milestone

Annual campaign kickoff — CC remix T-shirt by Shepard Fairey!

Melissa Reeder, October 5th, 2009

cc-shepard-fairey-logo-medium
Today marks the launch of Creative Commons’ 5th Annual Fundraising Campaign. This year, more than ever before, it is vital that we all support choice and sharing online. Truly, everyone benefits from a free and open internet, and we have only just begun to see how beneficial a culture of sharing can be.

We are reshaping history as we speak. Millions of CC supporters across the globe – creators, consumers, and advocates – have shown that they believe in the importance of universal access to information online. If we want future generations to enjoy the kind of rich culture that we all deserve, we must invest today in the future of creativity and knowledge.

This year we have set an ambitious goal of raising $500,000. To kick start our fundraising efforts, we are thrilled to announce a special-edition remixed Creative Commons T-shirt, designed by Shepard Fairey. Fairey is widely known for his ability to build off both his own work and the work of others to create something new and wholly unique, a quality that resonates deeply with CC’s mission.

We are a non-profit organization, and as such we are all too familiar with the challenge of securing the resources we need to continue our work. We’ve been inundated with news regarding how difficult it is to raise money in today’s economic climate. However, CC doesn’t see this as an obstacle; we see it as an opportunity – an opportunity to call communities across the globe to action.

This campaign is not exclusively about fundraising; it’s about supporting CC – as the original architects of the licenses so many have come to rely upon, and an organization whose mission you value and uphold – in whatever manner you are able. Help spread the word about CC, start or continue licensing your work and using licensed work, and/or give what you can. Any amount helps and all is greatly appreciated.

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Dutch Public Broadcaster VPRO Releases CC-licensed Documentaries

Fred Benenson, October 1st, 2009

VPRO Site

Paul Keller, one of our project leads for CC Netherlands just let us know about an exciting development from their public broadcaster, VPRO, who on Wednesday released 2 full length (and one more coming soon) documentaries under our CC-BY-NC-SA licenses. What’s great is that these documentaries are current pieces, not old selections from the back catalog or archives – they’ve all aired within the last 10 days. Additionally, VPRO is also offering DVDs of the films for sale.

The documentaries, available in both Dutch and English are available to download in an almost-HD resolution of 640 by 380, but are also posted on mininova.org here and here.

Here’s an excerpt from the project’s press release:

According to Bregtje van der Haak, coordinator of the VPRO’s Century of the City project, releasing these documentaries under a Creative Commons license contributes to efforts to better serve the VPRO’s public:

“We are producing a lot of documentaries that are of interest to specialized communities. In the case of urbanization this includes architects, urban planners and students. From research we know that a growing segment of the VPRO’s audience is watching less and less television but continues to highly value this type of content. By offering content for download we are increasing the life cycle of these programs and enable a whole number of new forms of re-use of our productions. As a public broadcaster we have the obligation to make our productions available to the public in an as flexible manner as possible.”

Congratulations to VPRO!

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Online store relaunched! Now with shopping cart, fan photo gallery

Allison Domicone, September 25th, 2009

CCStickersoneyes

black and white buttons

superfrank

If you have not yet stocked up on any of our cool CC swag, now is the time to do so! We’ve relaunched our online store, now with shopping cart capabilities so you can order as many stickers, T-shirts, lapel pins, and buttons as you wish! All T-shirt sizes are fully restocked as well.

And, since CC would be nowhere without the valuable support and positive energy of our friends and fans, we want to feature YOU on our store site. Send as many pictures as you like of your CC swag (on you, your friends, your pets, in nature – get creative!) to store[at]creativecommons.org as an attachment or URL, and be featured in our online photo galleries. Check out the shining faces of these very well-dressed CC fans.

Head over to the online store today and pick up some swag for you or your friends. Not only will you be supporting CC, but you’ll be able to spread the word about us to all you meet!

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Open Education: First meeting of CC leads in Latin America

Jane Park, September 23rd, 2009

Last year Latam Commons 2008: Public Domain, Creative Commons, and Open Education was the first meeting of CC leads in Latin America, and also the first meeting to focus specifically on open education and OER of its kind. Though I blogged briefly about its success in December, the fruits of the meeting have shown itself over time, as Latin America has been working towards greater openness in education and otherwise, with our very own Carolina Botero joining as a ccLearn liaison for that region of the Spanish-speaking world.

Now, the particular results of that first meeting are recorded for the first time, in both English and Spanish in the same report, Open Education: First meeting of CC leads in Latin America. The report was a joint production of CC Latin America and ccLearn, and is licensed CC BY so it can be further translated into other languages sans the hassle of a middleman. We urge you to check out the summary of the first meeting. As we continue to acquire better information about the open education issues in the Spanish speaking world, we hope to better facilitate communications within and beyond the region; for example, productions like this and translations of relevant CC blog posts should ideally reach interested people regardless of where they live or what language they speak (and read).

Speaking of blog posts, two more Back-to-School blog posts are now available in Spanish, Back to School: DiscoverEd and the Back to School Conclusion: The Open Trajectory of Learning. The translated versions are posted just below the English, and as more translations come in, we will add them to the original posts. All relevant blog posts will be tagged Latin America, so that you can see Latam open education news at anytime in one place.

And in Spanish, thanks to Carolina Botero and CC Latin America:


Educación Abierta: Primera reunión de líderes de CC en América Latina.

El año pasado tuvo lugar la primera reunión de líderes de CC en América Latina: Latam Commons 2008: Dominio Público, Creative Commons, y Educación Abierta. Esta fue también la primera reunión que se enfocó específicamente en educación abierta y REA (Recursos Educativos Abiertos, OER por sus siglas en inglés). Aunque ya se había blogueado brevemente sobre su éxito en diciembre, los resultados de la reunión se han ido mostrando con el tiempo, América Latina ha venido trabajando hacía una mayor apertura tanto en educación como en otros temas, al punto que Carolina Botero se unió oficialmente como enlace para la región hispanoparlante.

Ahora, los resultados particulares de esta primera reunión aparecen por primera vez, tanto en español como en inglés en un mismo informe titulado Educación Abierta: Primera reunión de líderes CC en América Latina. El informe fue una producción de CC América Latina (ccLatam) y ccLearn, se encuentra licenciado CC BY por lo que puede ser traducido a cualquier otro idioma sin intermediarios. Los invitamos a revisar el resumen de esta primera reunión. De otro lado, una vez tengamos una mejor idea sobre los temas de educación abierta que le interesan a los hispanoparlantes podremos concentrarnos en comunicaciones más efectivas, por ejemplo, en lograr que producciones como ésta y traducciones de entradas del blog de CC relevantes para esta audiencia puedan llegar a sus miembros.

Respecto a las entradas en el blog aprovechamos para contarles que hay dos nuevas entradas de la serie Regreso al Colegio están disponibles ahora en español: De Regreso al Colegio: DiscoverEd y De Regreso al Colegio, conclusiones: El camino abierto para el aprendizaje. Las versiones traducidas se agregan al final de la entrada en inglés y, a medida que otras traducciones lleguen las iremos agregando allí. Todas las entradas de este tipo en el blog serán etiquetadas Latin America, para que puedan registrar las noticias de América Latian a cualquier hora en cualquier lugar.

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The US Government CTO on Creative Commons

Fred Benenson, September 22nd, 2009

Aneesh Chopra on CNET
We caught a great interview with the US Government’s CTO, Aneesh Chopra talking about his thoughts on copyright on CNET.

When questioned about the future of copyright reform (wait for the video to load and scroll to the 7:30 mark) Chopra mentions how he “embraced the Creative Commons licensing regime” when he worked with the Commonwealth of Virginia to publish their Flexbook platform. Chopra then states that he thinks that it was this experience that really informs his perspective on how intellectual property should be remixed, shared, and reused.

Needless to say, we totally agree.

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Defining Noncommercial report published

Mike Linksvayer, September 14th, 2009



Almost one year ago we launched a study of how people understand “noncommercial use.” The study, generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, included in-depth interviews and two waves of in-person and online focus groups and online questionnaires. The last included a random sample of U.S. (geographic restriction mandated by resource constraints) internet users and in an extended form, open questionnaires promoted via this blog (called “CC Friends & Family” in the report).

Today, we’re publishing the Defining Noncommercial study report and raw data, released under a CC Attribution license and CC0 public domain waiver respectively — yes, this report on “noncommercial” may unambiguously be used for commercial purposes. Also see today’s press release.

The study was conducted by Netpop Research under advisement from academics and a working group consisting of several CC jurisdiction project members as well as CC staff and board members.

Study findings

Creative Commons noncommercial licenses include a definition of commercial use, which precludes use of rights granted for commercial purposes:

… in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.

The majority of respondents (87% of creators, 85% of users) replied that the definition was “essentially the same as” (43% of creators, 42% of users) or “different from but still compatible with” (44% of creators, 43% of users) theirs. Only 7% of creators and 11% of users replied that the term was “different from and incompatible with” their definition; 6% or creators and 4% of users replied “don’t know/not sure.” 74% and 77% of creators and users respectively think others share their definition and only 13% of creators and 11% of users wanted to change their definition after completing the questionnaire.

On a scale of 1-100 where 1 is “definitely noncommercial” and 100 is “definitely commercial” creators and users (84.6 and 82.6, respectively) both rate uses in connection with online advertising generally as “commercial.” However, more specific use cases revealed that many interpretations are fact-specific. For example, creators and users gave the specific use case “not-for-profit organization uses work on its site, organization makes enough money from ads to cover hosting costs” ratings of 59.2 and 71.7, respectively.

On the same scale, creators and users (89.4 and 91.7, respectively) both rate uses in which money is made as being commercial, yet again those ratings are lower in use cases specifying cost recovery or use by not-for-profits. Finally, both groups rate “personal or private” use as noncommercial, though creators did so less strongly than users (24.3 and 16.0, respectively, on the same scale).

In open access polls, CC’s global network of “friends and family” rate some uses differently from the U.S. online population—although direct empirical comparisons may not be drawn from these data. For example, creators and users in these polls rate uses by not-for-profit organizations with advertisements as a means of cost recovery at 35.7 and 40.3, respectively — somewhat more noncommercial. They also rate “personal or private” use as strongly noncommercial—8.2 and 7.8, respectively — again on a scale of 1-100 where 1 is “definitely noncommercial” and 100 is “definitely commercial.”

See much more in the study report and draw your own conclusions from the data.

The below is drawn from the Section 4 of the report, titled “Next” — we urge you to read that section for more, including ideas for future research.

Import for Creative Commons noncommercial licenses

In the next years, possibly as soon as 2010, we expect to formally kick off a multi-year, international process for producing the next version (4.0) of the six main Creative Commons licenses.

This process will include examination of whether the NC term should be usefully modified as a part of that effort, or if the better approach might be to adopt a “best practices” approach of articulating the commercial/noncommercial distinction for certain creator or user communities apart from the licenses themselves. Whichever the result, this study has highlighted that in order to meet the expectations of licensors using CC NC licenses it will be important to avoid any modification of the term, however manifested, that makes a use widely agreed to be commercial — or only agreed to be noncommercial with low consensus — explicitly noncommercial. There is an analogue in our statement of intent for CC Attribution-ShareAlike, which provides assurances that we will not break the expectations of licensors whose intent is to release works under copyleft terms.

While the costs of license proliferation are already widely appreciated and resisted by many, the study weighs against any lingering temptation to offer multiple flavors of NC licenses due to strong agreement on the commerciality of certain use cases that, in the past, may have been considered by some to be good candidates for splitting off into specialized versions of the NC term, such as online advertising. For even in those cases where strong agreement may appear to exist upon initial inquiry, such as with online advertising, nuances and sometimes strong differences of opinion are immediately revealed when more specific use cases are tested and facts presented — such as those involving cost recovery or support of nonprofit organizations.

The study results also advise against any concerted effort by CC to attempt appeasing all license users, all the time — study participants are divided over the value of more or fewer specific “use cases” to delineate the commercial/noncommercial divide, some see the lack of specific uses as a strength and others as a weakness, and many others still disagree with the notion that a single definition of noncommercial use could be workable. Thus is the challenge, and opportunity, of public license stewards.

Aside from decisions about the NC licenses themselves, we will be looking back to the study as we update explanations of noncommercial licensing on our license deeds, license chooser, and other materials. Your ideas and feedback are most welcome (see below).

Creative Commons recommendations on using noncommercial licenses

Overall, our NC licenses appear to be working rather well — they are our most popular licenses and we are not aware of a large number of disputes between licensors and licensees over the meaning of the term. The study hints at some of the potential reasons for this state of affairs, including that users are in some cases more conservative in their interpretation of what is noncommercial than are creators and that in some cases creators who earn more money from their work (i.e., have more reason to dispute questionable uses) are more liberal in their interpretation of what is noncommercial than are those who earn less.

While it would take a more focused and exhaustive study to conclude that these seemingly fortunate attitudinal differences are correct, strong, and global, they do hint at rules of thumb for licensors releasing works under NC licenses and licensees using works released under NC licenses — licensors should expect some uses of their works that would not meet the most stringently conservative definition of noncommercial, and licensees who are uncertain of whether their use is noncommercial should find a work to use that does unambiguously allow commercial use (e.g., licensed under CC BY, CC BY-SA, or in the public domain) or ask the licensor for specific permission (interestingly about half of respondents to the “CC Friends & Family” questionnaire who had released works under a NC license indicated that they had been contacted for specific permission). Note that this rule of thumb has an analogue in network protocol design and implementation known as the robustness principle or Postel’s Law: “Be conservative in what you do; be liberal in what you accept from others.”

One way to think about Creative Commons generally is of providing tools to prevent the failed sharing that results from relying on copyrights’ defaulting to “all rights reserved” — uses that you would allow but that will not occur because you haven’t authorized them (maybe haven’t even thought of them) and the costs of finding you and getting authorization are too high for the intended use (or maybe you’re dead and even scholarly use of your works is suppressed by your estate). This sounds dry, but think about the anti-network effects of failed sharing at the level of a society, and the costs are large indeed. Some have realized that too much use of NC licensing suppresses uses that a licensor who wants to share may wish to allow, at a cost to NC licensors and licensees and a greater cost to communities and the broader free culture movement — failed sharing, though at a much smaller scale than the failed sharing engendered by default copyright. The Definition of Free Cultural Works website includes an article summarizing reasons to avoid NC licenses (and use a free license such as CC BY or CC BY-SA). If you’re concerned about the costs of NC licensing to yourself, the free culture movement, or society at large, review the arguments and consider “dropping -NC” from your license.

The potential negative impact and corresponding lack of use of noncommercial licensing differs across fields. For example, noncommercial licenses do not exist at all in the free and open source software world (note that CC recommends using a free and open source software license for software). Science and education are two large fields in which we believe that liberal licensing or the public domain are most appropriate. Unsurprisingly Wikipedia, with strong relationships with the free software, open access (scientific publishing), and open education movements, mandates liberal licensing, and many other massively collaborative projects are following.

However, compelling use cases for NC licensing remain — most obviously when an existing significant revenue stream from a work would be compromised by release under liberal terms. Giving your audience legal certainty that they won’t be prosecuted for doing what comes naturally from using digital networks — copying and remixing for no commercial gain or monetary exchange — while exploring the sharing economy and still protecting existing business — these are great reasons to start or continue releasing works under a NC license. It is little surprise that major music and book publishers’ use of CC licensing thus far has almost exclusively been of the NC variety.

How to participate in the discussion

There are a variety of ways you can participate in discussion of this study, the future of CC NC licenses and accompanying material, and future research on this and other topics related to voluntary sharing:

Thanks to everyone who has contributed in any way to this work!

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New Zealand Government Promoting Open Data

Michelle Thorne, September 8th, 2009

“There’s a trend going around the world for open data,” says Mark Harris, former manager of web standards at the New Zealand State Services Commission and co-organizer of Wellington’s recent Open Govt Data Barcamp and Hackfest.

He’s right, and New Zealand is certainly trailblazing. Last week, Creative Commons New Zealand reported that their national government released an open access and licensing framework draft (NZGOAL) for public feedback:

The framework will enable greater access to many public sector works by encouraging the New Zealand State Services agencies to license material for reuse on liberal terms, and recommends Creative Commons as an important tool in this process.

The release of NZGOAL is part of the Open Government Information and Data Re-use Project led by the State Services Commission. To get involved, join the official discussion page, contact CC New Zealand, or catch up with the Open Government Ninjas.

In other cool open gov news, New Zealand start-up Koordinates has become the online publication point for the Ministry for the Environment‘s Land Cover Database and the Land Environments New Zealand classification, released under CC BY.

Want to learn more?

Creative Commons curates a wiki listing of governmental license usage worldwide, plus a table on the public sector information laws in various jurisdictions and case studies from key government adopters. If you know of other examples, please help us document them by using the resources above or leaving a comment. Thank you!

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Coca-Cola Using CC on Facebook

Fred Benenson, September 1st, 2009

Coca-Cola Using Coke on Facebook

It recently came to our attention that Coca-Cola relaunched their Facebook Page (apparently one of the largest pages on the social network, with over 3.6 million fans), and included a policy that content shared by fans be available under our Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. The specific CC license badge appears in the sidebar on the Coke wall, but is also referenced in the Coca-Cola Facebook Terms of Service.

It appears that Coke is using a Facebook App called Static FBML that helps Page administrators include arbitrary HTML in Facebook pages. Since this is such a good idea, I’m going to work on a new version of our Official Unofficial CC License Facebook application that will enable all Page administrators to add CC license policies to their pages. More on that later this week.

Anyway, this is a great step forward for encouraging CC content and choices on Facebook, so kudos to Coke for thinking about user generated content in the right way!

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An Evaluation of Private Foundation Copyright Licensing Policies, Practices and Opportunities

Jane Park, August 28th, 2009

CC is pleased to announce that the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, in collaboration with the Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Open Society Institute, has recently published a new study entitled, An Evaluation of Private Foundation Copyright Licensing Policies, Practices and Opportunities, by Philllip Malone. From the announcement,

“This project… undertook to examine the copyright licensing policies and practices of a group of private foundations. In particular, it looked at the extent to which charitable foundations are aware of and have begun to use open licenses such as Creative Commons or the GPL for the works they create and that they support with their funding. We surveyed foundation staff and leaders and examined a number of examples where foundations have begun to take advantage of new licensing models. Based on the survey results, foundation experiences and additional research, we identified a variety of significant benefits that the use of open licenses can bring to foundations and their charitable goals. In particular, open licenses permit knowledge and learning to be widely shared and more readily adapted, improved or built upon, and allow those later improvements to be readily distributed. The result can be dramatically faster and greater access to research, information, technologies and other resources in ways that directly benefit foundations’ core missions and the public good.

The study sought to develop an analytical framework and set of factors that foundations can use to begin considering when and where the use of open licenses would further their mission and day-to-day work and where such licenses might not be useful or appropriate. It provides a great starting point for informed consideration of open licenses and the new opportunities they create for foundations and related organizations.”

This report creates an amazing opportunity for foundations to propel themselves into the future via open licensing and open technologies. Please read and share far and wide, as the entire study is open via CC BY.

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Anne Wojcicki and Sergey Brin Support CC with $500,000 Gift

Melissa Reeder, August 27th, 2009

Creative Commons is honored to have received an incredibly generous gift of $500,000 from 23andMe co-founder Anne Wojcicki and Google co-founder Sergey Brin. We are delighted that the couple recognizes the importance of Creative Commons and has decided to invest in our work to support sharing, collaboration, and the spread of knowledge and creativity. This gift – made in addition to the financial support that Google offers CC annually – will be used to support Creative Commons generally, with a focus on developing our Science Commons project, which Wojcicki and Brin are particularly excited about.

Today’s challenging economic climate has made it difficult for nonprofit organizations like Creative Commons to raise funds, making Wojcicki and Brin’s wonderful gift all the more appreciated. CC is busier than ever – we’re working with artists, scientists, educators, students, programmers, entrepreneurs, companies, universities, governments, and cultural institutions around the world to increase sharing and improve collaboration in ways that benefit all parts of society. As a nonprofit, we simply couldn’t do this work without the generous support of people like Wojcicki and Brin, as well as the other private donors, foundations, and corporations that enable Creative Commons to operate. For information about support for Creative Commons – including how you can get involved – please visit https://support.creativecommons.org.

Thank you to Ms. Wojcicki and Mr. Brin, from the Creative Commons staff, board, and community. We are very happy to have your support.

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