Commons News

Guest Post: Design Hackathon held in Buenos Aires to kick off the CC Toolkits Project

Billy Meinke, November 6th, 2013

This is a guest post written by Gino Cingolani, a member on the design team for the CC Toolkit project. We’re making progress with the project, and wanted to share about a regional activity that helped launch the development of the CC Toolkits. Thanks to Gino, Teresa Sempere Garcia, and Pablo Corbalan for leading the organization of this event!


CC Toolkits Design Hackathon Announcement Flyer


Gino Cingolani / CC BY 3.0

This past August’s celebration of the Creative Commons Global Summit in Buenos Aires impacted the free culture movement of this city. Only one month after the Summit, the first CC Argentina Hackathon was held with around 25 volunteers giving up their weekend to help. On a Sunday in October, programmers, translators, graphic designers, illustrators and people curious or interested in CC from all the country gathered around to work on the creation of template for the CC toolkits project.

During the event, we strategized content and drafted designs that would help spread the word and implement the CC licenses in cultural and scientific environments. The toolkits will exist in multiple formats (web, print) and will live online, each kit containing open content created by CC’s global community; the template includes video, narrative and fact sheet documents about CC licenses, and a set of cards with sentences for starting discussions around issues of copyright & free licensing. Each kit will also feature case studies and success stories of people that have already implemented CC licenses.

The CC Toolkits global initiative was initially presented at the Global Summit by a team made up of Billy Meinke and Teresa Sempere, describing the overall goal for the toolkits to help explain how CC licenses can be used in places like education, government agencies, culture and science. From that moment on, the initiative passed on to different working groups that took care of making the content, translating it, and present in the different formats mentioned.

CCToolkits Hackathon
“CCToolkits Hackathon” / Gino Cingolani / CC BY-NC-SA

The hackathon, organised by a working group established during the summit, was held at the Cultural Center Tierra Violeta in downtown Buenos Aires. Alongside hacking to build the toolkits, we also had the chance to work with a DIY book scanner, take part in a Wikipedia editathon, involving various members of the area’s local DIY/Open Hardware community. The event had the support of Wikimedia Argentina & CC Argentina and we hope it will be only the first of many more similar events to come, that have the aim of sharing open principles like those of Creative Commons to more local communities of creators and artists.

For more information about the CC Toolkits project and how to get involved, see wiki.creativecommons.org/Toolkits.

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University of Mississippi to incorporate School of Open’s Wikipedia course

Jane Park, November 6th, 2013

This is a guest post by Pete Forsyth, organizer of the School of Open’s “Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics & Beyond” course and member of WikiProject Open.

OleMissLogo.svg

The University of Mississippi’s Spring 2014 course “Open Educational Resources and Practices” will include the module “Writing Wikipedia Articles” (aka WIKISOO), which I developed and taught through the School of Open; as well as “Open Content Licensing for Educators,” developed and taught by Wayne Mackintosh as part of the OER university consortium. The new graduate level course (Edhe 670), taught by Dr. Robert Cummings, will invite learners from around the world to take these two course modules alongside graduate students, free of charge. This is the first time a university has adopted a School of Open course as part of a formal university course.

In the new course, both online learners and University of Mississippi students will actively participate in open educational practices, even as they learn the theory and history of open education and related concepts. Online learners will enjoy university-level instruction free of charge and without the need to enroll in a degree program.

Noting the advantages of this first-of-its-kind course, Associate Professor Robert Cummings said,

“University of Mississippi graduate students in the School of Education will prepare for their careers with this unique opportunity to engage the emerging global field of Open Educational Resources. UM students will not only learn about OER, its origins, and its role in the classrooms of the future, but they will have the opportunity to work with developers and theorists—both as fellow students and emerging practitioners—in a synchronous, global classroom of enrolled students and un-enrolled learners.”

The course’s subject matter should be of particular benefit to those interested in the future of education. Educators are embracing openness in education by using the increasingly interactive and ubiquitous Internet. In doing so, they aim to lower financial costs, reduce legal complexities, and otherwise eliminate barriers for learners worldwide.

“Open education signals a return to the core values of the academy, namely, to share knowledge freely,” said OERu founder Wayne Mackintosh, who teaches the “Open Content Licensing for Educators” module. “Working together we achieve far more than working alone. This course is an exemplar of open collaboration widening learning opportunities for all.”

The ability to engage and collaborate online and in real time, across geographical borders, presents opportunities that didn’t exist a few years ago. Wikipedia in particular has enabled hundreds of thousands of people around the world to connect in meaningful ways, united by a shared passion for freely sharing knowledge. As part of the team that created the Wikipedia Education Program, Dr. Cummings, Dr. Mackintosh, and I have long worked to bring Wikipedia’s community and the world of formal education closer, so that each may learn from the experience of the other.

Pete_Forsyth_demonstrating_Wikipedia_use_by_Ellis_Christopher
…demonstrating Wikipedia use / Ellis Christopher / CC BY

Wikipedia is important not only as a publication, but also as a vibrant learning community, and as a collection of highly effective collaborative processes. Wikipedia offers many valuable case studies in effective online collaboration, both in connection with and independent of formal academic study. I’m looking forward to this opportunity to work with UM students alongside learners around the world.

If you would like to take one or both of the open modules, sign up to receive updates today!

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OERu Launches Worldwide

Paul Stacey, November 4th, 2013

Providing free learning with pathways to formal credit, the OERu officially launched on Friday November 1, 2013 at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops British Columbia. “In basing your learning and teaching on OER, you have an excellent opportunity to treat the minds of your students primarily as fires to be set alight rather than as vessels to be filled with the knowledge of just one teacher,” said Sir John Daniel, former UNESCO Assistant Director General of Education and open learning visionary.

OERu web site

Coordinated by the Open Education Resource Foundation, headquartered in New Zealand, the OERu is an independent, not-for-profit network that offers free online university courses for students worldwide using open educational resources (OER). As a designated project of the UNESCO-COL OER Chair network and with over thirty-two partners from five continents, the OERu is using OER to provide more affordable ways for learners to gain academic credit towards qualifications from recognized, accredited institutions.

“The OERu makes affordable education accessible to everyone,” said Open Education Resource Foundation Director Dr. Wayne Mackintosh. “All you need is an internet connection and you can study independently from home, with access to world-class courses from recognized institutions around the world. It’s about sharing knowledge and the sustainability of education.”

Research from the Commonwealth of Learning and UNESCO predicts that an additional one hundred million post-secondary learners will be entering into the tertiary education system over the next fifteen years. “The key challenge we are trying to address is how to provide spaces for the additional one hundred million students – that’s the equivalent of building four sizeable universities with roughly 30,000 students each, every week for the next 15 years,” said Mackintosh. The OERu aims to provide students excluded from the formal education sector with learning pathways to credible credentials.

Coming at a time of dramatically rising higher education cost and high youth unemployment, the OERu provides a parallel learning universe based solely on OER, quality assurance, and institutional accreditation. The OERu sees OER as a key means of expanding and sustaining higher education and aims to see OER and open education practices integrated into every institution in the world.

The distinctively open aspects of the OERu, including its use of open-source software, open peer review, open public input, open file formats and open educational resources are key differentiators from MOOCs. Another major difference is the OERu’s commitment to providing students with the option of getting formal credit for their study for a small fee.

“The OERu will reduce the cost of higher education dramatically,” says Sir John Daniel. “I believe that radical innovations in higher education must be accompanied by particularly robust frameworks of accreditation and credentialing in order to reassure the public. It’s all very well for evangelists to promote do-it-yourself accreditation from the personal safety of CVs replete with reputable qualifications, but ordinary people want the ‘beef’ of proper recognition too.”

The OERu launch at Thompson Rivers University coincided with the second meeting of the OERu open network of partners including post-secondary institutions, nonprofits, government, and international agencies who all engaged in an intensive two-day implementation planning meeting. I was delighted to attend and contribute to the planning, including a summary of a two-week-long discussion exploring OERu’s unique differentiators, operations, micro-credentials, potential use of textbook zero, and quality assurance processes. Livestream recordings of the OERu launch and plenary meetings are available from the Thompson Rivers University live streaming channel.

At the time of launch, the OERu is offering two credentials – one undergraduate and one post-graduate and is experimenting with micro Open Online Courses – mOOCs. As an open network the OERu is expanding the courses and credentials it is offering and its partners. Organizations choose to join the OERu for three main reasons:

  1. to be part of a global network of “like-minded” institutions
  2. to participate in the philanthropic mission of widening access to more affordable education, especially for learners excluded from the formal higher education sector
  3. to learn new business models and retain a competitive advantage as open education approaches become more mainstream

As Estrella Patrick Moller First Nations Elder for the Secwepemc Nation put it in her OERu launch blessing, “I thank all of you for having big dreams… Help us to reach hundreds and hundreds and millions of people so that mother earth will be covered with people on an equal footing with education.”

Related links:

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First Arabic Language CC Licenses Launched!

Diane Peters, October 31st, 2013

Finally the Arabic translation for #creativecommons licenses
Finally the Arabic translation… / Muhammad Basheer / CC BY

Following a multi-year process and the dedication of several Creative Commons Arab regional teams and communities, Creative Commons is very proud to announce that its 3.0 license suite is now available in Arabic. The Egypt 3.0 licenses were completed by our CC Egypt team, hosted by the Access To Knowledge initiative at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria. The porting effort was led by copyright expert Hala Essalmawi, with the support of Hani Sawiress.

The process of porting the 3.0 licenses endured a lengthy and eventful journey spanning the changing cultural and political climate in the Arab world. Although CC is on the cusp of publishing the 4.0 license suite, an international suite that we do not expect to port but instead translate, the Egypt 3.0 licenses are being published to recognize and celebrate the tireless effort of all of the affiliates and community members in the Arab world who cooperated to make their publication a reality after more than half a decade of effort.

Localization efforts in the Arab world began in earnest more than six years ago with affiliates in Jordan and, thereafter, in Egypt. Jordanian copyright law experts Rami Olwan and Ziad Maraqa worked early on to raise awareness of CC licenses and their potential for bolstering the existing culture of sharing found throughout the Arab world. The CC Egypt porting team leveraged those drafting efforts as a starting point for the Egypt licenses.

One of the biggest challenges of the process involved translation. Arabic is the official language of the 22 members of the Arab League, and is spoken by more than 300 million people in many different dialects. The Egyptian effort required attention to pan-regional considerations knowing that the licenses would be adopted by users outside of Egypt.

The CC Egypt team partnered with many others to complete the licences, including a group of passionate lawyers and activists from other Arabic-speaking countries. Among other important work, this group considered options for translating CC’s English legal code into modern standard Arabic while ensuring that the license names and elements (Attribution, ShareAlike, NonCommercial, and NoDerivatives) would be understood by Arabic-speakers across the region and embraced by end-users, not just lawyers. An important milestone in the localization effort came during the 2nd Arab Regional Meeting in Doha, Qatar, in October 2010. There, legal experts and community members from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria, and UAE, together with CC HQ, forged agreement on those terms. For those interested in more details, see the minutes (PDF) and a summary of the translation discussion in Arabic.

Worth noting is the pivotal role played by Bassel Safadi aka Khartabil, free internet pioneer and CC’s lead in Syria. Bassel has been one of the most active members of the CC Arab community, adeptly facilitating dialogue between the legal community and content creators community to produce outcomes useful to both. Bassel has been greatly missed by the Arab and global CC community since his detainment by Syrian authorities in March 2012.

We also acknowledge the dedication of the CC Egypt team and the broader Arab CC community to concluding the licenses and advancing Creative Commons adoption and community building during the many recent turbulent years in the region. The dire political and economic situation of several countries in the Arab world and the uprisings since late 2010 have brought insecurity and challenges to people’s daily lives; yet, they have managed to push forward with a wealth of user-generated, youth-driven creativity. CC communities in the Arab world have paid a tribute to this phenomenon by dedicating the past two regional meetings (2011, Tunis; 2012, Cairo) to supporting the creation of original content in Arabic, whether music or visual art or texts.

With all this in mind, the launch of the Egyptian licenses, our first set of licenses in the Arabic language, may be counted among one of the most significant recent achievements of the global CC community. Congratulations to Hala and her team at Bibliotheca Alexandrina for this masterful accomplishment during especially challenging times. Additionally, special thanks to CC Lebanon’s Mohamed Darwish and Pierre el Khoury whose multi-year contributions to the licenses proved critical, the Egyptian community and the Arab communities who commented and discussed the licenses, and CC’s coordinator for the Arab Region, Donatella della Ratta, for her dedicated efforts coordinating and supporting the many convenings necessary to complete the licenses.

Hundreds more could be thanked for their participation in this long but fruitful effort, but above all, a warm and sincere expression of gratitude to the passionate Arab people who believe in a culture of openness, transparency and sharing, and fight for it, sometimes paying with their lives. Shukran.

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Audio remix competition from the Smithsonian and SoundCloud

Elliot Harmon, October 30th, 2013

Kansas City Postal Band

Kansas City Postal Band / Unidentified photographer
(courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution) / Public Domain

Our friends at SoundCloud just told us about a contest they’re running with the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian publishes audio from its archives on SoundCloud under CC BY-NC. Now, it wants to show off all the possibilities for remixing open content by holding a remix competition:

Now the Smithsonian is calling on you to sample, chop and remix selected recordings from their entire collection of sounds, including recordings of frogs and insects from Encyclopedia of Life, Astrophysical Observatory sounds, Smithsonian Jazz masterworks, and Smithsonian Folkways.

The rules are simple. Submissions may be any length, but must incorporate at least two Smithsonian tracks.

Prizes include free SoundCloud Pro accounts and tickets to a special event at the Smithsonian in November.

Hurry! Entries are due November 8.

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Followup: NonCommercial and NoDerivatives discussion

Timothy Vollmer, October 24th, 2013

ncnd

It’s been a long time since we last wrote about the ongoing discussion of the NonCommercial and NoDerivatives licenses. Recall that last year CC heard suggestions that it should stop offering NC and ND licenses in future versions of our license suite because these licenses do not create a true commons of open content that everyone is free to use, redistribute, remix, and repurpose.

The CC community agreed to not make such a radical change as to stop offering the NC or ND licenses in the soon-to-be-released 4.0 licenses, or to spin off those licenses to another host organization. However, as promised, we have been working on several projects to help explain and clarify these issues to license users.

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Pratham Books plans open-source story platform

Elliot Harmon, October 23rd, 2013

Our friend Gautam John of Indian children’s book publisher Pratham Books emailed us this morning to tell us that Pratham is a finalist for a Google Impact Award. What’s even more exciting is what Gautam’s team wants to do with the award. I’ll let him explain:

Pratham Books will use this award to amplify its existing work by creating an open-source platform that will encourage the creation of new stories, remixing of our openly licensed content and translation of all these stories in local languages. Every creation, new or remixed, will be shared, resulting in a large repository of stories available in various digital formats for free use. All content will be released under Creative Commons licenses.

Pratham Books has been a front-runner in adopting a Creative Commons licensing framework and in the last 5 years we have released over 400 stories and hundreds of illustrations under a CC BY or CC BY-SA license.

Pratham Books now hopes to build a collaborative platform which will scale our existing production of 1600 books across 12 languages to 20,000 books across 25 languages over 3 years! Millions of children across the globe will benefit from this platform.

We’ve been fans of Pratham Books’ work for a long time. The company was featured in The Power of Open as a great example of how open licensing can play a crucial role in a sustainable business model. Last year, Gautam wrote a guest blog for CC about how sharing books under CC has led to the community creating numerous translations, audiobooks, DAISY and braille versions, and even smartphone apps, resulting in far greater reach than the company could have achieved without open licensing.

We’re excited to see Pratham Books undertaking this project. Vote for Pratham!

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The past year in Open Access

Timothy Vollmer, October 21st, 2013

OAlogo

Today marks the start of Open Access Week 2013. Open Access Week is a global event for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research. There are many events you can participate in this week, both in person and virtually. Now is a great time to take a look back at the last year in open access developments. Here’s a small sample.

  • The European Commission released a report that said open access to research publications is reaching a tipping point. It noted that 40% of scientific peer reviewed articles published worldwide between 2004 and 2011 are now available online for free access.
  • CC developed a set of graphics that help explain the the current commercial publishing situation and what an open access would do to promote increased access and reuse to research.
  • The Public Library of Science and Figshare announced a partnership that will allow authors publishing in PLOS journals host their data on Figshare.
  • In the United States, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. FASTR requires federal agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to the research articles stemming from that funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • The White House issued a directive on public access to research produced by federal agencies. Each agency covered by the Directive must “Ensure that the public can read, download, and analyze in digital form final peer reviewed manuscripts or final published documents within a timeframe that is appropriate for each type of research conducted or sponsored by the agency.” The public is still waiting to see the details of the agency public access plans, which were due August 22, 2013. In addition, the White House announced an executive order in support of open data, and launched Project Open Data, an open source initiative looking for input and collaboration on how the federal government should manage open data. There’s been some great work to-date on Project Open Data, but there’s still some unresolved questions about licensing (or public domain tools) appropriate for data produced by the federal government.
  • Also in the United States, there’s been several state-level bills introduced in support of public access to publicly funded research. Perhaps the most active is the legislation introduced in California–AB 609–the California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act. If you live in California you can write to your representatives today to tell them to support AB 609.
  • The University of California passed a system-wide open access policy. The open access policy will cover 8,000 faculty who author approximately 40,000 articles each year.
  • The Research Councils UK passed an open access policy, but there’s been some confusion about the open licensing provisions in the policy. And, the Business, Innovation, and Skills Committee released a report criticizing the policy and urged RCUK to reconsider several aspects of the policy, including the preference for gold open access publishing, acceptable embargo periods, and licensing options.
  • PLOS hosted the Accelerating Science Award Program (ASAP). The high-profile award program seeked to highlight individuals who have used, applied, or remixed scientific research — published through open access — in order to realize innovations in science, medicine, and technology. The winners of the program will be announced today!
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WikiProject Open launches “Collaboration of the Week” for Open Access Week

Jane Park, October 21st, 2013

Below is an invitation by members of WikiProject Open to help improve two Wikipedia articles related to openness. Wikiproject Open is a collaboration with the School of Open.

wikiproject open.001

WikiProject Open is a community of new and experienced Wikipedians, dedicated to improving Wikipedia’s coverage of all things “open,” and to using openly licensed content to improve Wikipedia articles in general. In celebration of Open Access Week, we invite you to join us in improving two Wikipedia articles this week:

  • Open Access Week: We should have plenty of new news coverage to draw from in improving this article
  • Creative Commons license: Let’s make sure this central article is thorough and accurate; we will consider splitting off sub-articles, etc.

For those new to Wikipedia, you’ll find some tips to get you started on our “welcome” page.

Then, just get to work on the “Open Access Week” and “Creative Commons license” articles! Be sure to check each article’s talk page (you’ll find the tab in the upper left), because we’ll surely be discussing what needs to be improved and how we want to approach it as WikiProject Open’s Collaboration of the Week (COTW) gets underway.

Collaboration of the Week programs have been implemented by a number of wiki communities over the years. Academic studies have found them to be a highly effective way to keep people engaged and productive, in addition to building a sense of community. We hope you will join us as we launch this program, and help us improve Wikipedia’s coverage of important topics in the world of openness!

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Supporting Copyright Reform

Timothy Vollmer, October 16th, 2013

reform graphic

Today Creative Commons released a policy statement expressing its support for copyright reform efforts around the world.

Creative Commons (CC) has enabled a new approach to copyright licensing over the last ten years. CC licenses facilitate novel social, educational, technological, and business practices, and support productive relationships around networked knowledge and culture.

We are dedicated stewards of our licenses and tools, and we educate users, institutions, and policymakers about the positive benefits of adopting CC licenses. Our licenses will always provide voluntary options for creators who wish to share their material on more open terms than current copyright systems allow. But the CC vision—universal access to research and education and full participation in culture—will not be realized through licensing alone.

Around the world, numerous national governments are reviewing or revising their copyright law. Some proposed revisions would broaden the scope of uses of copyrighted works permitted without the rightsholder’s permission. In response, it has been suggested that the very success of CC licenses means that copyright reform is unnecessary—that the licenses solve any problems for users that might otherwise exist. This is certainly not the case. CC licenses are a patch, not a fix, for the problems of the copyright system. They apply only to works whose creators make a conscious decision to affirmatively license the right for the public to exercise exclusive rights that the law automatically grants to them. The success of open licensing demonstrates the benefits that sharing and remixing can bring to individuals and society as a whole. However, CC operates within the frame of copyright law, and as a practical matter, only a small fraction of copyrighted works will ever be covered by our licenses.

Our experience has reinforced our belief that to ensure the maximum benefits to both culture and the economy in this digital age, the scope and shape of copyright law need to be reviewed. However well-crafted a public licensing model may be, it can never fully achieve what a change in the law would do, which means that law reform remains a pressing topic. The public would benefit from more extensive rights to use the full body of human culture and knowledge for the public benefit. CC licenses are not a substitute for users’ rights, and CC supports ongoing efforts to reform copyright law to strengthen users’ rights and expand the public domain.

At its core, Creative Commons is rooted in the broader work to reform copyright. The founders of Creative Commons believed that copyright law was out of sync with how people share content on the Internet, and they developed the CC licenses as one way to address that problem. But we’d like to see copyright law itself better aligned to its original purpose–to enable and reward creative participation in culture and society.

From time to time, people in our community bring up the question of whether Creative Commons should be only a steward of the CC licenses, or also a steward of the broader participatory culture that the licenses are meant to promote.

Creative Commons affiliates, board, and staff have worked together over the past year to develop the policy statement above. The need for a statement like this became apparent at the 2012 Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest in Rio de Janeiro. Several CC affiliates attended, many who work on copyright reform initiatives alongside their CC outreach. In Rio, affiliates described the dual nature of their work, which they feel sometimes requires removing their “CC Affiliate hat” when involved with reform efforts. They argued that developing tools for sharing creative content and arguing that outdated copyright laws be changed to better support legal sharing were two different sides of the same coin. Affiliates asked for clarification of the organization’s policies on affiliates engaging directly in copyright law reform proposals.

Over the next several months, Creative Commons drafted a statement that re-emphasizes the many benefits that CC licenses bring to society. But it also acknowledges the limitations of CC and expresses the need for reform of the current copyright system. CC affiliates came together in Buenos Aires in August 2013 to discuss the position of Creative Commons in relation to copyright reform. Over 100 affiliates and supporters participated in a day-long pre-conference event. The policy position was drafted and reviewed by the board of directors, affiliates, and staff.

There are several reasons that we feel such a position is useful–and necessary. First, there have been several proposed laws (like SOPA/PIPA) and trade agreements (ACTA/TPP) that if enacted would be detrimental to user rights to access and use information. And, we’ve heard that in some policy discussions the success of CC as a voluntary licensing scheme is being used by incumbent interests as evidence that fundamental copyright reform is unnecessary. This is incorrect. As we wrote in March,

[The] existence of open copyright licenses shouldn’t be interpreted as a substitute for robust copyright reform. Quite the contrary. The decrease in transaction costs, increase in collaboration, and massive growth of the commons of legally reusable content spurred on by existence of public licenses should drastically reinforce the need for fundamental change, and not serve as a bandage for a broken copyright system.

The passage of increasingly harsh copyright regulations has the potential to render CC licenses and tools ineffective. The aim of these laws are counter to CC’s mission and vision. Second, it’s clear there are some areas of copyright where open licensing won’t solve the problem. One example is increasing access to copyrighted works for the visually impaired. Paul Keller explains this well:

Take the WIPO treaty for the visually impaired: There had to be a treaty because a voluntary or market driven solution to end the book famine for visually impaired people in the developing world did not emerge even though the problem had been known for a long time. Quite clearly the problem cannot not be solved by encouraging publishers to license their works openly and, instead, it required a tailored legislative approach that builds on new limitation and exemptions that address this specific issue.

Third, many CC affiliates are already deeply embedded in copyright reform activities as a part of their broader legal, policy, and digital rights advocacy work. It makes sense for those affiliates engaged in reform efforts to be able to speak and engage wearing their “CC Affiliate hat,” instead of trying to maintain the ambiguous and sometimes arbitrary separation between their “CC work” and the work they do supporting user rights and the public interest.

While we think this policy statement is noncontroversial, we must proceed with care. Historically, our organization has not been heavily involved in copyright reform efforts. Instead, we’ve been focused on the development and stewardship of the licenses and public domain tools. And this will certainly continue to be the case. Direct advocacy supporting more fundamental copyright reform has taken a backseat, for several reasons. First, we recognize and appreciate the value of neutrality, and acting as a responsible and impartial steward of our licenses, no matter who wishes to use them. Making our tools the best they can be and educating about how to use them are our core tasks. Second, as a U.S. based 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, we are constrained in our ability to engage in lobbying activities. Any lobbying conducted by CC headquarters staff will continue to be carefully tracked and reported. And lobbying by CC Affiliates will continue to be on behalf of the jurisdiction team in accordance with our MOU and established guidelines. Finally, there are groups that are well-positioned for advocacy activities, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Open Rights Group, Open Knowledge Foundation, and La Quadrature du Net. We support and promote the crucial, timely work of these and other groups.

We reaffirm that the mission of Creative Commons will sometimes call for our involvement in reform efforts. At the Creative Commons Global Summit in Buenos Aires, Lawrence Lessig gave a talk entitled, “Laws that Choke Creativity”. Lessig said he supports the fundamental freedom to remix. “We need to share more, and share more legally,” he said. “But in order to do so, the law must change.” He said that Creative Commons is not the complete solution. “We need real change in real law if these freedoms are to be secured.”

File Repair icon by iconoci, from The Noun Project. CC BY.

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