milestone

Celebrate 100 Million CC Photos on Flickr with Joi Ito’s Free Souls

Fred Benenson, March 23rd, 2009

Free Souls Image

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been keeping a close eye on the number of CC licensed photos of Flickr. Our calculations now show that Flickr has surpassed 100 million CC licensed photos sometime during the day on Saturday, March 21st, 2009. As of Monday, we’re calculating the total number of CC licensed photos at 100,191,085.*

These photos have been used in hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia articles, blog posts, and even mainstream press pieces; all examples of new works that might not otherwise been created without our standardized public licenses. Flickr’s integration of CC licenses was one of the first and best; not only do they allow users to specify licenses per-photo, but they offer an incredible CC discovery page which breaks down searches for CC licensed materials by license. This means that you can look for all the photos of New York City licensed under Attribution and sorted by interestingness, to give an example.

As part of our celebration of Flickr passing this historic milestone, we are offering a dozen copies of Creative Commons CEO Joi Ito’s Free Souls book at our $100 donation level. Naturally, all of Joi’s photos are not only licensed under our most permissive Attribution license, but they’re also available on Flickr for download. By donating to Creative Commons today you can support the work that we do and receive one of the 1,024 copies of Joi’s limited edition book.

*We are linking to CSV files generated per-day based a simple scrape of Flickr’s CC portal. To generate the total number of licensed photos, we SUM()‘d the 2nd column of the CSV file. March 21st yielded approximately 99 million and March 22nd yielded over 100 million, hence our estimate that 100 million was passed sometime during the day on Saturday.

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Gawker Media Empire Goes All CC

Fred Benenson, March 20th, 2009

Gawker MediaGawker Media, the blog conglomerate that includes Gizmodo, Gawker, and Lifehacker among others has adopted our Attribution-NonCommercial license for all of their original content. Gizmodo’s Brylan Lam blogged about the decision here:

… I’m happy to announce that we’re being published under a Creative Commons license now. Although it’s a non-commercial license, remixes and quotes are fine by blogs commercial or otherwise, with attribution/links. But splogs can—as always—go to hell. This has always been our policy, but it’s nice to have the license right there on the bottom.

You can read more about the policy on their legal page if you’re so inclined. Congrats and thanks for contributing to the commons, Gawker Media!

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NIH Open Access mandate made permanent

Kaitlin Thaney, March 17th, 2009

Over on the Science Commons blog, Thinh writes:

The NIH Public Access Policy, which was due to expire this year, has now been made permanent by the 2009 Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law last week.

Last year, Science Commons, SPARC, and ARL jointly released a White Paper authored by our board member Mike Carroll called “Complying With the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy,” explaining the new NIH-mandated PubMed deposit requirement and questions that grant recipients should consider in designing a program to comply with it. At that time, the new mandatory policy had just taken effect, and many recipients were still learning how to comply. Nevertheless, the results were dramatic. Prior to NIH’s mandatory deposit requirement, under a voluntary policy NIH began in 2005, the compliance rate in terms of deposits in PubMed had been very low (4%, as published in an NIH report to Congress in 2006). Shortly after the adoption of the new mandatory policy, submissions spiked to an all time high, prompting an NIH official to project compliance rates of 55-60%. Just take a look at this NIH chart, and note the sharp rise after the policy took effect in early 2008.

In a subsequent White Paper that Science Commons and SPARC jointly issued, our recommendations included looking beyond compliance with the new policy and taking this opportunity to develop comprehensive institutional deposit and public access policies, such as Harvard’s open access policy.

Making the NIH Public Access Policy permanent will provide scholars and institutions with much needed certainty and impetus to focus on implementing these requirements within their institutions. It also creates a opportunity for scholars, universities, and the research community to take a broader look at their institution’s scholarly publishing and open access policies, not only as it applies to deposit in PubMed, but also as it applies to their own institutional repositories and scholarly communities.

We will work with our collaborators to develop further policy and legal briefings for university and public research institutions who are studying these issues. Look for that this summer.

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Expanding the Public Domain: Part Zero

Diane Peters, March 11th, 2009

Creative Commons has spent a lot of time over the past year or so strategizing, and worrying, about the current state of the public domain and its future. In particular, we’ve been thinking about ways to help cultivate a vibrant and rich pool of freely available resources accessible to anyone to use for any purpose, unconditionally.

Our copyright licenses empower creators to manage their copyright on terms they choose. But what about creators who aren’t concerned about those protections, or who later want to waive those rights altogether? Unfortunately, the law makes it virtually impossible to waive the copyright automatically bestowed on creators. The problem is compounded by the fact that copyright terms vary dramatically and are frequently extended. Additionally, new protections, like the creation of sui generis database rights in the EU, are layered atop traditional rights, making an already complex system of copyright all the more complicated. In combination, these challenges stand in the way of the vibrant public domain that CC and many others envision.

Today at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology conference, our CEO Joi Ito will formally introduce the first of two tools designed to address these challenges. CC0 (read “CC Zero”) is a universal waiver that may be used by anyone wishing to permanently surrender the copyright and database rights they may have in a work, thereby placing it as nearly as possible into the public domain. CC0 is not a license, but a legal tool that improves on the “dedication” function of our existing, U.S.-centric public domain dedication and certification. CC0 is universal in form and may be used throughout the world for any kind of content without adaptation to account for laws in different jurisdictions. And like our licenses, CC0 has the benefit of being expressed in three ways – legal code, a human readable deed, and machine-readable code that allows works distributed under CC0 to be easily found. Read our FAQs to learn more.

CC0 is an outgrowth of six years of experience with our existing public domain tool, the maturation of ccREL (our recommendations for machine-readable work information), and the requirements of educators and scientists for the public domain. Science Commons’ work on the Open Access Data Protocol, to ensure interoperability of data and databases in particular, informed our development of CC0. It should come as no surprise that several of CC0’s early adopters are leading some of the most important projects within the scientific community.

The ProteomeCommons.org Tranche network is one such early adopter. “Our goal is to remove as many barriers to scientific data sharing as possible in order to promote new discoveries. The Creative Commons CC0 waiver was incorporated into our uploading options as the default in order to help achieve this goal. By giving a simple option to release data into the public domain, CC0 removes the complex barriers of licensing and restrictions. This lets researchers focus on what’s most important, their research and new discoveries,” said Philip Andrews, Professor at the University of Michigan.

Another early adopter of CC0 is the Personal Genome Project, a pioneer in the emerging field of personal genomics technology. The Personal Genome Project is announcing today the release of a large data set containing genomic sequences for ten individuals using CC0, with future planned releases also under CC0. “PersonalGenomes.org is committed to making our research data freely available to the public because we think that is the best way to promote discovery and advance science, and CC0 helps us to state that commitment in a clear and legally accurate way,” said Jason Bobe, Director of Community.

John Wilbanks, CC’s vice president for science, follows Joi Ito at Etech with a presentation addressing the role of CC0 in promoting open innovation.

Building CC0 into a universally robust tool has required the efforts and dedication of many over the course of more than a year. CC jurisdiction project leads in particular provided us with meaningful forums in which to openly discuss CC0’s development. They also provided jurisdiction-specific research critical to our understanding of public domain around the world. This support was invaluable to the crafting of a legally sound public domain tool for use everywhere. An overview of CC’s development and public comment process can be found on the CC wiki, together with links to our blog postings summarizing key policy and drafting decisions.

About the second tool that we refer to above, stay tuned. Funding permitting, we plan to roll out a beta public domain assertion tool this coming summer that will make it easy for people to tag and find content already in the public domain — increasing its effective size, even if due to copyright extensions works are not naturally added to the public domain.

Note, one small improvement we’re introducing with CC0 is that its deed and legalcode are located at http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/. The forthcoming public domain assertion tool will also be rooted under this directory. Thanks to everyone who reminded us that the public domain is not a license, and public domain tools should not be under a “licenses” directory!

A word of thanks to our pro bono legal counsel at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Latham & Watkins. Their legal review and analysis provided the heightened level of rigor that users of our licenses and legal tools have come to expect from Creative Commons.

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Nina Paley’s “Sita Sings the Blues” Out Under Attribution-ShareAlike

Fred Benenson, March 10th, 2009

Sita Sings the Blues
Talented animator, writer and producer Nina Paley has freely released her animated film, Sita Sings the Blues under our copyleft license, Attribution-ShareAlike. Copies of Paley’s feature length film are available on Archive.org, LegalTorrents, and various other sites in many different formats. Nina explains her decision to her audience on the film’s site:

Dear Audience,

I hereby give Sita Sings the Blues to you. Like all culture, it belongs to you already, but I am making it explicit with a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. Please distribute, copy, share, archive, and show Sita Sings the Blues. From the shared culture it came, and back into the shared culture it goes.

You don’t need my permission to copy, share, publish, archive, show, sell, broadcast, or remix Sita Sings the Blues. Conventional wisdom urges me to demand payment for every use of the film, but then how would people without money get to see it? How widely would the film be disseminated if it were limited by permission and fees? Control offers a false sense of security. The only real security I have is trusting you, trusting culture, and trusting freedom. …

Nina’s film retells the classic Indian myth Ramayana and has already received critical acclaim from the NYTimes, Rogert Ebert who gave it two thumbs up, and many others. On March 7th, it was broadcast on PBS/WNET and is now available streaming on thirteen.org.

Check out SitaSingstheBlues.com for more information, download links, and of course, a wiki.

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GreenXchange – a project of Creative Commons, Nike and Best Buy

Kaitlin Thaney, February 10th, 2009

Today, Creative Commons, in collaboration with Nike and Best Buy, announces a new project – GreenXchange – exploring how the digital commons can help holders of patents collaborate for sustainability. GreenXchange will be hosted inside the Science Commons wing of CC.

GreenXchange draws on the experience of Creative Commons in creating “some rights reserved” regimes for artists, musicians, scientists, and educators, but also on the hard-won successes of patent “commons” projects like the Linux Patent Commons, the BIOS project, FreePatentsOnline and the Eco-Patent Commons. We will examine how best to reconstruct the academic research exemption eliminated in the United States in the Madey v. Duke case, how to extend that exemption to corporate research, how private contract systems can be used to construct a commons for use in sustainability. There is also a technical component – we are very interested in how tools like ccMixter and the semantic web will allow for new methods of tracking use and re-use of patents and integration of shared patents into climate and sustainability model.

GreenXchange is very much an exploratory project. Our goal is to stimulate innovation in the operational space by increasing research use and rights through the some rights reserved model, and to extend the model itself all the way into standard commercial patent licensing for sustainability purposes. Our model is open innovation, our methods are those of the digital commons, and we are very excited to be working with our new partners to help them overcome “failed sharing” to help us all work towards a sustainable world.

For more information on the project, we invite you to check out the informational video over at Science Commons.

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NIN case study video: Connect with Fans + Reason to Buy

Mike Linksvayer, February 6th, 2009

Techdirt’s Mike Masnick gave a great case study lecture on Nine Inch Nails’ music business successes at MidemNet last month. He describes the “formula” as:

Connect With Fans (CwF) + Reason To Buy (RtB) = The Business Model ($$$$)

Toward the end of the video he explains CwF also means “Compete with Free” and RtB means “Return to Business” as an alternative to prosecuting fans.

Offering creative work under a CC license (as NIN has done with its last two albums) is a way to powerfully signal an intention to connect with fans and that the creator has returned to business. This doesn’t absolve a creator from the need to provide interesting reasons to buy that compete with (or perhaps rather complement) free, which NIN has done in spades.

Another good point Masnick makes at the end of the presentation is that the model works for large and small creators. A few years ago, often I’d hear people comment that tools like CC licensing were only useful for artists that weren’t well known and needed to take extreme measures to promote their works. Ironically, more recently, and especially following NIN’s successes, I see comments that open music can only work for bands that already have a rabid fan base. Obviously both can’t be true, and it turns out neither is. See some of Masnick’s previous posts on open music business models (here’s a recent one with lots of links back) for more.

If Masnick’s lecture inspires you as an artist to try the model, go for it — for additional inspiration check out Jonathan Coulton’s letter for CC’s recent campaign (because he writes eloquently about how essentially the model Masnick describes has worked for him, not because he’s asking for donations to CC, though you can make those too). If you’re inspired to help document and explain successful applications of the model, we’d love for you to help expand the CC case studies project, which is going to get much bigger this spring.

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David Bollier’s Viral Spiral: A Definitive History of Our Movement

Fred Benenson, January 26th, 2009

viralspiralPublic Knowledge cofounder David Bollier‘s new book Viral Spiral published by The New Press is not only available as free Creative Commons (BY-NC) download, but it will likely establish itself as a definitive guide for those seeking to understand and discover the key players and concepts in the digital commons. From the beginnings of the Free Software Movement, to Wikipedia’s Inception, to Lessig founding Creative Commons at Harvard Law School, Bollier thoughtfully examines the principles and circumstances that helped nurture our digital commons from idea to (meta)physical reality.

If you are looking for a book that both serves as an introduction to and argues for the ideals behind a digital commons, look no further. And if you’re planning on reading the book in the bed, bath or beach, purchase a hard copy at Amazon or other fine bookstores..

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Whitehouse.gov’s 3rd Party Content Under CC-BY

Fred Benenson, January 20th, 2009

Whitehouse.govAs you may of heard, the new Whitehouse.gov launched today at 12:01pm during Barack Obama’s inauguration. What you might not have noticed is that the copyright policy of the site stipulates that all 3rd party content is licensed under our most permissive Attribution license:

Pursuant to federal law, government-produced materials appearing on this site are not copyright protected. The United States Government may receive and hold copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.

Except where otherwise noted, third-party content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Visitors to this website agree to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the rest of the world for their submissions to Whitehouse.gov under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

(emphasis added)

Congratulations to the 44th President of the US for choosing CC!

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Al Jazeera Launches Creative Commons Repository

Fred Benenson, January 13th, 2009

Al Jazeera Creative Commons RepositoryAl Jazeera is releasing 12 broadcast quality videos today shot in Gaza under Creative Commons’ least restrictive Attribution license. Each professionally recorded video has a detailed information page and is hosted on blip.tv allowing for easy downloads of the original files and integration into Miro. The value of this footage is best described by an International Herald Tribune/New York Times article describing the release:

In a conflict where the Western news media have been largely prevented from reporting from Gaza because of restrictions imposed by the Israeli military, Al Jazeera has had a distinct advantage. It was already there.

More importantly, the permissive CC-BY license means that the footage can be used by anyone including, rival broadcasters, documentary makers, and bloggers, so long as Al Jazeera is credited.

There’s more information over at Al Jazeera’s CC repository, and in our press release. You can also add the Al Jazeera repository to your Miro feeds by clicking here.

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