public domain

Why Did the White House Choose Attribution and not Public Domain?

Fred Benenson, April 29th, 2009

obama_flickr
The microblogs have been a-buzz this morning about news of the launch of the official White House Flickr stream featuring photos from Obama’s first 100 days in office. While the photos are licensed under our Attribution license, one could make the very strong argument that they’re actually in the public domain and can be used without attribution (though one would have to be careful and respect the personality rights of the private citizens featured in some of the photos). The photos are likely in the public domain because they are works created by the federal government and not entitled to copyright protection. As you might recall, the Whitehouse.gov’s copyright notice indicates as much.

Why would the White House then choose Attribution for their Flickr stream? Simple, unlike communities like Wikipedia and Thingiverse, Flickr doesn’t allow their photographers to choose Public Domain as an option to release their work to the world. So the Obama team must have picked the next best option: Attribution only.

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Prospector Alliance reappropriates public domain materials

Jane Park, April 16th, 2009

One of the benefits of public domain books is that once they are scanned and made available on the Internet, they are then available for anyone, including other organizations, to use and reuse in other contexts and sites. The Prospector Alliance, the union catalog of Colorado Alliance Research Libraries, did exactly this by enhancing the bibliographic records of the University of Michigan’s giant collection of digitized public domain books. According to the press release,

“Library users in Colorado and Wyoming now have access to tens of thousands of additional open-access digitized books and serials through the Prospector Library Catalog (http://prospector.coalliance.org). The digitized items originate from the University of Michigan, a partner in the Google Books digitization project and a member of a consortium of libraries called Hathi Trust. Last year the University of Michigan made available bibliographic records for many of the out-of-copyright titles that Google digitized from its collections. The University then made available online files for each of the digitized works.

…Now library patrons from across Colorado have access to the online books via the Prospector catalog. Except for the University of Michigan where the books originated, the Auraria Library was the first library in the nation to make these books available to its users.”

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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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Advice for Authors on Negotiating With a Publisher About CC Licenses

Cameron Parkins, March 30th, 2009

Cory Doctorow points us towards an excellent essay from the team behind Digital Foundations on ten key steps to negotiating a CC-licensed release with a large scale publisher:

4. Pitch it with facts

Use case studies to argue with facts. It also helps for them to see that other reputable publishers have licensed books Creative Commons. O’Reilly has some a study on an Asterisk book that we used very effectively.

http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/06/free_downloads.html

The Asterisk book sold 19k copies over two years (about what comparable books from O’Reilly were selling), but was downloaded 180,000 times from *one* of the 5 sites that mirrored it.

Also consider google as arbiter:

Results from google search breakdown of references to the two books in the oreilly case study (at the time of negotiation, early 2008):
asterisk: 139,000 references in 2 years (2005-2007), or 70,000 per year

understanding the linux kernel, 42,000 references in 7 years (2000-2007), 6,000 per year

So there was 10x the press/blog/reference/hits for the CC licensed book.

Treading the sometimes delicate waters of negotiating a CC license with those immediately apprehensive to the idea is difficult at the very least – this type of information, from those who have gone through the process, is invaluable. While the Digital Foundations piece focuses on print publishing, the information therein is applicable across media formats, especially when combined with our ever growing case study database.

We would be remiss not to mention James Boyle’s thoughts on the matter, particularly regarding his experience in licensing The Public Domain: Enclosing The Commons of the Mind under a CC BY-NC-SA license.

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Recovery.gov Following Whitehouse.gov’s Lead

Fred Benenson, March 20th, 2009

Recovery.govRecovery.gov is the site that provides US citizens with the the ability to monitor the progress of the country’s recovery via the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As with Whitehouse.gov, the Obama administration is presciently using our Attribution license 3.0 for all third party content on the site, while all of the original content site created by the federal government remains unrestricted by copyright and therefore in the public domain.

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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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UK Events: Jamie Boyle speaking on the Public Domain

Cameron Parkins, March 4th, 2009

Jamie Boyle, Chair of the CC Board, will be speaking at a couple great events next week in both London and Cambridge, giving British CC-ers a great opportunity to learn more about the public domain, both as a legal status and as Jamie’s new book, The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind. Details below (via BoingBoing):

LONDON: The Public Domain: enclosing the commons of the mind
Where: RSA Lecture Hall (Google Map)
When: March 10, 2009; 18:00

CAMBRIDGE: Cultural Agoraphobia and The Future of The Library (Google Map)
Where: Lee Hall, Wolfson College (Google Map)
When: March 12, 2009; 18:00

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TweetCC Lets You CC License Your Twitter Feed

Fred Benenson, February 24th, 2009

tweetCCUntil now, the only way to mix your microblog and Creative Commons licenses was to sign up for the free-as-in-speech service identi.ca (or run your own instance of Laconica), which requires all posts to be under our Attribution license. But as of February 18th, thanks to the work of UK author Andy Clarke, you can CC license your twitter feed via TweetCC.

The idea is to post a tweet to Twitter letting @tweetCC know that what license (or waiver, in the case of CC Zero) you want your feed to be under, and then the service keeps track of your choice for the rest of the web’s reference. Users can also look up whether and how a given Twitter user has chosen to license their feed. Right now, our Public Domain Dedication is the default and thereby most popular choice, but take a look at the rest of our licenses offered on the site, and CC license your twitter feed today!

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Interviews with Creative Commons: Jamie, Eric & Fred

Fred Benenson, January 13th, 2009

A couple interviews with CC board and staff have surfaced in the last week or two. BBC Radio 4 interviewed Creative Commons Board Chair James Boyle about the public domain and how Creative Commons helps enrich the environment of the mind. Before Jamie’s interview, the Beeb chats with Chris Anderson talks about his new book FREE and the business models he’s been researching.

In December, our Creative Director, Eric Steuer talked with Dog and Pony of The BNET Business Network. The Knight Foundation’s Knight Pulse also interviewed Eric about how grantees can use our licenses in their projects.

I also answered some questions from Journalism.co.uk regarding how journalists can use CC licenses in their work. Finally, I chatted with Federal News Radio on Friday about Obama’s choice to use CC on Change.gov, the recording of which you can download there.

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Public Domain Works Celebrated in Poland

Michelle Thorne, January 9th, 2009

It’s after Three Kings Day, and after battling inboxes, CCi is back online and blogging. From our colleagues in CC Poland, some more exciting Public Domain Day news to ring in the New Year:

Poland’s Coalition for Open Education (KOED – Koalicja Otwartej Edukacji) has celebrated the Public Domain Day 2009 with a range of web-based actions and a press conference.

The Polish National Library, with the support of its director, dr. Tomasz Makowski, hosted talks about the public domain and related Polish projects at a press conference on Dec. 30. Bożena Michalska from the Nicolaus Copernicus University Library presented a list of over 500 authors whose works entered the public domain in Poland on 1st January 2009, based on the National Union Catalog NUKAT. Afterwards, Marek Siudym, a renowned Polish actor, recited a poem by Brunon Jasieński – a Polish futurist, who died in 1938 and who’s work is now in the public domain.

As a result of the well-attended conference, news of the Public Domain Day 2009 was published in a range of major media, including Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita dailies, Polish Public Radio, and the online portal Onet.

To coincide with the Public Domain Day 2009, Polish libraries have made available over a dozen works in their digital collections that are, as of January 1st 2009, in the public domain in Poland. A list of Polish works now in the public domain is maintained on the Coalition’s webpage.

The newly forged partnership, KOED, is striving to build and promote open educational resources in Poland. Bringing together common supporters of the Capetown Declaration principles, the Coalition is formed by one of CC Poland’s affiliate institutions, the Interdisciplinary Center for Modelling at University of Warsaw, and colleagues Wikimedia Polska Association, Foundation Modern Poland, and the Polish Librarians Association.

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