Legal experts working with Creative Commons have crafted license suites adapted to the languages and laws of over 50 jurisdictions. These localized legal tools have seen major adoption, from governments at all levels to galleries, libraries, museums, and archives, as well as innumerable artists, scientists, and educators.
Over the last few weeks, we are pleased to announce three new 3.0 license localizations: Estonia, Costa Rica, and Chile. Following our recent language harmonization initiative, the Costa Rican and Chilean licenses deploy unified translations that match most other Spanish-speaking jurisdictions. We see this as an important step to making our legal tools even more user-friendly.
Community Building and Roadmaps
Importantly, we’re also recognizing the need to focus more on license adoption, user education, and community building. Without a vibrant and informed user base, the licenses will not have much impact.
For this reason, the role of the CC Affiliate Network has never been more vital. Teams in over 70 jurisdictions lead efforts in outreach, education, training, and major license adoption. With the CC Global Meeting on the horizon, we’ll be kicking off discussion about version 4.0, much of which will be guided and informed by CC Affiliates and key stakeholders from their jurisdictions.
Localization will remain an essential aspect of Creative Commons and our tools. Affiliates and other community members can contribute to translations of the human-readable layer of our licenses, the deeds, as well as important documentation and soon through linguistic translations of the Unported licenses.
If you’re interested in other activities planned in your area, visit our Jurisdiction Database and click through to see jurisdiction roadmaps outlining projects ahead. As more and more roadmaps go online each day, we welcome your input to improve and partake in these ambitious plans.
Localization in Estonia, Costa Rica, and Chile
For their recent contributions to license localization, we are indebted to the following individuals and institutions. Congratulations and thanks to:
- Estonia: Project Lead Ene Koitla from Estonian Information Technology Foundation (EITF) with Legal Team including Hele Karja, Heiki Pisuke, Priit Lätt, and Triin Tuulik ja Merit Lind of Glimstedt Straus & Partners, and Mario Rosentau from the University of Tartu, Peeter P. Mõtsküla and Kaido Kikkas from Estonian Information Technology College.
- Costa Rica: Project Leads Rolando Coto Solano and Carlos Saborío from the University of Costa Rica with Legal Leads Dr. Andrés Guadamuz and Lic. Denis Campos MBMC.
- Chile: Project Leads Prof. Alberto Cerda Silva, Claudio Ruiz, and Gabriela Ortuzar with Universidad de Chile, Information Services & Library System (SISIB), and the Corporación Derechos Digitales (CDD).
There are a number of important 3.0 ports and license upgrades still in the pipeline. Soon the teams in Egypt, China, Portugal, and a few other jurisdictions will also publish license suites adapted to their laws and languages. All across the CC Affiliate Network, we’ll see a renewed focus on supporting license users and continued ways to get involved the world over.No Comments »
One of the questions people often ask about Open Educational Resources is “do they really increase efficiency?” Creative Commons has worked with many OER innovators, and their stories indicate that it does. We thought it would be useful to gather pointers to some of these examples. Please read on, and leave a comment with other great examples of how CC-enabled OER can increase efficiency for teachers, students and self-learners. Note of course that increasing efficiency is only one benefit of OER.
Negotiating permissions on the web
As a baseline, CC-licensed OER increase efficiency overall because it helps clarify user rights and responsibilities from the start. Copyright law rewards the authors of original works with a bundle of rights for a fixed period of time. Generally, a work cannot be shared or adapted without the permission of the rights holder (in the U.S., there are limitations and exceptions that temper the exclusive rights of the copyright holder–for example, fair use). Materials that remain under all rights reserved copyright require a potential user to ask permission first. The rights permissions process is usually long, difficult, and expensive. Solving the permissions problem is one reason Creative Commons came to exist in the first place–CC licenses let authors mark their creative works with the freedoms the creator wants it to carry. Creative Commons helps lower the transaction costs associated with using and sharing creativity on the Internet.
Even if educators want to share their teaching materials, if the rights are not clear to the end user, the resources will be used less, or not at all. To enable creative, innovative, and legal downstream use and remix of educational resources, clarity is essential. Creative Commons licenses are specifically designed to be easy to apply and simple for creators and users to understand.
The human-readable deed simplifies the terms of each license into a few universal icons and non-technical language, making it easy for teachers and students to understand right away how they can use the educational resource. The lawyer-readable legal text has been vetted by a global team of legal experts. The machine-readable code enables search and discovery of the educational content via search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and others.
Search and Discovery
The findability of quality educational content online is one of the fundamental challenges for teachers and students today. Properly licensed open educational resources can help users find content that they know they can use, customize, and reshare. Many existing search services integrate licensing information so users can filter for content that is licensed under Creative Commons licenses. CC licensing information is integrated with sites such as Google, Yahoo!, Flickr, Fotopedia, Jamendo, Blip.tv, Vimeo, Open Clip Art Library, and Wikimedia Commons. Other websites host (or point to) open educational resources–DiscoverEd, Connexions, CK-12, Flat World Knowledge, Curriki, OER Commons, and others.
Translations and Accessibility
OER can increase efficiency when materials are published under a license that permits the creation of derivative works (all Creative Commons licenses that do not contain the NoDerivaties (ND) condition allow this). OER can be translated into other languages and transformed into alternate formats–such as for display on mobile devices–more easily than materials published under all rights reserved copyright. MIT OpenCourseWare uses the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license (BY-NC-SA). Nearly 800 MIT OCW courses have been translated into other languages, all without needing to ask permission from the copyright holder.
Bookshare is the world’s largest accessible online library for persons with print disabilities. Bookshare was awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Education aimed at creating the first accessible versions of open digital textbooks. U.S. Copyright law permits some authorized entities to make accessible copies of books–and permits particular authorized disabled persons to access these vetted versions. This access is incredibly important, but the exception is limited, and does not apply for users outside of the United States. Open textbooks are low hanging fruit if they are released under a license that permits the creation of derivative works, because these can be more easily converted into accessible formats, such as audio and Braille refresh. No extra permissions costs have to be incurred or royalties paid for these adaptations to take place.
Customization and Affordability
OER can increase efficiency for teachers because they can be customized, easily updated, and oftentimes developed less expensively. Chuck Severance, a clinical professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, was able to publish a textbook in 11 days because he remixed an existing book. The remixed book Python for Informatics: Exploring Information, is a remix based on the openly licensed book Think Python: How to Think like a Computer Scientist. Students are able to take advantage of the University Library’s Espresso Book Machine to print on-demand copies for approximately $10. Python for Informatics is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (BY-SA) license.
Education publisher Flat World Knowledge is a commercial textbook publisher that incorporates Creative Commons licensing into the core of their business model. Flat World Knowledge offers free and customizable online access to their textbooks, all available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (BY-NC-SA) license. If users want a physical copy of the book, he or she can order it from Flat World, usually for under $50. Flat World Knowledge is competitive with traditional publishers from the get-go, hiring quality authors, peer-reviewing texts, and professionally editing content. Flat World Knowledge recently released information that 800 colleges will utilize their open textbooks this year, saving 150,000 students $12 million or more in textbook expenses. Affordability of educational materials, especially textbooks, is an increasing concern for students and their families. According to a widely-cited 2005 GAO report, college textbook prices have increased at twice the rate of inflation over the last 20 years; Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) suggest the increase is closer to 4X over roughly the same time period.
During the summer of 2007, the Virginia Department of Education realized their high school physics textbook wasn’t working – it was out of date and did not include information about state of the art scientific advancements. With various stakeholders from both the private and public sectors, the Secretaries of Technology and Education developed an open physics textbook under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (BY-NC-SA) license. The goals of the textbook development project were to provide all state physics teachers with up-to-date physics texts with emerging content, to create a database where content could be centrally located, to determine how the value of the textbook could be measured, and to decide whether the project was worth replicating for other subject areas. The book was developed and delivered to students within six months, 6 to 10 times faster than the 3 to 5 years officials were told would be necessary to develop a similar book under the traditional model.
The Internet and digital technologies have transformed how people learn. Educational resources are no longer static and scarce, but adaptable and widely available, allowing educational institutions, teachers, and learners to actively use, build upon, and share Open Educational Resources. OER enables teachers and students to find the content they know they can use, remix, and reshare–legally. OER helps address problems associated with language and accessibility, and empowers teachers to deliver customized, relevant content to learners, supporting individualized learning and student achievement. Engaging with the global OER community can help save time and money. These are just a few of the ways that Open Educational Resources helps increase efficiency. Please help us out by providing more examples in the comments, or add projects to our Case Studies.3 Comments »
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Over the weekend, the Czech Republic celebrated Liberation Day and officially introduced the complete Czech translation of Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture. The translation was the culminating work of fifty volunteers over three years, and was enabled by the CC BY-NC license of the original English publication. The Czech version is also available under the same license. Adam Hazdra, project initiator and coordinator, writes, “I hope it will contribute to the promotion of Creative Commons and free culture it aims to restore.”
Together with our international community, we’re always trying to make our legal tools more accessible to people around the globe. That includes offering translations in as many languages as possible, an effort in which CC Spain, led by Ignasi Labastida i Juan, excels. Their ported 3.0 licenses are not only available in Catalán, Castellano, Euskera (Basque language). and Gallego, but are now also available in Asturiana, the language spoken in the Spanish province Asturias.
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Gracias al apoyo del Vicerrectorado de Informática y Comunicaciones de la Universidad de Oviedo y la Academia de la Llingua Asturiana disponemos a partir de hoy de la versión en asturiano de las seis licencias de Creative Commons adaptadas a la legislación española sobre propiedad intelectual. El asturiano se convierte así en la quinta lengua de las licencias. El siguiente paso es traducir aquellos apartados del sitio de Creative Commons para que también se puedan ofrecer en esta lengua. Una herramienta más para compartir y disfrutar la cultura asturiana.
Thanks to the support of the Vice Rector of Information Technology and Communication at the University of Oviedo and the Asturian Language Academy, the Asturian translations of Spain’s six ported Creative Commons licenses are now available. Asturian is the fifth language in which the ported Spanish licenses are offered. The next step is to translate other parts of the Creative Commons website into the language. This is a great tool to share and enjoy Asturian culture.
Last week, in Amsterdam, approximately 70 people from around the world gathered in one big room to discuss the current state of affairs in open translation. We discussed open-source translation software, open and volunteer translation communities, openly licensed works – both translated and for translating, open databases for machine translation, and the intersection of translation with open education, open video, open business practices, and more.
It was a whirlwind of a time, and it was clear that everyone was excited about the pace of development and the promise of open translation for building cultural bridges, facilitating the free exchange of ideas, and empowering those who are not able to participate in the current linguistically and technologically dominant paradigms. Look for additional information on host Aspiration Tech’s site, and check out the new manual on open translation tools which was generated by a book sprint immediately following the conference.
If this meeting was any indication, we suspect that the benefits of permitting translations (through the application of an appropriate CC license, for example) will quickly be matched with both software and communities poised to leverage those permissions. Can we imagine a world where the language of origin serves to authenticate communications rather than hampering them?No Comments »
One of the social barriers to wide adoption of educational resources is the availability of them in various countries’ native languages. When educational resources are licensed openly, sans the ND term, this barrier is easily overcome via translation practices. However, a lot of issues still remain even with OER at hand to be freely translated, such as stream-lining translation processes, exploring tools that aid in translation, and seeking the best ways to distribute such translations.
To address these issues and more, FLOSSManuals.net and Translate.org.za, with generous support by the Open Society Institute, are putting on Open Translation Tools 2009, a conference that,
“…will convene stakeholders in the field of open content translation to assess the state of software tools that support translation of content that is licensed under free or open content licenses such as Creative Commons or Free Document License. The event will serve to map out what’s available, what’s missing, who’s doing what, and to recommend strategic next steps to address those needs, with a particular focus on delivering value to open education, open knowledge, and human rights blogging communities.
… “Open content” will encompass a range of resource types, from educational materials to books to manuals to documents to blog content to video and multimedia.”
One of the agenda items is “Addressing the Translation Challenges Faced by the Open Education, Open Content, and human rights blogging communities, and mapping requirements to available open solutions.” ccLearn’s Ahrash Bissell will be in attendance, having helped to shape the vision for the event.
Open Translation Tools 2009 will take place in lovely Amsterdam from June 22-24. They are currently calling for participants and do not require a registration fee (though donations are requested). Limited scholarships are also available.No Comments »