Commons News

Workshop on “Open Government: Open Data, Open Source and Open Standards”

Jane Park, May 5th, 2011

Open Government Data Venn Diagram
Open Government Data Venn Diagram by justgrimes / CC BY-SA

You are invited to attend a workshop titled Open Government: Open Data, Open Source and Open Standards, organized jointly by Dr. Hanif Rahemtulla, Horizon Digital Economy Research and Puneet Kishor, Creative Commons. The workshop will be held in conjunction with the annual Open Source GIS (OSGIS) Conference on June 21, 2011 in Nottingham, United Kingdom, and will take place at the School of Geography/Centre for Geospatial Science at the University of Nottingham.

This workshop builds on the Law and the GeoWeb workshop held recently at Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA, and will bring together speakers from across industry, research and academia to contribute toward some of the fundamental theoretical and technical questions emerging in the Open Data space (i.e., how to mark up and release open data; licensing models for governments and how to interface them to other open source and commercial licensing regimes; conflicts between data protection and transparency and structuring access to data by different groups).

The following speakers and topics have been confirmed:

  • Dr. Peter Mooney, Geotechnologies Research Group, Department of Computer Science, NUI Maynooth (NUIM), Co. Kildare. Ireland. Producing and consuming open data
  • Professor David Martin, School of Geography, University of Southampton, Southampton. Mapping the UK population over time: a universe of new possibilities
  • Zach Beauvais, Talis. Linked data
  • Dr. Chris Parker (GeoVation and Community Propositions) and Ian Holt (Web Services), Ordnance Survey, Southampton. Tackling global challenges through open innovation and geographic information
  • Dr. Catherine Souch, Royal Geographical Society. The Open Data revolution and data literacy in higher education
  • Dr. Katleen Janssen, Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and ICT (ICRI), Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium. Privacy and legal implications of open data
  • Professor Derek McAuley, Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute, University of Nottingham. Exercising our rights over information about us

Proceedings
Proceedings of the Redmond and Nottingham workshops along with selected longer papers will be published in a special issue of the open access International Journal of Spatial Data Infrastructure Research published by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

Contact
Please register for the workshop at the main OSGIS web site.
For further information please contact either Dr. Hanif Rahemtulla or Puneet Kishor.

For more on Creative Commons and open data, see our wiki.

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DRM (a day against)

Mike Linksvayer, May 4th, 2011

Yellow banner -- May 4th, 2011: Day Against DRMToday is a good day to learn about Digital Rights Management, or more accurately Digital Restrictions Management:

Although DRM seems to no longer be the red hot issue it was a decade ago, it is still very much present, causing problems regarding fair use, lack of competition, privacy and security breaches, forced obsolescence, and more. DRM is often now involved in distribution of movies and books, to the great consternation of some librarians. Not listening to librarians puts our freedom and safety at risk.

A few things about DRM specific to Creative Commons:

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Wellcome Trust urges universities to take leadership in open scientific publishing

Diane Cabell, May 4th, 2011

Creative Commons plays an instrumental role in the Open Access movement, which is making scholarly research and journals more widely available on the Web. Last month, Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, spoke at Oxford University on the role of open access in maximising the impact of biomedical research. Wellcome is one of the world’s leading funders of scientific research. Walport’s lecture was the fourth in a series on scholarship, publishing and the dissemination of research presented by the Oxford University Research Archive (ORA). The series is designed to stimulate debate on the issues surrounding changes in scholarly communications.

In a reflection of the venue — Bodleian Library’s Convocation House where the, audience perched on the same 17th century seats as Charles II’s parliament — Walport traced the history of Western scientific publication noting that scientists have delayed dissemination of their findings for centuries. When Gallileo discovered the rings around Saturn Galilei, for example, he sent a coded summary of his findings to his competitors so that once his work became public he would be able to unmask the perpetrator should any of them try to steal his credit. Walport also reported that scientific publication was banned during certain periods as too dangerous for public consumption.

Scientists today are still highly dependent on attribution for their status. Publication in prestigious journals remains the prime determinant of a researcher’s employment and funding opportunities. Open access journals historically suffered a lack of prestige as their peer review procedures were perceived as less rigorous.* Open data faces similar barriers; while Wellcome and other major funders in the genome field have mandated deposit of data in open repositories, most of the larger scientific community continues to hoard findings until a desired personal value can be extracted.

Traditional commercial publication is not the only way to protect scientific reputations, however, and Walport urged academic institutions to take back their traditional responsibility for the dissemination of knowledge by promoting open access mechanisms that still address the researcher’s needs for attribution. The PLoS business model presents alternative funding approaches capable of supporting academic publication. Most importantly, academicians are recognizing that they themselves have been providers of the major value of publication – the actual peer review – a free service that could be as easily provided to open access publishers as to proprietary ones. Alternatives such as PLoS One’s post-publication peer review mechanisms by the scholarly community at large may also prove effective.

Walport believes that science is on the cusp of an historic change in regard to publication practices and advised the university to take an aggressive role in the open access movement.

A video of Walport’s presentation will be posted shortly on the oxford scholarly communications debate website.

*Corrected from “Open access journals do not yet share that prestige as they rarely include peer review mechanisms.

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36 monthly albums & more new music under Creative Commons

Jane Park, May 2nd, 2011

In the world of music, Creative Commons licenses continue to be used by upcoming and established musicians for everything from remix contests to album-a-month projects. And since CC-licensed music may be blaring from outerspace for the first time in history on NASA’s Endeavour mission, we thought it would be a good time to do a round-up of the recent developments in Creative Commons music land.

Learning Music Monthly

Two years ago, L.A.-based musician John Wood and CC-friendly record label vosotros launched Learning Music Monthly, an album-a-month musical series. Every month, John Wood wrote, recorded, mixed, and mastered an album—and made each album available as part of a tiered subscription service that ranged from a donation-based digital option (available for download under a CC BY-NC-SA license) to a $60 package that included handmade albums delivered to your mailbox, limited edition stickers, bonus albums from friends of LMM, and even personalized birthday songs! These extras inevitably evolved as the project scaled, but the albums kept coming, an impressive feat for John Wood and his friends.

After three seasons and 36 albums, LMM has finally come to an end. In celebration, vosotros has created an excellent 37 song Learning Music compilation entitled, “An End Like This,” blogged over at the Free Music Archive. Additionally, all of the albums are archived for continuous discovery and remix at the LMM site.

R.E.M.

A great example of new, open distribution models, LMM is only one of many musicians and projects encouraging participation and remix under CC licenses. Earlier this year, R.E.M. launched a CC remix contest for “It Happened Today” on SoundCloud, one of the web’s easiest platforms for sharing your CC-licensed originals and remixes. Stems from the song were released under CC BY-NC-SA, and remixes were uploaded to SoundCloud under the same license. You can check out all remixed versions of the song here and read more about what went down at CC Australia’s coverage of the contest.

Paul Simon

Indaba, a hub for musical collaboration online, also continues to work with an expanding and interesting array of musicians for its artists remix contests. A recent contest featured Paul Simon’s latest single “Love Is Eternal Sacred Light,” soliciting fan remixes under CC BY-NC-ND.

Nighty Night by 8in8

And the latest treat is Nighty Night by 8in8, an all-star collaboration between Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, and Damien Kulash from OK Go. The group set out to make eight songs in eight hours, and released the resulting album under CC BY-NC. You can read Neil’s account of the song-making process at his blog and buy the album at Amanda Palmer’s bandcamp page. Initial proceeds will go to berkleecitymusicnetwork.org, a charity dedicated to fulfilling kids’ musical potential.

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Cable Green joins Creative Commons as Director of Global Learning

Timothy Vollmer, May 2nd, 2011


Cable Green and family / CC BY

Creative Commons is pleased to welcome Dr. Cable Green as Director of Global Learning. Most recently, Green was the Director of eLearning & Open Education for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, where he provided leadership on strategic technology planning, openly licensing and sharing digital content, growing and improving online and hybrid learning, and implementing enterprise learning technologies and student support services. One innovative project, the Open Course Library, creates low-cost, digital, openly licensed (CC BY) instructional materials for 81 high impact community college courses. Cable holds a BS (international affairs) from Lewis and Clark College, MPC from Westminster College, and a MA (communication) and PhD (educational technology) from Ohio State University.

As Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons, Green will be responsible for setting strategic direction and priorities to build a global movement that will enable robust and vibrant practices and policies for free sharing of education and learning assets. Cable will lead Creative Commons’ recently-announced project to provide technical assistance to winning grantees of the Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community and Career Training Grant program.

“We’re honored and excited to be joined by Cable, and we expect that his experience, passion, and vision for OER will greatly amplify the impact that Creative Commons continues to make in open education around the world,” said Cathy Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons.

Please join us in welcoming Cable to CC!

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Creative Commons Global Meeting 2011

Jane Park, April 27th, 2011

Since the last global meeting of the Creative Commons community in Sapporo, we’ve seen the launch of CC0 and the Public Domain Mark, and a half-dozen more CC affiliate jurisdictions with many more in the works. To celebrate this and many other CC milestones, we are announcing our next global meeting, to be held the 16th-18th of September this year in Warsaw, Poland, co-hosted by our CC Poland team led by Alek Tarkowski.

The event will bring together affiliates from more than 70 jurisdictions, CC staff, as well as a number of CC Board members. The meeting will mark the beginning of requirements gathering for version 4.0 of the CC license suite, and promises workshops and forums on CC community building and adoption efforts in key sectors such as education, public sector information, and data. Planning is already underway to maximize opportunities for affiliates to meet with the Board and other key stakeholders over the course of the event. As September draws nearer, more information, such as scholarships and funding for affiliates as well as ways the community can contribute ideas for events and sessions, will be announced here on our blog.

We look forward to contributions from our community over the next several months to make this event as successful and productive as possible. A sincere thanks to both the CC Australia and CC Poland teams for submitting compelling proposals for co-hosting the event in response to our solicitation!

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CC Chairman Joi Ito named new director of MIT Media Lab

Jane Park, April 27th, 2011


Joi ito by Dean Ornish / CC BY

The MIT Media Lab, known for its innovative, hands-on approaches in design, multimedia, and technology, has named Creative Commons Chairman and former CEO Joi Ito as its new executive director. In its article about the announcement, the New York Times notes Joi’s long-time support of open culture:

“Raised in both Tokyo and Silicon Valley, Mr. Ito was part of the first generation to grow up with the Internet. …[Joi] was also an early participant in the open-source software movement and is a board member of the Mozilla Foundation, which oversees the development of the Firefox Web [browser], as well as being the co-founder and chairman of Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that has sought to create a middle ground to promote the sharing of digital information.”

Joi also blogs about his new appointment, describing MIT Media Lab as a great fit:

“I really felt at home for the first time in many ways. It felt like a place where I could focus – focus on everything – but still have a tremendous ability to work with the team as well as my network and broader extended network to execute and impact the world in a substantial and positive way.”

Learn more about the Media Lab and Joi’s appointment at his blog.

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Using CC0 for public domain software

Mike Linksvayer, April 15th, 2011

The basic idea of Creative Commons, offering free copyright tools, is copied from the free software movement. However, CC licenses are not intended to be used to release software, as our FAQ has always said.

One important reason why Creative Commons licenses should not be used to release software is that they aren’t compatible with existing free software licenses, most importantly the GPL from the Free Software Foundation, which is used by over half of free software projects. A commons fractured by legal incompatibilities is a weak commons, and it would be deeply contrary to our mission to fracture the commons of software. (It should also be noted that the FSF helped unfracture the non-software commons by facilitating Wikimedia’s migration to CC BY-SA as the main content license of Wikipedia and its sibling sites.)

While the vast majority of contemporary free software is released under the GPL or another free software license, there is also a long tradition of public domain software, which was free before the term free software existed. Indeed, prior to the 1970s, copyright did not apply to software. Currently, SQLite, an embedded database that you almost certainly use, is probably the most popular software that is dedicated to the public domain.

There are a variety of public domain dedications used to release software, which is mostly not a problem — to the extent such dedications are well-crafted, they don’t present a legal interoperability problem. This means it is possible to improve the state of the art in public domain dedications without harming the ecosystem. (Though this doesn’t mean an infinite variety of public domain dedications is optimal — at the extreme having to determine whether a new dedication is well-crafted each time one encounters a new public domain work would make using public domain works unattractive.)

In addition to licenses, Creative Commons also offers public domain tools. In creating the CC0 public domain dedication, we did set out to improve the state of the art in public domain dedications, and we think we’ve been pretty successful. Users seem to think so — ranging from governments and institutions to musicians.

We hadn’t set out with CC0 to improve on public domain dedications for software. However, since the release of CC0, we’ve been approached a number of times about using CC0 to dedicate software to the public domain. While we were happy to hear of this unanticipated demand, we wanted to tread very carefully so as to not create any unintended consequences for the free software ecosystem. This led to discussions with the Free Software Foundation, the steward of the GPL and moral leader of the free software movement.

We’re really happy to announce that the Free Software Foundation has added CC0 to its free software licenses list (which includes public domain terms). As usual, the FSF’s language is extremely clear, so we simply quote two sections from their list:

CC0

CC0 is a public domain dedication from Creative Commons. A work released under CC0 is dedicated to the public domain to the fullest extent permitted by law. If that is not possible for any reason, CC0 also provides a simple permissive license as a fallback. Both public domain works and the simple license provided by CC0 are compatible with the GNU GPL.

If you want to release your work to the public domain, we recommend you use CC0.

[...]

Public Domain

If you want to release your work to the public domain, we encourage you to use formal tools to do so. We ask people who make small contributions to GNU to sign a disclaimer form; that’s one solution. If you’re working on a project that doesn’t have formal contribution policies like that, CC0 is a good tool that anyone can use. It formally dedicates your work to the public domain, and provides a fallback license for cases where that is not legally possible.

We’ve also added an entry to the CC0 FAQ about using CC0 to release software, which you ought read if you’d like to do that. If you’re only familiar with the way CC licenses and public domain tools are typically used on web pages and other media, be aware that with free software, the full license (or public domain terms) are usually included with the software. In order to make this easy to do, we’ve taken this opportunity to fulfill a longstanding request — plain text copies of the “legalcode” for CC0 and CC’s six main international licenses. See CC software engineer Chris Webber’s post for details.

Special thanks to Chris Webber and the FSF’s Brett Smith for their persistent work to make the CC0 software recommendation possible.

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Plaintext versions of Creative Commons licenses and CC0

Chris Webber, April 15th, 2011

Last Friday, we made plaintext versions of our core 3.0 (unported) licenses and CC0 available. This is something that some people have wanted for a long time. For example, Evan Prodromou made a draft of plaintext licenses a few years ago, but these never became official.

But now we do have official plaintext versions. Here’s a list:

For most works, plaintext legalcode doesn’t matter as linking directly to the deeds (say with the copy-paste output you get with the license chooser) is good enough, even ideal. And it’s important to note that the XHTML licenses are still the canonical versions. But for some projects plaintext legalcode may be a very good thing. For example, it is traditional practice in free and open source software projects to bundle your licenses along with your project. More and more FOSS projects are using Creative Commons licenses or CC0 for their non-software content, so having plaintext legalcode will probably be very useful in these instances. Additionally, some other projects which release their content in a way that is largely offline may benefit from plaintext legalcode.

If you need to provide licensing information about your work in a similarly plaintext way, you should follow this pattern:

<WORK'S NAME> (c) by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

<WORK'S NAME> is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

You should have received a copy of the license along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>.

… replacing <WORK’S NAME> and <AUTHOR’S NAME> appropriately. (The first line in this example is optional.)

This push for an official plaintext legalcode release was spurred by the recent work with the Free Software Foundation on establishing the compatibility of CC0 with the GPL. It is important to note here that while CC0 is acceptable for software, Creative Commons licenses are not acceptable for software. The usage of plaintext legalcode as described in this post is intended for non-software content.

Copy / Paste Examples

For reference, here are some easily copy/pasteable examples of how you would annotate your works for all Creative Commons licenses, as well as CC0 (which is listed last).

CC BY 3.0:

<WORK'S NAME> (c) by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

<WORK'S NAME> is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

You should have received a copy of the license along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/>.

CC BY-SA 3.0:

<WORK'S NAME> (c) by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

<WORK'S NAME> is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

You should have received a copy of the license along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>.

CC BY-ND 3.0:

<WORK'S NAME> (c) by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

<WORK'S NAME> is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

You should have received a copy of the license along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/>.

CC BY-NC 3.0:

<WORK'S NAME> (c) by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

<WORK'S NAME> is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

You should have received a copy of the license along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/>.

CC BY-NC-SA 3.0:

<WORK'S NAME> (c) by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

<WORK'S NAME> is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

You should have received a copy of the license along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/>.

CC BY-NC-ND 3.0:

<WORK'S NAME> (c) by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

<WORK'S NAME> is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

You should have received a copy of the license along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/>.

CC0 1.0: (note, see here if using CC0 for software)

<WORK'S NAME> by <AUTHOR'S NAME>

To the extent possible under law, the person who associated CC0 with
<WORK'S NAME> has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights
to <WORK'S NAME>.

You should have received a copy of the CC0 legalcode along with this
work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/>.
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Creative Commons Announces Support Program for Department of Labor C3T Grantees

Timothy Vollmer, April 13th, 2011

Creative Commons is pleased to announce we have been awarded a grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide support to successful applicants of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program with our partnering organizations Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative, CAST, and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

The free of charge technical assistance services will offer a competitive advantage for organizations seeking TAACCCT grant funds and ensure that the open educational resources created with these federal funds are of the highest quality. The partnering organizations will provide the following areas of expertise: open licensing, learning and course design, professional development, and adoption and use. TAACCCT applicants interested in these free services should include boilerplate language in their proposal. This suggested language, as well as a high-level description of services, can be viewed at our TAACCCT information page.

Creative Commons is excited to participate in this groundbreaking effort and grateful to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its generous support in facilitating open learning.

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