milestone

Davos World Economic Forum’s Photos Under CC-BY-SA

Fred Benenson, April 30th, 2009

Davos Flickr
There’s great news over at the Davos World Economic Forum blog:

We have just uploaded 300 of our best pictures from the Annual Meeting 2009 in Davos to the World Economic Forum’s Flickr account. Admittedly it took us some time to choose the best pictures from the thousands shot by our official photographers from Swiss-Image. My colleague Dafni Kokkidi spent the past week adding descriptions, tags and geo tags to all the photos. But it was well worth it, because these 300 high-resolution portrait shots are available for anyone to download in all sizes. Best of all, these pictures are licensed under the Creative Commons licence (BY-SA 3.0) meaning you can use them for free on your blog, on your website, in print and even for commercial purposes under the condition that you credit the World Economic Forum. We also uploaded the best pictures from our regional summits such as the recent World Economic Forum on Latin America in Rio.

Many of these photos have already made their way over to Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia, so they’ll probably be making an appearance in your favorite world leader’s article soon. Thanks to Davos for their substantial contribution to the commons!

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CC website redesign launched

Mike Linksvayer, April 28th, 2009

We just turned on the first big creativecommons.org site design changes since October 2007. If you’re reading in a feedreader and haven’t visited the main CC site in awhile, here’s a home page screenshot:

CC homepage screenshot

The blog (which of course you’re reading now) no longer dominates. Of course headlines from the main CC blog and from jurisdiction projects are still present on the home page, and you can always visit the main blog page or planet for the full blog experience.

Previously we made the CC wiki match the main site’s theme as closely as possible. That was a good idea at the time, but now that the world is more familiar with wikis, we’ve brought wiki tools and navigation to the fore. Here’s a screenshot of wiki navigation for a logged in user:

CC wiki screenshot

We’ve also made some incremental improvements to license deeds, consolidating important items that aren’t top level license properties under a “With the understanding that:” heading, see screenshot below:

CC BY-SA deed screenshot

Next steps include redesigns of the CC wiki main page, our international landing page, further improvements of the license chooser, and a rethinking of CC Search.

If you have ideas about how we could improve creativecommons.org sites, please leave a comment, file a bug, or even submit a patch. All of CC’s sites are built on free software and are themselves free software. Visit our code repository and a guide to where to find source code for the themes we use for WordPress, MediaWiki, and Drupal.

Congratulations on this redesign launch to Alex Roberts, our senior designer, with support from other staff, and suggestions and financial support from you. Thanks!

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Student Journalism 2.0

Jane Park, April 16th, 2009

Never has it become more plainly evident that the old model of news reporting—reporting via professional print media to the people—is crumbling, as one by one newspapers across the country shut down. We can lament these long-standing institutions, wax poetic for the “good old days”, or we can actually do something about it.

The solution is not to throw money at the problem, because money doesn’t force people to read what they don’t want to. The solution is to engage actively with the new forms of media out there, and to explore why the web and “new” media are replacing print news. Where does it all start, and what are the advantages of web journalism?

The MacArthur Foundation in partnership with HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) has awarded $2 million to nineteen projects spanning the globe and innovations in digital media and learning. One of these projects is Student Journalism 2.0, spearheaded by ccLearn. From the competition website,

“For journalism students, the digital age requires more than hands-on reporting, writing, and publication of stories. Students must also embrace the capabilities of the Internet for virtual collaboration, viral dissemination, and feedback loops that inform and deepen original stories. All of these web-based opportunities depend on knowledge and proactive application of open content licensing, such as with Creative Commons, and appropriate metatags and technical formats. Student Journalism 2.0 engages high school students in understanding legal and technical issues intrinsic to new journalistic practices. The lessons learned during this pilot project will be documented in anticipation of a national-scale, follow-up project.”

ccLearn’s Executive Director, Ahrash Bissell, is currently accepting the grant in Chicago at the awards ceremony and the projects showcase of last year’s Digital Media and Learning Competition winners. The event runs through tomorrow, and you can read the full press release here.

We wrote the proposal sometime last year, got enmeshed in the daily grind of other projects and work, and forgot about it. Spring brought fantastic news, and we would like to give our greatest thanks to the MacArthur Foundation, HASTAC, and everyone else involved in making this possible. We will keep you posted as the project develops. For now, you can read the original project proposal at the ccLearn site, licensed CC BY, of course.

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Norwegian Minister Publishes Book under CC BY-SA

Michelle Thorne, April 16th, 2009

delte meningerFrom CC Norway:

Today, Norway’s Minister of Government Administration and Reform, Heidi Grande Røys, launched a new book, edited by the Minister, about sharing and the social side of computer networks.  The book is titled “Delte  meninger” (in Norwegian this has the dual meaning of “shared  opinions” and “conflicting opinions”). There is also a website dedicated to open, public debate about the issues raised in the book.

Both the website and the print edition will carry a ported Norwegian CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

The print edition of the book will be published by Universitetsforlaget and is the first instance of a major book in Norway that carries a Creative Commons license.

Delte meninger / CC BY-SA 3.0

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First Creative Commons Arab world meeting held in Qatar at Al Jazeera media forum

Donatella Della Ratta, April 12th, 2009

The first Creative Commons regional meeting in the Arab World was held a few weeks ago during Al Jazeera’s annual Media Forum in Doha, Qatar (14-16 March, 2009).

The Forum hosted the first ever face-to-face meeting of the Arab Project Leads (Ziad Maraqa and Rami Olwan from CC Jordan and Nafaa Laribi from CC Tunisia) with CC staff (Joi Ito, Donatella Della Ratta, Catharina Maracke, and Michelle Thorne), key media researchers, bloggers, CC enthusiasts and supporters from the region. The meeting, organized with the kind support of Al Jazeera, tackled many issues that are crucial for future developments of CC communities in the Arab World. Lawyers Stephanie Raye Safi from Khasawneh & Associates (Dubai), Samer Jamous from Talal Abu Ghazaleh (Qatar) and Mohammad El Said (Al Jazeera) gave input on the first ported Arabic license, now being finalized by CC Jordan.

The Arabic translation of the name “Creative Commons” took center stage of the discussion. Pros and cons were weighed whether to leave the name in English and transliterate into Arabic script, or if it should be translated with a proper Arabic word. The Jordanian translation “masha3″ was agreed to be the closest to the original English meaning, but for those who would still like to share their input, the public discussion is still open on the CC Jordan page, where you are encouraged to contribute. Other legal issues were debated, such as moral rights and fair use.

The discussion also focused on how to enrich community participation in the Arab World and develop initiatives in media, education, and general outreach. Everyone agreed that a key component for CC in the Arab World should be to foster content creation in Arabic and to encourage innovation in tools and software to speed up this process. With these plans and more underway, a community list will be started in English and Arabic. If you’d like to be in touch, please let us know!

The CC Al Jazeera day also featured a panel on “Building successful media projects in open networks”, moderated by CC’s CEO Joi Ito. Mohamed Nanahbay, former Head of New Media at Al Jazeera, presented the CC Al Jazeera repository, a website initiated by the channel to host broadcast quality footage, all distributed under CC BY. Mohamed explained how the footage has been used and remixed by different groups of people, including several TV channels that edited and re-broadcasted the material. Footage shot in Gaza last December is now available in the repository, and Al Jazeera announced in Doha that they plan to add more topics and genres before the summer. The panel also hosted a delegation of the European Broadcasting Union led by Nicoletta Iacobacci, Head of New Interactive, to learn more about how to use CC licenses in future broadcasting initiatives.

It was a very busy and interesting day, with plenty of insights and thoughts for the future development of open content and CC communities in the Arab world. A big thank to the Al Jazeera team, particularly Mohamed, Moeed, and the New Media team for their passionate support and the great work to make this happen. Shukran gezilan!

We hope to plan more events of those kind, and if you want to stay in touch with us on those topics, please write an email to donatella@creativecommons.org

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Announcing ccLearn Productions—Recommendations, Explanations, and Step by Step Guides

Jane Park, April 7th, 2009

ccLearn is constantly getting requests from people—teachers, heads of organizations, and people just curious about how it all works in general. (Open licensing in education? What purpose does that serve? How do I attach licenses to my resources anyway?) These requests are more for brief overviews and instructions than for long, detailed reports about the philosophy behind licensing or OER, which, though necessary, are not particularly useful when you need to distill a concept to a roomful of open education newbies in half an hour or less.

We haven’t been turning a deaf ear; on the contrary, we have been in production mode all the while. ccLearn Productions consists of a variety of documents and media, including three new document series, ccLearn Recommendations, ccLearn Explanations, and ccLearn Step by Step Guides.

The ccLearn Recommendations series provides best practices, advice, recommendations, and guiding principles for OER, CC, and related issues. The ccLearn Explanations series distills key concepts or explores interesting issues for outreach and awareness building for OER and ccLearn. The ccLearn Step by Step Guides provides detailed and recipe-like guidance to specific actions of interest to the OpenEd community.

The aim of the three series is to spark initial interest in OER, while still relaying accurate and meaningful information that can be put to good and immediate use. However, like most, if not all, educational resources, these documents are by no means final or summative. They are meant to serve as starting points, licensed openly for future iteration and improvement.

Three productions, one from each series, have recently come to fruition:

ccLearn Recommendations:
Publishing Your Open Educational Resources on the Internet
These are best practices for properly specifying terms of use (TOU) and copyright licenses for any site hosting Open Educational Resources (OER).

ccLearn Explanations:
Open Educational Resources and Creative Commons Licensing
If you are a teacher or creator of educational resources, this primer gives you an introduction to the concepts of open education, Creative Commons licensing, and other issues pertinent to putting your educational materials on the Internet.

ccLearn Step by Step Guides:
Applying Creative Commons licenses to your educational resources
This is a very basic step-by-step guide for people who want to apply Creative Commons (CC) licenses to their educational resources, thus making them open educational resources (OER).

All three productions (and future ones) are licensed CC BY, free for you to reproduce, adapt, translate, remix, or redistribute accordingly. We have made them available in both PDF and Open Document Format (for OpenOffice). If you make a particularly compelling or contextually rich adaptation, please feel free to let us know, as we would love to link to derivatives. Additional documents in these series are being planned or already underway.

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250,000 Images Donated to the Commons

Michelle Thorne, April 2nd, 2009

Not wanting April Fool’s Day to overshadow this announcement, we’re posting today about the 250,000 images recently donated to Wikimedia Commons, a sister project of Wikipedia.

588px-fotothek_df_n-06_0000031

The images, part of the German Photo Collection at Saxony’s State and University Library (SLUB), are being uploaded with corresponding captions and metadata. Afterward, volunteers will link the photos, all available under Germany’s ported CC BY-SA 3.0 license or in the public domain, to personal identification data and relevant Wikipedia articles. The collection depicts scenes from German history and daily life.

As a bonus for the donating library, the metadata supplied by the German Photo Collection will be expanded and annotated by Wikipedia users, and the results will be seeded back into the collection’s database.

The donation marks the first step in a collaboration between SLUB and Wikimedia Germany e.V., the pioneering Wikimedia chapter who faciliated a similar 100,000-image-strong cooperation with the German Federal Archives last December.

Fotothek df n-06 0000031.jpg” by Eugen Nosko,  provided to Wikimedia Commons by the Deutsche Fotothek of the Saxon State Library (SLUB) as part of a cooperation project. The file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License.

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Esther Wojcicki, new CC board chair

Mike Linksvayer, April 1st, 2009

We’re very pleased to announce that effective today, noted educator, education innovator and journalist Esther Wojcicki is the new chair of the Creative Commons board of directors. From the press release:

“I am thrilled to take on this new role,” said Wojcicki. “I strongly believe that the Creative Commons approach to sharing, reuse, and innovation has the power to totally reshape the worlds of education, science, technology, and culture at large. My main goal as chair is to make average Internet users worldwide aware of Creative Commons and to continue building the organization’s governance and financial resources. I am also very eager to help CC’s education push at high school and college journalism programs worldwide.”

Read the whole release for more.

Also see outgoing chair James Boyle’s CC BY(e bye) post — finely crafted writing down to the title, as we have come to expect. As you’ll read, Boyle, a founder of the modern movement for the intellectual commons (and CC itself), will remain deeply engaged in the movement. There remains no better in depth explanation of the intellectual commons than Boyle’s book, The Public Domain.

Thank you and congratulations to both Wojcicki and Boyle!


CC board members Hal Abelson and Esther Wojcicki. Photo by CC CEO Joi Ito / CC BY. Note that our celebratory offer of Joi’s Free Souls book for a donation to CC is still on.

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$8 Million Investment in Flatworld Knowledge

Jane Park, March 27th, 2009

Flatworld Knowledge, an open textbook initiative that has been in development since 2007, received $8 million in investments earlier this week. That’s right. $8 million. In investments, not grants.

The open textbook world got a lot of press last fall, and I’m guessing that not long after it started piquing the interest of the rich (and maybe famous). I don’t know; have you heard of Valhalla Partners, Greenhill SAVP, and High Peaks Venture Partners? They, along with several angel investors, are the ones who believe Flatworld Knowledge (aka open textbooks) will be the next big thing. From the press release:

“This is an exciting investment,” said Hooks Johnston, General Partner at Valhalla Partners. “Like MP3’s blew up the delivery model for recorded music, the blogosphere and online news sources blew up the newspaper business, Flat World Knowledge is poised to blow up the college textbook market. We’re backing the perfect team to make it happen.”

What makes an open textbook? Open licensing. Flatworld Knowledge currently has 22 business and economics textbooks in development, with 10 titles set for faculty review (almost) right about now. All of their textbooks will be open under one of the Creative Commons licenses, allowing you to not only freely access the books online, but to adapt, modify, and derive them, depending on the license.

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Creative Commons wins the 2008 Free Software Foundation Award for Project of Social Benefit!

Mike Linksvayer, March 24th, 2009

Saturday at Libre Planet, the Free Software Foundation’s annual conference, Creative Commons was honored to receive the FSF’s Award for Projects of Social Benefit:

The FSF Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented annually to a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society by applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life.

Since its launch in 2001, Creative Commons has worked to foster a growing body of creative, educational and scientific works that can be shared and built upon by others. Creative Commons has also worked to raise awareness of the harm inflicted by increasingly restrictive copyright regimes.

Creative Commons vice president Mike Linksvayer accepted the award saying, “It’s an incredible honor. Creative Commons should be giving an award to the Free Software Foundation and Richard Stallman, because what Creative Commons is doing would not be possible without them.”

Congratulations also to Wietse Venema, honored with the Award for the Advancement of Free Software for his “significant and wide-ranging technical contributions to network security, and his creation of the Postfix email server.”

FSF president Stallman presented a plaque by artist Lincoln Read commemorating the award to Creative Commons.

It is worth noting that the FSF Social Benefit Award’s 2005 and 2007 winners are Wikipedia and Groklaw both because it is tremendous to be in their company and as the former is in the process of migrating to a CC BY-SA license (thanks in large part to the FSF) and the latter publishes under a CC BY-NC-ND license.

Only last December CC was honored to receive an award from another of computing’s most significant pioneers, Doug Engelbart.

Thanks again to the Free Software Foundation and Richard Stallman. Please join us in continuing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his founding of the free software movement. As Stallman would say, “Happy Hacking!”

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