Commons News

Next Steps: NonCommercial and NoDerivatives Discussion

Timothy Vollmer, December 17th, 2012

In the last few months there has been quite a bit of discussion about what CC should do with the non-free licenses. Some have called for Creative Commons to retire or otherwise change the way we offer licenses containing the NonCommercial and NoDerivatives conditions because those licenses do not create a true commons of open content that everyone is free to use, redistribute, remix, and repurpose. These suggestions have been made by the Students for Free Culture,, the Open Knowledge Foundation, and others.

Creative Commons offers 6 licenses. The BY and BY-SA licenses are considered “Free” because they grant to users a set of freedoms including:

  • the freedom to use the work and enjoy the benefits of using it
  • the freedom to study the work and to apply knowledge acquired from it
  • the freedom to make and redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of the information or expression
  • the freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative works

There are four CC licenses that are considered “non-free” because they do not provide for all of the freedoms listed above. The CC licenses that contain the NonCommercial and/or NoDerivatives terms are considered non-free. These licenses are BY-NC, BY-ND, BY-NC-SA, BY-NC-ND.

Back in August we wrote a blog post about the ongoing discussion around NonCommercial and NoDerivatives and promised to keep the conversation going. We noted that these issues have surfaced frequently over the years, and we reminded readers that CC studied the NonCommercial issue and has worked to try to clearly mark and otherwise communicate the differences between the Free and non-free licenses. For example, CC has placed a “Definition of Free Cultural Works” seal on the BY and BY-SA license deeds. We also included it in the most recent upgrade of our license chooser.

We’re taking a close look at the arguments and recommendations from the various individuals and groups and have generated a few TO-DO items to attempt to address the issues raised. We have aggregated these proposed actions on the CC wiki. We’d appreciate any feedback you have–you can do this over at the CC-Community email list or the wiki Talk page.

Some of the draft actions include the following (you can read more about them on the wiki page):

  • Improve information about which CC licenses align with definitions of “Free licenses”
  • Revive the color-coded “license spectrum” graphic
  • Provide descriptive examples of adoptions of Free and non-free licenses
  • Gather feedback about changing the name of “NonCommercial” to “Commercial Rights Reserved”

This last point warrants a specific mention here, as it would be a big (and potentially sensitive) change to the branding of the Creative Commons NonCommercial licenses. This proposal is for a simple renaming of the “NonCommercial” license element to “Commercial Rights Reserved,” without any change in the definition of what it covers. Renaming it to something that more accurately reflects the operation of the license may ensure that it is not unintentionally used by licensors who intend something different. For more information about the idea and rationale behind this proposal, please see the CC wiki page on the topic.

Again, if you have feedback on the proposed actions or other ideas that haven’t been captured here, please contribute to the CC-community list, the wiki Talk page, or in the comments below. We appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.


CC10: Day 10

Elliot Harmon, December 15th, 2012

CC10 – dublab’s Creative Commons 10th Birthday Video Mix from dublab / CC BY-NC

Ten years ago today, the first Creative Commons licenses were released. Over the past ten days, the CC community has celebrated around the world with concerts, discussions, hackathons, and parties. People in the community have put together mixtapes, created iPhone apps, and blogged about why CC is important to them. And then this happened.

We’ve seen three major announcements: Hatsune Miku becoming CC licensed, a huge grant for open education for adult English language learners, and Wikimedia Commons reaching 15 million files.

We’ve had friends of CC blog about their favorite CC-licensed works: Cory Doctorow on one of his biggest influences, John Wilbanks on an important public domain dataset from an unlikely source, Jason Sigal on a musician who built a career on open licenses, and Gautam John on a CC-licensed children’s book that took on a life of its own.

Today, we talk with Jonathan Worth about the future of open education, and Claudio from Bad Panda Records shares his favorite CC-licensed songs. And we leave you with a pocket guide for the road, courtesy of CC Colombia.

The past ten days have been a testament to the depth and diversity of the Creative Commons community. CC’s greatest strengths are the depth and diversity of material in the commons, and the multitude of the commoners themselves. If you get excited about what this community can do together, then consider making a donation to CC today.


Comments Off on CC10: Day 10

#cc10 Featured Platform: Bad Panda Records

Elliot Harmon, December 15th, 2012

Each day during CC’s tenth anniversary celebration, we’ve featured a different platform that hosts CC-licensed content, ranging from music to science to education. Today, we feature a favorite of ours, Bad Panda Records.

Bad Panda is a netlabel that releases one song a week, all under CC BY-NC-SA. Bad Panda also offers CDs and LPs of many of the featured artists. Founded in 2010, Bad Panda has quickly grown into a major hub of the #ccmusic community.

We contacted Bad Panda founder Claudio and asked him a few questions. We asked him to suggest a few of his favorite Bad Panda tracks, which are listed at the end of the interview. He also put together his own #cc10 mixtape, which you can enjoy at his site.

Tell me a bit about how Bad Panda started. Was CC licensing a part of the plan from the beginning?

It started with the idea of re-imagining what could be a label in the year 2010 – building the label from the bottom up without any financial help, just using tools that internet people is building. CC licensing is definitely a part of the plan, it wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Completely inspired by Lawrence Lessig’s words and by a meeting with Joi Ito in Rome around december 2009.

CC has clearly become a more viable option for musicians than it was a few years ago. Do you think artists are less reluctant to share now? Is it because people understand CC better now than they used to, or because of changes in the landscape?

It’s probably both reasons even if honestly still see some people confused at how CC works, especially here in Italy (and some speculations as well).

Do you have any stories of surprising ways in which people have reused music that was featured on Bad Panda?

Dumbo Gets Mad was in BBC’s Planet Earth, a choreographed dance somewhere in the USA, and a short featuring Possimiste.

Claudio’s favorite CC-licensed songs

Dumbo Gets Mad – Radical Leap from Dumbo Gets Mad on Vimeo.


#cc10 Interview: Jonathan Worth’s Connected Classroom

Elliot Harmon, December 15th, 2012

As a well-known British portrait photographer, Jonathan Worth has taken photographs of hundreds of famous people. But don’t take his photography classes if you’re hoping to meet Jude Law. “I see that I am quite a commodity for a university: I’m one step away from someone who’s incredibly famous. And there’s a misguided assumption that because I have photographed famous people, that I am somehow connected and friends with them.” Today, Jonathan is offering his students at Coventry University a different kind of connectedness, a kind that’s less about celebrity and more about building a community of peers.

Along with fellow photographer Matt Johnston, Jonathan teaches a course at Coventry College called #PHONAR (photography and narrative). Although thousands of people have participated in the course over the Internet and all of the lectures and course materials are licensed CC BY-SA, he doesn’t consider it a MOOC. But it might be a hugely important step in the development of open education.

When we interviewed Jonathan for The Power of Open a few years ago, he was cautiously optimistic about the possibilities for photographers in a more connected world. “We don’t have all the answers,” he said, “but CC […] helps me take advantage of the things working against me.”

When Jonathan was approached to teach an undergraduate photography class, he was excited about it, but also leery of how to teach young photographers as they enter a world in which professional opportunities are far from a guarantee. “Me as supplier doesn’t work. I used to think that my product was photographs, and that was it. It doesn’t work that way. I can’t control my images on the internet. And so when I stopped trying to do that, it changed the way that I thought about myself and what I do.

“I said, ‘I’ll write these classes so long as they’re not the same classes that I’d done before, which were written in the 70s.’ It would be morally bereft of me to do that.”

And so Jonathan set out to put the classes together, asking himself some tough questions about what it means to be a photographer today, and what it means to be a teacher too. “I agreed to do the classes, so long as they put front and center that my old business model and career structure were gone. No one’s written what it means to be a 21st century photographer. No one’s written that book. That also meant that I wasn’t necessarily the best teacher in the world. I had to learn my craft as a teacher, but I didn’t know all the answers. So I couldn’t sit there and spout off the answers.”

Jonathan explained to me that he saw the class as an opportunity to explore these complicated issues with his students as part of a broader community. And involving that community necessarily meant licensing the course openly, because that allowed him and his students to engage with a broader community.

“I’m trying not to use the word ‘open’ now,” Jonathan told me. “I prefer the word ‘connected.’” And connected the classes are: Jonathan regularly collaborates with luminaries from the photography world — Steve Pyke and Chris Floyd have been recent guests — but so have people from other fields. “Cory Doctorow, he’s obviously not a photographer. But photographers don’t have all the answers. I was looking around — authors are making some ground. Musicians are lightyears ahead of us.”

But here’s the secret sauce of of Jonathan’s connected classroom: each of those contributors brings their own communities into the fold. And Jonathan sees those connections as the real value of conducting the class openly. “That abundance of people is not a burden. I have 20 people in the room, and one person who tunes in for one of my classes, and they look at one of my students’ work, and they tell one of their friends about it, they’ve amplified the classroom experience for that student. They’re bringing attention to the student. They’re bringing support. That’s what the students need, to have that network.”


Comments Off on #cc10 Interview: Jonathan Worth’s Connected Classroom

CC10: Day 9

Elliot Harmon, December 14th, 2012

Creative Commons Korea

It’s getting hard to keep up with all of the CC10 commotion. Today, the CC community is celebrating in Muscat, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and Seoul.

Not to be outdone by the #cc10 Europe mixtape, Creative Commons Korea has created a #cc10 iPhone app featuring ten musicians who license their work under CC. Bad Panda Records has put together a #cc10 mix of its own, and dublab made a video mixtape. Meanwhile, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory had a gathering in honor of CC, meaning there have now been CC10 celebrations on every continent in the world.

And here on the blog, we’re celebrating the diverse group of artists and creators who use Creative Commons licensing. Behance founder and CEO Scott Belsky explains why artists don’t need to be afraid of open licensing. And we welcome one of the newest members of the family of CC-licensed works, virtual pop star Hatsune Miku. Finally, we highlight Open Attribute, a browser plug-in that makes attribution easy.

Comments Off on CC10: Day 9

#cc10 Featured Platform: Behance

Elliot Harmon, December 14th, 2012

Scott Belsky

Scott Belsky / transmitNOW events / CC BY-NC

Throughout CC’s tenth anniversary celebrations, we’re profiling media platforms with CC integration, and talking to the people behind those platforms to see what role CC plays in their communities.

Behance is a platform and community for designers and other creative people. Behance is a major hub for designers to be seen; its testimonials page has dozens of stories, both of designers who got work by sharing their portfolios on Behance and of big-name companies who used it to find talent. Most interestingly, Creative Commons licensing is the default on Behance. When you select “All Rights Reserved” for a project, you’re warned that “This will limit your exposure.”

I wanted to know why Behance placed so much importance on CC licenses, so I reached out to founder and CEO Scott Belsky. I also asked Scott to pick a few of his favorite CC-licensed projects on Behance. A few of those are sprinkled throughout this blog post; the rest are listed at the end.

Jellyfish Madness
Jellyfish Madness / Alexander Semenov / CC BY-NC

How much of the content on Behance is CC-licensed? Has that number stayed constant or changed since you implemented CC licensing?

Over 75% of content published on Behance is CC-licensed. We implemented CC-licensing from the very beginning, and it is by far the preferred copyright setting. Those that choose otherwise are often doing so at their client’s request or for some other contractual concern.

For some artists and designers, the argument for CC licensing a portfolio might not be obvious. Can you tell me any success stories users have had with open licensing, or examples of interesting conversations you’ve had with users about how they use CC?

The primary driver of CC licensing is a desire to share broadly with reasonable restrictions. Behance is a global platform of over a million creative professionals from around the world. One of the primary benefits of being on Behance is the constant stream of inspiration and opportunities. There have been all sorts of collaborations – many of them non-commercial and born out of love – that are the result of CC-licensing. We want Behance to be the wind at the backs of creative careers, and CC has been a primary ingredient in the growth and values of Behance.

Inspiration Pad
Inspiration Pad / Marc Thomasset / CC BY-NC-ND

Since Behance started, have you seen creators’ attitudes about sharing changing?

Sharing is the new “networking.” Rather than focus on business card exchanges and networking receptions, the creative community builds professional networks by sharing their creations, feedback, and resources. Look no further than GitHub, a platform for sharing amongst the development community that likely facilitates as many career opportunities as traditional resumes. In Behance, we see a growing value for transparency and attribution. Many thousands of projects are published every single day, and we’re helping organize the data around this creative work. We’re also trying to help people sort through the work and find talent.

If you create something in this world, you should get credit for it. The creative industry has never valued attribution, especially when it comes to advertising and entertainment. But the power is shifting away from agencies and middlemen to the creatives themselves. It’s an exciting trend, but it depends on a continued culture of transparency and sharing.

Scott’s favorite CC-licensed projects


1 Comment »

#cc10 Antarctica!

Elliot Harmon, December 14th, 2012

CC10 Antarctica
CC10 Antarctica / Nils Irland / IceCube Neutrino Observatory / CC BY

Remember when Jessica said we were “working on” a CC10 meetup in Antarctica? She wasn’t kidding. We got in touch with our friends at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, and before we knew it, IceCube researchers Nils Irland, Blaise Kuo, and Felipe Pedreros were toasting Creative Commons from the geographic South Pole.

“Nils is part of our IT team and was down to help replace some servers,” IceCube communications manager Laurel Norris told us in an email. “Blaise and Felipe are just now starting their stint as winterovers – meaning they will be at the South Pole for the entire winter (24 hour darkness). Aside for a short trip to the coastal research station of McMurdo, they will not leave the South Pole until Nov 2013.”

As it turns out, IceCube researchers spend a lot of time thinking about the future of open. In its data policy (PDF), IceCube echoes the Antarctic Treaty’s provision that “to the greatest extent feasible and practicable, scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available.” For information on data sharing in Antarctica, see our case study on Polar Commons.

And with that, we now know of 31 CC10 gatherings around the world, on every continent. There have been five CC10 mixtapes, a CC10 iPhone app, a world-famous virtual singer going CC, and who knows what will happen in the next three days. This community is mind-boggling.

We’re humbled by the worldwide outpour of support we’ve seen for CC’s tenth anniversary. Please join us as we take on the next decade together, and donate $25 to Creative Commons.

1 Comment »

CC10Musicians iPhone app from CC Korea

Timothy Vollmer, December 14th, 2012

CC Korea has given Creative Commons a cool 10th birthday present with the release of the CC10Musicians iPhone app (Android app coming soon). From CC Korea:

We introduce 10 teams of musicians sharing their music under a Creative Commons License. From Brazil to Iceland, from Hip-Hop to Indie Rock, discover awesome music from all over the genre, all over the world. CC10Musicians App allows you to listen to the 10 selected artists’ work on live streaming and share some spread-worth music with your Facebook and Twitter friends.

The app looks (and sounds) great, and is easy to use. Many thanks to CC Korea for a fantastic birthday gift!

cc korea


Hatsune Miku Joins the CC Community

Chiaki Hayashi, December 14th, 2012

“Hatsune Miku has inspired thousands of people to create their own musical recordings and remixes. It’s fitting that she’d become CC-licensed, joining forces with a movement that lives to make sharing and remixing easier. I’m thrilled to welcome to welcome Hatsune to the ranks of CC-licensed works.”
–Catherine Casserly, Creative Commons CEO

“Crypton’s Hatsune Miku is an amazingly unique, inspiring and successful example of how sharing pulls together in community to empowers and explosion of creativity. It’s one of my favorite projects. I’m so excited that Creative Commons can now be part of that story.”
–Joi Ito, Creative Commons board member, Director at the MIT Media Lab

Hatsune Miku

Hatsune Miku / Crypton Future Media / CC BY-NC

In celebration of the tenth anniversary of Creative Commons, we are happy to announce that Hatsune Miku has joined the CC community!

Hatsune Miku is the first and most famous virtual singer. What sets Miku apart from other “characters” is the original “remix-free” license for users. Since her debut in 2007, Miku have been remixed and cherished by fans, resulting in 170,000+ videos on YouTube, 95,000 songs, and 500,000+ artworks created by the community.

Hatsune Miku also played the major role at TOYOTA USA and Google Chrome TV commercials. She has performed sold-out shows with 3D images not only in Japan, but also in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Singapore. To deal with growing demands from the world, Crypton Future Media Inc., which gave a birth to Hatsune Miku and owes her character, has decided to adopt the CC BY-NC license on December 14th.

“The creative culture using Hatsune Miku and related community will spread worldwide by applying a CC license to the illustration of Hatsune Miku. I hope that this encourages cross-border collaborations among creators and enables them to deepen their understanding of each other’s culture and respect to creators through their works and creation.”
–Hiroyuki Ito, CEO of Crypton Future Media, Inc.


CC10: Day 8

Elliot Harmon, December 13th, 2012


Wow. There are not one, but four five CC10 mixes of Creative Commons–licensed music!

That’s enough CC music to get you well into the weekend. Meanwhile, the German CC community is celebrating in Munich, and here on the blog, we’re celebrating the do-it-yourself spirit of the CC community.

CC Portugal’s Teresa Nobre explains the #cc10 Europe project and gives a little glimpse into the life of a CC European affiliate. And Jamendo’s Pierre Gérard talks about the history of Jamendo and encourages musicians to let their music be free.

Finally, we’re featuring The School of Open, CC’s new collaboration with P2PU, where anyone can create new courses. This year, The School of Open has grown from a simple idea into a vital resource for the open community.

Edited Dec 14 to add Bad Panda’s #cc10 mix to the list.

Comments Off on CC10: Day 8

Page 41 of 405« First...1020...394041424344...5060...Last »