Catherine Stihler OBE has been an international champion for openness as a legislator and practitioner for over 20 years.
Born in Scotland, Catherine was educated at the University of St Andrews, where she was awarded a Master of Arts (MA) with Honours in Geography and International Relations, and later a Master of Letters (MLitt) in International Security Studies. She also has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Open University. In October 2014, Catherine became the 52nd Rector of the University of St Andrews, and today serves as the Chair of the governing body, University Court. In 2018 she was awarded an honorary doctorate (DLitt) in recognition of her service to the university.
She stood for election as a Member of the European Parliament for Scotland in 1999, representing the Labour Party. At the European Parliament she became one of Scotland’s longest-serving and most respected legislators.
Catherine was elected Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, founded the Campaign for Parliamentary Reform and the Parliament’s All-Party Library Group, and was instrumental in securing graphic health warnings on cigarette packets across the EU.
In 2019, Catherine was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of her services to politics. That same year, she stood down from the European Parliament to become the Chief Executive Officer of the Open Knowledge Foundation. During her 18-month tenure at the Foundation, Catherine redefined its vision and mission to produce a new strategic direction, re-engaged its global chapters and increased the worldwide profile of the organisation.
In August 2020, Catherine was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Creative Commons, a non-profit organisation that helps overcome legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity to address the world’s pressing challenges.
"Catherine Stihler" by Martin Shields is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
Recently, there has been an increase in threatened and actual lawsuits involving CC licensed works, and in some cases, license enforcement has even become a business model. We have now learned that even long-time friend and contributor to Creative Commons, Cory Doctorow, has been targeted. Put simply, “license-enforcement-as-business model” is a perversion of the founding … Read More “Do not feed the trolls”
On December 14, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) of the European Parliament adopted its position on the Digital Services Act (DSA) proposal, under the leadership of IMCO DSA Rapporteur MEP Christel Schaldemose (S&D, Denmark). What is the Digital Services Act? The Digital Services Act aims to update the current EU legal framework … Read More “Digital Services Act — Is the EU legislative train on the right track?”
Dear CC Community, It’s a very special day — today marks the 20th Anniversary of Creative Commons’ founding! Twenty years ago, Creative Commons started with a simple, radical idea: to save the internet from “failed sharing” and create a world where everyone has access to knowledge and creativity. What began as a simple idea and … Read More “A message from our CEO to the CC Community on Creative Commons’ 20th Anniversary”
On Wednesday, November 24, Creative Commons (CC) shared an article on our social media channels from Cuseum titled How 21 Museums & Cultural Organization Engaged with NFTS in 2021. At CC, we pride ourselves on raising issues thoughtfully and often share articles on our platforms about the digital space where we work. Many times CC … Read More “In response to NFT debate”
Last month, the Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) and Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) released a publication entitled Global Britain for an open world? Open societies around the world and the international system that supports them are under growing threat. This publication examines the importance of open societies to the UK’s ‘force for good’ ambitions. Edited … Read More “Digital Democracy from the ‘Global Britain for an open world?’ publication”
On Thursday 28 October 2021, Creative Commons CEO Catherine Stihler delivered a keynote at the University of St Andrews’ Power to the people: St Andrews’ journey to net-zero and the future of energy event ahead of the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, officially known as the 26th Conference of Parties, or COP26. In her … Read More “Power to the people”
As International Open Access Week (25 – 31 October) draws to a close, the UK prepares to welcome the world to the COP26 summit (31 October – 12 November). Creative Commons CEO, Catherine Stihler, says the UK has the opportunity to unlock digital democracy if the government invests in and commits to open software, openly licensed content, … Read More “As Open Access Week 2021 Draws to a Close, the UK Prepares to Host COP26”
I wanted to welcome and introduce some new team members to our broader community, as well as publicly thank those for their service who have recently moved on to new and exciting opportunities. We are delighted to announce our new Director of Communications, Dee Harris, has joined the CC team today. Dee has a wealth … Read More “A time of new beginnings and heartfelt farewells”
Today marks my first year anniversary at CC. It is such an honour and a privilege to lead this organization whose relevance could not be more important at this time. However, as I sit and write this reflection, I know for so many in our global community and network that our thoughts and prayers are … Read More “Reflections from my first year as Creative Commons’ CEO”
Following our recent announcement of a major grant from Arcadia to advance open access at galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAMs), we’re excited to officially launch Creative Commons’ Open GLAM program. In this post, we share an overview of the program’s rationale and briefly introduce our key program areas. ——— GLAMs’ public interest mission, rooted … Read More “We’re Launching the CC Open GLAM Program”