Commons News

The Commons in Aotearoa showcased on NZCommons.org.nz

Jessica Coates, December 21st, 2014

Wellington
Wellington / John Bunney, courtesy of Te Papa Tongarewa / No known copyright restrictions

In the first of a series of blog posts focusing on our global activities, Matt Macgregor tells us of exciting developments in CC in New Zealand Aotearoa.

2014 has been a busy year for the commons in Aotearoa. After a few years of relatively slow progress, many of New Zealand’s public institutions have started to adopt open policies. So many, in fact, that we’ve decided to launch an entire website, NZCommons.org.nz, dedicated to discussing the opportunities and challenges of opening New Zealand’s culture and knowledge for access and reuse. With a particular focus on copyright, licensing and the public domain, the NZCommons site aims to help cross-pollinate and energise the various open groups in New Zealand, who are all doing excellent work, though too often in isolation from one another. The site will have news, case studies and a range of pieces from New Zealanders working to grow the commons, supporting and encouraging the many individuals and institutions working to adopt CC licensing across the country.

And what a lot there is to be discussed. I’ve already mentioned some of the developments being highlighted on NZCommons in my recent post to this blog about Creative Commons policies being passed in New Zealand schools, now up to the rate of around one per week. But the increased adoption of CC licensing hasn’t been limited to schools.

This year, both the University of Waikato and the University of Canterbury passed open access mandates requiring all research published within their respective institutions to be uploaded to the library’s repository, enabling research to be made openly available as soon as possible. In so doing, they joined Lincoln University in paving the way for open access policies at other New Zealand research institutions.

And then, in the middle of the year, we saw three big developments in the heritage sector. First, the National Library of New Zealand passed their excellent use and reuse policy, which provides a clear framework for opening up the library’s collections. Under the policy, out-of-copyright works will be clearly labelled as such, which has not generally been the case in the sector; also, in-copyright works that are owned by the library will be made available under a Creative Commons licence. Our case study of this policy has been up on NZCommons for a few weeks now.

Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand followed this announcement by releasing over 30,000 high resolution images under either a no-known copyright or a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives licence — a figure that has since approached 40,000. As it happens, we published a case study about Te Papa recently, as well. Since that release, Te Papa have signalled that they will shortly remove the ‘ND’ restriction from their licences.

Then, the WW100 team, announced that as part of New Zealand’s commemorations of the Centenary of World War I, the Turnbull Library was openly releasing the H Series of photographs taken during by New Zealand’s official photographer, Henry Armytage Sanders. As Melanie Lovell-Smith points out in a detailed background piece, these photographs are “the most comprehensive visual record of New Zealanders on the Western front from 1917 to 1918.” Other GLAM projects, such as the Marsden Online project, are also starting to use CC licensing.

One of the most exciting things about these announcements is the best practice implementation by each of the institutions. Although all of them use their own method, all of the photos are clearly marked as being available to download and free of copyright restrictions, with a detailed and easily accessible description of what you can and can’t do with the image (see pictured). Te Papa even allows you to use copyright status as a search term. This level of transparency when it comes to copyright is essential to unlocking the value of our national collections.

Wellington
Excerpt from Te Papa’s image download page / Te Papa Tongarewa

Other open projects — such open government data, open textbooks in higher education and legal tools for indigenous knowledge — are also progressing quickly. Working with Susy Frankel and Aroha Mead from Victoria University of Wellington and CC Panel Member Karaitiana Taiuru, the local Creative Commons team is working on developing an indigenous knowledge notice that will help Māori creators, iwi (tribe) and hapū (sub-tribe) to release their works more openly.

In the government data sector, Land Information New Zealand have released truly massive — and massively interesting — open datasets, including detailed aerial photography of the entire country and 3D models of Christchurch before September 2010. These openly licensed models can be adapted and 3D printed by anyone, to help remember the heritage that was lost in the earthquakes.

Taken together, these projects will add an enormous amount of high quality copyright works to the commons, making it easier to access and reuse the works produced and held by New Zealand’s public institutions. These releases promise to save time and money for both the organisations involved and the public. They will also enable others to adapt and build on existing works, which means that fewer people will have to — excuse the cliche — reinvent the wheel.

Good news, then. But these projects are only the beginning: there are thousands of other schools, heritage and research institutions with millions of copyright works that could be made openly available to the public for sharing and reuse. This could fundamentally change how New Zealanders access and engage with their culture and knowledge.

For this to happen, these sectors are going to need some help. To help out, we’re developing toolkits — remixing some resources and platforms developed by HQ, and making a bunch of our own — that organisations can use to open their works for reuse. These toolkits will include an introductory paper, brochures, articles, sample policies and examples of best practice from New Zealand and around the world. We’re hoping to launch them at the National Digital Forum in Wellington in late November.

Beyond the toolkits, though, we’re going to need much more open discussion and analysis on copyright, licensing and reuse — especially in the heritage sector, where copyright issues can be very complicated, and where there isn’t nearly enough information and discussion available online. NZCommons is designed to prompt that discussion. With it we hope to build momentum and support for more open policy across the country, and help realise the potential of the commons in Aotearoa.

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European Space Agency shares Mars Express images and videos under CC

Elliot Harmon, December 19th, 2014

Hellas Chaos on Mars
Hellas Chaos on Mars / ESA/DLR/FU Berlin / CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

As of yesterday, the European Space Agency is now sharing all of its images and videos from the Mars Express mission under CC BY-SA. ESA is using the IGO port of CC BY-SA 3.0. ESA is one of several intergovernmental organizations to use the IGO port since we introduced it last year.

From ESA’s announcement:

Since January 2004, ESA and its partners at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Freie Universität Berlin (FUB) have been jointly publishing colour, stereo pictures of the martian surface from orbit, both still and moving. For example, a “Mars showcase” video, comprised of HRSC images, has been viewed almost 700,000 times since it was published on ESA’s Youtube channel in 2013.

But starting today, something is different with these regular image releases: in a joint undertaking by all three partners, Mars Express HRSC images will be made available under a Creative Commons (CC) licence. The licence we will apply is the same one we recently introduced for Rosetta NAVCAM images: CC BY-SA IGO 3.0.

[…]

While at ESA we have only just begun releasing content under Creative Commons licences, our partners at DLR have been using CC as their standard licencing policy since 2012. Nevertheless, there is still something just a little bit special about the news today: as far as we know, it is the first time that three public organisations in Europe have teamed up in licencing a batch of joint content under Creative Commons.

ESA also posted this amazing video yesterday, making it the first video of Mars the agency has published under BY-SA:

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Flickr removes CC-licensed photos from Wall Art program

Ryan Merkley, December 18th, 2014

In October, Flickr announced a new service that allows its members to order printed photos on wood or canvas, choosing either from their own photos, from a set of curated images, or from about 50 million CC BY or CC BY-SA–licensed images. Flickr would share profits with the photographers of the curated images, but not the CC-licensed ones, as those licenses permit Flickr to use the photos commercially.

Today, we learned that Flickr is removing all CC-licensed images from the Wall Art program. I understand why Flickr has made the decision to change the program, and appreciate their commitment to working to strengthen our community.

This has been a controversial topic here at Creative Commons — at all levels of the organization, and in our community. Some feel that a community discussion should have come before launching the program, or that Flickr users should have had a choice of whether to allow Flickr to monetize their CC-licensed photos. Others think that abiding by the terms of CC BY isn’t enough, and that there is a moral obligation to share profits. And still others think that this is exactly what the free culture movement intended — permissive use of any kind by anyone (even large companies), so long as the terms are met.

Flickr has been a big part of the growth of the commons, and the advancement of CC licenses. In our recent State of the Commons report, we identified over 880 million licensed works — 307 million of them are on Flickr. It’s the largest public archive of CC-licensed images. So when I read articles and blog posts recommending that Flickr users remove their works from the commons, I was concerned. Users of any media platform should feel secure in their understanding of how their content will or won’t be used.

A central principle of open licenses is that the rights they grant apply to everyone, from hobbyists to large corporations. I hope this decision does not create confusion for those who would use licensed works. Under CC licenses, everyone plays by the same rules. Entrepreneurs should be able to experiment with monetizing openly licensed content without fear that if they become successful, the licenses will no longer apply to them. Just as licensors should be able to feel confident that the licenses are legally airtight, so should licensees.

Everyone can agree that providing clearer information on how CC licenses work — and what rights they grant — can prevent many misunderstandings. I see this as an important opportunity for Flickr and CC to do more to engage and inform users. We’re a global nonprofit that represents a diverse community of creators, users, businesses, and activists. In order for our work to be meaningful, we must recognize that the people who make up the commons are its most important asset.

Our vision is one where content of all kinds is freely available for use under simple terms, where the permissions are clear to everyone. If that doesn’t happen, creators can feel misled or cheated, and users are left uncertain if they can use the commons as a source of raw material. That’s not just about the terms of the licenses. It’s about how platforms develop and position their products and services, and how users engage in a community.

The Flickr team has asked Creative Commons to work with them to help make their messaging about CC license options clearer, and help ensure their programs are in alignment with the spirit of both communities. We hope that we can use this opportunity to help foster stronger relationships throughout the commons community, license users and media platforms alike. As we do that work in the coming months, I welcome your suggestions and ideas.

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Brin Wojcicki Foundation doubles gifts to CC

Elliot Harmon, December 16th, 2014

We just received a wonderful gift for our 12th anniversary: the Brin Wojcicki Foundation is giving to CC to match all of your donations from now until the end of the year!

Every dollar you donate will now be doubled by funds from the Brin Wojcicki Foundation.

Please consider making a donation today.

Support Creative Commons

 

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Happy birthday, Creative Commons

Lawrence Lessig, December 16th, 2014

Help build the next era of sharing online.
Make a donation to Creative Commons.

12 years ago today, we launched the first Creative Commons license suite.

The internet was changing the way people share, and changing what it meant to be a creator. But copyright law hadn’t caught up. The Net was making sharing easy; the law was making it hard.

We made a bet that many creators would stand between the extremes. That they would be inspired by the idea of “some rights reserved” and dedicate some of their rights to the commons.

One billion licensed works later, I think we were right.

Back then, it was a leap of faith. We just didn’t know. I certainly didn’t know that CC licenses would catalyze a global community in almost 80 countries, or that governments and foundations would take our values and embed them in official policies, dedicating funds to create freely available works. But that’s what CC has been helping to facilitate.

Today, Creative Commons is making another leap. We’re betting that if we can make it more seamless to share CC-licensed content between different web platforms, we can multiply CC’s impact exponentially. So this is what our tech team is building.

We’re also betting that by investing in a new generation of advocates for open, we can accelerate our policy wins to a worldwide tipping point.

CC licenses are having a real impact on people’s lives. They are helping reveal information used to treat diseases, to make governments more transparent and accountable, and to make education accessible for everyone, everywhere. That’s an incredible impact for a set of simple, free licenses.

That’s why I hope you will consider making a donation today.

I’ve been inspired by many idealists. And I’ve had my heart broken more than a few times as I’ve rallied people together for change. But CC has proved that big change can happen, when it is supported by many, and often.

So please take a moment to think about the role that Creative Commons licenses play in your life and in our communities. CC licenses have transformed how the internet works, but we’re just getting started.

Please consider making a gift to Creative Commons.

Sincerely,
Lessig

Support Creative Commons

 

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Are you on #teamopen?

Elliot Harmon, December 11th, 2014

Stay up-to-date with CC by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on Twitter.

Are you on #teamopen?

We’re proud to present Series Two of Team Open, our ongoing project to tell the stories of people who use Creative Commons. In Series Two, you’ll meet a musician who used Creative Commons licensing to score a sponsorship deal with Toyota, a filmmaker who convinced his funders to give his film away, a professor who saved students a million dollars, and one of the minds behind the best-selling game on Amazon.

When you use a CC-licensed photo in a presentation or share your latest song under CC, you’re a part of the story of CC’s impact in the world. We’re proud to share in this amazing journey with you.

Redacted
Redacted / opensource.com
CC BY-SA (cropped)

We’ve learned disturbing details of of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement that could extend copyright terms 20 years. Join us in demanding that the agreement be made public.

State of the Commons
 
 

Nearly 900 million CC-licensed works, and most of them under licenses that allow commercial use and adaptations. Check out our brand new State of the Commons report.

Creative Commons Thing of the Day
Casey Fyfe / CC0
 

Your daily awesome from the internet. Start your morning with the Creative Commons Thing of the Day.

CC 4.0
 
 

Remember that time when CC Version 4.0 broke the internet?

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Team Open: Stories of how we use Creative Commons

Elliot Harmon, December 11th, 2014

A few weeks ago, we published a report showing that there are nearly a billion Creative Commons–licensed works. That’s an impressive number, but it only hints at how powerful and widespread CC licenses have become.

The real story of Creative Commons is the story of the people who use CC licenses. It’s the story of people who use CC licenses to make information, education, and data more public and accessible. Creators who have built real careers on free and open content. Policymakers working to make open the rule, not the exception. If you’re reading this, the story of CC is your story.

Today, we’re proud to present Series Two of Team Open, our ongoing project to tell the stories of people who use Creative Commons. In Series Two, you’ll meet a musician who used Creative Commons licensing to score a sponsorship deal with Toyota, a filmmaker who convinced his funders to give his film away, a professor who saved students a million dollars, and one of the minds behind the best-selling game on Amazon.

When you use a CC-licensed photo in a presentation or share your latest song under CC, you’re a part of the story of CC’s impact in the world. We’re proud to share in this amazing journey with you.

If you’re proud to be on Team Open, please consider making a donation to help carry Creative Commons into 2015.

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48 Civil Society Groups Demand Public Release of TPP Agreement Text

Timothy Vollmer, December 11th, 2014

Today Creative Commons and 47 civil society organizations and academics released a letter (PDF) calling on negotiators of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to publish the draft text of the agreement. Up until now the text of the TPP has been developed mostly in secret by the 12 negotiating countries. Wikileaks published a draft text of the chapter on intellectual property in October, revealing several provisions that would threaten access to and re-use of creative works, including an arrangement to allow countries to extend copyright terms by another 20 years. CC and other groups wrote a letter calling for that proposal to be rescinded.

Today’s call for increased accountability into the process and substance of the TPP agreement follows on the heels of the European Commission’s announcement for transparency into the negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a trade agreement being negotiated between the United States and the European Union.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) organized the letter from civil society organizations and experts. They said, “As TPP seems to arrive at its final stage, this is a prime moment for trade ministers to stop the secrecy and re-commit themselves to democratic principles of transparency and public participation in rule making.”

We couldn’t agree more.

The text of the letter (PDF) is below.

——————

Dear TPP Ministers and Heads of Delegation,

Ever since talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) began over five years ago, there have been broad public calls on leaders to make negotiations more transparent and open to the public. In statements, in letters, and in face-to-face meetings with trade representatives, we have urged the adoption of concrete practices that would better enable the kind of open debate and oversight that would help demystify these ongoing negotiations by making better, more accurate information available to the public.

The European Commission has recently taken leadership on this issue in the parallel context of negotiations over a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), recommending on 25 November 2014 that the EU’s TTIP text proposals henceforth be released to the public, and that other information related to TTIP be shared more broadly with all Members of the European Parliament, beyond the currently limited membership of the International Trade Committee.

The end of TPP negotiations now seems to be coming into focus. They have come down to high-level political decisions by negotiating countries, and the text is largely completed except for some resolutions on remaining landing zones. At this point, we know that there is a draft of the TPP that is mostly agreed upon by those negotiating the deal.

Today, we strongly urge you to release the unbracketed text and to release the negotiating positions for text that is bracketed, now and going forwards as any future proposals are made. The public has a legitimate interest in knowing what has already been decided on its behalf, and what is now at stake with our various countries’ positions on these controversial regulatory issues.

We call on you to consider the recent announcement from the European Commission as a welcome precedent to follow, thereby re-affirming your commitment to fundamental principles of transparency and public participation in rule making. The negotiations in Washington DC this week would provide the perfect opportunity for such a ground-breaking accord to be announced.

Sincerely,

International:
Article 19
Creative Commons
Consumers International
Oxfam International
SumOfUs

Australia:
Australian Digital Alliance
Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET)
Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA)
Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC)
Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA)
Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA)

Canada:
Council of Canadians
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (Réseau juridique canadien VIH/sida)
OpenMedia International

Chile:
ONG Derechos Digitales
Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios de Chile (ODECU)

Japan:
Movements of the Internet Active Users (MIAU)
Creative Commons Japan
thinkC

New Zealand:
Consumer NZ
Its Our Future NZ

Malaysia:
Blindspot
EcoKnights
Malaysian AIDS Council
Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+)

Mexico, Chile, Peru:
International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC-LATCA) (Regional Office for
Latin American and Carribean Networks)
Alianza LAC – Global por el Acceso a Medicamentos

Peru:
Hiperderecho
Peruvian Association of Consumers and Users (ASPEC)
Acción Internacional para la Salud (AIS)

USA:
Action on Smoking and Health
American Library Association
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Fight For the Future
Food & Water Watch
Government Accountability Project
Health GAP
Just Foreign Policy
Knowledge Ecology International
National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices
Public Knowledge
Sunlight Foundation
Association of Research Libraries

Academics:
Gabriel J. Michael, Yale Law School
Pam Samuelson, Berkeley Law School
Susan Sell, George Washington University
Sean Flynn, American University
David Levine, Princeton University

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Free Bassel

Ryan Merkley, December 10th, 2014

Bassel
Bassel / Joi Ito / CC BY

As of today, Creative Commons Syria lead Bassel Khartabil has been in prison for 1000 days. Today, we take a moment to honor Bassel and his contributions to Creative Commons. And we stand with our peers in the free software and free culture communities in demanding that he be freed.

Before Bassel was imprisoned, he worked hard to build digital literacy in Syria. Not only did he play a central role in Syria’s CC community; he was also active in Wikimedia, Openclipart, and numerous other free culture projects. As Lawrence Lessig wrote, “Mr. Khartabil isn’t a partisan, aligned with one Syrian faction against another. He represents a future, aligned against a totalitarian past.”

Bassel’s imprisonment is also a reminder that our fight is real. For those of us that work in relative safety, it can sometimes be easy to forget that a free and open internet is not a theoretical matter. Real lives are at risk.

Visit freebassel.org for more information on Bassel and how you can get involved. If you’re in San Francisco, visit Noisebridge this evening for a Free Bassel letter-writing event.

More information: Bassel Khartabil profile (Free Syrian Voices)

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Lessig to speak in San Francisco

Elliot Harmon, December 9th, 2014

Lawrence Lessig
Lawrence Lessig / Joi Ito / CC BY

CC co-founder Lawrence Lessig will speak on January 8 at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. JCCSF has provided CC with a special discount code to share with our community.

From the announcement:

Harvard Law Professor and legal activist Lawrence Lessig (Republic, Lost) believes he’s found a way to mitigate the corrosive effect of big money on elections. He discusses Mayday PAC, his own crowd-funded Super PAC, launched in order to elect a Congress committed to fundamentally reforming the way campaigns are financed.

If you use the code DEMOCRACY, you can pay $10 for standard or $15 for premium tickets.

Edited December 11. We’d previously reported the incorrect date for this event.

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