Commons News

CC Salon NYC: Opening Education (March 3rd)

Jane Park, February 3rd, 2010

The Creative Commons Salon NYC is back in action on March 3rd at the Open Planning Project‘s uber cool penthouse space from October. The theme for this salon is “Opening Education”, and if you don’t really know what that means, think CC licenses as applied to various learning contexts and you’re off to a good start. To learn more, come by for a good time and free (as in beer) beer. The basic line-up is as follows:

  • Eric Frank, founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Flat World Knowledge, a commercial textbook publishing company that is leveraging CC licenses as part of their business model—basically offering free digital textbooks via CC BY-NC-SA, but charging for the prints and supplementary materials. (Is this business model working? Come and find out!) Eric was previously “Director of Marketing for Prentice Hall Business Publishing, a division with annual sales in the hundreds of millions.”
  • Neeru Paharia, co-founder of the Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU), a grassroots education project that moves learning outside of institutional walls (for free) by leveraging the internet, social software, and CC licensed content. Neeru is formerly the Executive Director of Creative Commons and is finishing up her doctorate at the Harvard Business School in Behavioral Economics.
  • A panel of K-12 technologists/educators on the cutting edge of their fields who incorporate CC licenses and social media into their classrooms. They will give a run-down on what they do, how they do it, and answer questions about the challenges they face from curious folk like you. The panel consists of:  Dave Bill, Technology Integrator at the Dwight School and TEDxNYED organizer; arvind s grover, co-host of 21st Century Learning (a podcast about… 21st century learning) and Director of Technology at the Hewitt School (also a TEDxNYED organizer); and Kerri Richardson Redding, Director of Academic Technology at the Brooklyn Friends School.

I’ll also be available as the Communications Coordinator for Creative Commons to give updates on CC in education and answer your general questions. John Britton (Lead Developer at Flat World Knowledge) will also be available to talk about his experience organizing the Mozilla Drumbeat/P2PU course, “Mashing Up the Open Web.”

THE DETAILS (RSVP for updates!):

Wednesday, March 3rd, from 7-10pm
The Open Planning Project
148 Lafayette St
Between Grand & Howard
New York, NY

Beer is courtesy of Flat World Knowledge and we are generously being hosted by Gotham Schools, “an independent news source about the New York City Public Schools” that is “an initiative of The Open Planning Project, a Manhattan-based nonprofit dedicated to empowering civil society through technology.” If you’ve didn’t make it to any past CC Salons, don’t miss this one, and if you did, you’ll know to come early as space is limited.

RSVP to the event via Facebook or by e-mailing me: janepark [at] creativecommons.org.

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Open Video Alliance Wireside Chat with Lawrence Lessig

Cameron Parkins, February 2nd, 2010

On Febuary 25th the Open Video Alliance will be hosting a wireside chat with CC founding board member Lawrence Lessig to discuss copyright, fair use, and online video. While the talk itself will be taking place at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, it will also be broadcast live online – as such, the OVA are encouraging screenings to be set up around the globe:

This is a talk about copyright in a digital age, and the role (and importance) of a doctrine like “fair use.” Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, and is essential for commentary, criticism, news reporting, remix, research, teaching and scholarship with video.

As a medium, online video will be most powerful when it is fluid, like a conversation. Like the rest of the internet, online video must be designed to encourage participation, not just passive consumption. Tune in here on February 25th, 6:00pm US Eastern time (GMT -5), or check out our screening events in cities across the world.

Events are already planned for New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles with more in the works in Washington DC, Austin, Toronto and Rio de Janeiro. If you are interested in hosting your own, head to the OVA website where you can fill out a registration form and apply for a microgrant to help get your event off the ground.

Update: The Wireside Chat is being co-hosted by iCommons Ltd with funding from the Ford Foundation.

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EFF’s 20th Birthday Party

Alex Kozak, February 2nd, 2010

For the past 20 years, our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have been at the forefront of the intersection between technology and law, helping to define and fight for our rights in the digital age. We’d like to congratulate them on hitting the 20 year mark. To celebrate their 20th birthday, they’re throwing on a party this February 10th in San Francisco:

February 10, 2010
Doors open at 8 pm, VIP event at 7 pm
$30 donation (no one turned away)
DNA Lounge
375 Eleventh Street
San Francisco, CA

Special VIP donors are invited to a pre-party event with Adam Savage, John Perry Barlow, John Gilmore, Mitch Kapor, Mark Klein, and others.

They’ve also created a commemorative poster, which is available in hi-res under CC BY:


Image: EFF-mecha-POSTER by Hugh D’Andrade / CC BY.
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CA Free Digital Textbook Initiative Launches Phase 2

Jane Park, February 2nd, 2010

Many of you have heard about California’s Free Digital Textbook Initiative that launched last spring, which called for submissions of free digital textbooks in math and science for use by the state’s schools. Of the 16 textbooks submitted last year, 15 are openly licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses—and all 10 that passed 90% of CA’s state standards are CC licensed.

In addition to individuals, the CK-12 Foundation, Curriki, and Connexions submitted open textbooks on subjects like Algebra, Calculus, Biology, Chemistry, Geometry, Trigonometry, and various other -ometries. You can check out the full textbook list and standards reviews at the California Learning Resource Network (CLRN).

Now, the Governor and his constituents are launching Phase 2 of the Initiative, calling this time for “content developers to submit high school history-social science and higher-level math course textbooks for review against California’s academic content standards.” From the press release,

“Resources like digital textbooks play a critical role in our 21st century educational landscape, and expanding my first-in-the-nation initiative will provide local school districts additional high-quality free resources to help prepare California’s students to compete in the global marketplace,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “I urge content developers to jump on board this second phase and submit social science and advanced math material to help ensure California’s shift to a more advanced and cost-effective education system continues.”

Phase 2 is accepting submissions on a rolling basis, so if you (or your project) have an open textbook completed or in the works, make sure the CC license info is marked up correctly and submit it to the CLRN website. For more on licensing, visit creativecommons.org/about/licenses.

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Egyptian License Draft Open for Public Discussion

Michelle Thorne, February 1st, 2010

The past year witnessed some major achievements for Creative Commons in the Arab world. Highlights included Al Jazeera’s adoption of CC BY for the world’s first broadcast-quality online repository and CC Jordan’s substantial efforts on the first Arabic license port.

2010 promises more exciting developments for the rapidly-growing CC community in the Arab world. Today the legal team from CC Egypt, headed by Hala Essalmawi, produced the first BY-NC-SA license draft adapted to Egyptian law (.pdf).

Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Hala and her team, supported by CC Jordan’s Rami Olwan and Ziad Maraqa, the Egyptian draft is now ready for public discussion.

The public discussion is an open forum where everyone –  from lawyers to active license users, from linguists to translators — is invited to contribute. If you have comments about different aspects of the licenses, whether in regards to legal, linguistic or usability issues, please feel welcome to join the CC Egypt mailing list and share your thoughts. Comments should be submitted as soon as possible to allow enough time for review, so we encourage you to post to the list before the end of March.

The Arabic and English versions of the Egyptian BY-NC-SA license are available, as is a summary of the substantial changes proposed by the legal team to port the licenses to Egyptian copyright law.

As efforts across the Arab world continue to expand and gather peer support, we hope that the Egyptian public discussion will foster more cross-border collaborations. This inter-jurisdictional support is a model that is particularly strong in the region, and hopefully it can become a viable approach for future projects.

Congratulations to CC Egypt, and we all look forward to comments from you, the public!

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CC Licenses and the Haiti Relief Effort, Continued

Cameron Parkins, February 1st, 2010

Late last month we looked at how our licenses were being used by both Google and Architecture for Humanity to keep content open, free, and fluid in their Haiti Relief efforts. As these efforts continue to grow more groups have turned to CC licenses to assist their goals, with three projects in particular catching our attention.

The OpenStreetMap project found an immediate niche to fill, launching their Project Haiti page in an effort to map out what was, at the time, a largely incomplete geographical picture. Far more detailed now, OSM’s data set is available for free under a CC Attribution-ShareAlike license, helping those on the ground in Haiti get to where they need to be with greater accuracy.

Haiti Rewired, a project of WIRED magazine, is a collaborative community focused on tech and infrastructure solutions for Haiti. All the content published to Haiti Rewired is licensed under a CC Attribution-Noncommercial license, keeping the conversation legally open. You can read the project’s mission statement for more info.

A similar effort comes from Sahana, a free and open source software disaster management system. Soon after the crisis hit, Sahana launched their Haiti 2010 Disaster Relief Portal, which includes an organizations registry, a situation map, and an activities report. All content and data from the portal is released under CC Attribution license, allowing necessary information to be accessed by anyone without legal or financial hurdles.

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Free Culture X

Jane Park, February 1st, 2010

Free Culture X, a conference of Students for Free Culture, will be held February 13th at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Keynote addresses will be given by Harvard Berkman Center co-founder Jonathan Zittrain, the co-founder of the public interest group Public Knowledge, Gigi Sohn, and the director of American University’s Center for Social Media, Pat Aufderheide.

The conference is focused on developing greater openness among institutions of higher education by specifically investigating:

  • The politics of open networks,
  • Global access to knowledge, and
  • Open education.

Attendees have the option to pay-what-you-want with prizes (such as signed copies of books by Lawrence Lessig and Henry Jenkins or custom voicemail recordings by Jonathan Zittrain) awarded for sizable donations. You can register at http://conference.freeculture.org/register/. CC will be in attendance in addition to many past and current CC supporters.

All contents of the Free Culture X site are dedicated to the public domain with CC0.

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Welcoming Cathy Casserly to the Creative Commons board of directors

Joi Ito, January 31st, 2010

I’m pleased to announce that today the Creative Commons board of directors has elected Cathy Casserly as a new member. Cathy has been a foremost champion of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement for a decade and of Creative Commons since its inception.

She served as Director of Open Educational Resources Initiative at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. A year ago she joined The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as Senior Partner.

Cathy has become a great personal friend and invaluable mentor as I ramp up my involvement in CC’s open education strategy. It is a great honor for me to welcome Cathy to the Creative Commons board of directors.

Addendum: CC board chair Esther Wojcicki on her Huffington Post blog writes Open Education Resources Get a Big Boost: Cathy Casserly Joins Creative Commons Board.

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CC & OER 2010

Mike Linksvayer, January 30th, 2010

Earlier this week we announced a reorganization of Creative Commons open education projects. The objective of this reorganization is to maximize CC’s impact by focusing our activities in support of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement where we have unique leverage and expertise — developing and explaining the legal and technical infrastructure required to make “open” work.

Today’s post lays out the details of our structure going forward and highlights some of our open education projects and goals for 2010. Apologies for the length of this post (and that of the previous announcement), but there’s much to cover. If you just want to hear about new developments as they happen please bookmark or subscribe to the Open Educational Resources tag on this blog or follow us on Facebook, Identi.ca, or Twitter.

Brand and Websites

The ccLearn (sometimes written CC Learn) brand and website are going away. Over the past year we’ve realized two things that fed into this decision. First, the Creative Commons brand is very strong and we need to leverage it wherever we can, including in education and science. While the ccLearn brand has gained recognition among those in the open education community we’ve directly engaged with, we want our impact and visibility to scale far beyond those we talk to directly. Second, separate branding led to a separate website for our open education activities, which essentially meant nobody saw them — last quarter alone the main CC site had 400x more visitors than the ccLearn site.

It will take some time to migrate and rebrand all relevant content, but the net effect is that going forward you can expect to see much more OER-related content and news on the CC home page, main site, and wiki. This is a big win for the open education movement — many more people will learn about OER, and for CC as well — OER may be the single most compelling use of our tools, and one that any member of the public can understand right away. Free access to materials for learning, worldwide — of course!

Resources and Funding

Creative Commons is increasing, not decreasing, its resource commitment to open education projects. The reorganization results in the departure of one staff, but the addition of direct open education project responsibility to several of our most senior staff, including our CEO, Creative Director, CTO, GC, and VP. It’s fair to ask what these people will not be doing now that they have significant new responsibilities. In brief, we get some efficiency gains through less internal communications overhead due to the reorganization and some replication of efforts that both core and ccLearn have pursued in the past. Additionally, we’re doing less pure outreach and outreach-related travel. This is worth an entire post in itself, but the short version is that direct outreach by CC staff now constitutes drops in the ocean of the burgeoning commons movement, so we’re focusing on relationships where an official CC representative is required and implementation could have a major impact. We plan to leverage education experts in our worldwide affiliate network — who are better positioned and more knowledgeable than staff at times — to do more of the direct outreach on behalf of CC. And finally, we’ll be making some support hires to free up more senior staff time for education project management and strategy.

We also think that making OER part of CC’s core messaging and focusing more of our project energy on supporting OER makes CC more attractive to donors — see brand above.


Photo: Cathy Casserly by Joi Ito / CC BY. OER champion Casserly joined the CC board of directors this month.

Team

Following are staff with direct open education responsibilities. All are listed on our organization chart (pdf), which you can always find linked from our people page. Note that all are completely integrated into the organization and that several others have (and always had) supporting roles for OER through as a matter of course in their work running CC’s operations, supporting affiliates, developing software, etc.

Joi Ito, CEO. Joi sets the overall direction of the organization, including our OER strategy. He will be greatly increasing the visibility of CC’s open education projects this year with the public and funders, including via keynoting conferences, writing, and personal appearances. He also has responsibility for leveraging the extensive education expertise of our board of directors and bringing external expertise to a new CC advisory board comprised in part of education experts. Joi will also play a key role in helping CC and OER grow in regions such as the Middle East and Africa — for those in the San Francisco, please come to our salon on February 16 to hear Joi speak on this topic.

Lila Bailey, Counsel, is focused on legal projects supporting OER and is supervised by Diane Peters, General Counsel, who leads the development of CC’s legal tools and overall legal strategy and policy, and will make OER one of the primary drivers in development of upgraded licenses and public domain tools.

Nathan Yergler, CTO, heads CC’s technology team, has direct responsibility for our OER search projects, and was lead developer for DiscoverEd, our OER search prototype. Nathan is currently hiring a software engineer to support further development of DiscoverEd.

Alex Kozak, Program Assistant, does project coordination for our Student Journalism project, works on OER metrics and other analysis, and provides support and documentation for our education-related technology projects. Jane Park, Communications Coordinator does much of our OER-related blogging and interviewing and liaises with both the media and community. Alex and Jane are supervised by Eric Steuer, Creative Director. Eric was CC’s primary representative at education events prior to the formation of ccLearn. In addition to education management responsibilities, Eric will be using experience gained from orchestrating major CC adoptions and improvements across many fields to help OER platforms improve their support for CC tools.

Tim Vollmer, Open Policy Fellow, is primarily responsible for supporting the OER policy community with analysis, explanations, metrics, and case studies concerning the benefits of open licensing for OER. Tim is supervised by Mike Linksvayer, Vice President, who manages CC’s day to day operations and oversees overall OER project planning, and is writing this blog post. If you have questions about CC’s open education projects, feel free to contact Mike at ml@creativecommons.org.

Many of CC’s affiliates are heavily involved in OER projects worldwide. We’ll be featuring many of them over the coming months.

Projects

Following is a sampling of open education projects CC is working on this year.

Legal

  • Licensing and copyright for OER, including its relationship to minors. Especially as OER becomes more prevalent in K-12, consideration must be given to the licensing of works created by minors. Our goal is to provide materials which allow parents, teachers, and learners to use and contribute to OER with confidence by following common-sense best practices, keeping parents and teachers involved.
  • Explanations of all elements of our core legal tools for an education audience.
  • A Continuing Legal Education course module for lawyers on copyright and open licensing that addresses education-specific issues.
  • Development of education use cases to inform the future development of our licenses and public domain tools.
  • Further exploration of copyright exceptions & limitations (including fair use) and OER production.

Technology

  • R&D on metadata, discoverability, provenance for OER — a mouthful, but some of the key challengesopportunities for increased OER adoption and impact.
  • Publications on known best practices for OER metadata.
  • Continued development and support of DiscoverEd, pushing ahead the state of the art for OER search.
  • Consulting on implementations of CC tools on key OER platforms.
  • Convening further in-person and online summits and code sprints concerning OER, discoverability and CC tools.

Social, Media, Policy

  • A new introductory video focusing on CC and OER.
  • A new and continuously updated slide deck for anyone to use and modify for presentation on CC and OER.
  • Further interviews and case studies highlighting the best and brightest implementations and implementers of CC for OER.
  • Analysis of lessons learned from Open Access policy and possible translation to OER policy.
  • Metrics regarding CC and OER adoption.
  • Further analysis of the reasons for heterogeneous copyright policies in online education and a new push for CC adoption and interoperability.
  • Materials for teaching about CC in curricula where open licensing and remix are instructive, e.g., journalism and arts education.

As with staffing resources above, it’s fair to ask what projects we won’t be doing, given that we’ve said we’re focusing our support for open education on projects in which our core legal and technical expertise come to bear. Here are some examples of areas related to open education that we’ve considered or been lobbied to consider involvement in that are outside of our core expertise and therefore out of scope: advising on health privacy and education; translation, formats, and content management systems beyond their support for open licensing and discoverability; direct advocacy and political movement building; advising on pedagogy. This is not a complete list by any means — there is much demand for expertise within the burgeoning open education movement.

We believe that by focusing on legal and technology projects and explanations that further adoption of CC and OER we will make great progress on the in-scope projects above and more in 2010, setting up 2011 to be a breakthrough year for the open education movement. Onward!

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Brazil’s 3.0 to go live at Campus Party

Michelle Thorne, January 29th, 2010

In 2004 a remarkable event took place in Porto Alegre. With an audience numbering in the thousands, the Creative Commons project in Brazil was launched. The then-Minister of Culture and Grammy Award-winning musician, Gilberto Gil applauded the efforts of these “freedom fighters of cyberspace” and endorsed the project as a way to solve copyright issues “in a more open and democratic way, in a more transparent way for Brazilian society.” His words and musical performance are captured in this short film about the event.

Today, six years later, CC Brazil is again drawing crowds. Following a speech by CC’s founder, Lawrence Lessig, the Brazilian team will later unveil Version 3.0 of the Creative Commons licenses, translated and adapted to Brazilian law. As Ronaldo Lemos, Project Lead of CC Brazil explains, Version 3.0 of the licenses offers a range of improvements upon previous versions, without changing the licenses’ basic structure or function.

The launch will be hosted at Campus Party 2010, a massive innovation festival pulling together young people to build, design, collaborate, and write, powered by a 10GB/s connection and each others’ energy. Lessig’s keynote will be delivered today (Friday, Jan. 29) at 9PM GMT, together with Ronaldo Lemos and Campus Party director Marcelo Branco. You can catch the live stream here on channel 1.

The Creative Commons project in Brazil is hosted by the Center for Technology and Society School of Law at Fundacao Getulio Vargas and is led by Lemos and a team of dedicated lawyers, technologists, and activists.

Congratulations and thank you to CC Brazil!
Image from Creative Commons’ film, “CC Brasil“, directed by Danny Passman / CC BY

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