CC BY-SA

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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Choosing An Open License – the P2PU Experience

Jane Park, May 25th, 2010

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to choosing a CC license. The factors are different for everyone, whether you’re an individual creator or an institution. Usually, the decision is made and the process by which it was made fades into memory or only remains via word of mouth or blog posts. The Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) didn’t want this to happen so they decided to document their process when the community held its first workshop in Berlin. A Guide to CHOOSING AN OPEN LICENCE: The Peer 2 Peer University Experience is the result of their efforts. From the announcement:

P2PU has always been committed to openness in everything we do, from the way we run our activities, to how we licence the materials we produce. However, as many people who have worked in the Open Educational space will attest, choosing the right kind of licence, one that provides both the protections and the freedoms that a project like P2PU may require, can be a tricky process…

As we went through the process, we also realised that our experiences may be useful for other people who are undergoing a similar exercises. So we decided to document what we did, and why, and how it turned out. And today, we are proud to announce the publication of our Guide to Choosing an Open Licence (with a CC licence, of course!) In this document, you’ll find details of every step we took to choose our licence, and a range of opinions from several open educators, lawyers and practitioners which we found invaluable.

The P2PU experience is only one of many, and it is not necessarily the process or the license that everyone should choose. It is simply one example of a process that worked for a diverse community of people with various viewpoints. In the end, they chose CC BY-SA (with the allowance of CC BY for when content is entirely funded by a third party). The document is thorough, objective, helpful, and not very long–so make sure to check it out, especially if you’re wondering how to go about choosing a CC license for your own project. (The document itself is available via CC BY-SA).

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Massively Multiplayer Game Ryzom Released as Free Culture and Free Software

Chris Webber, May 6th, 2010

Ryzom's Windfall
Ryzom's Windfall by Winch Gate / CC BY-SA

Today brings an exciting announcement… Winch Gate Properties Ltd. is releasing Ryzom, an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), with its code under the GNU AGPLv3 and its artistic assets under CC BY-SA.

Games are almost unique in how tightly the medium requires the interweaving of software and culture.  Amongst the many genres of video games that exist today, the MMORPG is probably the most complex and requires the most depth both on the side of the code and content.  Since Ryzom is a mature, well developed project, the scale of this release and its significance for both free culture and free software are both truly incredible.  In the words of Winch Gate’s own press release:

By freeing Ryzom code, Winch Gate is transforming the MMORPG marketplace and is setting a precedent for how gaming software should evolve–in freedom. The source code released totals over two (2) million lines of source code and over 20,000 high quality textures and thousands of 3D objects.

Some components aren’t released yet to the public (notably the music and sounds, although this is apparently in progress) and the world data for the main server isn’t being released to keep the player community from fracturing.  Notably also, the current tools for creating game data require proprietary software, but the Free Software Foundation notes that there are efforts under way to make these actions editable incorporating free software tools such as Blender.  However the components that are already available: the server code, the client code, and the many models, animations, textures and etc, already bring many great community opportunities.  The freeing of these resources opens them for study, modification, and incorporation into other works and games of compatible licenses.  And of course the existence of all these components also means that one can run a fully free-as-in-freedom virtual universe of one’s own.  If you ever dreamed of the carving of virtual worlds, here’s your great chance.

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Wikipedia on new Facebook community pages

Jane Park, April 21st, 2010

Earlier this week, Facebook announced its launch of community pages, pages based on topics of interest to the community that are not maintained by a single author. Single author pages include band or company pages that intend to promote that band or company. Instead, community pages are based on the concept of “shared knowledge” that underlies Wikipedia. Community pages integrate Wikipedia content which retains the Creative Commons license.

For example, check out the community page for Cooking. The page has directly imported CC BY-SA licensed content from the Wikipedia entry on Cooking. All links to Wikipedia are retained, including direct links to edit the information. At the bottom of the page, the source of content is explicitly stated with links to the CC BY-SA license and history of the article:

For more information on how Wikipedia is integrated into community pages, check out Facebook’s FAQ on Community pages and an email from Wikimedia Foundation’s Head of Business Development, Kul Takanao Wadhwa:

Wikipedia articles on Facebook will further increase the reach of free knowledge on the internet. Facebook has hundreds of millions of users, and now more than 70% of their traffic is coming from outside of the US. Our hope is that many Facebook users (if they are not already) will also be inclined to join the large community of Wikipedia contributors. Facebook will follow the free licenses (CC-BY-SA) and help us find more ways people can share knowledge. Furthermore, we will be looking at other ways that both parties can cooperate in the future.

It’s worth noting privacy concerns about they way Facebook has connected community pages to user profiles — these concerns have nothing to do with the reuse of Wikipedia content.

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Teaching Open Source Software

Jane Park, April 7th, 2010

If you’re like me, then you don’t know much about software; if you’re not like me, then you know about software but not much about open source software (OSS). Regardless of which camp you fall into, there’s good news—you can learn about open source software (and help others learn about it) through open educational resources on OSS online. Practical Open Source Software Exploration: How to be Productively Lost, the Open Source Way is teachingopensource.org‘s new textbook to help professors, or anyone for that matter, teach or learn about open source software. “It’s a book that works like an open source software project. In other words: patches welcome.

For those needing something quick and simple to hand out to their classes, educators can contribute to or adapt this textbook (it’s licensed under CC BY-SA so you can share, translate, remix as long as you share alike) or search for other OER online. One K-12 educator developed this resource under CC BY, A K-12 Educator’s Guide to Open Source Software.

Via CC licenses, both resources enable a community of educators and learners to contribute to, edit, and improve them, especially Practical Open Source Software Exploration which invites people to edit the wiki directly. But fostering a community around open resources to keep them up-to-date and relevant isn’t something that just magically happens, which is why Red Hat, a successful business built around OSS, developed this meta-resource: The Open Source Way: Creating and nurturing communities of contributors. The book is available in wiki-form also under CC BY-SA, and “it contains knowledge distilled from years of Red Hat experience, which itself comes from the many years of experience of individual upstream contributors who have worked for Red Hat.” Basically, it’s a guide “for helping people to understand how to and how not to engage with community over projects such as software, content, marketing, art, infrastructure, standards, and so forth.” Of course none of this is set in stone (literally), since what works for some might not for others, but it’s worth taking a look and adapting to your own needs.

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Pratham Books uses CC to make children’s books accessible

Jane Park, April 5th, 2010

Nearly two years ago, I blogged about Pratham Books, a nonprofit children’s book publisher in India. “It was set up to fill a gap in the market for good quality, reasonably priced children’s books in a variety of Indian languages. [Its] mission is to make books affordable for every child in India.” At the time, Pratham Books had released six children’s books under a CC BY-NC-SA license, available on their Scribd page. Since then, they have changed the licenses on those books to Attribution Only (CC BY) and have expanded their offerings to books in the public domain. They have also been blogging extensively and encouraging remix of their CC licensed illustrations on Flickr.

Last month, the CC licenses enabled audio versions of Pratham children’s books for India’s National Association of the Blind. Three audio versions were recorded by Radio Mirchi, two in English and one in Urdu, with more in the works.

I asked Guatam John of Pratham Books why they moved towards more open licensing (from the books’ original CC BY-NC-SA license), and what else he saw for the future of Pratham’s CC licensed books.

“Pratham Books has taken the position that all our content will either be under a CC-BY or CC-BY-SA license because, to us, these are the only two truly open licenses that fit our needs. Radio Mirchi gave us the content with no terms attached but since it was done pro bono, we felt that putting it out under the CC-BY-SA license was the best available choice for both the community, Radio Mirchi and us. Also, the SA component serves to limit commercial use unless it is re-shared, as the license, and our philosophy, mandates.

We continue to release content under open licenses, for example: http://blog.prathambooks.org/2010/03/retell-remix-rejoice-with-chuskit-world.html. And we will continue to do so over time. We have been working with the Connexions project to build a platform for the re-use, remix and distribution of our content too. Our basic goal is a net increase in the available content for children to read from and we think we can catalyse this two ways: Seeding the domain with our content and building a platform to make it easy to re-use and re-purpose content.”

For more on CC licensed OER being adapted to accessible versions, see “U.S. Dept of Ed funds Bookshare to make open textbooks accessible.”

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