Hindawi, open access scholarly journal publisher, wants to double your donation to Creative Commons! Starting right now, Hindawi is matching every dollar of the next $3000 given to CC. That means if you donate $10, $25, $75 to CC right now, your impact will be automatically doubled thanks to Hindawi. Judging by how fast we met wikiHow’s challenge a couple weeks ago, you should donate quick to make sure your gift gets doubled!
Here’s why Hindawi has chosen to support us this year and why they’re challenging you to join them in giving to CC:
“As an open access journal publisher we believe that it is important for our readers to be comfortable reusing and redistributing our articles without fear of violating any copyright restrictions, and Creative Commons licenses make it clear to readers what they can do with our content.”
Join Hindawi in supporting CC and have your donation automatically doubled. If you’ve haven’t yet given to our fundraising campaign (or even if you already have!), now is your chance. It’s easy, and you’re just a few clicks away from showing the world you care about an open, sharing online (and offline) world.Comments Off on Hindawi wants to double your donation! What are you waiting for?
We’re thrilled to announce a $15,000 gift from Squidoo, the popular publishing platform that allows you to create and share content with the world. So why are they supporting CC? Seth Godin, Squidoo’s Founder says:
Creative Commons is doing something incredibly difficult and valuable: they are changing expectations. Before CC, the default mode for everything was to lock it up, forever, in a way that cripples the community. With CC, the new default is to share unless there’s a good reason not to. And sharing is our future.
We couldn’t agree more. Join Seth in supporting CC and making sure fair sharing is our future.
I’m pleased to introduce Mitchell Baker, the next of our exceptional CC Superheroes to tell you in her own words why she supports Creative Commons and why you should too. As the leader of the Mozilla Project, she is responsible for organizing and motivating a massive, worldwide collective of employees and volunteers who are breathing new life into the Internet with the Firefox Web browser and other Mozilla products. Here is her story. Join Mitchell in supporting Creative Commons with a donation today.
“Creative Commons fills a vitally important role in building an innovative and creative society. Creative Commons provides an easy way for people to choose to collaborate in creative activities, complementing the default settings of copyright law. I hope you’ll join me in supporting Creative Commons.
Imagine you take two photos. You’d like to restrict use of the first photo as much as possible — you don’t want anyone to post it anywhere, or to use it or to alter it. Maybe this is because you think it’s a good candidate for selling, maybe because it’s personal and you don’t want anyone else to use it, maybe because you think it’s perfect as is and would be diminished if anyone changed anything about it. The other photo you feel very differently about. You’d like to see what people might do with it. Maybe you’d like to see it distributed widely with your name attached to enhance your reputation, or so people come to you to buy other photos. Maybe you think it would be good set to music or included in slideshows, or maybe you’d like to see how people might alter it.
Figuring out how to get maximum protection for the first photo is easy. One simply does nothing — in most countries a creative work is automatically subject to default copyright law. If one wants to emphasize this one can add a copyright notice, but this is not required. Maximum restriction is the default.
Figuring out how to let other people build upon one’s creative work is actually much harder. In fact, without Creative Commons there is no easy way to do so. Creative Commons provides a clear, effective way for each of us to choose to share our creative work when we want to, dramatically reducing the barriers to voluntary sharing. It provides legally enforceable mechanisms that live happily alongside the default of maximum restriction of copyright law. Creative Commons empowers creators to choose how our works are used and shared as well as protected.
The ability to share our creative works easily is an important complement to the traditional ability to restrict their use. It’s important for individuals and it’s important for society. There is no doubt that the voluntary sharing of effort can produce immense civic, social, and individual value. Voluntary collaboration, based on shared resources, shared data and shared creative work provides new tools for solving complex problems. By making voluntary sharing easy, Creative Commons provides new avenues for individual choice and human interaction.
Mozilla embodies this idea, as do vast portions of the Internet. Mozilla relies on voluntary collaboration to build individual empowerment into the structure of the Internet. We use a Creative Commons license for many of our materials. Creative Commons licenses have a similar spirit to the Mozilla Public License, which allows software innovators to release their creations to the public to be built upon, expanded, and improved in ways that we never thought possible. Creative Commons makes it easy to extend this idea beyond software to other creative content. We support Creative Commons financially as well.
If you haven’t tried sharing some of your creative work, I invite you to try it. Next time you need a photo for something, search your favorite photo sites for CC licensed work. Add some of your own. Share some of your music and see what comes of it. Consider a donation to Creative Commons. Be open to openness.”Comments Off on Featured Superhero: Mitchell Baker, Chairwoman of Mozilla
We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve met wikiHow’s challenge to match the next $4000 donated to CC’s fundraising campaign in just three days! THANK YOU to all who donated and had your gift automatically doubled by wikiHow, the world’s largest and highest quality how-to manual!
By joining wikiHow in supporting CC, you’re confirming their belief that CC is a cause worth caring about. According to wikiHow founder Jack Herrick, “wikiHow is all about enabling people to share and learn: Our contributors share their knowledge with us and then we bring their expertise to the largest possible audience. This works so well because of Creative Commons. Supporting this organization ensures that the tools to share and build upon knowledge will be maintained as the electronic age continues to evolve.”
If you didn’t have the chance to take part in the challenge, you can still help us meet our $550k goal by donating today and showing the world how much sharing means to you.Comments Off on We Met wikiHow’s Challenge in Just Three Days!
MacArthur Foundation / CC BY
Elspeth Revere is the Vice President in charge of Media, Culture and Special Initiatives at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The MacArthur Foundation has generously supported CC since our founding in 2002. Join MacArthur and help keep CC going strong by making a donation today.
Can you give us some background on the MacArthur Foundation?
MacArthur is one of the nation’s largest independent foundations. The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society.
With assets over $5 billion, MacArthur will award approximately $230 million in grants this year. Through the support it provides, the Foundation fosters the development of knowledge, nurtures individual creativity, strengthens institutions, helps improve public policy, and provides information to the public, primarily through support for public interest media.
The Foundation was established in 1978. Last year, it made 600 grants for a total of $230 million.
What is your role there?
I am Vice President in charge of Media, Culture and Special Initiatives. We have three ongoing areas of work. The first is in public interest media, where we support public radio, documentary films, deep and analytical news programs, and investigative reporting. The second is support to over 200 arts and culture organizations in our home city, Chicago. The third is institutional support to help strengthen nonprofit organizations that are key to the Foundation’s grantmaking fields so that they will exist and be effective over the long term. In addition, we conduct a changing set of special grantmaking initiatives that are intended to be short-term and responsive to a particular problem or opportunity.
The MacArthur Foundation is a private foundation (not a corporate sponsor) that supports Creative Commons – what was the motivation behind this generous giving? What is it about CC that you find important?
In about 1999, MacArthur began exploring the question of how the digital revolution would impact society and the issues that the Foundation cared about and what a Foundation like MacArthur could do to help people understand and shape this phenomenon for the overall good. We held a series of consultations and some of the people who later became founders of Creative Commons, including Larry Lessig and Jamie Boyle, talked to us about both the promise of technology to unlock information and make it widely and easily available, and the concern that digital tools could also be used to limit the public availability of information. They, and others, helped us to understand that copyright laws, originally intended to regulate industry, were increasingly regulating consumers and their behavior — and this was even before blogging, podcasts, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and all the other sharing tools that we now rely on.
In 2002, MacArthur began a six year funding initiative on Intellectual Property and the Long-Term Protection of the Public Domain. Our first grant to Creative Commons was made that year. It was an exemplary organization for us to support because we were looking for new models of thinking about intellectual property in a digital age. All told, we have made 4 grants totaling $3.15 million to support its work. And Creative Commons has become a successful tool for sharing information in the arts, sciences, governance, and education throughout the world.
What is the link between the MacArthur Foundation and CC? Do you use our tools in your work? Or are our tools more applicable to your grantees?
MacArthur policy calls for openness in research and freedom of access to data. We encourage our grantees to explore opportunities to use existing and emerging Internet distribution models and when appropriate open access journals, Creative Commons licenses or other mechanisms that result in broad access for the interested field and public. While we do not insist that grantees use Creative Commons licenses, we do suggest their use when appropriate and practical.
What do you see as CC’s role in the broader digital ecosystem? How does CC enable the MacArthur Foundation and its grantees to better innovate in that space?
Creative Commons has made all of us more aware of information sharing — how and why we use the information of others and when and how we will let others use what we create. It has provided the tools to allow us to share what we make both easily and widely if we want to do so. It has enabled communities to form around the world to work on common interests ranging from music and governance. And it has demonstrated that these communities can solve legal, technical and practical problems together.
Help make sure Creative Commons can continue to develop and steward tools that are crucial to sharing information in the arts, sciences, governance, and education throughout the world. Make a donation today.Comments Off on Elspeth Revere of the MacArthur Foundation
This year we’re letting some of our exceptional CC Superheroes tell you in their own words why they support Creative Commons and why you should too. The first is Robin Sloan, a writer who works at the intersection of storytelling and technology. Here is his story. Join Robin in supporting Creative Commons with a donation today.
“I’m a writer you probably haven’t heard of. But if I’m right about Creative Commons, and about the way books and culture work — and if I’m a little bit lucky — then your kids will read my stuff. And their kids too.
Let me bring you up to speed:
Just about a year ago, I used a site called Kickstarter to gather a posse of patrons and, in the span of about two months, wrote and published a short novel. It featured a character named Annabel Scheme, a sort of Sherlock Holmes for the 21st century.
After it was finished, I mailed the books off to my backers — about a thousand copies, total — and then put the PDF online, for free, with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 license.
Often, that’s where this story ends. Triumph! Success! Righteous sharing! Right?
I actually think there’s another step. So I’ll explain what I did next, and then I’ll explain why.
I had a chunk of change left over from the printing — around $2,000 — so I turned it into a Remix Fund. I polled my patrons for interesting ways to reimagine the story I’d just published, and interesting people to do the reimagining. I got a small avalanche of suggestions, each with a small budget attached, and so we all voted on it. The winners included a singer/songwriter and a 3D artist. They did their thing, and now there’s an Annabel Scheme song and a stunning set of images of her alternate San Francisco. (And, in true CC spirit, the raw 3D models can be downloaded and reused, as well.)
But why bother? Why not just wait for people to discover the book, get inspired, and remix it under their own steam? Isn’t that more legit?
Maybe. But for me, Creative Commons is a survival strategy.
I think the most important thing about a book is not actually the book. Instead, it’s the people who have assembled around it. It’s everyone who’s ever read it, and everyone who’s ever re- or misappropriated it. It’s everyone who’s ever pressed it into someone else’s hands. (That’s another thing about Creative Commons: it supports not just remixing, but sharing, too. I publish in Amazon’s Kindle store as well, and I love it — but if you buy one of my stories over there, you can’t ever give it to anyone else.)
Anyway, it’s that group of people that makes a book viable, both commercially and culturally. And without them — all alone, with only its author behind it — a book is D.O.A.
So I’m utterly intent on assembling that group, on nurturing it, making it passionate and resilient, and I’ll use every tool at my disposal to do so: Kickstarter, my site, Twitter, a Creative Commons license, and a Remix Fund to boot.
Did it work for “Annabel Scheme”? It’s too early to tell. There’s been more remixing since that first flurry — there’s this software project, and I just learned last week that there’s a comic in the works, too.
If you aspire to create culture today, in the year 2010, you cannot escape the vastness of it all — the sheer quantity of stuff that is being produced, and the sheer quantity of stuff that is being forgotten. In a world like this, Creative Commons is not just a license — not just a passive agreement with some theoretical public. Instead, I think it’s an active, urgent signal to a posse of potential allies.
It says: I want this thing to succeed, but I need your help.
And it says: join me. Make this yours, too.
So please join me in supporting Creative Commons. After all, we’ve got a lot of kids and grandkids to entertain.”Comments Off on Featured Superhero: Robin Sloan
Imagine a world where knowledge flows freely and can be built upon without limits. Imagine a world where culture, art and media are available to everyone, scientific content is shared by corporations and research institutions, and shared intelligence augments human rights efforts across borders.
A legion of Creative Commons (CC) Superheroes is already at work, using our amazing tools to save people from failed sharing all over the planet. GlaxoSmithKline, a major pharmaceutical company, recently released its entire malarial data set using CC tools, speeding the urgent search for new medicines to tackle the devastating disease. Online communities at Flickr, SoundCloud, and Vimeo are making creative works available for anyone in the world to use freely and legally through license adoption. Publisher Pratham Books has begun to CC license more and more of the textbooks it provides to 14 million children in India, lifting them from a future of poverty and miseducation. When the earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, Google and Wired used CC tools to keep information widely available to relief workers, journalists, and governments worldwide.
Our challenge ahead is to join forces with this legion of CC Superheroes to fight the forces that don’t want an open web, or do not understand that sharing is a good thing. This fall, we’re recruiting a team of CC Superheroes to lead the world in the fight for creativity and innovation. We need to raise $550,000 by the end of the year to power up and support the work we’re doing. As a superhero, your role will be to donate, spread the word, and fundraise on our behalf. As an existing supporter of CC, you already believe that a sharing world is a good world. You have fueled our work and kept us going strong, and we thank you for that. It will take nothing short of a superhero’s strength to get us to where we need to go.
Join us in this fight for a free world — donate today.Comments Off on Join the Legion of CC Superheroes!
Peer 2 Peer University co-founder and director Philipp Schmidt (see our posts on P2PU, a cutting-edge open education project) has written an excellent post on his Sharing Nicely blog about supporting our Catalyst Campaign:
Today Creative Commons launches their catalyst campaign – brother to the recently announced catalyst grant programme. I like how they connect the two – funding their work AND raising money at the same time. On one hand, they offer small grants for projects that further their vision, and with the other hand they politely ask for donations to support it. It creates a connection between the donation and the purpose of that donation, even if it’s a very loose connection.
Well put — though in this campaign, the connection is very tight, 1:1 — the funds we raise go directly to the small grants.
However, the reason for highlighting Philipp’s post here is that he raises several important points that anyone who cares deeply about Creative Commons may be interested in. The first is simply that CC is crucial infrastructure that must be supported:
CC’s work is a very important foundation of a lot of the open content / commons movement – and I don’t think it’s easy to raise the funds necessary to support it. Hal Plotkin asked this question after his keynote at the recent OCWC Global conference. How should and can something that provides an important, but not very glamorous (my words, not Hal’s, with apologies to my lawyer friends at CC) enabling service be supported financially? Funding for infrastructure is difficult to raise. It’s a little bit like raising money for TCP/IP or HTTP. Everyone will agree that it’s important and we all benefit from having it – but we all hope that someone else will pick up the tab. We rely on that friend of a friend who got rich on stock options, sold his company, or house – or simply inherited a lot of money.
Having grown up in a social democracy that offers high-quality infrastructure and services to (almost) all of its citizens, my immediate response is that infrastructure should be paid for by the state from tax income. I personally would welcome a small part of my tax payments to be used to support important infrastructure projects that enable free flow of knowledge and information. Even more so, now that I live in a country where access to knowledge is scarce and expensive. I believe such would be an excellent investment in future development and well-being of all citizens.
The problem with writing blog posts about topics like this is – you end up getting stuck in a dilemma. I have now explained that I think CC’s work is important, that I suspect many people fail to support it, and that the government should consider doing so. However, pending major adjustments in the political landscape of South Africa, that doesn’t really help anyone. So I went ahead and donated a little money to CC today.
Please join Philipp. But it’s ok to consider infrastructure glamorous, because it is. You’re with a cool crowd. That realizes the Internet breaking is extremely anti-glamor.
Gratuitous infrastructure glamor shot: Ponte estaiada Octavio Frias – Sao Paulo by Marcosleal / CC BY-SA
The benefit of donating is the perceived authority to ramble on a little bit longer, and say a few things about what CC are doing what I think could be improved. In order to do that I think its worth looking at the licences as a service (or even a product) that has to be sold to a particular audience and designing it in order to provide maximum value to that audience. What I mean by that is that there is a tendency for organizations to turn inwards – and in the case of CC that means pay more and more attention to the opinions of legal experts – rather than listen to the customers who don’t understand the legal details, and in most cases don’t give a rat’s hat. Here is what I’d like to see:
I would like to see fewer licences and fewer versions – but more certainty that the licence will hold up in court. I believe simplicity beats choice and legal finesse.
It’s absolutely worth looking at Creative Commons licenses as products that serve customers, and without doubt any organization that turns inwards, ignoring what its customers desire from its products is doomed. This isn’t what Creative Commons does.
Most users of Creative Commons licenses may not care to understand the legal details (but you can bet that many policymakers and the legal departments of institutions do), but their desire to see the licenses hold up in court requires that someone does — that’s Creative Commons’ job, and it requires paying attention to the opinions of legal experts — we must make the licenses work not just for a particular audience in a particular jurisdiction, but across many domains and globally. The strength of our legal resources — on staff, an amazing affiliate network, board, and pro-bono — is what allows most users to rationally not give a rat’s hat about the legal details involved.
So the listening to the opinions of legal experts is crucial, but so is listening to users. Philipp’s request for more simplicity, especially in the form of fewer licenses and versions therof, is not uncommon. Creative Commons is doing alright here — especially considering potential user requests for more narrowly targeted licenses are at least as common. Here are some examples of doing well:
- In a little over four years from its launch late 2002, Creative Commons released four versions (1.0, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0) of its core licenses. In the last nearly three and a half years, no new versions have been released — and none will be for some time. A version 3.x was briefly discussed in late 2007 due to concerns brought up by Wikipedians; instead of rushing a new version, we listened very carefully and took a number of steps, none legal, to assure Wikipedians that CC would be an excellent steward of the license used by Wikipedia — with the successful result of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites migrating to CC BY-SA as their main content license last year.
- In 2004 CC launched two sets of specialty copyright licenses — sampling and developing nations. None have been launched since then — and sampling and developing nations were retired in 2007.
- The CC0 public domain waiver, launched last year raises the bar for generality of CC tools — it was designed to be universal from the beginning so that porting to different jurisdictions is not desired — and demonstrates the value of legal expertise — making a public domain dedication work globally (our first attempt launched in 2002 only targeted U.S. law) is no small task.
- Since the launch of Creative Commons there has been little “license proliferation” for content (arguably there has been de-proliferation, as the pre-CC pioneers have recommended or facilitated using CC), surely in large part due to CC’s demonstrated competence.
It’s also worth noting that while CC has and does listen very carefully to particular audiences, maximizing value for any particular audience is not good enough. Maximizing the global value of the commons requires a focus on interoperability — furthered by both getting legal details right and non-proliferation.
Suggestions regarding how we do do even better encouraged. Philipp concludes with:
I would like to see CC separate its core business (the licences) more clearly from other programme areas and especially things that fall broadly into the fostering of “creativity (cultural, educational, scientific and other content) in the commons”. This separation should include budgets – so that donors can choose what activities their money ends up supporting. Don’t get me wrong, I think creativity should be supported, and probably in a fairly vague and flexible way, but I think part of the funding challenge for CC is that people, especially those who are making small donations, are comfortable funding the licences but might not be as comfortable with CC using their donation to foster “creativity”. That applies to me for example.
Supporting creativity in a vague and flexible way would be massive mission creep for Creative Commons. Even supporting the creation of CC-licensed works is out of scope, and the Catalyst Grants description of fundable work specifically calls this out. However, we do a significant amount of work that could be characterized as communications, education, marketing, advocacy, evangelism, business development, tool building, etc. to support license adoption. This is crucial work for Creative Commons to do for the licenses are much, much more valuable with massive adoption. There’s more useful work to do here than we can do directly — thus our priority on developing our affiliate network and other means of scaling Creative Commons’ impact without adding substantially to our core cost structure. That’s fundamentally what the Catalyst Campaign and Catalyst Grants are about — raising a little bit of money to spur capacity for growing CC adoption massively beyond what CC can do directly.
Supporting Creative Commons (and our current Catalyst Campaign in particular) is much more highly targeted than “supporting creativity” — but there isn’t a bright line between “funding the licenses” and funding work done to support and promote the licenses. I would argue there shouldn’t be. The licenses are great products that requires support and promotion to realize their potential — like any great product. Creative Commons is a small organization, and among our small staff, most have overlapping duties that support the licenses in multiple ways. We do work hard to deploy our limited resources in the most scalable way possible. We also understand that the licenses are critical infrastructure that must be kept up and defended even if funding dries up, so we do make contingency plans for such scenarios.
Hopefully this addresses some of Philipp’s excellent and reasonable concerns. Again, specific suggestions for how we can do better are strongly encouraged! Now please join Philipp and his colleagues at P2PU in supporting this work!1 Comment »
THANK YOU to everyone who donated to our annual fundraising campaign, who bought swag from our online store, and who helped spread the word to friends and colleagues asking for their support of CC over the past three months. Thanks to you, we were able to meet and exceed our goal, raising a total of $533,898.68 from individuals, family foundations, and companies around the world. We are honored to have so much support, despite a grim economic climate and amidst calls of support from so many worthy causes.
In the spirit of transparency, here’s a more precise breakdown of the funds we raised during this campaign. We had a greater number of donations from individual supporters – users, advocates, and friends of Creative Commons just like you – than in any previous year; 1,296 individuals from countries around the world contributed whatever amount they were able in support of the commons, giving a total of $234,798.68. While this number is larger than it ever has been before, it is still relatively tiny compared to the scope and breadth of Creative Commons and the number of users and CC licenses (over a quarter of a billion) that currently exist in the world. We’re hoping to see this gap narrow as Creative Commons becomes more self-sustaining, with our users and supporters giving enough back to the organization to support our core operations.
This year’s corporate support came from the following companies and totaled $237,500:
Consumer Electronics Association
We also extend a heartfelt thanks to the following family foundations for their contributions totaling $61,600:
Doug and Betsey Schwab Family Foundation
Elbaz Family Foundation
Vadasz Family Foundation
Tom and Susan Rabon Charitable Foundation
We asked our supporters to fill out a questionnaire and tell us why they chose to support CC this year. Here is what a few of you had to say:
“I strongly believe in new ways of licensing creativity.”
“I believe the commons is important for culture and society.”
“CC is needed to change the creative world from being self protective to being open and sharing.”
“Because I fervently believe in personal freedom and CC is about Freedom.”
If you donated this year, but missed the questionnaire, I encourage you to fill it out so that we can continue to improve our fundraising and awareness efforts.
We always welcome your support. We expect 2010 to be a year of many exciting projects and milestones – you can help ensure that by donating, buying swag, licensing your creative works and using CC-licensed material.1 Comment »