Commons News

A Special Thanks to

Melissa Reeder, January 8th, 2010

The Creative Commons gratefully acknowledges support on behalf of in the form of a $50,000 annual five-year grant. The grant is from the Beal Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation. This substantial investment demonstrates Lulu’s commitment to participatory culture and we are particularly grateful for it.

Lulu was founded in 2002 to empower creators to succeed, to provide them with the tools and services to reach audiences without having to abide arbitrary rules and restrictions of the past. Since that time, the company has helped more than 1 million creators around the world and touched off a revolution that continues to reshape the publishing industry. Lulu has long been a supporter of Creative Commons and this financial contribution helps ensure a vibrant future.

“Lulu works every day to solve the problems of authors, educators, researchers and other content creators,” said Bob Young, Lulu’s founder and CEO. “We’re proud to support Creative Commons and its innovative solutions to this particularly complex issue. Its goal is the same as ours; to encourage and enable creators to bring their works to the world.”

Bob was an initial investor in Creative Commons, and we’re grateful to have his continued support. If you too believe in the power of participatory culture, please join Bob and Lulu in investing in CC. Help us ensure a healthy, thriving global commons for future creators.

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To Shoot An Elephant Global Screening: Jan 18th, 2010

Cameron Parkins, January 6th, 2010

genesis_DARK_logoThe team behind To Shoot An Elephant, the award-winning CC Attribution-Share Alike CC Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike licensed documentary we learned about late last year, are organizing a global screening of the film for Jan 18th, 2010:

From the To shoot an elephant team we are calling on any individual, group or collective to organise a screening on the 18th of January 2010; it doesn’t matter where, at what time, or in what way it is done, the only condition being, that there is no charge or entry fee. Be it in a town square, a cinema, a theatre, cultural centre, school or college, the headquarters of a collective, social centre, squat centre…

You can obtain the film by purchasing the DVD, emailing the production team, or downloading the torrent. Learn more about the film, which focuses on turmoil in the Gaza Strip, as well as make a donation at the To Shoot An Elephant website.

UPDATE: The TSAE team has made the list of planned screenings available online.

UPDATE #2: The film To Shoot An Elephant is licensed under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike license – the film’s website is licensed under a CC Attribution-Share Alike license.

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Final campaign total: $533,898.68!

Melissa Reeder, January 6th, 2010

THANK YOU to everyone who donated to our annual fundraising campaign, who bought swag from our online store, and who helped spread the word to friends and colleagues asking for their support of CC over the past three months. Thanks to you, we were able to meet and exceed our goal, raising a total of $533,898.68 from individuals, family foundations, and companies around the world. We are honored to have so much support, despite a grim economic climate and amidst calls of support from so many worthy causes.

In the spirit of transparency, here’s a more precise breakdown of the funds we raised during this campaign. We had a greater number of donations from individual supporters – users, advocates, and friends of Creative Commons just like you – than in any previous year; 1,296 individuals from countries around the world contributed whatever amount they were able in support of the commons, giving a total of $234,798.68. While this number is larger than it ever has been before, it is still relatively tiny compared to the scope and breadth of Creative Commons and the number of users and CC licenses (over a quarter of a billion) that currently exist in the world. We’re hoping to see this gap narrow as Creative Commons becomes more self-sustaining, with our users and supporters giving enough back to the organization to support our core operations.

This year’s corporate support came from the following companies and totaled $237,500:
Consumer Electronics Association
Current Media
Digital Garage
Microsoft Corporation

We also extend a heartfelt thanks to the following family foundations for their contributions totaling $61,600:
Doug and Betsey Schwab Family Foundation
Elbaz Family Foundation
Harnisch Foundation
Vadasz Family Foundation
Markle Foundation
Lewis Foundation
Tom and Susan Rabon Charitable Foundation

We asked our supporters to fill out a questionnaire and tell us why they chose to support CC this year. Here is what a few of you had to say:

“I strongly believe in new ways of licensing creativity.”
“I believe the commons is important for culture and society.”
“CC is needed to change the creative world from being self protective to being open and sharing.”
“Because I fervently believe in personal freedom and CC is about Freedom.”

If you donated this year, but missed the questionnaire, I encourage you to fill it out so that we can continue to improve our fundraising and awareness efforts.

We always welcome your support. We expect 2010 to be a year of many exciting projects and milestones – you can help ensure that by donating, buying swag, licensing your creative works and using CC-licensed material.

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Honorary Doctorate Awarded to CC Founder Lawrence Lessig

Michelle Thorne, January 6th, 2010

The University of Amsterdam will present CC founder Lawrence Lessig with an honorary doctorate for his scholarship in cyberlaw and his advocacy to design a standard for open content licenses, Creative Commons. Prof. Bernt Hugenholtz of the Institute for Information Law (IvIR) will confer the degree on Prof. Lessig this Friday, Jan. 8.

The following day, Prof. Lessig joins several speakers at an academic symposium on open access publishing, organized by IvIR and Creative Commons Netherlands. If you cannot make the ceremony but would like to hear Prof. Lessig speak about copyright, you may find this recent talk of interest.

On behalf of the creators who’ve benefited from your remarkable work, thank you and congratulations, Prof. Lessig!

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Thank You to Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales

Mike Linksvayer, January 5th, 2010

Wikipedia also wrapped up a wildly successful fundraiser at the end of the year. See below for Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales’ thank you letter to the community, reproduced in full under CC BY-SA, the license Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites migrated to last June. Note “support our friends” at the end — it is a great honor for CC to be in such esteemed company!

Wow. What can I say? Thank you.

We’ve just ended the most successful fundraiser in our history, $7.5 million USD raised in less than 8 weeks.

Incredible. But I’m not surprised.

In 2001, I took a bet on people, and you’ve never let me down.

You have created the largest collection of human knowledge ever assembled: 14 million encyclopedia articles in 270 languages, still growing and getting better every day. You have supported, funded and protected it.

Advertising doesn’t pay for Wikipedia. You do. Wikipedia is the fifth most visited website on earth – 340 million people last month – and we run our servers and pay our lean staff entirely with donations.

Your donations keep Wikipedia free to use and free of ads. Your donations keep spreading free access to knowledge all across the earth.

Thank you for everything you give to make Wikipedia a reality. I’ve been inspired by your comments, and feel privileged to witness your passion for Wikipedia.

  • “When I’m at a loss for answers in life, you are always here to rescue me!” – Lauren Sierra
  • “To my 6-year-old son, Wikipedia is a wonderful window into the world’s knowledge.” – Pilgrim Beart

  • “Wikipedia é muito importante para todos. É uma conquista da humanidade.” – Fernando Borba
  • “Wikipedia is all about fulfilling one simple need: immediate access to high quality information on any topic you can think of. That is why I’m glad to support it.” – Joao Nunes

It’s an amazing story. There’s nothing else like it.

And if you haven’t yet made a contribution to support Wikipedia, it’s not too late. You can still make a gift to support the free and open sharing of knowledge. Just click here.

I also encourage you to support our friends:

Thank you again.

Wikipedia forever,

Jimmy Wales

Founder, Wikipedia

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First Annual World’s Fair Use Day

Timothy Vollmer, January 5th, 2010


The First Annual World’s Fair Use Day (WFUD) will be held on Tuesday January 12, 2010 in Washington, D.C. (with events kicking off Monday night). WFUD is being organized by Public Knowledge, and will bring together a wide variety of individuals and groups interested in fair use, including artists, scholars, policymakers, entrepreneurs, media professionals, and consumer advocates. Says PK:

World’s Fair Use Day is a free, all-day celebration of the doctrine of fair use: the legal right that allows innovators and creators to make particular uses of copyrighted materials. WFUD will take place at the Newseum in Washington D.C. on Tuesday January 12, 2010, and will be organized by Public Knowledge (PK), a Washington D.C.-based non-profit, consumer-advocacy group. PK works to ensure that communications and intellectual property policies encourage creativity, further free expression and discourse and provide universal access to knowledge. As part of its campaign to return balance to copyright law, PK hopes to use WFUD to educate the public about the importance of fair use in an information society.

The events are free and open to the public, but RSVP is requested. Come say hello at the CC table in between sessions on Tuesday. See PK’s preview of the festivities and the WFUD site for all the pertinent information.


Public Domain Day 2010 and Beyond

Diane Peters, January 1st, 2010

Creative Commons has been celebrating Public Domain Day – January 1st – for several years, alongside many others who are similarly passionate about the value of the public domain and the need to prevent its demise. Each year on this day, copyright protection expires for millions of creative works, allowing those works to be used, repurposed and built upon by anyone, without restriction or need for permission.

This year we are excited to witness a growth in the number of organizations and websites dedicated to celebrating and promoting this day. COMMUNIA, the European Thematic Network on the Digital Public Domain and an organization in which Creative Commons is a member, has started a new website devoted to Public Domain Day that includes resources such as public domain calculators, information about countries’ copyright terms, and related information.  The “project aims at increasing public awareness of this celebration and educating about the Public Domain concept and its potentialities for spreading culture and knowledge worldwide.”

As well, the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University has several valuable web pages dedicated to Public Domain Day, including a detailed FAQ.  As the site explains, “On the first day of each year, Public Domain Day celebrates the moment when copyrights expire. The films, photos, books and symphonies whose copyright term has finished become “free as the air to common use” (quoting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis).

As Creative Commons embarks on its 8th year, plans are well underway to increase our focus and effort in the public domain arena.  Here are a few highlights of what you can look forward to:

  • In 2009, we launched the CC0 waiver, a tool that allows creators to effectively place their works in the public domain through a waiver of all copyright to the extent permitted by law.  This coming year, Creative Commons will publish for comment and adoption norms – non binding, community-based guidelines such as how to properly cite the author – to accompany CC0.  Look for more information about norms in early Spring.
  • As a complement to CC0, which is designed to add content to the public domain, in 2010 we will also be increasing development efforts on our public domain assertion tool.  This tool will enable members of the public and organizations such as libraries and museums to mark and tag public domain works available over the Internet.  Although long in the development cycle, the demand and desire for such a protocol endures.  Look for more information about our development plans soon.
  • As always, Creative Commons will continue its public domain work in other fora, such as COMMUNIA WG6 (Mapping the Public Domain).

These initiatives, together with those of many other like-minded organizations and individuals, are critical to the construction and maintenance of the public domain.  We hope you will join us in our efforts to build, preserve and make easily accessible this shared cultural resource.

Happy Public Domain Day 2010!

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$500,000 raised for CC by YOU and thank YOU!

Mike Linksvayer, December 31st, 2009

cc-shepard-fairey-logo-mediumWe launched our fifth year-end campaign on October 5 in a very difficult economic environment. Today, the final day of the year, the decade, and last scheduled day of the campaign, we surpassed our goal of raising $500,000.

Three major contributions in the last 24 hours carried us over the top from our board member Eric Saltzman, entrepreneur Reid Hoffman, and the Lewis Charitable Foundation.

Just as exciting, we’ve received support from more individual donors than in any previous year.


If you’re a new supporter, you’re joining many individuals, corporations, and foundations that have supported our work to build the commons for years. Congratulations!

One new supporter needs to be called out here — Lulu — for making a very significant multi-year commitment to Creative Commons. Details in a dedicated post soon. Many thanks to Lulu founder Bob Young, one of our original funders.

2009 was a groundbreaking year for Creative Commons. Thanks to you, 2010 should be even better. With your support, we will be working to make the 2010s a decade in which the voluntary commons contributes mightily to realizing the potential of digital networks for the arts, media, education, science, the public sector, and collaboration and innovation across fields.

If you haven’t given yet, there’s still time to support the commons in 2009! Any amount will help. As a reminder, a donation of $75 or more gets you a CC t-shirt designed by artist Shepherd Fairey (image above). For as little as $3.50 you can get swag from our store.

Thanks again. Watch for an analysis of the campaign and lots of exciting initiatives in 2010 — we’ll be asking for your input. Spread the word!

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Digital Garage pledges $100,000 to Creative Commons!

Melissa Reeder, December 29th, 2009

Digital Garage has just pledged $100,000 to support Creative Commons’ work in 2010. Digital Garage has been a key corporate funder of Creative Commons since 2006 and we’re thrilled to continue having their support.

Digital Garage CEO Kaoru Hayashi explains their mission:

Digital Garage was founded so we could contribute to the building of a better society by creating the Internet contexts for “real space” and ever-expanding “cyber space,” as well as by connecting Japan with countries overseas, marketing with technology and the present with the future.

Creative Commons is a key piece that helps enable their mission, and we’re proud to continue working with Digital Garage and other innovative companies who value collaboration and creativity.

With Digital Garage’s help, as of this moment we need to raise $105,245 of our $500,000 goal for this year’s campaign. That gap will get smaller by the moment — but only if you help. Please join Digital Garage and the thousands of people and organizations investing in the future of creativity and knowledge by donating to Creative Commons today!

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CC@7 Birthday Party Round-Up

Michelle Thorne, December 29th, 2009

From a “Happy Birthday” rendition in Korean to apple schnapps in Reykjavik and a Free Culture debate in Poland, Creative Commons’ seventh birthday was celebrated this month with originality and cheerful camaraderie.

The global parties kicked off in Beijing at the opening of “Remix and Share”, a contemporary art exhibition featuring 60 acclaimed artists across the country. Afterward a discussion forum explored the event’s theme, led by CC Project Leads and representatives from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, and others in the Asia-Pacific region. The icing on the cake appeared literally later that evening when CC China Mainland volunteers threw a surprise CC birthday party. “Happiness was seen on everyone’s face,” the team recounts.



That same day Warsaw hosted a Free Culture debate during Swoją drogą, a conference for Poland’s independent cultural sector. A few nights earlier, Warsaw’s nightclub Wspaniały Nowy Świat jammed to free music by Eileen Simpson and Ben White from the Open Music Archive.

On December 17 Guatemala City sipped cocktails in honor of CC@7 while Reykjavik enjoyed beers and exotic “topaz shots” (tópas-skot) at Zimzen.

Later, a live installation in Oslo shook the walls of RAM Gallery using light and sound to explode “the white cube”, an architectural concept to describe traditional gallery space. The exhibition’s curator collaborated with the ccMixter community to “soundtrack” the exhibition, entitled The White Cube Remix.

A continent away, Seoul organized CC Hope Day, an annual event by CC Korea to celebrate achievements and thank friends. This year a lively crowd gathered in the club Tool to be entertained and inspired by an incredible line-up, part of a joint program with OCW, IgniteSeoul, TEDxSeoul, TEDxMyeongdong, TEDxSookmyung, and of course the fabulous CC Korea team. The video from the evening is priceless.


The global parties wrapped up in San Francisco with an installation of its own, Into Infinity, a music collaboration with dublab, Creative Commons, and many talented artists. Taking the stage at PariSoMa was also Alex Macgillivray, General Counsel of Twitter, a supporter of Creative Commons. CC’s Vice President Mike Linksvayer spoke with the crowd about some of CC’s major accomplishments in 2009 and talked about what’s in store for 2010.


Well, it has indeed been a great year. But there’s still work ahead. To make a difference, there are many things you can do — like volunteering for your local CC project, creating & using freely licensed works, teaching others about Creative Commons, or doing something very important this time of year: giving financial support. Each contribution is a step towards a more balanced future and a healthy sharing culture.

To all of CC friends and birthday planners, happy 7th and thank you!

Image credits: “志愿者合影” and “p360816336″ by Feng Qian and SOS / CC BY. “CC hopeday – CC Friends party” by cckorea / CC BY. “ted cutting CC’s 7th birthday cake” by tvol / CC BY.

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