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Creative Commons named Knight Prototype Fund recipient

Ryan Merkley, October 15th, 2014

Today, the Knight Foundation announced the selected recipients of its latest Prototype Fund. We’re very proud to be among them, with a new project that probably sounds a bit outside of our normal work to those familiar with CC. Here’s why we’re doing it:

When I joined as CEO, I was tasked with imagining the next phase of Creative Commons. Now that we have the licenses, what do we want to do with them? How do we build a wide-reaching commons of creativity and knowledge, with easy contribution, use, and re-use? After talking with dozens of partners, funders, our global affiliate network, and our staff, I think it boils down to three areas: building a movement, driving content into the commons, and helping creators get content out.

Today’s announcement from Knight works in the first and second categories: pushing content into the commons, while engaging a new group of contributors. We will create a mobile app to encourage people to take photos and share them from a list of “most wanted” images. Organizations and individuals will put out the call, and users will be prompted to respond – including (eventually for those who want them) with geo-tagged notifications (“Ryan, we see you’re at the Mozilla Festival. Would you grab a photo of coders hacking the Web?”). All images will be uploaded to a public repository and licensed under CC BY, so anyone can use them. Creators will see their work used more widely, and maybe even “compete” to take the best photo. Internally, we’re calling it “The List, powered by Creative Commons.”

CC tech lead Matt Lee is working with the talented folks in Toronto’s Playground Inc. to create the prototype, and we will be testing our assumptions over the coming months. Everything will be done in the open – we’ll be at the Mozilla Festival in London, UK, later this month sharing our initial work and gathering ideas.

This is new ground for us, but we’re excited about the potential – for better stock photography, better photos on Wikipedia, better citizen journalism, and a wider pool of contributors who have helped to build the commons. Lots more to come, but we’re grateful for Knight’s support and guidance.

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Work with CC: Director of Product Strategy

Greg Grossmeier, September 14th, 2012

Creative Commons is looking for an experienced, innovative, and technically inclined individual to drive product development at CC. This individual will play a highly influential role in the future of Creative Commons as we look to the next 10 years.

For those that have been paying attention, this is indeed a re-imagination of the previous solicitation for a Chief Technology Officer. This role has expanded to be a more general direction setting position within CC vis-a-vis tools and products that will enable and sustain CC and its community.

Creative Commons started with a vision of leveraging the Internet to scale the sharing of our collective cultural, scientific, and educational output. To that end, there is an unimaginable number of freely licensed works to build upon, and to build services around, and 90% of the technical groundwork is laid (meaning, of course, there is still more than 90% of the way to go!). Now is an incredibly exciting time to lead the product and technology efforts of Creative Commons — be part of a great team, help communities yearning to share better and more effectively, and engage with developers around the world to help build a better future.

And it is an interesting place to work! Some unique aspects of the CC technical and product team:

  • All software developed by CC is free software; see our source repositories and bug tracker;
  • We have a small (two software engineers, one system administrator) technology team focused on maintaining and improving CC’s services (implemented using Python, CiviCRM, WordPress, MediaWiki, and other technologies); additionally technology suffuses all of our work, including when policy-oriented — the technology team and especially CTO are frequently called on to provide leadership on broad issues;
  • See our CC Labs blog for occasional posts on the details of our technical work and thoughts on related happenings;
  • Watch recordings of past CC technology summits;
  • Read about the CC Rights Expression Language, a set of recommendations implemented across CC’s services and by many publishers.

We’re accepting resumes through October 12. See the job posting for details.

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VIA Releases OpenBook, Opens CAD Designs under CC BY-SA 3.0

Jon Phillips, May 27th, 2008

VIA OpenBook Press Photo

Today VIA launched their OpenBook, an innovative subnotebook platform. You can buy it now and also download the raw CAD files released under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareaAlike 3.0 license, meaning you can get the raw machine files to make whatever case or version you want, as long as you release your modifications under the same license and give attribution back to VIA. The VIA press release today states:

The VIA OpenBook mini-note reference design introduces a host of new innovations, including the next generation of VIA Ultra Mobile Platform, based on the VIA C7®-M ULV processor and the new all-in-one VIA VX800 digital media IGP chipset. Together, this ultra compact, power efficient platform delivers richer computing and multimedia features, including a stunning 8.9” screen and greater video playback support, in a compact and stylish clamshell form factor that weighs just 1kg.

The VIA OpenBook features a flexible internal interface for high-speed broadband wireless connectivity that provides customers with the ability to select from a choice of WiMAX™, HSDPA and EV-DO/W-CDMA modules appropriate to their market. In addition, under a unique collaborative approach, the CAD files of the external panels of the reference design are offered for download under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 license to give customers such as OEMs, system integrators, and broadband service providers greater freedom in tailoring the look and feel of their device to meet the diverse needs of their target markets.

And, some blogs are praising its coolness like what crunchgear had to say (which hints at business strategy of companies like VIA):

Do you own a small fabricating plant in Taiwan? Do you have an engineering team of ten PhDs? Do you want to make small laptops? Has VIA got a deal for you. The VIA OpenBook reference design is not actually a product — it’s more of an idea. Because it is ostensibly open (the CAD plans are available on the VIAOpenBook site) you simply buy the chips from VIA and use the plans to build your own cases, keyboards, and I/O systems.

Here is my quote about the release :)

“VIA is a forward thinking company that has realized that sharing enables a healthy ecosystem which helps them provide an innovative product which supports their core business,” commented Jon Phillips, Business and Community Manager for Creative Commons. ”Making the actual raw CAD files available under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license is a brilliant first step that clearly and legally allows others to emergently build upon VIA’s open innovation.”

I’ll add that this is a very interesting project that ups the “Open” ante of the ASUS EeePC’s involvement in free and open culture beyond the software that ships on the platform, it competes strongly against the One Laptop Per Child XO-1, and the Intel Classmate, which are the predecessors of this generation of subnotebook. In fact, it appears that chip companies are realizing that in order to sell more chips, it is good to give away some parts of a product for free, or ship a free operating system which further reduces the cost barrier to selling more silicon. As an aside, this also mirrors what Nine Inch Nails did by releasing part of their product as an entry into more specific and special packages.

It should also be noted that this valiant efforts follows up the great work that FIC’s Openmoko, Open Source Cellphone, did by releasing their CAD designs, which has already led to multiple efforts to create different cases and a great set of community pages on howto get your designs manufactured. Also, we worked with Keith Packard at Intel to release some specifications of graphics chips by Intel around the same time, which has helped for more companies to realize this same level of openness, and more importantly has allowed for developers, other companies, and people to more easily support and buy more Intel chips.

If you have a product similar to the above, or something you think could benefit from Creative Commons licensing in this way, please do contact me (Jon Phillips), contact us, or comment on this post. Let’s *open* it up.

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