Funding CC is hard work

Melissa Reeder, April 29th, 2009

Last week an article in the Washington Post casued quite a stir among nonprofits who raise funds online. To Nonprofits Seeking Cash, Facebook App Isn’t So Green says that the “Causes” social network application available on Facebook, MySpace and other social networks hasn’t met expectations. This has provoked a lot of discussion and some deserved criticism of the article in the nonprofit fundraising blogosphere. CC supporter and leading social media expert Beth Kanter has a couple posts that serve as a great place to dive into the discussion if you’re interested.

CC’s experience with the Causes application is in line with most nonprofits mentioned in the WaPo article and subsequent discussion. We’ve raised $2,688 via the application on Facebook and a whole $45 on MySpace. This apparently puts us in the top “tiny fraction” of nonprofits who have used the application and rasied more than $1,000.

However, we don’t consider this a failure at all. Raising funds to support a public good is hard work, online or offline, and there is no magic bullet. It takes time to learn how to most effectively use each new tool. Simply raising money isn’t the only way to gauge the success of a fundraising tool — in fact financial contribution often only follows other forms of engagement. The almost 40,000 people who have “joined” our cause on Facebook have signaled to us (and their friends!) their support, and over the years we hope to earn the financial support of many of these people. Also,we feel it’s pretty important for an organization like Creative Commons to engage deeply with social media tools, because that’s a significant part of the universe we help enable.

We offer a whole range of ways to signal your support of Creative Commons, most importantly by using our licenses. Please explore the best means for you to support CC, and invite your friends to do so as well, on social networks such as Facebook and otherwise. If you can make a financial contribution now, please do so. We’ll ask again during our annual fall campaign!

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Open educational resources and implementation of the U.S. Recovery Act

Jane Park, April 29th, 2009

The U.S. Department of Education’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Using ARRA Funds to Drive School Reform and Improvement (warning: Microsoft Word .doc) mentions Open Educational Resources (emphasis added):

Use technology to improve teaching and learning. Purchase and train teachers to use instructional software, technology-enabled white boards, and other interactive technologies that have been shown to be effective aids for instruction, particularly for English language learners, students with disabilities, and both struggling and advanced learners. Use open education resources or purchase high-quality online courseware in core high school content areas.

This may seem like a very weak mention, but in context is a very important step forward for the legitimacy of the OER movement.

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Why Did the White House Choose Attribution and not Public Domain?

Fred Benenson, April 29th, 2009

obama_flickr
The microblogs have been a-buzz this morning about news of the launch of the official White House Flickr stream featuring photos from Obama’s first 100 days in office. While the photos are licensed under our Attribution license, one could make the very strong argument that they’re actually in the public domain and can be used without attribution (though one would have to be careful and respect the personality rights of the private citizens featured in some of the photos). The photos are likely in the public domain because they are works created by the federal government and not entitled to copyright protection. As you might recall, the Whitehouse.gov’s copyright notice indicates as much.

Why would the White House then choose Attribution for their Flickr stream? Simple, unlike communities like Wikipedia and Thingiverse, Flickr doesn’t allow their photographers to choose Public Domain as an option to release their work to the world. So the Obama team must have picked the next best option: Attribution only.

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CC website redesign launched

Mike Linksvayer, April 28th, 2009

We just turned on the first big creativecommons.org site design changes since October 2007. If you’re reading in a feedreader and haven’t visited the main CC site in awhile, here’s a home page screenshot:

CC homepage screenshot

The blog (which of course you’re reading now) no longer dominates. Of course headlines from the main CC blog and from jurisdiction projects are still present on the home page, and you can always visit the main blog page or planet for the full blog experience.

Previously we made the CC wiki match the main site’s theme as closely as possible. That was a good idea at the time, but now that the world is more familiar with wikis, we’ve brought wiki tools and navigation to the fore. Here’s a screenshot of wiki navigation for a logged in user:

CC wiki screenshot

We’ve also made some incremental improvements to license deeds, consolidating important items that aren’t top level license properties under a “With the understanding that:” heading, see screenshot below:

CC BY-SA deed screenshot

Next steps include redesigns of the CC wiki main page, our international landing page, further improvements of the license chooser, and a rethinking of CC Search.

If you have ideas about how we could improve creativecommons.org sites, please leave a comment, file a bug, or even submit a patch. All of CC’s sites are built on free software and are themselves free software. Visit our code repository and a guide to where to find source code for the themes we use for WordPress, MediaWiki, and Drupal.

Congratulations on this redesign launch to Alex Roberts, our senior designer, with support from other staff, and suggestions and financial support from you. Thanks!

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CC Talks With: CK-12 Foundation’s Neeru Khosla on Open Textbooks

Jane Park, April 28th, 2009

flexbook-screenshotBack in March, we were so excited about the new Physics Flexbook aligned to Virginia’s state standards that we had to catch up with the foundation that helped to make it possible. The obvious choice was Neeru Khosla, co-founder of the CK-12 Foundation, “a non-profit organization with a mission to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the U.S. and worldwide.” The Flexbook is their web-based platform for open textbooks (openly licensed via CC BY-SA) which maximizes and enhances collaboration across district, county, and state lines. In fact, their use is not even limited by country, since CC licenses are global and non-exclusive. Anyone can collaborate, improve, and iterate without having to ask. “The good thing about that is we don’t have to tell people what they can do or cannot do. The power of the system is that it is useable under any condition. All you have to do is use it.”
Read More…

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3 copies left: Joi Ito’s Free Souls

Allison Domicone, April 23rd, 2009

Free Souls Image

A month ago, we announced that Flickr had surpassed 100 million CC licensed photos. In celebration of this milestone, we offered a limited number of Creative Commons CEO Joi Ito’s book, Free Souls, at the $100 donation level and above. There are only three copies left, so now is your chance to support CC and secure a copy of this beautiful limited edition book celebrating a free and open culture of sharing.

Thank you to everyone who has already donated and received the book, and to all of our wonderful supporters who make success stories like the 100 million CC licensed Flickr photos possible!

Update: The last copies of Free Souls are gone! If you’d like to support CC and buy art, Matt Jones’ Get Excited And Make Things prints are still available, or head over to the Support CC site and make a regular donation, with regular (ultracool) CC swag available!

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Oxford University Press Releases “Lessons from the Identity Trail” Under CC License

Cameron Parkins, April 21st, 2009

51q1w6tgkil_ss500_1Lessons From The Identity Trail: Anonymity, Privacy and Identity in a Networked Society is a collection of essays edited by Ian Kerr, Valerie Steeves, and Carole Lucock recently published by Oxford University Press.

Focusing on “the importance and impact of anonymity and privacy in a networked society”, Lessons From The Identity Trail is being released under a CC BY-NC-ND license, allowing for the free sharing and spreading of the work.

It has been a great week for book releases and it is always inspiring to see large (and small) publishers recognize the value of CC licenses. You can download selected chapters from the collection at the Identity Trail website, with more chapters available tomorrow (4/22/09) and the final set released May 6, 2009. Similarly, you can buy the book directly from Oxford University Press or at Amazon.

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CC Technology Summit CFP Extended

Nathan Yergler, April 21st, 2009

The third Creative Commons Technology Summit is coming up in June in Turin, Italy. We’ve extended the CFP deadline by a week to May 1, 2009, so if you’ve been waiting to submit a proposal, get it in now. Full details are available in the wiki, along with video from the previous two events (Mountain View, Boston).

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Digital Open

Jane Park, April 21st, 2009

dologo
The Digital Open, a new online community and competition for youth, is now accepting free and open technology projects from anyone 17 or younger. Free and open means openly licensed, with software licensed under a GPL license and content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA. (See the Digital Open–approved Licenses for more details.) The competition runs until August, and they accept projects in all different languages. The competition aims to foster an online and open community of youth by encouraging them to see the benefits of open source and open licensing. Their announcement below, including a link to the Boing Boing video:

“What can you make with technology that will change the world—or even just make life a little easier or more fun?

Institute for the Future, in partnership with Sun Microsystems and Boing Boing, invites youth worldwide, age 17 and under, to join us as we explore the frontiers of free and open innovation. The Digital Open: An Innovation Expo for Global Youth will celebrate projects in a variety of areas ranging from the environment, art and music to the more traditional open source domains of software and hardware.

From April 15 until August 15, 2009, we’ll accept text, photos, and videos documenting projects from young people around the world who want to contribute to the growing free and open technology community.

But the Digital Open is more than an online competition. By submitting a project, you’ll become a valuable member of a community of creative young innovators working in the exciting world of free and open technology.

Collaboration is encouraged! In addition to a variety of prizes and achievements you can earn through community participation, the top project in each category will earn a fantastic prize pack and be featured on Boing Boing Video!

The future is yours to make! Get started at http://digitalopen.org.”

Judges include ccLearn’s Ahrash Bissell and CC board member, Lawrence Lessig.

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20×200 benefit edition a great success; prints still available

Allison Domicone, April 21st, 2009

getexcited_spruce_500px_artworkimage
Thank you to 20×200, designer Matt Jones, and everyone who supported CC by purchasing one of these special edition prints, released on April 7. We are proud to announce that the edition did extremely well: all 200 of the 8×10 prints sold out within a day, and the other sizes available at different prices were very popular as well. There are still prints remaining, and all proceeds will continue to benefit CC, so if you would like to show some support for CC, head over to the 20×200 site and secure one of these exhibition-quality prints for yourself (they’d also make great gifts!): size 11″x14″ for $50, 16″x20″ for $200, and 24″x30″ for $1,000.

We are delighted that Matt Jones has chosen Creative Commons to benefit from the sale of his special edition prints, and as always, we thank everyone who has supported CC over the years, allowing us to continue our work supporting artists, educators, scientists, and creators of all kinds all over the world.

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