Our CC jurisdiction teams are always hard at work on critical license maintenance and version upgrades. Currently, many of these talented local teams are adapting Version 3.0, released February 2007, to the laws and languages of more than 70 jurisdictions around the globe. Joining the jurisdictions that offer licenses at 3.0 is Creative Commons Australia, whose versioning process revealed important insights into the licenses and suggestions for future versions.
The Australian licenses already have their first significant adopter, the Australian Parliament. The Parliament’s central web portal http://www.aph.gov.au houses the most important documents of the Australian Federal Government including all bills, committee reports and, most importantly, the Hansard transcript of Parliamentary Sittings, and the portal will be published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND Version 3.0 Australian license.
Thanks so much to the CC Australia team, headed by Professor Brian Fitzgerald and Tom Cochrane and coordinated by Jessica Coates and Elliott Bledsoe at Queensland University of Technology, for their diligence and input. Congratulations!
From CC Australia:
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The Australian v3.0 licences…have been developed over the last few years via a public consultation process. We thank all of those who provided feedback on the licences, particularly our colleagues at CC Aoteoroa New Zealand and within the Australian government and non-profit sectors.
Our main aims during the Australian v3.0 drafting process were to ensure that the new licences:
- complied with Australian legal requirements and conventions;
- aligned with the rights and restrictions of the Unported (ie non-country specific) licences provided by Creative Commons; and
- were clear and easy for creators and users alike to read and understand.
Based on these aims, we made the following changes to the licences:
- adapting the Unported formatting and language to bring them more in line with Australian law and drafting conventions – mainly by using localised definitions and introducing lists and headings;
- simplifying some of the language, where this would not affect the legal interpretation of the licence – many of these simplifications were adopted from the recent version put together by our friends in New Zealand;
- a few minor additions to clarify the operation of the licences in the Australian context, in response to feedback from our consultation process – these included clarifying how the licences operate with respect to sublicensing and adding language to ensure that the licences comply with the requirements of Australian consumer protection law.
We are happy to release these licences, which we believe provide clear, reasonable and legally sound options for creators and users alike and represent a new best practice standard for the CC licences in Australia. If you would like any more information about the licences please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the versioning process contact the Creative Commons head office.
Peer 2 Peer University co-founder and director Philipp Schmidt (see our posts on P2PU, a cutting-edge open education project) has written an excellent post on his Sharing Nicely blog about supporting our Catalyst Campaign:
Today Creative Commons launches their catalyst campaign – brother to the recently announced catalyst grant programme. I like how they connect the two – funding their work AND raising money at the same time. On one hand, they offer small grants for projects that further their vision, and with the other hand they politely ask for donations to support it. It creates a connection between the donation and the purpose of that donation, even if it’s a very loose connection.
Well put — though in this campaign, the connection is very tight, 1:1 — the funds we raise go directly to the small grants.
However, the reason for highlighting Philipp’s post here is that he raises several important points that anyone who cares deeply about Creative Commons may be interested in. The first is simply that CC is crucial infrastructure that must be supported:
CC’s work is a very important foundation of a lot of the open content / commons movement – and I don’t think it’s easy to raise the funds necessary to support it. Hal Plotkin asked this question after his keynote at the recent OCWC Global conference. How should and can something that provides an important, but not very glamorous (my words, not Hal’s, with apologies to my lawyer friends at CC) enabling service be supported financially? Funding for infrastructure is difficult to raise. It’s a little bit like raising money for TCP/IP or HTTP. Everyone will agree that it’s important and we all benefit from having it – but we all hope that someone else will pick up the tab. We rely on that friend of a friend who got rich on stock options, sold his company, or house – or simply inherited a lot of money.
Having grown up in a social democracy that offers high-quality infrastructure and services to (almost) all of its citizens, my immediate response is that infrastructure should be paid for by the state from tax income. I personally would welcome a small part of my tax payments to be used to support important infrastructure projects that enable free flow of knowledge and information. Even more so, now that I live in a country where access to knowledge is scarce and expensive. I believe such would be an excellent investment in future development and well-being of all citizens.
The problem with writing blog posts about topics like this is – you end up getting stuck in a dilemma. I have now explained that I think CC’s work is important, that I suspect many people fail to support it, and that the government should consider doing so. However, pending major adjustments in the political landscape of South Africa, that doesn’t really help anyone. So I went ahead and donated a little money to CC today.
Please join Philipp. But it’s ok to consider infrastructure glamorous, because it is. You’re with a cool crowd. That realizes the Internet breaking is extremely anti-glamor.
Gratuitous infrastructure glamor shot: Ponte estaiada Octavio Frias – Sao Paulo by Marcosleal / CC BY-SA
The benefit of donating is the perceived authority to ramble on a little bit longer, and say a few things about what CC are doing what I think could be improved. In order to do that I think its worth looking at the licences as a service (or even a product) that has to be sold to a particular audience and designing it in order to provide maximum value to that audience. What I mean by that is that there is a tendency for organizations to turn inwards – and in the case of CC that means pay more and more attention to the opinions of legal experts – rather than listen to the customers who don’t understand the legal details, and in most cases don’t give a rat’s hat. Here is what I’d like to see:
I would like to see fewer licences and fewer versions – but more certainty that the licence will hold up in court. I believe simplicity beats choice and legal finesse.
It’s absolutely worth looking at Creative Commons licenses as products that serve customers, and without doubt any organization that turns inwards, ignoring what its customers desire from its products is doomed. This isn’t what Creative Commons does.
Most users of Creative Commons licenses may not care to understand the legal details (but you can bet that many policymakers and the legal departments of institutions do), but their desire to see the licenses hold up in court requires that someone does — that’s Creative Commons’ job, and it requires paying attention to the opinions of legal experts — we must make the licenses work not just for a particular audience in a particular jurisdiction, but across many domains and globally. The strength of our legal resources — on staff, an amazing affiliate network, board, and pro-bono — is what allows most users to rationally not give a rat’s hat about the legal details involved.
So the listening to the opinions of legal experts is crucial, but so is listening to users. Philipp’s request for more simplicity, especially in the form of fewer licenses and versions therof, is not uncommon. Creative Commons is doing alright here — especially considering potential user requests for more narrowly targeted licenses are at least as common. Here are some examples of doing well:
- In a little over four years from its launch late 2002, Creative Commons released four versions (1.0, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0) of its core licenses. In the last nearly three and a half years, no new versions have been released — and none will be for some time. A version 3.x was briefly discussed in late 2007 due to concerns brought up by Wikipedians; instead of rushing a new version, we listened very carefully and took a number of steps, none legal, to assure Wikipedians that CC would be an excellent steward of the license used by Wikipedia — with the successful result of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites migrating to CC BY-SA as their main content license last year.
- In 2004 CC launched two sets of specialty copyright licenses — sampling and developing nations. None have been launched since then — and sampling and developing nations were retired in 2007.
- The CC0 public domain waiver, launched last year raises the bar for generality of CC tools — it was designed to be universal from the beginning so that porting to different jurisdictions is not desired — and demonstrates the value of legal expertise — making a public domain dedication work globally (our first attempt launched in 2002 only targeted U.S. law) is no small task.
- Since the launch of Creative Commons there has been little “license proliferation” for content (arguably there has been de-proliferation, as the pre-CC pioneers have recommended or facilitated using CC), surely in large part due to CC’s demonstrated competence.
It’s also worth noting that while CC has and does listen very carefully to particular audiences, maximizing value for any particular audience is not good enough. Maximizing the global value of the commons requires a focus on interoperability — furthered by both getting legal details right and non-proliferation.
Suggestions regarding how we do do even better encouraged. Philipp concludes with:
I would like to see CC separate its core business (the licences) more clearly from other programme areas and especially things that fall broadly into the fostering of “creativity (cultural, educational, scientific and other content) in the commons”. This separation should include budgets – so that donors can choose what activities their money ends up supporting. Don’t get me wrong, I think creativity should be supported, and probably in a fairly vague and flexible way, but I think part of the funding challenge for CC is that people, especially those who are making small donations, are comfortable funding the licences but might not be as comfortable with CC using their donation to foster “creativity”. That applies to me for example.
Supporting creativity in a vague and flexible way would be massive mission creep for Creative Commons. Even supporting the creation of CC-licensed works is out of scope, and the Catalyst Grants description of fundable work specifically calls this out. However, we do a significant amount of work that could be characterized as communications, education, marketing, advocacy, evangelism, business development, tool building, etc. to support license adoption. This is crucial work for Creative Commons to do for the licenses are much, much more valuable with massive adoption. There’s more useful work to do here than we can do directly — thus our priority on developing our affiliate network and other means of scaling Creative Commons’ impact without adding substantially to our core cost structure. That’s fundamentally what the Catalyst Campaign and Catalyst Grants are about — raising a little bit of money to spur capacity for growing CC adoption massively beyond what CC can do directly.
Supporting Creative Commons (and our current Catalyst Campaign in particular) is much more highly targeted than “supporting creativity” — but there isn’t a bright line between “funding the licenses” and funding work done to support and promote the licenses. I would argue there shouldn’t be. The licenses are great products that requires support and promotion to realize their potential — like any great product. Creative Commons is a small organization, and among our small staff, most have overlapping duties that support the licenses in multiple ways. We do work hard to deploy our limited resources in the most scalable way possible. We also understand that the licenses are critical infrastructure that must be kept up and defended even if funding dries up, so we do make contingency plans for such scenarios.
Hopefully this addresses some of Philipp’s excellent and reasonable concerns. Again, specific suggestions for how we can do better are strongly encouraged! Now please join Philipp and his colleagues at P2PU in supporting this work!1 Comment »
Creative Commons launches Catalyst Grants! Read about our Catalyst Grants initiative (which you can support today!) that will empower educators, researchers, and technologists around the globe, as well as other exciting news developments for Creative Commons in education, science, and art & media. Download and enjoy!
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At the beginning of this year we announced a revised approach to our education plans, focusing our activities to support of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement. In order to do so we have worked hard to increase the amount of information available on our own site – in addition to a new Education landing page and our OER portal explaining Creative Commons’ role as legal and technical infrastructure supporting OER, we have been conducting a series of interviews to help clarify some of the challenges and opportunities of OER in today’s education landscape.
One major venue for the advancement of OER is through policy change at the local, state, federal, and international levels. As such, we recently caught up with Cathy Casserly. Cathy is the Vice President for Innovation and Open Networks and Senior Partner at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Cathy is also a member of the board of directors at Creative Commons and a longtime leader, strategist and advocate of OER. In our interview with Cathy, we discussed sustainability, challenges to integrating OER in education reform, and the infrastructure role of Creative Commons.
Q: You used to be Director of the Open Educational Resources Initiative at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Hewlett has been a huge supporter of OER over the years. How do we expand interest in OER and open education to a broader set of funders? Perhaps more importantly, how can OER initiatives within institutions transition to becoming more sustainable? What do you see as the role of government in OER?
From the funder perspective, we need to continually educate funders to help them understand that openness will aid in their core mission–which is typically to spur innovation and disseminate the knowledge developed within the projects they fund. Oftentimes that knowledge sits within the foundation, or with the program officer, and we don’t have a very reliable system to distribute it to a broader audience. As a result, there’s a lot of that knowledge goes untapped. When foundations begin to use Creative Commons licenses, and to begin to practice openness and transparency to disseminate the knowledge from within the foundation, we’ll see a multiplier effect in the reach and impact of that investment. At this point, some foundations just don’t understand that. Part of what we need to do is to help more foundations understand the role of Creative Commons and the potential for open licensing to add value to their core missions. Foundations can get their feet wet by implementing open licensing on a part of their portfolio they feel comfortable with, and extend this practice to a broader percentage later on.
Cathy Casserly by Carnegie Foundation for the
Advancement of Teaching / CC BY
Sustainability has always been a core issue. At Carnegie, we’re trying to design for sustainability and openness from the beginning. Ultimately, for a project to scale in the long term, it has to become self-sustaining in some way. We have some core funding from the Carnegie Foundation itself, and we’re securing funding from outside funders, but this won’t last forever. There will be a point in time where need to figure it out on our own. And, it can be difficult to add sustainability afterward. Today, many more organizations are much more aggressive and thoughtful in thinking about issues of sustainability. In the early days of the OER movement, we were thinking about sustainability, but as a first step we really didn’t know if or how people would use the content. We had a chicken and egg problem because we needed to find out if there was really a thirst for this content. We wanted to know whether people would use it, repurpose it, and reshare it. We’ve heard a resounding “yes” to those questions. But, the OER community is relatively young, and with any new space, some of the issues are tricky to figure out–we’re still trying to understand it.
In terms of government support for open education, I think the government obviously leads the way, certainly in investing a huge amount of public dollars in education. Some of this investment includes many types of materials and learning assets that could be created for less cost, while maintaining the same–if not higher–standards of quality. These open resources would have the added benefit of allowing iteration and continued improvement on them. The federal government, state governments too, are beginning to understand that making investments in educational materials without erecting the traditional boundaries around them is sound practice. By making content systems more permeable, such as by releasing educational resources under Creative Commons licenses, governments empower educators to build on these resources again, so they don’t have to start from scratch. We see this in the open textbook space. Right now, it’s difficult in that the market is shifting, and the publishing industry is fighting. But, at some point we have to realize that we have a new distribution system with the web, and we don’t have to resort to some of the same old models for updating and improving materials. Also, we have a data backend now such that we can begin connect students to materials and learning tools that are complimentary to their needs as an individual learner, whether it be a video, a game, or an ongoing assessment. There are powerful tools we can harness via the web. It’s imperative we do this, and that the government invests in this area too.
Q: In Opening Up Education, you wrote, “the most important obstacles to rapid innovation are not technical…[t]hey have to do with the customs, standard practices, and vested interests of people in the universities and schools and within the markets, such as publishing, that may be forced to change as OER strategies gain more traction.” Since many of the challenges to incorporating OER are social (changing perceptions and practices of teachers and learners) and institutional (traditional school systems are slow to change and risk-averse), how do we approach this set of problems in an effective and scalable way?
In K-12, it’s well recognized that we have a big chasm now between what students do in school and what they do outside of school. Outside of school, students find information, interact with friends, and engage with the world in ways that are very technology-centric. In schools, it looks very much like it did in the 1950s. This is not surprising, because large systems tend to be very inert, so the structural education systems are very inert. Our education systems are not structured to look for innovation, and there needs to be something that is pushing on these systems to get them to integrate innovative ideas. There are pockets of innovation in the K-12 sector, but they’re on the edges. John Seely Brown has talked about the edge influencing and re-shaping the core, and this is beginning to happen within education systems.
In new markets utilizing new technologies, we can disaggregate and unbundle the commoditization of higher education, which has traditionally revolved around the intersection of the tutor (the teacher), the knowledge base (the content or other educational curriculum), and the assessment (the means to certify the knowledge that exists). Emerging models like the University of Phoenix, Kaplan, and other online groups have begun to challenge the incumbent system. We realize that many individuals can’t take the time to enroll in a four-year program at a university, or want to have flexible learning anywhere at any time. The system that we have now was structured for a good reason, it’s existed for a very good reason, and it’s been very resistant to change. When there’s pressure on these longstanding institutions, new organizations will pop up, and will begin to pull some of the education market their way because students realize they’re not being served as best as they could, or because they need more alternatives to a traditional degree, or because there’s more demand than there are spaces, allowing breathing room for alternatives to deal with the supply.
Q: How do you see the role of Creative Commons within the OER movement? How can CC help?
Creative Commons is the foundation for open education. Without flexible licensing there’s no way to determine which materials are shareable, adaptable, reusable, and localizable. Creative Commons is absolutely an incredible asset and core to the work of open education. It’s critically important that we get a broader group of people understanding the need to adopt Creative Commons licenses. A lot of educators and creators in the education space are creating different types of content and curriculum and want to share them. They think that other people can just pick them up and take them, but they don’t realize they’re most likely locked up under copyright. Teachers go into education because they believe in it, they want to share knowledge, and they like the idea of playing around with other ways of teaching. From individual conversations I’ve had with faculty at MIT, Yale, Harvard, and other universities, the ability for them to have their resources widely shared through open courses/courseware has been an incredibly affirming aspect to why they became an educator in the first place. We really haven’t tapped the depths of this volunteerism yet. What’s encouraging is that students who are now going through our schools of education are digital natives. They’ve grown up in a very different way, and it’s just a matter of time until they create so much pressure on the existing system that it will have to shift. What I’d like to see is that the system be very thoughtful about shifting, so it can serve students well, and equally.
Q: In our interview with the Virginia Department of Education, the respondents reiterated that OER is one component of comprehensive education reform, and that we have to think systematically in the incorporation of OER for it to be implemented into the education system. What are some of the things that OER producers (like open textbook providers) and infrastructure providers (like CC) should keep in mind in order to mesh OER in a smart and effective manner?
OER can’t be a siloed reform effort; it has to become a part of the larger system. The Holy Grail is integrating OER with student assessments, and setting up systems to feed back loops so we can understand how students are learning and what is needed to improve. In this way, we can begin to connect students with the best lessons for them at the right time, and organize individuals into smaller groups to work through different topics–for instance, I might be faster in grasping physics, whereas you might be better in math. We don’t really have a way to differentiate instruction right now, and we won’t really be able to until we have more of an individual assessment system. Such a system can take advantage of the underlying power of technology and openness. We know that courses that use this kind of embedded assessment scaffolds the student’s learning in a very structured way, and the learning outcomes–as best as we can measure them–far surpass courses taught using traditional methods. We need to scale these innovative assessment tools and materials in a systematic way. We need to figure out how to integrate face-to-face teaching and online tools and resources so that we can create better learning communities that pull from the best parts of both worlds.
Q: Wrapping up, what does a successful teaching and learning environment implementing the power of OER “look like”? Do you have any lingering thoughts—worries, hopes, or predictions?
I think that in the next decade we’ll see a significant shift–online communities will become part of accepted hybrid models for learning. These models will blend what teachers and those with expert knowledge can best contribute to help teaching and learning, scaffold learning for individuals, and utilize the best of what we can harness with technology and the web so students can learn in interesting, animated, and engaging ways. We need to begin to understand and differentiate content, learning styles and education processes to works for individual students based on that student’s prior cognitive and non-cognitive skills. There’s a huge untapped white space in better integrating OER, and we need to think about how to blend the efficiency and effectiveness of open materials.No Comments »
The study will assess individuals’ awareness of current shared offerings, their attitudes about sharing and trust, and their engagement with sharing across a variety of contexts. Participants will be contributing to a relatively new and increasingly important knowledge base. Moreover, they will be playing a critical role in helping to generate new ideas and opportunities for the future of sharing. (Results will be shared on both Shareable.net and Latitude’s life-connected.com in the coming weeks.)
At the end of the survey, you’ll get paid $10; you can choose to pocket it as an Amazon gift card or donate the cash towards the Creative Commons Catalyst Campaign that’s going on right now… or the Project for Public Spaces (we hope you’ll choose CC!).
So help Shareable and CC out–take the survey!
You can learn more about the survey here. Shareable magazine is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA. For more on Shareable, stay tuned as CC Talks With Shareable co-founder and publisher, Neal Gorenflo, to go live next week.4 Comments »
We’re thrilled today to announce the launch of the Catalyst Campaign – from now through June 30, Creative Commons is raising money to fund our recently-launched Catalyst Grants program.
Catalyst Grants will make it possible for individuals and organizations to harness the power of Creative Commons. A grant might enable a group in a developing country to research how Open Educational Resources can positively impact its community. Another could support a study of entrepreneurs using Creative Commons licenses to create a new class of socially responsible businesses.
But we can’t do it without your help. Our goal is to raise $100,000 from CC supporters like you to fund the grants that will make all this possible. Donate today to help spread our mission of openness and innovation across all cultural and national boundaries.
Special thanks to the Milan Chamber of Commerce for recognizing the importance of funding this initiative by generously donating EUR 10,000! The Milan Chamber of Commerce and its Promos Network already work to promote international collaboration and innovation and we’re honored they’ve stepped up to jumpstart the campaign.
by Ruby Bhattacharya / CC BY 2.0
Will you join in?
Donate: If you give $75 or more, you can become the proud owner of one of these bright and cheerful, limited edition “I Love to Share” t-shirts. Every bit helps so give what you can today to ignite openness and innovation around the world!1 Comment »
A license draft adapted to Estonian law is ready for public discussion, the first CC license available for review in the Baltic.
The public discussion is an open forum where everyone – from lawyers to active license users, from linguists to translators — is invited to contribute. If you have comments about different aspects of the licenses, whether in regards to legal, linguistic or usability issues, please feel welcome to join the CC Estonia mailing list and share your thoughts. Comments should be submitted as soon as possible to allow enough time for review, so we encourage you to post to the list before the end of June, when the discussion is scheduled to close.
Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Project Lead Ene Koitla at the Estonian Information Technology Foundation, and her legal team Priit Lätt, Hele Karja, and Heiki Pisuke of Glimstedt Straus & Partners and independent legal expert Mario Rosentau from the University of Tartu for producing the draft and soliciting feedback from the Estonian public.
Efforts in the Baltic are mounting, as CC Estonia is joined by the neighboring Lithuanian team in localizing and promoting Creative Commons. CC Lithuania, currently working on a first draft themselves, recently held a workshop in Vilnius and baked some delicious CC cookies.
As activities in the Baltic continue to expand and gather peer support, we hope that the Estonian public discussion will foster more cross-border collaborations, as part of larger efforts across Europe and the globe.
Congratulations to CC Estonia, and we all look forward to comments from you, the public!No Comments »