The Open Knowledge Foundation’s annual conference, OKCon, is next week in Berlin. They’ve put together an amazing program featuring some of the most exciting projects and speakers in the free/libre/open universe beyond software — though free software is not unrepresented — Richard Stallman is giving what should be an extremely interesting talk on Free/Libre Software and Open Data.
I’m very happy that CC’s policy coordinator, Timothy Vollmer, will be co-presenting with the OKF’s Jordan Hatcher on Open Data Licensing. This follows up on my and Jordan‘s presentations at the Share-PSI workshop in May.
I would also like to highlight sessions by CC project leads from France, Guatemala, and Poland:
- Communia, the international association on the digital public domain (Melanie Dulong de Rosnay)
- Taking the pulse of global Initiatives using technology to promote transparency and accountability (Renata Avila)
- On the road to open data in Poland – where are we now? (Alek Tarkowski)
Go if you can!No Comments »
Since last fall, we’ve been talking at length to various creators about their CC stories—the impact Creative Commons has had on their lives and in their respective fields, whether that’s in art, education, science, or industry. We are thrilled to announce that we have cultivated the most compelling of these stories and woven them together into a book called The Power of Open. The stories in The Power of Open demonstrate the breadth of CC uses across fields and the creativity of the individuals and organizations that have chosen to share their work via Creative Commons licenses and tools.
The Power of Open is available for free download at http://thepowerofopen.org under the CC Attribution license. It is available in several languages, with more translated versions to come. You can also order hard copies from Lulu. We hope that it inspires you to examine and embrace the practice of open licensing so that your contributions to the global intellectual commons can provide their greatest benefit to all people.
We could not have produced this work without the support of all of our creators, many of whom began telling their stories at our Case Studies wiki project, which we encourage you to contribute to—as your story may also be highlighted in publications like The Power of Open!
We would also like to extend deepest thanks to our sponsors, without which this book would just be a bunch of undeveloped stories sitting on a wiki. Thanks to Google, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Mozilla, JISC, PLoS (Public Library of Science), Omidyar Network, Open Society Foundations, the New America Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Microsoft, Microsoft Research, MacMillan, Wellcome Trust, ict Qatar, loftwork, FGV Direito Rio, faberNovel, and Silicon Sentier!
But that’s not all—The Power of Open is launching with events around the world! The official launch is June 29 at The New America Foundation in Washington D.C., featuring Global Voices Online and IntraHealth, with CC CEO Cathy Casserly representing for staff. Additionally, the first event already took place on June 16 in Tokyo, Japan, with Creative Commons Chairperson Joi Ito introducing the book to the Asia/Pacific region. For the full list of events taking place in Brussels, Rio de Janeiro, London, and Paris, head on over to the http://thepowerofopen.org.
Keep up-to-date on the launch events by using the tag #powerofopen on social media.No Comments »
Summer at Creative Commons is always an exciting time and this year we welcome two talented students to share it with us at our Mountain View office!
Copyright and related rights waived via CC0
Casey Fiesler is this year’s Google Policy Fellow. A PhD candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Casey also attended Vanderbilt University Law School. Casey’s PhD work is in the area of Human-Centered Computing. Her work at Creative Commons this summer will involve intense research into how remix artists create and interact with copyright law and technology and how Creative Commons has changed the discourse around copyright law.
Copyright and related rights waived via CC0
Jorge Vargas comes to us from Bogota, Colombia where he has been an active member of the CC Colombia team. He is in his fourth year of law school at Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota and also interns with the Colombian office of an international law firm. As this year’s legal intern, Jorge will be working on a variety of research projects and coordinating with our international Affiliate Network.
A huge welcome to both Casey and Jorge! And if you’re interested in an internship next year (2012), keep in mind that we’ll post a call for applications around February. Get your resumes into shape starting now!No Comments »
Mike Masnick at Techdirt asks Does It Make Sense For Governments To Make Their Content Creative Commons… Or Fully Public Domain?
Ideally all Public Sector Information (PSI; government content and data) would be in the public domain — not restricted by copyright or any related rights. Masnick points to the U.S. federal government’s good policy:
nearly all works produced by the [U.S.] federal government automatically go into the public domain, and don’t receive any form of copyright
Unfortunately it is not quite that good: works produced for the U.S. federal government, but not directly by federal government employees or officers are covered by copyright — including works acquired, produced by contractors, and funded by grants. Furthermore, works produced by U.S. federal government employees are only unambiguously free of copyright in the U.S., thus cannot be considered in the public domain worldwide. This is not to say that the U.S. federal government policy is not stellar — relative to policies of other levels of government within the U.S., and those of other governments worldwide, it truly is, to the particular and tremendous benefit of the U.S. people and economy. But we live in a globalized and highly interconnected world now, and even that stellar policy could be improved.
This brings us to another question: how to improve policy around PSI? The status of U.S. federal government works is specified in the U.S. Copyright Act. Crown Copyright is specified in the copyright acts of various commonwealth jurisdictions. Similarly many other jurisdictions’ copyright acts specify the status of and any special limitations and exceptions to copyright for government works. Clearly changing a jurisdiction’s copyright act or otherwise changing its default status for PSI (preferably to public domain) would be most powerful. But they aren’t changes anyone can effect relatively quickly and deterministically (historically opening up a copyright act has led to more restrictive copyright).
In the meantime (presumably many years) there’s a tremendous desire to make government more accessible and unlock the value of content and data that is funded, held, and produced by governments — and existing public sector copyright defaults are recognized as a barrier to achieving these benefits. Especially in the last few years, governments have been implementing their own directives aimed to modernize PSI while some government agencies and politicians look to move more quickly within their remits, and activist citizens push to clear barriers to the potential of “open government” or “government 2.0″ with utmost urgency. This is where government use of a standard public license, usually one of the Creative Commons licenses, makes lots of sense. An agency, province, city or other body that holds copyright or funds the creation of copyrighted works can choose to open its or funded content by releasing under one of the Creative Commons licenses, or if they are really progressive, under the CC0 Public Domain Dedication.
Many governments are using CC tools in just these ways, and we expect that many more will in the coming years. That said, if any do manage to change policy defaults for PSI such that more government content and data is automatically in the public domain — we will be cheering all the way. In fact, we already have a tool for marking and tagging works that are in the public domain worldwide. The CC Public Domain Mark is currently applicable to really old works, but it would be lovely if a government were to decide to by law make all of its content unambiguously public domain, worldwide, thus making the CC Public Domain Mark applicable (of course there is no requirement to use the mark; it is just there for people and institutions that wish to use it to signal to humans and machines the public domain status of a work).
A couple caveats. First, whether they ought to or not, many governments like using copyright to control PSI. Sometimes the desire comes from a good place, e.g, to have the information be used in a way so as to not mislead the public, imply endorsement of the government, or imply that other regulations, e.g., privacy, do not apply. CC licenses have mechanisms to address these concerns where relevant (e.g., attribution to original URL, noting adaptation, non-endorsement) and government licensing frameworks (or non-binding guidelines in the case of the public domain) that explain orthogonal rights and responsibilities (e.g., privacy) but do not create incompatible licenses are key to addressing these concerns.
Second, although as noted above, usually use of any CC license would give the public more rights to PSI than they have now. But, licenses with a NonCommercial or NoDerivatives restriction set the bar too low. Clearly to maximize the value of public sector information, business needs to have access, and to maximize the ability of citizens to do interesting things with content, adaptation needs to be permitted. We strongly prefer governments use fully free/open CC tools — the CC0 Public Domain Dedication and CC Attribution (BY) and Attribution-ShareAlike (BY-SA) licenses. The Definition of Free Cultural Works and Open Knowledge Definition spell out why those tools are preferred in general. We look forward to working with the Open Knowledge Foundation and others to flesh out the specific and even more compelling case for fully free/open PSI.
- Creative Commons and Public Sector Information: Flexible tools to support PSI creators and re-users
- State of Play: Public Sector Information in the United States
- Creative Commons presentation on interoperability and sustainable sharing policy at the Share-PSI.eu workshop on removing the barriers to pan European market for public sector information re-use and all position papers and slides from that workshop.
- The “Licensing” of public sector information paper from LAPSI, the European Thematic Network on Legal Aspects of Public Sector Information.
The library, archives and museums (i.e. LAM) community is increasingly interested in the potential of Linked Open Data to enable new ways of leveraging and improving our digital collections, as recently illustrated by the first international Linked Open Data in Libraries Museums and Archives Summit (LOD-LAM) Summit in San Francisco. The Linked Open Data approach combines knowledge and information in new ways by linking data about cultural heritage and other materials coming from different Museums, Archives and Libraries. This not only allows for the enrichment of metadata describing individual cultural objects, but also makes our collections more accessible to users by supporting new forms of online discovery and data-driven research.
But as cultural institutions start to embrace the Linked Open Data practices, the intellectual property rights associated with their digital collections become a more pressing concern. Cultural institutions often struggle with rights issues related to the content in their collections, primarily due to the fact that these institutions often do not hold the (copy)rights to the works in their collections. Instead, copyrights often rest with the authors or creators of the works, or intermediaries who have obtained these rights from the authors, so that cultural institutions must get permission before they can make their digital collections available online.
However, the situation with regard to the metadata — individual metadata records and collections of records — to describe these cultural collections is generally less complex. Factual data are not protected by copyright, and where descriptive metadata records or record collections are covered by rights (either because they are not strictly factual, or because they are vested with other rights such as the European Union’s sui generis database right) it is generally the cultural institutions themselves who are the rights holders. This means that in most cases cultural institutions can independently decide how to publish their descriptive metadata records — individually and collectively — allowing them to embrace the Linked Open Data approach if they so choose.
As the word “open” implies, the Linked Open Data approach requires that data be published under a license or other legal tool that allows everyone to freely use and reuse the data. This requirement is one of most basic elements of the LOD architecture. And, according to Tim Berners-Lee’s 5 star scheme, the most basic way of making available data online is to make it ‘available on the web (whatever format), but with an open licence’. However, there still is considerable confusion in the field as to what exactly qualifies as “open” and “open licenses”.
While there are a number of definitions available such as the Open Knowledge Definition and the Definition of Free Cultural Works, these don’t easily translate into a licensing recommendation for cultural institutions that want to make their descriptive metadata available as Linked Open Data. To address this, participants of the LOD-LAM summit drafted ‘a 4-star classification-scheme for linked open cultural metadata’. The proposed scheme (obviously inspired by Tim Berners-Lee’s Linked Open Data star scheme) ranks the different options for metadata publishing — legal waivers and licenses — by their usefulness in the LOD context.
In line with the Open Knowledge Definition and the Definition of Free Cultural Works, licenses that either impose restrictions on the ways the metadata may be used (such as ‘non-commercial only’ or ‘no derivatives’) are not considered truly “open” licenses in this context. This means that metatdata made available under a more restrictive license than those proposed in the 4-star system above should not be considered Linked Open Data.
According to the classification there are 4 publishing options suitable for descriptive metadata as Linked Open Data, and libraries, archives and museums trying to maximize the benefits and interoperability of their metadata collections should aim for the approach with the highest number of stars that they’re comfortable with. Ideally the LAM community will come to agreement about the best approach to sharing metadata so that we all do it in a consistent way that makes our ambitions for new research and discovery services achievable.
Finally, it should be noted that the ranking system only addresses metadata licensing (individual records and collections of records) and does not specify how that metadata is made available, e.g., via APIs or downloadable files.
The proposed classification system is described in detail on the International LOD-LAM Summit blog but to give you a sneak preview, here are the rankings:
★★★★ Public Domain (CC0 / ODC PDDL / Public Domain Mark)
★★★ Attribution License (CC-BY / ODC-BY) where the licensor considers linkbacks to meet the attribution requirement
★★ Attribution License (CC-BY / ODC-BY) with another form of attribution defined by the licensor
★ Attribution Share-Alike License (CC-BY-SA/ODC-ODbL)
We encourage discussion of this proposal as we work towards a final draft this summer, so please take a look and tell us what you think!
Paul Keller, Creative Commons and Knowledgeland (Netherlands)
Adrian Pohl, Open Knowledge Foundation and hbz (Germany)
MacKenzie Smith, MIT Libraries (USA)
John Wilbanks, Creative Commons (USA)
We are currently recruiting for a full-time Office Manager/HR Assistant at Creative Commons. We’ve been settling into our new space in downtown Mountain View, and need expertise in office management. If you have additional experience in human resources administration, then please send us your application via email to “firstname.lastname@example.org.” The ideal candidate will possess creative problem-solving skills, a fun sense of humor, and proficiency with using cutting edge technology. As a CC staff member, you will enjoy a rich benefits package, generous vacation/sick leave, a respectful work environment, and access to opportunities to learn more about the field.No Comments »
There’s been some exciting announcements in support of open educational resources (OER) in Brazil over the last few weeks.
First, legislation was introduced into Brazil’s House of Representatives. The bill deals with three main issues: It 1) requires government funded educational resources to be made widely available to the public under an open license, 2) clarifies that resources produced by public servants under his/her official capacities should be open educational resources (or otherwise released under an open access framework), and 3) urges the government to support open federated systems for the distribution and archiving of OER. Last week in São Paulo, a group of educators, journalists, policymakers, activists, and OER experts held an event at the Legislative Assembly to discuss open education projects and promote OER policies. In addition to this federal legislation, a similar bill will be introduced at the São Paulo state level.
Second, the municipality of São Paulo Department of Education has now mandated that all its educational and pedagogical content will be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial Share-Alike (BY-NC-SA) license. From the translated announcement:
“We didn’t have an appropriate way to license our content”, says Alexandre Schneider, Secretary of Education. “We hold the rights to our content because we created it, and we realized it would be right to release it under a license that allows everyone to use and adapt what was created with public money.”
Congratulations to the REA-Brasil (OER-Brazil) team on these recent successes and ongoing commitment to supporting open education in Brazil.
No Comments »
The Commonwealth of Learning (COL), an intergovernmental organization that “helps governments and institutions to expand the scope, scale and quality of learning,” has defined a new policy on open educational resources (OER). In addition to recognizing the importance of OER for teaching, learning, and collaboration among institutions and governments, the Commonwealth of Learning states that it will “encourage and support governments and institutions to establish supportive policy frameworks to introduce practices relating to OER.”
The new policy specifies that COL will “release its own materials under the most feasible open licenses including the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license.” The CC BY-SA license is currently used for more than 17 million Wikipedia articles in 270 languages, not to mention a plethora of other Wikimedia Foundation projects. Furthermore the CC BY license is compatible with CC BY-SA, and CC BY is used by OER platforms like Connexions and Curriki.org.
We are thrilled at this new development by COL, one of the leading intergovernmental organizations in education! Read the full policy here, and learn more about how IGOs benefit by adopting Creative Commons licenses for their own works.No Comments »
Volunteers from the Albanian community have translated the Creative Commons license suite into Albanian, and would like your help to review the translated text! To leave feedback on the translations, you will need a CC wiki account; once you are logged in, you can comment on the Discussion pages.
Anyone can help translate CC licenses and legal tools via our License and Legal Tools Translation Project. Though translations of the international licenses (formerly known as the “unported” licenses) cannot be used to license works, the translation process can be useful for helping your community learn how our licenses operate, and gives others the opportunity to read the licenses in their native language. Translating the international licenses may be useful for jurisdictions without ported licenses, particularly now that CC has suspended new 3.0 porting projects while we prepare for version 4.0.
Learn more about the translation process and how to get involved at the wiki page.No Comments »
Along with over 50 organizations, I attended a recent European Commission public hearing on access to and preservation of scientific information. Among those present were representatives from national and regional ministries, higher education institutions, libraries, data repositories, public and private funders, scientific societies, supranational research centres, journal publishers and advocacy groups. A majority of those at the hearing were strong proponents of open access (OA).
Because science and digital technology are evolving so rapidly, the hearing was held to collect information in order to re-assess the European Commission’s 2007 Communication on scientific information in the digital age: access, dissemination and preservation. European Commission communications are used to make policy, propose legislation, fund research, and raise awareness. European Commission communications also have a substantial impact on member state national activity.
Supporters of open access asked for continued European Commission financial and political support. The following specific observations and recommendations were made.
- Open access accelerates the speed of science. Time is wasted in serial submissions as researchers first seek the prestigious journals. Publication is not simply a method for communication among peers; it also has practical impacts (social, economic, consumer) that should also be taken into consideration when evaluating impact. A shift is needed away from evaluation of research based at the journal level to one that is based at the article level which can include a wider and more sophisticated variety of post-publication impact metrics beyond mere citations in other journals.
- The European Commission should encourage rewarding the release of data as well as of text articles. Support curation and preservation of data (in digital and non-digital forms such as images, artifacts, and tissues) as well as access. These fields require research themselves to produce globally useful, efficient, transparent and realistic data management plans with sound policy guidelines, longevity and consistent terminology.
- Careful investigation and planning will be required in order to build a strong and useful information architecture for a global research system. The architecture could do many things (link related information such as data sets and software to text articles, collect usage metrics, integrate user-friendly attribution and citation tools, develop unique identifiers for both research output and individual researchers, and develop methods of expressing linked data, structuring metadata, and for publishing data schema and code books that allow machines to give context); however choices should be made based on thorough study.
- Research and dissemination belong together as do access and re-use. The European Commission should recognize OA as a main strategy and support an open access ethic among researchers to encourage them to understand and value non-traditional assessment tools—as well as the value of sharing data—and to willingly contribute useful metrics to the open access publication. Dedicated funding and training should be provided for OA publication and compliance should be monitored.
- Scientific publication needs its own rules because it is profoundly different from revenue-generating work. Scholarship exists only as it is shared and circulated and should be treated as “give-away literature.” Intellectual property rights and even tax laws also need to be harmonized to enable, rather than inhibit, data use and mining and copying for preservation. An author’s right to self-publish in his own institutional repository should be ensured; a fair-dealing exemption should be established for text and data mining—including format shifting for technical purposes—for research purposes; and permissions should be extended for use of orphan and out-of-print works. Contract law should not be allowed to override such protections.
- Government agencies should publish their data management plans and budget for compulsory data preservation. Open formats should also be used in preservation to ensure consistency and compatibility. Clinical trial data should be publicly available to ensure integrity.
- OA needs to be approached globally. The European Commission should set standards for harvesting, curating, trusted processing and presentation of results.
Speakers from the funding, publishing and research communities also urged the adoption of Creative Commons licenses because of their widespread use.
Some publishers expressed caution lest the strengths and values inherent in traditional publication be lost. One approach may not suit all disciplines. Slow science is good for some and enhances the longevity of articles. Careful review procedures produce works with the level of integrity and permanence that deserve high prestige. These include taking time and resources for refereed interaction, keeping review independent from research funding, removing barriers for unfunded/underfunded authors, and ensuring long-term preservation of authoritative copies. And, lastly, open access needs to be sustainable.
My personal observations:
The majority of the attendees were text publishers, so discussion around data was limited with even less said about tissue samples or patent concerns. There are many technical, legal and social hurdles ahead and serious questions about how to best use OA for certain research disciplines. This observer wonders whether the European Commission will be able to coordinate the development of data architectures, standards and guidelines in time to avoid a plethora of incompatible market-generated systems and, even if so, how the European efforts will be coordinated on a global basis.2 Comments »