The Knight Foundation

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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CC Licenses and the Haiti Relief Effort

Cameron Parkins, January 20th, 2010

In the immediate aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake a number of efforts were put in place to connect survivors with their family and loved ones. In all its good intention, this lead to numerous websites that, in the words of Marc Fest of the Knight Foundation, became “silos” of information with no ability to interact. As a result, Fest – who is VP of Communications – sent an impassioned plea to news organizations to utilize an open-source Google app that was not only collecting similar information but releasing the data under a CC Attribution license – from PhilanTopic:

We recognize that many newspapers have put precious resources into developing a people-finder system. We nonetheless urge them to make their data available to the Google project and standardize on the Google widget. Doing so will greatly increase the number of successful reunions. Data from the Google site is currently available as “dumps” in the standard PFIF format…and an API is being developed and licensed through Creative Commons. I am not affiliated with Google — indeed, this is a volunteer initiative by some of their engineers — but this is one case where their reach and capacity can help the most people.

A similar effort has been taken up by Architecture for Humanity. Already known for their use of CC licenses, AFH is proposing a plan to build Community Resource Centers – centralized locales that will operate as base points for greater building relief through out Haiti. All of the work produced in these recovery centers would be released under a CC license, mirroring similar centers that were built in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

In both efforts, there is a distinct desire to keep relief efforts fluid and focused on helping people, a goal assisted by keeping valuable information open, free, and widely usable. Put succinctly by AFH co-founder Cameron Sinclair, “there is no ‘ownership’ in rebuilding lives.”

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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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CC Talks With: Deproduction

Cameron Parkins, January 12th, 2009

Deproduction is a Denver-based video production company that has a variety of media incarnations, from Public Access TV aggregate Denver Open Media to civic pixel, an open-source web development group. All the material produced for DOM is released under a CC BY-NC-SA license, making it freely sharable and remixable as long as the creators are properly attributed, reproductions are noncommercial in intent, and any derivative works are shared under the same license. The project has been so successful that the team behind it recently received a Knight NewsChallenge Grant to reproduce their system at Public Access TV stations around the U.S. We caught up with Tony Shawcross, Executive Director at Deproduction, to learn more about their operation, how they are using CC licenses at DOM, and why Public Access TV is important.

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Can you give our readers some background on Deproduction? How did you get started, who is involved, and what do you do?

The early history is summarized in a great Apogee Magazine Article from 2004, back when we were still a 2-person organization. In the 5 years since, the organization grew from collaborations with a handful of local nonprofits, including Free Speech TV, Little Voice Productions, Just Media, and the Pan African Arts Society. We had been producing videos for nonprofit partners, and began expanding our media education programs through work with local schools and an office in the PS1 Charter School. In 2005, Denver’s City Council shut down the City’s Public Access TV Station and issued an RFP from organizations who had a plan for making Public Access TV work with no operating support from the city or Comcast.

We responded, borrowing from the models of Wikipedia, Current TV, and others to develop online systems that could enable our community members to manage the station. Where most Public Access TV stations have staff devoted to content ingest, metadata entry, quality-control, equipment reservations, class registrations, broadcast scheduling and so-on, our tools enable the community to complete all those tasks with minimal staff involvement. Furthermore, our approach to studio productions, editing and even training work to reduce the workload on our staff and maximize the cooperation and support of our members.
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