superhero campaign

Letter from featured superhero Gautam John of Pratham Books

Allison Domicone, November 16th, 2010

I’m pleased to introduce Gautam John, one of our exceptional CC Superheroes, who will tell you in his own words why he supports Creative Commons and why you should too. Gautam John is Manager of New Projects at Pratham Books, a children’s book publisher in India that truly embodies a spirit of openness and innovation on the web. They’ve now released 105 children’s books (in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi and Gujarati) as well as loads of delightful illustrations under a CC-BY license so they can easily be shared and even remixed to create new content relevant to other languages and cultures. Here is Pratham’s story. Join Gautam in supporting Creative Commons with a donation today.


Gautam John

Gautam John

Donate

“As a children’s book publisher, we have always struggled to be as inclusive as we can. However, as a small non-profit, we do function under severe constraints of time, money and ability to live up to this ideal and it was the Creative Commons model of licensing that allowed us one of our biggest moments of joy — when our books were made available as Braille and Audio Books for print impaired children across the world. Without the Creative Commons licensing model and philosophy, we would not have been able to engage with multiple organizations to help build inclusion and scale.

At Pratham Books, we have a very simple mission – “A Book in Every Child’s Hand” and this drives all of our work and we constantly test what we do against this goal. The mission has two parts, one is to create more reading matter such that there is more available for children to read and the second really is a corollary – that we need to be able to get books to where children need it the most and that the books need to be culturally and linguistically relevant as well.

This is where our challenge lies – to massively scale the production of high quality, low-cost children’s books for a massively multi-lingual and multi-cultural market. Looking at this challenge it is fairly obvious that this is not a problem that any one organization can solve. The solution has to be scalable, flexible and catalyse our fundamental mission as well.

At this point, we realised that there were several internal questions to answer and some of them painfully introspective. Questions as to whether the books we create and distribute have to be a Pratham Book, whether it implied that every book must be paid for by either the reader or an intermediary and, from being a publisher, questions as to whether we are gatekeepers of content or content curators, how we could create infinite good with finite time and resources and most importantly, how we can create more value than we capture?

Having answered most of these questions using “openness” (whereby, we asked ourselves whether allowing unrestricted access to use and re-use our content furthered our mission) as a test and finding that it did fit our mission, the second set of questions to answer was more technical – how, as a small non-profit, do we do this and not find ourselves overwhelmed. It was at this point that we had a moment of realization – that reading is an extremely social activity and that there are communities and organizations who were more than ready to help us achieve our goals.

It was at this juncture that we hit upon the Creative Commons licensing model as one that would help us achieve many of our aims of flexibility, scalability and being able to help catalyse our mission of a book in every child’s hands. In particular, three things stood out – a shared value system of sharing and openness, a community that was deeply embedded in these ideals and, from our perspective, it was scalable because it allowed us to license content to multiple organizations and individuals, both known and unknown, with a one time effort of releasing them under a Creative Commons license as opposed to the traditional model which involves time consuming negotiations and discussions with each known organization or individual who wants to use our content.

As an organization, we did spend some time choosing a license and, from our perspective, a choice between openness and sharing which reduced to a choice between the Attribution and Attribution-Share-Alike license. We have decided that the Attribution license will be our default license with a fall-back to the Attribution-Share-Alike license in cases where needed. It is best said by P2PU “it emerged that our choice lay between two licences: Creative Commons Attribution and Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike …chose to use Creative Commons licences because Creative Commons have become a global standard and are supported by a large international community. Both licences are Free Culture licences and are more permissive than any of the other Creative Commons licences. In other words, the choice was not between two extremes but between two open licences at the same end of the licence spectrum.” Given that our goal was being as open as possible, it followed that our license choices were essentially around licenses that allowed for the greatest possible use and re-use because our initial hypothesis was, and continues to be, that being open allows us to fulfill our mission better than a traditional copyright model allows.

We now use Creative Commons licenses everywhere! We license entire books under CC-BY and CC-BY-SA licenses, we license our illustrations similarly and even photographs and other publicity material too. Over the last year we have been building the foundations for a social publishing model – where we curate communities that are passionate about reading and help us create content. Such a model rests on the idea of a participatory culture and an essential ingredient is a permissive licensing strategy – Creative Commons licenses offers us this, a large community with shared values and an ecosystem to tap in to.

While this licensing and publishing model works well in theory, it has been extremely heartening for us to see it come to life – our communities have created multiple derivative works ranging from iPad and iPhone applications, to porting our works to OLPC laptops, to creating entirely new books from existing illustrations and, my personal favourite, creating versions of our books for the print impaired – from DAISY and Braille books to rich audio books such that our mission truly does encompass every single child.

I firmly believe that we would not have been able to achieve what success we have had without the help of Creative Commons licensing. These licenses and the values that they stand for are vital to building and strengthening a digital commons from which we all benefit. I hope you will consider supporting Creative Commons and licensing content that you own or control such that we all benefit from the growth of the commons.”


Follow Gautam on Twitter.
Special thanks to Maya Hemant from Pratham Books for getting all content (books, images) up online and for managing the Pratham community.

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BioMed Central Supports Our Superhero Fundraising Campaign

Melissa Reeder, November 15th, 2010

Super-Gulliver
Super Gulliver by BioMed Central / CC BY

This week we are proud to announce that BioMed Central is helping us with our Superhero fundraising campaign by providing us with in-kind advertising space on their network of sites and employing the charms and gab of their feisty mascot Gulliver, the open access turtle.

BioMed Central is a UK-based, for-profit scientific publisher specializing in open access journal publication. Open access is a global movement that is opening up the world’s scholarly journal publications onto the internet, free of charge, where the primary role of copyright is to assure that credit is given where due rather than to restrict the flow of knowledge.

BioMed Central, and its sister companies Chemistry Central and PhysMath Central, publish slightly over 200 scientific journals – and not only do they publish under Creative Commons licenses, they do so under the most liberal license – CC BY. Every single article, every single journal.

By our calculations, BioMed Central is one of the most successful business stories built on CC BY. It was founded in 2000, and has grown rapidly each year which resulted in an acquisition by Springer Science+Business Media in 2008. BioMed Central is a fantastic example of how serious business can be conducted in the digital content industry without applying analog business models.

If you believe that knowledge should be accessible, then join BioMed Central in supporting CC today!

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We Met Hindawi’s Matching Giving Challenge! Thank You!

Allison Domicone, November 12th, 2010

Thanks to all who donated this week and had your gift automatically doubled by Hindawi! Your $3000 in donations have become $6000 thanks to Hindawi.

Here’s why the open access scholarly journal publisher supports CC:

“As an open access journal publisher we believe that it is important for our readers to be comfortable reusing and redistributing our articles without fear of violating any copyright restrictions, and Creative Commons licenses make it clear to readers what they can do with our content.”

Many thanks to Hindawi and all those who donated to our fundraising campaign this week. We still need your help to reach our $550,000 goal by December 31 so please donate today and show the world you care about an open, sharing world – online and off!

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ccNewsletter: Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales Wants You to Support CC!

Allison Domicone, November 9th, 2010

https://creativecommons.net/donate

Our fall fundraising campaign is fully underway, and we'd like to start off this month's newsletter by encouraging all of you who use or support Creative Commons to donate today so we can continue to provide you with great tools for sharing and remixing on the web!

Read More…

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Hindawi wants to double your donation! What are you waiting for?

Allison Domicone, November 9th, 2010

Hindawi, open access scholarly journal publisher, wants to double your donation to Creative Commons! Starting right now, Hindawi is matching every dollar of the next $3000 given to CC. That means if you donate $10, $25, $75 to CC right now, your impact will be automatically doubled thanks to Hindawi. Judging by how fast we met wikiHow’s challenge a couple weeks ago, you should donate quick to make sure your gift gets doubled!

Here’s why Hindawi has chosen to support us this year and why they’re challenging you to join them in giving to CC:

“As an open access journal publisher we believe that it is important for our readers to be comfortable reusing and redistributing our articles without fear of violating any copyright restrictions, and Creative Commons licenses make it clear to readers what they can do with our content.”

Join Hindawi in supporting CC and have your donation automatically doubled. If you’ve haven’t yet given to our fundraising campaign (or even if you already have!), now is your chance. It’s easy, and you’re just a few clicks away from showing the world you care about an open, sharing online (and offline) world.

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Big thank you to Squidoo!

Melissa Reeder, November 8th, 2010

We’re thrilled to announce a $15,000 gift from Squidoo, the popular publishing platform that allows you to create and share content with the world. So why are they supporting CC? Seth Godin, Squidoo’s Founder says:

Creative Commons is doing something incredibly difficult and valuable: they are changing expectations. Before CC, the default mode for everything was to lock it up, forever, in a way that cripples the community. With CC, the new default is to share unless there’s a good reason not to. And sharing is our future.

We couldn’t agree more. Join Seth in supporting CC and making sure fair sharing is our future.

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Featured Superhero: Mitchell Baker, Chairwoman of Mozilla

Allison Domicone, November 1st, 2010

I’m pleased to introduce Mitchell Baker, the next of our exceptional CC Superheroes to tell you in her own words why she supports Creative Commons and why you should too. As the leader of the Mozilla Project, she is responsible for organizing and motivating a massive, worldwide collective of employees and volunteers who are breathing new life into the Internet with the Firefox Web browser and other Mozilla products. Here is her story. Join Mitchell in supporting Creative Commons with a donation today.


Mitchell Baker

Mitchell Baker

Donate

“Creative Commons fills a vitally important role in building an innovative and creative society. Creative Commons provides an easy way for people to choose to collaborate in creative activities, complementing the default settings of copyright law. I hope you’ll join me in supporting Creative Commons.

Imagine you take two photos. You’d like to restrict use of the first photo as much as possible — you don’t want anyone to post it anywhere, or to use it or to alter it. Maybe this is because you think it’s a good candidate for selling, maybe because it’s personal and you don’t want anyone else to use it, maybe because you think it’s perfect as is and would be diminished if anyone changed anything about it. The other photo you feel very differently about. You’d like to see what people might do with it. Maybe you’d like to see it distributed widely with your name attached to enhance your reputation, or so people come to you to buy other photos. Maybe you think it would be good set to music or included in slideshows, or maybe you’d like to see how people might alter it.

Figuring out how to get maximum protection for the first photo is easy. One simply does nothing — in most countries a creative work is automatically subject to default copyright law. If one wants to emphasize this one can add a copyright notice, but this is not required. Maximum restriction is the default.

Figuring out how to let other people build upon one’s creative work is actually much harder. In fact, without Creative Commons there is no easy way to do so. Creative Commons provides a clear, effective way for each of us to choose to share our creative work when we want to, dramatically reducing the barriers to voluntary sharing. It provides legally enforceable mechanisms that live happily alongside the default of maximum restriction of copyright law. Creative Commons empowers creators to choose how our works are used and shared as well as protected.

The ability to share our creative works easily is an important complement to the traditional ability to restrict their use. It’s important for individuals and it’s important for society. There is no doubt that the voluntary sharing of effort can produce immense civic, social, and individual value. Voluntary collaboration, based on shared resources, shared data and shared creative work provides new tools for solving complex problems. By making voluntary sharing easy, Creative Commons provides new avenues for individual choice and human interaction.

Mozilla embodies this idea, as do vast portions of the Internet. Mozilla relies on voluntary collaboration to build individual empowerment into the structure of the Internet. We use a Creative Commons license for many of our materials. Creative Commons licenses have a similar spirit to the Mozilla Public License, which allows software innovators to release their creations to the public to be built upon, expanded, and improved in ways that we never thought possible. Creative Commons makes it easy to extend this idea beyond software to other creative content. We support Creative Commons financially as well.

If you haven’t tried sharing some of your creative work, I invite you to try it. Next time you need a photo for something, search your favorite photo sites for CC licensed work. Add some of your own. Share some of your music and see what comes of it. Consider a donation to Creative Commons. Be open to openness.”

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We Met wikiHow’s Challenge in Just Three Days!

Allison Domicone, October 29th, 2010

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve met wikiHow’s challenge to match the next $4000 donated to CC’s fundraising campaign in just three days! THANK YOU to all who donated and had your gift automatically doubled by wikiHow, the world’s largest and highest quality how-to manual!

By joining wikiHow in supporting CC, you’re confirming their belief that CC is a cause worth caring about. According to wikiHow founder Jack Herrick, “wikiHow is all about enabling people to share and learn: Our contributors share their knowledge with us and then we bring their expertise to the largest possible audience. This works so well because of Creative Commons. Supporting this organization ensures that the tools to share and build upon knowledge will be maintained as the electronic age continues to evolve.”

Now’s your chance to also check out these awesome new additions to the world of wikiHow instructions: How to support Creative Commons; How to support Free Culture; and how to find CC licensed images.

If you didn’t have the chance to take part in the challenge, you can still help us meet our $550k goal by donating today and showing the world how much sharing means to you.

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CC Talks With: Elspeth Revere of the MacArthur Foundation

Allison Domicone, October 29th, 2010

Elspeth Revere
Elspeth Revere,
MacArthur Foundation
/ CC BY

Elspeth Revere is the Vice President in charge of Media, Culture and Special Initiatives at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The MacArthur Foundation has generously supported CC since our founding in 2002. Join MacArthur and help keep CC going strong by making a donation today.

Can you give us some background on the MacArthur Foundation?

MacArthur is one of the nation’s largest independent foundations. The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society.

With assets over $5 billion, MacArthur will award approximately $230 million in grants this year. Through the support it provides, the Foundation fosters the development of knowledge, nurtures individual creativity, strengthens institutions, helps improve public policy, and provides information to the public, primarily through support for public interest media.

The Foundation was established in 1978.  Last year, it made 600 grants for a total of $230 million.

What is your role there?

I am Vice President in charge of Media, Culture and Special Initiatives.  We have three ongoing areas of work. The first is in public interest media, where we support public radio, documentary films, deep and analytical news programs, and investigative reporting. The second is support to over 200 arts and culture organizations in our home city, Chicago.  The third is institutional support to help strengthen nonprofit organizations that are key to the Foundation’s grantmaking fields so that they will exist and be effective over the long term.  In addition, we conduct a changing set of special grantmaking initiatives that are intended to be short-term and responsive to a particular problem or opportunity.

The MacArthur Foundation is a private foundation (not a corporate sponsor) that supports Creative Commons – what was the motivation behind this generous giving? What is it about CC that you find important?

In about 1999, MacArthur began exploring the question of how the digital revolution would impact society and the issues that the Foundation cared about and what a Foundation like MacArthur could do to help people understand and shape this phenomenon for the overall good.  We held a series of consultations and some of the people who later became founders of Creative Commons, including Larry Lessig and Jamie Boyle, talked to us about both the promise of technology to unlock information and make it widely and easily available, and the concern that digital tools could also be used to limit the public availability of information.  They, and others, helped us to understand that copyright laws, originally intended to regulate industry, were increasingly regulating consumers and their behavior — and this was even before blogging, podcasts, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and all the other sharing tools that we now rely on.

In 2002, MacArthur began a six year funding initiative on Intellectual Property and the Long-Term Protection of the Public Domain.  Our first grant to Creative Commons was made that year.  It was an exemplary organization for us to support because we were looking for new models of thinking about intellectual property in a digital age.  All told, we have made 4 grants totaling $3.15 million to support its work.  And Creative Commons has become a successful tool for sharing information in the arts, sciences, governance, and education throughout the world.

What is the link between the MacArthur Foundation and CC? Do you use our tools in your work? Or are our tools more applicable to your grantees?

MacArthur policy calls for openness in research and freedom of access to data. We encourage our grantees to explore opportunities to use existing and emerging Internet distribution models and when appropriate open access journals, Creative Commons licenses or other mechanisms that result in broad access for the interested field and public. While we do not insist that grantees use Creative Commons licenses, we do suggest their use when appropriate and practical.

What do you see as CC’s role in the broader digital ecosystem? How does CC enable the MacArthur Foundation and its grantees to better innovate in that space?

Creative Commons has made all of us more aware of information sharing — how and why we use the information of others and when and how we will let others use what we create.  It has provided the tools to allow us to share what we make both easily and widely if we want to do so. It has enabled communities to form around the world to work on common interests ranging from music and governance. And it has demonstrated that these communities can solve legal, technical and practical problems together.

Help make sure Creative Commons can continue to develop and steward tools that are crucial to sharing information in the arts, sciences, governance, and education throughout the world. Make a donation today.

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wikiHow wants to double your donation! Now’s your chance to support CC

Melissa Reeder, October 27th, 2010

wikiHow, the world’s largest and highest quality how-to manual wants to double your donation to Creative Commons! Starting right now, wikiHow is matching every dollar of the next $4000 given to CC. That means if you donate $10, $25, $75 to CC right now, your impact will be automatically doubled thanks to wikiHow. Hurry, you only have a limited time to meet their challenge!

Why is wikiHow challenging you to give to CC this year? Here’s what Jack Herrick, wikiHow’s Founder, has to say:

wikiHow is all about enabling people to share and learn: Our contributors share their knowledge with us and then we bring their expertise to the largest possible audience. This works so well because of Creative Commons. Supporting this organization ensures that the tools to share and build upon knowledge will be maintained as the electronic age continues to evolve.

wikiHow feels so strongly about the importance of CC and a sharing culture that they’re not just donating their cash but are also sharing with the world instructions on how to support Creative Commons, Free Culture, and how to find CC licensed images.

Join wikiHow in supporting CC, and have your donation automatically doubled. If you’ve haven’t yet given to our fundraising campaign, now is your chance. It’s easy, you’re just a few clicks away from showing the world how much sharing means to you.

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