2009 March

The Magnes Collection

Fred Benenson, March 25th, 2009

Turkish Dress2The Judah L. Magnes museum is a museum of art and history focused on the Jewish experience located in Berkeley, California. Since late 2007 the museum has been posting their digital assets both on their website and on their Flickr account. On Flickr, all of the high resolution images are licensed under our Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license. The image to the left is of a 19th century Turkish Wedding dress which was a gift from Sara Levi Willis.

Recently, the museum has been blogging at their opensource blog, but you can also check out all of their collections on their Flickr account here. As more and more cultural institutions come online, it is important to recognize those that understand the value in sharing their assets, so congratulations to The Magnes for taking the lead!

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In LA Tonight: Into Infinity at REDCAT

Eric Steuer, March 25th, 2009

into infinity

If you’re in Los Angeles tonight, please stop by REDCAT (631 W 2nd St, LA, CA 90012) for an installation of Into Infinity – the CC-licensed art and music project that explores the infinite possibilities of recombination and reuse. Dublab is producing tonight’s event, which will include collage projections of Into Infinity’s visual art and a live improv performance of Into Infinity’s hundreds of eight-second audio loops. The event is free and open to people of all ages. Schedule is below.

6-7:30pm: DJ sets by the Dublab DJs
7:30pm: Mi Casa Es Su Casa screening
8-9pm: Into Infinity eye & ear collage performed by Ale, Cantaloupe, frosty, Jimmy Tamborello, and matthewdavid.

If you’re not in the area or can’t make it out tonight – don’t worry. We’re going to put the audio from the performance online. You can also make your own Into Infinity combinations at home by playing with the project’s nesting feature and audio mixer.

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Analysis of 100M CC-Licensed Images on Flickr

Michelle Thorne, March 25th, 2009

Since last weekend we’ve been celebrating the number of CC-licensed photos on Flickr, which now has reached over 100 million — the largest pool of CC images to date. We’ve received some great feedback from the community, including the following analysis from Christian (metawelle):

On July 29, 2004 Flickr announced that anyone who wanted to release their Flickr photos under a Creative Commons license could do so. Within the first year 10 million photos were published with the help of CC’s six different licenses. Now in the fifth year since the initial collaboration between the Canadian photohosting service and the non-profit organization Creative Commons, there are currently over 100 million photos in Flickr’s massive database. And the photos are not just to look at; you can also download, print, and distribute the photos legally and free of charge. Plus, a large portion of the photos explicitly allow derivative works, and a surprisingly larger percent allow for commercial use.

100 million CC-licensed photos on Flickr — reason enough to take a closer look at the figures.

100,043,383 free images on Flickr

Today there are 100,043,383 free images on the Flickr servers. 33% of them are equipped with the most restrictive CC License, BY-NC-ND. That means that over 32 million photos are available to download, display publicly, and distribute, as long as the author is attributed and no changes are made to the original image. The second most frequent license is BY-NC-SA. It allows derivative works for non-commercial purposes as long as those resulting works are made available under the same license. 29%, or 29 million images, can be used in this manner.

Restrictive licenses are more popular

Thus it would seem that the bulk of photos are licensed rather restrictively. That basically means authors rarely tend to release their works with creative and commercial freedoms. 76% of all photos bar commercial use. At the same time, it means that 24%, or 24 million photos, do allow for commercial use with minimal restrictions. For example, over 12 millions photos are completely free to use, as long as the author of the image is attributed.

If you take the time to click through Flickr’s gigantic image pool, you’ll notice that it doesn’t just host snapshots. Among these 12 million photos you’ll find numerous professional photographs. Aside from commercial freedom in these works, creative freedom is most important for a functioning digital culture. Approximately 63 million of all available image files allow for derivative works; in other words, they can be used for photo montages, collages, films, animations, or similar projects, without having to ask permission or clarify rights (although naturally we must distinguish between commercial and non-commercial uses).

Monthly growth rate

Also very surprising is the growth rate of the number of CC-licensed photos. The monthly growth rate sunk from an initial 13% (April 2006) to about 4% (November 2008), at which point growth more or less stabilized.  Presently, the pool of free images is increasing about 4% in comparison with the previous month. That means that the absolute number of monthly gain in photos is rising. It is also important to mention that here you can interpret this as a gain in freedom.  Increasingly, there are more licensed images bringing high creative and commercial freedoms. In other words: consistently more authors are equipping their photos with more freedoms. Thereby they are more frequently granting the public derivative or commercial use of their photos. However it should be noted that this development is very slow.

CC Content bei Flickr von 04/2006 - 11/2008 (Bild: CC BY-SA www.metawelle.net)
Absolute number of CC-licensed photos on Flickr, from April 1, 2006 – November 1, 2008 (Click the graphic to enlarge.)

Altogether the range of freely available photos is enormous. The 100 million works on Flickr make up the majority of CC-licensed content worldwide, and the consequences of such a pool are not to be underestimated. Especially for schools, who should be promoting creativity, such a massive image archive offers many advantages. Freely available images can be used for example, in presentations, educational websites, or other digital projects.

But this archive also offers big advantages in commercial fields. A positive example is Spreeblick Verlag KG, a German publisher that uses gratis and commercially available images in a Flickrpool on their blog. It surprises me that more publishers and editors don’t take advantage of this enormous offering. Probably knowledge about Creative Commons is still not distributed widely enough in the minds of the online editors — let alone the print world.


Translated from Christian‘s “100 Millionen freie Bilder bei Flickr“, available under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 License. This translation is available under the same license.

We’ve been collecting Flickr licensing stastics on our wiki for some time now, and we are very happy that members of our community such as Christian have taken such proactive steps to analyze our data. Anyone else out there should feel free to do the same!


The 3rd Party Content of Whitehouse.gov

Fred Benenson, March 25th, 2009

Whitehouse.govWhen Whitehouse.gov relaunched itself during Barack Obama’s inauguration it included a clause in its copyright policy mandating that all 3rd party content on the site be released under our Attribution license. Until yesterday, there wasn’t much third party content on the site. However, as of this writing, 13,785 people have submitted 16,561 questions and cast 508,450 votes in the site’s “Open For Questions” section. President Obama will answer some of these questions on Thursday morning in a special online town hall.

While the copyright status of each individual question may not seem significant, all of the questions taken in aggregate are of unquestionable value for current and future generations of journalists, historians and citizens. By placing this corpus under our most permissive license, the Obama Administration has secured that the public will always have access to this unprecedented part of American presidential history.

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Ada Lovelace Day: Pamela Samuelson

Mike Linksvayer, March 24th, 2009

Today (March 24) is Ada Lovelace Day:

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology.

Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines. Entrepreneurs, innovators, sysadmins, programmers, designers, games developers, hardware experts, tech journalists, tech consultants. The list of tech-related careers is endless.

And includes tech lawyers. It seems highly appropriate for CC’s contribution to Ada Lovelace Day blogging be to highlight Pamela Samuelson, a giant in the field of law and technology, in particular copyright and technology.

Samuelson is Professor at the University of California at Berkeley with a joint appointment in the School of Information and the School of Law and co-directs the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology.

Also see our post on Samuelson’s copyright reform thinking and a video of her excellent keynote of last year’s Students for Free Culture Conference.

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Creative Commons wins the 2008 Free Software Foundation Award for Project of Social Benefit!

Mike Linksvayer, March 24th, 2009

Saturday at Libre Planet, the Free Software Foundation’s annual conference, Creative Commons was honored to receive the FSF’s Award for Projects of Social Benefit:

The FSF Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented annually to a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society by applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life.

Since its launch in 2001, Creative Commons has worked to foster a growing body of creative, educational and scientific works that can be shared and built upon by others. Creative Commons has also worked to raise awareness of the harm inflicted by increasingly restrictive copyright regimes.

Creative Commons vice president Mike Linksvayer accepted the award saying, “It’s an incredible honor. Creative Commons should be giving an award to the Free Software Foundation and Richard Stallman, because what Creative Commons is doing would not be possible without them.”

Congratulations also to Wietse Venema, honored with the Award for the Advancement of Free Software for his “significant and wide-ranging technical contributions to network security, and his creation of the Postfix email server.”

FSF president Stallman presented a plaque by artist Lincoln Read commemorating the award to Creative Commons.

It is worth noting that the FSF Social Benefit Award’s 2005 and 2007 winners are Wikipedia and Groklaw both because it is tremendous to be in their company and as the former is in the process of migrating to a CC BY-SA license (thanks in large part to the FSF) and the latter publishes under a CC BY-NC-ND license.

Only last December CC was honored to receive an award from another of computing’s most significant pioneers, Doug Engelbart.

Thanks again to the Free Software Foundation and Richard Stallman. Please join us in continuing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his founding of the free software movement. As Stallman would say, “Happy Hacking!”

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Celebrate 100 Million CC Photos on Flickr with Joi Ito’s Free Souls

Fred Benenson, March 23rd, 2009

Free Souls Image

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been keeping a close eye on the number of CC licensed photos of Flickr. Our calculations now show that Flickr has surpassed 100 million CC licensed photos sometime during the day on Saturday, March 21st, 2009. As of Monday, we’re calculating the total number of CC licensed photos at 100,191,085.*

These photos have been used in hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia articles, blog posts, and even mainstream press pieces; all examples of new works that might not otherwise been created without our standardized public licenses. Flickr’s integration of CC licenses was one of the first and best; not only do they allow users to specify licenses per-photo, but they offer an incredible CC discovery page which breaks down searches for CC licensed materials by license. This means that you can look for all the photos of New York City licensed under Attribution and sorted by interestingness, to give an example.

As part of our celebration of Flickr passing this historic milestone, we are offering a dozen copies of Creative Commons CEO Joi Ito’s Free Souls book at our $100 donation level. Naturally, all of Joi’s photos are not only licensed under our most permissive Attribution license, but they’re also available on Flickr for download. By donating to Creative Commons today you can support the work that we do and receive one of the 1,024 copies of Joi’s limited edition book.

*We are linking to CSV files generated per-day based a simple scrape of Flickr’s CC portal. To generate the total number of licensed photos, we SUM()‘d the 2nd column of the CSV file. March 21st yielded approximately 99 million and March 22nd yielded over 100 million, hence our estimate that 100 million was passed sometime during the day on Saturday.


“RiP: A Remix Manifesto” Released, Online Remixing Through Kaltura

Cameron Parkins, March 23rd, 2009


RiP: A Remix Manifesto, a community-driven documentary that focuses on copyright and remix culture (covered earlier here and here) is just beginning to creep out into theaters, having its U.S. premier last week at SXSW. While the film largely focuses on the story of Greg Gillis (Girl Talk) it includes interviews with a wide variety of figures, including both Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow.

Perhaps most interesting is that the filmmakers have teamed up with open source video platform Kaltura (early coverage here) enabling anyone with a computer to remix the film only at opersourcecinema.org. All the footage of the film is released under a CC BY-NC license.

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Open Ed Conference 2009 – Call for Proposals

Jane Park, March 23rd, 2009

It’s that time of year again! That is, time for planning the line-up for Open Ed 2009, the annual, international Open Education Conference, hosted this year by the University of British Columbia in breathtaking Vancouver, Canada. From the conference website (OpenEd 2009: Crossing the Chasm):

“The field of “open education” is in its second decade. There is ever more interest from new participants, with all the questions and challenges that such involvement brings. Existing projects must now address long-term issues of sustainability and accountability. And early adopters, who once made colleagues gape dumbfounded when they talked of freely sharing their content are asking a new generation of questions that induce unbelieving stares.

In recognition of the different needs of participants in these various stages of innovation in Open Ed, this year’s Call for Proposals is organized around these three broad “strands.” ”

The three strands are
1. Open Ed – Startup Camp
2. Open Ed – Sustaining Steps
3. Open Ed – The Future

For more information on the strands, see the Call for Papers. The deadline for your proposal is May 1, 2009, so you’ve got a month to brainstorm and submit your topic, project, or research. Thankfully, abstracts must be tweet-sized (150 characters or less) and all submissions (500 words or less) and presentations will be licensed CC BY.

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Open Everything is April 18th in NYC

Fred Benenson, March 20th, 2009

Open Everything NYC
via John Britton’s blog:

Open Everything NYC will take place on Saturday 18 April 2009 at the UNICEF headquarters in the United Nations Plaza, NYC. The event will run the full day, registration will open at 8:00AM and things will be in full swing by 9:00AM.

The event will be 100% free and open to the public on a first come first serve basis, online pre-registration is required. The main hall can hold up to 250 guests.

The event will consist of two keynote presentations (one opening & one closing) each of about 1 hour in duration. In the time between the two keynotes attendees will be in control of the program (Barcamp style). There will be a number of conference rooms available for individuals to hold talks & discussions on topics they see fit. Past events have included topics such as Open Publishing, Open Education, Government Transparency, Open Access, Open Research Data, Creative Commons, Open Hardware, and more.

Check the official site for more information and the registration link.

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