Commons News

CC in a world of worthy causes

Ryan Merkley, November 6th, 2014

Creative Commons wasn’t done after we created our first license suite, or even after hundreds of millions of licensed works were shared. The web is changing — and so are the ways we get, share, and use content — so we’re trying new things.

One new idea is our mobile app, The List, supported by a prototype grant from the Knight Foundation. The List app will allow users to make lists of wanted images, or submit requested photos to a global archive of images, all licensed CC BY. We’ll release a public beta in the next few months.

We’re also still active in areas where we can make a huge difference, like open educational resources (OER). We’ve been helping foundations and governments adopt open policies and exploring new ways of licensing scientific data. Teachers and learners everywhere — from Kenya to Canada — are reaping rewards of shared information and knowledge, with huge savings.

All of that work, old and new, is supported by a small team, and a lot of inspired supporters and volunteer advocates, including more than 100 affiliate teams in 75 countries. Our licenses have become the global standard for legal sharing, and they underpin many of the most well-known media platforms on the web.

If Creative Commons plays a role in how you use the internet or share your work, please consider making a gift to support the organization. Our licenses are (and will remain) free, so developing a stable funding stream to support sharing has always been a challenge. A generous — but small — group of individual donors has always supported us. Let’s grow that number and work together to build a better internet and world.

As you’re considering which charities to support this year, please take a moment to reflect on what we’ve built together these past 12 years, and the challenges we face in copyright reform, open access, and building an open web for everyone to learn and create.

In a world of worthy causes, it’s our job to demonstrate the value of CC to individuals, governments, institutions, and corporations. And especially to you.

Please support us and help us spread the word.

Sincerely,
Ryan

PS: In a few weeks, we’ll be releasing information about the state of the commons — our most accurate assessment to date. Watch for it.

Support Creative Commons

 

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CC Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting Held in Seoul

Soohyun Pae, November 5th, 2014

CCKorea
CCKorea / CC BY

Representatives from CC affiliates in Asia and the Pacific were once again hosted by CC Korea for the CC Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting this year. Asia-Pacific CC affiliates have a regular face-to-face meeting every two years to share their experience and know-how, to discuss common issues, and to seek opportunities for collaboration. Last September, 13 representatives from CC affiliate teams in China Mainland, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Mongolia, and South Korea came all the way to Seoul for this rare opportunity to get inspired by each other and meet Ryan Merkley, new CEO of Creative Commons, whom many of them met in person for the first time.

This year’s regional meeting was held in conjunction with the 3rd CC Korea Conference, “Share Everything, Connect Everything.” Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons, opened the event with an inspiring keynote speech on sharing and the commons attended by more than 200 people from various fields including government, business and academia. Around the three main themes of Creativity, Sharing City, and Civic Hacking, insightful presentations were given by various local and international speakers including Todd Porter, Co-founder of FabCafe and Hal Seki from Code for Japan. As the closing session, Won-soon Park, Mayor of Seoul City, and Jay Yoon, Project Lead of CC Korea, discussed how we could shape our future with sharing and cooperation.

Following the successful conference on the first day, the CC affiliate representatives sat down together for a full-day meeting dedicated to the discussion of internal issues, from individual activities to regional and global cooperation. After a round of warm greetings to each other, each presented not only their success stories but also exchanged experiences in projects that did not turn out as they had expected, focusing on what they could improve and how they could do better in the future. Challenges faced by teams varied from fundraising to support and sustain their activities to restructuring their volunteer community. Discussion revolved around how to address these by facilitating regional collaboration both among individual affiliates and with CC headquarters in California.

After a lunchtime walk along the Cheonggye stream, Ryan Merkley joined the group to share CC’s new vision and strategies and solicit feedback from the participants. Generally participants were glad for his willingness to share and to engage more closely with affiliates, welcoming opportunities to contribute and work more closely on various fronts. A theme of the day was ways that CC could collaborate and engage more actively with global affiliates on specific projects such as conducting research, developing tools to improve usability of CC licenses and reuse of CC-licensed content, etc. Some representatives also pointed out that more practical support from CC such as toolkits and resource repositories would be useful, especially for teams who are new or restructuring. Regional activities, such as the creation of a regional website and combining efforts in popular areas such as education, were also important part of the day’s agendas.

The meeting was followed by a CC Salon, held as a wrap-up event of the whole program at a cozy book cafe down an alleyway, away from the noise and bustle of the Hongdae area. Conference speakers, CC Asia-Pacific representatives, and members and friends of CC Korea were all invited to meet old and new friends, try different traditional beverages brought by the participating CC representatives, and get inspired by interesting ignite talks ranging from a fantastic dance performance by Muid Latif from CC Malaysia to Ryan’s “20 things I love from the commons” and a 3rd-grader girl’s talk about her coding projects.

CC Korea would like to once again thank all representatives who participated and hopes that this could lead to more cooperation in the region and beyond.

For more details, see post-conference resources, including videos, all available under CC licenses. You can also read about the previous regional meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2012.


bssmile / CC BY 3.0

The thoughts below are from Muid Latif, Project Lead of CC Malaysia:

Visiting Seoul is life-changing experience. As a creative person, each turn you take around the city gives a perfect visual story-telling of its culture and economic progress. Since I was very familiar to the design community in Korea through Behance Network and Creative City project curated by Jackson Tan (Singapore) this year in conjunction of Kaohsiung Design Festival, I was introduced to amazing designers like Yoon Hyup and the talented Na Kim who I had the privilege to meet in September this year in Penang, Malaysia.

I was blown away by the amount of art galleries located in each district. I could easily be overwhelmed by so much talent. It shows how organised and cultured Koreans are in accepting creativity as a part of their daily routine.

While I was in Seoul, attending the CC Korea International Conference provided me with such an insightful experience to know how enthusiastic creators are in ensuring citizen could access better, organised public information and allowing transparency of the government, through projects like CodeNamu. And Randomwalks, for example, amplified various media and data and turned it into phenomenal info-graphics, as shown in Sey Min’s presentation and demonstration. An aspiring young girl named Hannah enlightened us about the best creative way to have fun by creating DIY ear-folding rabbit and a fun wrist-band. I also had the chance to do a contemporary dance performance during the CC Salon featuring music of DD.85’s ‘Adaptation’.

It’s more extraordinary to learn that Koreans take seriously into sharing culture thus seeing Creative Commons as a medium to empower their creations. From sharing innovation of technology through open source, mobile apps and web-based programmes are easily accessible to all. It facilitates greater alternative in cost-saving, and yet at the same time, some generous users would donate through PayPal as part of their appreciation. This is what CC is catered for its content users, the power to appreciate and attribute. The support does not only stop there, a local renowned KPOP artist expresses interest in offering to become an ambassador of CC Korea to increase more awareness. This is indeed admirable and I see that other CC affiliates could adapt and follow the same strategy to advance CC movement into the next level. If people would ask me, what’s the next big thing for CC? Well, this is it.

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Leicester City Council gives permission to 84 schools to create and share OER

Cable Green, November 3rd, 2014


Leicester City Council / CC BY 4.0

Leicester City Council is the first local government authority in the United Kingdom (UK) to provide 84 community schools with blanket permission to openly license their educational resources. The council is recommending that school staff use the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to share materials created in the course of their work. The Council has also released guidance and practical information for school staff on using and creating open educational resources (OER).

As part of Josie Fraser’s (ICT Strategy Lead, Leicester City Council) work with the council, she leads on a citywide project to raise school staff skills and confidence in using technology to support teaching, learning, and school community development. The project has surveyed staff across the city to identify strengths and gaps in their use of technologies and digital resources. While the results on the whole have been very positive, the survey identified that school staff knowledge about OER and open licensing is very limited.

In response to this, Josie worked with Björn Haßler and Helen Neo (from the University of Cambridge) to create accessible OER schools guidance and practical resources for schools on finding, attributing, remixing, creating, and sharing CC licensed resources. School staff were invited to participate in the development of the resources, by review and discussion, and by taking part in pilot workshops for school staff and leaders.

“The response to the guidance has been very positive, with schools keen to raise the profile of excellent work being produced through the use of Creative Commons licenses. Schools want to raise staff knowledge in relation to copyright and open licensing, and see the classroom modelling of good practice in using and accrediting resources as important for their learners.”
– Josie Fraser

Schools routinely make use of web-based resources to support their learners, but don’t routinely benefit from the range of openly shared resources available if they aren’t aware of open licensing. The permission and guidance are designed to work together in raising awareness about CC licenses and OER, and support schools in promoting the work they are doing by sharing – enabling them to create, and to connect and collaborate with other educators. At a time when so many resources used in schools are digital, and accessed and shared online, understanding copyright and the role that open licenses play is essential for education professionals.

“Leicester City Council is the first local authority in the UK to provide its school employees with permission to openly license their resources. This is a highly commendable and visionary step. We very much hope that this will inspire other councils and schools to look at how they can also support staff in sharing their work.”
– Dr. Björn Haßler, University of Cambridge

Resource packs, which including model policies, guidance and resources for schools, are available at: http://schools.leicester.gov.uk/openeducation. The resources themselves build on existing openly licensed materials, and all new materials are all released under CC BY 4.0 and are available in editable versions for adaptation.

Josie concludes:

“Open licensing is an important step in making cultural change happen – for educators and learners to benefit from public work, and for schools across the city to move towards open practice. Change will not happen overnight, but the permission and guidance provides a great way for schools to think about how they share and collaborate, and how they would like to take their communities forward.”

Links:

Related: Creative Commons policies grow in New Zealand schools

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Sketchfab announces CC licensing; Microsoft, HTC, and British Museum early adopters

Elliot Harmon, October 30th, 2014

Sketchfab – an awesome website for sharing 3D models – just unveiled an option to make files downloadable. All of the files marked for download are available under Creative Commons licenses, including those from some big players like HTC, Microsoft, the British Museum and celebrated designer Francis Bitonti.

From the announcement:

This makes Sketchfab not only the best and easiest way to publish and embed a 3D file, but also a great place to find and use 3D content – for example for 3D printing, to build video games or VR experiments – or just to share and collaborate privately on 3D designs. Any user can now chose to publish 3D content for display only, or for display and download under Creative Commons licenses.

[…]

This launch comes with another important milestone: more than 200,000 3D files have been uploaded on the platform so far, making Sketchfab one of the largest repositories of 3D content, and the leading platform to publish and embed interactive 3D models. We want to thank all of our users for that, we are proud to be home for your work. This milestone, combined with our new download option, is strengthening our position as The place to be for 3D files.

Sketchfab co-founder Alban Denoyel told us that his team knew from the start that they wanted to use CC licenses rather than create a new license for model use. “As soon as we started looking into adding a download option on Sketchfab, we wanted to find a legal framework to cover the way people could use the files, and CC was top of mind as the perfect solution to do that.”

And did the high-profile users like Microsoft and HTC have any qualms about CC? Not really, says Alban. “We had a pretty straightforward approach, exposing our plans of enabling download under CC, and asking if they were in or not. No special concerns were raised, they quickly jumped in!”

Congratulations, Sketchfab!

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CC Science’s Indian November

Puneet Kishor, October 28th, 2014

india2014We are in New Delhi and Mumbai for a number of presentations, workshops and meetings. Please come say hello if you are at these events or in the area.

SciDataCon2014 in New Delhi

The International Conference on Data Sharing and Integration for Global Sustainability (SciDataCon) is motivated by the conviction that the most research challenges cannot be addressed without attending to issues relating to research data essential to all scientific endeavors. However, several cultural and technological challenges are still preventing the research community from realizing the full benefits of progress in open access and sharing. CODATA and WDS, interdisciplinary committees of the International Council for Science (ICSU) are co-sponsoring and organizing a high profile international biennial conference at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Nov 2: A day long Text and data mining (TDM) workshop offered in collaboration with ContentMine

TDM is an important scientific technique for analyzing large corpora of articles used to uncover both existing and new insights in unstructured data sets that typically are obtained programmatically from many different sources. While the science and technology TDM is complex enough, its legal complications are equally dizzying. Not only is its legal status unclear at best, it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction making cross-national collaboration difficult. Besides the license status of the original material, contractual agreements between research institutions and publishers, who are often the gatekeepers of the corpora, can create significant hurdles. The workshop offers an introduction to TDM, presenting the legal considerations through hands-on exercises.

Nov 3: How well is the data chain working?

Effective and efficient application of scientific data for the benefit of humanity entails agreed goals, clear and reproducible methods, and transparent communication throughout the data chain from producer to user via data organizer and research publisher. How well is that working? A Panel Discussion at the close of each day will summarise that day’s conclusions, and respond to the question of how well the data chain may be working from a trio of perspectives: Conference Organizer, data-management expert, and data producer.

Nov 5: Citing Data to Facilitate Multidisciplinary Research

Synthesis Data Citation Principles and Their Implications for TDM: Importance, Credit and Attribution, Evidence, Unique Identification, Access, Persistence, Specificity and Verifiability, and Interoperability and Flexibility: these eight important phrases describe the data citation principles agreed upon by the community and published under a joint declaration and endorsed by 185 individuals and 83 organizations. But, what are the implications of these principles beyond just citation, particularly with respect to automated analysis of large corpus of articles? This presentation will briefly present the principles, and then explore some of the issues that we have to come to grips with in order to make text and data mining (TDM) easy for scientists.

Nov 5: Challenges and Benefits of Open Science Data and International Data Sharing

Maximizing Legal Interoperability Through Open Licenses: Many scientists do think about interoperability as they have to work with colleagues from other domains. However, common interoperability efforts are focused on technical, and if we are lucky, semantic interoperability. Rarely do scientists think of legal interoperability in the design of their science experiments. Can my work be legally mixed with someone else’s work without violating any intellectual property (or worse, privacy and security) laws? Is my work portable across not just scientific domains but also across judicial boundaries? We attempt to shed light on some of these questions in this presentation.

Nov 5: Talk on CC/OKF open science activities to be given at the computer science dept., Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi

Jenny Molloy, OKFN Open Science and I will be introducing the young computer science students at IIT-Delhi on the various open science and data activities around the world. This talk is organized by Prof. Aaditeshwar Seth, Computer Science, IIT-Delhi.

Nov 6-8: Meetings on citizen science and sensors at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), Mumbai

HBCSE at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai is a National Center with the broad goals to promote equity and excellence in science and mathematics education from primary school to undergraduate college level, and encourage the growth of scientific literacy in the country. We will be discussing with HBCSE’s metaStudio potential areas of collaboration in citizen science and the use of sensors in projects to accelerate the growth of scientific awareness in the country through direct public participation in science.

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LRMI stewardship transferred to Dublin Core Metadata Initiative

Cable Green, October 23rd, 2014

LRMI Logo

 

Re-post from: http://www.lrmi.net/lrmi-transfers-stewardship

Effective October 23, 2014, leadership and governance of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI), an education metadata project developed to improve discoverability and delivery of learning resources, have transferred from the Association of Educational Publishers and Creative Commons to the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI).

This long-planned transfer represents a logical next step for the LRMI since the project has reached the end of its initial scope of work.  DCMI will take the leadership role in advancing the project into its next phase with AEP and CC engaged as active LRMI community members.

“Creative Commons and AEP are happy to add this governance transfer to the long list of successes we’ve achieved together on the LRMI project,” said Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons. “After a long and careful evaluation process, the LRMI leadership identified a candidate in DCMI that is well-established and highly respected in the metadata sector and will carry on the LRMI’s spirit of transparency and community involvement.”

“AEP has enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside our partners Creative Commons the past three years to get the LRMI effort off the ground, build a community of practice, and finally, to establish a plan for long-term sustainability for the project,” said Dave Gladney, Project Manager of the AEP LRMI project, which has been housed at the Association of American Publishers since the merger of AEP and AAP in July 2013. “With this transfer, we’re confident that we’re leaving the LRMI with the ideal steward for long-term success.”

“DCMI is pleased to assume stewardship of LRMI at this key, long-planned transition in its development,” said Eric Childress, DCMI Governing Board Chair. “Meeting the metadata needs of the education and training community has been a goal of DCMI since the founding of its Education Community in 1999. DCMI has played encouraging, advisory roles in development of the LRMI specification from the inception of Phase I technical development in 2011 under the leadership of AEP and Creative Commons. DCMI is now poised to provide LRMI with both a permanent home that assures the long-term sustainability of the specification and an open, collaborative context for future community-driven development.”

More information about the transfer and the project follows.

Background

The LRMI began in 2011 shortly after the announcement of Schema.org, a search engine-backed standard for tagging content on the web.   AEP and Creative Commons, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, set out to extend the general Schema.org hierarchy with a lightweight set of metadata properties that could describe the instructional intent of a web page, resource or piece of content.  The resulting LRMI specification version 1.1 was accepted as an official extension of Schema.org in April 2013.  Additionally, AEP and Creative Commons have worked closely together throughout the past three years to meet dozens of important project milestones.

The third and final Gates-funded phase of the project focused on long-term sustainability and success.  Among other Phase III projects, the LRMI leadership team has worked over the past six months to identify the ideal next-phase steward for the LRMI specification.  This process included surveying the LRMI community, identifying potential candidates, measuring each candidate against a list of agreed-upon requirements and vetting candidates through a series of interviews.

Why DCMI was chosen

DCMI was chosen based on its status as a well-known, well-respected name in the metadata space; its open governance structure, which closely aligns with the open spirit of the LRMI; and its ongoing connection to the LRMI through the involvement of DCMI’s Managing Director and Education Community chair, Stuart Sutton, on the LRMI Technical Working Group.

DCMI’s next-stage priorities

DCMI stewardship of the LRMI specification will include:

  1. Moving the canonical representation of the specification from lrmi.net to dublincore.org with appropriate cross referencing between the two websites.
  2. Creating a permanent LRMI Task Group within the context and working processes of the DC Education Community to supplant the original LRMI Technical Working Group for:
    • Ongoing maintenance of the LRMI 1.1 specification
    • Assessment of open community input as the means for defining future development of the specification
    • Management of transparent editorial and decision-making processes in executing further developments
  3. Supporting open community communications through a Jiscmail list for the new LRMI Task Group (public “read”) and through the existing DC-Education Jiscmail list (public “join/read/write”).   Public conversations on the existing, open LRMI Google Group will be continued until the coordination of two public lists is deemed by DCMI to be no longer tenable. During this time, current members of the Google Group will be encouraged to join the Jiscmail lists.
  4. Initiating immediate engagement with Schema.org to coordinate changes in its cross-referencing for LRMI and the potential development of additional developer/web master documentation at schema.org of those aspects of LRMI 1.1 it has adopted in support of learning resource markup.

For more information:

—————-

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/) is a globally-focused nonprofit organization dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Creative Commons provides free licenses and other legal tools to give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions and get credit for their creative work while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make specific uses of it.

About the Association of Educational Publishers

The Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) is the 501(c)(3) arm of the Association of American Publishers. At the inception of the LRMI in 2011, AEP was an independent organization serving the educational resource community with programs, events, advocacy, and thought leadership. In July of 2013, AEP merged with the AAP School Division to form the PreK-12 Learning Group. Most of AEP’s programs were transferred over to the newly-formed Learning Group pursuant to the merger, but LRMI projects and administration of grant funding continued on under the 501(c)(3).

About the Association of American Publishers

The members of AAP are building the future of publishing. AAP represents America’s premier creators of high-quality entertainment, education, scientific and professional published content. They include commercial and not-for-profit organizations, scholarly societies, university presses, educational technology companies and digital start-ups. These nearly 450 organizations dedicate the creative, intellectual, financial and technological investments to bring great ideas to life and deliver content to the world’s diverse audiences in all the ways they seek it.

About Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI)

DCMI is a global community that has played key roles in the development of best practices in metadata modeling, design and implementation since 1995. The DCMI community has developed and maintains some of the major languages of description used on the Web and in systems. DCMI’s principles of operation are open consensus building, international scope and participation, neutrality of purpose and business models, neutrality of technology, and a cross disciplinary focus. DCMI is a project of ASIS&T, a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and is supported through membership programs for both individuals and organizations.

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Kenya Ministry of ICT congratulates School of Open for transformative model of learning

Alex Gakuru, October 22nd, 2014

SOO Africa Launch Event
SOO Africa Launch Nairobi / CC BY / Phillip Ranja

Today the Mr. Joseph Tiampati, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of ICT of Kenya gave a speech to formally launch the School of Open Africa in Nairobi. The full text of the speech is below and also available as a PDF. In addition, a congratulatory message from Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology was delivered by Mr. John Temba, Head of ICT in Education at the Ministry. More info on the event from our announcement post yesterday.

Some highlights from the speech:

  • The Ministry recognizes Kenya as a signatory of UNESCO’s 2012 Paris Declaration on Open Educational Resources (OER) and that “open education resources improves the quality of teaching and learning, including by accelerating student comprehension and by providing more opportunities for the realisation of universal access to education.”
  • Kenya has developed and is rolling out a National ICT Master plan for the next five years. The Ministry recognizes “that Creative Commons through the School of Open Africa has provided a good example of innovative use of ICT in education that resonates well with the Kenya National ICT Master Plan… Open Education Resources coupled with innovative use of ICT in education will accelerate realization of a modern Kenya that will be a knowledge-based economy.”

And lastly,

“By using Open Educational Resources, OER, School of Open is opening up to many students who would have otherwise missed the opportunity of accessing education, especially in the marginalized areas which could not adequately access quality education. Ongoing, voluntary, and self- motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons is one of the characteristics of the 21st Century. One of the major ways of promoting life-long learning is the continuous use of ICT innovations in education.

“I congratulate School of Open teams across Africa for the innovative and transformative mode of teaching and learning that we are launching today. This African initiative is a worthy model for other regions of the world to emulate.”

Congrats on a successful launch to our communities across Africa!


SPEECH BY MR. JOSEPH TIAMPATI, PRINCIPAL SECRETARY MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY DURING THE LAUNCH OF THE SCHOOL OF OPEN AFRICA, AT THE SERENA HOTEL, WEDNESDAY 22ND OCTOBER, 2014

“Good morning.

“It gives me great pleasure to be here today as the Chief Guest during the launch of School of Open – Africa. I would like to begin by sincerely thanking Creative Commons Africa community and under the able coordination of Alex Gakuru and Tobias Schonwetter, and the global Creative Commons Community for inviting me to preside over this launch.

“I am happy to note the enthusiasm demonstrated by School of Open Africa in transforming education along Sustainable Development Goals proposed for post-2015 (Goal No. 4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all”) and in line with the Kenya Vision 2030 which seeks to transform Kenya into a middle-income country that offers high quality of life to all citizens by the year 2030. I am happy to note how much School of Open Africa has grown in Kenya and embraced in countries like Senegal, Nigeria, and South Africa among other African countries in the last few years. I am informed that School of Open by Creative Commons is highly reputed around the world for addressing universal access to education.

SOO Africa Launch Event 5
Awarding CopyrightX certificates / CC BY / Phillip Ranja

“Kenya is a signatory to the UNESCO’s 2012 Paris Declaration on Open Education Resources licensed under Creative Commons open licenses. The use of open education resources improves the quality of teaching and learning, including by accelerating student comprehension and by providing more opportunities for the realisation of universal access to education. Open Educational Resources (OER) are 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.

“Fully aware of the role of education in a country’s development agenda, I am sure that the new initiatives being undertaken by School of Open Africa, the Creative Commons and UNESCO are making their contribution towards the social, economic, and political pillars which are the three fundamental cornerstones of our country, and indeed for our great continent.

“Ladies and gentlemen, as you may be aware, the Country’s development blue print is being implemented through successive five- year Medium Term Plans (MTPs) that will finally enable the country to achieve the long-term goals. We are now in the second medium term plan cycle (2013-2017) whose theme is “Transforming Kenya: Pathways to Devolution, Socio-economic Development, Equity and National Unity”. As you may be aware, the ICT Authority rolled out the National ICT Master plan that will set the pace for progression of the country in ICT for the next five years. The Master plan – once fully rolled out – will completely transform government processes, services and management, and make information access and service delivery more efficient. Again, the Master plan, with the flagship projects to pilot its implementation, will steer the march towards the digital future that will transform the country to a regional technical hub, raise the country’s competitiveness and align the country in line with vision 2030’s ICT goals.

“By launching the Kenya ICT Master Plan, the government revealed its commitment towards the enhancement of access to quality education and training through ICT in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We are reviewing the National ICT Policy Guidelines to ensure alignment with proposed Sustainable Development Goals.
As a country, we are also privileged to have a National ICT Policy whose goal is to create a prosperous ICT-driven Kenyan society. With a well mainstreamed ICT society, we are assured of better livelihoods of Kenyans attainable through the availability of accessible, efficient, reliable and affordable ICT services.

“ICT provides a platform that enables the realization of these goals. I must emphasize that Creative Commons through the School of Open Africa has provided a good example of innovative use of ICT in education that resonates well with the Kenya National ICT Master Plan. The integration of ICT into educational programmes places both the teaching staff and students at the forefront in the utilization of ICT for the enhancement of lives.

“I note with great pleasure the freedom to re-purpose offered by openly licensed educational resources, the convenience online access to learners as alternative courses delivery and certification methods. At this juncture, ladies and gentlemen, I thank William Fisher III, Professor of Intellectual Property and his staff at the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School for providing a free copyright law course taught to graduands present today to receive their certificates. I also thank Michael Murungi (then CEO, National Council for Law Reporting or “Kenya Law”) and Alex Gakuru for successfully conducting the course in Nairobi. I must congratulate the former students and ask to make the very best use of the copyright law knowledge they acquired while also challenging all universities represented here to consider emulating the highly successfully CopyrightX initiative.

“As the government continues to work on modalities of ensuring universal access to education and increasing the internet penetration in all parts of the country, we are pleased to witness this mode of study that will definitely translate to affordable education. Open Education Resources coupled with innovative use of ICT in education will accelerate realization of a modern Kenya that will be a knowledge-based economy.

“By using Open Educational Resources, OER, School of Open is opening up to many students who would have otherwise missed the opportunity of accessing education, especially in the marginalized areas which could not adequately access quality education. Ongoing, voluntary, and self- motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons is one of the characteristics of the 21st Century. One of the major ways of promoting life-long learning is the continuous use of ICT innovations in education.

“I congratulate School of Open teams across Africa for the innovative and transformative mode of teaching and learning that we are launching today. This African initiative is a worthy model for other regions of the world to emulate.

“As I conclude I take this opportunity to applaud UNESCO’s efforts and contribution in the development and growth of the country through this noble initiative that enables the primary, secondary and universities to optimize the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in learning. I acknowledge the generous financial support from the Hewlett Foundation and SOO Africa teams support by Google.

“With those remarks, it is now my pleasure to declare the School of Open Africa officially opened.

“Thank you.”

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Build a commons for everyone

Ryan Merkley, October 22nd, 2014

I joined CC in June of this year, and immediately set out to update our strategy. I spent the summer working with our staff, affiliates, board, partners, and funders to understand the needs and the opportunities, and to plan for 2015 and beyond.

Today, we’re focused on three strategic objectives:

  1. A vibrant commons. Supporting the CC license suite so it’s easy to contribute to the commons —from improving the experience on platforms, to enhancing our license chooser, to translating the 4.0 licenses;
  2. A usable commons. Helping creators find and reuse the content they want and need, including exploring ways to improve search and content analytics, so creators can see where their content goes after they share it; and,
  3. A relevant commons. Leading a movement of individuals, organizations, and institutions who will inspire others to create the commons of creativity and knowledge we all want.

These three simple objectives will guide our work over the next year. If you share our goal of a more healthy and vibrant commons, we’re proud to work alongside you.

This month, we’ll launch our most ambitious annual campaign yet. We’re going to tell the story of the commons, its reach, and its potential, to make a compelling case for our work. We’ll share some exciting new projects that show how we’re building the next phase of CC.

I hope that you’ll make a donation, but equally as important, I hope you’ll help us spread the word and grow our community of donors to build a more sustainable organization.

Support Creative Commons

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Open Access Button launches with new features

Timothy Vollmer, October 21st, 2014

oabutton
Open Access Button / CC BY 2.0

Today at an Open Access Week event in London, the Open Access Button was re-launched with new features “to help researchers, patients, students and the public get access to scientific and scholarly research.” The Open Access Button originally was created in response to researchers running into paywalls or other control mechanisms when they attempted to read and re-use scholarly journal articles.

The beta Open Access Button–released in November 2013–documented these stymied research efforts, tracking nearly 10,000 instances of denied access due to paywalls. The updated button is a browser plug-in that enables a person who conducts a similar search–but who is once again denied access–to explore other options in order to get access to the paper. It does this by conducting a search for a freely-available version of the research article on the web, for example a preprint or unformatted version of a finalized article manuscript. If this does not work the button provides the functionality to send an email to the author of the article to ask that a copy of the article be made available and shareable to others who need it. The button will do other things, too, such as creating a unique listing for each paper that is requested, so that authors can view demand for access to their works. Finally, the button aims to collect data and anecdotes arising from its use in order to feed advocacy and reform efforts related to the scholarly communications and publishing system.

The Open Access Button is an interesting tool because it both increases awareness of a problem within the academic publishing ecosystem and strives to deliver needed articles into the hands of the researchers to conduct their work. It is informational, empowering, and practical. Anyone can now install the Open Access Button. Congratulations to the terrific team on extending a creative and useful tool in support of open access to scholarly research.

Below is the video recording from the Open Access Button launch on 21 October. Keep an eye on the CC blog and Open Access Week website for more information about OA events this week.

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Big win for an interoperable commons: BY-SA and FAL now compatible

Elliot Harmon, October 21st, 2014

FAL 1.3 now compatible with CC BY-SA 4.0
Move-Horizontally / P.J. Onori / CC BY

Glühwendel brennt durch

Glühwendel brennt durch / Stefan Krause / FAL 1.3

This FAL-licensed photo was selected as Wikimedia Commons’ 2013 Picture of the Year.

Like CC Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA), the Free Art License (FAL 1.3) is a copyleft license, meaning that it requires licensees to share their adaptations under the same license. Therefore, it’s impossible to create an adaptation that combines works under both BY-SA and FAL. Until now.

Today, we’re proud to announce in collaboration with ArtLibre.org that the Free Art License 1.3 and CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 are now compatible.

With this compatibility declaration, anyone remixing a work under FAL can license her remix under BY-SA. Similarly, people can adapt works under BY-SA and license them under FAL, or mix works under both licenses and license the resulting works under either license or both.

From the beginning, Creative Commons ShareAlike licenses were designed with interoperability in mind. We believe that the commons is at its best when there are as few walls as possible preventing people from mixing and combining its works. As CC co-founder Lawrence Lessig noted when speaking of compatibility between BY-SA and the FAL, “Our idea was eventually that it [wouldn’t] matter which of the free licenses you were in as long as you could move into the equivalent free license that would be CC compatible.”

Today, this idea has been realized, and there is one less barrier preventing licensees from remixing and combining openly licensed works.

This is a special moment for another reason. Originally drafted in 2000, the Free Art License is one of the first copyleft licenses designed for content, not software. It’s only fitting that it become the first third-party license to be declared compatible with CC BY-SA.

See our Compatible Licenses page for more information. If you’d like to learn more about the steps that led to this announcement, see this page on the CC Wiki.

We applaud and congratulate ArtLibre.org and its community on this shared achievement. Thanks to Antoine Moreau and the team at CC France for their support throughout this process.

What’s next? Since the CC licenses launched, many people have dreamed of compatibility between BY-SA and the GNU General Public License (GPLv3), a widely-used copyleft software license. Sometimes when reusing openly licensed content in software, it can be difficult to discern where the content ends and the software begins. Allowing developers to license their adaptations of BY-SA content under the GPL would prevent a lot of licensing headaches.

CC will begin to tackle GPL compatibility with a proposal and preliminary analysis in the coming weeks. If you’d like to listen in or get involved, subscribe to our license development list.

Artlibre.org announcement (français)

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