We’ve written several times on this blog about Bassel Khartabil, the Syrian Creative Commons community leader who’s been imprisoned since March 2012 without having had any charges brought against him.
European Parliament members Charles Tannock and Ana Gomes recently submitted an official question to the Parliament leadership concerning Bassel’s imprisonment:
- Is the VP/HR aware of the ongoing imprisonment of Bassel Safadi Khartabil? If so, has she issued any public statement on the matter?
- Does she agree that this represents a further abuse by the Assad regime in its attempts to block the free spread of information?
- Will the VP/HR use the leverage available to her to press for his release, insisting upon his status as a non-combatant whose only crime has been to oppose censorship and promote the freedom of information?
Our friend Niki Korth recently created Letters for Bassel, a blog that collects letters to Bassel from friends or people who’ve been inspired by his story. She recently published this heartbreaking letter that Bassel wrote to his wife Noura on their first anniversary:
As Cathy wrote in her piece on Bassel for Huffington Post, “For Bassel and others around the world who fight for open, a free internet is not a theoretical matter. Real lives hang in the balance.” Creative Commons’ wish for 2014 is for Bassel to be freed and rejoin our community.Comments Off
I promise to keep this short. I wanted to share a note we received from CC donor Dorothea Salo:
When I was a librarian hired to run an institutional repository, CC licenses helped me cut through copyright thickets with worried-but-interested faculty. CC’s unwavering support for free culture, and promotion of its benefits, demonstrated every day to often-skeptical, occasionally-hostile workplaces that I was not alone in working for openness.
Dorothea, you’re not alone. The Creative Commons community fights for open because we’ve seen its impact in the worlds of culture, education, science, and more. We choose open because open works.
As some of you know, I will be leaving my role as CEO of Creative Commons at the end of February. My greatest CC experiences have been meeting members of the community and learning about the countless innovative ways you use CC licenses. You give our tools meaning by using them to change the world.
Alas, before I go, I have a final request. The Brin Wojcicki Foundation is matching every donation CC receives in January. That means now is the perfect time to make a donation to Creative Commons. We have some fun gifts for donors (people are really loving the Team Open trading cards), but much more importantly, we will use your investment to fight harder and more strategically than ever for a more open world.
While the CEO is changing, our vision of universal access to knowledge and culture is as rock solid as ever. Realizing that vision is more important today than it’s ever been.
With warmest regards,
Today is the third day of Copyright Week, and today, we’re focusing on open access. As EFF put it in the Copyright Week principles:
The results of publicly funded research should be made freely available to the public online, to be fully used by anyone, anywhere, anytime.
This is a principle that Creative Commons has always upheld. It’s crucial that the public has free online access to the research it pays for. It’s important, too, not to forget the second part of the principle: “…to be fully used by anyone.” In CC’s opinion, simply giving the public access isn’t enough. It’s impossible to enable full use without communicating the legal rights available to downstream users of those works. The definition in the seminal Budapest Open Access Initiative makes this point clear:
By “open access” … we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.
The open license attached to open access publications has enabled innovations that would have been impossible without it. For example, Daniel Mietchen (co-winner of the Accelerating Science Award Program), developed a software tool to crawl and export multimedia files from openly licensed science articles in PubMed Central. The tool has uploaded over 13,000 files to Wikimedia Commons, where they’ve been subsequently used in more than 135 English Wikipedia articles.
In some ways, 2013 was a great year for open access. In the United States, the White House issued a groundbreaking directive requiring that most publicly funded research be made available to the public, and Congress introduced the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), a bill that would require those federal agencies with yearly external research budgets exceeding $100 million to provide the public with online access to research articles stemming from such funding within 6 months of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. And several states are considering public access policies of their own. In Europe, Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda, helped launch a pilot to open up publicly funded research data.
But the march toward open access is long and slow. Open licensing requirements for publicly funded research should really go hand in hand with those for other publicly funded materials, including educational resources and cultural works. Creative Commons recently formed the Open Policy Network and the Institute for Open Leadership to equip advocates for open policy across disciplines.
A few months ago, we published these infographics to help make the economic case for open access to publicly funded research:
The point is obvious: the fewer restrictions are put on the public’s use of materials, the more swiftly scientific progress, the more efficiently those research grants can achieve their purpose of advancing knowledge.
Related2 Comments »
If you use Google Image Search to look for CC-licensed photographs, you might have noticed an improvement to the interface this week. Rather than having to hunt for it in the advanced search options, you can now filter by CC license right from the “Search Tools” menu on the search results page.
You can also get to Google Image Search results – along with results from numerous other search engines – through our Creative Commons Search page.
Via Lessig2 Comments »
The public domain is the DNA of creativity. Whereby current copyright law requires permission in order to use a work, the public domain is a copyright-free zone whereby anyone can use the work for any purpose without restriction under copyright law. One way works rise into the public domain is when the copyright protection term expires. Over the years, copyright terms have been extended again and again, making it really difficult for creative works to enter the public domain. While most early copyright terms lasted only a few years, a majority of copyright terms today last for the duration of the life of the author + 50-100 years. Increasing copyright terms have stymied creativity, drastically raised the prices of books, and exacerbated the orphan works problem (where authors of works can no longer be located to ask permission to use a work).
But the extremely long term of copyright is not the only problem for the public domain. The contours of copyright law grant certain rights to the author automatically, and without any necessary action from the creator. This seems like a reasonable thing to do for some creators, but it doesn’t support those who simply wish to make their content freely available, or who wish to opt out of copyright in the first place.
Authors should be able to say what they want to do with their creativity. The Creative Commons license suite provides a flexible way for creators to indicate the rights they wish to grant and those they wish to retain. Creators can use the CC licenses, which are a nonexclusive license that relies on existing copyright law for enforceability. And the CC license lasts for as long as the copyright term, after which the work will then be in the public domain. The CC licenses help to lower transaction costs by communicating certain rights in advance. That way, users don’t have to hunt down authors to get their permission to use a work. The permission is granted in advance by the author, so long as the user follows the terms of the license.
Another way for works to enter the public domain is when creators proactively waive their copyrights–they can place works in the public domain before the copyright term is over. Creative Commons has developed the CC0 (read “CC Zero”) Public Domain Dedication tool to allow authors to do this. The CC0 tool is used by authors who want to release all copyrights to their work and fully break down all barriers to downstream reuse.
CC0 enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright- or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.
The CC0 Public Domain Dedication is used widely by creators to waive all copyright and put their content in the worldwide public domain. It is used by open access publisher BioMed Central, who has adopted a policy whereby it now requires that data supporting its published articles be released into the public domain using CC0. Europeana uses CC0 to describe 30 million cultural objects in its massive collection. And even video game creative assets are being released into the public domain under CC0. And there are many more cases where creators and institutions in all fields are releasing their cultural, scientific, and educational works into the public domain.
CC0 allows authors to place their work into the public domain prior to the expiration of the copyright term. But what about works that are already in the public domain, such as really old works where it’s clear that the copyright has expired? To help label those works as already part of the public domain, CC has developed the Public Domain Mark.
[The] Public Domain Mark enables works that are no longer restricted by copyright to be marked as such in a standard and simple way, making them easily discoverable and available to others.
One particularly interesting use of the Public Domain Mark is from Europeana. Whereas Europeana uses the CC0 tool to dedicate to the public domain the metadata that describes cultural works (so anyone can use it to create interesting representations or applications), they use the Public Domain Mark to signal which of the works in their digital collection (e.g. the very old paintings, sculpture, etc.) are in the public domain already because the copyright term has clearly expired. In this way, it’s easy for users to filter the catalog to view works that are already in the public domain and which may be used for any purpose because their copyrights have expired.
Advocacy & policy change
Even with tools making it easier for authors to communicate the rights they want attached (or not) to the works they create, we need to support public policy efforts to increase access to the public domain. One such effort is led by the International Communia Association, whose mission is “to foster, strengthen and enrich the public domain.” Communia originally developed the Public Domain Manifesto (which you can sign here), and also has generated 14 policy recommendations that lay out ways that the public domain should be supported through public policy changes and community action. Recommendations include reducing the term of copyright protection overall, making the process of identifying public domain works simpler by harmonizing rules of copyright duration and territoriality, and mandating that digital reproductions of works in the public domain should also belong to the public domain.
Another way to support the public domain is to highlight and champion community-generated norms. For instance, Creative Commons has been a longtime supporter of the Panton Principles, which advocates that scientific data should be made available in the public domain.
By open data in science we mean that it is freely available on the public internet permitting any user to download, copy, analyse, re-process, pass them to software or use them for any other purpose without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. To this end data related to published science should be explicitly placed in the public domain.
We can also support the development of public domain policies where they make the most sense. Creative Commons and other groups have provided feedback to policy consultations on a variety of areas whereby the public could benefit from the adoption of public domain policies. For example, in the recent consultation in the European Union on public sector information (PSI), we argued that there should be no conditions attached to the re-use of PSI.
The best case scenario would be for public sector information to be in the public domain, exempt from copyright protection altogether by amending national copyright laws. If it’s not possible to pass laws granting positive re-use rights to PSI without copyright attached, public sector bodies should use the CC0 Public Domain Dedication (CC0) to place public data into the worldwide public domain to ensure unrestricted re-use.
In the United States, federal agencies are determining how they will support the President’s Directive requiring public access to federally funded research and data. In addition, the White House itself is trying to figure out how to guide implementation of another Executive Order on open data. We said that any data generated using federal monies should be marked clearly as being in the public domain (possibly using a tool like CC0) and immediately deposited in a scientific data repository. And the US Federal Government has heard from other public domain advocates for government information, who’ve drawn up the Best Practices Language for Making Data “License-Free.”
Building and defending a robust public domain requires work on multiple fronts–from the ongoing development and support of tools that can grow the pool of creative works in the public domain–to the active participation in policy change and copyright reform. While content in the public domain is owned by no one, the responsibility for strengthening this absolutely crucial resource should be shared by all who care about the future of creativity.Comments Off
Creative Commons is looking for a full-stack engineer to maintain our systems and websites. From the job description:
Creative Commons is looking for a full time Web Developer/Systems Administrator to develop and maintain the sites and systems that power CC on the Web.
This is a unique role which requires a focus on building scalable, rock-solid architecture to power our high-traffic websites, as well as an ability to move higher in the stack to implement new features or develop new websites and services.
Are you excited about powering the technical infrastructure of Creative Commons? Learn more and apply by visiting the full job listing.2 Comments »
Over the last year we’ve been working on developing two new projects: the Open Policy Network and the Institute for Open Leadership. Both of these initiatives arise out of a direct identified need from the Creative Commons community. Let’s explain a bit more about each of these projects.
Over the last several years, Creative Commons and related organizations have been contacted by multiple institutions and governments seeking assistance on how to implement open licensing and develop materials and strategies for open policies. By “open policies” we mean policies whereby publicly funded resources are developed and released as openly licensed resources. The $2 billion Department of Labor TAACCCT grant program would be considered an open policy. There is a pressing need to provide support to policymakers so they can successfully create, adopt, and implement open policies. And CC affiliates from around the world have asked for an informational hub where open policies could be shared and discussed.
The open community needs access to existing open policies, legislation, and action plans for how open policies were created, discussed and passed. Advocates need to know what barriers were encountered and how they were overcome, and because politics and opportunities are local, open advocates may need support customizing an open policy solution and strategy. This is why we need the Open Policy Network (OPN).
The mission of the Open Policy Network is to foster the creation, adoption and implementation of open policies and practices that advance the public good by supporting advocates, organizations, and policy makers with information and expertise, and connecting policy opportunities with those who can provide assistance.
Description of activities
The OPN supports the creation, adoption, and implementation of open policies around the world. We will engage in the following activities:
- Connect policy makers and other interested parties to expert open policy advocates and organizations who are able to provide assistance and support when open policy opportunities arise.
- Identify and build new open policy resources and/or services only where capacity and expertise does not currently exist, by providing needed resources, information, and advice.
- Provide a baseline level of assistance for open policy opportunities as they arise, to ensure no open policy opportunity goes unfulfilled.
- Link to, catalog and curate existing and new open policies and open policy resources from around the world.
- Connect open policy advocates and organizations on a listserv and monthly phone conference to maximize knowledge transfer and cooperation.
- Build new constituencies and advocates in support of open policies.
- Operate in a manner respectful of member organizations’ existing messaging, communities, and business models.
- Release all content produced under the project under CC BY and data under CC0, in a fully transparent manner on the project website.
- The adoption of open policies can maximize the return on public investments and promote a global commons of resources for innovative reuse.
- Publicly funded resources should be openly licensed resources.
- Open policies should require, as a default, licenses compliant with the Open Definition, with a preference for open licenses that at most require attribution to the author (such as CC BY) for publicly funded content and no rights reserved (such as CC0) for publicly funded data. We recognize that there may be limited exceptions to the default.
- The OPN is a open network free for anyone to join as long as they agree to contribute and abide by the mission and guiding principles.
- The OPN work is aligned with the recommendations of existing initiatives such as the Budapest Open Access Initiative, Paris Open Educational Resources Declaration, Cape Town Declaration, Panton Principles, and the Washington Declaration on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest.
Join this project!
For the time being, the Open Policy Network is being led by Creative Commons, but we envision that the coordination of the Network can be transferred to another group after some time. We are looking for interested individuals and groups to join the network, and we’ll begin monthly organizing conference calls soon. You can sign up to the Google group now.
The Open Policy Network is committed to facilitating adoption of open policies around the world by improving access to resources and expertise for advocates of open policies. Creative Commons will begin to host an Institute for Open Leadership (IOL) to train new leaders in education, science, and public policy fields on the values and implementation of openness in licensing, policies, and practices. The Institute will be a tangible project under the umbrella of the OPN.
The Institute for Open Leadership will select twenty applicants per year–through a competitive application process–to participate in an intensive weeklong training session with leading experts in open fields. Each participant will develop an outcomes-based plan for a capstone open project, and report on progress within one year. Through training and the project period, participants will develop the skills, relationships, and motivation to become leaders for openness in their institutions and fields. The Institute complements and strengthens the OPN’s mission, and generates open policy projects by training a new corps of leaders ready to inculcate open policies and practices in their institutions and across their professional communities. We will initially run two cohorts of the Institute (2 years), though the goal is to make the Institute an annual event.
Problem meant to solve
There is significant and growing demand for leaders to support open initiatives in educational, cultural, and scientific institutions, as well as governmental agencies. At the organizational level, our capacity to meet this demand is limited. Yet we believe that there is strong potential to transfer and scale leadership experience to new champions for openness, and to systematically cultivate a broad network of leaders to meet the increasing demand. There is also significant interest among discretionary institutional funding programs (such as publicly funded national and state/provincial grants) to learn about and adopt CC licenses. A new and broader group of leaders could address this interest by reaching and educating institutions and professional communities about copyright and the benefits of open licensing and open policies.
As open movements approach mainstream status, there is a vastly increased need for more leaders who share the values of open licensing, the understanding of openness best practices (e.g. open technical formats, modular design, and accessibility standards), and the desire to guide some portion of this ecosystem. The IOL will relieve the strain on existing leaders and resources by recruiting and training a new group of experts who can meet the demand for expertise on open licensing, pursue new opportunities for publishing and using open content, and directly influencing policy decisions in institutions and across fields of work.
Application and selection process
Creative Commons will solicit applications from interested persons around the world to participate in the Institute. We will select a maximum of twenty participants each year for two years. We plan to target persons who are mid-level managers and/or potential leaders who are not currently involved in the open movement, but who are moving toward leadership positions in their institutions or fields of work over the next 5-10 years. The selection criteria will include an evaluation of which candidates the committee estimates will have the highest impact when they return to their home institution/government. All applicants will be required to propose a capstone open project they will complete after attending the IOL. These projects must be properly scoped and must contain a strong open policy component and contribute to increasing openness within their institution and field.
Once selected, participants will be required, prior to attending, to complete any two online School of Open courses (e.g., copyright and open licensing, open education, open science, etc.).
Immersive training period
The IOL will be held at an appropriate conference facility or university campus. All participants and instructors will stay in the same accommodations and spend the majority of time together, creating the potential for informal discussions and relationship building. Institute instructors will be drawn from the top experts/leaders in the fields of open access, open science, open educational resources, open culture, etc. Each day of the week-long workshop will feature a concentration on open licensing and policy in one of the fields and include time for participants to consult directly with the instructors on their own open project plans.
Capstone project work
By the end of the workshop week, participants will have polished and expanded their proposed capstone projects and have integrated open policy aspects more thoroughly based on their newly acquired expertise and the assistance of the instructors. The point of the capstone project is for the participant to transform the concepts learned at the Institute into a practical, actionable, and sustainable initiative within his/her institution. Capstone open projects can take a variety of forms depending on the interests of the participant and the type of institution where the project will be implemented. Common features of a successful capstone open project will be to:
- Increase the amount of openly licensed materials in the commons;
- Increase awareness among colleagues or related stakeholders about the benefits of openness;
- Propose an open policy within the participants’ institution with an action plan to implement the open policy;
- Demonstrate measurable results and complete report after 12 months that analyzes project progress, challenges, and sustainability.
An example of a successful capstone open project might be a librarian at a university that is able to foster an open access policy at their institution whereby university faculty agree to contribute publicly funded research into the university repository under open licenses.
In addition to the written reports (shared under CC BY 4.0), there will also be a webinar scheduled 12 months after the Institute to share the outcomes of each participant’s project. All webinars will continue fostering the development of a new open leadership cohort.
Update June 2014: There’s a new timeline for the Institute for Open Leadership.
- March-May 2014: Cohort #1 application period
- July 2014: Cohort #1 week-long institute
- November 2014-January 2015: Cohort #2 application period
- March 2015: Cohort #2 week-long institute
- July 2015: Cohort #1 12-month follow up webinar & open projects completed
- March 2016: Cohort #2 12-month follow up webinar & open projects completed
We’re excited to get these two exciting initiatives up and running, and we look forward to working with many individuals and organizations to make them a success. Many thanks to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Open Society Foundations for funds to kickstart these projects!Comments Off
We are continuing our practice of providing official plaintext versions of the licenses, as we did with version 3.0.
- BY 4.0 (plaintext)
- BY-SA 4.0 (plaintext)
- BY-NC 4.0 (plaintext)
- BY-NC-SA 4.0 (plaintext)
- BY-ND 4.0 (plaintext)
- BY-NC-ND 4.0 (plaintext)
As said in the previous entry: “For most works, plaintext legalcode doesn’t matter as linking directly to the deeds (say with the copy-paste output you get with the license chooser) is good enough, even ideal. And it’s important to note that the XHTML licenses are still the canonical versions. But for some projects plaintext legalcode may be a very good thing. For example, it is traditional practice in free and open source software projects to bundle your licenses along with your project. More and more FOSS projects are using Creative Commons licenses or CC0 for their non-software content, so having plaintext legalcode will probably be very useful in these instances. Additionally, some other projects which release their content in a way that is largely offline may benefit from plaintext legalcode.”
If you need to mark your work with licensing information in plaintext, here is an example to follow:
<WORK> (c) by <AUTHOR(S)> <WORK> is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. You should have received a copy of the license along with this work. If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/>.
(The first line in this example is optional.)
For reference, here are the updated examples of how you would annotate your works for the 4.0 licenses.
CC BY 4.0:
<WORK> (c) by <AUTHOR(S)> <WORK> is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You should have received a copy of the license along with this work. If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/>.
CC BY-SA 4.0:
<WORK> (c) by <AUTHOR(S)> <WORK> is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. You should have received a copy of the license along with this work. If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/>.
CC BY-ND 4.0:
<WORK> (c) by <AUTHOR(S)> <WORK> is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. You should have received a copy of the license along with this work. If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/>.
CC BY-NC 4.0:
<WORK> (c) by <AUTHOR(S)> <WORK> is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You should have received a copy of the license along with this work. If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/>.
CC BY-NC-SA 4.0:
<WORK> (c) by <AUTHOR(S)> <WORK> is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. You should have received a copy of the license along with this work. If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/>.
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0:
<WORK> (c) by <AUTHOR(S)> <WORK> is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. You should have received a copy of the license along with this work. If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/>.2 Comments »
At the age of 15, Jack Andraka developed a new method for detecting a rare type of pancreatic cancer. Like all scientific discoveries, Jack’s research built on the work of other researchers. Unlike those researchers, however, he lacked access to the expensive scholarly databases usually paid for by their universities. Fortunately, open access databases carrying a Creative Commons license gave him the tools he needed.
“Access to knowledge is, you know, a basic human right,” Jack says. “Knowledge should not be commoditized; it wants to be free.”
There’s been a lot of talk about open access to science research over the past year. In February, the U.S. White House issued a directive requiring that most publicly funded research be available to the public. It was a step in the right direction, but the fight is far from over.
For example, not all of the papers Jack needed were free. He spent nearly a thousand dollars paying to read the research he needed that wasn’t open. He’s the first to admit that he was lucky: for most young scientists around the world, those expenses aren’t an option. “We need the best and most recent research to be available to everyone.”
If you think that everyone should have access to the most current scientific knowledge, then stand with Jack and thousands of other scientists who believe in open by making a gift to Creative Commons.
The Brin Wojcicki Foundation has agreed to match every donation that Creative Commons receives in January 2014.3 Comments »
You might remember our announcement a few months ago that Cathy Casserly will be stepping down as CEO of Creative Commons this year. Today, we’re excited to officially open the search for the new CEO. Our friends at m/Oppenheim Associates are helping to coordinate the search.
Creative Commons is at an inflection point in its history. In the coming years, CC will pursue strategies that expand use of its licenses and promote a robust knowledge-sharing ecosystem. The organization recognizes that many paths lay open for pursuing these objectives, and the search for a new chief executive offers an opportunity to explore new ideas for services, products, advocacy, policies and programs. The new leader will oversee continued stewardship of CC’s licenses and also seek new opportunities to expand knowledge-sharing through the internet.
Download the job description (78 KB PDF)1 Comment »