Commons News

New affiliate chapters in Latin America

Carolina Botero, June 9th, 2015

We are glad to announce that during the last months the Latin American affiliates have 3 new affiliate chapters in the Creative Commons family. The CC teams of El Salvador, Paraguay and Uruguay signed their MoUs and are now officially in.

In El Salvador the affiliate institution is AccesArte, a NGO that seeks to promote the role of culture in the process of human development. The team is supported also by other NGOs related to culture, technology and education and by several individuals from cultural and technological background, lawyers, librarians and many others that share their interest in the access to knowledge and free culture ideas. The new public leaders are Claudia Cristiani -she works preserving cultural heritage and is the Director at AccesArte- and Evelyn Del Pinal, long time free culture advocate and one of the people responsible for Wiki Loves Monuments in El Salvador.

In Paraguay the CC affiliate institution is TEDIC, a multidisciplinary non-profit organization that brings together lawyers, journalists, political specialists, sociologists, Web developers and graphic designers. The organization aims to promote civic initiatives in education, communications, technology, development and research. CC Paraguay leaders are Maricarmen Sequera, Luis Alonzo Fulchi and Cilia Romero.

The working group of CC Uruguay began working to form the Uruguayan chapter in early 2013. The multidisciplinary team includes artists, educators, librarians, sociologists, cultural managers, programmers and lawyers. The team members have been heavily involved with the communities of authors, with cultural and educational institutions and also with government (Ministeries, Parliament) in order to promote the use of free licenses, copyright reform, open educational resources, the socialization of common cultural heritage and the digitization of public domain. The team is supported by a large group of volunteers and by the Uruguayan Librarians Association (Asociación de Bibliotecólogos del Uruguay), which was established as the affiliate institution in late 2014.

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Creative Commons France experiments with Ascribe to support copyleft through the Blockchain

Jessica Coates, June 5th, 2015

cc-ascribe

Guestpost by Primavera De Filippi (CC France)

Creative Commons France inaugurated the launch of the new website with a new tool that unlocks the value of the bitcoin blockchain for the benefit of the Free Culture movement. Ascribe enables creators to share their CC-licensed work without worry of loss of attribution.

Over ten years ago, Creative Commons revolutionized online artistic practices via licenses that promote attribution, free reproduction and dissemination of content, rather than focusing on scarcity and exclusivity. Today, hundreds of millions of works are licensed under these licenses.

Ascribe started in 2014 to help creators secure their intellectual property, with the help of the blockchain. It works with any type of licenses, including the Creative Commons licenses. Creators can ascribe CC-licensed works to the blockchain with the following simple process:

  • Go to cc.ascribe.io
  • Upload the work and enter all relevant metadata: title, author and year
  • Choose your CC license; and click “register”
  • The service will register and time-stamp the file on the blockchain — along with the terms and conditions of the selected license— and store it securely on a decentralized datastore. works for documents, images, text, and more – basically any digital file. This is possible because the time-stamping step (“hashing”) is independent of the file format.

    Creators can then benefit from the following advantages:

  • Secure attribution and simple verification: by registering the work on the blockchain, creators can easily communicate (and prove) the paternity of their works, as well as the terms and conditions under which they have been released.
  • Better accessibility: the works registered on the Ascribe platform will be stored in a peer-to-peer network (similar to BitTorrent) in a secure and decentralized manner.
  • Tracking usages:creators will obtain a unique ID for every work registered on the blockchain. The ID is actually an address on the blockchain which allows for people to track all usage of the work on blockchain explorers.
  • Share works easily: a single public url is created for each work, with the public address of the work, a link to download the work, the terms and conditions of the CC license, and all relevant metadata (title, creator, year)
  • Trent McConaghy, co-founder and CTO of Ascribe:

    “We love Creative Commons. The organisation has been a driving force to promote the dissemination of knowledge and content on the internet for over than a decade. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with Creative Commons France, to help new authors and artists discover the new opportunities provided by blockchain technologies. This is just the start of what we hope will be a fruitful long-term relationship, to the benefit of the Free Culture movement worldwide.”

    Image credits: Harm van den Dorpel “OVERDRAWN INHERITANCE”, available under a CC BY-NC-ND license on https://cc.ascribe.io/piece/1JxsjgVpfRcV54DRmAzpnjPQEdQME6qX7b/

    Post uploaded by Gwen Franck, Regional Coordinator Europe.

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    Announcing the Open Policy Network grant-funded projects

    Timothy Vollmer, June 4th, 2015

    Last year Creative Commons and a global coalition of organizations launched the Open Policy Network in order to support the creation, adoption, and implementation of policies that require that publicly funded resources are openly licensed resources. When open licenses are required for publicly funded resources, there is the potential to massively increase access to and re-use of a wide range of materials, from educational content like digital textbooks, to the results of scholarly research, to valuable public sector data.

    The Network has expanded to include over 50 organizations. During the planning of the Open Policy Network, we identified a set of activities to work on in order to educate about and advance the adoption of global open licensing policies. Over the last few months Creative Commons was pleased to secure funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to provide modest grants to Open Policy Network members to work on these timely and important action areas. We solicited applications from interested organizations and ran a competitive funding process. We’re happy to announce the winners of the project grant funds, and we look forward to working with Open Policy Network members as they engage in these initiatives.

    Openness Guides for OER and open policy (Centrum Cyfrowe)

    This project will create guides that extend upon the existing “How Open Is it?” project originally developed for open access articles by the Public Library of Science (PLOS) in 2013. This guide is seen as an important educational tool for the open access community – including publishers and authors – which provides some nuance around a spectrum of openness and shows a roadmap to becoming “more open.” We see these guides being used in practice as something governments and advocates can use to advocate for open policies.

    Model open policies and advocacy / implementation resources (CC South Africa/re:share/Kelsey Wiens)

    This project will create and distribute model open policy resources, a task central to the mission of the Open Policy Network. Model resources may include:  model open policy language (sections and entire open education, research, and data policies); open policy implementation kits with slides and talking points; communications: media / public relations resources, case studies about open policies; research: evaluating existing open policies and writing open policy briefs. The majority of these resources will be targeted for policy making audiences (e.g. legislators, regulators, etc.), but there will also be a subset of meta-materials that provides some advice and recommendations for advocates in how to best work with policymakers around these issues

    Annual reports on the “state of open policy” (Consortia of Centrum Cyfrowe, CC South Africa/re:share, Karisma Foundation, SPARC, CommonSphere, AusGOAL)

    This project will develop, research, and produce a yearly “state-of-play” report on open policy around the world. The reports will document major open policy adoptions and updates tracked via the Policy Registry, and discuss future areas for intervention. The reports will leverage Open Policy Network members to collect and package an in depth (with useful graphs and analysis) report on the latest updates in open policy around the world covering: education (OER), research (OA), and open data. This report will be a way of measuring nations, provinces/states, and institutions commitments to open policy; and a tool to recruit new open policy advocates and generate interest in governments, foundations, and other funders.

    Open Government Partnership (SPARC)

    This project will examine the current state of the Open Government Partnership commitments and match member countries with relevant OER projects and individuals in country. Momentum for this idea is already building in a number of countries, including the United States, Slovakia, South Africa, Tunisia, and Sierra Leone, and Romania. The initiative will work to include OER and open policy in updated Open Government Partnership plans through education and outreach.

    If you’re interested in having your organization join the Open Policy Network, check out our website, Google Group, and follow us on Twitter.

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    edX makes it easy for authors to share under Creative Commons

    Cable Green, June 2nd, 2015

    EDX_logo

    edX has added the ability for authors to apply a Creative Commons (CC) license to their courses and videos on its platform. More than 50 academic institutions, including MIT and Harvard, use edX to offer free courses that anyone in the world can join. Now, authors at these institutions and elsewhere may license their courses for free and open reuse directly on the edX platform.

    edx snedX license chooser. edX has also developed this step-by-step guide for course authors and a learners guide on adding CC licenses to courses and videos.

    With the addition of the CC license suite, edX joins the global Open Educational Resources (OER) movement. The CC licenses make education content accessible and expand opportunities for innovation by providing everyone with the legal permissions to reuse, revise, remix, redistribute and retain educational resources.

    Since massive open online courses (MOOCs) were first launched, CC has advocated that MOOCs have both open admission (in the classic Open University tradition) and provide authors the option to share their content as OER under Creative Commons licenses.

    edX’s addition of the CC license suite is the result of demands for CC licensing options in edX from many schools and partner Universities who were already sharing their content under CC on other platforms. Special thanks goes to the Open Education Consortium’s OECx partners who pushed edX to add CC to the platform for their courses.

    The Delft University of Technology played a major role in this work. During Open Education Week 2014, Willem van Valkenburg of TU Delft organized an Open.EdX hackathon to create a CC license plugin for edX. The winning plugin — developed by FeedbackFruits — made it simple to add a CC license to an edX course.

    “TU Delft is all about open, so openMOOCs is what we prefer. Thanks to FeedbackFruits we can now publish our courses with a Creative Commons license.” — Willem van Valkenburg

    Congratulations to edX for its leadership in furthering the Commons. We hope Coursera, FutureLearn, and other education platforms will follow edX’s lead and offer the CC license suite for their authors and academic partners.

    edX joins CC’s new Platform Initiative, which works to create easy, clear, and enjoyable ways for users to contribute to the commons on community-driven content platforms. If you are a platform that would like to join this movement for the commons, please get in touch!

    See edX’s post.

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    Join us in Seoul, South Korea – Oct 15-17, 2015

    Ryan Merkley, June 1st, 2015

    Registration is now open for Creative Commons’ Global Summit. Space is limited, so please sign up today to be part of an international event celebrating the Commons, our affiliates, partners and collaborators in the open movement, and the 10th anniversary of CC Korea!

    The conference runs from Thursday Oct. 15 to Saturday Oct. 17, 2015.

    CC Korea Team

    We will be celebrating 10 years of CC Korea at the summit!

    This year, we are expanding our call to include organizations and individuals who want to work with us on shared projects that advance the cause of the Commons, free culture and open knowledge. I’m confident that a “bigger tent” strategy will help strengthen CC and grow our community globally.

    So if you’re active and engaged in the worlds of open content and knowledge — free software and free culture advocates, Wikipedians, Open Knowledge, galleries, libraries, museums, archives, governments and foundations, lawyers, and activists — we hope you’ll join us this year to build a stronger, more vibrant commons together.

    If you want to help us shape the conference program, there will be a public call for submissions soon. We look forward to your ideas — even better, we hope you’ll come and work with us in Seoul.

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    Happy Birthday to friend and ally Bassel Safadi

    Timothy Vollmer, May 22nd, 2015

    Bassel Safadi
    Bassel Safadi / Christopher Adams / CC BY

    Bassel Khartabil (also known as Bassel Safadi) is a computer engineer who, through his dedicated work in social media, digital education, and open-source web software, played a huge role in opening the Internet in Syria and bringing online access and knowledge to the Syrian people. Many people reading this blog know Bassel through his leadership for the Creative Commons Syria affiliate team. You’ll also know that Bassel has been imprisoned by the Syrian government at Adra Prison since 15 March 2012–over 1100 days without any charges being brought against him.

    Today is Bassel’s 34th birthday, the fourth birthday he’s spent in detainment. Creative Commons and the open community honor Bassel and continue to advocate for his immediate release from prison in Damascus.

    You can wish Bassel a Happy Birthday and share your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #freebassel. For more information check out http://freebassel.org/.

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    Elsevier’s new sharing policy harmful to authors and access to scholarly research

    Timothy Vollmer, May 20th, 2015

    Today Creative Commons and 22 other organizations published a letter urging the publishing giant Elsevier to alter its newly revised policy regarding the sharing and hosting of academic articles so that it better supports access to scholarly research.

    Elsevier’s new policy, announced 30 April 2015, is detrimental to article authors as well as those seeking access to these research papers. The policy imposes an embargo of at least 12 months before authors can self-archive their final manuscripts in an institutional repository–with the option of these embargoes being as long as 48 months. Beforehand, Elsevier allowed immediate deposit of the articles in repositories. The new policy also restricts access once the embargo expires by requiring that articles be shared under the most restrictive Creative Commons license–CC BY-NC-ND–which prohibits commercial use and the creation of derivative works.

    From the letter:

    This policy represents a significant obstacle to the dissemination and use of research knowledge, and creates unnecessary barriers for Elsevier published authors in complying with funders’ open access policies. In addition, the policy has been adopted without any evidence that immediate sharing of articles has a negative impact on publishers subscriptions.

    Kevin Smith, Director of the Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communication at Duke University, calls their updated embargo policies “both complicated and draconian,” and criticizes the requirement that authors apply a restrictive license to their works at the expiration of the embargo period:

    This, of course, further limits the usefulness of these articles for real sharing and scholarly advancement. It is one more way in which the new policy is exactly a reverse of what Elsevier calls it; it is a retreat from sharing and an effort to hamstring the movement toward more open scholarship.

    Elsevier should reconsider these policy changes in order to support the rights and wishes of academic authors, and to support better access to the research that they publish.

    The letter is available here. It has been signed by the following groups, and you can add your organization to as well.

    COAR: Confederation of Open Access Repositories
    SPARC: Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition
    ACRL: Association of College and Research Libraries
    ALA: American Library Association
    ARL: Association of Research Libraries
    Association of Southeastern Research Libraries
    Australian Open Access Support Group
    IBICT: Brazilian Institute of Information in Science and Technology
    CARL: Canadian Association of Research Libraries
    CLACSO: Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales
    COAPI: Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions
    Creative Commons
    Creative Commons (USA)
    EIFL
    Electronic Frontier Foundation
    Greater Western Library Alliance
    LIBER: European Research Library Association
    National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences
    OpenAIRE
    Open Data Hong Kong
    Research Libraries UK
    SANLiC: South African National Licensing Consortium
    University of St Andrews Library

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    CC Tanzania expands OER and CC training to more primary schools

    Aristarik Maro, May 19th, 2015

    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    Aristarik is an Assistant Lecturer at the Open University of Tanzania and Creative Commons Tanzania volunteer.


    CC Tanzania SOO Training Training
    SOO Tanzania Training by CC Tanzania under CC BY

    Creative Commons Tanzania through School of Open programme trained 50 pupils from Kumbukumbu primary school on the benefits of the Internet, computer programmes information/knowledge sharing, and Open Education Resources (OER). This is one of the planned activities for School of Open (SOO) Tanzania where this training was preceded by a donation of computers, chairs and tables to the computer lab as part of CC Tanzania’s initiative to enable public schools’ use of ICTs in teaching and learning.

    This event was officiated by Prof. Tolly Mbwette, the former Vice Chancellor of the Open University of Tanzania (OUT), who agreed to be the patron of CC Tanzania. The university supported the training by providing two training labs that were used by the pupils. Open and Distance Learning (ODL) computer labs were used in the training.

    Steven Lukindo, Acting Director of the Institute of Educational Technology & Management (IETM) kicked off the 3-day program on 17, April 2014. 50 pupils were introduced to the open web to aid teaching and learning and the use of Google, Microsoft Word and Excel. The concept of the commons, copyright, and how CC licenses have enabled the global OER movement was also introduced.

    A one-month teacher training for 40 primary school teachers was also launched, commencing on 20, April 2015. The training equips teachers from the same school with ICT skills in teaching and learning. Internet, OER and the concept of the commons were introduced to comply with school’s ICT syllabus. This training was SOO Tanzania’s follow-up activity after the donation of computers by CC Tanzania to the same school.

    SOO Tanzania has planned for additional training to the school’s pupils on the benefits of sharing OER and the use of different teaching and learning tools customized to local content.

    Challenges and lessons learned

    A number of challenges were encountered by SOO Tanzania, including: lack of funding to carry out some of its key planned activities, time to merge busy schedules of facilitators work and volunteering activities, publicity, inadequate ICT facilities in most public schools, and low understanding of ICT in teaching and learning in most schools and perception change in sharing of innovations and creativity within the community. More publicity and training is required to take School of Open to the next level in the country.

    CC Tanzania through its School of Open planned activities is planning to approach more donors and volunteers to support its 2015 road map, in addition to publicizing its activities to teaching and learning institutions to attract awareness of how CC affiliates work for a better and brighter future of sharing.

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    U.S. K12 State Policy Recommendations for OER: Sign Letter of Support

    Cable Green, May 8th, 2015

    second grade writing class
    second grade writing class / woodleywonderworks / CC BY


    Achieve
    (a nonpartisan education reform organization widely known for its CC BY licensed OER Rubrics) has developed policy recommendations with input from its OER Institute U.S. state partners for U.S. states to use OER as part of their college and career ready implementation plans.

    These recommendations aim to provide helpful information and guidance for U.S. states that are interested in but have not yet begun an organized effort to use OER.

    The OER policy recommendations center on:

    • States and school districts using OER as part of their strategy to support the implementation of college and career ready standards.
    • Recommending when public funds are used, the instructional materials created should be openly licensed.
    • States and school districts should ensure all instructional materials being used, including OER, are high quality and aligned to college and career ready standards.

    To illustrate the broad array of audiences that support and have made effective, standards-aligned OER a priority, Achieve was recently joined by U.S. states, funders and organizations, including Creative Commons, in signing a letter of support for Open Educational Resources.

    If your state or organization is interested in signing this letter, please contact Hans Voss at hvoss@achieve.org

    This open letter outlines the benefits OER can provide to U.S. states and K12 school districts as they engage the hard work of college and career ready standards implementation. Particularly in an environment where many states are implementing the Common Core State Standards, OER can be used to leverage the benefits of these common standards by providing the legal rights and technical ability to freely share and modify instructional resources to help support the needs of individual classrooms (e.g., K12 OER Collaborative).

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    Vancouver Foundation announces first CC BY policy for a Canadian foundation

    Timothy Vollmer, May 7th, 2015

    vancouver foundation logo

    Vancouver Foundation has announced that it will adopt an open licensing policy by January 2017. The foundation will require that all projects and research funded through community advised grant programs be licensed and shared under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY). In addition, the foundation has pledged to license their own intellectual property–such as reports and publications–under CC BY.

    Vancouver Foundation is one of the largest foundations in Canada, with over $1 billion in assets, and funds projects across British Columbia in areas such as arts and culture, education, children and youth issues, environment, animal welfare, community health, and social development. With the new open licensing policy–which is the first for a Canadian foundation–the organization aims “to advance transparency and accessibility of materials to drive greater innovation and creativity in BC and beyond.”

    The open licensing policy will take effect in January 2017, and in the interim the foundation will work on the development, testing and implementation of the policy to explore and address the needs of those grantees who have a persuasive reason to choose alternative licenses or conditions.

    “Vancouver Foundation is excited to join a growing international movement among foundations to increase access to a wide range of content funded to create public benefits,” said Foundation President and CEO, Kevin McCort. “We do this not only to share the products of our own community investments, but to encourage and support other foundations who want to join us.”

    Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons, said, “Vancouver Foundation joins several leading philanthropic grant making organizations who have adopted Creative Commons licensing policies for the outputs of their charitable giving, unlocking billions in resources for everything from research to digital education materials, and data.”

    Read the press release of the announcement here. Congratulations to Vancouver Foundation for their leadership and commitment to sharing research, educational materials, and data for the public benefit in the global commons.

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