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Syria Deeply: CC-Licensed News Aggregator

Donatella Della Ratta, December 21st, 2012

In January 2009, Al Jazeera launched a pioneering initiative: the first news repository licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. At the time, restrictions imposed by the Israeli military in Gaza prevented international news outlets from reaching the Strip and reporting from within. Al Jazeera, which had the advantage of being the only news outlet with a correspondent on the ground, came up with a creative solution by making its exclusive footage available to be used, remixed, translated and re-broadcasted by everybody, including competitors.

Three years later, a similar situation is happening with Syria. Shortage of news is dramatic and reports from within the country are rare and often require that journalists’ lives are put at risk in order to gather information. This is why it is key to have initiatives such as Syria Deeply, a news aggregator launched two weeks ago by a team of journalists and technologists headed by seasoned reporter Lara Setrakian.

Syria Deeply is a news platform that aims to redesign the user experience of the Syria story, for greater understanding and engagement around a complex global issue.‬ The platform is part news aggregator, part interactive backgrounder, part original reporting and feature stories. And the great news is that the content on the site is entirely CC BY–licensed, in order to encourage sharing and viral distribution.

This is a major step in crisis reporting and will allow a wider audience to become more aware of the dramatic situation in Syria, fostering a better understanding of a complex issue by adding context and historical information to the headlines.

“I believe technology is the key to getting more and better news to a broader audience,” says Setrakian. Open licensing can support this process and spread more and better understanding on Syria-related issues.

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Australian Broadcasting Corporation releases archival news footage under Creative Commons

Jessica Coates, March 27th, 2012

ABC Mobile Studio Caravan
ABC Mobile Studio Caravan provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation / CC BY-SA

This is one for all those interested in the use of CC licences by archives, broadcasters or news organisations.

CC Australia has just announced that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia’s largest public broadcaster and news service, has used Wikimedia Commons to release a selection of historically significant television news stories under CC BY-SA.

Much of the material on Wikimedia has been released along with other archival material to celebrate the ABC’s 80th birthday as part of the 80 days that changed our lives website. However, this is just part of a broader Open Archives project by the ABC which has released hundreds of archival objects, encompassing audio, video and photographic material, including many more news and current affairs broadcasts, for reuse under CC licences. All of this builds on the ABC’s social media site, Pool, which has been working with the CC licences for some time and which we’ve written about before.

While other news broadcasters are also making material available under CC licences, what makes this project significant is that the news segments that have been released aren’t obscure archival material or raw footage, but rather polished stories broadcast by some of the ABC’s premier current affairs programs about major events in Australian history. It includes, for example, news reports on the Apollo 11 moon landings, the Azaria Chamberlain case, and the floating of the Australian currency. Not to mention this 1974 footage of Arthur C Clarke predicting the internet, with uncanny accuracy.

The release of the material via Wikimedia Commons will act to encourage its reuse on Wikipedia, like this report on the introduction of World Series Cricket. This in turn will expose it to a far broader audience than the ABC’s own website, and encourage its dissemination further. As Angela Clark, Director of ABC Innovation, says in the press release, “sharing content in this way not only makes more ABC content available to everyone, it also facilitates creativity and the possibility of new audiences for the footage.”

Wikimedia notes that this is “the first collection of broadcast “packaged” footage released to Wikimedia Commons under a free license,” aka CC BY-SA, the same license Wikipedia uses. We’d love to hear about any other similar uses to add to our Case Studies wiki.

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In Sapporo at Jon Phillips 4.0 Launch

Jon Phillips, July 31st, 2008

Photo a href=http://creativecommons.org/license/by-sa/3.0by-sa/a Freddy B. Used with permission from Photographer.
Photo by-sa Freddy B. Used with permission from Photographer.

I’m in Sapporo for the CC Legal Day, Commons Research Mini-conference which the Metrics Project is but part, and to further promote the CC Case Studies project. As Greg outlined so clearly last week and I presented at the launch of CC Singapore a few days ago, this project is doing quite well with 112 submissions from around the world assisted by a great system for supporting this community project, and even better brilliant people adding case studies daily!

Also, you kind readers might have noticed that we have launched and/or refreshed several projects over the last few weeks to prepare for a coming change. As of August, my role with Creative Commons will change from managing community and business development to being liaison in ongoing similar affairs. This also means that I will be spending most of my time on projects outside of Creative Commons — most still involve using Creative Commons licensing and technology.

I’m not leaving the culture of free and open, nor Creative Commons, both of which I have been involved with for some time. Rather, I will be, as of August 2nd, devoting most of my energy to projects I’ve been delaying or couldn’t do as effectively since I have been living and breathing Creative Commons. My job and peers at Creative Commons are amazing and working for CC, in my capacity at least which I can speak to, is a dream job. If anything, I will be pushing Creative Commons even more by action, projects, and facilitation in another capacity.

Thus, if you want to find out more about what I will be doing, you know where to find me. And, if I’ve been working with you, your business, your community, and/or organization, jon@creativecommons.org still works (and will so). I am continuing work on a couple of projects that have not launched in relationship to Open Library/PDWiki project. I also am on-demand still for speaking at events and conferences globally – particularly in Asia since I will be spending most time in China from August – December 2008. I’m still on the books and will facilitate any discussions to the appropriate people. I’m more excited that ever to keep growing the commons!

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