Photo by Vital Signs CC BY
Yesterday, Vital Signs kicked off their new site with more than 300 supporters, including Maine’s former Governor Angus King, who spearheaded the initiative that resulted in a laptop for every 7th and 8th grader in the state. Vital Signs, a field-based science education program at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, started 10 years ago just before the turn of the century. Since then it has evolved to “[leverage] Maine’s laptop program to enable students to participate in a statewide effort to find invasive species, and to document the native species and habitats most vulnerable to future invasions.” The new site “provides a digital platform, including social networking tools, to facilitate a fluid exchange of knowledge between students and experts. It changes each student’s relationship with science from distant spectator to thoughtful participant.” You might remember our Back to School feature on them, or even my Inside OER interview with Sarah Kirn, the Manager of the project, from the spring of 2008.
Back then, CC Learn and VS tossed around a lot of ideas on how to get them to move towards openness, and now more than a year a later those ideas have come to fruition. Their new site leverages the research and data of more than 50 middle school classrooms who are paired with real scientists, researchers, and conscientious citizens to explore and address the issue of invasive species.
“Stewarding 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, 6,000 lakes and ponds, 5,000 miles of coastline and 17 million acres of forest is a job for every Maine citizen, young and old,” said Andrew Fisk, director, Bureau of Land and Water Quality, Department of Environmental Protection. “Engaging seventh and eighth grade students in the issue of invasive species promises to build a heightened level of public awareness and a meaningful body of scientific knowledge. You never know who will save the next lake from a milfoil infestation. The kids are a resource of significant magnitude for us.”
Now Vital Signs work can be leveraged by other states and around the world. The new site’s default licensing policy is CC BY, which means that anyone is free to copy, distribute, adapt, or remix VS work as long as they attribute Vital Signs. The issue of invasive species is not unique to Maine, and now Vital Signs can lead in opening up the work that will enable future solutions.No Comments »
December’s ccSalon SF will be a celebration of CC’s 7 years and the wrap-up of our 2009 annual fundraising campaign, so if you’re located in the SF Bay Area, we hope to see you there!
On the evening’s agenda:
- We’ll hear from Twitter‘s General Counsel, Alex Macgillivray. Alex was previously Deputy General Counsel at Google and has been a supporter of Creative Commons from our very beginning.
- A unique installation and presentation of the dublab/Creative Commons art and music collaboration, Into Infinity, an online project built on audio loops and circular canvases paired together in infinite combination. Salon-goers will have the chance to draw on some of these 12-inch canvases as well as participate in a live recording of an 8-second audio loop – so get creative and bring a noisemaker of some kind (kazoo, bell, travel guitar, etc.) to help us make some sweet sounds! We’ll submit the best one to Into Infinity.
- CC’s Vice President, Mike Linksvayer, will highlight some of CC’s major accomplishments from 2009 and talk about what’s in store for CC in 2010.
This salon will be a great chance to meet and talk to members of the CC staff, connect with other free culture enthusiasts from the Bay Area, or just learn more about Creative Commons.
When: Thursday, December 17, 7-9pm
Where: PariSoMa, 1436 Howard St. (map and directions). Plenty of street parking available. (Please note, the space is located up two steep flights of stairs, and unfortunately does not currently have elevator access.)
Light refreshments will be provided, and since we rely on the generosity of our community to keep us afloat, we’ll be accepting donations for the annual campaign at the door.
Can’t be at the San Francisco Salon? You can still help us celebrate CC’s 7 years! CC friends, fans, and supporters across the globe are invited to find creative ways of celebrating the past seven years of CC successes and growth. We want to celebrate Creative Commons using the same ideals of openness, innovation, collaboration, and freedom that are central to CC, so the possibilities are limitless: create a remix or video, bake “CC” cupcakes, host a screening of a CC-licensed film, organize an informal salon or meet-up, plan an event around Public Domain Day on January 1, the list goes on. What CC has accomplished in just seven years is phenomenal and worth celebrating in any form!
Let’s mark the week of December 14th (and beyond!) as a celebration of free culture, creativity, and knowledge! Use the tag CC@7 and add any and all photos/videos/blogs/etc. to the 7th Birthday Wiki Page so we can highlight how people are celebrating CC that week. Questions? Contact development[at]creativecommons.org.No Comments »
As if launching a dedicated iPhone application wasn’t celebration enough, dublab and Creative Commons Japan are teaming up on a series of amazing events across Japan in the coming two weeks to commemorate the launch of the Into Infinity project in Japan. The tour will be making stops in Tokyo, Sapporo, and Kobe and feature (depending on date and location) live Into Infinity performances, music from Daedelus and The Long Lost, DJ sets from dublab DJ Frosty, and much more.
You can see photos as they come in at dublab’s flickr page and see the full calendar of events at their website. For those in Tokyo be sure to check out Daedalus, The Long Lost, a live Into Infinity performance and sounds from dublab DJ Frosty at the Super Deluxe this Friday, December 4th.
UPDATE: iPhone/iPod Touch owners, if you haven’t had a chance yet be sure to check out the free Into Infinity app mentioned above (iTunes link).No Comments »
This time last year I had the pleasure of announcing Ebay as a new corporate supporter. Today, I’m delighted to announce that they’ve decided to continue their support of Creative Commons — investing in the future of creativity and knowledge.
Ebay makes for a natural CC supporter, since the company upholds the same values as we do — connecting people and ideas, as well as encouraging sharing, collaboration, and innovation. If you hold the same values, please consider joining Ebay and supporting CC today. We are only as strong as our community of supporters, and we need your help — donate today!No Comments »
We’re entering the final weeks of our 2009 fundraising campaign, and if you have yet to make a gift to CC (or even if you have!) now is the time to do so because any amount you give will automatically be doubled by Greenplum! Give today and Greenplum will generously match every donation dollar for dollar for the next week – up to $5,000! Donate now to help us meet their challenge!
Formed in 2003, Greenplum is led by pioneers in database systems, data warehousing, supercomputing, Internet performance acceleration and open source. With technical and business leaders from large-scale computing companies like Amazon, eBay and Yahoo, and database companies including Oracle, Informix, Teradata, Netezza, Microsoft and Tandem, Greenplum is tapping the best minds in the business to deliver the next-generation of data warehousing and analytics. Greenplum deeply understands the importance of the internet to create digital tools for the 21st century, and we’re delighted to have them as a corporate sponsor of our campaign!
Join Greenplum in investing in the future of creativity and knowledge. Give what you can today!No Comments »
Remember the California Free Digital Textbooks Initiative and how it resulted in 16 open textbooks, 10 of which met 90% of California’s standards? Well, since these textbooks were licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses that allows derivation (the licenses sans the ND term), they can not only be translated into various languages, but also modified and adapted into various contexts, including converting them into accessible formats, such as audio and Braille. No extra transaction costs have to be incurred by some middleman to allow these adaptations—any entity with the resources to adapt these textbooks may do so, since the rights for derivation are pre-cleared via Creative Commons.
Realizing this, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs has granted $100k to Bookshare, “the world’s largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities.” The grant is aimed at “[creating] the first accessible versions of open content digital textbooks. The initial planned conversion of open content textbooks, which are distributed freely under a license selected by the author, are math and science textbooks approved for California students.” From the press release,
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“As other states begin to approve open content textbooks, Bookshare will continue to convert these materials to accessible formats for all students who read better with accessible text. The first open content textbooks approved for use in California will be available via Bookshare. The texts will be offered in the accessible DAISY format that enables multi-modal reading, combining highlighted on-screen text with high-quality computer-generated voice, and BRF, a digital Braille format for use with Braille displays or embossed Braille.”
“Traditional copyrighted books, including those contributed to Bookshare by publishers, are protected with digital rights management technology and available only to those with a documented print disability. But Bookshare’s open content books will become part of the freely distributable books in the Bookshare collection and can be used by anybody without proof of disability,” says Benetech CEO Jim Fruchterman. “These accessible books will not only help disabled students throughout the U.S. and globally, but provide parents, teachers and assistive technology developers with free access to real talking textbooks.”
Last week, The Wall Street Journal posted a fascinating article on the profits made by Nina Paley for her film Sita Sings The Blues. Widely available for free online under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license, Sita has garnered $55,000 to date, an impressive amount for a film that has spent nothing on promotion or adverting.
While this amount only conveys part of the story – the article leaves out the cost to make the film as well as Paley’s cost-of-living – it is inspiring to see such fiscal success from a work of open-cinema. Aurelia Schultz, current CC legal research volunteer, digs deeper with the numbers on her blog, making the following observation:
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A better tally of how [Paley] has done would include how the Sita copyright issue and subsequent CC licensing have increased Nina’s income from her other works by increasing her visibility; how much she makes from speaking engagements (which she say are her most lucrative work); and how much more she would have paid out under her settlement agreement had she released the film in a more traditional manner. Since all of these things only add to what she has already made, it’s clear that releasing Sita under a Creative Commons license was a good choice for Nina.
Deproduction, a Denver-based video production company, and Civic Pixel, an open-source web development group, have joined forces to become the Open Media Foundation. The two groups were previously affiliated through Denver Open Media where they taught local communities media production tools, producing unique and engaging content in the process.
The Open Media Foundation picks up where these two groups left off, focusing upon services (video production, website creation, and graphic packages), education, and accessible tools. One of OMF’s most engaging aspects is the scalability of their mission. Nearly all of the content they produce is either CC-licensed or open-source, allowing it to be adopted easily and legally elsewhere. In January, Access San Francisco will become the 8th station to adopt the open source tools OMF developed as part of the Knight NewsChallenge. Similarly, through support from the Google Summer of Code program, the OMF made major improvements to CC support in Drupal.No Comments »
This Monday, we began a guest curation series at our Free Music Archive portal. Rather than attempt to distill the vast landscape of CC-licensed music on our own, we thought it better to reach out to those on the ground working to support and expose these type of artists in their given communities. What better way to start then with a selection of tracks from ccMixter admin/developer/mentor Victor Stone:
For all the activism in the Open Music movement, nothing pushes the ball forward like brilliant, evocative music. While there is plenty of underground music of all sub-genres at ccMixter, there is also a growing collection of mainstream, above-ground producers who understand the value of sharing as a means of boosting their own creativity along with their exposure.
You can listen and download Victor’s full playlist at the FMA and ccMixter – titled Above Ground Collection, it is brimming with excellent music from producers with “an ear for the popular without sacrificing artistry.”1 Comment »
Earlier this year, CC Learn launched CC Learn Productions, highlighting reports and three document series: CC Learn Recommendations, CC Learn Explanations, and CC Learn Step by Step Guides. Since April, we have greatly expanded our repertoire to about a dozen documents, touching on basic topics such as Why CC BY? to legally incompatible content in OER. We’ve verily become document-making machines, cranking out new publications every month.
In the course of production, we found there are certain topics that cannot be distilled to a general audience, mainly because these topics are too specialized, and impractical, for the majority of CC’s user base. We realized that another document series was necessary, one specifically dealing with advanced topics, topics which require additional expertise and address the concerns of a smaller cross section of the OER community. The CC Learn Advanced Topics series, which is not intended for general consumption or to serve as legal advice, aims for this.
The first CC Learn Advanced Topic is CC Licenses and Trademarks: A Guide for Organizational OER Creators and Distributors. This primer distinguishes between copyright and trademark as they pertain to OER, and clarifies some of the confusion surrounding CC licenses and trademarks. For OER organizations with a strong trademark, or with the plans and capacity to build and sustain one, this primer is a guide to understanding the relationship between your organization’s rights as a copyright owner using CC licenses (particularly CC BY) and your organization’s trademark rights within the context of open educational resources (OER). This primer is not relevant for OER creators generally, as trademark law only pertains to those entities with the capacity to build and sustain a brand.
Though CC and CC Learn are open to consulting around business models generally, we are not in a position to give advice around trademark law. This primer is simply an explanation of a separate set of rights you may have to protect your work – trademark rights – while still allowing for the downstream adaptation, translation, and localization of your work that are so central to the goals of OER. Additionally, this primer is an example of one way certain organizations may deal with their concerns, and we hope that it will become an important document in our ongoing work.
All CC Learn Productions are licensed CC BY.1 Comment »