Commons News

European Commission launches “Opening Up Education” initiative

Timothy Vollmer, September 25th, 2013

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes and Commission Member Androulla Vassiliou today announced Opening Up Education, an initiative that looks to increase the use of digital technologies for learning and spur the development of Open Educational Resources and policies across the European Union.

The Opening Up Education communication (PDF) indicates a strong support for Open Educational Resources. On the subject of OER, the Commission will:

  • Ensure that all educational materials supported by Erasmus+ are available to the public under open licenses and promote similar practices under EU programmes;
  • Use the new programmes Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 to encourage partnerships between creators of educational content (e.g. teachers, publishers, ICT companies), to increase the supply of quality OER and other digital educational materials in different languages, to develop new business models and to develop technical solutions which provide
    transparent information on copyrights and open licenses to users of digital educational resources;
  • Launch with this Communication the Open Education Europa portal linking it to existing OER repositories in different languages and bringing learners, teachers and researchers together, so to improve the attractiveness and visibility of quality OERs produced in the EU.

The communication also urged Member States and education institutions to:

  • Stimulate open access policies for publicly-funded educational materials;
  • Encourage formal education and training institutions to include digital content, including OERs, among the recommended educational materials for learners at all educational levels and encourage the production, including through public procurement, of high-quality educational materials whose copyrights would belong to public authorities.

portal small

Kroes and Vassiliou also introduced Open Education Europa, a portal for high quality OER available in a variety of languages. The default licensing for the resources in the portal is CC BY.

The communication document defined OER as “learning resources that are usable, adaptable to specific learning needs, and shareable freely.” We think that it would be better for the Commission to adopt the longstanding and well-understood OER definition promoted by the Hewlett Foundation, which defines OER as “teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.”

Creative Commons provided feedback last year when the Commission was gathering information from stakeholders on how to proceed around the issues of ICT and OER. Congratulations to the EC on what looks like a promising initiative that will increase access to and reuse of open educational resources and technologies for a wide range of learners in Europe.

Comments Off

Catherine Casserly to step down as Creative Commons CEO

Elliot Harmon, September 25th, 2013

Download the press release. (63 KB PDF)

Mountain View, CA, September 25, 2013: Catherine Casserly announced that she will transition out of her role as CEO of Creative Commons in early 2014. Creative Commons, a Silicon Valley nonprofit that provides legal and technological tools for sharing and collaboration, was launched in 2002. Casserly became the organization’s first full-time CEO in 2011 after serving on the board of directors. Casserly helped to secure the organization’s considerable gains from its first decade and to lay a foundation for its second. She worked with the board and staff to integrate and grow existing programs, increase public impact, articulate key priorities and outcomes, and strengthen core operations.

One of Casserly’s significant accomplishments was Creative Commons’ role in the development of open education policies, both in the United States and around the world. In 2012 alone, the governments of Poland and California passed major legislation in support of open educational resources (OER) and others, like British Columbia, provided major public funding for OER. Similarly, the US Department of Labor is currently awarding $2 billion in grants for OER development through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.

In an email to Creative Commons’ global network of volunteers, Casserly expressed pride in three years of growth as a movement and optimism about the possibilities for the organization’s new leadership. “Together, we’ve grown our community and movement tremendously — both in size and in our ability to impact the world. For me and for the organization, the three-year mark is the right time to usher in a new generation of leadership.”

Creative Commons board chair Paul Brest noted that Cathy’s tenure as CEO has brought major changes to the organization. “The focus that we’ve seen over the past three years is remarkable, and what’s even more impressive is the clarity of mission and priorities that Cathy has brought to the organization. Under her leadership, the growth in the use of CC licenses generally, in the field of OER, and particularly in government-adopted OER mandates, has brought us substantially closer to our vision — universal access to knowledge and culture — than ever before.”

Casserly agreed, and predicted that the next CEO will play a major role in scaling Creative Commons’ achievements. “We’re currently developing products and tools with the potential to transform how sharing and collaboration work on the internet. Realizing that potential will require a CEO who deeply understands both our mission and the broader technology landscape.” The Creative Commons Board of Directors plans to formally begin the search for a new CEO in October.

Edited October 2: Previous version incorrectly listed British Columbia as a government that had passed OER legislation. Read this article for information on British Columbia’s support for OER.

1 Comment »

Public Access to Publicly Funded Materials: What Could Be

Billy Meinke, September 25th, 2013

This blog post was written by Teresa Sempere García, CC’s Community Support Intern June-August, 2013. The cycle graphics below were designed by Timothy Vollmer and Teresa Sempere García.

The current system for public access to research articles and educational materials is broken: ownership is often unclear, and the reuse of knowledge is limited by policies that do not maximize the impact of public funding. The following graphics will try to simplify and compare two alternative funding cycles for research publications and educational resources that emphasize the positive impacts of open policies on publicly-funded grants. More information and links to a current directory of current and proposed OER open policies can be found in the OER Policy Registry on the Creative Commons Wiki.

Cycles for Research Articles

The existing system for producing and distributing publicly funded research articles is expensive and doesn’t take advantage of the possibilities of innovations like open licensing. Without a free-flowing system, access to the results of scientific research is limited to institutions that are able to commit to hefty journal subscriptions — paid for year after year — which don’t allow for broad redistribution, or repurposing for activities such as text and data mining without additional permissions from the rightsholder. This closed system limits the impact on the scientific and scholarly community and progress is slowed significantly.

A Closed Research Model

closed funding cycle for research

When funding cycles for research include open license requirements for publications, increased access and opportunities for reuse extends the value of research funding. As an example, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy requires the published results of all NIH-funded research to be deposited in PubMed Central’s repository, the peer-reviewed manuscript immediately, and the final journal article within twelve months of publication. Similarly, the recent directive issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy mandates that federal agencies with more than $100 million in research expenditures must make the results of their research publicly available within one year of publication, and better manage the resultant data supporting their results. These policies utilize aspects of the optimized cycle below, and are a step in the right direction for making better use of public funding for research articles.

An Open Research Model

optimised funding cycle for research

Cycles for Educational Resources

The incumbent system for developing and sharing publicly funded educational resources doesn’t guarantee materials are accessible and reusable by the public that paid for their creation.

A Closed Education Model

closed funding cycle for educational resources

If policies are put in place that mandate open licenses on publicly funded educational resources, knowledge can flow more freely because the public is clear about how they may reuse educational content, and the funders can realize a more impactful return on their investments. An example of better use of public funding for the production of educational resources, the US DOL TAACCCT Program mandates that all content created or modified using grant funds are openly-licensed (CC BY) and deposited in a public repository upon completion of the project. Being conducted in four waves, the TAACCCT program is making better use of a large (US$2 billion) investment of US taxpayer money by ensuring the public will have access the educational resources created during the four-year term, and is able to reuse and adapt them beyond what automatic copyright allows. The following graphic demonstrates an open funding model, with licensing and access recommendations to remove barriers to sharing and help speed access and reuse of publicly funded educational content.

An Open Education Model

optimised funding cycle for educational resources

Summary

Open policy — specifically, the idea that publicly funded materials should be openly licensed materials — is a sensible solution that ensures the public’s right to reuse the materials it paid for, and improves the efficiency of government grant funding. Open licensing is a sensible requirement for publicly funded grant programs.

6 Comments »

Join School of Open, OKFN, and FLOSS for an evening in London

Jane Park, September 25th, 2013

Join us for a fun evening event on 24 October in London! The School of Open community along with members of the Open Knowledge Foundation and FLOSS Manuals Foundation is holding a meetup at the Large Common Room in the William Goodenough House (yes, that’s a real name!). Details at the Eventbrite and below.

Sport (?) 1911 (LOC)
Sport (?) 1911 (LOC) / Bain News Service,, publisher / No known copyright restrictions

Hit the Road Map: A Human Timeline of the Open Education Space

Join the School of Open (Creative Commons & P2PU), the Open Knowledge Foundation, and FLOSS Manuals Foundation for a fun evening to connect with your peers in the open education space! So many efforts exist to “open” up education around the world. How can we help connect these efforts? We’d like to start by collaboratively building a human timeline of open education — Do you remember when and where you first became aware of open education? When did you first become passionate about “open” or participate in an “open” event or job? Where and what was it? What else in this area has most inspired you? We will share experiences and manually place ourselves along a real world timeline (think rolls of butcher paper, markers, glitter is optional). Then we’ll start fleshing out the timeline with key events and persons that we think brought the open education and knowledge movement to where it is today. We’ll stop whenever we get tired, make merry with refreshments and snacks, and digitize whatever we have by the end of the evening for further contributions from everyone and anyone on the web. We’ll make the resulting timeline available openly (either via CC0, CC BY, or CC BY-SA), and feature it in a chapter of the Open Education Handbook!

Due to the awesome, but limited space, this event will be first come, first serve, capping registrations at 30 participants. Please update your registration if you cannot make it to make room for those on the waiting list!

Comments Off

Happy Software Freedom Day!

Elliot Harmon, September 21st, 2013

It’s Software Freedom Day! All over the world today, hackers, designers, and free software enthusiasts are participating in meetups, hackathons, cultural events, and more. Check out the map to find out if there’s an event near you.

Comments Off

Cathy in Index on Censorship Dialogue with Philip Pullman

Elliot Harmon, September 18th, 2013

Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman / Adrian Hon / CC BY-SA

Catherine Casserly

Catherine Casserly / Joi Ito / CC BY

The Index on Censorship just published a dialogue on the future of copyright between Creative Commons CEO Cathy Casserly and British writer and Society of Authors president Philip Pullman. Pullman writes that internet piracy has made it harder for creators to make money:

It is outrageous that anyone can steal an artist’s else’s work and get away with it. It is theft, as surely as reaching into someone’s pocket and taking their wallet is theft. Writers and musicians work in poverty and obscurity for years in order to bring their work to a pitch of skill and imaginative depth that gives delight to their audiences, and as soon as they achieve that, the possibility of making a living from it is taken away from them. There are some who are lucky enough to do well despite the theft and the piracy that goes on all around them; there are many more who are not. The principle is simple, and unaltered by technology, science, or magic: if we want to enjoy the work that someone does, we should pay for it.

Cathy argues that Internet distribution – and even creators allowing others to reuse their work under an open license – has had a transformative effect on artists’ careers.

Copyright was created in an analog age. By default, copyright closes the door on countless ways that people can share, build upon, and remix each other’s work, possibilities that were unimaginable when those laws were established. For [science fiction author Cory Doctorow] and artists like him, people sharing and creatively reusing their work literally translates into new fans and new revenue streams. That’s the problem with the all-or-nothing approach to copyright. The All Rights Reserved default doesn’t just restrict the kinds of reuse that eat into your sales; it also restricts the kinds of reuse that can help you build a following in the first place.

Read the full article.

1 Comment »

New CC Kenya Hosts CC Salon in Sub-Sahara Africa

Jessica Coates, September 16th, 2013

Mt. Kenya
Mt. Kenya / Chris 73 / CC BY-SA

Guest post by Elizabeth Kiragu Wanjugu and Tobias Schonwetter

As we were busy getting ready for our community Global Summit a few weeks ago, we nearly missed the announcement of another very important addition to that community – our new CC Kenya affiliate.

Our new Kenyan team is based around two Nairobi-based affiliate institutions: Strathmore University‘s Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) and the National Council for Law Reports (NCLR). CIPIT – led by Dr. Isaac Rutenberg – is Kenya’s Public Lead, while the NCLR – led by Michael Murungi – serves as CC Kenya’s Legal Lead institution.

CC Kenya Logo

The Kenyan team is supported by a large existing CC community in the country, which has been active for quite some time. Unsurprisingly, therefore, a number of projects and activities are already under way. The NCLR’s Kenya Law Report already uses CC’s Public Domain Mark for its content, the team has been a major contributor to bringing the School of Open to the region, and there is an exciting initiative to translate some of CC’s licence tools into Kiswahili. According to the new team, Kenya’s thriving cultural industry requires access to shareable resources that facilitate remixing, and CC Kenya also strives to support newly realisable democratic freedoms by enabling widespread access to knowledge and information. CC Kenya makes East Africa now one of the most active regions for CC in Africa with affiliate teams in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

One of the first major activities of the new team, even before they had formally launched, was Kenya’s inaugural Creative Commons Salon. Held on 6 June, 2013 at Nairobi’s iHub and themed, “using technology as a democratizing tool, especially one that will level the playing field for education and opportunity in Kenya,” the event drew approximately 50 participants from different backgrounds.

Organised by Akili Dada in partnership with newly established team, the Center for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) and Jamlab.

Akili Dada is a leadership incubator investing in high-achieving young African women from underprivileged backgrounds who are passionate about social change. CIPIT is CC Kenya’s Public Lead while Jamlab drives the School of Open in Kenya.

In her opening remarks Allison Domicone, Akili Dada’s Director of Development (and who incidentally ran CC Salons from late 2008 through early 2011 and helped grow them significantly while working with Creative Commons in San Francisco, California) welcomed the attendees then asked Alex Gakuru, Creative Commons Africa Regional Coordinator, to say a few words.

Expressing optimism for continued growth, Alex reflected on the positive reception thus far accorded to Creative Commons in Kenya and across Africa.

The panelists comprised Michael Muringi, CEO/Editor National Council for Law Reports; CC Kenya Legal Lead, Judith Owigar, President of Akirachix; Paul Kihwelo, Public Lead of Creative Commons Tanzania; and Simeon Oriko, Co-Founder of Jamlab. Akili Dada founder Wanjiru Kamau Rutenberg moderated the session.

Discussions on how technology can be harnessed as democratizing tool delved into how it can be made more accessible to all people with a special attention to girls and women given local statistics that they constitute only 15 percent of a technology field dominated by men. Discussion around access was extended to include access to online resources, empowering instruments and digital tools such as the mobile phone.

Discussants established among major barriers to access included: Inequitable financial access; Lack of knowledge; Absent or unpredictable electricity; Resultant societal stereotyping; to name but just a few. Probing, “What exactly is a level playing field?” was asked at the question session, with panelists responding as follows:

Jamlab – “A level playing field enables a person to achieve goals that s/he has set for own self.”

Creative Commons Tanzania – “A level playing field is where a person can have a balance between retaining ownership and encouraging open access to shared creative works.”

National Council for Law Reporting – “A level playing field is where any citizen gains access to justice without having to relying on costly representation through legal intermediaries.”

Akirachix – “A level playing field is where information is provided to enable girls to make informed career choices.”

Noted challenges included socialization in technology that favoured men over women, parents preferring to take the girl child to secretarial colleges to study languages and at best computer packages rather than encouraging them to venture into computer programming/coding and website development.

“Fortunately, the challenge is slowly being conquered by educating parents on importance of technology to the economy,” said Judith Owigar.

In Tanzania, librarians are championing the cause of Open Educational Resources (OER) due to their background and understanding of the importance of equitable access to knowledge.

Thereafter, the moderator invited audience participation with a reaction that children between 3 and 7 years were most impressionable urging stakeholders to focus their girlhood education and empowerment efforts on that age group.

Responding, Simeon Oriko said at that age the children were best under their parents care learning everything from parents. Jamlab chose to target high school students where youth peer influence, including what they see on social media, have the most impact on their adult character.

Professor Suki Mwendwa cautioned that technology, per se, should not be viewed as the solution to all access problems:

“Reading should be encouraged and technology used as a tool to increase access to knowledge. Technology having a seductive nature should also be regulated at home so that the children can be well rounded.”

The event ended with the moderator narrating inspiring stories of successful women providing role models for the younger generation — and encouraging others to do the same. She called upon more women to step forward to rally behind a solid community of mentors to change the world as we know it today.

It was a very informative interaction and well acknowledged. The audience later engaged and networked while enjoying the refreshments and food courtesy of NCLR sponsorship.

I thank Akili Dada, Creative Commons, Akirachix and Jamlab for taking the time to collect and relay information on matters of access and also women in technology. We look forward to the next CC Salon, perhaps in Tanzania, considering that CC Tanzania expressed their interest in replicating the event back home.

Correction: The original article incorrectly listed Kenya’s Salon as the first CC Salon held in Sub-Sahara Africa. The first was actually held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August 2006.

1 Comment »

10 great moments from #ccsum

Elliot Harmon, September 14th, 2013

In case you missed it, be sure to read Jessica’s recap from the Creative Commons Global Summit a few weeks ago in Buenos Aires. One of the most fun parts of an event like this is watching the ongoing commentary on Twitter and the stream of photos on Flickr. Below, we’ve compiled ten of our favorite tweets from the summit.

Find much more at the summit homepage.

1 Comment »

Welcoming David Wiley, CC’s new Education Fellow

Cable Green, September 13th, 2013


In the McKay School of Education / Mark A. Philbrick / CC BY

David Wiley, longtime open education leader, has joined Creative Commons as a CC Education Fellow. Welcome David!

David is also currently a Shuttleworth Fellow, on leave from Brigham Young University, and leading Lumen Learning, an organization dedicated to supporting and improving the adoption of open educational resources (OER) by middle schools, high schools, community and state colleges, and universities.

David will be promoting Creative Commons and its interests in open education activities and meetings and will:

  • visit institutions of secondary and post-secondary education promoting OER and CC licenses;
  • continue to share his “Intro to Openness in Education” course with the School of Open;
  • actively participate in the Open Policy Network; and
  • create, CC license, and publish primers on OER and open textbook adoption at the secondary level and post-secondary level.

To start, David addresses the problems with the “open” washing that is occurring with more frequency in education as OER gains popularity, over at his blog. Welcome David!

Comments Off

4.0 draft 4 ready for comment — final consultation before publication

Diane Peters, September 12th, 2013

We are delighted to finally publish the fourth and final draft of the 4.0 license suite for public comment. We are publishing draft 4 of BY-NC-SA today, and will publish the other five licenses over the course of the next few days.

The prior public comment period – lengthy as it was – netted important input from the community, stakeholders, and our affiliate community. It was also the signal for CC to pause and consider one final time what more we might do to make the license suite as long-lasting, international, and easy to use as possible. We have introduced changes in this draft that we feel accomplish these goals more completely. A few highlights follow – read more on our 4.0 wiki.

ShareAlike – In discussions with our community (including our affiliate network), it has become evident that there exist several different understandings about how ShareAlike operates — in particular, whether and how the licenses “stack” when different SA licenses are applied (such as ports and later versions), like they stack for adaptations of BY and BY-NC works. We also know that in practice, many (perhaps even most) users of those remixes look only to the last SA license applied as the source of their obligations as to all copyright holders.

Given the expected longevity of the 4.0 suite, we are taking the opportunity now to insert a provision (see Section 2(a)5)) that brings the legal code fully in line with what we believe is the prevailing practice and expectation. Thus, while the original license continues to apply to the original, all copyrights in remixes of 4.0 SA-licensed works will be under a unified set of terms and conditions (those of the last SA license applied), even when a later version of the SA license is applied by a downstream remixer. We welcome input on this important revision.

Effective Technological Measures – While we are retaining the prohibition on these measures, we are taking the opportunity to clarify within the license what has been long-standing confusion over what is and is not prohibited. We introduce in draft 4 a new defined term that makes clear that the prohibition is limited to those technologies that have the effect of imposing legal restrictions on reuse, just as our licenses prohibit additional terms that restrict reuse.

Attribution – Draft 4 improves inter-version compatibility between 4.0 and prior license suites while retaining the new addition introduced earlier that subjects all requirements to a standard of reasonableness.

Other improvements include consolidation of provisions relating to sui generis databse rights for ease of reference and to reduce confusion, eliminating an unnecessary (and confusing) license interpretation clause, removal of a provision that would have allowed customized warranties to form part of the license, and other language clean up and simplification. Read more about the changes and improvements to draft 4, including a comparison of this draft to Draft 3 [PDF] and a chart summarizing changes to the attribution and marking requirements [PDF]. More info on our 4.0 wiki.

Please note that this consultation period is abbreviated. We will be drawing the comment period to a close sometime the week of September 23rd. Please participate!

Comments Off


Page 19 of 395« First...10...171819202122...3040...Last »