This past December, I conducted a series of interviews with people about the value of sharing information and resources in their respective fields of work. The interviews were edited into a podcast for GOOD entitled “We Like to Share” that was made available to people who attended the GOOD December series of events in Los Angeles. Last week, GOOD began posting CC BY-licensed text versions of the interviews on its website and will roll out one a week over the next few months. The first interview is with Chris Hughes, one of the co-founders of Facebook, who was the online strategist for the Barack Obama campaign. Check back at “We Like to Share” each Thursday (starting tomorrow) to read interviews with iconic sharers like Jimmy Wales, Chris Dibona, Frances Pinter, Jesse Dylan, and Curt Smith.
We wanted to give big thanks to Ben, Dean, Elizabeth, Adi, and all the volunteers to helped make the fantastic Open Video Conference happen. Myself, Jane and Alex K were all in attendance on behalf of CC and we figured we’d post a wrap up about our experience at the conference.
At the CC Salon NYC / OVC Pre-party, I was able to record my conversation with Brett Gaylor, the director and creator of RiP! A Remix Manifesto which also screened at OVC. You can download our interview in ogg here, or mp3 here, available under a our Attribution license. Fans of Adam McHeffey will be happy to watch a YouTube video of his performance here. And last but not least, thanks to Erik Möller from the Wikimedia Foundation for guiding us through Wikipedia’s switch to CC-BY-SA.
And of course, we couldn’t forget about Blip.tv for supplying the beer at the salon, For Your Imagination Studios for the space, and Parker and Wesley for helping out with setup and breakdown. We couldn’t have done it without you guys!
As for the OVC itself, we were blown away with the focus and intensity in every panel and session. I repeatedly heard from attendees how nice it was to have 100% of a conference focused on an issue that typically receives only 10% of the attention. One of my favorite presentations was by Chris Blizzard from Mozilla showing of Firefox’s 3.5 Ogg Theora capabilities. Here’s a quick screen cast some of the capabilities Chris showed off at the conference:
On Saturday afternoon I gave a well packed luncheon presentation on Open Video, Metadata, and Creative Commons. You can download the slides from my presentation here.
Here’s a brief summary from Jane and Alex who attended on behalf of ccLearn:
ccLearn also attended the first ever Open Video Conference and had a blast. We think much of the OVC’s success is due to the fact that so much of it was relevant to openness in general that education naturally fit the bill. “Open Video in Education” especially blew us away by the diversity of forward thinking present in the room by both open education advocates and those with little to no experience with open educational resources (OER). Most everyone in the room, including the audience, were in agreement that open video and open technologies are essential to the future of education. The expressed concerns were more about how to convince the higher-ups at their institutions to see the light.
To reiterate, the session was not lacking in representation. Someone remarked how the variety of perspectives yielded a kind of “transformer panel.” From Bjoern Hassler (Cambridge University’s Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies) who set the tone in the beginning by assuming that it is (or should be) apparent to everyone that CC BY is the best license for OER, Tiffiny Cheng (Participatory Culture Foundation) who highlighted Miro, the open source free high definition video player, to UC Berkeley’s webcast.berkeley, the panel was diverse but consistent in their view that open video for education is essential, that CC licenses for that video is a given, and that—to quote an audience member’s words—“You have to do more than just tape lectures.”
Finally, you can also watch most of the main hall sessions on the Livestream feed page for the OVC, though Flash is required. We’re assured these will be available in Theora in short order.
Great job OVC, we’re looking forward to the next one!Comments Off
Night Of The Living Dead: Reanimated is a collaborative project that takes George Romero’s cult horror classic, Night of the Living Dead and very literally reanimates the entire film. Featuring work from a huge number of artists, the project as a whole is being released under a CC BY-NC-ND license with individual artists retaining rights to their contributions. It is well documented that the original film is in the public domain and in that spirit, Mike Schneider – the projects curator – is releasing all of his notes and documentation under a CC BY license so others have a leg-up in making their own iterations of the project.
The project is currently looking for independent venues to screen the film come this fall and is slating a DVD release for the upcoming winter – be sure to contact the project leads for more information. Similarly, they are currently soliciting collaborators for their next project, Unseen Horror.Comments Off
The UK Office of Public Sector Information has published a report on public understanding of copyright, in particular Crown Copyright, the default status of UK government works … and Creative Commons. It contains interesting findings, though I really wish it had included two additional questions.
Among the general (UK) public, 71% agree that government should encourage re-use of content it provides, and only 4% disagree.
The survey asked whether people felt encouraged or discouraged from using content when seeing “copyright” alone or alternatives on a web page:
|Read Terms & Conditions||61%||29%|
Clearly, copyright discourages use. Of the alternative notices tested in this way, only “Read Terms & Conditions” noticeably encourages use. As the presentation notes, this option is likely to be recognized as non-transactional.
Adding a transaction, potentially monetary, as overhead to copy & paste discourages re-use. You’ll occasionally hear us and advocates of open licensing generally talk about reducing “transaction costs” — see, that’s not just blather! One way of looking at public licenses such as CC licenses is that they make re-use non-transactional — they pre-clear at least certain re-uses.
Unfortunately, the survey did not evaluate a CC license notice in the same manner — whether it encourages or discourages use. 87% of the general public did not recognize the license icon associated with the CC Attribution license. It’s hard to say whether this is good or bad — a small proportion recognizes the image — on the other hand we’re talking about the general public and one specific image.
Hopefully this or a similar survey will be repeated in the UK and elsewhere to see how recognition increases, or does not. Furthermore, future surveys should test not mere image recognition. Typically a license icon is paired with a statement such as “This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.” And of course the icon and text are linked to a “human readable” deed explaining the terms, as well as a “machine readable” annotation so that seeing a license notice on a web page isn’t the only vector for discovering the content as re-usable without a transaction.
Even more unfortunately, they survey did not evaluate whether “public domain” encourages or discourages use.
Overall, it is fantastic that this survey was done and published. Clearly the public wants to be encouraged to make use of its own information and a non-transactional alternative to default copyright is necessary to make that encouragement.
It looks like much more work needs to be done to get the message out about Creative Commons and its licences.
Via Open Education News.2 Comments »
Youtils is an online service that enables content owners to track how their online images are being used on sites hosting their content. Right now, the site supports our Creative Commons Attribution license. When you sign up and upload your images as an owner, you can see interesting metrics such as where images and photos are published, the frequency in which they are accessed, and which images are most popular amongst images offered for reuse.
Thanks for adding another useful tool to the commons, Youtils!Comments Off
When it comes to copyright, our youth are too often bombarded with extremes. The entertainment industry giants propagate a skewed perspective by launching anti-copying educational programs, leaving out much of the balanced information necessary to cultivating user’s awareness about her real rights to a resource. This results in students thinking that they can react in only one of two ways: by breaking the law in the face of overbearing restrictions, or by doing absolutely nothing at all with copyrighted works, effectively stifling the learning that comes of creatively engaging with them.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation recognized this problem and went to work on a copyright curriculum that would not only be fair and balanced in perspective, but comprehensive in its scope by encouraging discussion and self-education. From the press release,
“Kids are bombarded with messages that using new technology is illegal… Instead of approaching the issues from a position of fear, Teaching Copyright encourages inquiry and greater understanding. This is a balanced curriculum, asking students to think about their role in the online world and to make informed choices about their behavior.”
ccLearn has taken a look at Teaching Copyright and we commend it. The curriculum is created and vetted by lawyers and promotes a balanced teaching perspective, clearing up much of the misinformation that is current industry propaganda. Like EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry says, “Today’s tech-savvy teens will grow into the artists and innovators of tomorrow.” We need to help them “understand their digital rights and responsibilities in order to create, critique, and comment on their culture. This curriculum fills an educational void, introducing critical questions of digital citizenship into the classroom without misinformation that scares kids from expressing themselves in the modern world.”
The entire curriculum and accompanying resources on the Teaching Copyright website are licensed CC BY, which appropriately encourages students, teachers, and anyone else to adapt it to various educational needs and contexts.2 Comments »
The microblogs have been a-buzz this morning about news of the launch of the official White House Flickr stream featuring photos from Obama’s first 100 days in office. While the photos are licensed under our Attribution license, one could make the very strong argument that they’re actually in the public domain and can be used without attribution (though one would have to be careful and respect the personality rights of the private citizens featured in some of the photos). The photos are likely in the public domain because they are works created by the federal government and not entitled to copyright protection. As you might recall, the Whitehouse.gov’s copyright notice indicates as much.
Why would the White House then choose Attribution for their Flickr stream? Simple, unlike communities like Wikipedia and Thingiverse, Flickr doesn’t allow their photographers to choose Public Domain as an option to release their work to the world. So the Obama team must have picked the next best option: Attribution only.8 Comments »
Braithwaite creates men’s wallets whose PDF designs are CC licensed. Their model really exemplifies the kind of thinking we’re seeing a lot of these days – set the digital versions free and offer the unique physical goods and experience for a price. Braithwaite explains their decision as follows:
As of April 14, 2009, we have used Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License to license our unique wallet designs allowing anyone to distribute, copy, or produce them as long as authorship credit is retained. The right to use our designs does include commercial use.
Since there are no ‘patents’ in regards to the fashion industry, we have decided to blow the lid off with our work by making it freely available to anyone. This also allows our designers to retain the rights to their work. When designers submit their work to us, we recommend that they first license it with Creative Commons to make sure their rights are protected.
You can download the wallet designs on the pages of their respective designers, and orders begin shipping April 22nd.Comments Off
Creative Commons licensing has been highlighted in a couple prominent discussions of “cloud computing” documents recently.
Last week Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz wrote about Sun’s cloud computing strategy:
Second, we announced the API’s and file formats for Sun’s Cloud will all be open, delivered under a Creative Commons License. That means developers can freely stitch our and their cloud services into mass market products, without fear of lock-in or litigation from the emerging proprietary cloud vendors.
Today Microsoft’s Steven Martin wrote critically of a cloud computing “manifesto” that has apparently been developed behind closed doors:
To ensure that the work on such a project is open, transparent and complete, we feel strongly that any “manifesto” should be created, from its inception, through an open mechanism like a Wiki, for public debate and comment, all available through a Creative Commons license. After all, what we are really seeking are ideas that have been broadly developed, meet a test of open, logical review and reflect principles on which the broad community agrees. This would help avoid biases toward one technology over another, and expand the opportunities for innovation.
Of course a document can be at first developed in private, then released in public under a CC license, but Martin is certainly correct that a document that is open in its development and in what can be done with it upon release ought to be published under a CC license, as should the debate and comment surrounding document creation.
The manifesto Martin discusses apparently is still private, though a commenter on his post notes that the Cloud Computing Community Wiki has taken up the challenge to develop its own cloud computing manifesto in public under a CC Attribution-ShareAlike license. Of this, Sam Johnson commented on Martin’s blog:
Here’s hoping that when this consortium reveals itself their work will also be available under a CC-BY-SA license so we can cherry pick the better parts, but in the mean time if you have anything to add then please feel free to do so.
It’s really great that the necessity of releasing specifications, manifestos, and other documents under liberal CC licenses has such broad buy in. Among other things, the practice probably saves lots of money and frustration — big companies don’t have to spend on lawyers to negotiate copyright terms on the documents they collaborate on nor to develop onerous terms that individuals and others must agree to in order to contribute to such documents — to say nothing of the opportunity cost of not pre-clearing documents for translation and inclusion in educational materials.
However, it’s also important to note that applying a liberal CC license to a specification or other computing-related document is only one of a number of steps required to ensure that a computing technology is and remains really open. For example, is the technology patent encumbered? Is there an open source reference implementation? We sketched this out in a bit more detail almost a year ago in a post titled What good is a CC licensed specification?
Consider the above an opportunistic public service announcement rather than a criticism of Sun or Microsoft in these particular instances. Martin’s post is about a manifesto about interoperability — so a CC license may be all that is needed for that document to be open, at least after publication — though perhaps the document should recommend more than that of cloud computing initiatives that develop specifications intended to be interoperable. The rest of Schwartz’s post (actually it is 4th in a series of 4 posts) talks a lot about the free software community and building on open source software, so it is possible Sun is doing everything possible to make the cloud API it proposes open — I just haven’t evaluated whether that is the case.
It’s also worth noting here that not only big companies are thinking about keeping cloud computing open (if you’re annoyed by use of the fuzzy “cloud” term and have managed to read this far, congratulations) — many in the free and open source software community have related concerns and have begun to develop their own manifestos and guidelines (unsurprisingly, available under CC Attribution-ShareAlike), which interestingly address all of the above and other issues of software freedom and free culture.
Now go forth and make the cloud interoperable, open, and free (as in speech), understanding that CC licensing specifications and manifestos is a necessary step, but only one of many steps toward fulfilling your mission.☺
Update 2009-03-30: The Open Cloud Manifesto is now available, and it is indeed published under CC BY-SA.Comments Off
When Whitehouse.gov relaunched itself during Barack Obama’s inauguration it included a clause in its copyright policy mandating that all 3rd party content on the site be released under our Attribution license. Until yesterday, there wasn’t much third party content on the site. However, as of this writing, 13,785 people have submitted 16,561 questions and cast 508,450 votes in the site’s “Open For Questions” section. President Obama will answer some of these questions on Thursday morning in a special online town hall.
While the copyright status of each individual question may not seem significant, all of the questions taken in aggregate are of unquestionable value for current and future generations of journalists, historians and citizens. By placing this corpus under our most permissive license, the Obama Administration has secured that the public will always have access to this unprecedented part of American presidential history.Comments Off