The hearings are still going on; please keep calling, emailing, and otherwise spreading the word!
Tomorrow the House Judiciary Committee will debate and potentially vote on SOPA, the Internet Blacklist bill that would break the Internet.
Our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have compiled a list of 12 actions you can take now to stop SOPA.
Soon you’ll find a huge banner at the top of every page on the CC site protesting SOPA. The Wikimedia community is considering a blackout to bring massive attention to the danger posed by SOPA. Many others are taking action. What are you doing?
For background on the bill, why it would be especially bad for the commons, and links for news, check out our previous post calling for action against SOPA and a detailed post from Wikimedia’s General Counsel.
Finally, remember that CC is crucial to keeping the Internet non-broken in the long term. The more free culture is, the less culture has an allergy to and deathwish for the Internet. We need your help too. Thanks!3 Comments »
The Google Policy Fellowship program offers undergraduate, graduate, and law students interested in Internet and technology policy the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to the public dialogue on these issues, and exploring future academic and professional interests. Fellows will have the opportunity to work at public interest organizations at the forefront of debates on broadband and access policy, content regulation, copyright and trademark reform, consumer privacy, open government, and more.
The 2012 Google Policy Fellow will receive a substantial grant to work at Creative Commons’ office in Mountain View, California. We are looking for motivated candidates with partially-developed ideas in exploring a particular interest/expertise area, short research project, or related activity within the broad spectrum of open licensing and the commons. Past Google Policy Fellowship projects have included an analysis of the WIPO development agenda in relation to its effect on access to public domain materials, crucial research on the welfare impact of Creative Commons across various fields, and an investigation of the characterization of Creative Commons within U.S. legal scholarship over the past 10 years. We are very flexible in accommodating project ideas that will be mutually beneficial to the candidate and CC. We are interested in a wide range of activities, which could include conducting original research, researching and developing educational materials, or assisting in the development of activities/projects useful to our wide-ranging global community. Potential topics may include, but are certainly not limited to:
Encapsulated research within our CC contribution-study project. Examples include:
- Studying changing license adoption patterns in a specific community (can be quantitative, qualitative or comparative, with analysis depending on relevant applicant background)
- Studying changing license adoption patterns within a specific platform
- Studying the contribution of the platform in a specific context (applicant choice or our direction)
- Studying the contribution of the CC network in a specific context
- Studying CC’s contribution to the movement (with or without a human rights perspective; along the lines of expanding creation/data contribution to otherwise “distant” communities/persons/places/domains)
- Studying CC’s contribution to novel cultural fields
- For all the former: design DB (data gathering)
CC and the School of Open
- Help design challenges/courses around CC licenses, with a particular focus on how to certify and assess expertise on CC licenses and topics.
- Work would involve testing/evaluation with a user/creator community to measure effectiveness of courses.
- Develop documentation/case studies for different user/creator communities.
Research and development of CC related toolkits and guides
- Researching trends in CC usage, messaging around trends, development of high quality case studies and toolkits.
- Depending on applicant interest and CC needs, could create for CC in government adoption/public sector information, CC and innovative business models, etc.
- Translation projects (requires familiarity/experience with CC community)
- Community management projects (requires familiarity/experience in community management skills; applicant could usefully work on volunteers or team-model working groups projects)
November 16 the U.S. Congress will hold hearings on a bill that would unfairly, recklessly and capriciously enable and encourage broad censorship of the Internet in the name of suppressing distribution of works not authorized by copyright holders. As Public Knowledge aptly summarizes, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” would seriously “threaten the functioning, freedom, and economic potential of the Internet” by:
- short-circuiting the legal system, giving rightsholders a fast-track to shutting down whole websites;
- creating conflicts between Domain Name System (DNS) servers, making you more vulnerable to hackers, identity theft, and cyberattacks;
- sanctioning government interference with the Internet, making it more censored globally.
SOPA threatens every site on Internet, but would especially harm the commons, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains, focusing on free software. The same applies to free and open projects beyond software, which often use CC licenses. While standard public licenses have lowered the costs and risks of legal sharing and collaboration, SOPA would drastically increase both the costs and risks of providing platforms for sharing and collaboration (think sites ranging from individual blogs to massive community projects such as Wikipedia, from open education repositories to Flickr and YouTube), and vaporize accessibility to huge swathes of free culture, whether because running a platform becomes too costly, or a single possibly infringing item causes an entire domain to be taken down.
The trend that one can plot from the DMCA (1998) to SOPA, and continued extensions and expansions of copyright and related restrictions around the world, also demonstrate the incredible importance of the commons for healthy information policy and a healthy Internet — almost all other “IP” policy developments have been negative for society at large. The DMCA was decried by advocates of free speech and the Internet, and has over past 13 years had many harmful effects. Now, in 2011, some think that the U.S. Congress ‘struck the right balance’ in 1998, while big content is dissatisfied, and with SOPA wants to ratchet the ‘balance’ (watch out, 2024!) much further to their short-term advantage.
Techdirt has excellent coverage of the gritty details of SOPA, its ill effects, and the many constituencies alarmed (such as librarians and sports fans).
Please take action! If you aren’t already sharing works under a CC license and supporting our work, now is a good time. Bad legislation needs to be stopped now, but over the long term, we won’t stop getting new bad legislation until policymakers see broad support and amazing results from culture and other forms of knowledge that work with the Internet, rather than against it. Each work or project released under a CC license signals such support, and is an input for such results.7 Comments »
A Brief Overview of U.S. Public Policy on OER from California’s Community Colleges to the Obama Administration
The Publius Project at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society offers a new essay on OER and public policy in the United States: A Brief Overview of U.S. Public Policy on OER from California’s Community Colleges to the Obama Administration . Written by Carolina Rossini and Erhardt Graeff, it does a great job of pointing out the major recent movements toward OER in state and federal governments, and thoughtfully evaluates the issues that each initiative brings to the table.
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“This post draws significantly from an interview on August 10, 2009 with Hal Plotkin, a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Dept. of Education, who has closely followed and been involved with OER policies in California. The interview was part of research on the educational materials sector being conducted under the Industrial Cooperation Project at the Berkman Center at Harvard University. The research is part of a broader project being led by Prof. Yochai Benkler and coordinated by Carolina Rossini. In the research, we are seeking to understand the approaches to innovation in some industrial sectors, such as alternative energy, educational materials, and biotechnology. The intention is to map the degree to which open and commons-based practices are being used compared to proprietary approaches and what forces drive the adoption and development of these models.”