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
Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been keeping a close eye on the number of CC licensed photos of Flickr. Our calculations now show that Flickr has surpassed 100 million CC licensed photos sometime during the day on Saturday, March 21st, 2009. As of Monday, we’re calculating the total number of CC licensed photos at 100,191,085.*
These photos have been used in hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia articles, blog posts, and even mainstream press pieces; all examples of new works that might not otherwise been created without our standardized public licenses. Flickr’s integration of CC licenses was one of the first and best; not only do they allow users to specify licenses per-photo, but they offer an incredible CC discovery page which breaks down searches for CC licensed materials by license. This means that you can look for all the photos of New York City licensed under Attribution and sorted by interestingness, to give an example.
As part of our celebration of Flickr passing this historic milestone, we are offering a dozen copies of Creative Commons CEO Joi Ito’s Free Souls book at our $100 donation level. Naturally, all of Joi’s photos are not only licensed under our most permissive Attribution license, but they’re also available on Flickr for download. By donating to Creative Commons today you can support the work that we do and receive one of the 1,024 copies of Joi’s limited edition book.
*We are linking to CSV files generated per-day based a simple scrape of Flickr’s CC portal. To generate the total number of licensed photos, we SUM()‘d the 2nd column of the CSV file. March 21st yielded approximately 99 million and March 22nd yielded over 100 million, hence our estimate that 100 million was passed sometime during the day on Saturday.2 Comments »
Recovery.gov is the site that provides US citizens with the the ability to monitor the progress of the country’s recovery via the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As with Whitehouse.gov, the Obama administration is presciently using our Attribution license 3.0 for all third party content on the site, while all of the original content site created by the federal government remains unrestricted by copyright and therefore in the public domain.Comments Off
Two Fists One Heart is a new family drama film from Australia, centered on the story of a young boxer. The film was released widely yesterday in theaters across Australia and to help promote the film, the producers have created a stand-alone site, Cut Your Own Scene, where fans can download rushes of the film for free under a CC BY license. This means that footage from the film can be put to any use as long as the source is acknowledged and there is a link back to the official movie page.
“It’s not often you get the ear of major film players and personally I have always thought creative commons is an underutilized concept in the film industry. I see this as an opportunity to prove in some way that the web and it’s culture of sharing and share-alike is a good thing for creative industries
the producer mentioned that they had a lot of great footage they weren’t able to use in the film – more than usual – and I suggested to him we not let it be wasted and we release it for anyone to mashup and play with. To me, the thought of footage being wasted and unused when someone could make something really creative with it was a real shame. There are so many people out there cutting great videos and posting them on YouTube, but the biggest barrier is often having the footage to play with. This way we could give them something to use – and the footage is what professional editors deal with – and promote the film at the same time – it was a win-win.”
As further incentive to use the footage, the five best scenes will be posted on the Two Fists One Heart promotional site. These scenes will be selected by Bill Russo, head of Editing at the AFTRS and the creative team from Two Fists One Heart. Russo will also personally give the winners editing advice in regards to both their specific clips and their careers in general.Comments Off