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2010 November

science@creativecommons T-shirts now available in the CC store!

Allison Domicone, November 29th, 2010

science@creativecommons
Science@creativecommons by Creative Commons / CC BY

November has been an exciting month for science at Creative Commons. Earlier this month we hosted a Creative Commons Salon in San Francisco on the promises and pitfalls of personalized medicine, which you can now watch online. We met a matching giving challenge by Hindawi, the open access scholarly journal publisher (disciplines from neuroscience to pharmacology), who doubled $3000 in donations to our annual fundraising campaign. We also saw BioMed Central, the world’s largest OA publisher, provide in-kind support for our fundraising campaign.

The icing on the cake is the most recent addition to our CC Store: this super-cool science-themed CC shirt, for which the world-famous XKCD was gracious enough to let us re-use a variation on a classic cartoon. Many of you may already read and enjoy the delightful webcomic of “romance, sarcasm, math, and language” which is under a CC BY-NC license. Now you can show your love for Creative Commons and science at the same time by buying one of these t-shirts, available for $20 over at the CC store.

Huge thanks to XKCD for being such a wonderful and creative member of the CC community, and for freely sharing that creativity with the world.

At Creative Commons, we see a lot of potential for bringing open access to the world of science, whether it pertains to genomics research, scholarly journal publishing, or unraveling the mysteries of the universe.

If you love science as much as we do, then hurry over to the CC Store and get your limited edition shirt today!

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Microsoft Continues Supporting CC!

Melissa Reeder, November 26th, 2010

We are thrilled to announce that Microsoft has once again stepped up to support CC during our annual campaign. Microsoft has been generously donating to CC for over 5 years and we are thrilled to have their continued support. Tom Rubin, Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property Strategy, says “CC provides necessary infrastructure for openness, collaboration, and innovation — all for free, to anyone in the world. Microsoft is very proud to continue its support of this important organization and the crucial public resource it makes available. We encourage other technology companies to do the same.”

If you too believe that CC is an important public resource, then please join Microsoft in donating to CC today!

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We met The Miraverse’s matching giving challenge! Thank you!

Allison Domicone, November 24th, 2010

Thanks to all who donated in the past week and had your gift doubled by the Miraverse. The Miraverse has matched $5000 in your donations, bringing in a total of $10,000 this week for our fundraising campaign. We still need help reaching our $550,000 goal by December 31, so if you haven’t yet donated please give today and join with the Miraverse in supporting CC.

Here’s why the Miraverse supports CC:

The Miraverse is an environment for developing new media productions and reaching new audiences through increased participation at every level and at every step of the creative process. Without the past work–and success–of Creative Commons, there would be no legal basis from which we could presume to proceed. But because of their great work we can begin our venture with the confidence that millions upon millions now understand that copyright need not be the end of creativity, but a potential beginning of an infinite number of wonderful futures. We are delighted to support an organization that has laid the foundation for us, and we accept that the best way to ensure a better future for everything we do is to support those who are doing the best work today.

Can you give $25, $75, or $100 to support the future of creativity and the work of Creative Commons?

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Amazon #1 Bestseller, “Machine of Death,” goes Creative Commons

Jane Park, November 24th, 2010

It’s happened before with music albums, where releasing work openly online did not hurt actual sales of the product. The authors of Machine of Death clearly get this. They explain why the science fiction anthology of stories about people who know the manner by which they die (but have no idea when), has been made available online under CC BY-NC-ND:

Why are we doing this? Aren’t we worried about hurting our book sales?

In a word: no. You have proven time and again that you are willing to pay for content that you find valuable. You have shown that you are driven to share material that you fall in love with. And we are committed to ensuring that you can experience our work whether you can afford to buy a book or not; whether you live in a country that Amazon ships to or not; whether you have space in your life for a stack of paper or not.

Please, download, read, share and enjoy!

In addition, some of the individual stories are released under the CC BY-NC-SA license, which allows you to translate and adapt the work as long as you abide by the noncommercial condition and release the derivative under the same license. Podcasts are also being created for all the stories, with three stories up so far.

As of right now, Machine of Death is the #1 bestselling science fiction anthology on Amazon, and has also made their Best Books of 2010 list. For more information, see Boing Boing and the Machine of Death website.

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Apply for the 2011 Google Policy Fellowship with Creative Commons

Timothy Vollmer, November 23rd, 2010

We’re happy to announce that for the third year Creative Commons will take part in the Google Policy Fellowship program.

The Google Policy Fellowship program offers undergraduate, graduate, and law students interested in Internet and technology policy the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to the public dialogue on these issues, and exploring future academic and professional interests. Fellows will have the opportunity to work at public interest organizations at the forefront of debates on broadband and access policy, content regulation, copyright and trademark reform, consumer privacy, open government, and more.

Aurelia Schultz was Creative Commons’ 2009 Fellow, and worked on a project to analyze the WIPO development agenda in relation to its affect on access to public domain materials. She also developed draft strategic plans for CC’s engagement with WIPO as well as outreach in Africa. Aurelia is now Counsel at Creative Commons. Tal Niv was CC’s Fellow last summer, and she’s been continuing work as a Research Analyst on a key investigation into CC’s welfare impact. The 2011 Google Policy Fellow will receive a substantial grant to work at Creative Commons’ San Francisco office. Potential topics may include, but certainly not limited to:

  • Analyzing trends in license adoption, including identification and development of relevant metrics.
  • Coordinating with counsel to critically analyze the current state of public domain policy in U.S. and abroad. Develop a framework to help Creative Commons’ deploy messaging regarding public domain policy in U.S. and abroad.
  • Researching how the contemporary discourse of copyright, sharing, reuse, and remix has been shaped over the last eight years as a result of the Creative Commons project.
  • Investigating new opportunities for Creative Commons implementation in ‘uncontacted’ communities, institutions, artists, and mediums.
  • Working with Creative Commons’ international community and jurisdiction project leads on projects, research, and outreach.

Check out more details and the application, which is due by January 17, 2011.

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Meet our board members: Molly Van Houweling

Lisa Katayama, November 23rd, 2010

Molly Van Houweling
Molly Van Houweling by Joi / CC BY

When Molly Van Houweling ran Creative Commons back in 2001, she was the only staff member, working out of a small office on the third floor of the Stanford law school building. Her work there was mundane but critical: taking off from the pivotal meeting among the founders at the Harvard Berkman Center earlier that year, the once-advisee of Larry Lessig was doing paperwork and drafting the legal language that would become the foundation of Creative Commons.

Van Houweling worked with the founding team to settle on the idea of making machine-readable licenses for creative works and to begin designing the infrastructure and drafting the legal language for these licenses. “We received some skeptical responses from people and didn’t do a lot of market testing to guarantee adoption, but moved forward based on the creativity that we were sensing and observing on the Internet.” The free software movement of the 80s and 90s also suggested that there was a market of creativity not motivated by the traditional copyright model of selling things under exclusive rights. From the beginning there was a wide range of CC adopters, including Boing Boing, PLoS, Magnatune, and the MIT OpenCourseWare project.

In the summer of 2002, she handed off the executive director role to Glenn Otis Brown and moved to Michigan to teach law. She has since continued to champion CC by promoting our “some rights reserved” approach at conferences and teaching the principles of CC to her classes.

Today, Van Houweling is a law professor at UC Berkeley, where she teaches classes about copyright and intellectual property. She always starts her classes by explaining the traditional justifications for this body of law–the fear that some creativity might not happen if the creators were not protected from having their work copied and distributed in a way that prevents them from reaping their investment. But she also encourages them to think about how sound this argument is when looking at the bigger picture. “As students have become more familiar with models like CC and the explosion of creativity on the Internet, it’s become easier for them to see the limits to this explanation of copyright protection.”

Creative Commons has influenced her life in other ways, too. Van Houweling is a competitive bicycle racer–she’s the reigning champion in Northern California and Nevada in the women’s individual time trial event and the 2010 winner of the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic stage race. “It’s a big thrill for me when the pictures taken of me are CC licensed,” she says. “Some of the best pictures of me from Mt. Hood were taken by [MetaFilter founder] Matt Haughey and have been used by local papers and on the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic web site.” She’s also an avid traveler who likes to take pictures of food and drink that she encounters on her journeys, and was delighted to find that one of her CC-licensed Flickr photos was used in several Wikipedia entries to illustrate a Spanish herbal brandy. “My creativity was never motivated in a way that had to do with copyright, and it’s much more rewarding now that people don’t have to ask for my permission.”

Join Molly Van Houweling and invest in the future of creativity. Donate to Creative Commons today.

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Stories of people & projects using Creative Commons in education, government, and data

Jane Park, November 23rd, 2010

The significance of Creative Commons and its licenses is often overlooked, embedded as it is into the fabric of sharing culture on the web. The current superhero campaign attempts to bring CC’s role to the forefront, by highlighting people and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to this culture. But there are many more excellent stories of people and projects employing our CC licenses for educational, humanitarian, scientific, artistic, and just plain interesting uses. Some of these are currently reflected in our Case Studies on the wiki, but there’s a lot of work left to be done in making these more accessible and useful to the rest of the world.

Part of that is improving the entry points for people new to CC, so we are highlighting case studies for different areas. We just added one for open educational resources (OER) case studies, focusing on the most compelling CC education project or implementation in policy from each country. Examples make the jobs of those advocating for OER at the policy level much easier, and we often notice a surprising lack of knowledge that many of the most compelling examples are to be found around the world. So we started this page to help everyone who is supporting OER advocacy efforts, and we encourage you to go ahead and add your own case study and write up its story; the more developed a case study is, the more likely it is to be featured and shared.

Other areas we have highlighted include Government use of Creative Commons and CC0 use for data. These case studies are also far from complete, so we encourage you to add to and improve them.

We’ve added a few more fields to the Case Studies template as well. For instance, have you ever tried to implement CC licensing into a publishing platform? Then you know that it would have been helpful to know how other platforms have done it. Alex mentions that we’ve gone ahead and added a field for technical implementations to Case Studies. See the Blip.tv case study as an example. In addition, we’ve added a field for “Impact”—what is the effect of this project or resource being under a CC license? What has it enabled that otherwise would not exist? Etc.

Like the rest of our content, the Case Studies are under CC BY, so do add, improve, remix, translate, print out and pass around, show them to your mom, or otherwise reuse them!

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The British Library releases 3 million bibliographic records into the public domain using CC0

Jane Park, November 22nd, 2010

The British Library
The British Library by stevecadman / CC BY-SA

The British Library has released three million records from the British National Bibliography into the public domain using the CC0 public domain waiver. The British National Bibliography contains data on publishing activity from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland since 1950. JISC OpenBibliography has made this set downloadable at CKAN; in addition, the Internet Archive also offers the data for download.

This is a tremendous move on behalf of the British Library and the JISC OpenBibliography project, and we would like to congratulate them on their contributions to open data. From the JISC OpenBibliography project blog,

“Agreements such as these are crucial to our community, as developments in areas such as Linked Data are only beneficial when there is content on which to operate. We look forward to announcing further releases and developments, and to being part of a community dedicated to the future of open scholarship.”

For more information, see the case study on the British Library–and help us add to and improve it!

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Law and the GeoWeb, a workshop on IP and geographic data in the internet era sponsored by Creative Commons and the United States Geological Survey

Jane Park, November 19th, 2010

Just Landed
Just Landed by Jer Thorp / CC BY

Law and the GeoWeb
A workshop on “Intellectual Property and Geographic Data in the Internet Era” sponsored by Creative Commons and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in conjunction with the annual meeting of AAG, April 11, 2011, Seattle, Washington. The workshop will be held at the campus of Microsoft Research, and will be streamed live on the Internet.

This workshop will focus on intellectual property issues with geographic data, exploring situations when users and creators ranging from individuals to local, state and federal agencies as well as private companies and non-profits create, share and reuse geographic information from different sources over the Internet in their projects.

For more information, please see http://punkish.org/geoweb/index.html or search on Twitter for #lawandgeoweb

Rationale
U.S Copyright Law protects tangible original works with creative content but the law also ensures that facts, that is, data that are discovered rather than invented, remain free for everyone’s benefit. This ideas/expression dichotomy creates a lot of issues in the Internet age when information is very easily created, shared, used and reused.

With inexpensive computing and networking power available to everyone, geographic datasets are increasingly being created, shared and used by individuals, grassroots organizations, and private corporations. These data come with different expectations with regards to how they may be used resulting in a hodgepodge of licensing and contractual obligations that hinders data interoperability. Mixing data of different provenance creates new data with typically more restrictive licensing conditions. Public agencies may be unable to mix licensed data with government data due to restrictive licensing terms of the resultant dataset, and thus, may be unable to capitalize on and benefit from user-generated content.

Workshop Structure
The current line-up of speakers from federal, state and local agencies, Creative Commons, grassroots agencies, intellectual property lawyers, the geospatial industry, and research and academia includes:

  • Ed Arabas, National States Geographic Information Council
  • Greg Babinski, King County, State of Washington
  • Michael Brick, Microsoft Legal, Bing Maps
  • Steve Coast, Founder, OpenStreetMap
  • Kari Craun, Director, National Geospatial Technical Operations, USGS
  • Ed Parsons, Chief Technologist, Google Maps, Google
  • Diane Peters, General Counsel, Creative Commons
  • Tim Trainor, Bureau Chief, Geography Division, US Census Bureau
  • Paul Uhlir, Director, Board for Research Data and Information, NRC

The format of the workshop will encourage discussion and participation.

Participate
To ensure those directly involved in the topic get a chance to attend the workshop, attendance is based on a short application form accessible at http://punkish.org/geoweb/participate/in_person/index.html. Deadline for applying for the workshop is December 18, 2010. Selected applicants will be informed by January 15, 2011.

Attendees will also be able to submit longer papers for publication in a special issue of the peer-reviewed, completely free and open access online journal “International Journal of Spatial Data Infrastructure Research” published by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

Logistics
The workshop is organized in conjunction with the AAG annual meeting. The workshop will be held on the campus of Microsoft Research, and run from 1 PM to 5 PM on Monday, April 11, 2011.

There is no fee for this workshop but registration for the AAG annual meeting is required (note: this is an AAG requirement). The workshop is limited to 50 participants to facilitate discussion.

Proceedings of the workshop and selected longer papers will be published in a special issue of the open-access International Journal of Spatial Data Infrastructure Research published by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

Contact
Please contact either Puneet Kishor, Creative Commons [punkish@creativecommons.org] or Barbare Poore, USGS [bspoore@usgs.gov] if you have any questions.

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Creative Commons reporting from the International Open Government Data Conference

Timothy Vollmer, November 19th, 2010


Surburban Trends is one of the winners of the MashupAustralia Contest, and uses several CC BY licensed datasets.

David Bollier writes in Viral Spiral, “Governments are coming to realize that they are one of the primary stewards of intellectual property, and that the wide dissemination of their work—statistics, research, reports, legislation, judicial decisions—can stimulate economic innovation, scientific progress, education, and cultural development” (192). The collection, creation and publishing of data has been increasingly central to government transparency and interaction with the public. Governments release datasets on census information, weather and geospatial data, food safety and product recall information, and data on foreign commerce and economic aid. In the United States there is now over 300,000 datasets made available to the public for consumption and innovative reuse via website mashups, mobile applications, and other uses.

Earlier this week open data and open government advocates gathered at the Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. for the first International Open Government Data Conference. The purpose of the conference was “to gather the community of data owners, developers and policy makers from around the globe to share lessons learned, stimulate new ideas, and demonstrate the power of democratizing data.” The conference hosted a wide variety of speakers, including U.S. leaders like Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, and Deputy Chief Technology Officer and Director of the Open Government Initiative Beth Noveck. There was also substantial international participation, including Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the W3C and founder of the World Wide Web. Of particular interest to Creative Commons was the participation by Keitha Booth and Richard Best from New Zealand and Anne Fitzgerald and Trevor Smallwood from Australia. New Zealand and Australia have been leaders in using Creative Commons tools in sharing government information and datasets.

Background
The open government movement has been building around the world. In the United States, the most recent catalyst of this work grew out of President Obama’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, which described the overarching principles for government operation: transparency, participation, and collaboration. Obama’s memo lead to the development of the Open Government Directive, charging government agencies to 1) publish government information online, 2) improve the quality of government information, 3) create and institutionalize a culture of open government, and 4) create an enabling policy framework for open government. The United States government efforts are collectively called the Open Government Initiative. Open government data initiatives hinge on the theory that government data should be made available to the taxpayers who paid for its creation.

New Zealand presentations
Keitha Booth is the Program Leader of the Open Government Information and Data Programme in New Zealand. She talked about the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing Framework, or NZGOAL, for short. NZGOAL was developed as a solution to some of the problems the government encountered in sharing its information. NZGOAL recommends the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license by default for works under Crown Copyright and also incorporates “no-known rights” statements for materials free of copyright. Keitha also talked about data.govt.nz, a directory of publicly-available, non-personal New Zealand government datasets. That site is licensed CC BY.

Richard Best, New Zealand Solicitor of Government Technology Services in the Department of Internal Affairs, spoke about the process behind the adoption of NZGOAL. Through consultation with various agencies, Richard discovered that policymakers and staff needed guidance on key aspects of copyright and wanted explicit procedures about how to implement the open licensing framework. He described that while the NZGOAL policies are not mandatory, cabinets and agencies must familiarize themselves with the process. Richard mentioned that while NZGOAL default license is CC BY, other Creative Commons licenses are allowed as long as agencies can justify the additional licensing conditions.

Australia presentations
Anne Fitzgerald is Professor in Law Research at the Queensland University of Technology Law School. Anne spoke about the importance of managing rights in the process of opening up government data, and described how the Australian government leverages Creative Commons licensing in its open government framework. At the outset, Anne noted a key distinction between Australian and U.S. law. While works created by the United States Government are free of copyright restrictions within the U.S., the Australian government asserts Crown Copyright over the works it creates. This applies to informational works, research reports and databases, cultural materials, and other public sector information (PSI). Professor Fitzgerald said that the advantages of using Creative Commons licenses are aligned with the government’s recognition of copyright in the materials it creates, while at the same time supporting its open access policy objectives and avoiding financial and technical locks around taxpayer-funded resources.

Trevor Smallwood, Assistant Secretary of Cyber-Security in the Australian Government Information Management Office, spoke about some of the open government and open data initiatives in Australia that leverage Creative Commons licensing. For instance, the Australian Department of Finance and Deregulation releases the budget, government briefs, and data.gov.au content under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. Other initiatives such as the Polar Information Commons, Department of Broadband, and Australian Parliament use open licensing too.

Keitha and Trevor’s presentation slides can be downloaded at the conference site or directly (PDF) here. Anne’s presentation slides can be downloaded at the conference site or directly (PDF) here. Richard’s presentation is available here.

We’ve been reporting on how governments have been demonstrating leadership in openness with Creative Commons. In addition to the New Zealand and Australia projects mentioned above, we’ve been collecting other examples on our wiki of how countries and intergovernmental organizations are adopting open licensing and public domain tools to provide increased access to government information and other public sector information. If you know of other initiatives, please add them to this wiki page.

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