Creative Commons, a globally-focused nonprofit that provides legal and technological tools for sharing and collaboration, welcomed eight new members to its board of directors today. It also announced a new advisory council to complement the board and provide input and feedback to CC leadership. Several alumni of the CC board will be transitioning to the advisory council. CC co-founder Lawrence Lessig will lead the advisory council and transition to emeritus status on the board.
The announcement comes on the anniversary of the first Creative Commons licenses, which were launched in 2002. Since then, thousands of creators around the world have used Creative Commons licenses, amassing a selection of over half a billion CC-licensed works, spanning the worlds of education, art, academia, data, science, and much more.
“With the continuity of current board members and a fresh outlook brought by the new members, Creative Commons is well prepared to engage with a very different environment from the time of its founding,” board chair Paul Brest said. “The board includes some of the world’s foremost experts in technology, intellectual property law, the internet, and business and social entrepreneurship. It’s appropriate that we’re announcing the new board on December 16, the date when it all began eleven years ago.”
The new board members reflect the broad diversity of the global Creative Commons community. Four of the new board members — Renata Avila (Guatemala), Dorothy Gordon (Ghana), Paul Keller (Netherlands), and Jongsoo Yoon (South Korea) — are Creative Commons affiliates, experts who represent Creative Commons around the world and localize CC licenses and other materials for their jurisdictions.
Creative Commons also gained board members with substantial experience in technology and product development, like Ben Adida, a director of engineering at Square who previously served as CC’s first technology lead; and Christopher Thorne, a veteran technology entrepreneur and private equity investor. The new members also bring additional legal acumen to the organization, including Microsoft intellectual property counsel Thomas C. Rubin and New York University Law School professor Chris Sprigman. Together, these individuals will augment Creative Commons’ existing capacity in technology and intellectual property law.
Creative Commons CEO Cathy Casserly will be leaving her role as CEO in early 2014, but will continue to serve on the newly formed advisory council. “While my role in the organization will be changing, I’m proud to continue to serve the CC community alongside this diverse and talented group of leaders,” Casserly said. “Through our collective efforts, we will continue to work toward our vision of a truly collaborative, free internet.”Comments Off
On this date in 2002, we launched the first Creative Commons license suite. But it’s what happened next that matters.
Thousands of creators started using CC licenses to share their works, everything from film to educational resources to science research. And sometime between then and now, the world changed a little.
Musicians started thinking less about piracy and more about how they could benefit from fans sharing their music. Entrepreneurs developed business models based on open licenses, proving that you can share your work without sacrificing profit.
And there’s something else. People began to demand open. We started expecting it from our governments, our universities, and our employers. Legally, All Rights Reserved is still the default, but today, it’s a choice. Today, people notice when those in power choose closed.
Let’s not delay the obvious any longer: we’re writing to ask for money. As you’re considering which charities to support this year, please take a moment to reflect on what we’ve built together over the past 11 years.
When you use a Creative Commons license, you fuel a movement for open that spans every country on earth. A CC license badge isn’t just a legal tool; it’s a symbol for the better world that we can make together. Thank you for joining Team Open.
Please make a donation to Creative Commons at whatever level you can afford. We have some t-shirts and other gifts for donors, but more importantly, we promise to use every cent to fight harder than ever for open.
Year 12 starts now.Comments Off
If you’re not familiar with ccMixter, you should be. It’s an amazing community for downloading and sharing CC-licensed, remixable music and samples.
ccMixter has released two albums of holiday music this year; you can buy them or receive them for free for becoming a ccMixter supporter.
Season of Gratitude was first conceived last November, when the ccMixter all-volunteer admin team organized its annual Holiday Remix Event called Gift of Song. The community created original holiday-themed samples, a capellas, songs, and remixes. True to all ccMixter uploads, each original sound was released with Creative Commons licenses which inspire collective creativity and allow everyone to enjoy the resulting songs for free. The Season of Gratitude double album is a curation of the remixes that transpired from the event, re-mastered by ccMixter artist Copperhead, for optimum sound quality.
“I love participating in the annual holiday remix event on ccMixter,” shares Kara Square, contributing Season of Gratitude artist. “The atmosphere on the site is extra warm and open-minded. As we contribute, we learn about each other’s beliefs and celebrate our diversity through the music we invent.”
Other holiday goodies:2 Comments »
For how popular they are worldwide, it’s striking how rarely CC licenses’ validity has been questioned in court. We consider that a testament to the care with which we craft the licenses: we try to find every possible area of contention or ambiguity before we launch the licenses. To our knowledge, no court in any country has ever found a CC license invalid.
An out-of-court settlement yesterday affirmed what most people reading this blog already knew: you are free to use Creative Commons–licensed content under the terms of the license without fear of infringing the licensor’s copyright, even if the licensor changes her mind later.
The complicated case involved CrunchBase, a CC BY database of names and companies in the tech space, operated by TechCrunch. A startup company called Pro Populi built an app using CrunchBase data with attribution. CrunchBase questioned the legality of Pro Populi using its data in that way, pointing to a clause in its own terms-of-service agreement reserving the right to “continually review and evaluate all uses of the API, including those that appear more competitive than complementary in nature.”
When the story hit last month, Wired’s David Kravets interviewed CC’s Diane Peters. She reiterated the non-revocable nature of the licenses, saying, “As a matter of copyright, once you have it, you have it, and can do what you want with it.”
The case has now been dropped, but more importantly, CrunchBase has now revised its own terms-of-service agreement to remove any contradiction with the CC license, thanks in no small part to our friends at the Electronic Freedom Foundation:
“Offering content under the most permissive CC license while claiming the right to shut down uses they didn’t like was a bit misleading,” said EFF Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz. “CrunchBase’s new terms of service are clearer and more in line with the best practices of the open content community. The new terms should allow developers to re-use and build on the CrunchBase dataset with greater confidence.”
“We are grateful to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for playing an instrumental role in updating the CrunchBase Terms of Service,” said CrunchBase President Matt Kaufman. “At their suggestion, we adopted Creative Commons 4.0 and open content best practices. These updates provide more clarity to our community and provide a stronger foundation from which to build and extend the CrunchBase dataset.”
This post originally appears on the Communia Association blog. Creative Commons is a founding member and active participant in Communia.
Last week Thursday the European Commission launched its much anticipated public consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules. This consultation is the first visible sign of the second track of the Commission’s attempt to modernise the EU rules (the first track consisted of the rather unsuccessful Licenses for Europe stakeholder dialogue). In the words of the Commission the focus of the consultation is on:
… ensuring that the EU copyright regulatory framework stays fit for purpose in the digital environment to support creation and innovation, tap the full potential of the Single Market, foster growth and investment in our economy and promote cultural diversity.
With regards to the contents of the consultation, a first reading reveals a mixed bag of questions, with a surprising amount of them actually touching on issues that are closely related to our own policy recommendations. The consultation comes in the form of a 37 page document with a grand total of 80 questions that cover everything from the functioning of the single market for copyrighted works, linking and browsing, copyright term duration, registration of copyrighted works and exceptions and limitations for cultural heritage institutions, education, research, persons with disabilities and “user generated content”. In addition, there are questions about private copying and levies, the fair remuneration of authors and performers, respect for rights, and even the possibility of a single EU copyright title. Finally there is an open question for everything else that stakeholders might want to tell the Commission.
The deadline for providing answers to all of these questions is the 5th of February, which if one takes into account the upcoming holiday period is rather short. Read More…Comments Off
The following is a guest post by Jessica Smith, National Copyright Officer for the National Copyright Unit of Australia. She ran the Copyright 4 Educators (AUS) course with Delia Browne as part of the School of Open’s second round of facilitated courses in 2013.
The School of Open is a community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, research, and more. Volunteers develop and run online courses, offline workshops, and real world training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works.
The National Copyright Unit (NCU) of Australia ran its second cycle of the School of Open’s Copyright 4 Educators (AUS) course in August. The course ran for seven weeks, with a two-week introduction period and five weeks of substantive group work. We took on 60 learners, with enrollments filling up in less than two days, plus a wait list of around 15 people. At the end of the course, we only had 3 drop-outs, a 95% retention rate!
On top of those stellar results, we also had very happy learners as well as great results in terms of the uptake and understanding of the information. We have an ongoing wait list for the course as well as teachers and librarians continuously enquiring about the course. We’re also in the process of obtaining accreditation for the course through larger teacher organizations so that it can be used to fulfill specific professional learning requirements of Australian educators.
We believe our course has succeeded for three reasons:
- We made it easy for the students to participate.
- The course was associated with the NCU, an official government division.
- We assigned small groups based on commonalities, such as profession and field.
1. Make it easy for the students to participate
Making it easy for students is of utmost importance in an online environment, especially if the course is targeted to people who may not be familiar with online learning. We know this may sound obvious, but it’s so important that it’s definitely worth mentioning and expounding on. If you don’t nail this, you’re not going to retain your students.
So how do you make it easy for the students? Have everything (eg, communication tools and assignment submission entrypoints) set up for them and support them to the nth degree. What this means: you have to put the time in before the course starts and you, as the course facilitator/organizer, must be very comfortable with the course layout and tools in order to be able to give ample support as well as troubleshoot when issues arise.
Tutorials for Tools
For our course, we had heaps of information on our P2PU course site (outlining essentially everything they’d need to get through the course), but we also created tutorials and sent out additional information through email on all the essential parts of the course (ie. using the discussion tool Disqus, submitting group assignments, leaving peer review, etc). We really wanted the students to feel supported and to answer questions and issues BEFORE they arose. It’s too easy to drop out of an online course, so we wanted to preemptively take care of as many issues as possible. We had one student state they were “very nervous and uncomfortable” to take an online course who later reported how great the course was set up and how easy it was in terms of knowing what to do and how to do it. It’s key students feel like this from the start of the course, or they won’t stick with it.
Tools we used
We used Google docs for our course. We had every group’s Google doc set up for every single week, and we linked to the docs from both the course on P2PU as well as in emails that we sent out every week. The weekly emails make it very clear what was expected of our learners as well as where to go to complete their tasks. See an example below:
We also sent out individual group chase-ups the Monday following a Sunday due date as well as a chase-up Wednesday following the peer review due date. See below for an example of this:
Its also very important to understand that the first two to three weeks are a bit rough for learners – they’re confused and they have lots of questions and issues. We received anywhere from 15 to 30 emails a week and at least five calls, asking general questions about the course, the platform, google docs, etc. We nearly always responded to these on the same day and offered as much support as needed. A quick response to a simple question can be the deciding factor between a learner getting frustrated and dropping out or being satisfied and feeling supported and staying in the course.
This initial confusion is also why we went with a two-week introduction period, and we think this really helps with the retention rate. It gave the learners a chance to ask questions, sort out their issues and concerns and get comfortable with the course, the platform, the collaboration tools, and their groups.
2. Associate a course with a known, respected entity
Our course was associated with the NCU of Australia, which is very well known and respected. We deal with teachers on a daily basis, and most of our NCU affiliated teachers/librarians were the first to sign up for the course and have been our biggest supporters and promoters.
In addition to past participants spreading the word, we promoted the course through our school connections in Australia – through teachers whom we’ve given advice, the Copyright Advisory Group (each State/Territory in Australia as well as each sector has a representative), teacher organizations, and our website (http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/) which is the official guide to copyright issues for Australian Schools and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions. Once we did our initial promotional blitz, the promotion largely took off on its own, making its way onto numerous listservs and teacher associations that we didn’t previously know existed.
So the association helped with the initial promotion of the course, but we also believe the reputation of the NCU encouraged teachers to sign up for the course: it made teachers feel more comfortable asking questions/contacting us, it decreased the numbers of dropouts, and we also found that many employers, such as school deans, required their teaching staff to take the course.
Incorporating the course into NCU’s daily workload also allowed us to quickly and effectively respond to questions/issues with the course.
3. Arrange groups to encourage conversation and cohesiveness
In the first week of the course, we only asked our learners to fill out a questionnaire and have a look around the course. With the information from the questionnaire, we created 15 groups of four. We also took group requests, which frequently came from teachers at the same school. If groups were not requested, we arranged groups based on school location, level and sector to encourage conversation and commonality between group members. In the second week of the course, we only asked our students to meet their group and to decide on how their group would collaborate. Group members got to know each other and supported each other over the course of the seven weeks, and we think this group cohesiveness really encouraged group members to stay committed to the group and the course (as well as have more fun!).
As an example, we had one student who was going to drop out because she needed to have surgery in the third week of the course, and she would be unable to type for a week or two. She consulted us, and we told her to first discuss the problem with her group to see if they could work something out. She did this, and they became somewhat of a support group for her and they worked out that she would lead discussion in the weeks leading up to her surgery (which they mainly did via email) and then the weeks she couldn’t type she participated via a weekly Skype session with her group.
We’ve also been told by a number of groups that they all plan to keep in touch with each other to discuss any copyright questions and what’s going on in their classrooms/schools.
Overall, we believe the course was very successful. Not only because of the retention rate but also because people enjoyed it! They’re telling others about the course, they learnt the information, and if they ever have any questions or issues they now know where to find the information.Comments Off
We’re pleased to announce a new suite of Creative Commons licenses specifically designed for intergovernmental organizations (IGOs). IGOs produce a wide array of valuable information and content, ranging from scholarly and scientific papers to environmental data. Just like other creators who seek wide dissemination of their works to achieve maximal impact, IGOs benefit from using CC’s well understood and widely adopted licenses.
Since the 2011 CC Global Summit in Warsaw, and in tandem with our 4.0 license development process, we’ve been working closely with IGOs to understand and find acceptable ways to address their unique needs in our licenses. The process mirrored the porting process used for the 3.0 licenses, which addresses specific needs of jurisdictions. Additionally, we have been working closely on adoption opportunities so that the valuable content IGOs produce can be reused around the globe under our standard licenses. For example, the World Bank leverages CC’s licenses as part of its impressive open access policy, and Commonwealth of Learning has adopted an OER policy under which it will release its own materials using CC licenses.
CC and IGO working group participants announced the results of this effort today. From the press release:
“The more that everyone can access and use the important work of IGOs, the more impactful they are,” Creative Commons co-founder Lawrence Lessig said. “By publishing their information and data under Creative Commons licenses, these organizations are giving anyone on the planet the right to read and share those materials.”
Congratulations to everyone! We look forward to seeing more and more IGOs joining the commons.1 Comment »
Our friends at Musikpiraten e.V. just let us know that the Free! Music! Sampler is now shipping. You might remember this year’s Free! Music! Contest. The winners have been chosen, and the heavily exclamatory compilation album looks gorgeous. You can listen to all the tracks and download the album from Musikpiraten’s Bandcamp page.Comments Off
If you’re scurrying for gifts this year, consider giving open. We’ve put together this list of a few of our favorite openly licensed gifts. What did we miss? Add your favorites to the comments.
Not only is Sita a great film, but it has some of the most unique and beautiful merchandise ever. I’ve actually always thought this was the success of her business model – having things people actually want to buy. I’ve always been particularly fond of the peacock phonograph pendant. Review by Jessica Coates
The first collection of the best geek comic out there. There’s something for everyone in this volume, whether they’re a lover, a gamer or a mathematician. There’s even something for us copyright geeks, with the complete adventures of Doctorow, Lessig, et al in their complete superhero garb. Review by Jessica Coates
Open Design Now is been one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve read this year on openness. It’s available for free online under a Creative Commons license or available for purchase as a hard copy. Highly recommended read for anyone interested in the intersection of open design and physical objects. Review by Paul Stacey
Yup, it’s a rocking stool. It’s such an elegant innovation in design that once you see it, you wonder why it took so long for someone to think of it. If you have access to a CNC machine, you can download the CC-licensed design and build your own. Assmbly will make one for you, and even carve your logo on the seat, but order now: there’s a waiting list. Review by Elliot Harmon
One of the best card games out there, perfect for long nights with good friends and a bottle of whisky. Like Apples for Apples, but far more surreal and less suitable for children. Download the whole thing from their website and spend hours turning it into a neat game; or just shell out $25 and get the pretty one to begin with. Also available in Spanish, Dutch, pirate and many other languages thanks to its CC license and fan translations. Review by Jessica Coates
The Phylo trading card game is a CC licensed online initiative aimed at creating a Pokemon-like resource but using photos of real animals and plants as a means of helping children learn about biodiversity. Review by Paul Stacey
Sticking with cards, I also really like the Group Works pattern cards. These are really useful for anyone who plans meetings, conferences, retreats, and other group sessions. If you are a facilitator, these cards help you plan and create meaningful events. You can download the free, CC-licensed deck or purchase one. Review by Paul Stacey
Dead Unicorn makes melodic pop-punk music that’s surprisingly fun, given their fixation on writing songs about disease. They’re also the guys behind my favorite “about CC” video ever. Earlier this year, the band Kickstarted Pandemic and printed a limited run on colored vinyl (they identify the color as “piss yellow.”) Give it to your weird nephew who thinks you aren’t cool. Review by Elliot Harmon
If you’re not already following The Public Domain Review (a project of our friends at The Open Knowledge Foundation), you should be. Every day, they post a new find from the endless supply of public domain treasures and oddities. This year, the PDR launched a store full of public domain goodies to help raise money. My favorite is the print of an 1887 woodcut designed to teach Japanese children English words. Review by Elliot Harmon
Of course we had to sneak ourselves onto this list. We worked with the webcartoonist Luke Surl on the drawings for our Team Open interview project. We think he perfectly captured the spirit of the subjects we interviewed. Everyone who donates $25 (USD) or more to CC gets their own complete set of trading cards.4 Comments »
Billy Meinke with our 92 donors. Are you number 93?
We have a lot to celebrate together this year. Last week, we unveiled Version 4.0 of the Creative Commons license suite, an accomplishment that reflects two years of work by literally hundreds of people.
More than any CC license before, Version 4.0 reflects the power of the CC movement. It was built upon the expertise of our amazing global community, a community that you join when you license or use content under CC licenses. We’re glad to be on your team.
If you’re proud of what we’ve accomplished together, consider making a donation to support CC’s work in 2014.Comments Off