Commons News

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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Ministries of ICT, Education, & UNESCO join to formally launch School of Open Africa

Jane Park, October 21st, 2014

As promised last week, here are the details around the formal launch event for School of Open Africa taking place in Nairobi tomorrow morning.

SOO AfricaV3
SOO logo here. Earth CC BY by Erin Standley, Noun Project.

Our Creative Commons and School of Open volunteers in Kenya, including CC Regional Coordinator Alex Gakuru, are hosting a formal launch event of School of Open Africa in celebration of the School of Open programs launched last month in Africa, and to announce new programs in higher education. The event will feature a panel discussion with senior government officials from the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Ministry of ICT along with Dr. Bitange Ndemo (University of Nairobi) and regional representatives from UNESCO and Google regarding the status of open education in Africa, School of Open’s contributions and future. Alex says,

“This event will help establish a conversation platform for policymakers around School of Open Africa, connecting and synchronising education and ICT policies with the innovative open education programs being led by Creative Commons volunteers in Africa. It will also connect current School of Open programs in primary and high school education to academia and NRENs1 — towards the realisation of the international aspiration for universal access to education.”

Additional attendees include professors from local universities and law schools; participants of the copyright law course, CopyrightX:Kenya, who will be awarded certificates of completion; our CC Kenya affiliates; and School Open Kenya leads.

CopyrightX Kenya
CopyrightX Kenya / CC Kenya / CC BY

In addition to the panel, SOO Kenya’s Simeon Oriko will present on School of Open Africa programs led to date, and Dr. Tonny Omwansa with C4DLab at the University of Nairobi will announce a new School of Open program to develop OER courses for higher education. This program will serve as a model for other universities across Africa to develop high quality open educational resources for use in higher education under CC BY. In celebration, CC t-shirts in Kiswahili will be distributed, “mwananchi mbunifu,” aka ‘creative commoner.’

soo africa launch shirts2

The event is hosted at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi and will last from 9am-1pm, followed by a celebratory lunch. The event and new OER program in higher education is made possible with technical support from UNESCO and generous financial support from the Hewlett Foundation.


About the School of Open

SOO-logo-100x100

The School of Open is a global community of volunteers that provides free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run courses, workshops, and training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, a nonprofit that builds and supports learning communities on the web.

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Open Access Week 2014 is underway

Timothy Vollmer, October 20th, 2014

oaweeksmall

Today begins the 8th annual Open Access Week. Open Access Week is a week-long celebration and educational opportunity to discuss and promote the practice and policy of Open Access to scholarly literature–“the free, immediate, online availability of research articles, coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.” Open Access Week has become a huge international initiative, including dozens of in-person and virtual events, the launch of OA-related projects, and the development and publishing of materials and tools supporting education about the benefits, challenges, and opportunity for open access to scholarly research. This year’s Open Access Week theme is “Generation Open”:

The theme will highlight the importance of students and early career researchers as advocates for change in the short-term, through institutional and governmental policy, and as the future of the Academy upon whom the ultimate success of the Open Access movement depends. The theme will also explore how changes in scholarly publishing affect scholars and researchers at different stages of their careers.

Check the feed at openaccessweek.org for hundreds of posts about the variety of activities hosted this week, and share what you’re doing on Twitter using the hashtag #OAWeek2014. There’s already many interesting things happening, with more to come this week! Follow the CC blog, Twitter, and Facebook for more.

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CC News: Let’s change the internet.

Elliot Harmon, October 16th, 2014

Stay up-to-date with CC by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on Twitter.

Let’s change the internet

“CC and its licenses are part of the infrastructure that powers the web we know and love. But building the licenses is just the first step; the next step is to use those licenses as a tool for change. All of us can work together to demonstrate the value of sharing to individuals, governments, policy-makers, institutions, and corporations, and to build a future in which everyone is more free to participate in society.”

Read CC board chair Paul Brest’s letter from our annual report.

Obama highlights open education
White House
CC BY (cropped)
 

In his address on open government at the United Nations, US President Barack Obama underscored the importance of open educational resources.

Our Digital Future
Our Digital Future
OpenMedia.ca / CC BY-NC-SA
(screengrab, cropped)

OpenMedia.ca’s Our Digital Future lays out a set of common-sense recommendations for restructuring copyright law in a way that benefits everyone.

Creative Commons Thing of the Day
Casey Fyfe / CC0
 

Your daily awesome from the internet. Check out the Creative Commons Thing of the Day.

SOO Tanzania launch
SOO Tanzania launch
CC Tanzania / CC BY (cropped)

The School of Open is taking off all over Africa. Find out what’s next and how to get involved.

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School of Open Africa’s Launch and Future

Jane Park, October 16th, 2014

In September, the School of Open Africa launched with nine programs distributed across four jurisdictions: Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and South Africa. Kayode from CC Nigeria announced in the launch in August, and now we want to give you an update on how the programs (some ongoing) and launch events fared! We also want to preview more events to take place during Open Access Week and tell you our plans for the future of School of Open in Africa.

School of Open Kenya

SOO Kenya popjam
SOO Kenya Popjam / Jamlab / CC BY-SA

Simeon from Jamlab says, “We hosted 20 girls from Precious Blood Secondary School, Riruta for the [launch] event. The goal was to work with these students to map out education as they currently experience it in their school and figure out how best to incorporate Open Education in their learning. For most of the afternoon, the emphasis on the workshop centered on figuring out how the students could incorporate Open Education in their learning. After a brief discussion, we mapped out learning and education activities as follows:

  • Lectures/Class instruction
  • Private study/prep
  • Group study
  • Revision of past examination papers
  • Student Symposiums

We asked them if we could add aspects of Open Education to this list. Very few of the students had heard about Open Education or understood its value at this point. We discussed Open Education in a little more detail: We explored the concept of the commons, copyright and copyleft and how the Creative Commons suite of licenses has enabled the Open Education movement globally.”

The future of SOO Kenya:

“One of the themes that stood out is getting school administrations and teachers to understand and make an investment in Open Education. This will be Jamlab’s focus in the coming year. While we work with administrators and teachers, we encouraged students to begin to demonstrate the value of Open Education by creating demand for it in the following ways: consume OER’s and integrate them in their learning, and pro-actively create and share OER’s with other students from other schools.”

School of Open Tanzania

SOO Tanzania
SOO Tanzania launch / CC Tanzania / CC BY

Paul from CC Tanzania says, “The program officially launched at Academic International Primary School (AIPS) in Dar es Salaam whereby 15 students from grades four to seven got the opportunity to learn how to code, designing animated picture (cartoons) by using open educational resources through the web.”

The future of SOO Tanzania:

“The event also marked the launch of three other training programs around ICT empowerment training for unemployed youth, teaching persons with disabilities how to use computers, and training educators on using ICT to improve how they teach their students in Tanzania that will be coordinated by CC Tanzania and the Open University of Tanzania.”

CC Tanzania will also highlight the importance of open access to research during Open Access Week in collaboration with the Tanzania Medical Students Association (TAMSA).

School of Open Nigeria

SOO Nigeria
SOO Nigeria Saturday training / K-Why / CC BY

Kayode from CC Nigeria says, “Creative Commons Nigeria with support from Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Linux Professional Institute (Nigerian Master Affiliate) and Mozilla Foundation hosted the School of Open. The School of Open is a five week open course that holds every Saturday between 11am till 4pm. The first week started on September 13th with participants been trained on the basics of Intellectual Property, Linux Operating System and using simple Mozilla tools to design websites.”

The future of SOO Nigeria:

The five-week programs wrapped over the weekend with a discussion on plans for sustaining the community. The next phase will be to take School of Open Nigeria online with the present participants acting as moderators. Meanwhile, people and institutions in two different states (Imo State and Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State) have requested that Creative Commons Nigeria come replicate School of Open in their societies. The aim of School of Open Nigeria will be to have an online learning place where people can go to learn at any time without any cost or time restrictions.

School of Open South Africa

Kumusha bus
Kumusha Bus / WikiAfrica / CC BY-SA

Kelsey from CC South Africa says they already ran their School of Open CC4Kids course as part of Code4CT’s Maker Party back in July, and since then have been planning the next phase of Kumusha Bus, aka Kumusha Bus 2.0, which is “a remix of Libre Bus and designed to ensure collaboration with local members of the open community to have a week of Open Movement chaos and fun that spreads the ideas behind the movement and gets more people and organisations involved in your country.” Kumusha Bus is a collaboration of WikiAfrica, Creative Commons, and School of Open.

The future of SOO South Africa:
Kelsey & co are planning to expand CC4Kids into a full course pack designed to teach kids about Wikipedia, open journalism, open data, and open/citizen science. As part of this expansion, a session will be run at the upcoming Mozilla Festival called “OpenMe – Kids Can Open”.

More about the future

School of Open Africa is hosting another event next week, 22 October, to launch its entrance into the higher education space. Four courses will be developed in collaboration with the C4DLab, the University of Nairobi’s innovation hub, and will be licensed CC BY. The project is a response to ICT playing a critical role in expanding the knowledge economy of Africa; the OER will be developed by and for Africans; and the hope is to replicate the process in other universities. In addition, certificates will be awarded to participants of CC Kenya’s CopyrightX satellite from earlier this year, a panel discussion on OER will be featured, and SOO Kenya will present its work to date. The event and C4DLab OER project is made possible with technical support from UNESCO and generous support from the Hewlett Foundation. Stay tuned for a more detailed announcement of this event next week!

At its core, School of Open is about equipping communities with the tools to help them do what they already do better. Creative Commons licenses and the open resources they enable empowers users around the world to, as Simeon of SOO Kenya says, “build on what we already know.” He says,

I think one thing we often forget to highlight when it comes to education is how we learn… We learn by building on what we already know. We believe Open Education is one sure way of building on what we already know to advance ourselves.

We are seeking to expand School of Open to other regions, in and beyond Africa. The upcoming Mozilla Festival will feature a session on mapping School of Open programs from around the world and hone in on areas with maximum potential for impact — where we can “train the trainers” or otherwise empower student and educator communities to start up programs for themselves. Find out how you can get involved!


About the School of Open

SOO-logo-100x100

The School of Open is a global community of volunteers that provides free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run courses, workshops, and training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, a nonprofit that builds and supports learning communities on the web.

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Creative Commons named Knight Prototype Fund recipient

Ryan Merkley, October 15th, 2014

Today, the Knight Foundation announced the selected recipients of its latest Prototype Fund. We’re very proud to be among them, with a new project that probably sounds a bit outside of our normal work to those familiar with CC. Here’s why we’re doing it:

When I joined as CEO, I was tasked with imagining the next phase of Creative Commons. Now that we have the licenses, what do we want to do with them? How do we build a wide-reaching commons of creativity and knowledge, with easy contribution, use, and re-use? After talking with dozens of partners, funders, our global affiliate network, and our staff, I think it boils down to three areas: building a movement, driving content into the commons, and helping creators get content out.

Today’s announcement from Knight works in the first and second categories: pushing content into the commons, while engaging a new group of contributors. We will create a mobile app to encourage people to take photos and share them from a list of “most wanted” images. Organizations and individuals will put out the call, and users will be prompted to respond – including (eventually for those who want them) with geo-tagged notifications (“Ryan, we see you’re at the Mozilla Festival. Would you grab a photo of coders hacking the Web?”). All images will be uploaded to a public repository and licensed under CC BY, so anyone can use them. Creators will see their work used more widely, and maybe even “compete” to take the best photo. Internally, we’re calling it “The List, powered by Creative Commons.”

CC tech lead Matt Lee is working with the talented folks in Toronto’s Playground Inc. to create the prototype, and we will be testing our assumptions over the coming months. Everything will be done in the open – we’ll be at the Mozilla Festival in London, UK, later this month sharing our initial work and gathering ideas.

This is new ground for us, but we’re excited about the potential – for better stock photography, better photos on Wikipedia, better citizen journalism, and a wider pool of contributors who have helped to build the commons. Lots more to come, but we’re grateful for Knight’s support and guidance.

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Guest Post: Boundless Invites You to Write the Future of Education

Jane Park, October 15th, 2014

The following is a guest post by Ariel Diaz, Founder and CEO of Boundless, a platform for the creation of open textbooks that are community-built and CC BY-SA-licensed.


boundless concept
Boundless / CC BY-SA

By empowering a dedicated community of contributors in open resources, Creative Commons has given education a strong foundation for creating and sharing content. Beyond the broadly touted affordability and accessibility benefits of open resources, the flexibility these resources offer makes them practical for students and educators everywhere. Now, Boundless is leveraging the power of these open resources and the community to write the future of educational content — and we invite you to join us!

Universal access to education is a right

The wealth of Creative Commons licensed content is core to our efforts at Boundless to make access to high-quality educational content a universal right. All of our content is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license — which gives us a great combination of openness and flexibility, and assures that derivative works stay in the Commons so others can benefit.

Boundless offers content in more than 20 introductory-level college subjects for free on our website and mobile app. Using the CC BY-SA license on our content means an educator can use an article about Long-Term Memory, for example, as content in their classroom and adapt it for their syllabus. Students will save money by using open resources, and educators can share their customized version of that content with the greater Boundless community for further re-use.

principles of microeconomics
Boundless / CC BY-SA

Open content succeeds because of a powerful community

We’re seeing a transition in educational publishing from physical to digital. This transition has been slowed by a conservative industry and lack of great products, but we’re now in a time where entrepreneurs, educators, and more are challenging the status quo to create better teaching and learning opportunities. This gives us an opportunity to create communities of learners, educators, and content creators to build a better, more effective learning experience powered by open content.

I believe that open content succeeds because of its powerful community. The educators, researchers, and more who are motivated to share their work with others keep the flow of education materials moving to benefit their teaching and learning communities. The power of this community means we can challenge the status quo in education — and no longer tolerate static, expensive resources.

Over the past three years, the team at Boundless has worked with an internal community of hundreds of subject matter experts to create and curate open resources for our library of 21 subjects. This foundational content has served more than 3 million students and educators.

We’re committed to not only providing universal access to this content, but also building a collaborative, powerful community to create more content. That’s why I’m proud to share that we’ve brought on one of community education’s biggest advocates as a new Boundless advisor: SJ Klein, a veteran Wikipedian. SJ says,

“Tapping the minds of the teaching community brings great power to educational content. I look forward to working with Boundless as its community grows, not just to create more freely-licensed material, but to provide greater access to it, and make it personalizable.”

SJ is helping us grow and hone our cloud-powered community — so Boundless can do to textbooks what Wikipedia did for encyclopedias.

Write the future of education

For the first time, Boundless is opening up our platform to empower a community of educators and open resource supporters to create, improve, and share educational content. And we’re inviting Creative Commons supporters to help us write the future of education.

The new Boundless cloud-powered community allows for collaboration across disciplines, so contributors can create, edit, and customize content. All content created or customized uses a Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA) to ensure a greater distribution across platforms — making universal access to education a right, not a privilege.

Be part of the future of education by joining our community!

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Our Digital Future: New report and agenda for copyright reform

Ryan Merkley, October 15th, 2014

Our Digital Future
Our Digital Future / OpenMedia.ca / CC BY-NC-SA

OpenMedia.ca just released Our Digital Future: A Crowdsourced Agenda for Free Expression. OpenMedia developed the publication through consultations and surveys with many organizations that care about free expression on the internet. It’s organized around three principles: Respect Creators, Prioritize Free Expression, and Embrace Democratic Processes.

OpenMedia’s report makes a clear and compelling case for a better copyright framework – one that is authored by all of us, developed in the open, and for the benefit of everyone. Too often, monied interests and secret negotiations work against the commons, and we all lose out as a result. We look forward to working alongside OpenMedia to make its thoughtful recommendations a reality, and we hope that this report inspires many more to join us.

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Open Definition 2.0 released

Timothy Vollmer, October 7th, 2014

Today Open Knowledge and the Open Definition Advisory Council announced the release of version 2.0 of the Open Definition. The Definition “sets out principles that define openness in relation to data and content,” and is the baseline from which various public licenses are measured. Any content released under an Open Definition-conformant license means that anyone can “freely access, use, modify, and share that content, for any purpose, subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness.” The CC BY and CC BY-SA 4.0 licenses are conformant with the Open Definition, as are all previous versions of these licenses (1.0 – 3.0, including jurisdiction ports). The CC0 Public Domain Dedication is also aligned with the Open Definition.

The Open Definition is an important standard that communicates the fundamental legal conditions that make content and data open. One of the most notable updates to version 2.0 is that it separates and clarifies the requirements under which an individual work will be considered open from the conditions under which a license will be considered conformant with the Definition.

Public sector bodies, GLAM institutions, and open data initiatives around the world are looking for recommendation and advice on the best licenses for their policies and projects. It’s helpful to be able to point policymakers and data publishers to a neutral, community-supported definition with a list of approved licenses for sharing content and data (and of course, we think that CC BY, CC BY-SA, and CC0 are some of the best, especially for publicly funded materials). And while we still see that some governments and other institutions are attempting to create their own custom licenses, hopefully the Open Definition 2.0 will help guide these groups into understanding of the benefits to using an existing OD-compliant license. The more that content and data providers use one of these licenses, the more they’ll add to a huge pool of legally reusable and interoperable content for anyone to use and repurpose.

To the extent that new licenses continue to be developed, the Open Definition Advisory Council has been honing a process to assist in evaluating whether licenses meet the Open Definition. Version 2.0 continues to urge potential license stewards to think carefully before attempting to develop their own license, and requires that they understand the common conditions and restrictions that should (or should not) be contained in a new license in order to promote interoperability with existing licenses.

Open Definition version 2.0 was collaboratively and transparently developed with input from experts involved in open access, open culture, open data, open education, open government, open source and wiki communities. Congratulations to Open Knowledge and the Open Definition Advisory Council on this important improvement.

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Creative Commons policies grow in New Zealand schools

Matt McGregor, October 6th, 2014

Bethlehem College Preso
Bethlehem College Preso / Locus Research / CC BY-SA

Last month, I had the honour of providing a keynote address and two workshops at a teacher conference at Northcote College1, on the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand.

Like many schools, Northcote is in the process of developing an overarching digital citizenship policy for staff, students, and the wider community. This policy is likely to include – alongside other issues like safety, privacy, research and integrity – a commitment to Creative Commons licensing.

If Northcote College does adopt a Creative Commons policy, they will join between fifty and one hundred New Zealand schools that have decided to formally give permission for teachers to share resources using a Creative Commons licence, with a preference for CC BY and CC BY-SA.

The policy is designed to address the fact that, under Section 21 of the 1994 Copyright Act, the first owner of copyright works made by New Zealand teachers in the course of their employment is their employer – namely, the schools governance board, known as the ‘Board of Trustees’ (BoT).

This means that teachers who share resources they make are legally infringing the school’s copyright – even when they are sharing with other teachers in the New Zealand state education system.

We’re advocating two solutions to this problem. First, we think every school in New Zealand’s pre-tertiary education system – all 2,500 of them – should pass a Creative Commons policy. This policy allows – and encourages – teachers to share their resources with other teachers under a Creative Commons licence.

Second, we think that teachers should adopt practices of finding, adapting, and sharing open content into their workflow. This will give teachers more confidence and flexibility when re-using third-party resources, and provide more resources for other teachers to build on and reuse.

We’ve been working at this for a couple of years now, spreading the word to the many groups working in the sector, including teachers, principals, Boards of Trustees, unions, disciplinary associations, public agencies, and other NGOs.

It’s been a long campaign, but we’re starting to make real progress. We’re giving an average of forty talks and workshops per year to the education sector, and we’re currently looking for ways to scale this work to meet the needs of every school in the country. This will become increasingly important as new resource sharing platforms – such as the crown-owned Network for Learning’s Pond – begin to take off.

The other challenge is to follow the lead of other CC affiliates, such as Poland, and help open up works produced or contracted by the Ministry of Education. There are signs that more of these resources will be openly licensed.

The adoption of open policy in schools coincides with similar moves in the local heritage and research sectors, and follows the continuing integration of CC licensing in central government. While there is still plenty to be done, it appears as if open licensing is on the verge of becoming mainstream across New Zealand’s public institutions – which is definitely good news for the global commons.

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