Community Generated HowTos

Fred Benenson, August 26th, 2008

Molly Kleinman, the “multi-purpose” librarian, has started putting together some easy to digest HowTos on Creative Commons. In HowTo #1 she details some very reasonable examples of proper attribution:

An Ideal Attribution
This video features the song “Play Your Part (Pt.1)” by Girl Talk, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license. © 2008, Greg Gillis.

A Realistic Attribution

Photo by mollyali, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

A Derivative Work Attribution

This is a video adaptation of the novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. Copyright © 2003 Cory Doctorow.

In HowTo #2, Molly gives some examples to demonstrate our NonCommercial license:

  1. Using an illustration on a birthday party invitation = Non-commercial
    Using an illustration on a charity auction invitation = Commercial
  2. Using a song as the soundtrack to a collection of home videos for the family reunion = Non-commercial
    Using a song as the soundtrack to an advertisement for a Family Reunion Travel deal = Commercial
  3. Using a photo on a personal website that has no ads = Non-commercial
    Using a photo on an ad-supported website = Commercial

Visit Molly’s site for more updates on the HowTos and other news relevant to open content and librarians.

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Flickr Cofounder Caterina Fake Joins Creative Commons Board

Eric Steuer, August 25th, 2008

We are very excited to announce that Caterina Fake has joined the Creative Commons board. Fake cofounded the massively popular photo sharing site and community Flickr in early 2004. To date, Flickr’s community of photographers have licensed over 75 million photos to the public under Creative Commons copyright licenses, making the site one of the biggest sources of permissively licensed material on the Internet. Fake is also a writer and artist, and is currently the Chief Product Officer for startup Hunch.

This is an excellent addition to the CC team. You can read more about it in the press release we just posted to publicize the news.

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Animasher Brings Commons Remixing to Animation

Fred Benenson, August 25th, 2008

Animasher is a site with a simple premise based on a powerful tool that helps anyone remix the commons. The core of the site is a flash tool that enables easy key frame based creation of animations complete with music and narration. In order to seed the site with remixable content, Animasher pulls Attribution licensed photographs from Flickr and Attribution and Public Domain music from other sources such as Jamendo and Opsound. Proper attribution is then automatically generated for each animation which is also licensed under CC-BY. All animations can be cloned and edited instantly by anyone visiting the site.

To get started, watch some of the animations created by other users, or create your own.


Semantic Media Wiki Quick Reference Guide

Fred Benenson, August 25th, 2008

Creative Commons uses Semantic Media Wiki for both our external wiki and our internal task and project management system.

As opposed to a normal wiki where text is “flat”, the text and data inside a SMW can be structured in sophisticated ways that allow for meaningful querying of knowledge statements of the corpus. To give a more concrete example, a list of United States Vice Presidents by longevity must be maintained by humans on Wikipedia, whereas a similar list can be automatically generated via a query inside a semantic media wiki (supposing there are pages about the presidents in the first place). Or in the case of Creative Commons’ wiki, we use SMW to store information about case studies, which can then be recalled in interesting ways, such as listing all Creative Commons licensed projects that use text and are based in Australia. You can see the exact query used to generate that list by clicking “edit query” on the page. Try changing the country to something else to get a feel for how the search works.

One final aspect about SMW that makes it relevant to CC’s work is that it automatically creates RDF (the language of the semantic web) statements about pages. This gives any semantic media wiki a machine-readable output that allows for easy parsing by machines.

Sound familliar? That’s because Creative Commons encourages the use of RDFa to express license information about objects in webpages. RDFa is meant to be the “human readable” version of RDF which also contains machine readable statements. Think of it as extra-fancy XHTML with semantic sparkle dust.

Despite some real leaps in user-interface design for SMWs, editing and querying them remains a little confusing. Yaron Koren, the developer behind the essential Semantic Forms extension, has created a “quick reference guide” that he’s released under Creative Commons’ Attribution license.

Yaron has made the guide available in three formats so that it is easy to print (pdf), remix (svg), and read (png).

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James Boyle on the Kojo Nnamdi Show

Cameron Parkins, August 22nd, 2008

Chair of the CC Board James Boyle recently spoke on Kojo Nnamdi‘s Tech Tuesday radio program, discussing last week’s United States Court of Appeals decision which upholds “Open Source” or public license licensors as entitled to copyright infringement relief.

The show, which originally aired on American University’s WAMU 88.5 FM, touches on the decision specifically but also open source tools in general, giving context to why this decision was so important and how it relates to the commons more broadly. You can listen to the program (Real Media or Windows Media Player streams available; VLC can be used for the Windows Media stream) at the Kojo Nnamdi Show site.

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To The 2008 Summer Interns

Jennifer Yip, August 22nd, 2008

Last Friday was the last day of Creative Commons’ fourth summer internship program. The staff had the pleasure of working with six accomplished students from various backgrounds and locations. As seen in their active blogging and outreach, they proved to be an asset during our busy summer months. We’d like to thank them each for their diligence at the office and exuberance for free culture.

  • Brian Rowe, a 3L from the University of Seattle School of Law, was our Legal intern.
  • Frank Tobia, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Technology, was a Tech intern.
  • Grace Armstrong, who is attending Yale University in the fall, assisted our ccLearn team.
  • Greg Grossmeier, a graduate student from the University Michigan School of Information, was our Community Development intern.
  • Steren Giannini, from Ecole Centrale de Lyon in France, was our other Technology intern.
  • Tim Hwang, from Harvard University, was the Business Development intern.

Special thanks to:

  • Brian for helping to distill the much needed list of “Frequently Frequently Asked Questions;”
  • Frank for improving the curry bot and working on code that will reduce the duplicated code in our licensing interfaces;
  • Grace for bringing an inquisitive eye to the international issues in the realm of ccLearn and open education;
  • Greg for driving Case Studies, and ccHost 5 forward with his mad bug reporting and triaging skills;
  • Steren for improving our internal task tracking system and making the deeds and license chooser validate as XHTML+RDFa;
  • and thanks to Tim for all his hard work on the Case Studies and Metrics projects and for helping plan the next wave of CC business development.

We were truly impressed by all your great work, and look forward to seeing each of you again in the near future!

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Announcing September’s CC Salon NYC

Fred Benenson, August 20th, 2008

CC Salon NYC Logo

After the success of July’s CC Salon NYC, we’re even more excited about inviting you to September’s!

The Open Planning Project has once again generously allowed us to use their loft space in the West Village for the salon and a reception afterward.

September’s Salon will feature presentations from Rachel Sterne from, Michael Galpert from, and a special screening / premier of two new shorts from the Meerkat Arts Media Collective.

Here are the details:

Tuesday, September 30th, from 7-10pm
The Open Planing Project
349 W. 12th St., 1st Floor

We’ll also have free (as in beer) beer for the reception afterward. If you didn’t make it to July’s salon, don’t miss this one, and if you did, you’ll know to come early as space is limited.

Follow the event via and RSVP via the Facebook event or e-mailing me – fred [at]

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ccNewsletter #8 – Culture Commons

Melissa Reeder, August 19th, 2008

ccNewsletter #8

For all of you interested in what CC is currently doing in the culture space — check out this month’s edition of the ccNewsletter.

The ccNewsletter comes out every two months and is a great way to get up to speed on current CC news, whether you’re already familiar with CC or new to the scene. I encourage you to check it out and to sign up.

As always, a big shout-out to CC Philippines for designing the PDF version.

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NSF Task Force on Cyberlearning

Jane Park, August 19th, 2008

The National Science Foundation Task Force issued a report late in June on cyberlearning, more specifically on “Fostering Learning in the Networked World: The Cyberlearning Opportunity and Challenge.” It is, in their words, “A 21st Century Agenda for the National Science Foundation” concerning ICT for learning. The report outlines five recommendations for “growth and opportunities for action,” one of which concerns the promotion of open educational resources (OER). According to recommendation #4:

“Materials funded by NSF should be made readily available on the web with permission for unrestricted reuse and recombination. New grant proposals should make their plans clear for both the availability and the sustainability of materials produced by their funded project.”

In the future, ccLearn hopes to see these goals develop into concrete initiatives. The National Science Foundation has an annual federal budget of $6.06 billion and currently funds 20% of all federally supported research by higher education institutions in the United States.

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Creative Commons HowTo

Greg Grossmeier, August 16th, 2008

Molly Kleinman, Copyright Specialist and Special Projects Librarian at the University of Michigan, just wrote up a nice howto for people who use Creative Commons licensed material in their work. This will hopefully add to the repository of knowledge for best practices on material integration.

This is an ongoing issue in the community. No matter how straight forward the instructions for providing attribution to a work are, mistakes will always be made. Most times the mistakes are made not in malice but in a lack of guidance. Luckily, Molly is taking up the task on her blog.

Her examples are easy to understand along with providing various methods of accomplishing the same goal. She even has an “Ideal” example and a “Realistic” example.

From Molly:

I’m taking the material I use in my workshops, mixing it up with CC’s extensive documentation, and posting the results here. If anyone has ideas for topics they’d like me to cover, let me know.

Here’s hoping she continues on this project of producing easy to understand examples of how to use Creative Commons licenses effectively and correctly.

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