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2011 April

Creative Commons Global Meeting 2011

Jane Park, April 27th, 2011

Since the last global meeting of the Creative Commons community in Sapporo, we’ve seen the launch of CC0 and the Public Domain Mark, and a half-dozen more CC affiliate jurisdictions with many more in the works. To celebrate this and many other CC milestones, we are announcing our next global meeting, to be held the 16th-18th of September this year in Warsaw, Poland, co-hosted by our CC Poland team led by Alek Tarkowski.

The event will bring together affiliates from more than 70 jurisdictions, CC staff, as well as a number of CC Board members. The meeting will mark the beginning of requirements gathering for version 4.0 of the CC license suite, and promises workshops and forums on CC community building and adoption efforts in key sectors such as education, public sector information, and data. Planning is already underway to maximize opportunities for affiliates to meet with the Board and other key stakeholders over the course of the event. As September draws nearer, more information, such as scholarships and funding for affiliates as well as ways the community can contribute ideas for events and sessions, will be announced here on our blog.

We look forward to contributions from our community over the next several months to make this event as successful and productive as possible. A sincere thanks to both the CC Australia and CC Poland teams for submitting compelling proposals for co-hosting the event in response to our solicitation!

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CC Chairman Joi Ito named new director of MIT Media Lab

Jane Park, April 27th, 2011


Joi ito by Dean Ornish / CC BY

The MIT Media Lab, known for its innovative, hands-on approaches in design, multimedia, and technology, has named Creative Commons Chairman and former CEO Joi Ito as its new executive director. In its article about the announcement, theĀ New York Times notes Joi’s long-time support of open culture:

“Raised in both Tokyo and Silicon Valley, Mr. Ito was part of the first generation to grow up with the Internet. …[Joi] was also an early participant in the open-source software movement and is a board member of the Mozilla Foundation, which oversees the development of the Firefox Web [browser], as well as being the co-founder and chairman of Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that has sought to create a middle ground to promote the sharing of digital information.”

Joi also blogs about his new appointment, describing MIT Media Lab as a great fit:

“I really felt at home for the first time in many ways. It felt like a place where I could focus – focus on everything – but still have a tremendous ability to work with the team as well as my network and broader extended network to execute and impact the world in a substantial and positive way.”

Learn more about the Media Lab and Joi’s appointment at hisĀ blog.

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Using CC0 for public domain software

Mike Linksvayer, April 15th, 2011

The basic idea of Creative Commons, offering free copyright tools, is copied from the free software movement. However, CC licenses are not intended to be used to release software, as our FAQ has always said.

One important reason why Creative Commons licenses should not be used to release software is that they aren’t compatible with existing free software licenses, most importantly the GPL from the Free Software Foundation, which is used by over half of free software projects. A commons fractured by legal incompatibilities is a weak commons, and it would be deeply contrary to our mission to fracture the commons of software. (It should also be noted that the FSF helped unfracture the non-software commons by facilitating Wikimedia’s migration to CC BY-SA as the main content license of Wikipedia and its sibling sites.)

While the vast majority of contemporary free software is released under the GPL or another free software license, there is also a long tradition of public domain software, which was free before the term free software existed. Indeed, prior to the 1970s, copyright did not apply to software. Currently, SQLite, an embedded database that you almost certainly use, is probably the most popular software that is dedicated to the public domain.

There are a variety of public domain dedications used to release software, which is mostly not a problem — to the extent such dedications are well-crafted, they don’t present a legal interoperability problem. This means it is possible to improve the state of the art in public domain dedications without harming the ecosystem. (Though this doesn’t mean an infinite variety of public domain dedications is optimal — at the extreme having to determine whether a new dedication is well-crafted each time one encounters a new public domain work would make using public domain works unattractive.)

In addition to licenses, Creative Commons also offers public domain tools. In creating the CC0 public domain dedication, we did set out to improve the state of the art in public domain dedications, and we think we’ve been pretty successful. Users seem to think so — ranging from governments and institutions to musicians.

We hadn’t set out with CC0 to improve on public domain dedications for software. However, since the release of CC0, we’ve been approached a number of times about using CC0 to dedicate software to the public domain. While we were happy to hear of this unanticipated demand, we wanted to tread very carefully so as to not create any unintended consequences for the free software ecosystem. This led to discussions with the Free Software Foundation, the steward of the GPL and moral leader of the free software movement.

We’re really happy to announce that the Free Software Foundation has added CC0 to its free software licenses list (which includes public domain terms). As usual, the FSF’s language is extremely clear, so we simply quote two sections from their list:

CC0

CC0 is a public domain dedication from Creative Commons. A work released under CC0 is dedicated to the public domain to the fullest extent permitted by law. If that is not possible for any reason, CC0 also provides a simple permissive license as a fallback. Both public domain works and the simple license provided by CC0 are compatible with the GNU GPL.

If you want to release your work to the public domain, we recommend you use CC0.

[...]

Public Domain

If you want to release your work to the public domain, we encourage you to use formal tools to do so. We ask people who make small contributions to GNU to sign a disclaimer form; that’s one solution. If you’re working on a project that doesn’t have formal contribution policies like that, CC0 is a good tool that anyone can use. It formally dedicates your work to the public domain, and provides a fallback license for cases where that is not legally possible.

We’ve also added an entry to the CC0 FAQ about using CC0 to release software, which you ought read if you’d like to do that. If you’re only familiar with the way CC licenses and public domain tools are typically used on web pages and other media, be aware that with free software, the full license (or public domain terms) are usually included with the software. In order to make this easy to do, we’ve taken this opportunity to fulfill a longstanding request — plain text copies of the “legalcode” for CC0 and CC’s six main international licenses. See CC software engineer Chris Webber’s post for details.

Special thanks to Chris Webber and the FSF’s Brett Smith for their persistent work to make the CC0 software recommendation possible.

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Plaintext versions of Creative Commons licenses and CC0

Chris Webber, April 15th, 2011

Last Friday, we made plaintext versions of our core 3.0 (unported) licenses and CC0 available. This is something that some people have wanted for a long time. For example, Evan Prodromou made a draft of plaintext licenses a few years ago, but these never became official.

But now we do have official plaintext versions. Here’s a list:

For most works, plaintext legalcode doesn’t matter as linking directly to the deeds (say with the copy-paste output you get with the license chooser) is good enough, even ideal. And it’s important to note that the XHTML licenses are still the canonical versions. But for some projects plaintext legalcode may be a very good thing. For example, it is traditional practice in free and open source software projects to bundle your licenses along with your project. More and more FOSS projects are using Creative Commons licenses or CC0 for their non-software content, so having plaintext legalcode will probably be very useful in these instances. Additionally, some other projects which release their content in a way that is largely offline may benefit from plaintext legalcode.

If you need to provide licensing information about your work in a similarly plaintext way, you should follow this pattern:

<WORK'S NAME> (c) by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

<WORK'S NAME> is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

You should have received a copy of the license along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>.

… replacing <WORK’S NAME> and <AUTHOR’S NAME> appropriately. (The first line in this example is optional.)

This push for an official plaintext legalcode release was spurred by the recent work with the Free Software Foundation on establishing the compatibility of CC0 with the GPL. It is important to note here that while CC0 is acceptable for software, Creative Commons licenses are not acceptable for software. The usage of plaintext legalcode as described in this post is intended for non-software content.

Copy / Paste Examples

For reference, here are some easily copy/pasteable examples of how you would annotate your works for all Creative Commons licenses, as well as CC0 (which is listed last).

CC BY 3.0:

<WORK'S NAME> (c) by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

<WORK'S NAME> is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

You should have received a copy of the license along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/>.

CC BY-SA 3.0:

<WORK'S NAME> (c) by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

<WORK'S NAME> is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

You should have received a copy of the license along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>.

CC BY-ND 3.0:

<WORK'S NAME> (c) by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

<WORK'S NAME> is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

You should have received a copy of the license along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/>.

CC BY-NC 3.0:

<WORK'S NAME> (c) by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

<WORK'S NAME> is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

You should have received a copy of the license along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/>.

CC BY-NC-SA 3.0:

<WORK'S NAME> (c) by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

<WORK'S NAME> is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

You should have received a copy of the license along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/>.

CC BY-NC-ND 3.0:

<WORK'S NAME> (c) by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

<WORK'S NAME> is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

You should have received a copy of the license along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/>.

CC0 1.0: (note, see here if using CC0 for software)

<WORK'S NAME> by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

To the extent possible under law, the person who associated CC0 with
<WORK'S NAME> has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights
to <WORK'S NAME>.

You should have received a copy of the CC0 legalcode along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/>.
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Creative Commons Announces Support Program for Department of Labor C3T Grantees

Timothy Vollmer, April 13th, 2011

Creative Commons is pleased to announce we have been awarded a grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide support to successful applicants of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program with our partnering organizations Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative, CAST, and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

The free of charge technical assistance services will offer a competitive advantage for organizations seeking TAACCCT grant funds and ensure that the open educational resources created with these federal funds are of the highest quality. The partnering organizations will provide the following areas of expertise: open licensing, learning and course design, professional development, and adoption and use. TAACCCT applicants interested in these free services should include boilerplate language in their proposal. This suggested language, as well as a high-level description of services, can be viewed at our TAACCCT information page.

Creative Commons is excited to participate in this groundbreaking effort and grateful to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its generous support in facilitating open learning.

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CC News: Creative Commons for Japan Relief

Jane Park, April 5th, 2011

Stay up to date with CC news by subscribing to our weblog and following us on Twitter.

March may be over, but the madness isn't! CC is helping to shape Japan relief efforts, moving offices, and playing an important role in open government.

Japan relief efforts use Creative Commons

Regardless of CC related efforts, we want you to do what you can to help Japan. But we also think it's pretty amazing that a number of great relief efforts are using Creative Commons licenses, and you can contribute to them. OLIVE is a Wikipedia-like site that provides much-needed information for quake survivors in various languages. With thousands of people displaced from their homes in Japan, many are surviving in make-shift homes and shelters, with scant resources. OLIVE provides practical and creative ways on how to best utilize available resources, such as how to stay warm in a cardboard house. You can help by contributing, editing, or translating articles on OLIVE – all available for reuse under CC BY. Read more about other CC relief efforts.

CC headquarters moves to Mountain View, California!

New CC Office
New CC Office by Creative Commons / CC BY

Spring is a time for change, as evidenced by our office move. We're not leaving our hearts in San Francisco, however; we're taking them plus our innovative spirits with us to Mountain View, California. As of April 1, the CC headquarters will be located in downtown Mountain View to be closer to all the activity brewing in Silicon Valley. Read more.

State of Play: Public Sector Information in the United States

As part of our blog series for the European Public Sector Information Platform (ePSIplatform) on the role of Creative Commons in supporting the re-use of public sector information, we have researched and published the State of Play: Public Sector Information in the United States. Beth Noveck, former United States deputy CTO of open government and now a Professor of Law at New York Law School, provides a great overview, noting that it is “an excellent report on open data in the United States” and “provides a concise and accurate primer (with footnotes) on the legal and policy framework for open government data in the US.” Read more.

In other news:

  • Have an idea for a CC project? Learn how to develop a proposal and apply for funding at the P2PU "Getting your CC project funded" course! Deadline to apply is April 13.
  • The annual Open Education Conference is calling for research proposals by May 13.
  • Safe Creative, a Spain-based global intellectual property registry that allows users to publicly assert and identify their rights over a work, now enables creators to donate a portion of their sales to Creative Commons.
  • CC talked with BCcampus on open educaton and policy. BCcampus is the institution that provides educational technology and online learning support to British Columbia’s 25 public colleges and universities.
  • CC CEO Cathy Casserly receives the President's Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence.
  • Firefox 4 was officially released by our awesome friends at Mozilla.
  • NYTimes best-selling author Cory Doctorow talked up CC in a recent feature by the BBC: "How free translates to business survival."
  • Lastly, we are hosting a CC Salon Palo Alto on Open Services Innovation. The April 25 event is free and open to all, but advance RSVP is required, so reserve your spot now!

Banner based on illustration by Jennifer ChongCC BY 2.0.

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