In January 2009, Al Jazeera launched a pioneering initiative: the first news repository licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. At the time, restrictions imposed by the Israeli military in Gaza prevented international news outlets from reaching the Strip and reporting from within. Al Jazeera, which had the advantage of being the only news outlet with a correspondent on the ground, came up with a creative solution by making its exclusive footage available to be used, remixed, translated and re-broadcasted by everybody, including competitors.
Three years later, a similar situation is happening with Syria. Shortage of news is dramatic and reports from within the country are rare and often require that journalists’ lives are put at risk in order to gather information. This is why it is key to have initiatives such as Syria Deeply, a news aggregator launched two weeks ago by a team of journalists and technologists headed by seasoned reporter Lara Setrakian.
Syria Deeply is a news platform that aims to redesign the user experience of the Syria story, for greater understanding and engagement around a complex global issue. The platform is part news aggregator, part interactive backgrounder, part original reporting and feature stories. And the great news is that the content on the site is entirely CC BY–licensed, in order to encourage sharing and viral distribution.
This is a major step in crisis reporting and will allow a wider audience to become more aware of the dramatic situation in Syria, fostering a better understanding of a complex issue by adding context and historical information to the headlines.
“I believe technology is the key to getting more and better news to a broader audience,” says Setrakian. Open licensing can support this process and spread more and better understanding on Syria-related issues.No Comments »
You may have already heard the great news—YouTube has added the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) as a licensing option for users! Now when users upload video, they can choose to license it under CC BY or to remain with the default “Standard YouTube License.” Users may also change the license on existing videos by editing each video individually.
In conjunction with the implementation, YouTube has launched a Creative Commons video library containing 10,000 videos under CC BY from organizations such as C-SPAN, PublicResource.org, Voice of America, and Al Jazeera. The library will serve as a base catalog of videos for users to access, edit, and incorporate into their own video projects. The YouTube Video Editor now contains a CC tab that allows users to search the Creative Commons video library and select videos to edit and remix. Users may remix videos directly on the editor platform, and any video that is created using CC BY-licensed content will automatically display the linked source videos’ titles underneath the video player. Since CC BY is enabled as a licensing option, the library will grow as more users choose to license their work under CC BY.
Blogs are buzzing with the news! From boingboing to TechCrunch, Mashable, and GigaOm, people are commenting on Why YouTube Adopting Creative Commons Is a Big Deal.
For more info, see YouTube’s blog, YouTube and Creative Commons – Raising the Bar on User Creativity. Also check out YouTube’s help center on Creative Commons.20 Comments »
CC heads into February with exciting new developments in policy, science, and journalism.
A new U.S. education fund makes available $2 billion to create open educational resources in community colleges
The U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Education announced a new education fund that will grant $2 billion to create open educational resources (OER) materials for career training programs in community colleges. The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT) will invest $2 billion over the next four years into grants that will “provide community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs.” What’s more, the full program announcement (PDF) states that all the resources created using these funds must be released under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. The first round of funding will be $500 million over the next year. Applications to the solicitation are now open, and will be due April 21, 2011. Read what our incoming CEO, Cathy Casserly, has to say at the full post.
Nature Publishing Group announces a new open access journal and support for CC
Nature Publishing Group has long been a leader in scientific and medical publishing. Last month, the company announced a brand new online open access journal called Scientific Reports. With this launch, a full 80% of NPG academic and society journals and 50% of all journals the company publishes offer open access options to authors. Additionally, NPG is going to make a donation to Creative Commons for every publication in Scientific Reports. We are thrilled to have this financial support that will help us continue to provide the legal and technical infrastructure of open systems. Read more.
Al Jazeera adds Egypt and Tunisia coverage to its CC video repository
Since the beginning of the Egyptian uprising on January 25th, Qatar-based all-news Arabic channel Al Jazeera has been feeding its repository of CC-licensed video with up-to-date footage from Egypt and Tunisia. With a powerful network of journalists and reporters on the ground who can provide footage that is sometimes very difficult to obtain, “Al Jazeera has decided to make its content available for other news sources to use through their Creative Commons website” (Wired). The footage released on Al Jazeera’s Creative Commons repository is under the CC BY license, which makes it legally available to be downloaded, shared, re-mixed, translated and even re-broadcast without asking for further permission as long as the original source is credited. Read more.
In other news:
- Open data is huge this year. Read about CC’s open data strategy and what you can do to help.
- Belgian and Israeli Courts granted remedies to CC licensors.
- Director Vincent Moon (of the Take-Away Shows) announced public-private screenings for his new film, “An Island.” The film, like all his work, is available under CC BY-NC-SA.
- We launched a new blog series on Creative Commons and Public Sector Information for the ePSIplatform.
- We talked with Nick Shockey of the Right to Research Coalition (R2RC) about the benefits of adopting CC tools for open access literature, and the similarities between the open access and open education movements.
- We changed our website!
- We also created CC REL by Example in an effort to make CC license metadata much easier to implement. It includes many example HTML pages, as well as explanations and links to more information.
- Finally, we rounded out the month by holding our first board meeting of 2011 and completing three CC license 3.0 localizations in Estonia, Costa Rica, and Chile.
Two weeks ago the first CC Salon Beirut took place, convening a number of fantastic groups and speakers from the surrounding region. CC Arab World Media and Development Manager Donatella Della Ratta was on hand and recapped the event on her blog.
While the Salon yielded numerous exciting announcements and presentations, two were particularly inspiring. Al Akhbar, a daily newspaper published in Beirut, announced that it would begin releasing its web content under a CC Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license. Similarly, Al Jazeera used the Salon as a platform to release footage specifically on Lebanon in to its Creative Commons repository.
Be sure to read the entire recap for more information on all the projects and presenters.No Comments »
Today, the Al Jazeera Documentary International Film Festival hosted Remix, the first ever Creative Commons workshop in the Arab world entirely dedicated to filmmakers.
Basel Safadi kicked off the workshop, explaining in both English and Arabic the basics behind Creative Commons licenses. Safadi also presented case studies of select films and documentaries already released under a CC license including Brett Gaylor’s RIP: A Remix Manifesto, Nina Paley’s Sita Sings The Blues, and Arce-Rujelah’s To Shoot an Elephant. Mohamed Nanahbay, Head of Online at Al Jazeera English, was also present to discuss the Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository and its recent addition of footage from Lebanon.
The CC Al Jazeera repository and its importance will be at the center of a panel discussion hosted by Perugia International Journalism Festival on Friday, April 23rd. The panel will focus on how the availability of high-quality footage for free and legal download is affecting the future of video journalism. Featured participants include Moeed Ahmad, Head of Al Jazeera New Media, and Laith Mustaq, one of the most prominent bloggers at Al Jazeera Talk.1 Comment »
Last year, Al Jazeera launched their Creative Commons Repository with 12 videos shot in Gaza under CC’s most open license, Attribution only. Since then, Al Jazeera’s collection has grown, and their most recent footage includes videos documenting everyday life and culture in Iraq.
Check out this video of an Iraqi artist sculpting a Minaret and painting a tree. The sculptures seem to be encased afterward in gold or some other substance—I’m not entirely sure since I’m not fluent in Arabic. The good news is that the video and all others in this repository are licensed CC BY, so someone can help translate this into English or other languages, for use by rival broadcasters or in documentaries.
You can also start remixing these videos to tell a compelling story, whether it’s a 30 sec or twenty minute film clip, maybe laid with some CC licensed soundtracks. Be creative. There’s a lot of CC licensed stuff out there. All Al Jazeera CC repository videos are available via CC BY, which means you can edit, adapt, translate, remix or otherwise use them as long as you credit Al Jazeera. Interested persons can add the Al Jazeera repository to their Miro feeds.No Comments »
Al Jazeera has just launched the latest of its online project called Al Jazeera Blogs.
The website features blog posts written by prominent journalists and correspondents from the global Al Jazeera television network. It also hosts several sub-blogs sections divided by geographical areas, such as the Africa, Asia, Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. In addition, Al Jazeera has a blog focused on international business and the ongoing financial crisis.
The project also features interesting tech extras such as integration with OpenCalais’ semantic tagging system.
Credit once again goes to Al Jazeera English’s Head of Online, Mohamed Nanabhay. Mohamed also happens to be the author of the first commoner letter for this year’s annual campaign, and was one of the key players who made Al Jazeera’s amazing CC repository a reality.1 Comment »
I’m happy to announce the launch of this year’s Commoner Letter series – a series of letters written by prominent members of the CC community in support of our annual fundraising campaign. We want to be very clear that this campaign is about much more than raising money for CC. At the heart of it all is the crucial effort to build awareness for CC and spread the word about the importance of online sharing and participatory culture as far and wide as we possibly can.
For that reason, I am proud to say that the first Commoner Letter comes to you from Mohamed Nanabhay, the Head of Online, Al Jazeera English. Mohamed and Al Jazeera have done incredible work this year helping to build the commons and spread CC’s mission on an international level. As many of you know, earlier this year Al Jazeera launched a Creative Commons repository, which houses raw footage available for anyone to share, repurpose, and remix. We’re honored to have such a fervent supporter in Al Jazeera, and I hope you enjoy reading Mohamed’s personal story of why he values Creative Commons.
If you’re interested in receiving the remaining five Commoner Letters directly to your inbox, I encourage you to subscribe today.
Dear Creative Commoner,
This has been a big year for the Al Jazeera Network and our use of Creative Commons. In January we launched the world’s first repository of broadcast quality video footage released under a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution (CC BY) license. At the time we made select Al Jazeera video footage – initially, footage of the War on Gaza – available for free to be downloaded, shared, remixed, subtitled and eventually rebroadcast by users and TV stations across the world, under the condition that they attribute the material to us.
A large part of embracing free culture is accepting the fact that you are forsaking control in exchange for something greater – the empowerment of the creative community. This means that you never quite know where things will lead. When launching our repository, we had thought that it would be a key resource for anyone producing content on the war and that it would primarily be used by other news organisations and documentary filmmakers.
What we saw was both surprising and delightful. Soon after posting our first video, Wikipedia editors had extracted images to enhance the encyclopedia entries on the War on Gaza. Soon thereafter educators, filmmakers, videogame developers, aid agencies and music video producers all used and built upon our footage. We were encouraged by the warm reception with which our content was received by the free culture community.
Joichi Ito, CEO of Creative Commons said at the launch, “Video news footage is an essential part of modern journalism. Providing material under a Creative Commons license to allow commercial and amateur use is an enormous contribution to the global dialog around important events. Al Jazeera has set the example and the standard that we hope others will follow”.
Being part of a community goes beyond the launch of a single project – it involves long term commitment and shared values. Our association with Creative Commons goes back to 2007 when Lawrence Lessig, the founder of Creative Commons, delivered a keynote address at our 3rd Al Jazeera Forum in Doha, Qatar, where he challenged us to make our content freely available in order to further the values of free speech. This was a challenge that we took seriously – in addition to our Creative Commons Repository, we also make a large part of our output freely available on our YouTube channel.
After the launch of our Repository we co-hosted a workshop with Creative Commons on “Building Successful Media Projects in Open Networks,” which was moderated by Creative Common’s CEO Joichi Ito. This workshop was broadcast live throughout the Middle East as part of our 4th Al Jazeera Forum held in March 2009, which was an international gathering of nearly 200 journalists, analysts, academics, and intellectuals.
While having successfully reached out to new audiences through Creative Commons licensing, the real endorsement of what we achieved was in this note by Lawrence Lessig:
“Al Jazeera is teaching an important lesson about how free speech gets built and supported. By providing a free resource for the world, the network is encouraging wider debate, and a richer understanding”.
Working with Creative Commons has been an enriching experience. We are thankful for all the help, advice and assistance that we received along the way from Lawrence Lessig, Joi Ito, and the rest of the wonderful team that works to spread free culture.
The unintended collaboration that arose as a result of our video repository, and its positive reception worldwide, would not have been possible without the help of Creative Commons licensing. We support this effort because we have witnessed, and continue to witness, the benefits of contributing to and strengthening the digital commons. In whatever capacity you are able, I hope you will also support CC by contributing to this organization and by adding to the commons. I urge you to go forth and license!
Head of Online, Al Jazeera English
The first Creative Commons regional meeting in the Arab World was held a few weeks ago during Al Jazeera’s annual Media Forum in Doha, Qatar (14-16 March, 2009).
The Forum hosted the first ever face-to-face meeting of the Arab Project Leads (Ziad Maraqa and Rami Olwan from CC Jordan and Nafaa Laribi from CC Tunisia) with CC staff (Joi Ito, Donatella Della Ratta, Catharina Maracke, and Michelle Thorne), key media researchers, bloggers, CC enthusiasts and supporters from the region. The meeting, organized with the kind support of Al Jazeera, tackled many issues that are crucial for future developments of CC communities in the Arab World. Lawyers Stephanie Raye Safi from Khasawneh & Associates (Dubai), Samer Jamous from Talal Abu Ghazaleh (Qatar) and Mohammad El Said (Al Jazeera) gave input on the first ported Arabic license, now being finalized by CC Jordan.
The Arabic translation of the name “Creative Commons” took center stage of the discussion. Pros and cons were weighed whether to leave the name in English and transliterate into Arabic script, or if it should be translated with a proper Arabic word. The Jordanian translation “masha3″ was agreed to be the closest to the original English meaning, but for those who would still like to share their input, the public discussion is still open on the CC Jordan page, where you are encouraged to contribute. Other legal issues were debated, such as moral rights and fair use.
The discussion also focused on how to enrich community participation in the Arab World and develop initiatives in media, education, and general outreach. Everyone agreed that a key component for CC in the Arab World should be to foster content creation in Arabic and to encourage innovation in tools and software to speed up this process. With these plans and more underway, a community list will be started in English and Arabic. If you’d like to be in touch, please let us know!
The CC Al Jazeera day also featured a panel on “Building successful media projects in open networks”, moderated by CC’s CEO Joi Ito. Mohamed Nanahbay, former Head of New Media at Al Jazeera, presented the CC Al Jazeera repository, a website initiated by the channel to host broadcast quality footage, all distributed under CC BY. Mohamed explained how the footage has been used and remixed by different groups of people, including several TV channels that edited and re-broadcasted the material. Footage shot in Gaza last December is now available in the repository, and Al Jazeera announced in Doha that they plan to add more topics and genres before the summer. The panel also hosted a delegation of the European Broadcasting Union led by Nicoletta Iacobacci, Head of New Interactive, to learn more about how to use CC licenses in future broadcasting initiatives.
It was a very busy and interesting day, with plenty of insights and thoughts for the future development of open content and CC communities in the Arab world. A big thank to the Al Jazeera team, particularly Mohamed, Moeed, and the New Media team for their passionate support and the great work to make this happen. Shukran gezilan!
We hope to plan more events of those kind, and if you want to stay in touch with us on those topics, please write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Comment »
More than a year ago, Free Culture advocate Anas Tawileh analyzed the state of Arabic content online. His portal Arab Commons has grown modestly but steadily since its launch in 2007, offering 11 full textbooks in Arabic, plus magazines, podcasts, poetry collections, and a number of art works — all within a few months. For a language with 200 million speakers, however, Anas and his colleagues in the Arab World were determined to match scale and build a larger pool of open Arabic content. But how?
A critical first step came when CC Jordan announced the public discussion of the first Version 3.0 draft in Arabic, a necessary move to improve the licenses’ legal certainty in court and prompt wider adoption in the Middle East.
Now, with the unparalleled release of Al Jazeera’s Gaza footage under CC BY, the Arab World is poised for more. In Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah already created the Initiative for Arabic Digital Content, which recently held a two-day workshop on “Open Arabic Content” in Riyadh. CC legal expert Rami Olwan from Jordan was in attendance, discussing the licensing system and meeting supporters. Ziad Maraqa, co-Project Lead from CC Jordan, spoke yesterday in Damascus at the iCommunity FOSS Workshop, a notable gathering for the Syrian Free Software community.
With initiatives like these, Creative Commons in the Arab World will no doubt continue to grow. After the Jordan CC licenses launch, other jurisdictions are ready to follow. There is still a lot of translation and outreach work to be done, so if you would like to get involved, you can contact Donatella Della Ratta, our Arab World Media and Development Manager, and learn more.
With that, a huge thank you to the recent event organizers for inviting CC to participate, and thank you to the many individuals already helping promote Free Culture in the Arab World!2 Comments »