Microsoft jumps in to put us over the top!

Melissa Reeder, December 30th, 2008

We’ve just gotten word that Microsoft has upped its pledge by $15,000 to put us over the top for the year. Microsoft has been a corporate sponsor of Creative Commons for the past 4 years and we’re delighted to have their continued support.


$12k to go, a message from CC CEO Joi Ito

Joi Ito, December 29th, 2008

Joi Ito / Photo by Mizuka / CC BY

Happy Holidays — I hope many of you are getting a chance to relax after an incredibly difficult year for most people. However, take heart, I’m writing with good news. We’re now entering the last couple of days for the Creative Commons annual fundraising campaign just $12,000 short of our $500,000 goal. In such a harsh fundraising climate, we’re coming very close to reaching our goal thanks to the generous support of our community — we need your help in getting all the way there.

My work this year has been primarily focused participating in Creative Commons as its new CEO, which has had its challenges and its reasons for hope this year.

Creative Commons is a not-for-profit organization run mostly by volunteers all over the world. The board and the CEO role are volunteer jobs and in fact each board member is also a financial supporter. Even with the support of a network of volunteers, Creative Commons requires a small number of underpaid staff and some basic infrastructure to survive and continue its mission.

Creative Commons started as a primarily author and musician focused idea from the United States and has grown to a global 50 jurisdiction project in contact with 80 countries making impact in the sharing of scientific materials and data to helping teachers to share teaching material. We have forged alliances with rights collection societies and other organizations that have been, at times, critical of our work. We worked together with the dedicated team at the Free Software Foundation to permit the FSF licensed wikis (including Wikipedia) to relicense to a CC license. We have many more countries to bring online and many more fields to cover, but I am very proud of our work and extremely confident of our ability to become the basic infrastructure to “save failed sharing” as our Chairman Jamie Boyle puts it. I believe that we will soon be another basic layer of interoperability, similar to the World Wide Web or the Internet Protocol.

It has also been a tough year for Creative Commons. It has been particularly challenging for us as corporations and major donors have had to slash, if not completely cut, their philanthropic support. However, we have had more individual and smaller corporate donors than ever in our history. I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, all of our current donors who decided to stick with us through this tough period and all the new donors who have chosen to give this year.

In addition, our project funding has become difficult in many areas and needs more support to survive and any funds past our annual campaign target will go to providing very needed resources. I apologize for continuing to pester you through the year and especially during this fundraising campaign, but your participation and contribution are extremely important for our future. I promise you that every yen, dollar and rupee is well spent on supporting and furthering the cause and I beg you (only if it helps) to consider making a donation if you have not done so this year.

Thank you in advance.

– Joi

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Final Commoner Letter: Jimmy Wales

Melissa Reeder, December 23rd, 2008

Our final commoner letter of this campaign comes from Jimmy Wales, who needs no introduction.

If you haven’t contributed, now is the time. Please help spread this letter far and wide. Now, Jimmy Speaks…


Dear Creative Commoner,

Creative Commons recently celebrated its 6th birthday, and I want to take a moment to ask for your support of CC’s vital role in building a commons of culture, learning, science, and more, accessible to all.

When I founded Wikipedia in 2001, Creative Commons unfortunately did not yet exist. However, as by far the most wildly successful projects for the creation of and legal infrastructure for free knowledge in the world, our paths are inevitably intertwined.

For example, we have Wikinews publishing under CC BY, Wikimedia Commons curating thousands of quality images and other media, many under CC BY or BY-SA, Wikimedia chapters in Serbia and Indonesia as the Creative Commons affiliate organizations in those jurisdictions, Wikimedia Sweden and Creative Commons Sweden collaborating with Free Software Foundation Europe to put on FSCONS, and Creative Commons’ international office in Berlin just moved in with Wikimedia Germany.

Most importantly, we have people working to build free knowledge around the world, collaborating mostly informally. Some see themselves as part of one or more movements and communities, others just want to share and collaborate.

I’ve been pleased to personally serve on the CC board of directors since 2006 and am happy that after years of work, the Wikimedia community has obtained the option to update its primary license to CC BY-SA. This would remove a significant barrier to collaboration among people and communities creating free knowledge, a barrier that only exists due to the timing mentioned above.

As I explain in Jesse Dylan’s A Shared Culture, Creative Commons is about building infrastructure for a new kind of culture  — one that is both a folk culture, and wildly more sophisticated than anything before it. Think about how quaint a traditional encyclopedia appears, now that we have Wikipedia. How much better would the world be if we allow education, entertainment, government, science and more to be transformed by the web? If we do not support Creative Commons, the realization of these dreams about what the Internet can and should become are at risk. By supporting Creative Commons, we build those dreams.

Allow me to close with a borrowing. Eben Moglen, chief lawyer of the free software movement, without which neither Wikipedia nor Creative Commons would exist, wrote the following at the end of the first letter of this campaign:

Supporting Creative Commons isn’t just something I feel I ought to do; it’s something we all have to do. I hope you will join with me in supporting Creative Commons with your money, with your energy, and with your creative power. There’s nothing we can’t do if we share.

Thank you,
Jimmy Wales

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The Craft Economony Release “Is On Your Side” EP

Cameron Parkins, December 22nd, 2008

The Craft Economy, a Toronto-based, CC-loving, CD-stapling, copyright reforming group of musicians, recently released their latest EP, Is On Your Side, for wide release under a CC BY-NC-SA license. The disc is available on on iTunes, eMusic, as a torrent file, and as a physical CD for $5.

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Digital Foundations, CC-Licensed Media Design Instruction

Cameron Parkins, December 22nd, 2008

Digital Foundations: Intro to Media Design with the Adobe Creative Suite is a new book that aims to teach the principles of Bauhaus design and its relation to modern software, Adobe’s Creative Suite in particular:

Digital Foundations uses formal exercises of the Bauhaus to teach the Adobe Creative Suite. All students of digital design and production—whether learning in a classroom or on their own—need to understand the basic principles of design in order to implement them using current software. Far too often design is left out of books that teach software for the trade and academic markets. Consequently, the design software training exercise is often a lost opportunity for visual learning. Digital Foundations reinvigorates software training by integrating Bauhaus formal design exercises inspired by the history of art and design into tutorials fusing design fundamentals and core Adobe Creative Suite methodologies. The result is a cohesive learning experience.

The book is being released under a CC BY-NC-SA license and is available for free in wiki format (also available for purchase here). This license choice not only keeps the content open and shareable, but is also a “first for AIGA Design Press, New Riders, and Peachpit, and the result of 9 months of negotiation” (via Boing Boing).

Digital Foundations‘ authors, xtine burrough and Michael Mandiberg, have posted their musings on copyright, the public domain, and Creative Commons on the Digital Founation’s blog through out the book’s creation. Similarly, we would be remiss if we failed to mention that while the book focuses on Adobe’s Creative Suite, the design principles taught therein are equally applicable to open-source design tools such as GIMP and Inkscape.

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team9 Release CC-Licensed New Album “We Don’t Disco”, Remix Packs

Cameron Parkins, December 22nd, 2008

team9, an Australian based electro act fronted by producer Neil Mason, just released their latest album We Don’t Disco for free download under a CC BY-SA license. From team9:

I’ve spent the last few months neck deep on an original album – the first since 2003. ‘We Dont Disco’ is an electronic soundtrack to the days of my life. A little bit ambient, a little bit pop, a little bit dance……its a little bit kind of thing. If you like it then great, its free to download and completely copyright free – yep, a first on this web site – and is licensed under a Creative Commons ‘Attribution License’. Please feel free to use any song in any which way you choose.

An avid remix artist, team9 has chosen to release song stems for four of their tracks (Lines, We Don’t Disco Like We Used To, Five Times, and As We Travel), allowing potential remixers a simple way to re-imagine team9’s original tracks.

team9 also recently finished work on MySplice III, a collaboration between team9 and music blog Stereogum that mashes together some of this year’s most popular tracks.

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Global CC Birthday Parties

Michelle Thorne, December 21st, 2008

CC Birthday Party in Manila

CC Birthday Party in Manila

The globe lit up last week to celebrate the birthday of a community and organization now in its sixth year. Creative Commons, as demonstrated by these events, is about more than just free legal tools — it’s a powerful idea that has spread the world over.

In Chennai the CC Birthday Party merged with the launch of the Wikipedia Academy on Dec. 12, coinciding with a visit from Jimmy Wales and Sue Gardener from the Wikimedia Foundation. Chennai’s Free Culture House, a co-working space founded by party planner Kiruba Shankar, hosted the celebration. Seoul joined in with a Birthday Party on the same day, organized by CC Korea.

An award ceremony for the second CC photography contest impressed guests at the Beijing party on Dec. 14, featuring a live remix of the photos. The next day Belgrade conducted a panel on the legal framework of Free Culture with presentations by CC Serbia, Wikimedia Serbia, and Free Software groups.

Entry for 2nd CC Photography Contest in Mainland China

Entry for 2nd CC Photography Contest in Mainland China

On Dec. 16, seven cities held CC Birthday Parties. In Guatemala writers released a special gift: 10 Christmas stories compiled in Aguinaldo Narrable, which will be illustrated by six award-winning photographs from CC Guatemala‘s Fiesta Callejera Contest.

Ann Arbor, Michigan organized a CC Birthday Happy Hour at a local bar, and guests at the party in Washington, D.C. contributed to a CC multimedia potluck coordinated by Public Knowledge.

The first anniversary of the ported 3.0 Licenses in the Philippines was commemorated in Manila, following a planning meeting for the upcoming CC Asia Pacific Conference. In Yuletide tradition and CC’s spirit of sharing, CC Philippines concluded the day by walking through Manila’s streets and sharing food and gifts to children.

CC Australia screened CC films and raised contributions for our annual fundraising campaign at the Brisbane CC Christmas Birthday Movie Night. New York City recounts that Happy Birthday may or may not have been sung at their Dec. 16 party in FYI, and Los Angeles teamed up LA’s Geek Dinner for an evening of free culture and internets in uWink.

Berlin‘s Content Sprint & Birthday Party invited guests to vie for a Goopymart T-shirt in a competition to document CC Case Studies in Germany.

California hosted the last CC Birthday Parties of the year, with co-housing and co-working community organizers initiating a round of discussions about Free Culture, free speech, and sustainable communities in Berkeley.

San Francisco wrapped up the global parties in 111 Minna Gallery with music by Ripley and Kid Kameleon and an improv performance from dublab as part of the Into Infinity installation.

With 14 host cities and a stellar range of events, the CC community is demonstrating tremendous support for Creative Commons. A heartfelt thank you to all the party planners and guests!

Please take a moment and help make another year of CC possible!

Images: (Ann Arbor) “Long table full of revellers” and “Garin, Ted, and CC swag” by mollyali under CC BY NC; (Chennai) “121220082360” and “121220082330” by Kiruba Shankar under CC NC SA; (Beijing) 舞在山乡 优秀奖 under 作者:秦启胜  CC BY ; (Manila) CC-PH Technical/Documentation / AUSL-ITC and “Outreach / Sharing” by CC Philippines under CC BY NC; (DC) “CC 6th birthday party Washington DC” by tvol under CC BY; (Education Network Australia)Sparklers and cake to celebrate by edna-photos under CC NC; (CC Cupcakes) P1070155 by creativecommoners under CC BY; (LA) “Happy 6th Birthday Creative Commons! posted by felicity redwell from netZoo/revolute under CC NC ND; (Guatemala) “MBosque” by Renata Avila under CC BY.

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CC recognized “For Raising Collective Intelligence”

Mike Linksvayer, December 21st, 2008

At the Program for the Future conference, Creative Commons received the first Collective Intelligence Recognition Award for an organization. Tim O’Reilly received the first individual award. From the press release (pdf):

The awards were presented by renowned computer visionary and inventor Douglas Engelbart and Robert Stephenson, curator at The Tech Museum of Innovation. Said Engelbart: “Along the digital frontier, we rely on our scouts to explore the terrain and exchange information at the trading posts. Tim O’Reilly has set up the ‘Internet Pony Express’ to broadcast the possibilities of Open Source and Web 2.0 to the rest of the world. Creative Commons has begun the development of ‘trading post’ rules for us to collectively work together in developing and applying knowledge to solve complex urgent problems. On the 40th anniversary of The Demo, I am happy to recognize both for their demonstrated contributions to increasing our collective intelligence. Great stuff!

It is a great honor for Creative Commons to be recognized by visionary Doug Engelbart and alongside Tim O’Reilly (a long time supporter of CC, from the beginning; please join him).

The conference celebrated the 40th anniversary of Engelbart’s groundbreaking demo, with the broader theme of increasing collective intelligence — Engelbart’s life work — for solutions to human problems. There was a broad sense among attendees that our collective memory is too short, but the future is hopeful if we consciously build tools to help us (“bootstrap tools” in the parlance), and that mass collaboration and building the commons have critical roles to play.

Unsurprisingly, many of the conversations sparked by the conference had to do with learning. One poll of attendees found that those who had read Engelbart’s papers were far more likely to believe that education could be radically changed for the better. Tim O’Reilly blogged a conversation on one important aspect of learning — practice.

Previous post on the conference and my slides from a session on bootstrap tools.

Recall that CC’s annual fundraising campaign is nearing completion — now is the time to support our work to raise collective intelligence!

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Harvard Panel Followup

Fred Benenson, December 20th, 2008

Good news! In case you missed our very special panel at Harvard Law School, we have plenty of media for you.

First, there’s video of the entire panel up on YouTube and higher resolution versions are also available over at the Berkman Center.

What makes this panel so interesting (and why you should take some time to enjoy it over the holidays) is that it offers an intimate glimpse into CC’s history through the eyes of the people who were there from the beginning. Larry, Molly, Jamie and Joi recall some wonderful stories and anecdotes from the early days of CC and offer up new perspectives on where the organization should be headed. Put simply, this is a must watch if you’re interested in our history.

Also check out my photos of the panel and reception afterwards, and Doc Searls also has some shots as well.

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FairShare’s Challenge Met In Less Than A Week!

Melissa Reeder, December 19th, 2008

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve met FairShare’s matching challenge — and in less than a week, too! Thanks to everyone who took advantage of FairShare’s generosity and doubled the value of their gift. Instead of raising $3000, we were able to raise $6000!

There are only 12 days left in the campaign and the commons movement needs your help. You can make a difference in the fight for openness on the web today by donating to Creative Commons.

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