jessica Coates)
In addition to participating in one of the above events, feel free to:
- Sign up for announcements.
- Check out the very alpha landing page, which also has the sign-up link
- Read more about the origins
- Add to this pad your ideas for the resource, course, or challenge you want to help create
- Register for a P2PU account and create a test challenge, or just poke around
- Email me and let me know what you did, or tell me how you want to get involved: janepark [at] creativecommons [dot] org
This Saturday’s International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy will unveil a months-long collaborative effort — the Data Journalism Handbook, a free, CC BY-SA licensed book to help journalists find and use data for better news reporting.
A joint initiative of the European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation, the collaborative book effort was kicked off at the 2011 Mozilla Festival: Media, Freedom and the Web — which gathered reporters, data journalism practitioners, advocates, and journalism and related organizations from around the globe. Over three days, participants researched, wrote, and edited chapters of the handbook. Contributors include the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC, the Chicago Tribune, Deutsche Welle, the Guardian, the Financial Times, La Nacion, The New York Times, ProPublica, The Washington Post, and many others — including Creative Commons. Creative Commons contributed to various pieces of the “Getting Data” section, including “Using and Sharing Data: the Black Letter, Fine Print, and Reality.” You can preview the outline here.
From the announcement,
Now more than ever, journalists need to know how to work with data. From covering public spending to elections, the Wikileaks cables to the financial crisis – journalists need to know where to find and request key datasets, how to make sense of them, and how to present them to the public.
Jonathan Gray, lead editor for the handbook, says: “The book gives us an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at how data is used by journalists around the world – from big news organisations to citizen reporters. We hope it will serve to inform and inspire a new generation of data journalists to use the information around us to communicate complex and important issues to the public.
You can sign up to get the handbook when it goes live at http://www.datajournalismhandbook.org. The entire handbook will be available for free under CC BY-SA, with an alternative printed version and e-book to be published by O’Reilly Media.2 Comments »
The last few months has seen a growth in open data, particularly from governments and libraries. Among the more recent open data adopters are the Austrian government, Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, Italian Chamber of Deputies, and Harvard Library.
The Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research launched its Open Data Portal under CC BY, publishing the data of Italian schools (such as address, phone number, web site, administrative code), students (number, gender, performance), and teachers (number, gender, retirement, etc.). The Ministry aims to make all of its data eventually available and open for reuse, in order to improve transparency, aid in the understanding of the Italian scholastic system, and promote the creation of new tools and services for students, teachers and families.
Lastly, Harvard Library in the U.S. has released 12 million catalog records into the public domain using the CC0 public domain dedication tool. The move is in accordance with Harvard Library’s Open Metadata Policy. The policy’s FAQ states,
“With the CC0 public domain designation, Harvard waives any copyright and related rights it holds in the metadata. We believe that this will help foster wide use and yield developments that will benefit the library community and the public.”
Harvard’s press release cites additional motivations for opening its data,
John Palfrey, Chair of the DPLA, said, “With this major contribution, developers will be able to start experimenting with building innovative applications that put to use the vital national resource that consists of our local public and research libraries, museums, archives and cultural collections.” He added that he hoped that this would encourage other institutions to make their own collection metadata publicly available.
We are excited that CC tools are being used for open data. For questions related to CC and data, see our FAQ about data, which also links to many more governments, libraries, and organizations that have opened their data.2 Comments »
This is one for all those interested in the use of CC licences by archives, broadcasters or news organisations.
CC Australia has just announced that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia’s largest public broadcaster and news service, has used Wikimedia Commons to release a selection of historically significant television news stories under CC BY-SA.
Much of the material on Wikimedia has been released along with other archival material to celebrate the ABC’s 80th birthday as part of the 80 days that changed our lives website. However, this is just part of a broader Open Archives project by the ABC which has released hundreds of archival objects, encompassing audio, video and photographic material, including many more news and current affairs broadcasts, for reuse under CC licences. All of this builds on the ABC’s social media site, Pool, which has been working with the CC licences for some time and which we’ve written about before.
While other news broadcasters are also making material available under CC licences, what makes this project significant is that the news segments that have been released aren’t obscure archival material or raw footage, but rather polished stories broadcast by some of the ABC’s premier current affairs programs about major events in Australian history. It includes, for example, news reports on the Apollo 11 moon landings, the Azaria Chamberlain case, and the floating of the Australian currency. Not to mention this 1974 footage of Arthur C Clarke predicting the internet, with uncanny accuracy.
The release of the material via Wikimedia Commons will act to encourage its reuse on Wikipedia, like this report on the introduction of World Series Cricket. This in turn will expose it to a far broader audience than the ABC’s own website, and encourage its dissemination further. As Angela Clark, Director of ABC Innovation, says in the press release, “sharing content in this way not only makes more ABC content available to everyone, it also facilitates creativity and the possibility of new audiences for the footage.”
Wikimedia notes that this is “the first collection of broadcast “packaged” footage released to Wikimedia Commons under a free license,” aka CC BY-SA, the same license Wikipedia uses. We’d love to hear about any other similar uses to add to our Case Studies wiki.2 Comments »
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.2 Comments »
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.2 Comments »
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 by Nina Gerlach / CC BY-SAThe 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
PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION RULING
In the preliminary injunction matter
of Ms. …
– Proceedings Representatives:
Christinenstraße 18/19, 10119 Berlin,-
represented by its chairman
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.
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.
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 BresinskyComments Off
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.
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.1 Comment »
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.Comments Off