public domain

Registries and the public domain at the 3rd COMMUNIA Workshop

Mike Linksvayer, October 23rd, 2008

Monday the 3rd COMMUNIA Workshop on Marking the Public Domain: Relinquishment and Certification included a panel on marking and tagging public domain works, featuring presentations by Safe Creative‘s Mario Pena (Safe Creative’s approach to registering public domain works), Patrick Peiffer of the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg (and CC Luxembourg), Jonathan Gray (OKF), and me (certifying public domain works).

In the future we will work with Safe Creative and others on registry standards to ensure openness and interoperability — see both Mario and my slides for some of this.

Soon all presentations from the workshop will be available for download.

Remember that Safe Creative is generously matching contributions to the CC fall fundraising campaign. Thanks again to Safe Creative!

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Latam Commons 2008

Jane Park, October 6th, 2008

Santiago, Chile: ccLearn is hosting a three day conference on “open licensing, open technologies, and the future of education in Latin America” from November 19th to the 21st. The conference is split up into three meetings over the three days. 

Nov 19 is for Creative Commons International, where CC affiliates will meet to discuss the latest developments in licensing and other CC-related issues. Though this day of the conference is only CC, the latter two days are open to all. From the Latam Commons 2008 invitation:

“We are writing to invite you to join us in Santiago, Chile, on Nov 20-21, for a ground-breaking meeting about open licensing, open technologies, and the future of education in Latin America. The meeting on Nov 20 is called Latam Commons 2008: Creative Commons, Open Education, and the Public Domain. It is being co-hosted by ccLearn, the education division of Creative Commons, and Derechos Digitales.”

You can register for the Nov 20 meeting on Open Education here. Registration is free and open to anyone until we reach our capacity of 60. So register now to reserve your spot.

Derechos Digitales is also hosting a seminar on the public domain on Nov 21, to which everyone is welcome.” There is no attendance limit on this day.

“Latam Commons 2008 is expected to include representatives of different organizations and projects in open education from throughout the Latin American region. The meeting will be a participatory gathering in which all attendees will be able to discuss a range of issues relevant to open education in Latin America, with the goal of developing a broad understanding of major education issues in the region and a focused vision of how open education and widely available educational resources can address these needs. As the workshop will be dynamic and discussion-based, we are inviting anyone interested in these issues to attend and contribute.

Please visit the registration page at: http://accesoalacultura.cl/registros-cclearn/ You can sign up for one or both of the meeting days at this site. Registration is free, and some meals will be provided for all registered participants. Visit the meeting wiki (http://derechosdigitales.org/wiki/Creative_Commons_Learn) for additional information about travel, lodging, and the meeting agenda.

This meeting is intended to catalyze conversations and projects that will continue after the meeting is over, and to build relationships among people and organizations so that we can bring our collective energies and resources to bear on common challenges for open education. Future meetings are already planned, and we look forward to seeing the progress on this global effort that grows out of Latam Commons 2008.

Please direct any questions or concerns to Ahrash Bissell, Grace Armstrong, or Claudio Ruiz. We hope to see you in Santiago.”

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Ordering an Espresso at the U of Michigan Library

Jane Park, September 18th, 2008

is now an entirely different process. The University of Michigan is the first university to have installed the Espresso Book Machine, also termed “the ATM of books,” in one of its libraries. The wait time is about the same, but you’re ordering books now instead of Italian coffee, and the product price is a bit higher—averaging at 10 bucks a pop. But 10 bucks for a printed and bound book that is made in seven minutes is a pretty good deal, especially when you’ve got almost 2 million books to choose from. How is this possible? Or even legal?

The University of Michigan libraries have nearly 2 million books digitized for on demand printing, in addition to thousands of more books from the Open Content Alliance and other sources. But trust me when I say that these books are all very legal; in fact, they have been out of copyright for 85 years, or more. As a result, they are in the public domain, available for anyone to print, read, and repurpose—for free. The espresso version is simply covering printing costs. Compared to the average price of books these days, especially textbooks, ten bucks is pocket change. Online sites like Lulu.com already offer print versions of CC licensed works for cheap—remember the OER Handbook for Educators? It’s only 19.99 for 284 pages. Of course, ordering online is a bit slower than ordering from the EBM. 

Once the machine is installed, it is capable of being connected to other digital collections not limited to the U of M’s. Props to the University of Michigan for yet again leading the way on copyright issues.

While we’re on the topic, the Open Content Alliance has the similar goal of “building a digital archive of global content for universal access”. The Open Content Alliance is “a group of cultural, technology, nonprofit, and governmental organizations from around the world that [helps to] build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia content. [It] was conceived by the Internet Archive and Yahoo! in early 2005 as a way to offer broad, public access to a rich panorama of world culture.”

ccLearn is very excited to attend this year’s Internet Archive conference in San Francisco where an OCA meeting will take place in October. The theme for this year’s conference is “Using Digital Collections.”

Thanks to Peter Suber and The Wired Campus for alerting us to the EBM. You can even watch a video of how the machine works.

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CCO Beta/Discussion Draft 3

Diane Peters, August 29th, 2008

We are pleased to release for public comment the next beta draft of CC0 Waiver, which comes several months after the last draft of CC0 was published in April.  You can view the beta draft 3 at ccLabs.

While this draft is being released later than planned (more on that, below), we are very excited about the progress we’ve made on CC0 in the interim.  We look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions for improving CC0 still further.  Read on to hear more about what has changed and our plans for finalizing CC0 this fall.

In our April beta 2 release, we made two significant changes to CC0 that drew a number of comments. The first change was to separate the “waiver” tool, intended for use by copyright owners wishing to relinquish their rights under copyright to a work, from the “assertion” tool, intended for use by others to mark a work as being free from copyright and in the public domain.  This eliminated confusion the combined tool was causing, and allowed us to push ahead with CC0 while planning the more complicated assertion piece. This change was received favorably by commentators.

The other significant change made in the April draft was to position CC0 as a “Universal” legal tool, capable of being used in all jurisdictions without the formal porting process CC traditionally uses for its core licenses.  In making this change, we recognized that the legal effect of CC0 would differ depending on the jurisdiction.  After further consideration, however, we concluded that the benefits of having a Universal tool outweighed that concern.

This attempt at Universality attracted the bulk of the comments we received after posting the April draft.  It was also the key issue underlying other comment threads raising enforceability issues and differences between legal systems.

Several commentators (accurately) pointed out that the language in CC0 beta draft 2 overstated the legal effect CC0 would have in their jurisdictions, as no waiver could completely eliminate moral and other rights granted authors and others in many countries.  Others noted that the mechanism of a waiver did not exist at all in their jurisdictions, or at best minimally, and so suggested alternative approaches like a covenant not to sue.  Still others asked for more clarity on the important point that others’ rights in the work were not affected by CC0 and may need to be cleared in advance of a particular use (including – by way of example – privacy and publicity rights held by an individual whose image is captured in a photo).

There were other comments and suggestions for improvement.  We’ve posted many on the CC0 Wiki.

All of the comments we received were incredibly valuable and caused us to re-evaluate not just the legal code but also the positioning of CC0 as a Universal legal tool.  We took this opportunity to consult in more depth with our CCi community during iSummit earlier this month and with other legal experts in an attempt to apply additional academic rigor to our drafting process.

So while this draft 3 was delayed, we feel it was for good reason. We remain dedicated to pursuing a Universal CC0, but with some substantial revision to the text. Here are a few of the changes you will see in draft 3 as a result of those comments and discussions:

  • Inclusion of a Statement of Purpose that provides context and explanation for issues CC0 attempts to solve while also identifying limitations inherent in such an attempt;
  • Clarifying language about the IP rights affected by CC0 through a new comprehensive definition of “Copyright Related Rights”; and
  • Emphasis on the possible existence of privacy and publicity rights of others with respect to a work, and the need for those to be cleared where appropriate.

We welcome your comments on these changes and your suggestions for other improvements.  The primary venue for discussion continues to be the cc-licenses mailing list.  We also encourage you to take a look at our newly-updated CC0 Wiki where you can find a summary of comments leading up to this draft 3 and links to their full text.  You can also find on the wiki a list of other tools and licenses that attempt to do in part what we are attempting to accomplish with CC0.  Please feel free to add other tools you may be aware of to the list.

We request that comments on this beta draft 3 be submitted within the next 30 days (by September 26th or thereabouts).  We plan to finalize CC0 in late October or early November, shortly following our participation in the 3rd Communia Workshop on Marking the Public Domain.

A special acknowledgment to Catharina Maracke (Director of CCi) for coordinating the international input at iSummit.  Thanks also goes to Science Commons and ccLearn for being patient (despite a growing need for CC0 in their domains) so we might get this right.

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Animasher Brings Commons Remixing to Animation

Fred Benenson, August 25th, 2008

Animasher is a site with a simple premise based on a powerful tool that helps anyone remix the commons. The core of the site is a flash tool that enables easy key frame based creation of animations complete with music and narration. In order to seed the site with remixable content, Animasher pulls Attribution licensed photographs from Flickr and Attribution and Public Domain music from other sources such as Jamendo and Opsound. Proper attribution is then automatically generated for each animation which is also licensed under CC-BY. All animations can be cloned and edited instantly by anyone visiting the site.

To get started, watch some of the animations created by other users, or create your own.

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Digital Copyright Slider

Jane Park, July 17th, 2008

Thanks to The Wired Campus, I stumbled across this nifty digital copyright tool developed by the American Library Association’s Copyright Advisory Network (in the Office for Information Technology Policy). The ALA Copyright Advisory Network is dedicated to educating librarians and others on copyright, something that is no simple matter, since, “with copyright, there are no definitive answers.”

Check out the digital copyright slider. The tool itself is pretty simple. You basically slide the arrow up and down the years starting from “Before 1923″. The boxes on the left (Permission Needed? and Copyright Status/Term) tell you whether a work is still copyrighted or whether it’s now in the public domain, free for you to use and repurpose any way you like. Unfortunately, actually figuring out the copyright status of a work isn’t so simple as dragging your mouse—most of the years seem to be marked by a fuzzy period of “Maybe”. For example, say John Doe wrote and published a poem between 1964-1977 and you are able to find a copyright notice—you still can’t really figure out whether the copyright still applies. And if you can’t find a copyright notice? Well, you just don’t know then either. The same answer (don’t know) seems to apply to a lot of years here…

Props to the ALA for illuminating the incredible complications in US copyright (yeah, that’s right—this sliding scale also only applies to works published within the US). And double props for licensing their tool CC BY-NC-SA. I leave you now with this thought:


Photo licensed CC BY-NC by Nancy

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