CC10: Day 4

Jessica Coates, December 10th, 2012

CC 10th Anniversary / Creative Commons Philippines / CC BY

On day 3 of our CC10 celebrations we focus on film.

David Evan Harris tells us about Global Lives, a collective of filmmakers worldwide building an open source video library of human experience.

We talk to Blake Whitman, VP of Creative Development at one of the world’s largest video sharing platforms, Vimeo, about why Creative Commons is an essential tool for creation in the digital age.

Finally, we delve into Blendernation, the free open source 3D animation community built around the Blender platform, with‘s Big Buck Bunny Loves CC.

Comments Off on CC10: Day 4

#cc10 Featured Content: Global Lives Project

Elliot Harmon, December 9th, 2012

David Evan Harris

David Evan Harris / Joel Young / CC BY-SA

Video artist and activist David Evan Harris sees sharing as a key component of his work. “The fact that we use Creative Commons licenses to guarantee that our work is in the commons is an essential ingredient in the production itself,” he told me. “It communicates something to our volunteers and people who work with us. It communicates that it isn’t about enriching one person, and it’s not about producing a proprietary work that only a few people will see.”

David is the founder and executive director of the Global Lives project, an organization that produces videos documenting the lives of people around the world. The project’s first undertaking consists of ten videos – each following one person for 24 hours, with no cuts. Global Lives presents the videos in the form of gallery exhibitions, with the ten videos playing simultaneously. In essence, the visitor is creating her own remix of all ten videos by choosing what to watch as she wanders through the exhibition (if you were at the CC10 celebration in San Francisco, you got a taste of the exhibition on the fourth floor).

But Global Lives isn’t just a gallery exhibition: the videos are available online as complete, uncompressed downloads. Nor is it just art. Lately, in fact, David’s been most interested in its potential in the education world.

Global Lives

Global Lives / David Kindler / CC BY

Part of what’s striking about Global Lives is the possibilities for use that go far beyond its original context. Global Lives videos have been used by educators all around the world, some of whom have even gone so far as to create their own cuts of Global Lives videos to demonstrate certain ideas to their students – a video of all ten subjects eating breakfast, for example, or coming home from work. Peace Corps volunteers have used Global Lives videos as training before leaving on assignments. “One of our translators is a Malawian who lives in the UK, and she shows the Malawi video to her daughter as a bedtime story, so her daughter can get an idea of what it would be like to grow up in Malawi.”

Talking with David, his excitement about these uses is contagious. He showed me a mock up of a site redesign that he and his team are working on. In the new Global Lives site, users will be able to watch multiple videos at once, leave timestamped comments, and even create and share their own mixes of Global Lives content. It’s amazing to see so many possibilities for sharing and reuse grow out of a simple idea – that watching how people live helps you understand them.

Global Lives is now gearing up for a second set of videos – this one called Lives in Transit and focusing on the lives of people who work in transportation – and asking for donations through Kickstarter.

Comments Off on #cc10 Featured Content: Global Lives Project

#cc10 Featured Platform: Vimeo

Elliot Harmon, December 9th, 2012

In honor of Creative Commons’ tenth anniversary, we’re profiling several media platforms with CC integration. Vimeo has supported CC licensing since 2010, and has accumulated over two million CC-licensed videos. When I spoke with VP of creative development Blake Whitman, he told me that Vimeo’s staff and community had been talking about CC for years prior. “We knew that this would be perfect for the type of community that Vimeo has. There’s a lot of remixing going on, and it made a lot of sense for us to incorporate it. We thought it was a great web standard that needed to be solidified in our space.”

I also asked Blake to recommend some of his favorite CC-licensed videos on Vimeo. Two of those are embedded in this interview; the rest are listed below.

Tell me more about how CC licensing fits into the Vimeo community.

The beginnings of Vimeo were really about sharing and collaboration, doing projects together, and sharing life’s moments. It’s evolved over time – as we added HD and other featured that attract higher-end creators – but that ethos has always stayed the same. We’ve always given users the option to make their vidoes available for download. It’s important that when people make their content available for download, there’s a clear way for the creator to indicate how they’d like that content to be used.

For a long time, we didn’t have that. You could make it explicit in the description that there was a CC license on it, but since it wasn’t built into Vimeo, it wasn’t being used consistently. When people download videos, they should know what the rights are that the creators are intending.

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

How much did you publicize the CC implementation? Were there any hiccups or pushback from the community?

There’s always a period of learning for anything new, but we work very hard to make it clear. It’s crucial that people understand how the licenses work – and not just for videos. I want users to understand CC licensing on a deeper level, as a part of sharing on the Internet at large.

Do you think that Creative Commons has changed the Vimeo community’s attitudes about sharing?

It’s always changing and evolving, as smaller communities within Vimeo expand and contract and branch out.

People are open willing to share, and CC is a model that makes sense. Look how many people are allowing their content to be used for commercial purposes. And that’s pretty amazing, that people are that open to allow for people to make money from the stuff that they create, as long as they’re cited. That’s great, and I think it’s really important.

Everything is a Remix Part 1 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Blake’s favorite CC-licensed videos on Vimeo:

Comments Off on #cc10 Featured Platform: Vimeo

CC10: Day 3

Elliot Harmon, December 9th, 2012

cc10 / Webbstjärnan.SE / CC BY

Welcome to Day 3 of #cc10. Today, Commoners are celebrating in Mexico City and Jakarta, and here on the Creative Commons blog, we’re celebrating Creative Commons in science.

In his guest blog post, John Wilbanks applauds sharing where you might not expect it, explaining how the world’s largest pharmaceutical company used open data sharing to make a huge step in malaria research.

Today’s featured platform is the Public Library of Science (PLOS). PLOS CEO Peter Jerram explains how open licensing is key to the sharing and development of scientific knowledge.

Finally, a trip to the origins of CC and an amazing example of the possibilities of international sharing: it’s the Kazakh translation of Larry Lessig’s Free Culture.

Comments Off on CC10: Day 3

#cc10 Featured Platform: Public Library of Science

Elliot Harmon, December 9th, 2012

Throughout the #cc10 celebrations, we’re profiling online platforms with Creative Commons integration. Today, Public Library of Science (PLOS) CEO Peter Jerram discusses the role that PLOS and Creative Commons play in the open access movement.

Shared Facts and Open Access: A PLOS Salute to Creative Commons

By Peter Jerram

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” This quote, attributed to the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, is usually applied in the political arena as a warning to partisans about allowing ideology to trump more objective, quantitative realities – things like a country’s GNP, its unemployment rate or balance of trade. Without a foundation for dialogue built on the same basic facts, self-governance falters, he warned.

Moynihan’s core idea works equally well to describe the realities facing those of us involved in scientific discovery and publishing where the sheer size of today’s biomedical and environmental challenges makes collaborative research based on a shared set of facts an absolute necessity. Indeed it is not enough to just share those facts, we must be also able to share, and collaborate over ideas, claims, and arguments, for science to function effectively.

Roughly a decade ago, the founders of PLOS, Pat Brown, Harold Varmus, and Michael Eisen, recognized the importance of unrestricted and immediate access to the scholarly record in biology, medicine and related fields. That’s why, from the onset of its publishing efforts, PLOS applied the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) to all its articles. Under this license, authors retain ownership of copyright, and allow anyone to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and copy the content as long as the original authors and sources are cited. No permission is required from the authors or from PLOS for subsequent researchers to take these findings, add a novel element, and move to the next critical stage of discovery. CC BY is a revolutionary legal tool that continues to enable the Open Access movement to accelerate scientific discovery on every continent. This rapid growth is reflected by the fact that PLOS ONE is now the world’s largest online journal.

We believe that this movement from limited access to an era of open science, fueled by the exponential growth of the internet, has as great a potential for advancing the tools and capabilities of our research as did the determination of the structure of the DNA molecule by Francis Crick and James D. Watson in 1953. Indeed, without openness and data sharing across public and private sector labs and national borders, there would have been no Human Genome Project.

The advent of Open Access set the stage for the development of new methods for designing clinical trials and advancing personalized medicine through endeavors such as the European Union co-funded ACGT (Advancing Clinico-Genomic Clinical Trials on Cancer). In 2010, this consortium completed its creation of an open source translational data infrastructure documenting clinical trials for cancer for the benefit of both oncologists and cancer researchers. Among other advances, the ACGT knowledge grid assisted in bringing about major progress toward a cure for a pediatric cancer of the kidneys known as nephroblastoma.

In the US, another exciting Open Access biomedical research model exists in Cancer Commons, founded by Marty Tenenbaum (a PLOS Board Member) with the aim “to engage cancer researchers, patients, and physician in order to reduce delays in getting promising investigational drugs into the clinic and knowledge back to the patients.” A recent Cancer Commons project led to the determination of four molecular subtypes in lung cancer tumor cells. Working with shared data and clinical methodologies, researchers correlated these subtypes with different genetic aberrations and drugs that may potentially treat them. The resulting research paper, A Novel Classification of Lung Cancer into Molecular Subtypes, was published in PLOS ONE in 2012.

The work of Creative Commons ensures that these projects can use the papers we publish without requiring the additional time and cost that asking special permissions would require. It ensures that translators and educators know they are free to use the research we publish and it allows Wikipedia editors to enrich this critical reference work with text and resources from the research literature. On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, PLOS salutes Creative Commons for its pioneering work in establishing the legal and technological tools that enable Open Access science publishing to flourish.

Peter Jerram is the CEO of PLOS.

1 Comment »

#cc10 Featured Content: John Wilbanks on GlaxoSmithKline

Elliot Harmon, December 8th, 2012

John Wilbanks

John Wilbanks / Nick Vedros / CC BY-SA

In celebration of Creative Commons’ tenth anniversary, we asked various friends of CC to write about the role that open licensing plays in their fields. Today, John Wilbanks shows how the world’s largest pharmaceutical company made a big step in malaria research by sharing its data openly.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is perhaps not the first name most think of when they think of Creative Commons. Large pharmaceutical companies aren’t always the avant-garde commoners.

Yet in 2010, GSK made an amazing move. They took a set of 13,500 chemicals that their internal screens had shown to be active against malaria and put them in the public domain under CC0. They also made sure the data were technically available by depositing the set at a government data repository.

This isn’t how it’s usually done in the pharmaceutical industry, needless to say.

But something beautiful has happened in the intervening years. Something that is totally natural to those of us who live and breathe the commons, something mindboggling to those who don’t.

The data are being used to try to find a cure for malaria. By people who would otherwise be locked out of the process. A nonprofit foundation invested in a lab to take some of the compounds forward for investigation. They’re working together in an open lab notebook. And now 400 of the best candidate drugs are available as a “malaria box” that anyone can request to work on their optimization.

It’s still a long way from a cure for malaria. Drug discovery is hard, mainly because we don’t understand biology well enough to predict what’s going to happen with most compounds when we put them into practice. Our bodies are too complicated for the businesses trying to cure them.

But this is a methodological revolution: deploying the commons as an organizational structure to deal with that complexity. And it was driven, in the beginning, by the moment that the world’s largest pharmaceutical company became a commoner.

Compounds of Interest in Update
Compounds of Interest in Update / Matthew Todd / CC BY-SA

John Wilbanks currently runs the Consent to Research project (CtR), a massive clinical research study in which people take the data they can gather about their own health and donate it for computational analysis. Mr. Wilbanks is also one of the founders of the Access2Research petition. As part of CtR, Mr. Wilbanks is a Senior Fellow in Entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a Research Fellow at Lybba, and supported by Sage Bionetworks. Mr. Wilbanks has worked at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the World Wide Web Consortium, the US House of Representatives, and most recently Creative Commons. Mr. Wilbanks also started a bioinformatics company called Incellico, which is now part of Selventa.

Comments Off on #cc10 Featured Content: John Wilbanks on GlaxoSmithKline

CC10: Day 2

Jessica Coates, December 8th, 2012

On day 2 of CC10 we focus on what makes CC more than just a bunch of licenses – our community.

We give a long over-due introduction to Creative Commons for those who haven’t met us yet, with a favorite resource from one of our global volunteer affiliates: CC Qatar presents Meet Creative Commons. At the same time, we discuss CC’s geek-cred with Josh Wattles, adviser to one of our oldest artist communities – deviantART – and we examine how a simple licensing decision can create community around a work, with Gautam John of Pratham Books.

Most importantly, today we get our CC10 community parties started. Not 1, not 2, but 3 separate birthday events are happening around the world tonight. CC Berlin brings us keynotes, talks, interviews and a DJ, in a party themed around the success and impact CC has built over the past 10 years. Meanwhile CC Belgium is rebooting itself with a showcase of Creative Commons artists and projects. And finally, CC Headquarters has its own party in San Francisco, where CC staff, Board and community members will participate in interactive exhibits, live remixing (brought to you by Global Lives and Dublab) and general good-cheer. We’ll have a tweet wall at the event – so if you want to be part of it, just tweet us your birthday wishes after 5pm San Francisco time tonight.

Comments Off on CC10: Day 2

#cc10 Featured Content: Gautam John on Annual Haircut Day

Elliot Harmon, December 7th, 2012

In celebration of Creative Commons’ tenth anniversary, we asked various friends of CC to write about their favorite CC-licensed content. Today, social entrepreneur and Pratham Books new projects manager Gautam John writes about two children’s books that took on lives of their own, thanks to CC licensing.

On the 17th of November, 2008, we took one small and very tentative step into the world of the commons and released six of our books under a very restrictive CC BY-NC-SA license. And that point, the entire Creative Commons universe was exciting and held much possibility but was, simultaneously, a vast unknown for us. Initially, our books were used by the One Laptop Per Child project in Nepal and that in itself was a wonderful outcome for us.

Annual Haircut Day

Over the course of the next year, we engaged with our community and with the wider world of open content and Creative Commons licenses and realised that the license we chose was far too restrictive for the content to have any real community-driven impact and we settled on the CC BY and CC BY-SA licenses as our new defaults. While we were sure that making these our default licenses was a good choice, we weren’t entirely sure what the outcomes of such a decision would be. In hindsight, we are very very glad we made the choices we did.

Looking at two of our more popular books, Annual Haircut Day and The Moon and the Cap, we were amazed that they have been read, in just two languages, via one single online channel (Scribd), more than 35,000 times. While these numbers were stunning, they were only the start of an amazing journey that they took all thanks to Creative Commons licenses.

Soon, we started to receive community translations of these books in languages that we would never have published in (German, French, Spanish and Lojban), and in languages that we would have wanted to publish in but could not (Assamese, for example). It didn’t stop there. We were amazed when a national radio station decided to make studio quality audiobooks out of these two books and a few others in many many Indian languages and make them available under an open (if slightly more restrictive) license, and specifically make them available to the visually impaired community in India. We began to wonder where this would go and soon we heard from Bookshare who had converted these books (and others) to formats specifically for the visually impaired – DAISY and Braille books.

At which point, we thought that this was fantastic that we had achieved a degree of inclusivity that would not have been otherwise possible and thought it to be a closed chapter. But as things go, the community was just beginning. Next up was a series of applications based on these books for the iPhone and iPad, for Android devices, for Intel devices, and even for Windows Phone 7! It goes without saying that none of this would have been possible for us using a traditional licensing model and it was Creative Commons licenses that made it all possible.

1 Comment »

#cc10 Featured Platform: deviantART

Elliot Harmon, December 7th, 2012

Throughout the #cc10 celebrations, we’ll be profiling online platforms with Creative Commons integration. I reached out to Josh Wattles, longtime copyright lawyer and advisor in chief at deviantART, to get his perspective on how artists online use (or don’t use) CC licensing.

deviantART is a massive community, with members ranging from young amateurs to well-known professionals. Josh told me that about 5% of uploads each day are CC licensed, which translates to about 1450 individual artists. Altogether, there are 15-16 million CC-licensed artworks on dA.

Josh explained me that in a lot of ways, deviantART grew up alongside filesharing. The first artworks shared on dA were skins for mp3 players. Josh — himself a longtime copyright lawyer who’s worked with the EFF and LimeWire — told me that he always saw CC licensing as a natural fit for the dA community. Or as he put it, “When it first started, Creative Commons was part of your citizenship on the Internet if you were a geek.”

I also asked him to recommend some favorite CC-licensed works from the deviantART community. A few of them are sprinkled throughout this interview; the rest are in this gallery.

How did deviantART make the decision to implement CC licensing options? Was the community asking for it? Was there any pushback?

Some of the members of deviantART community first suggested that we implement it. But it was Mia Garlick [former general Counsel of CC] who was really responsible for driving it.

We had her at the first (and last) deviantART conference in 2005. She gave a talk, and it was really well-attended and straightforward. She said, “All this is is a license, you’re not dedicating anything to the public domain, all you’re doing is giving the public a license for reuse. Pick a license if you want to use it, and if you don’t want to use it, don’t.”

And so, in the submission process, there was an opportunity to select a CC license. We did no additional messaging beyond that implemetaiton. It just seemed like the right thing to do, and so we did it.

Do you think that visual artists are more reluctant to share their work openly than musicians or other types of artists?

It’s more complicated or visual artists, because there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s easy for a musician to say, “With the exception of tracks that I license to some record company, everything I do I’m just going to keep out there as open and available, because that will drive people to my venues for concerts.”

For a visual artist, let’s say you create a work on commission. You might not be at liberty to make the decision to license it under CC. On some level, the person who commissioned you has an opinion about what the distribution pattern for the work should be. There’s immediately a category where you can’t apply a default practice. And you can’t even apply a default practice under the ctegory of commissioned work, because each type of commission is different.

deviantART excels at providing every artists, regardless of their level, with a platform in which to communicate with each other, work with each other, and request work from each other. And people request all kinds of stuff. They say, “I want a little avatar that looks like a pony, and I’ll give you 50 virtual points for it,” which amounts to slightly over 50 cents. In that interaction, it would be silly to say to the person you gave the pony to, “Now you have exclusive rights for the entire internet and the world.” The intention of the parties in that situation is that you can go off and draw a pony for someone else. On the other hand, the guy who draws the ponies isn’t going to put it up as a free file for everyone to use, because he just got paid 50 cents for one, and maybe someone else wants to pay 50 cents for it. It’s a more complicated decision path.

On the other hand, CC is a brilliant way to ensure wide-scale distribution of content on the internet. I advise artists that some portion of their work should clearly be available for that kind of distribution, just on a promotional level. It’s useful to have some portion of your work out there, but it’s going to take a fairly sophisticated artist with a fairly sophisticated business purpose and model to see the rationale of that and the efficacy of it.

Since deviantART implemented CC licensing, have you seen community’s attitudes about sharing change?

There’s always been a lot of sharing, but it’s not necessarily under a CC license. When someone puts their works on Facebook or Tumblr, there’s a de facto sharing going on with an implied agreement about how they’d like their work to be reused. It would be great if there were a CC license attached to it, to establish a benchmark of the rights that the person is trying to convey by putting it on the internet.

Comments Off on #cc10 Featured Platform: deviantART

CC10: Day 1

Jessica Coates, December 7th, 2012

Welcome to the very first day of Creative Commons’ 10th birthday celebrations!

Over the next 10 days we will be celebrating CC’s first decade with activities, events, tweets and competitions. As well as dozens of real world parties, we’ve set up a dedicated CC10 website as a hub for all things birthday. Each day on this site we will be showcasing highlights from the CC community – some of our favorite users, platforms and resources. Like an advent calendar, these featured items will be ‘revealed’ as each day of the CC10 website goes live, along with the events for that day and following days, and other exciting announcements and materials. You’ll be able to navigate backwards to previous days using the dates at the top of the page.

We kick off our CC showcase today looking at the world of CC and text, with a blog post from one of CC’s longest running and most vocal supporters – Cory Doctorow. Cory introduces us to one of his favorite CC-licensed works, Rudy Rucker’s Wetware books, which he calls “the finest high-weirdness of the golden age of cyberpunk.” We also bring you an interview with Taylor Pipes of Scribd, a digital document sharing platform with more than 25 million texts, an amazing 80% of which are CC-licensed. And finally, we give you all (or at least those of you who speak Swedish) a primer on the CC licenses, what they mean and which is best for you, with CC Sweden‘s Välj rätt licens! poster.

Comments Off on CC10: Day 1

previous pagenext page