In the UK, the All Party Parliamentary Internet Group (APPIG) has recently released its report on Digital Rights Management. It contained strong and welcome recommendations in relation to DRM, some of which are succintly listed on Boing Boing.
In addition to DRM, the inquiry also considered CC licensing; specifically, one of the issues for comment was:
“Whether new types of content sharing license (such as Creative Commons or Copyleft) need legislation changes to be effective.”
The report explained that it had asked this question because it was “aware that these had taken some effort to craft so as to fit within the
UKs legal framework and wished to know if any changes would be of assistance.”
About the various submissions received on the issue of CC, the report concludes that “[e]veryone who commented told us that the licenses were solidly based on existing legislation, and that no changes were necessary.” Which is a relief and a testament to the hard work of the legal projects who adapt the licenses for varying jurisdictions around the world, and in particular in the UK England & Wales and Scotland.
Interestingly, the report continued that:
“Several of the rights-holders were rather negative about these licenses, suggesting that the creators and performers did not always understand what they were giving away forever and how it could affect an artists ability to enter into an exclusive license at a later stage in their career.”
These arguments are ones CC often encounters in discussions with different creator groups. However, it appears that these argument held little sway with the APPIG. It’s response:
“Although artists should naturally consider these matters, we suspect that these licenses are clearer than many media industry contracts. Also, should it become commonplace for bands to use Creative Commons licenses at an early stage of their career, then as they become successful and sign with a record company, the industry approach to exclusivity will doubtless be tempered by the new reality.”
The University Channel – a collaboration between over 30 universities, thinktanks and other organizations that host events relevant to a range of public affairs issues – has released its webcasts, podcasts, vodcasts and blogs under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharelike 2.5 license. UC invites contributors to submit recordings of lectures, seminars, panels and interviews to the site so that these can be disseminated as widely as possible to the public.
It hopes to provide a distribution channel for these recordings that were already being made for archival purposes but not being publicly
disseminated for lack of a distribution mechanism. Utilizing CC licenses, of course, the University Channel will now better achieve its
purpose by enabling wider dissemination of its materials.
Architecture for Humanity is a California-based non-profit organization aimed at encouraging architects and designers to seek architectural solutions to humanitarian crisis.
Launched in 1999 from a single laptop computer, Architecture for Humanity has spread into a global movement with local chapters around the world engaging talented young architects to rethink the mission of their profession. Architecture for Humanity hosts open design competitions for such projects as Transitional Housing for Returning Refugees in Kosovo, Mobile Health Clinics for Sub-Saharan Africa and a Sports Facility and HIV/AIDS Outreach Center in South Africa. Currently, Architecture for Humanity is providing design services and funding for reconstruction in Tsunami and Katrina affected regions.
Architecture for Humanity use the Creative Commons Developing Nations License on some of their designs. The CC Developing Nations license allows anyone in a developing country to freely use a copyrighted work whilst allowing a licensor to retain full copyright in the developed world.
In 2006, Executive Director and Co-founder Cameron Sinclair was awarded this year’s TEDPrize and with his “Wish” is developing an open source humanitarian design network to provide a global platform for designers to collaborate and develop projects to solve humanitarian issues.
Kathryn Frankel of Creative Commons met up with Cameron to learn more about Architecture for Humanity (“AFH”) and their experience in using Creative Commons licenses.
Creative Commons (“CC”): What is AFH’s mission?
Cameron Sinclair (“CS”): Architecture for Humanity was founded to promote architectural and design solutions to global, social and humanitarian crises. Through competitions, workshops, educational forums, partnerships with aid organizations and other activities, Architecture for Humanity creates opportunities for architects and designers from around the world to help communities in need. We believe that where resources and expertise are scarce, innovative, sustainable and collaborative design can make a difference.
CC: What are AFH’s current projects?
CS: We’re working on a health center in Tanzania. We’re doing new housing construction and rehabilitation of Katrina affected homes in the Gulf Coast as well as an art center and residence in the lower ninth district of New Orleans. Post tsunami, we’re doing a number of community buildings in Sri Lanka and India. We’re still in the building process of the Siyathemba soccer field project in South Africa. We’ve also just released our book, Design Like You Give A Damn, which is intended to bring the best of humanitarian architecture and design to the printed page, and consists of a collection of innovative projects from around the world that demonstrate the power of design to improve lives.
CC: How does AFH use Creative Commons’ licenses?
CS: We use the Developing Nations license for the designs of our buildings. Once the first prototype building is completed, we can essentially give away the designs to other communities in other developing nations.
Licenses are granted in the designers’ names. This actually came out of a project we did, the architect felt that by doing the project, he would lose the design. So half of it is a reassurance, the other half is to give architects the confidence to actually do pro bono work and not feel that their creativity will be given away.
CC: Why did AFH choose to adopt the Developing Nations license?
CS: Because the focus of our organization is to provide design services to communities where resources are scare, in many instances, we’re working in developing countries. By using the license, we can assure the architect that we’re protecting their intellectual property rights. This works in both directions, not only benefiting western designers but also local architects; a local architect may come with a scheme that works well in their country but it could also be marketed in the West.
CC: Has there been much reaction by the architectural community to your decision to CC license your works?
CS: I think it’s been positive. We’ve spent a lot of time explaining what the license does. This is a brand new concept within the industry. We’ve initially just been using licenses for our own projects. If a more robust version comes out, we can promote it more broadly. One of the issues the license would need to address is liability. Architects are licensed professionals and by sharing their design concepts they are opening themselves up to lawsuits should someone else adopt the design. In architecture, there’s not really a Good Samaritan’s law so maybe this can be an alternative—a way of allowing architects to share their ideas without sharing the liability should someone adapt the idea in a structurally unsound way without their knowledge.
CC: How do you think CC licenses can benefit the architectural and humanitarian design community?
CS: By engaging more people in getting involved in these issues, CC licenses could act as a platform, like a legal standard, that designers could work from. At the moment, the industry is in a very gray area and nobody knows what belongs to who, who’s really the designer, who’s liable. CC licensing could clear that up.Comments Off
During the iSummit last weekend in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I had the
opportunity to sit down with Dwayne Bailey from the WordForge project. We discussed the tools used to
translate Creative Commons software and he assisted me in installing the
server-based tool Pootle
on our servers. Pootle is a web-based tool that allows users to collaborate on translating software through the web.
At this time I’m pleased to announce that our Pootle server,
translate.creativecommons.org, is live and open for business.
I’ve moved the ccPublisher translations I have available onto the site,
and ccHost translations will be available there as well. Some
documentation on how we’re using Pootle is available in our wiki.
If you have questions about using Pootle, about translation in general
or would like to import a translation-in-progress into Pootle, email the
We wrapped up the iCommons Summit yesterday. It was a fantastic and inspiring event bringing together a diversity of skills, viewpoints, experiences and cultures but all connected to and passionate about issues relevant to “the commons.” You can find more information about what was discussed from the summit website. In addition, the New York Times today has a very good overview article about the Summit.Comments Off
Hello from the iCommons Summit! Rio is beautiful and so are the hundreds of people joining us here for this historic event.
Among the many members of our community who have traveled to be a part of the summit is former Creative Commons executive director Glenn Otis Brown, who writes in to say:
I’m honored to be able to participate in the iCommons Summit in Rio de
Janeiro this weekend. I’m also thrilled to announce that Google‘s Open Source Programs, which last year donated $30,000 dollars to Creative Commons, will be sponsoring four digital video cameras for the three-day event. The idea will be to have conference participants themselves film the proceedings — which include a performance by the legendary musician and Minister
of Culture Gilberto Gil and a speech by Jimmy Wales (wikipedia), among many other Net luminaries. Eventually someone — Creative Commons, the iSummit participants, the Web? (tbd) — will cut and knit the footage together into something along the lines of the Beastie Boys’ fan-filmed Madison Square Garden concert video, “
We hope other iCommons attendees will bring cameras and participate in this collaborative capturing of what is sure to be an unforgettable experience, and we are proud to take inspiration from the Beastie Boys (who, as you may recall, were among the first major-label artists to go CC with a track on WIRED’s Rip Sample Mash Share CD).
A special thanks to Chris DiBona and Eric Case from Google’s own Open Source Programs for sponsoring the cameras.
See you there, old friends!
Products Counsel, Google Inc.
Creative Commons alum
Thanks, Glenn!Comments Off
Most of Creative Commons staff is in Rio de Janiero this weekend for the iCommons iSummit. See the iSummit coverage site for panel writeups, podcasts, and images from the conference.
It is a pleasure to have a few days of face to face collaboration with our worldwide affiliates and extended community.
Update: Participate online in Second Life.Comments Off
Our latest Featured Commoner tells the story of Wikitravel – why it was started, how it has been built up & organized and its experience of CC licensing. As we mentioned earlier in the year, in April 2006 Wikitravel was one of two wikis that were acquired by Internet Brands, which makes this a very interesting chapter in the development of new business models around open content licensing.Comments Off
In preparation for the iCommons iSummit taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil later this week, we’re pleased to announce that ccPublisher 2.2 is now available. The focus of this release was internationalization, and it includes translations for Chinese (Taiwan), Croation, Dutch, Polish, and Spanish. Thanks to the volunteers who graciously handled the translation efforts. In addition to translation support, ccPublisher 2.2 corrects many bugs which our users reported using the automated crash reporter.
Update (23 June 2006): After discovering a bug we missed in 2.2, we’ve released the first bug-fix release — 2.2.1; details at the release page.1 Comment »
Microsoft has released an tool for copyright licensing that enables the easy addition of Creative Commons licensing information for works in popular Microsoft Office applications. The software is available free of charge at Microsoft Office Online and will enable the 400 million users of Microsoft Office Word, Microsoft Office Excel, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint to easily select Creative Commons licenses from directly within the application they are working in.Comments Off