CC Talks With: GiftTRAP

Cameron Parkins, October 5th, 2007

We’re going crazy over here at CC. Not only did we just go live with our website redesign, launch our 3rd Annual Fundraising Campaign, and get a new general counsel/vice president, we are also happy to announce the return of the “Featured Commoner” series to our blog!

“Featured Commoners” are people, groups, or tools that use CC licensing in unique and original ways. Short interviews will be posted to our blog, offering insight into the ways CC licences have helped these people and projects realize their respective goals.

Our first “Featured Commoner” in this new wave of interviews is Nick Kellet of GiftTRAP, a wonderful board game that we have talked about before here.


What’s GiftTRAP all about?

Isn’t gift-giving a gong show in your family? We all have funny stories about the gifts we’ve received and wondered, “What were they thinking?”. That’s what GiftTRAP is all about.

It’s an emotional intelligence game themed around giving gifts. Playing means you can drop hints about what you’d like, try and guess what your friends want or even give really bad gifts just for fun! It’s all about getting the “social” back into board games.

Some games are about winning and others are about taking part. GiftTRAP is an experience that’s all about great conversation and getting friends and family talking about things that matter. In GiftTrap, getting better is as important as winning.

Read More…

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COMMUNIA: public domain & alternative licensing experts convene in Europe

Michelle Thorne, October 5th, 2007


COMMUNIA, the European Thematic Network on the Public Domain in the Digital Age, held its kick-off meeting in Turin, Italy on September 28, 2007. The network consists of over 35 members from 21 countries who are dedicated to developing

“the single European point of reference for high-level policy discussion and strategic action on all issues related to the public domain in the digital environment, as well as related topics such as alternative forms of licensing for creative material (including, but not limited to, the Creative Commons licenses), open access to scientific publications and research results, management of works whose authors are unknown (i.e. orphan works).”

The COMMUNIA project, funded by the European Commission and coordinated by Politecnico di Torino, will enrich the next 3 years with a productive schedule of thematic workshops and conferences, with the goal of maintaining a strong link between participants dedicated to analytical and practical results, including “the production of a book; an academic journal; a “best practices” guide for European research and reference centres on the topics covered by COMMUNIA; and a final strategic report containing policy guidelines that will help all the stakeholders – public and private, from the local to the European level – tacking the issues that the existence of a digital public domain have raised and will undoubtedly continue to raise.”

The kick-off meeting owes its success to the superb organization efforts of Italian CC Project Lead and COMMUNIA Network Coordinator Prof. Juan Carlos De Martin, Project Manager Andrea Glorioso, Ms. Maria Teresa Medina Quintana, Prof. Angelo Raffaele Meo, and Prof. Marco Ricolfi. Also part of the COMMUNIA Project team is Mr. Bernardo Parrella as online PR manager.


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CC Salon SF next Wednesday

Rebecca Rojer, October 4th, 2007

Mark your calendars: The next San Francisco CC Salon is Wednesday, October 10, from 7-9PM. Help celebrate the launch of our fall fundraising campaign and hang out with fellow CC supporters.

We’re back at Shine (1337 Mission St.) with a stellar lineup of presenters, including:

Check out the upcoming page for more info. Its going to be a great night and we hope to see you there!

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Boing Boing tv

Mike Linksvayer, October 2nd, 2007

From Boing Boing, one of the most popular blogs on the planet, and the one that more often than not scoops us (we don’t mind) on cool new content released under CC licenses: Boing Boing tv.

Apparently the lowercase “tv” is intentional, and yes, it’s licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial.

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Taking Stock of the Creative Commons Experiment

Mike Linksvayer, October 2nd, 2007

As Creative Commons approaches its 5th birthday it makes sense for papers to appear with titles like Taking Stock of the Creative Commons Experiment: Monitoring the Use of Creative Commons Licenses and Evaluating Its Implications for the Future of Creative Commons and for Copyright Law. This paper, presented a few days ago at TPRC 2007 (though not the final version), is from Giorgos Cheliotis, Warren Chik, Ankit Guglani, Giri Kumar Tayi. It offers an expanded and extremely interesting analysis expanding on that presented by Cheliotis this summer at our annual summit.

Read the paper or just skim for some neat graphs concerning CC license adoption and license mix against criteria such as region, wealth, population, and license launch date.

If you’re in San Francisco you can ask in person about this research as Giorgos Cheliotis will be one of the presenters at next week’s CC Salon. A full announcement for that event will be posted here soon.

Giorgos Cheliotis at iSummit 2007, photo by Dominick Chen licensed under CC BY.

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wikiHow Reaches 25,000 Articles

Rebecca Rojer, October 2nd, 2007

With the addition of “How to Make an Eiskaffee (Creamy Iced Coffee)” on September 21, the 25,000th article was added to wikiHow. wikiHow is a wiki whose community works to build and share the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Articles include everything from everyday tasks such as maintaining a vacuum cleaner and tying a necktie to less common activities like how to do a wall flip.

Launched in January 2005, wikiHow has since grown rapidly to become one of most popular sites on web. Every month over 5 million unique visitors come to the site, making it the 500th most popular site in the US and the 2000th internationally according to Alexa.

In keeping with its mission, wikiHow has actively worked to share its content and software with the world. All of the content is available under the CC-BY-SA-NC license and all its software modifications are available under the GPL. Some of wikiHow’s articles come preloaded on computers from the One Laptop Per Child project; all of their modifications to Mediawiki can be downloaded by anyone, and have been used by organizations such as UNICEF and MIT as well as developers all over the world.

wikiHow is a great example of the possibilities for participatory culture opened by Creative Commons licenses. According to wikiHow founder, Jack Herrick, “Creative Commons licensing has been a necessary ingredient of our success thus far. These licenses allow others to easily share, republish and modify our content which furthers our mission. In addition, the licenses provide our editors with the “Right to Fork”, which gives our community comfort that their work will always be freely available to them and others.”

Jack continues “I’m optimistic that one day wikiHow will offer accurate, helpful how-to instructions on almost every topic in almost every language. I’m looking forward to sharing a how-to manual in Arabic, Chinese, German, Hindi, Japanese, Polish and many other languages we don’t currently serve. Fortunately Creative Commons licensing exists in all these languages and will help us along this path.”

Congratulations wikiHow! Support Creative Commons today so that the commons may continue to grow!


Firefox Knowledge Base

Mike Linksvayer, October 2nd, 2007

The Firefox Knowledge Base (also known as SUMO, or launched as alpha, with all content licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike. There are lots of really practical uses of this great content allowed under the license — for example, an IT department, school, or NGO creating training materials covering specific browser tasks.

For example, the Knowledge Base article on managing the Firefox search bar, which includes CC Search in its default list of available search engines.

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Creative Commons 3rd Annual Fundraising Campaign

Melissa Reeder, October 1st, 2007

Today, Creative Commons officially launched its third annual fundraising campaign. Our goal is to raise $500,000 before Dec. 31st which means we need your support! To help promote this campaign we’ve redesigned our website (as you may have noticed) to include a dynamic map which shows where in the world our support comes from and released the new 2007 limited edition campaign tshirts. We’ve also revamped the Lessig Letter series and are finalizing the plans for the 2nd annual CC swag photo contest — stay tuned for details.

I just want to reiterate how important our community’s support is to sustaining Creative Commons and the broader movement for “free” culture. We exist for you — please help us raise these needed funds so we can continue our work providing options for those who believe in a participatory culture.

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Creative Commons @ 5 years

Lawrence Lessig, October 1st, 2007

Five years ago this December, we launched Creative Commons. At a party with music by DJ Spooky, and video endorsements by John Perry Barlow and (the late) Jack Valenti, we began to implement a gaggle of legal hacks to let the copyright system better reflect the views of many artists, authors, educators, and scientists. Some of those ideas bombed. But the core flourished — far beyond the wildest dreams of any of us back then. We have taken the insight of the Free Software Movement, and made it real in the space of culture, science and education. There is now a language to signal the freedoms creators support, and a set of legal and technical tools to make those freedom stick.

In the five years since our launch, we have grown up fast. In 2004, we incubated an international movement supporting the ideals of the Internet and cultural freedom (iCommons). This year we spun that organization out as an independent UK-based charity. In 2005, we launched a project to support a commons within science (Science Commons). This year Science Commons launched the Neurocommons, an e-research project built exclusively on open scientific literature and databases, and the Materials Transfer Project, an extension of the ideas of the commons to physical tools such as gene plasmids and cell lines. And just two months ago, we announced a significant grant that has enabled us to launch a project focused on learning and education (ccLearn). There is now a staff of over 30 in four offices around the world, supporting thousands of volunteers in more than 70 local jurisdiction projects around the world, who, in turn, support the millions of objects that have been marked with the freedoms that CC licenses enable.

Our work so far has provided a legal infrastructure to support what our chairman, Joi Ito, calls the “sharing economy.” It recognizes that in addition to the amazing creativity of authors and artists who want to sell their work, there is amazing creativity by scientists, teachers, authors, artists and the rest of us who simply want to share our creativity. CC has provided this economy of giving an infrastructure to support that giving. We have enabled a platform that makes the choice clear, and literally millions of creative works have been offered on that platform.

But this year we have added one more important layer to our tools. Building upon our metadata architecture, we have added a simple way for creators to both share, and profit from the creativity that they share. This is the CC+ project. An artist, for example, can release her work under a CC Attribution-Noncommercial license, but then, using the CC+ infrastructure, enable those who want commercial rights (or anything else beyond the freedoms granted in the license) to link to a site that can provide those other rights. In this way, CC now helps support a hybrid economy of creativity. We provide a simple platform to protect and enable those who want to share; and we’ve built a simple way to cross over from that sharing economy for those who want to profit from their creativity.

This December will also mark my fifth year leading CC, first as Chairman of the Board, and now as CEO. It has been wildly more amazing and more difficult than I ever expected. It is extraordinary to see the success of a powerful and successful team. Yet it is extraordinarily difficult to feel the constant obligation to make sure the organization continues to have the financial support it needs to keep the work going.

I will continue to devote every hour I can to supporting the work of CC. Though my academic focus has moved beyond copyright — see — I remain committed to this organization, and to its success. I will remain its CEO. But my primary aim now is to put Creative Commons on a solid financial footing, to guarantee the next five years at least. That security will begin if we can meet the goal we have for this campaign — $500,000.

Over the next few months, we will share five stories by five prominent members of the CC community. They will give you a fuller idea of where we are, and where we are going. But as we have done for three years now, these missives have a mission. We want them to inspire you to support us again.

If you’d like to receive these via email, visit

Please enjoy the story of CC @ 5. And please help us secure another 5 at

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Neurocommons in the news

Kaitlin Thaney, October 1st, 2007

New on the Science Commons blog

Pharmaceutical companies may soon be adopting Semantic Web standards and technology if they haven’t already, according to a recent piece in Chemical & Engineering News. The cover story, “The Semantic Web: Pharma researchers Adopt an Orphan Internet Standard”, looks at the desirability of such search technology and functionality in the pharma world, specifically highlighting our proof-of-concept project – the Neurocommons.

From the article:

“John Wilbanks, executive director of the Science Commons, a spin-off of Creative Commons that develops routes to legal sharing of copyrighted scientific documents and data, sees a critical mass of IT-savvy researchers enthusiastically pursuing projects using the semantic Web. He compares their efforts to pioneering work on the Internet itself.

‘Around 1995 or 1996, all the subterranean work exploded,’ Wilbanks says, ‘and most people discovered the Web. What is happening now on the semantic Web is similar to what was going on in the five years leading up to that explosion.’

Science Commons, in association with W3C, recently launched a demonstration project called Neurocommons to illustrate the benefits of the semantic Web in neurological disease research. […]

[…] [Wilbanks] says companies will eventually have to adapt in-house semantic Webs to a broader standard that expedites collaborative research between companies and institutions. Such a standard will most likely emerge as in-house projects “boil over” and merge. ‘There are enough databases and enough smart people involved,’ he says. ‘You can really see the momentum now.’

The article can be read in its entirety here.

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