BYU Launches OCW Pilot

Jane Park, June 10th, 2009

It appears that David Wiley’s move to Brigham Young University has already resulted in progress towards opening the university’s content. Long-time pioneer and academic of open education, Wiley reports that BYU’s Independent Study has launched its Open CourseWare (OCW) pilot with six Creative Commons licensed courses under CC BY NC-SA.

“The pilot includes three university-level courses and three high school-level courses (BYU IS offers 250 university-level courses online for credit and another 250 high school-level courses online for credit). The courses in BYU IS OCW are content-complete – that is, they are the full courses as delivered online without the need of additional textbooks or other materials (only graded assessments have been removed).”

The most interesting thing about this pilot is that it “is part of a dissertation study to measure the impact of OCW courses on paying enrollments.” So far, “the results are very positive – 85 of the 3500 people who visited the OCW site last month registered for for-credit courses… if this pattern remains stable, then BYU IS OCW will be financially self-sustainable with the ability to add and update a number of new courses to the collection each year, indefinitely, should they so choose.” Echoing Wiley, that is an exciting prospect. We look forward to seeing these results develop, in addition to other inquiries into the sustainability of general OER initiatives in the future…

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Cologne Commons: Festival for Free Music

Michelle Thorne, June 10th, 2009

industriegitarre1

Cologne Commons - Konferenz und Festival für freie Musikkultur

We’re counting down the days until June 12, when the free music festival Cologne Commons kicks off in Germany’s metropolis on the Rhine. The festival invites netlabels, musicians, and business developers alike to the two-day conference and party in Cologne.

Sessions cover key topics in the free music scene, like mobile music, games, the legal backbone of running a netlabel, and successful case studies and business models for online distribution. And when the sun sets, the festival turns up the lights on new musical talent from across Europe.

Tickets for the June 12-13 event can be booked online, but if you can’t make it in person, follow the action on Twitter or listen to the CC Compilations.

From the Cologne Commons website:

Although netlabels play a central role in this year’s festival, it is by far not limited only to music. More generally the focus is on Creative Commons everything related to art and media – with the rise of a new cultural economy and perspectives for young artists in mind.

Entertainment for the Braindead” by Christopher Pattberg / Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Germany license

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CC in Torino, June 26-30

Mike Linksvayer, June 10th, 2009


Photo by Chensiyuan / CC BY-SA

Two fantastic Creative Commons and related events happening in Turin, Italy late this month, with registration deadlines fast approaching.

June 26 is a one day CC Technology Summit. This is the place to be for learning how CC and others are using the Semantic Web to support open and interoperable rights information, decentralized copyright registries, machine-readable citation, and more. Unintentionally it is also a showcase of the global nature of CC technology innovation, with 13 presenters from 8 countries. The registration price is €75 or €50 for COMMUNIA attendees (see below) and CC Network members and the deadline is June 15. See video and slides from last year’s CC tech summits at Google in Mountain View, California and MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Second COMMUNIA International Conference 2009 is scheduled for Sunday 28, Monday 29 & Tuesday 30 June 2009 in Torino, under the title Global Science and the Economics of Knowledge-Sharing Institutions. Among the exciting keynote addresses is John Wilbanks of Science Commons. Registration is €168 and closes June 12. See one of our past posts on COMMUNIA, the European Thematic Network for the Digital Public Domain.

Both events promise compelling, cutting-edge talks, and are also a fantastic opportunity to meet many of the leads of CC jurisdiction projects in Europe. A special mention and thanks must be given to Juan Carlos De Martin, project lead of CC Italy, organizer of COMMUNIA, and Co-director, NEXA Center for Internet & Society, Politecnico of Torino, speaker and host at both events!

I hope to see you in Torino.

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Public (UK) perception of copyright, public sector information, and CC

Mike Linksvayer, June 9th, 2009

The UK Office of Public Sector Information has published a report on public understanding of copyright, in particular Crown Copyright, the default status of UK government works … and Creative Commons. It contains interesting findings, though I really wish it had included two additional questions.

Among the general (UK) public, 71% agree that government should encourage re-use of content it provides, and only 4% disagree.

The survey asked whether people felt encouraged or discouraged from using content when seeing “copyright” alone or alternatives on a web page:

Encouraged Discouraged
Copyright 15% 70%
Crown Copyright 22% 52%
Click-Use Licence 22% 35%
Read Terms & Conditions 61% 29%



Clearly, copyright discourages use. Of the alternative notices tested in this way, only “Read Terms & Conditions” noticeably encourages use. As the presentation notes, this option is likely to be recognized as non-transactional.

Adding a transaction, potentially monetary, as overhead to copy & paste discourages re-use. You’ll occasionally hear us and advocates of open licensing generally talk about reducing “transaction costs” — see, that’s not just blather! One way of looking at public licenses such as CC licenses is that they make re-use non-transactional — they pre-clear at least certain re-uses.

Unfortunately, the survey did not evaluate a CC license notice in the same manner — whether it encourages or discourages use. 87% of the general public did not recognize the license icon associated with the CC Attribution license. It’s hard to say whether this is good or bad — a small proportion recognizes the image — on the other hand we’re talking about the general public and one specific image.

Hopefully this or a similar survey will be repeated in the UK and elsewhere to see how recognition increases, or does not. Furthermore, future surveys should test not mere image recognition. Typically a license icon is paired with a statement such as “This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.” And of course the icon and text are linked to a “human readable” deed explaining the terms, as well as a “machine readable” annotation so that seeing a license notice on a web page isn’t the only vector for discovering the content as re-usable without a transaction.

Even more unfortunately, they survey did not evaluate whether “public domain” encourages or discourages use.

Overall, it is fantastic that this survey was done and published. Clearly the public wants to be encouraged to make use of its own information and a non-transactional alternative to default copyright is necessary to make that encouragement.

While we’ve come a very long way toward enabling effective sharing and re-framing copyright for the digital age, one must strongly agree with Glyn Moody’s assessment:

It looks like much more work needs to be done to get the message out about Creative Commons and its licences.

You can help — release works under one of the CC licenses (or into the public domain), use and recommend licensed works, and if you’re able, please support the effort financially.

Via Open Education News.

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CC as a hybrid organization and a tool for hybrids

Mike Linksvayer, June 8th, 2009

Used in connection with Creative Commons the word “hybrid” has typically denoted an “economy” or “models” involving both sharing and commerce. Over half of CC founder Lawrence Lessig’s most recent book is devoted to exploring this sort of hybrid — see Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. CC licenses are a vital tool for enabling such hybrids in an environment where the default is hostile to the “sharing” side of the equation.

In a series of thought provoking blog posts Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, has introduced a different but entirely complementary “hybrid” — hybrid organizations. What is a hybrid organization? Mark asks and tentatively answers that question in the first post of the series:

So, what is a hybrid org? In the case of Mozilla — and an increasing number of other orgs — it’s a mix of social mission, disruptive market strategies and web-like scale and collaboration. Or, at least, that’s the definition I see emerging.

Another intriguing description, from the same post:

All of these organizations are trying to ‘move the market’ on the web in a way that both engages and benefits a broad public. As they do so, they are charting new territory.

Many of the comments and blogged replies are well worth reading, offering refinements and alternative descriptions. Frank Hecker, also of the Mozilla Foundation, provides some critical grounding in the theory of disruptive innovation. Commenter Stephan provides an alternative and also compelling description:

I find it easier to think about these organizations as a hybrid between a classical (hierarchical) organization and a social movement (or network).

It is the mix of the two that requires both a market perspective (the classic organization needs to make money to function) and a social mission (need that to create passion for the product or service among your the movement or network).

Much has been said about the interaction of movements and organizations — see Epistemic Communities and Social Movements : Transnational Dynamics in the Case of Creative Commons for a paper looking at the CC case — and how digital networks are changing the boundaries and interactions of movements and organizations. Nearly all of the organizations Mark mentions in his series have a strong “movement” aspect. One open question I have about hybrid organizations is their relationship to movements, or more broadly, non-organizational actors. Are hybrid organizations better able to leverage (and be leveraged by) the non-organizational sector, itself abetted by digital networks? Or even have hybrid organizations arisen in order for non-organizational actors and movements to achieve things in the world that require just-enough-organization and market savvy?

Stephen DeBerry provides an astutely skeptical comment on hybrid organizations:

One can approach this hybrid space with varying intent. In your/my case public benefit is central and necessary. In other cases the claim of public benefit is great marketing, but the actual public benefit is secondary or worse.

If that’s the case then there’s an interesting question for those seeking to drive public benefit: how do you ensure the public benefit remains core to the hybrid model?

This is a place where CC plays a vital role as a tool for hybrids. Just as CC licenses enable healthy hybrid economies and models, use of CC licenses by a hybrid organization help signal that such an organization takes its public benefit side seriously, and help ensure that it continues to do so. With so much of hybrid organizations’ output being digital media, offering that media under CC licenses, in particular free as in freedom ones, serve as a continual check-up on the organization’s public benefit intent, and an assurance against lock-in if that intent wavers. There may be useful parallels to be drawn between unhealthy “sharecropping” hybrid models (typically where a web company retains all of the rights to media created by users, making users unfree to use their own creations) and the hybrid organization as “great marketing” or worse described by Stephen. It should also be noted that free and open source software licenses provide a similar and complementary check on hybrid organizations that produce software — and nearly all do, at least in the form of customization of web site software.

What about CC as a hybrid organization? We’re very carefully exploring the most obvious incarnation of hybrid in the form of the CC Network. However, the addition of a non-donation revenue stream to a nonprofit isn’t necessary or sufficient to qualify it as a hybrid organization (see Frank Hecker’s post). Mark Surman’s initial descriptions of hybrid organizations (see above) don’t even mention business or revenue. These are worth quoting again, as the top of this post is far away:

[A] mix of social mission, disruptive market strategies and web-like scale and collaboration … trying to ‘move the market’ on the web in a way that both engages and benefits a broad public.

This of course describes just what Creative Commons does. Through free (as in freedom as well as gratis — and yes zero price is a market strategy as is freedom) and carefully branded legal and technical tools deployed on a web scale in collaboration with businesses, affiliates, supportive movements, and individuals, Creative Commons is “moving the market” consensus and practice away from default lockdown and toward more hack-remix-opportunity-generative-ness (to quote another and not explicitly related Mark Surman post) or more conventionally, more sharing, freedom, openness, autonomy and lower transaction costs and barriers to collaboration and innovation.

Be sure to read the rest (so far) of Mark’s hybrid organizations series — Hybrid orgs. What’s old? What’s new?, Why do hybrid orgs matter?, and What challenges do hybrid orgs face?

Creative Commons will be watching this discussion closely, and participating. Do you find the “hybrid organization” construct useful? What insights can be gained from the construct and experiences of other hybrids to make CC a more effective organization (hybrid or not) and enabler of healthy hybrids — organizations, models, and economies?

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Remix NYC: Get Your Face In The Opening NYC Screening of “Rip! A Remix Manifesto”

Cameron Parkins, June 8th, 2009

remixnycthumb
Times Square, J Gutierrez | CC BY

June is turning into quite the month for the NYC CC-community with both a CC Salon and the Open Video Conference taking place. For added enjoyment, Open Source Cinema just announced Remix NYC, a digital celebration to commemorate the theatrical opening of Rip! A Remix Manifesto at the Cinema Village in New York on June 19th.

The premise is simple – edit yourself in place of the advertisements that are abound in Javier Gutierrez’s Times Square (pictured above) and upload it back to OSC’s site for inclusion in the film. The final product will be an animated version of image where the billboards are slowly replaced by free culture activists.

Unbelievably cool but you have a short time to get your photos in as the deadline is June 14th – visit Remix NYC for all the details.

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Youtils.com Helps You Attribute and Track Images

Fred Benenson, June 8th, 2009

Youtils is an online service that enables content owners to track how their online images are being used on sites hosting their content. Right now, the site supports our Creative Commons Attribution license. When you sign up and upload your images as an owner, you can see interesting metrics such as where images and photos are published, the frequency in which they are accessed, and which images are most popular amongst images offered for reuse.

Thanks for adding another useful tool to the commons, Youtils!

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Announcing June’s CC Salon NYC / Official OVC Pre-party

Fred Benenson, June 8th, 2009

CC Salon NYC Logo
Open Video Conference

After taking a break for a bit (things have been busy at CC) I’m happy to announce our June Salon, which we’ll be partnering with the Open Video Conference on. Think of it as a Salon and the official OVC pre-party.

So come out to have some beers with the CC community watch some cool presentations, and meet some new faces in the free culture space.

June’s Salon will feature an in depth chat with Brett Gaylor, writer and director of RiP! A Remix Manifesto, a presentation by Erik Moeller, Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation WMF on Wikipedia’s switch to Creative Commons licenses, and some more guests to be announced.

Here are the details:

Thursday, June 18th, from 7-10pm
For Your Imagination Loft
22 W. 27th St., 6th Floor
Between Broadway & 6th Ave.
New York, NY

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

RSVP to the event via Facebook or by e-mailing me: fred [at] creativecommons.org.

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ccMixter: Using our Imaginashun with CC0, an Upgrade and Podcast

Victor Stone, June 8th, 2009

The Creative Commons’ sponsored music community, ccMixter, has had a busy week.

Imaginashun Remixes

DJ Vadim, featured and interviewed last week, put out a Call for Remixes for his new album U Can’t Lurn Imaginashun and the remixes are the community has responded in kind and some amazing remixes are starting to come in.

CC0 Enabled

ccMixter is now offering the CC0 (CC Zero) waiver for sample uploads. (CC0 FAQ) With this waiver, musicians who upload samples of their work in the form of solo instruments (often looped for easy re-use) are indicating their willingness to participate in the vast public domain (like the World Wide Web itself). The CC0 license carries with it the most freedoms possible, or put another way, the least “friction around your work,” meaning, it’s the most accessible form of sharing available. James Boyle’s The Public Domain (mentioned here many times before) remains the best resource around for getting to understand the importance of a public commons, especially in terms of our culture and creativity itself.

It only took a few minutes for the waiver to be enabled on ccMixter for veteran member spinmeister to upload all the samples to an original composition under the CC0 waiver. “I personally like the idea of a world,” he explained, “where a portion (not all) of good stuff is gifted. I also think it’s pretty cool when people who have received gifts are making gifts to someone else as their ‘response’.” Read the rest of spin’s explanation in the forum thread announcing the arrival of CC0 at ccMixter.

ccHost 5.1 Release Candidate

ccHost is the open source project that powers ccMixter and is currently going through a release candidate phase for the it’s 5.1 version. The previous major version, 4.0, was the winner of the Linux Journal’s LinuxWorld Expo Product Excellence Award for Best Open Source Solution and has been very popular as a remix-aware, web management system for liberally licensed content. Last year saw the release of a major upgrade (5.0) while this 5.1 update marks a full year of real-world usage, making it one of the most stable releases of ccHost ever, with 100s of bug fixes on top of the 60+ feature enhancements leading up to this RC release. Those enhancements include many that ccHost sites have long been asking for, including support for OpenID log in and registration. This release boasts extensive admin control of licensing options, built-in special handling for CC0 waivers and support for Creative Commons’ latest license tools like RDFa scraping. For the more visually oriented, 5.1 comes with a new skin that mirrors the 2009 clean, simplified look and feel of the mother ship CC site. (See the release notes and changelog for the gory details.)

To all the ccHost-enabled site administrators and developers holding off upgrading from 4.x to 5.x, this is the stability release you’ve been waiting for. Please download the RC and send us feedback on what you find.

ccMixter Music Podcasts

In a forum posting from June 17, 2008, MC Jack in the Box, our resident double-agent from the very cool RemixFight (a forerunner and model for ccMixter) mentioned nonchalantly that he might have come up with “a cool way to build buzz for the playlists if people can record their own radio shows featuring ccMixter uploads. … I’d create a themed show, with me adding a few ‘hidden’ voiceovers to the show. Hell, I might even do a weekly ‘best of ccMixter’ kind of show if that could happen.”

Thus began the “Cool Music Show“, a weekly feature that quickly became the most popular way to discover new music on ccMixter. Every Friday, like clockwork, he curates upwards of 45 minutes of the best uploads from the previous seven days on the site. Last week, MC Jack posted episode #50 (!) to raves, kudos and much hazaa from a grateful ccMixter nation.

We decided to use the occasion of the 50th show to launch the new ccMixter Music Podcast. Using the ccMixter playlist as a basis, we developed the tools to create a single, seamless MP3 and post it to the archive.org.

To subscribe to the show, just drag this link to your podcast-aware music player (e.g. iTunes, Amarok, etc.).

We seeded the podcast with the last 7 Cool Music shows, but as explained in the announcement thread, we want other community members to contribute their own shows. So, if you have curating and MC skills you’d like to share, we invite you to submit a ccMixter music show of your very own! Instructions for how to do make and submit a show is here.

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Outreach -> Product Manager

Fred Benenson, June 5th, 2009

CC Network LogoOver the last year I’ve been fortunate enough to work with individuals, organizations, and movements as Creative Commons’ Outreach Manager. Starting this week, I will be applying this experience to a new role at CC as our Product Manager for the Creative Commons Network. I’ll still be working in NYC and free to meet about CC, but will be primarily focused on developing new features and tools for our community.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, check out our press release and post announcing the network in October, and for those of you who have already joined, we should have some exciting announcements for you by the end of the year.

You can also join the CC Network now by donating.

For now, if you have any thoughts, suggestions, or questions about the Creative Commons Network, please don’t hesitate to get in contact: fred [at] creativecommons.org.

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