Global Summit 2011

Copyright Experts Discuss CC License Version 4.0 at the Global Summit

Diane Peters, November 3rd, 2011


CC General Counsel Diane Peters addressing affiliates / DTKindler Photo / CC BY

The Creative Commons 2011 Global Summit was a remarkable success, bringing together CC affiliates, board, staff, alumni, friends and stakeholders from around the world. Among the ~300 attendees was an impressive array of legal experts. Collectively, these experts brought diversity and depth of legal expertise and experience to every facet of the Summit, including knowledge of copyright policy across the government, education, science, culture, and foundation sectors. We designed the Summit’s legal sessions (pdf) to leverage this expertise to discuss our core license suite and the 4.0 license versioning process.

The 3.0 License Suite

The current 3.0 license suite has been in service since 2007, and is faring extraordinarily well for many important adopters. Notably, government adoption and promotion of the licenses for releasing public sector information, content and data has increased in the intervening four years, predominantly leveraging the 3.0 licenses. From the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing Framework, to the explicit acceptance of CC BY by the Australian government as the default license for Australian government materials, to the official websites of heads of state, to numerous open data portals, governments are increasingly looking to and depending on CC licenses as the preferred mechanism for sharing information.

As robust as the 3.0 continues (and will continue) to prove for many adopters, we also have learned that limitations exist for other would-be adopters that inhibit use of our licenses. These limitations set the stage in some instances for the creation of custom licenses that are at best confusing to users and at worst incompatible with some of CC’s licenses. One of the more compelling limitations driving the need for versioning now is the existence of sui generis database rights throughout the European Union, and the treatment of those rights in CC’s 3.0 licenses. But other limitations also exist for important categories of those would-be adopters. For example, although 55+ jurisdictions have ported some version of the CC licenses to their jurisdictions, there remain many others that want to leverage CC licenses but are without necessary resources to undertake the time-intensive process porting demands, and do not wish to use the international (unported) suite however suitable those licenses are for adoption worldwide.

So as well as our 3.0 licenses operate for many, we recognize as license stewards there exists room to improve if we are to avoid risking a fragmentation of the commons. Of course it bears emphasizes here and throughout the versioning process that 3.0 license adopters can continue to count on our stewardship and support for that suite, just as we have done with all prior versioning efforts. We are committed to remaining alert to revisions that might undermine or compromise pre-4.0 license implementations and frameworks, and will now more than ever look to the expertise and dedication of our affiliates to assist us with the process and the subsequent adoption efforts.

Beginning the 4.0 Process


Michael Carroll / Kalexanderson / CC BY

Against this backdrop, Professor Mike Carroll, CC board member and founder, led a discussion around CC’s plans for beginning the versioning of its licenses from the current 3.0 version to 4.0. His remarks provided a detailed explanation of the reasons leading CC to version in 2012, given the limitations for several adopters in the existing suite, the many opportunities at hand, and the current environment of accelerating adoption by governments and others.

CC’s goals and those of our affiliate community for 4.0 are ambitious, and include:

  • Internationalization – position our licenses to ensure they are well received, readily understood, and easily adopted worldwide;
  • Interoperability – maximize interoperability between CC licenses and other licenses to reduce friction within the commons, promote standards and stem license proliferation;
  • Long-lasting — anticipate new and changing adoption opportunities and legal challenges, allowing the new suite of licenses to endure for the foreseeable future; and
  • Data/PSI/Science/Education — recognize and address impediments to adoption of CC by governments as well as other important, publicly-minded institutions in these and other critical arenas.
  • Supporting Existing Adoption Models and Frameworks – remain mindful of and accommodate the needs of our existing community of adopters leveraging pre-4.0 licenses, including governments but also other important constituencies.

These goals for 4.0 are not arbitrary — rather, we have recognized them as important levers for the CC license suite to support achieving CC’s mission and vision.

Addressing Restrictions Beyond Copyright – sui generis database rights and more

By design, CC licenses are intended to operate as copyright licenses, granting conditional permission to reuse licensed content in ways that would otherwise violate copyright. Once applied, wherever copyright exists to restrict reuse, the CC license conditions are triggered, but not otherwise. Yet what about that category of rights that exist close to, or perhaps even overlap with, copyright, making it difficult to exercise rights granted under CC licenses without additional permissions? This question drew the focus of Summit attendees across several of the legal sessions, particularly in the context of sui generis database rights that exist in the European Union and a few other places as a result of free trade and other agreements. Participants evaluated the practical problems associated with continuing CC’s existing policy of waiving CC license conditions (BY, NC, SA and ND, as applicable) in the 3.0 EU ported licenses where only sui generis database rights are implicated. Among others, Judge Jay Yoon of CC Korea provided a practical perspective on the challenges associated with CC’s current policy.

DATABASE at Postmasters, March 2009
DATABASE at Postmasters, March 2009 by Michael Mandiberg / CC BY-SA

Sui generis database rights are widely criticized as bad policy, and are unproven in practice to deliver the economic benefits originally promised. While these views were shared by the vast majority of affiliates attending the Summit, many also agreed that a reconsideration of CC’s current policy is appropriate, and that we should shift to licensing those rights in 4.0 on the same terms and conditions as copyright. This change in policy would be pursued in the greater interest of facilitating reuse, meeting the expectations of licensors and users, and growing the commons.

As foreshadowed earlier this year, and now with support from CC’s affiliate network, CC intends to pursue this course in 4.0, absent as-of-yet-unidentified, unacceptable consequences. Importantly, we will take great care to ensure that by licensing these rights where they exist we do not create new or additional obligations where such rights do not exist.

As the steward of our licenses and one of several stewards of the greater commons (including the Free Software Foundation and the Open Knowledge Foundation), we remain mindful and take with utmost seriousness the risks associated with shifting course. We fully intend to (and expect to be held accountable for) strengthening our messaging to policymakers about the dangers of maintaining and expanding these rights within the EU and beyond, and of creating new related rights. We also plan to develop ample education for users to help avoid over-compliance with license conditions in cases where they do not apply.

Further Internationalization of the CC Licenses

Until version 3.0, the CC licenses had been drafted against U.S. copyright law and referred to as the “generic” licenses. At version 3.0, that changed as we made our first attempt to draft a license suite utilizing the language of major international copyright treaties and conventions. While a vast improvement over pre-3.0 versions, there remains ample opportunity to improve to reach those who cannot or would prefer not to port. Thus, one of our major objectives with the process will be to engage with CC’s knowledgeable affiliates around the globe with the intention of crafting a license suite that is another step further removed from its U.S. origins, and more reflective of CC’s status as an international organization with a global community and following. This focal point will impact the versioning process in several respects, and will require the engagement and focus of our affiliate network, other legal experts and the broader community. But it will also impact our work post publication, where the legal expertise of our affiliates will become still more relevant to adoption efforts and implementations.

As part of this discussion at the Summit, Paul Keller of CC Netherlands and Kennisland led a robust conversation on the wisdom of the CC license porting process, and Massimo Travostino of CC Italy and the NEXA Center gave a presentation on the legal and drafting issues involved with creating global licenses.

Defining Noncommercial; License Enforceability


The legal program also included a presentation by Mike Linksvayer on the definition and future of noncommercial and an update from Andres Guadamuz on CC license enforceability. While a decision about retaining or modifying the definition of NC in 4.0, and branding thereof, remains open, any change has a high barrier to demonstrate it would be a net benefit to the commons, given the broad use and acceptance of CC licenses containing the NC term. And CC’s licenses in court continue their strong enforceability record, most recently with a favorable decision in September 2011 that enforced BY-SA in Germany. We plan to take caution when drafting 4.0 to avoid making changes that could compromise this record.

Next steps in the versioning process will be announced shortly to this blog and the CC license discuss list. Subscribe to stay apprised of future announcements about the 4.0 process and how you can contribute.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the license discussions and helped make the Summit a success!

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CC News: Open Government Policy Developments

Jane Park, September 9th, 2011

Stay up to date with CC news by subscribing to our weblog and following us on Twitter.

While we gear up for the CC Global Summit that is just a week away, governments around the world continue to open up their data and adopt policies for maximum transparency and citizen engagement.

Open government developments in Austria, New Zealand, and Australia

In Austria, the City of Vienna, along with the Chancellor’s Office and the Austrian cities of Linz, Salzburg and Graz, coordinated their activities to establish the Cooperation OGD (Open Government Data) Austria. In its first session, the group agreed to eight key points, the first of which was, "All public administration will be free under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), meaning it can be reused and shared for any purpose, with only attribution necessary.” Read more.

In New Zealand, the Ministers of Finance and Internal Affairs adopted a statement detailing a new Declaration on Open and Transparent Government that directs, encourages, and invites various departments, state services agencies, and state sector agencies to commit to releasing high value public data actively for re-use, in accordance with the Declaration and Principles, and in accordance with the NZGOAL Review and Release process. Read more.

In Australia, AusGOAL, the nationally endorsed Australian Governments Open Access and Licensing Framework, recommends the suite of CC licenses for copyrighted material and the CC Public Domain Mark for non-copyrighted material. Read more. CC Korea also recently translated the excellent Australia Gov 2.0 Taskforce Report to further open government in their own region.

CC-Global-Summit-logo

CC Global Summit Updates

The Global Summit Poster Competition was a huge success with 38 entries from around the world; winning designs have been added to the Global Summit wiki and will be printed and featured prominently at the lovely Primates Palace in Warsaw. We also invite you to collaborate on music for the CC Salon at the Summit by remixing tracks from two of the main Polish acts under CC BY-NC-SA. For those of you attending the summit, and for those of you who just want to follow along, we will be using the #ccsummit2011 tag on social media and across media platforms for blogs, photos, and videos. Please see the Global Summit wiki for more on this, and a preview of the program and cultural events!

In other news:

  • $20,000 is available via the Open Textbook Challenge by the Saylor Foundation. If a textbook is submitted and accepted for use with Saylor.org's course materials, then the copyright holders receive $20,000 while the referrer receives $250.
  • Our affiliates in Europe have published a new dossier on the EU sound recording copyright extension.
  • We also filed brief comments for the EC consultation on scientific information in the digital age.
  • In response to the Moore Foundation's call for community feedback, we developed this idea on Data Governance. We hope you participate and vote, and not just on our idea — participation in processes like this is a great way to increase their usage by foundations in making funding choices that can benefit the commons.
  • We documented the present state of CC licensing options in a summary on CC Labs.
  • And we updated our Kickstarter page with a couple new CC licensed projects seeking sustenance. Check it out, and let us know if you are using CC for a project with an upcoming deadline.

Banner photo by brewbooks (cropped) – CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Winning poster designs for the Global Summit

Jane Park, August 31st, 2011

The Creative Commons Global Summit Poster Competition has been a huge success, with 38 entries from around the world!

We thank each and every one of you who submitted a design and participated in the voting process. Three winning designs were chosen based on popular vote and by a panel of judges from our CC Poland team (with a little help from other international affiliates).

The popular vote winner was:

GS-poster-PAOF
PAOF by shichigoro / CC BY

Meanwhile, our Polish judges came up with a tie – so we decided to award two judges prizes:

GS-poster-CC-Line
CC Line by Shinjirou / CC BY

GS-poster-Celebration
Celebration! by Amanpreet Singh / CC BY

Each poster will be printed and featured prominently at the lovely Primates Palace in Warsaw for our Global Summit, to be held from September 16-18. The posters will also be displayed as part of a digital CC visual arts exhibit at the venue.

Congratulations to the designers, and thanks to all of you who participated!

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CC News: Announcing the Creative Commons Global Summit!

Jane Park, August 12th, 2011

Stay up to date with CC news by subscribing to our weblog and following us on Twitter.

Announcing the 2011 Creative Commons Global Summit!

We are thrilled to announce the 2011 Creative Commons Global Summit, now open for registration! The Creative Commons Global Summit will take place over three full days from September 16-18, and is generously hosted by our affiliates at CC Poland. The summit will bring together the CC community in Warsaw, Poland, to engage strategically on the future of our shared commons, to renew and further build CC’s vital community, to collaborate on mutual projects and initiatives, and to celebrate our successes as we head towards the end of our first decade together. For more information, and to register, head on over to the Global Summit wiki.

New Creative Commons Regional Managers

Instrumental in planning for the Global Summit are our new Regional Managers. New hires Jonas Öberg (Europe), Carolina Botero and Claudio Ruiz (Co-Managers, Latin America) will join existing CC staffers Chiaki Hayashi (Asia and the Pacific), Donatella della Ratta (Arab World), Aurelia J. Schultz (Africa), and our new Network Affiliate Coordinator, Jessica Coates, to form a new team dedicated to supporting our Affiliate Network worldwide. Adding staff support for our affiliates is part of a broader strategy CC is currently implementing to enhance the role and profile of the Affiliate Network. The Regional Managers will be dedicated to supporting and working with these local affiliates, while also working together to inform and shape CC’s ongoing development and policy making. Read more.

Design the winning poster for the Global Summit!

Some of our CC affiliates in Asia are hosting a poster design competition for the summit, based on the theme, “Powering an Open Future.” The winning designs (judged by an international panel and by popular vote) will be introduced at the Global Summit with people in attendance from all over the world, featured prominently at the venue and also as part of a CC visual arts exhibit. The designer will receive a gift of the printed poster from a professional publishing company in Warsaw. The deadline is August 22, Japan time, and in less than two weeks! For the complete submission rules and to enter, visit the competition site.

In other news:

  • Support for Creative Commons is growing in Russia.
  • Support for Creative Commons is growing everywhere! The Power of Open launched with seven successful events in Tokyo, Washington DC, Brussels, Rio de Janeiro, London, Paris, and Madrid.
  • The 3rd Creative Commons Arab regional meeting in Tunis also proved to be extraordinary.
  • We participated at the yearly SERCI (Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues) Congress.
  • We talked to Sir John Daniel from the Commonwealth of Learning. COL recently adopted CC BY-SA as part of its new OER policy.
  • We added support for the Learning Resources Metadata Initiative (LRMI) with Greg Grossmeier as our new Education Technology & Policy Coordinator.
  • And lastly, we are in the process of recruiting our next Chief Technology Officer, so do recommend colleagues and friends who seem well suited to be the next CC CTO!
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Announcing the Creative Commons Global Summit!

Jessica Coates, August 11th, 2011

We are thrilled to announce the 2011 Creative Commons Global Summit, now open for registration!

The Creative Commons Global Summit will take place over three full days from September 16-18 in Warsaw, Poland, and is generously hosted by our affiliates at CC Poland.

The theme of this year’s Summit is “Powering an Open Future.” As Creative Commons enters its second decade, prominent thinkers from the commons movement worldwide, including Sir John Daniels from the Commonwealth of Learning, Melissa Hagemann from the Open Society Foundations, CC board member Lawrence Lessig, and CC CEO Cathy Casserly, will come together with experts from our global Affiliate Network, CC staff, and key stakeholders to consider “what next”?

Central to the Summit will be a day-long CC Festival on Saturday, September 17th. This public day will feature a variety of panels, workshops, plenary speakers and a CC visual arts exhibition, showcasing the best of the commons now and in the future. It will include sessions focused on key areas of interest to the commons community worldwide, including education, science, government, data, business and the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) sector. Most excitingly, it will be followed in the evening by a CC Salon, a musical celebration of creativity, remix, and openness.

The Global Summit will also serve as a major meeting and planning forum for the CC community itself, with regional meetings, legal debates, community planning, training workshops, and general discussion and strategizing on the big issues for the next ten years of CC, including the new version 4.0 licenses and supporting and enhancing the Affiliate Network worldwide. The CC Board of Directors will be joining us at the Summit, specifically to meet with the community and engage in these broader discussions.

The Creative Commons Global Summit will be a chance for the whole commons community to communicate, celebrate and connect. We hope you can join us.

For more information, and to register, head on over to the Global Summit wiki. The 2011 Creative Commons Global Summit is a free event, but registration is required.

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Design the winning poster for the Creative Commons Global Summit!

Jane Park, August 10th, 2011

You may have heard about the Creative Commons Global Summit to be held in Warsaw, Poland this September. In the lead up to its public launch later this week, we want you, our community, to get involved!

Some of our CC affiliates in Asia are hosting a poster design competition for the summit, based on the theme, “Powering an Open Future.”

From the website,

The Creative Commons Global Summit 2011 provides an opportunity for volunteers, industry leaders and practitioners of the worldwide open content licensing movement to explore and showcase the past, present and future of Creative Commons, copyright and free culture. It will be an event focused on sharing, openness and collaboration, with an eye towards setting the path for the Creative Commons community over its next 10 years.

The winning designs (judged by an international panel and by popular vote) will be introduced at the Global Summit with people in attendance from all over the world, featured prominently at the venue and also as part of a CC visual arts exhibit. The designer will receive a gift of the printed poster from a professional publishing company in Warsaw.

All submissions must be licensed under the CC BY license and incorporate the CC Global Summit logo (see above for what that looks like). For the complete submission rules and to enter, visit the competition site. (In the case you are not fluent in Japanese, you can change the language to English in the upper right hand corner.)

The deadline is August 22 (Japan time & in less than two weeks!), so we look forward to seeing your creativity in action!

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