Commons News

Dossier on EU sound recording copyright extension

Mike Linksvayer, September 6th, 2011

Creative Commons was launched in the aftermath of a retroactive copyright term extension in the U.S. and during a challenge to that extension, a challenge that economist Milton Friedman called a no brainer — a retroactive term extension cannot possibly incent the creation of new works, while at the same time it must rob the public domain.
Since its launch in 2002, Creative Commons has made tremendous strides in fostering the commons. In the last few years, policymakers have increasingly seen the value of making commons a default, e.g., where public information or public interest funding is involved. However, new retroactive copyright term extensions show that public policy continues to be far removed from the public interest — as is the case now with sound recording in the European Union.

The following text is by John Hendrik Weitzmann, Legal Project Lead of Creative Commons Germany and co-author of a new dossier on the EU sound recording copyright extension.


This week and next week will bring defining moments in European copyright policy. The efforts to retrospectively extend the term for related rights in sound recordings to 70 years, halted since 2009 by not finding the necessary majority in the Council of the EU, will probably be approved by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) in Brussels tomorrow.

COREPER prepares the Council’s meeting on Sept 12th, which will without much doubt follow COREPERs preparation and pass the term extension. It will then become EU law even though both, the EU Commission that made the proposal and the EU Parliament that amended and passed it, are no longer in office.

The recent developments have largely been behind closed doors, until Denmark, Portugal and Finland indicated earlier this year that they would no longer oppose the extension. Now the proposal is being pushed to the Council again in an up-speed process.

As the most renowned copyright scholars from Cambridge to Amsterdam and Munich have pointed out again and again, such an extension will severely hurt Europe’s cultural diversity, its innovative potential and the preservation of its cultural heritage. All this in order to help four international corporations to squeeze marginal extra revenue from a fraction of the recordings of the 20th century (the 60s). The session musicians, being the group that the extension move purportedly is meant to support, are going to at best receive between 1 and 2 percent of the cake, extremely biased towards already highly successful artists like Sir Cliff Richard, a tireless campaigner for term extension. This prospect has been proven through economical and legal analysis. Academia has told the EU Commission about this in independent studies, has told the public in the Bournemouth Declaration and the Joint Academic Statement on Term Extension.

To no avail, the only ever reaction was discernible when the EU Parliament in 2009 lowered the Commission proposal’s 95 year term to 70 years and added some side provisions to counter the rights holders dominance in favour of artists. These provisions are well-meant but will not solve the distribution problem, as again was proven by academic experts. Above that, these provisions being added is ‘sold’ to the European public as being possible only if the term extension is passed. This is false. For example, as the Joint Academic Statement points out, the so called use-it-or-lose-it provision is a regular part of the German copyright code since decades ago and was introduced without any connection to a retrospective term extension.

With support by the Wikimedia Foundation, iRights.info has now compiled (blog post in German) a “Dossier on Term Extension for Related Rights in Sound Recordings”. It explains background, timeline and arguments made around the extension plans and is available in German and English.

A broad coverage of what is happening is needed all across Europe. The dossier can be sent around and built upon, it is licensed under CC BY 3.0 Germany and any re-use is highly appreciated.

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$20,000 Open Textbook Challenge from the Saylor Foundation

Jane Park, September 6th, 2011

The Saylor Foundation has been known for organizing comprehensive curriculum for popular subject areas, and licensing the resources when they can under the CC Attribution license. Now with the launch of its Open Textbook Challenge, the Saylor Foundation aims to expand the amount of high-quality CC BY-licensed course materials by offering a $20,000 award for open textbooks! If a textbook is submitted and accepted for use with Saylor.org‘s course materials, then the copyright owners receive $20,000 while the referrer receives $250. Then the textbook is re-licensed (if not already) for free and open use under CC BY. For more information, visit http://www.saylor.org/OTC. The deadline is November 1, 2011.

To submit a textbook with Creative Commons as the referrer, go to http://www.saylor.org/otc-form/?refcode=6.

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Winning poster designs for the Global Summit

Jane Park, August 31st, 2011

The Creative Commons Global Summit Poster Competition has been a huge success, with 38 entries from around the world!

We thank each and every one of you who submitted a design and participated in the voting process. Three winning designs were chosen based on popular vote and by a panel of judges from our CC Poland team (with a little help from other international affiliates).

The popular vote winner was:

GS-poster-PAOF
PAOF by shichigoro / CC BY

Meanwhile, our Polish judges came up with a tie – so we decided to award two judges prizes:

GS-poster-CC-Line
CC Line by Shinjirou / CC BY

GS-poster-Celebration
Celebration! by Amanpreet Singh / CC BY

Each poster will be printed and featured prominently at the lovely Primates Palace in Warsaw for our Global Summit, to be held from September 16-18. The posters will also be displayed as part of a digital CC visual arts exhibit at the venue.

Congratulations to the designers, and thanks to all of you who participated!

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Open government policy developments in Australasia

Jane Park, August 26th, 2011

In the past few months, the Australasian region has seen several developments building on their commitments to open government.

Vienna-Rathausv2
3D Globe at Seattle Central Library by brewbooks / CC BY-NC-SA

Last week in New Zealand, the Ministers of Finance and Internal Affairs adopted a statement detailing a new Declaration on Open and Transparent Government. The Declaration has been approved by Cabinet, and directs all Public Service departments, the New Zealand Police, the New Zealand Defence Force, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service; encourages other State Services agencies; and invites State Sector agencies to commit to releasing high value public data actively for re-use, in accordance with the Declaration and Principles, and in accordance with the NZGOAL Review and Release process. More information on this statement can be found at the CC Aotearoa New Zealand blog.

This follows the release in June and July of websites for Open Access and Licensing Frameworks by both the New Zealand and Australian governments.

NZGOAL, the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing Framework, is administered by Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand, and is a guide for those using the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing Framework, which “recommends the Creative Commons BY licence as a default licence when releasing government held content and data for reuse.” NZGOAL is under a default CC BY license. Success stories of implementation via this framework are documented at opendatastories.org.

Meanwhile, AusGOAL, the Australian Governments Open Access and Licensing Framework is nationally endorsed and administered by the Cross-Jurisdictional Chief Information Officers Committee, and “provides support and guidance to government and related sectors to facilitate open access to publicly funded information.” AusGOAL is also under a default CC BY license, while recommending the suite of CC licenses for copyrighted material and the CC Public Domain Mark for non-copyrighted material.

Much of this has already been roughly documented on our wiki page, Government use of Creative Commons. Please feel free to add to this page any missing use cases or details as they come up.

Lastly, we would like to leave you with another relatively recent development by CC New Zealand — this fun animation video explaining the CC licenses called, Creative Commons Kiwi.

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Data Governance, our idea for the Moore Foundation

Cathy Casserly, August 23rd, 2011

The Moore Foundation has called for community feedback on where to invest in the area of data-intensive science. We’ve submitted our own idea — data governance — and would love your feedback and support for the idea. We have been exploring data governance issues, including data licensing, since 2004 in our science work, and we’re planning to make data governance a priority across the Creative Commons organization going forward.

Data governance is more than just licensing. It’s the system of decision rights and accountabilities for data-related processes that describe who can take what actions with what information, and when, under what circumstances and using what methods. Our work on the Neurocommons project — using web standards to mark up copyright licenses and developing technological infrastructure to make the commons searchable and usable — all inform our ideas on data governance.

We are actively planning for a major project in data in 2012, and look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please register and vote, and not just on our idea — participation in processes like this is a great way to increase their usage by foundations in making funding choices that can benefit the commons.

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Open Government Data in Austria

Jane Park, August 23rd, 2011

Vienna-Rathausv2
City Hall (Rathaus) by http2007 / CC BY

For a while now, government data for the City of Vienna has been open for reuse under the CC Attribution license. In a more national effort, the City of Vienna, along with the Chancellor’s Office and the Austrian cities of Linz, Salzburg and Graz, recently coordinated their activities to establish the Cooperation OGD (Open Government Data) Austria. The cooperation aims to “to forge common standards and develop conditions in which OGD can flourish to the benefit of all stakeholders.” In its first session, the group agreed to eight key points, which were reported at the Linz Open Commons blog. The first key point was also highlighted over at the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) blog in English:

“All public administration will be free under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), meaning it can be reused and shared for any purpose, with only attribution necessary.”

This is great news for Austrian PSI and open government in general. By using CC licenses and tools to communicate broad reuse rights to the content, data, and educational materials they create, governments are stimulating economic growth, promoting citizen engagement, and increasing the transparency of government resources and services.

We will be running several sessions on government data and PSI at the CC Global Summit in Warsaw speaking to these themes and engaging CC affiliates and community from around the world. One month after the summit, the OKF will also host Open Government Data Camp 2011 in Warsaw (now open for registration). Don’t worry if you can’t make it to either event, as we will be providing updates to both on our blog. In the meantime, you can find many more examples of CC use in government at creativecommons.org/government.

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The Technical Working Group for the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative is Announced

Greg Grossmeier, August 16th, 2011

We had a wonderful response from the Call for Participation in the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) Technical Working Group with highly qualified individuals and representatives from many leading organizations in the education field. (As you may recall, LRMI is a project led by Creative Commons and the Association of Educational Publishers to establish a common vocabulary for describing learning resources.) After consultation with the LRMI project partners, we needed to balance all the restrictions of an efficient, productive, and representative working group along with the large numbers of qualified potential members.

The LRMI Technical Working Group membership is:

  • Sheryl Abshire, Calcasieu Parish Public School System
  • Phil Barker, JISC CETIS
  • Dan Brickley, VU University Amsterdam
  • Brian Carver, UC Berkeley School of Information
  • Cable Green, Creative Commons
  • Greg Grossmeier, Creative Commons (Co-Chair)
  • Charlie Jiang, Microsoft
  • Michael Johnson, Full Potential Associates
  • Mike Linksvayer, Creative Commons (Co-Chair)
  • Joshua Marks, Curriki
  • Brandt Redd, Gates Foundation
  • Colin Smythe, IMS Global
  • Stuart Sutton, Dublin Core Metadata Initiative
  • Randy Wilhelm, netTrekker
  • Lee Wilson, PCI Educational Publishing

The first meeting of the Working Group will be a teleconference this Wednesday (August 17th). To follow along with the progress of the group, there is a public timeline and mailing list that anyone can join.

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CC News: Announcing the Creative Commons Global Summit!

Jane Park, August 12th, 2011

Stay up to date with CC news by subscribing to our weblog and following us on Twitter.

Announcing the 2011 Creative Commons Global Summit!

We are thrilled to announce the 2011 Creative Commons Global Summit, now open for registration! The Creative Commons Global Summit will take place over three full days from September 16-18, and is generously hosted by our affiliates at CC Poland. The summit will bring together the CC community in Warsaw, Poland, to engage strategically on the future of our shared commons, to renew and further build CC’s vital community, to collaborate on mutual projects and initiatives, and to celebrate our successes as we head towards the end of our first decade together. For more information, and to register, head on over to the Global Summit wiki.

New Creative Commons Regional Managers

Instrumental in planning for the Global Summit are our new Regional Managers. New hires Jonas Öberg (Europe), Carolina Botero and Claudio Ruiz (Co-Managers, Latin America) will join existing CC staffers Chiaki Hayashi (Asia and the Pacific), Donatella della Ratta (Arab World), Aurelia J. Schultz (Africa), and our new Network Affiliate Coordinator, Jessica Coates, to form a new team dedicated to supporting our Affiliate Network worldwide. Adding staff support for our affiliates is part of a broader strategy CC is currently implementing to enhance the role and profile of the Affiliate Network. The Regional Managers will be dedicated to supporting and working with these local affiliates, while also working together to inform and shape CC’s ongoing development and policy making. Read more.

Design the winning poster for the Global Summit!

Some of our CC affiliates in Asia are hosting a poster design competition for the summit, based on the theme, “Powering an Open Future.” The winning designs (judged by an international panel and by popular vote) will be introduced at the Global Summit with people in attendance from all over the world, featured prominently at the venue and also as part of a CC visual arts exhibit. The designer will receive a gift of the printed poster from a professional publishing company in Warsaw. The deadline is August 22, Japan time, and in less than two weeks! For the complete submission rules and to enter, visit the competition site.

In other news:

  • Support for Creative Commons is growing in Russia.
  • Support for Creative Commons is growing everywhere! The Power of Open launched with seven successful events in Tokyo, Washington DC, Brussels, Rio de Janeiro, London, Paris, and Madrid.
  • The 3rd Creative Commons Arab regional meeting in Tunis also proved to be extraordinary.
  • We participated at the yearly SERCI (Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues) Congress.
  • We talked to Sir John Daniel from the Commonwealth of Learning. COL recently adopted CC BY-SA as part of its new OER policy.
  • We added support for the Learning Resources Metadata Initiative (LRMI) with Greg Grossmeier as our new Education Technology & Policy Coordinator.
  • And lastly, we are in the process of recruiting our next Chief Technology Officer, so do recommend colleagues and friends who seem well suited to be the next CC CTO!
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Announcing the Creative Commons Global Summit!

Jessica Coates, August 11th, 2011

We are thrilled to announce the 2011 Creative Commons Global Summit, now open for registration!

The Creative Commons Global Summit will take place over three full days from September 16-18 in Warsaw, Poland, and is generously hosted by our affiliates at CC Poland.

The theme of this year’s Summit is “Powering an Open Future.” As Creative Commons enters its second decade, prominent thinkers from the commons movement worldwide, including Sir John Daniels from the Commonwealth of Learning, Melissa Hagemann from the Open Society Foundations, CC board member Lawrence Lessig, and CC CEO Cathy Casserly, will come together with experts from our global Affiliate Network, CC staff, and key stakeholders to consider “what next”?

Central to the Summit will be a day-long CC Festival on Saturday, September 17th. This public day will feature a variety of panels, workshops, plenary speakers and a CC visual arts exhibition, showcasing the best of the commons now and in the future. It will include sessions focused on key areas of interest to the commons community worldwide, including education, science, government, data, business and the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) sector. Most excitingly, it will be followed in the evening by a CC Salon, a musical celebration of creativity, remix, and openness.

The Global Summit will also serve as a major meeting and planning forum for the CC community itself, with regional meetings, legal debates, community planning, training workshops, and general discussion and strategizing on the big issues for the next ten years of CC, including the new version 4.0 licenses and supporting and enhancing the Affiliate Network worldwide. The CC Board of Directors will be joining us at the Summit, specifically to meet with the community and engage in these broader discussions.

The Creative Commons Global Summit will be a chance for the whole commons community to communicate, celebrate and connect. We hope you can join us.

For more information, and to register, head on over to the Global Summit wiki. The 2011 Creative Commons Global Summit is a free event, but registration is required.

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Design the winning poster for the Creative Commons Global Summit!

Jane Park, August 10th, 2011

You may have heard about the Creative Commons Global Summit to be held in Warsaw, Poland this September. In the lead up to its public launch later this week, we want you, our community, to get involved!

Some of our CC affiliates in Asia are hosting a poster design competition for the summit, based on the theme, “Powering an Open Future.”

From the website,

The Creative Commons Global Summit 2011 provides an opportunity for volunteers, industry leaders and practitioners of the worldwide open content licensing movement to explore and showcase the past, present and future of Creative Commons, copyright and free culture. It will be an event focused on sharing, openness and collaboration, with an eye towards setting the path for the Creative Commons community over its next 10 years.

The winning designs (judged by an international panel and by popular vote) will be introduced at the Global Summit with people in attendance from all over the world, featured prominently at the venue and also as part of a CC visual arts exhibit. The designer will receive a gift of the printed poster from a professional publishing company in Warsaw.

All submissions must be licensed under the CC BY license and incorporate the CC Global Summit logo (see above for what that looks like). For the complete submission rules and to enter, visit the competition site. (In the case you are not fluent in Japanese, you can change the language to English in the upper right hand corner.)

The deadline is August 22 (Japan time & in less than two weeks!), so we look forward to seeing your creativity in action!

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