Commons News

Learn how to get your Creative Commons project funded

Jane Park, March 1st, 2011

If you are serious about a Creative Commons project idea, you may be interested in the free, online course, “Getting your CC project funded,” set to run in April. The course consists of a series of workshops and seminars that will take you through the steps from an initial idea to having a finished project proposal for submission, including assistance in identifying and finding funding bodies and collaborations relevant for your project. You provide the idea; the course provides the guidance to turn it into a proposal that can’t be refused.

The course will be run by Jonas Öberg from the Nordic CC network, a lecturer at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden with extensive grant writing and reviewing experience with the European Commission and several Nordic cultural foundations. “Getting your CC project funded” will run on the Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) in April, and we especially invite CC Affiliates and friends to participate!

As with all P2PU courses, the course is free to take. Though only 15 active participants will be accepted into the course, the entire course, material, and other information, including the proposals which you write in the course, will be open for anyone to follow on the P2PU platform under the CC BY-SA license.

You can read more at http://p2pu.org/general/getting-your-cc-project-funded. You may start brainstorming at anytime, but official sign-up opens March 31.

If you already have experience writing and reviewing funding proposals… you may be interested in joining the team of expert external reviewers. More info on the current team is available on our wiki. If interested, please contact Jonas directly or janepark [at] creativecommons [dot] org. Though the course itself will be run in English, project proposals may be written and reviewed in English, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Russian and Bulgarian. More languages may be added depending on the final team of reviewers.

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Creative Commons sponsors WikiSym 2011

Jane Park, February 24th, 2011

We are thrilled to announce our involvement in the 7th annual WikiSym, International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration. WikiSym explores the impact of wikis, open resources, and open technologies across all sectors of society, including education, law, journalism, art, science, publishing, business, and entertainment.

WikiSym 2011 will be held in Mountain View, California on October 3-5. You don’t want to miss this conference. WikiSym draws an international group of leading thinkers from industry, non-profits and academia. Last year’s WikiSym 2010 in Poland was packed with exciting people and ideas. WikiSym 2011 is gearing up to be the best gathering on open collaboration ever held.

Creative Commons is an official sponsor of the event, and we will be presenting some of our ideas on Open Educational Resources (OER) and open content in general.

Want to present your ideas at WikiSym 2011? The program will include: research papers, workshops, panel discussions, poster sessions, demos, and a doctoral symposium. See the call for participation page for details and deadlines. Be sure to follow their blog and Twitter account for updates leading up to the event.

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Sintel, 4k edition (and why it’s useful)

Chris Webber, February 19th, 2011


A frame of Sintel by the Blender Institute / CC BY

This week brings us another open movie milestone: a 4k release of Sintel! This super-high definition version (4096 x 1744 pixels) is being hosted by the fine people at xiph.org. As mentioned in the article, there will be some screenings, though you can also download the files yourself. Be aware however that the files are very large. From the article:

The original 4k version (8 bits per color, tif) now is available via the The Xiph.Org Foundation download site too, which is 160 GB of data! We are currently also uploading the 16 bits per color files, 650 GB of data, and which will be finished around 25 February.

We’ve done an interview with Ton Roosendaal, Sintel’s producer and also have mentioned previous blender institute high resolution releases. But perhaps it’s worth answering the question… why is this useful? Besides possibly doing a super-high-resolution screening, maybe marveling at some individual frames, why might this matter?

So I asked Ton Roosendaal what he thought the 4k release might be useful for. He replied with:

[Our previous film] Big Buck Bunny has become kind of a reference for video devices worldwide. Here’s a good example, an e-ink display playing video. I just got this link today, but I get these all the time.

The (film) industry is incredibly protective, so for a lot of researchers our films are very useful. Like the Xiph.Org Foundation, they support OGG and open codecs; for codec developers, having access to the uncompressed HDR (3×16 bits color) is really cool. That’s how Pixar and Disney manage to make superior DVDs or BluRay encodings.

The film industry will move to 4k as well, and having free / openness here is relevant. Most films nowadays are also shot in 4k digital cameras; 2k or HD is for home usage. In a couple of years it will be 8k even. This is going to be pushed a lot by the industry, like stereoscopic film is. So, instead of having Creative Commons as an expression of “democratic” mass media, we use it for innovation and research first. It’s a small but relevant target audience (who are also very happy users of Creative Commons).

Aside from the usefulness question, I wanted to also ask Ton about the difficulty level of this release. I asked: “<troll>Isn’t rendering in 4k just upping the resolution setting in the render panel and walking away from your renderfarm for a while, perhaps to get a lot of coffee?</troll>”

I also would like to write an article about the 4k experience [editor's note: see also Pablo Vazquez's post on the challenges of rendering in 4k]. For some weird reasons, moving from ‘video’ to HD seems to be easier than from HD to 4k. Computers, networks, hard drives etc work fine for HD work. We can play HD realtime, and any computer user expects such.

The other strange thing is that detail level becomes totally intimidating. You watch an HD screen as a TV still. When looking at a 4k picture you watch it more like in a theater; your eyes wander around the picture to check details. This is why ‘film’ for cinemas usually is much richer and more detailed than TV shows.

But the troll could be right; in theory you just set the button to “4k” and let it render. Our artists didn’t do it, they produced the detail levels that justify 4k screening as well. They may be not optimal, as we only had a couple of 4k screenings to view our work.

So there you have it. The Sintel 4k release shows hope for helping open video codecs, device manufacturers, and the technology industry in general. And, of course, a beautiful sight to see, all under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported. Congratulations to the Sintel team on this release!

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Creative Commons 2010 Figures

Allison Domicone, February 18th, 2011

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization and we happily provide all of our tools for free. As a result, we rely on our international community of users and advocates to give back to this vital public resource and support our work. With so many worthy causes in the world vying for peoples’, foundations’, and companies’ support, we are grateful so many have given whatever they are able to help keep CC afloat and going strong for the past 8 years. In the spirit of transparency and openness, below are some numbers to give you an idea of where our money comes from (You can also see real-time figures as they come in). We’d like to see these numbers continue to grow, just as CC license adoption and use of our tools has grown so steadily since 2002. Please donate today and join our international ranks of supporters to make 2011 our best year yet.

Breakdown of Overall Revenue for 2010

Donations from Individuals and Family Foundations since 2005

Donations from Corporate Donors since 2005

Revenue from Online Store since 2007

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The Lebanese Creative Commons community gains momentum

Lebanese Creative Commons Community, February 14th, 2011

This post is by the Lebanese Creative Commons Community, who shares this Slideshare presentation to accompany the milestones outlined below.

In the past three years, the Lebanese CC Community has started to structurally gain momentum and actively co-create together on local, regional and multi-national levels. The community that we have is vibrant and diverse consisting of visual artists, photographers, musicians, NGOs, and publishers—each with his own story and journey with CC.

You will hear more from us this month about the success stories and profiles of selected Lebanese CC Community members sharing the various ways they use CC to create and share. We would like to start this with a visual blast, a presentation to introduce our artists and content creators.

But also, we wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what we have been up to the past year, and what we look forward to in 2011 to further enhance CC license usage and creative collaborations.

In April 2010, after participating in CC events around the region, Beirut finally had its first CC salon which showcased local work licensed under CC and the individual stories behind them. And six months later, following the CC regional meeting in Qatar, we were honored to host CC founders Joi Ito and Professor Lessig for an official launch of CC initiatives. We also felt supported and safe with having on board a “legal duo” of Lebanese lawyers, Pierre al Khoury and Mohammed Darwish, who will be helping in dispersing knowledge about CC, advocate for CC protected works and follow up on any infringement issues within the Lebanese Legal community in the future.

The near future also holds another milestone for us; this month will be the launch of the Lebanese CC Community official website as part of the CC site. What is also remarkable is that the site structure and content is a crowd-sourced effort of our community and under the creative management of our amazing Naeema Zarif, who has been our community “brand’s” representative both locally and regionally.

We’d like to thank the CC Community for hosting us this month, as we all look forward to Create, Share, Remix and Reuse with you!

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CC ePSIplatform topic report published

Timothy Vollmer, February 11th, 2011

We’ve been working on a series of blog posts for the European Public Sector Information Platform (ePSIplatform) on the role of Creative Commons in supporting the re-use of public sector information. In addition, we’ve published a topic report. The abstract is posted below.

Creative Commons and Public Sector Information: Flexible tools to support PSI creators and re-users

Public sector information is meant for wide re-use, but this information will only achieve maximum possible impact if users understand how they may use it. Creative Commons tools, which signify availability for re-use to users and require attribution to the releasing authority, are ideal tools for the sharing of public sector information. There is also increasing interest in open licenses and other tools to share publicly funded information, data, and content, including various kinds of cultural resources, educational materials, and research findings; Creative Commons tools are applicable here and recommended for these purposes too.

Again, you can download the topic report (licensed under CC BY) via the ePSIplatform site.

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CC tools and PSI: Supporting attribution, protecting reputation, and preserving integrity

Diane Peters, February 11th, 2011

The following is cross-posted from the blog of the European Public Sector Information Platform (ePSIplatform). ePSIplatform is a comprehensive  portal showcasing research and projects working to stimulate and promote public sector information (PSI) re-use and open data initiatives in Europe. Creative Commons is pleased to contribute a series of blog posts discussing the role of CC tools for use in public sector information.

In an earlier blog post, we promised to share some useful “things you may not know” about legal and technical aspects of CC tools, especially as they relate to the release of public sector information.  Publishers of PSI – which may include governments and their agencies, but also others – have a strong desire to receive the credit they deserve through proper attribution, while simultaneously safeguarding their reputations when information is re-used.  They also care about preserving the integrity of the information they provide, so that the original can be differentiated from modified forms, and can be easily located. CC’s legal tools provide sound and tested solutions for each of these needs.

Attribution

Creative Commons tools provide a sophisticated, flexible method for attribution that addresses the needs of those making PSI available (licensors) and those using the information (licensees).  Attribution is a condition of all Creative Commons licenses. This requirement calls for preservation of any copyright notice, attribution (recognition of the licensor as the copyright holder of the work) and the URL (link) to the original work if provided as well as to the CC license. The attribution requirement thus serves the dual purpose of ensuring that the publisher of PSI receives appropriate credit, and that provenance information for published PSI is kept intact.

CC licenses allow governments and others releasing public sector information to define how they want to be attributed, in advance at the point of publication.  For instance, a licensor may request a specific attribution statement separate from or in addition to credit for the individual author or the releasing agency, or request that attribution be made to another person or entity altogether, such as a funder, publisher or journal. Below is an example attribution statement that includes attribution to an author and credit to a funder, though any number of custom statements might be crafted:

“An evaluation of non-motorized traffic accidents from 2000-2010,” by Mary Smith. Funded by the Polish Ministry of Transport. Available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland license.

Licensors may also request not to be attributed at all, and can require users to remove the credit otherwise required.  For example, if PSI released under a CC license is aggregated with other content and published in a collection, or if the PSI is itself modified (when a CC license permitting modification is applied), then the licensor may request removal of the credit to which it is otherwise entitled from the collection or the modified work, regardless of the reason.  This removal mechanism enables the publisher to distance itself from re-uses, a feature that may also be used to protect the licensor’s reputation.

CC tools also make it easy for users of PSI to comply with attribution requirements. CC licenses allow for flexibility in the way attribution is implemented depending on the means used by a licensee to re-distribute the information.  There may be different expectations for attribution based on the format in which the PSI is re-used.  For example, providing attribution to the author when re-distributing information via a blog post is different than crediting the author within a video remix.  All CC licenses provide that attribution must be provided in a manner “reasonable to the medium or means” used by the licensee, and for credit to be provided in a “reasonable manner.”  This flexibility facilitates compliance by licensees – minimizing the risk that overly onerous and inflexible attribution requirements are simply disregarded as being too difficult – while at the same ensuring that credit is still provided.

CC’s straightforward yet flexible method of attribution makes it easy for users to “do the right thing.”  Licensees are more likely to use and republish the information and provide proper attribution, just as intended by the publisher, because no fixed or unbending form(at) is dictated. At the same time, institutions releasing PSI consistently receive the credit they are due.

Reputation

Governments and others want to release PSI and allow others to re-use, build upon, and combine the information with other materials in impactful and meaningful ways, yet some may be concerned that their reputation might be tarnished depending on how the information is re-used.  Protecting the reputation of publishers is critical, and CC licenses have several features that help ensure that this high priority need is met.  In addition to the credit removal mechanism mentioned above, CC licenses also contain a “no endorsement, no sponsorship” clause.  This standard feature of all CC licenses prohibits licensees from implicitly or explicitly asserting or implying any connection with, sponsorship or endorsement by the licensor without express, prior written consent.  Any violation of this clause results in automatic termination of the licensee’s right to use the CC-licensed PSI.

CC licenses help protect reputation in other ways, too.  When PSI is licensed under a CC license that permits modifications (any license without the “NoDerivatives” condition), anyone modifying the information must clearly label or identify that changes have been made.  This marking requirement puts users of the modified work on notice that the original has been modified, helping ensure that modifications are not wrongly associated with the original publisher of the PSI.  This feature, in combination with the requirement that the URL for the original must be provided, properly distances the original publisher of the information from the modifications (whether or not desired) and facilitates comparison of the original with the modified version.  Finally, CC licenses do not grant permission to use anyone’s trademarks or official insignia, nor do the licenses affect other laws that may be used to protect one’s reputation or other rights – those rights are all reserved and may be enforced separately by the publisher of the PSI.

Integrity

Some publishers of PSI may worry that information they release may be changed for the worse, re-used in a way that compromises the integrity of the original, or mixed with information from other sources in a way that compromises the integrity of the original release. CC licenses guard against these worries in several ways. Importantly, when PSI is released under a CC license permitting modification, any modifications that are made do not affect the integrity of the original material because any changes are made to a copy of the released information. The original remains intact and preserved, exactly as released (most typically) on the publisher’s website.  Additionally, the attribution and credit requirements described above require that adaptations provide a link to the URL for the original (if provided), ensuring everyone has access to the authoritative work in its unmodified form for reference and comparison purposes.  These mechanisms, together with the requirement that modified works be clearly marked to alert downstream users that modifications have been made (and the original may be easily be found through the link to its URL), provide a net of safeguards to help preserve the integrity of the original PSI release.

CC tools offer flexible yet legally and technically robust mechanisms for ensuring attribution in the preferred manner of the publisher (when credit is desired).  They also protect publishers’ reputations and alleviate concerns about preserving the integrity of the original information.  These mechanisms work together easily and seamlessly, giving confidence to publishers choosing CC licenses for their PSI.

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Designing assessment and credit pathways for open education learners

Jane Park, February 9th, 2011

open badge infrastructure prototype
Badge prototypes by P2PU & Mozilla / CC BY-SA

Getting students formal credit for their free and open education is a challenge, but groups and institutions are working around the world to come up with alternative pathways to recognition. The Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is one such group that explored the topic in an assessment workshop last September and then co-designed virtual “badges” for recognition in real time at the Mozilla Drumbeat Festival in Barcelona. P2PU and Mozilla are piloting these badges via the P2PU School of Webcraft, and have solicited would-be developers for the skills and competencies that would best be reflected by a badge system. In collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, they have drafted An Open Badge System Framework: A foundational piece on assessment and badges (Google doc).

A meeting to build an OER University


Alternatives, such as the badge system above, may factor into a plan to bring formal recognition to open education learners’ achievements. In an effort to combine institutional forces, the Open Educational Resources (OER) Foundation will host an international planning meeting on February 23 to co-design assessment and credit pathways for open learning. As open educational resources (OER) under CC licenses become more integrated into institutional education, the OER foundation (along with Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand, the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, and Athabasca University in Canada) is hoping to “provide flexible pathways for OER learners to earn formal academic credit and pay reduced fees for assessment and credit.”

The challenge is to find robust mechanisms for academic credit for these OER learners. “Students seek flexible study opportunities, but they also want their achievements recognised in credible credentials.” said Sir John Daniel, President of the Commonwealth of Learning. “This important meeting will tackle the challenges of combining flexibility with rigour, which requires clarity in conception and quality in execution.”

The OER Foundation invites and encourages all post-secondary institutions and others “who care about sharing knowledge as a core value of education” to join the meeting, which will be streamed virtually by UNESCO to enable participation by all.

The foundation believes “OER is a sustainable and renewable resource,” but that “collaboration among education institutions will be a prerequisite for success.”

Learn more about the OER for Assessment & Credit for Students Project and see UNESCO’s announcement for more information.

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Open Attribute, a simple way to attribute CC-licensed works on the web

Jane Park, February 7th, 2011

Open Attribute, “a suite of tools that makes it ridiculously simple for anyone to copy and paste the correct attribution for any CC licensed work,” launched today with browser add-ons for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. The add-ons “query the metadata around a CC-licensed object and produce a properly formatted attribution that users can copy and paste wherever they need to.”

If you use our license chooser and copy and paste the resulting HTML code into your website, then you’re pretty much good to go. Anyone who uses the Open Attribute browser add-on to query your site will automatically receive a formatted HTML or plain text attribution that they can copy and paste to give you the proper credit.

Open Attribute uses CC REL metadata found in the pages to generate the attribution metadata. You might remember that we developed a guide with real examples to make CC REL metadata much easier to implement: CC REL by Example contains example HTML pages, as well as explanations and links to more information. If you’re curious to see how Open Attribute pulls the metadata, the guide includes a specific section on Attributing Reuses.

Open Attribute is a direct result of the Mozilla Drumbeat Festival held last year in Barcelona on Learning, Freedom and the Web. See Molly Kleinman’s post for a more comprehensive run-down of the origins and team behind Open Attribute.

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Get Your Limited Edition “Share” Shirt!

Allison Domicone, February 7th, 2011

We are thrilled to announce a limited edition shirt designed by the creative folks at Imaginary Foundation. The shirt speaks to the power of shared knowledge and creativity, and can be yours for $30 in the CC Store.

This is a great way to show your support for CC’s mission to realize the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research, education, full participation in culture, and driving a new era of development, growth, and productivity.

Imaginary Foundation already believes in the power of the Internet and a more participatory culture:

“Sharing is the mechanism that propels culture forward. Cultural evolution, like its biological counterpart, is driven by random mutation. This process of recombination, iteration and sharing enables the stickiest ideas to survive. When we share, it is as though the global imagination is breathing. To inhale is to be nourished by inspiration–to exhale is to evoke it.” – The Director, Imaginary Foundation

Join Imaginary Foundation and Creative Commons in showing how much we can accomplish when we share! Get your limited edition shirt today.

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