I’m delighted to introduce Andrew Rens, one of our exceptional CC Superheroes, who will tell you in his own words why he supports Creative Commons and why you should too. Rens, the founding legal lead of Creative Commons South Africa – a volunteer position he held from 2003 to 2009 – possesses particularly adept superpowers when it comes to facing tough issues around intellectual property and education in Africa. Here is his story. Join Rens and become a CC superhero – donate today.
“Since its inception Creative Commons has been instrumental in enabling so much diverse creativity, from music to design, from science to education, from business to philanthropy that I won’t attempt to refer to it all. Instead I’ll reflect on my personal experience of supporting CC, and why I think that you should seriously consider joining me in supporting Creative Commons.
From the day I first heard about Creative Commons I believed that it would be immensely helpful to two things which I am passionate about: Africa and education. Shortly thereafter I became the first legal lead for the Creative Commons South Africa project. I worked as legal lead, a volunteer position, from 2003 until 2009. What motivates someone to keep working as a volunteer for six years? What motivated me was the immense privilege of contributing to the work of others, of playing a part, however small, in some of the most inspiring initiatives I’ve ever seen.
One of those is Free High School Science Texts which offers curriculum compliant peer produced CC licensed school textbooks in math, physics, chemistry and biology. Another great project is Siyavula, a platform which enables teachers to co-create lesson materials. Then there is Full Marks, another teacher friendly site that enables teachers to co-create math and science quizzes. Astonishingly these three projects were all begun by one very smart and determined guy: Mark Horner. Yet another great project is Yoza, a self publishing platform that enables mobile access to novels and short stories, and so encourages literacy in a generation of Africans who have no ready access and whose only computers are mobile phones.
These are all good examples of the creativity of the open educational resources (OER) movement. The OER movement draws its inspiration from the Cape Town Open Education Declaration which speaks of “developing a vast pool of educational resources on the Internet, open and free for all to use.” Enabling sharing eliminates one barrier to education: highly priced learning materials. It also begins something else, described in the Cape Town Declaration as “planting the seeds of a new pedagogy where educators and learners create, shape and evolve knowledge together, deepening their skills and understanding as they go.”
One of the first seeds to sprout is Peer to Peer University (P2PU), a volunteer driven project to create a peer to peer driven learning community. P2PU bills itself as the “social wrapper around open educational resources.” Peer learning may well be the key innovation that helps resolve the crisis which tertiary education is experiencing worldwide.
Each new development is only possible because of the development before it; peer learning is only possible with open educational resources; open educational resources are only possible with open licences such as the Creative Commons licences. Each layer relies on the continuing viability of the layer which it builds on. That is one important reason that I support the ongoing work of Creative Commons, because the fundamentals of easily understood, easily used, open copyright licences need to be maintained.
Another reason I support the ongoing work of Creative Commons is the urgent need for work on patents and databases to enable people to research collaboratively and share their results. Yet another reason is because Creative Commons is committed to expanding the network of Creative Commons projects in Africa, supporting Africans not just to port Creative Commons licences to their jurisdictions but also to provide trusted local expertise to their educational communities.
I’ve had the satisfaction of seeing that the time sacrificed as a volunteer to port the Creative Commons licences has been more than repaid; the South African CC licences have been used vastly more times than any other technical legal document I’ve drafted. This is typical of how Creative Commons has worked; for every license ported there have been thousands if not millions of works using that license. The outpouring of human expression and ingenuity enabled by Creative Commons has been a huge return on every hour of volunteer time and every dollar spent on the staff who support the volunteers and keep the website working. These investments of time and money are small only relative to the creativity they’ve enabled. Every dollar donated, every hour spent could have been used to another end, and yet without them the return would not have been as great.
Although I have been privileged to participate in these exciting developments, I don’t believe that my experience is exceptional. Everyone who contributes to Creative Commons has the opportunity to be involved with a plethora of fascinating individuals and world changing projects. Please join me in supporting Creative Commons today.”Comments Off on Letter from featured Superhero Andrew Rens, former Lead for CC South Africa
In addition to changing their default licensing policy from CC BY-NC to CC BY, the University of Michigan has enabled even greater sharing and reuse by releasing more than half a million bibliographic records into the public domain using the CC0 public domain dedication. Following on the heels of the British Library, who just released three million bibliographic records into the public domain, the University of Michigan Library has offered their Open Access bibliographic records for download, which, as of November 17, 2010, contains 684,597 records.
The University of Michigan Library has always been particularly advanced in regards to open content licensing, the public domain, and issues of copyright in the digital age. To learn more, see the John Wilkin’s post and help to improve the case study.
In addition, ever since we rolled out the CC0 public domain dedication, CC0 use for data has been on the increase. Check out the wiki for all current uses of CC0, and feel free to add case studies of any that are missing.Comments Off on University of Michigan Library adds 700k bibliographic records to the public domain via CC0
Rice University’s Connexions and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Signal Process Society (IEEE-SPS) recently announced the release of a set of open educational resources on signal processing. The materials allow engineering instructors to mix and match to build customized courses, textbooks and study guides, and are useful for practicing engineers for their own education and career growth. The high-quality resources are peer-reviewed and available for free on the Connexions IEEE-SPS portal.
From the press release:
While the open-education movement has grown rapidly in recent years, critics have questioned how open-access publishers can ensure the quality of freely authored and edited materials. An oft-proposed option is adapting peer review — the process academic researchers have used for centuries to vet and certify research papers and books.
“All materials must pass thorough a rigorous quality evaluation before they appear on the IEEE Signal Processing Society’s branded portal in Connexions,” said Roxana Saint-Nom, chair of the society’s Connexions Lens Subcommittee.
This collaboration is one of the first between a major professional society and an open educational resource provider. Connexions is one of the largest repositories of OER in the world, and all its materials are available under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization, with over 395,000 members.2 Comments »
In other news:Comments Off on CC News: Would you donate to CC if your gift was doubled?
Greg Kidd and Karen Gifford by Elizabeth Sabo / CC BY
Today, we’d like to turn your attention to 3taps, a new startup that makes sifting through classified ads a whole lot easier. 3taps is supporting our fall fundraising campaign with a $3000 matching challenge! That means if you donate now, 3taps will match your donation dollar for dollar – but only for a limited time. Read on to learn how two friends who once worked at the Federal Reserve see the powerful potential of the CC Public Domain Mark and donate today to have your gift automatically doubled!
Say you’re looking for a 2002 Saab Viggen—a rare car that could take hours to find if you were to have to comb through every Craigslist, eBay, and Hemmings listing site. A new web service called 3taps, founded by Karen Gifford and Greg Kidd in San Francisco, is making searching for products and services a whole lot easier: it indexes factual data from different sites and neatly spits out relevant search results on their web, iPhone, and iPad interfaces. You can just type “2002 Saab Viggen” into the search box and, within seconds, have a full list of search results from the over 6.7 million posts made each day that the software sorts through.
Gifford and Kidd both worked at the Federal Reserve and later met working at a financial consulting company. When their large, global clients would run up against systems and data incompatibility issues, they recognized that there was a massive amount of financial data out there but no central database. Thinking about the issue of data management sparked many ideas for Gifford and Kidd and eventually led to the idea of 3taps. While searching for a car seems like a completely different function than searching for aggregated financial data, Gifford and Kidd explain that the concept of having snippets of public information easily available is the same. “The idea is to be ubiquitous,” Kidd says. “Everyone should have equal access, open access, and clarity about what’s out there that is not protected by copyright.”
3taps aims to make the data currently kept in silos more accessible by clearly marking it with the public domain mark once it is located. “We’re using the CC public domain mark to bring clarity to the idea that facts are in the public domain and not protected by copyright. Equal access to pricing information is a public good. We see the public domain mark as really important in clarifying what information belongs to the public.”
That is one of the many reasons 3taps supports CC. They are showing their support with this matching challenge and we are inviting everyone to make the most of 3taps’s generosity donating to CC now to have your gift doubled.
Why 3taps supports CC:
Comments Off on 3taps Supports Creative Commons with a Matching Challenge
“3taps indexes factual data about items offered for exchange, like price, quantity and item description. Facts like these are important public information that let people find the best deal on the item they want. There has been a lot of confusion about the status of factual data on the Internet, and confusion in this area inhibits innovation. Creative Commons’ newly-released Public Domain Mark is an important tool for bringing clarity to this area. It couldn’t have come at a better time for those interested in collaboration in the sphere of data.” – Karen Gifford
Science@creativecommons by Creative Commons / CC BY
November has been an exciting month for science at Creative Commons. Earlier this month we hosted a Creative Commons Salon in San Francisco on the promises and pitfalls of personalized medicine, which you can now watch online. We met a matching giving challenge by Hindawi, the open access scholarly journal publisher (disciplines from neuroscience to pharmacology), who doubled $3000 in donations to our annual fundraising campaign. We also saw BioMed Central, the world’s largest OA publisher, provide in-kind support for our fundraising campaign.
The icing on the cake is the most recent addition to our CC Store: this super-cool science-themed CC shirt, for which the world-famous XKCD was gracious enough to let us re-use a variation on a classic cartoon. Many of you may already read and enjoy the delightful webcomic of “romance, sarcasm, math, and language” which is under a CC BY-NC license. Now you can show your love for Creative Commons and science at the same time by buying one of these t-shirts, available for $20 over at the CC store.
Huge thanks to XKCD for being such a wonderful and creative member of the CC community, and for freely sharing that creativity with the world.
At Creative Commons, we see a lot of potential for bringing open access to the world of science, whether it pertains to genomics research, scholarly journal publishing, or unraveling the mysteries of the universe.
If you love science as much as we do, then hurry over to the CC Store and get your limited edition shirt today!Comments Off on science@creativecommons T-shirts now available in the CC store!
We are thrilled to announce that Microsoft has once again stepped up to support CC during our annual campaign. Microsoft has been generously donating to CC for over 5 years and we are thrilled to have their continued support. Tom Rubin, Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property Strategy, says “CC provides necessary infrastructure for openness, collaboration, and innovation — all for free, to anyone in the world. Microsoft is very proud to continue its support of this important organization and the crucial public resource it makes available. We encourage other technology companies to do the same.”
If you too believe that CC is an important public resource, then please join Microsoft in donating to CC today!Comments Off on Microsoft Continues Supporting CC!
Thanks to all who donated in the past week and had your gift doubled by the Miraverse. The Miraverse has matched $5000 in your donations, bringing in a total of $10,000 this week for our fundraising campaign. We still need help reaching our $550,000 goal by December 31, so if you haven’t yet donated please give today and join with the Miraverse in supporting CC.
Here’s why the Miraverse supports CC:
The Miraverse is an environment for developing new media productions and reaching new audiences through increased participation at every level and at every step of the creative process. Without the past work–and success–of Creative Commons, there would be no legal basis from which we could presume to proceed. But because of their great work we can begin our venture with the confidence that millions upon millions now understand that copyright need not be the end of creativity, but a potential beginning of an infinite number of wonderful futures. We are delighted to support an organization that has laid the foundation for us, and we accept that the best way to ensure a better future for everything we do is to support those who are doing the best work today.
Can you give $25, $75, or $100 to support the future of creativity and the work of Creative Commons?Comments Off on We met The Miraverse’s matching giving challenge! Thank you!
It’s happened before with music albums, where releasing work openly online did not hurt actual sales of the product. The authors of Machine of Death clearly get this. They explain why the science fiction anthology of stories about people who know the manner by which they die (but have no idea when), has been made available online under CC BY-NC-ND:
Why are we doing this? Aren’t we worried about hurting our book sales?
In a word: no. You have proven time and again that you are willing to pay for content that you find valuable. You have shown that you are driven to share material that you fall in love with. And we are committed to ensuring that you can experience our work whether you can afford to buy a book or not; whether you live in a country that Amazon ships to or not; whether you have space in your life for a stack of paper or not.
Please, download, read, share and enjoy!
In addition, some of the individual stories are released under the CC BY-NC-SA license, which allows you to translate and adapt the work as long as you abide by the noncommercial condition and release the derivative under the same license. Podcasts are also being created for all the stories, with three stories up so far.
As of right now, Machine of Death is the #1 bestselling science fiction anthology on Amazon, and has also made their Best Books of 2010 list. For more information, see Boing Boing and the Machine of Death website.3 Comments »
We’re happy to announce that for the third year Creative Commons will take part in the Google Policy Fellowship program.
The Google Policy Fellowship program offers undergraduate, graduate, and law students interested in Internet and technology policy the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to the public dialogue on these issues, and exploring future academic and professional interests. Fellows will have the opportunity to work at public interest organizations at the forefront of debates on broadband and access policy, content regulation, copyright and trademark reform, consumer privacy, open government, and more.
Aurelia Schultz was Creative Commons’ 2009 Fellow, and worked on a project to analyze the WIPO development agenda in relation to its affect on access to public domain materials. She also developed draft strategic plans for CC’s engagement with WIPO as well as outreach in Africa. Aurelia is now Counsel at Creative Commons. Tal Niv was CC’s Fellow last summer, and she’s been continuing work as a Research Analyst on a key investigation into CC’s welfare impact. The 2011 Google Policy Fellow will receive a substantial grant to work at Creative Commons’ San Francisco office. Potential topics may include, but certainly not limited to:
- Analyzing trends in license adoption, including identification and development of relevant metrics.
- Coordinating with counsel to critically analyze the current state of public domain policy in U.S. and abroad. Develop a framework to help Creative Commons’ deploy messaging regarding public domain policy in U.S. and abroad.
- Researching how the contemporary discourse of copyright, sharing, reuse, and remix has been shaped over the last eight years as a result of the Creative Commons project.
- Investigating new opportunities for Creative Commons implementation in ‘uncontacted’ communities, institutions, artists, and mediums.
- Working with Creative Commons’ international community and jurisdiction project leads on projects, research, and outreach.