Congratulations! Announcing Affiliate Project Grant Recipients

Meryl Mohan, September 9th, 2013

Creative Commons Global Summit 2013 (cckorea / CC BY)

You might remember a few months ago when CC announced the start of an affiliate project grant program to support and expand the work of CC’s global volunteer network.

Today, we are thrilled to announce the recipients of those grants. With a pool of over 70 applications from our community, 18 have been selected to receive grants that support and further open policies and practices in their region. From an open source platform for expression led by a Palestinian rap group, to an online copyright course for Latin american librarians, to a revived CC WordPress plug-in from Finland, we are more than excited to watch these projects unfold in the coming months.

We want to thank everyone for the thoughtful and varied submissions we received from our global affiliate community. In selecting the recipients, we based our decisions on a number of criteria, including the relevance to our mission, benefit to the CC community, significance of outcome, impact, feasibility, partners, and cost effectiveness.

Please join me in congratulating the recipients of the CC Affiliate Project Grants:

Kenya – School of Open Kenya Initiative
South Africa – Creative Commons for Kids
Tanzania – Tanzania CC Salon
Uganda – Promoting Creative Commons Initiatives in Uganda
Cross Regional – Activate Africa

Algeria – Arabic Icons
Lebanon – CC Simply Explained in Arabic
Morocco – Creative BookSprint
Palestine, Lebanon – Hope Spoken/Broken: Change in the Eyes of Palestinian Refugees

Japan – Workshops and Symposium for Open Data in Japan
New Zealand – Media Text Hack
Taiwan – Practices and Depositories for The Public Domain

Finland – WpLicense Revived
Ireland – Awareness-raising Event in Dublin, November 2013
Romania – OER Awareness Activities for Librarians and Academics in Romania

Chile – Promotion of Open Knowledge in the Chilean Academia: Ways to Facilitate Adoption of Creative Commons in the Academic World
Colombia, El Salvador, Uruguay – An Online Course on Basic Copyright, including the open concept that will be totally developed in Spanish for Latinamerican librarians
Guatemala, Uruguay – Promoting Free Music in Central and South America

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California Community Colleges require Creative Commons Attribution for Chancellor’s Office Grants & Contracts

Cable Green, September 9th, 2013


At today’s meeting of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, the Board voted unanimously to require open licensing on publicly funded materials resulting from all Chancellor’s Office contracts and grants.

The previous policy for these grants maintained ‘all rights reserved’ copyright over grant materials by the Chancellor’s Office; the exact language (PDF) reading, “The copyright for all materials first produced as a result of this Work for Hire agreement shall belong to the Chancellor’s Office.”

Upon reviewing the existing policy, and discussing the benefits of open licensing for publicly funded materials, the Board of Governors voted to adjust its policy so that any works created under contracts or grants funded by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office will be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) license.

The Chancellor’s Office will maintain its copyright over grant and contract funded materials, while enabling wide dissemination, reuse, and adaptation of those materials under the CC BY license. With 72 districts and 112 colleges, the California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in world to now require a CC BY license on its publicly funded grant materials.

According to the press release (PDF),

Using a CC BY license also saves taxpayers money by not funding duplicate work that may only be accessible on the local level. For instance, under the old grant requirements a community college staff may have produced a report under contract from the Chancellor’s Office but was not required to openly license or share that report with other colleges. This made it difficult for other colleges to access and reuse the report, but with the new CC BY requirement, other colleges can both view the report and reuse, share, and improve upon it with updated information and data.

“The Chancellor’s Office already held copyrights to all materials that had been contracted,” California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris said. “But the great thing about the action taken by the board of governors this afternoon is that those materials will now be available to a world-wide audience. Also, the tax-paying public shouldn’t be required to pay twice or more to access and use educational materials, first via the funding of the research and development of educational resources and then again when they purchase materials like textbooks they helped fund. So, ultimately this decision to change the board’s regulations will save taxpayers money over time. That’s always a good thing.”

Dean Florez, President and CEO of the 20 Million Minds Foundation added:

“These are exciting times as the California Community Colleges takes the lead in advancing higher education. Creative Commons licensing saves families and taxpayers money and the advancement of Open Educational Resources further expands access to materials for faculty members and their students.”

The video of the open policy discussion from the September 9th meeting is embedded below and available here. Learn more at the press release (PDF) and the presentation and analysis of the agenda item (PDF) from the meeting. Creative Commons is thrilled with this recent development and hopes this new policy by the California Community Colleges inspires other college systems to also implement open policies for their grants and contracts.

Thank you, California Community Colleges for ensuring publicly funded educational resources are openly licensed.

Related: California’s Community Colleges Shift to Creative Commons Licenses by The Chronicle of Higher Education


Vote for CC at SXSW!

Elliot Harmon, September 4th, 2013

Are you planning to go to South by Southwest next year? CC has two pending sessions at SXSW Interactive and one at SXSWedu.

If you’d like to see these sessions happen next year, then please cast your vote. Voting ends this week, so please show your support now!

Open Education: The Business & Policy Case for OER

The Internet, increasingly affordable computing, open licensing, open access journals and open educational resources provide the foundation for a world in which a quality education can be a basic human right. Yet before we break the “iron triangle” of access, cost and quality with new models, we need to develop sustainable open business models with open policies: public access to publicly funded resources.

How Open Licensing Is Transforming Design

When designers share their work under an open license, they invite others to build upon and transform their designs without asking for permission, sometimes even using them commercially. A few years ago, the idea of letting non-clients steal your work was crazy; today, it’s a big part of how designers network, collaborate, and create professional opportunities for themselves and each other.

How Creative Commons Is Changing Artists’ Careers

When creators share their art under a Creative Commons license, they invite others to build upon and transform their work without asking for permission. Everyone has heard the stories of big names like Amanda Palmer and Cory Doctorow licensing their work under CC, but what about artists who don’t already have a massive following? Does open licensing open doors for developing creators, or does it close off potential revenue streams?

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Where’s 4.0? A Post-Summit Update

Diane Peters, August 29th, 2013

When we published Draft 3 of Version 4.0 of the CC license suite in February, we reminded our community that the ensuing consultation period would be its final chance to comment on the licenses before publication. The publication of that draft and reminder caused some stakeholders and others in our affiliate network to take a final hard look at the legal code. This was also the trigger for us here at CC to conduct one last review as planned. After all, one of our foremost goals has been to develop a long-lasting suite of licenses that will carry us as far into the future as possible. If there are some improvements we can make now and that will avoid problems later, then we ought take the time to account for those when possible.

That our publication caused the legal code to undergo this final level of scrutiny is the good news. We were also able to have a concluding discussion with our affiliates face-to-face during the 2013 Global Summit in Buenos Aires last week. There, we received valuable input from those in attendance about the final draft of the licenses.

The unfortunate news is the ensuing delay. For those eager to move from 3.0 to 4.0 — and there are many of you who have been waiting patiently — we recognize that the delay is a source of frustration. We are excited to say that the wait will pay dividends for everyone; however, the community identified a few important issues and we’re working together to address those issues in the upcoming draft. We’ll be expanding more on those when we publish the draft, slated for next week.

For those of you interested in commenting on the final draft, take note that the consultation period will be abbreviated, no longer than two weeks. The bulk of the changes are not substantive and do not involve a shift in policy. Instead, they involve further refinements and simplification in language when possible, consolidation of the sui generis database rights provisions into a single section for ease of reference, and similar improvements. The remainder will be concisely framed and explained, and we don’t expect them to be controversial.

Watch this space and our 4.0 wiki for the final drafts of the licenses next week. Thanks again for your patience and support. We’re close!

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CC Global Summit is underway!

Elliot Harmon, August 21st, 2013

The Creative Commons Global Summit is almost here! If you’re not joining us in Buenos Aires, there are several ways you can follow the summit this week:


News from CC China: eXtreme Learning Process

Elliot Harmon, August 16th, 2013

Earlier this year, CC China Mainland volunteers helped organize an educational event to promote open licensing. The CC China Mainland team recaps the event in this guest blog post, which originally appeared on the CC China Mainland blog.

CC China Mainland volunteers recently helped organize the Trans-disciplinary System Integration Design Challenge, a program of the eXtreme Learning Process (XLP) initiative at Tsinghua University. Volunteers designed IP rules for the course, educated participants about Creative Commons, and handed out the Spirit of CC Award during the closing ceremony of the course.

Students and teachers of the XLP course with musician Yibing Zhu
Students and teachers of the XLP course with musician Yibing Zhu (Cheng Hu / CC BY)

The Trans-disciplinary System Integration Design Challenge lasted for four days at the Fundamental Industry Training Center’s Electromechanical Innovation Lab. The course attracted 126 participants from Tsinghua University, Renmin University, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, and Beijing Jiaotong University, including undergraduates, Master’s candidates, and Ph.D. candidates. Participants were divided into “Challengers” and “Actors.” The 51 students and teachers who comprised the Challengers helped design the scenarios and problems, while 75 students made up the Actors, who were divided into eight groups to carry out the tasks and find solutions to the problems.

CC volunteer Zhaowen Wang kept track of the open-source technology released under CC licenses by each team.

CC volunteer Zhaowen Wang kept track of the open-source technology released under CC licenses by each team. (Cheng Hu / CC BY)

Here’s the challenge: “A plate shifting in South China Sea was caused by a sudden earthquake. As a consequence, a new unmanned island, A, appeared. Your task is to win the offer from the venture capitalist to exploit it into an offshore oil city by building a material delivery system and writing a business plan.”

The teams had 80 hours to complete the challenge. In the course, students are required to work on their own to learn certain technologies, such as the programming software NXT, the project management tool Projectlibre, and so on. Having managed that hardware and software, students were able to build an automatic material delivery system and make virtual functions perform in the sand plate. The course not only trained the problem-solving skill of the students, but also innovative thinking, teamwork, dynamic project control, and time management. This course was covered by Xinhua News Agency, China News Agency, People’s Daily, Beijing Evening News and many other news agencies.

In order to assure the technology development process to flow in orderliness and openness, CC volunteers designed the IP rules for this course, by integrating real-life IP law and regulations with the scenarios of the course. In the copyright rules, students were directed on how to claim their copyright in their slides, photos, and business plans, as well as to effectively share their works by using CC licenses.

CC volunteers issue the Spirit of CC Award to the most open and creative team.

CC volunteers issue the Spirit of CC Award to the most open and creative team. (Han Jin / CC BY)

The patent and open source rules instructed the students on how to apply and exploit patents, and how to make their technical solutions open source technology and cooperate with other developers by using CC licenses. CC volunteers served as officials in XLP Patent Office and judges in XLP Court to make the course more real and competitive. With the help of CC volunteers, four contracts of technology cooperation were signed, the students learned the concept and benefit of sharing directly, and they accomplished their work with much more efficiency using CC licenses.

On the last afternoon of the course, all eight groups carried out their automatic material delivery systems on the sand plate and performed a virtual commercial bid. Students labeled their works with CC marks and published their business plans and videos using CC licenses, as they hoped their works can be delivered further and give inspiration to people who are also fascinated by extreme learning. During the following ceremony, CC volunteers handed out the Spirit of CC Award and CC souvenirs to the most open and creative team. Members of the team expressed their delight of receiving the award, and wished CC would make a bigger difference in open-source technology.

The Trans-disciplinary System Integration Design Challenge found a new path to attenuate the limits of teaching-learning roles, space and time. The novel way in which the course was taught aroused students’ interest and motivation. The role of CC is crucial and inspiring for learners to explore a far more efficient and cooperative world.

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India launches National Repository of Open Educational Resources

Jane Park, August 14th, 2013


India has launched a new learning repository for open educational resources (OER). India’s Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and the Central Institute of Educational Technology, National Council of Educational Research and Training have collaboratively developed the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER). Dr. Pallam Raju, India’s Minister for Human Resource Development, launched the repository on Tuesday, and Dr. Shashi Tharoor, India’s Minister of State for Human Resource Development, announced the repository’s default license for all resources — Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA).

The repository currently includes videos, audio, interactive media, images, and documents, and aims to “bring together all digital and digitisable resources for the [Indian] school system – for all classes, for all subjects and in all languages.”

From Dr. Tharoor’s announcement,

This initiative is also a significant step towards inclusive education. Opening access to all requires a debate on the issue of ownership, copyright, licensing and a balancing of reach with legitimate commercial interests. This is particularly important for public institutions and public funded projects. I am glad that the NCERT has taken the initiative of declaring that the NROER will carry the CC-BY-SA license… This decision by NCERT is in tune with UNESCO’s Paris Declaration on Open Education Resources and will ensure that all the resources are freely accessible to all. To put it in the language of the Creative Commons — to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute.

To contribute to the repository, one must ensure that they are “agreeing to host the resources under a Creative Commons license” (CC BY-SA) and “that the documents uploaded are encoded using non-proprietary, open standards.” To learn more about contributing your OER, visit


Welcome CC United States affiliate team

Jessica Coates, August 13th, 2013

US Navy 060417-N-8157C-162 The American flag flies prominently during the World Patriot Tour performance at Hickam Air Force Base
By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Dennis Cantrell [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

We’re happy to welcome the CC United States (CC US) affiliate to the Creative Commons family. The hub for CC US will be located at the American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property in Washington, D.C.

CC US team members bring considerable legal and policy expertise to the table. CC US has initial plans to focus on education and outreach on CC licensing for open educational resources at the K-12 and community college levels. This area has seen significant activity in the United States over the last several years, most notably with the Department of Labor’s $2 billion grant program for the creation of worker retraining materials under open licenses. In addition, CC US will help improve the understanding of limitations and exceptions to copyright, including the US-specific concept of fair use. For more information, check out the CC US roadmap.

You might be asking, isn’t Creative Commons already active in the United States? The answer is yes. At the same time, there’s never been a formal CC US affiliate team like there is for the rest of the CC community. Creative Commons was established as a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in 2001, and the headquarters office has historically served the de facto US affiliate. During the 3.0 license development process, Creative Commons relied on a temporary relationship with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society to provide legal support for the 3.0 release, at which time the generic licenses were reworked to more adequately align with international treaties as opposed to United States copyright law. It’s become increasingly apparent over the last few years that interest in Creative Commons in the United States — whether in the cultural, education, government, data and other sectors — has grown beyond the organizational capacity of the headquarters staff. So, by formalizing CC US, we can empower the growth of advocates working on U.S.-centric issues around CC and copyright while simultaneously freeing up capacity for the headquarters office to focus on organization-wide activities and strategic opportunities.

CC US will host a launch party on October 17, 2013. The event will run from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. Welcome aboard CC US!

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How Boundless uses CC licenses

Cable Green, August 8th, 2013


As the open educational resources (OER) movement continues to grow, students and educators alike can benefit from openly licensed content. The use of Creative Commons licenses in education has allowed learning resources to travel farther, reach more people, and be repurposed to meet local needs.

I recently spoke with Ariel Diaz, CEO of Boundless learning about how his company utilizes Creative Commons CC licenses. This is a summary of our conversation.

So how does Boundless use Creative Commons licenses?

“Creating high quality textbooks is no easy task. It would have been impossible for Boundless to create close to 20 subjects worth of open textbooks without the availability of openly licensed content. While we can also use information that is in the public domain, the license on the content we predominantly use is called Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA). CC BY-SA allows us to tweak and build upon the work of others, even for commercial purposes, and we are required to license our derivative works under the same license terms. To maintain a connection to the original author, we give attribution/credit and mark our content with the same license.

“To create our open textbooks and study tools, our team of expert “Edcurators” find the best content that is openly licensed. They revise and remix the best parts of the best content so that it is aligned with the key concepts of a corresponding traditional textbook for subjects like Marketing, Chemistry, and Writing. In other words, we take openly licensed content and add our own layer of pedagogy (important because our audience is students) and copy editing (important because students deserve to have materials written in a consistent voice that is fit for their grade level). Once the curating process is finished, we’ve officially crafted a resource that helps students at over half the colleges in the U.S. excel. Our educational content is openly available to all students anywhere in the world.”

Why are Creative Commons licenses important to Boundless?

“Creative Commons has revolutionized the process of sharing information. Open resources available under a CC license broadens the distribution of knowledge, allowing people of different ages, socioeconomic statuses, and geographic locations to share and benefit from high quality content. It’s amazing to be part of this revolution.

“In addition to helping us find, curate, and remix high-quality educational content, the CC license helps us stand up for an important belief core to our mission: educational resources should be free and openly licensed.

“We make good on this belief by freely posting our open textbooks on the web, without any registration required. Any student, educator, or self-learner can access, quote, and remix our textbooks for their own purposes thanks to the CC BY-SA license. Openly licensed educational resources means that digital textbooks like ours will continue to improve over time, allowing students the chance to unlock the knowledge they deserve.”

Where can I access Boundless textbooks?

“In addition to the web, Boundless is has released these books for free in one of the world’s most popular ebook stores: the iBookstore (with Kindle support coming soon). The company’s iBooks include titles like Boundless Introduction to Marketing, Introduction to Statistics, and Introduction to Writing. Students can now access Boundless’ high-quality, college-level content online, offline, on any device, at anytime. The Boundless App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch.”


Change Will Come, and ManyLabs Will Play An Important Part

Puneet Kishor, August 7th, 2013

I met Peter Sand a few months ago at a #Sensored meetup in SoMa. The setting was exactly like the hardware labs from my undergraduate engineering days, and Peter was there exactly like one of my buddies showing kits and circuits cobbled together to do science (except, Peter is quieter and more polite than most of my buddies). Peter founded ManyLabs, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that wants:

students of any age to become comfortable with data, scientific processes, and mathematical representations of the world. We want people to learn about the strengths and limitations of using math and data to address real-world problems.

Hmmmm… think about that for a minute. Peter is thinking really long-term. He wants to invest in kids today (although ManyLabs kits are suitable for and to be enjoyed by anyone of any age) so they become good at using math and data in the future. Now, that is my kind of guy.

Temp and Humidity Time Series. Image courtesy ManyLabs, used under terms of CC BY-SA 3.0

Temp and Humidity Time Series. Image courtesy ManyLabs, used under terms of Creative Commons BY-SA license

ManyLabs has released a collection of interactive science activities and projects under the Creative Commons BY-SA license. Many of these activities and projects are based on Arduino, an open-source microcontroller board. While most Arduino-based education projects are focused on electronics, programming, or robotics, ManyLabs is instead aiming for compatibility with the existing curricula of biology, physics, math, data, and my favorite, environment classrooms.

Previously ManyLabs was using a CC BY-NC-SA license. “We moved away from a non-commercial license because we want to make usage of the content more flexible. We want the materials to make the widest possible contribution to education,” explained Peter.

While the initial content has been seeded by a small group of contributors, ManyLabs hopes to make the site more community-driven by releasing authoring tools that will allow anyone to create, share, and modify interactive lessons. They also plan to release a platform for CC-licensed data that will allow students, teachers, and others in the community to share data gathered from sensors and manual observations. Together these tools aim to promote scientific reasoning and data literacy, both in schools and in the world at-large.



We are fully behind Peter and his mission. So, go ahead, share, sign in or sign up, and create a lesson. What better way to make the world more open than by teaching kids today about Open to ensure that tomorrow’s world will be full of young people who would have known nothing else.

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