Commons News

4.0 Bahasa Indonesia translation – and a book!

Jessica Coates, August 5th, 2015

Hot on the heels of the announcement a few weeks ago of new Japanese and Māori translations of our 4.0 licences, we have another new Asia-Pacific translation to celebrate – Bahasa Indonesia. Even more exciting, this time the translation team has gone above and beyond to complete a companion project – a Bahasa Indonesia translation of Open Content – A Practical Guide to Using Creative Commons Licences, creating a local how-to guide to go with the new licence translations.

With approximately 42 million native speakers and about 260 million speakers in total, Bahasa Indonesia is one of the world’s most widely spoken languages. The official translation of 4.0 was undertaken by CC Indonesia’s Alifia Qonita Sudharto, with supervision from Project Director Ari Juliano Gema and assistance from the Wikimedia Indonesia team. The translation process began in January and after a fairly quick and non-controversial drafting and consultation period went live on Wednesday.

The translation was relatively easy and uncomplicated compared to other 4.0 translation efforts. This is partly because of experience gained by the team translating the 3.0 licences, but also because more and more Indonesians are becoming familiar with the content and purpose of the licences. This sped up the drafting process, as everyone began on the same page, making language approval much simpler right from the start. This compares to the 3.0 process, when the debate started with whether “law firm” should be translated as “firma hukum” or “kantor hukum” in the preamble and continued throughout the licence. For 4.0, the team was able to focus on substantial matters such as the decision to translate “Similar Rights” as “Hak-hak Serupa”, rather than “Hak Terkait” which literally translates as “Related Rights”.

The team decided to build upon this growing local knowledge by ensuring there was a good guide for those wanting to take up the licences. Rather than writing their own, they chose to translate an existing resource that already had a strong reputation for being clear and thorough. This led them to Open Content, a joint publication of Wikimedia Deutschland, the German Commission for UNESCO and the North Rhine-Westphalian Library Service Centre. To further help to build local knowledge resources, they have also created a Bahasa Indonesia infographic poster which explains the difference between copyright, patents and trademarks for Indonesians.

Wikimedia Indonesia will proudly host an official launch of the new licence translations and the two new publications at their Jakarta office on 15 August.

Congratulations to the translation team for completing not one but two difficult translations, and for coming up with such an amazing initiative to encourage local understanding and uptake of CC. We can’t wait to see the resulting growth in open resources in Indonesia.

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Obama administration should require sharing of federally funded educational resources under Creative Commons licenses

Timothy Vollmer, August 4th, 2015

White House_600
White House by Diego Cambiaso, available under the CC BY-SA license.

Today, Creative Commons and a broad coalition of education, library, technology, public interest, and legal organizations are calling upon the White House to take administrative action to ensure that federally funded educational materials are made available as Open Educational Resources (OER) for the public to freely use, share, and improve.

We ask the administration to adopt a strong Executive branch-wide policy requiring that educational, training, and instructional materials created with federal funds be shared under an open license. Some agencies have already implemented an open licensing policy for the outputs of federal grants, including the $2 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program, jointly administered by the Departments of Labor and Education. In order to receive these funds, grantees are required to license to the public all work created with the support of the grant under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY) license.

In issuing this public statement, we hope to ensure that the billions of taxpayer dollars invested in the creation of educational materials produce resources that are freely available to the members of the public that paid for them. The administration has both an educational and economic imperative to increase access to learning and workforce development opportunities. Further, it has the opportunity to spur innovation through opening access to a wealth of educational resources that can be improved and built upon.

To ensure that administrative policy advances these goals, the coalition has outlined five core principles for executive action:

  1. Adopt a broad definition of educational materials.
  2. Provide free online access to these educational resources.
  3. Create conditions that enable easy reuse of materials.
  4. Require prompt implementation of the policy.
  5. Mandate regular reporting of progress and results.

The following can be attributed to Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons:

“By embracing Creative Commons licenses for the digital education and training outputs of federal agency grant making, the Obama administration will be demonstrating its commitment to collaboration, innovation, and effective government spending. When we contribute publicly funded educational materials to the public commons, everyone wins. This type of sharing is worth fighting for.”

A copy of the complete letter is available here. You can show your support for open access to publicly funded education materials by signing it too.


Announcing the first round of Global Summit keynote speakers

Timothy Vollmer, July 28th, 2015

We’re happy to announce the first set of keynote speakers for the 2015 Creative Commons Global Summit:

  • Lila Tretikov, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation
  • Yochai Benkler, author and law professor at Harvard Law School
  • Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament and rapporteur of the Parliament’s review of the EU Copyright Directive
  • Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons

The 2015 CC Global Summit will take place in Seoul, South Korea 15-17 October. Every two years, a vibrant international community of experts, academics, and activists engaged in stewarding and expanding CC come together to celebrate the commons, share ideas, and collaborate on projects. We’re excited to host this diverse set of leaders to share and engage with our community of copyright experts and commons advocates in Seoul. We’ll be announcing additional speakers and sessions in the coming weeks.

Summit registration is open. The early-bird registration discount will be available until 23 August, so sign up now!

Lila Tretikov by Lane Hartwell, available under the CC BY-SA license.

Lila Tretikov is the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia. Wikipedia is freely available in 290 languages and used by nearly half a billion people around the world every month.

yochai_benkler_600Yochai Benkler by Joi Ito, available under the CC BY license.

Yochai Benkler is the Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard Law School. He studies commons-based peer production, and published his seminal book The Wealth of Networks in 2006.

Julia Reda by Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland, available under the CC BY license.

Julia Reda is a Member of the European Parliament and rapporteur of the Parliament’s current review of the 2001 EU Copyright Directive. Reda’s report outlining potential changes to EU copyright law was approved by the Parliament in July.

Ryan Merkley by Rannie Turingan, available under CC0.

Ryan Merkley is the CEO of Creative Commons, the global nonprofit that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Ryan was Chief Operating Officer of the Mozilla Foundation, the nonprofit parent of the Mozilla Corporation, creator of Firefox.

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Happy 150th, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland!

Jane Park, July 28th, 2015

Alice’s Abenteuer im Wunderland
Alice’s Abenteuer im Wunderland / Public Domain

This year is the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In celebration, Medium and the Public Domain Review have teamed up to host A Mad Hatter’s Mashup Party, complete with the original text, illustrations, animated GIFs, and silent film adaptations in the public domain and under CC licenses.

This is a great opportunity to creatively engage with the Commons and put Medium’s CC licensing feature to work. A dozen Lewis Carroll experts will also be participating by annotating a special version of the text one chapter a week. 

The party starts today, July 28, and continues for as long as anyone wants to join. We’ll be recommending our favorite pieces on Medium.

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It’s time to #MoveFASTR: support public access to publicly-funded research

Timothy Vollmer, July 28th, 2015

Shinkansen Tokyo by Parag.naik, available under the CC BY-SA license.

Tomorrow the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will markup S. 779, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (called FASTR for short). The bill–if enacted–would increase access to federally funded research. It was introduced in both the Senate and House of Representatives on March 18, 2015.

FASTR requires federal agencies with annual external research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to the research articles stemming from that funding no later than 6 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. FASTR would extend the current NIH Public Access Policy to several federal agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and others.

We’ve supported policies aligned with the practice of making taxpayer funded research available free online, ideally under an open license that communicates broad downstream use rights, such as CC BY. In addition to making articles free to access and read, FASTR ensures that the research generated from federal tax dollars is made available and useful for new research techniques such as text and data mining. FASTR includes a provision to study the possible impact of requiring open licensing for federally funded research articles. The text calls for agencies to examine:

“whether such research papers should include a royalty-free copyright license that is available to the public and that permits the reuse of those research papers, on the condition that attribution is given to the author or authors of the research and any others designated by the copyright owner;”

FASTR would solidify the February 2013 White House directive aimed to increase access to the results of federally funded scientific research. That memorandum is similar in scope to FASTR, but since it is a directive and not a law, a subsequent administration could rescind that order.

It’s time to #MoveFASTR, and you can help! Check out the SPARC action page for ways to support FASTR. For example, you can:

  1. Call your Members of Congress and express your support for FASTR. You can reach them by calling the US Capitol’s switchboard at 202-224-3121 and asking for your Senators.
  2. Engage your Senators on social media by tweeting at your elected officials about FASTR using the hashtag #MoveFASTR, or post about the bill on Facebook. You can find a list of all the twitter accounts for Congress here.
  3. Write a letter of support for this legislation and send it to your Senators. You can find a draft letter of support here. You can find your Senators’ contact information to submit the letter here.
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The case of the witch and her cat: crowdfunding free culture

Ryan Merkley, July 17th, 2015

The guest post below was written by Erik Moeller from Passionate Voices, in support of our campaign “Made with Creative Commons: A book on open business models” which will present in-depth profiles of Creative Commons use.

The dragoncow is chewing on an uprooted tree, its bulging eyes staring vacantly into the distance as the orange cat hanging off its udder extracts a large drop of milk into a wooden bucket held by a young witch balanced precariously on her broomstick. The scene is from David Revoy’s Pepper & Carrot, a much-loved comic strip about a witch and her cat.

Unlike most webcomics, which release new strips a few times per week, there’s typically one episode of Pepper & Carrot every month. Each episode is several pages long, crafted with an attention to detail rarely seen outside more commercial work. Slowly but surely, David is building Pepper’s identity and the world she inhabits. “So much heart in each and every piece you do”, writes one admirer in the comments.

Volunteers translate each episode to a dozen or so languages, on the basis of the source files which can be downloaded freely. David uses a GitHub repository to collaborate with the community and to share assets.

All this is possible because the entire comic strip is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). Other than CC0, this is the most permissive licensing option Creative Commons offers. Works under these terms can not only be copied, but also remixed and built upon, including for commercial uses. Re-users just have to attribute David Revoy as the author.
David is no stranger to Creative Commons. He was art director for Sintel, a crowdfunded CC-BY licensed 3D animated movie produced by the Blender Foundation. His love for open source goes back even further, as he explained in a recent interview with Passionate Voices: “Even when I was using Windows and proprietary software, I always kept an eye on the Linux distributions. I always kept an eye on GIMP. It was one of my first digital painting tools. And I always really appreciated the whole movement.” Today, David uses Krita, an open source digital painting application which has been supported by two Kickstarter fundraisers.

revoy user manual small

User Manual by David Revoy, available under the CC-BY license.

David’s work on Pepper & Carrot is funded by a Patreon campaign. As of this writing, for every episode he produces, his supporters donate $1200, which is inching ever closer to the amount David needs to focus fully on creating the webcomic as his “dream job”. As such, he is not concerned about others building on his work as long as they attribute him for it: “I’m really happy if Pepper & Carrot can bring more money for external people.”  David is disappointed when people fail to meet the simple requirement to credit him as the author: “It’s easier to respect something that was given for free, in my opinion.”

Back in May, a Kickstarter campaign launched without David Revoy’s involvement to create a printed version of Pepper & Carrot. The initial version of the campaign suffered from attribution issues: “The author of the Kickstarter, in the description of his crowdfunding page, was acting like he was the creator. He was quoting my name but he was acting like it was my Kickstarter page, and it was really not visible inside the page.“ After David contacted the campaign creator, the attribution issues were fixed, and David tweeted in support of the campaign. In the end, $6,837 were raised towards a print edition which otherwise would not have happened.

Although David recognizes the power of the CC-BY license, there are circumstances where he uses more restrictive licensing. The Yin and Yang of World Hunger, a powerful painting which depicts the disparity between rich and poor, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial No-Derivatives license, because David doesn’t want to see it used for commercial or political purposes without his approval. The license doesn’t preclude him from selectively granting those permissions:  “There are plenty of associations about hunger that use this illustration, and I’m really happy to give them the illustration for free.”

David’s long term vision is to create an animation studio which only produces works under a free license. With his growing base of supporters, his vision is audacious but not outlandish. Today, many creators of webcomics and YouTube channels are funding their work through their fanbase, whether it’s through one-off campaigns or ongoing Patreon-style support. But relatively few use a Creative Commons license, and fewer still the very permissive CC-BY license alongside an open source toolchain.

When confronted with commercial use and unwanted derivatives, creators may be tempted to to default to a license that places limits on re-use, and as David’s story demonstrates, this can be a good answer, especially when dealing with sensitive works. And yet, there’s always the tantalizing question: What if? What if you let go, what if you set your work truly free? What if you push the limits of what’s possible with open source software?

Artists like David are experimenting with permissive licensing options and open source production methods to create a free culture with no strings attached. Fan support through crowdfunding platforms gives them the ability to do so without fearing loss of income.  You can find my full interview with David Revoy (and with other pioneers) on Passionate Voices, and of course you can read Pepper & Carrot online and join David’s community of supporters.

With your help, Creative Commons will be able to showcase many other examples of CC use and re-use. Please consider supporting the Creative Commons campaign, “Made with Creative Commons: A book on open business models”.

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Global Summit Call for Participation – Extension

Jessica Coates, July 16th, 2015

The deadline for submissions to the CC Global Summit’s Call for Participation is fast approaching. But for those still getting their proposals together, there’s a reprieve – we’ve decided to extend the deadline until Wednesday 22 July.

The extension is in response to a technical glitch we’ve become aware of, which meant that multiple submissions from the same email address may not have registered properly. If you registered more than one submission from your email address, please contact to confirm they were all received.

The issue is now fixed, and we encourage everyone to add as many submissions as they can – the more, the better! We hope the extended deadline will also give the opportunity for people who are still sorting through ideas to submit – you can’t succeed unless you try.

We’re sorry again about glitch, and can’t wait to see the final submissions.

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CC’s first-ever Kickstarter campaign — join us!

Sarah Hinchliff Pearson, July 15th, 2015

CC Summit 2011 Warsaw by Kristina Alexanderson, available on Flickr, licensed CC BY 2.0.

CC Summit 2011 Warsaw by Kristina Alexanderson, available on Flickr, licensed CC BY 2.0.

Today we’re launching CC’s first-ever Kickstarter campaign. We’re raising money to write a book about open business models that incorporate CC licensing. We hope you’ll join our Kickstarter campaign and help us empower creators around the globe to pursue businesses built on open content.

This is an ambitious project. Over the course of the year, our plan is to find answers to the question we are so often asked — how can creators make money to sustain what they do when they are letting the world reuse their work for free?

To do this, we will find and profile 24 businesses, creators, and organizations that are successfully using Creative Commons. We will tell their success stories, but we also want to go a step further to reveal strategies that other creators can use for their own endeavors. Ultimately, we will put our findings together in an ebook, and we will publish an interactive tool that people can use to develop and evaluate their own open business models.

Along the way, we’re going to conduct an experiment in working in the open. We’ll be publishing regularly on one of our favorite storytelling platforms – Medium (who also happens to use CC licenses, and is one of the businesses we will profile in the book). We’re thinking of our Medium publication, Made with Creative Commons, as a digital whiteboard. There, we’ll share insights as we go, try out new ideas, and we’ll openly discuss obstacles we face, questions we have, and issues we are mulling. Our hope is that the process of researching, analyzing, and writing the book will be truly collaborative and open.

In fact, this Kickstarter campaign is itself a case study of an open business model. Crowdfunding has become a tried-and-true method to fund creative works in the digital age. In many ways, it’s an ideal open business model because it requires creators to think about building community from the start, rather than letting it be an after-thought. We see this Kickstarter as a great chance to get people interested and involved in our work.

We have set a realistic but ambitious goal to fund the whole project, but like all Kickstarters, if we don’t hit the target, we don’t get any of the funds. It’s all or nothing, so we need your help.

Momentum really matters with crowdfunding. Help us start strong by supporting the CC Kickstarter now and by spreading the word among your networks. Help us show the world how Creative Commons can be good for business — and maybe even start one of your own.

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New Translations: CC 4.0 licences now available in te reo Māori and Japanese

Jessica Coates, July 13th, 2015

Today CC is proud to launch two new translations of the latest version of the CC licences: Japanese and te reo Māori. These are particularly significant, as they are the first official translations of 4.0 into Asia-Pacific languages. Perhaps even more exciting, te reo Māori, the language of the Indigenous people of New Zealand, is the first indigenous language into which the CC licences have been translated.

Translation is an essential part of our licensing process — our licenses aren’t finished until everyone who wants to share and reuse CC-licensed works has the ability to understand the license in the language they know best. That means all populations, large, medium, and small. These two translations provide great examples of how our affiliates are achieving that goal – the ambitious and eager te reo Māori team, and the Japanese team.

The te reo Māori translation was completed by Ian Cormack, Director of Taumatua Māori Language Services and a licensed Māori Translator, and provided a number of interesting challenges – such as how to translate ‘Sui Generis Database Rights’ (eventually translated as Motika Pātengi Raraunga Momo Takitahi). Karaitiana Taiuru, prominent indigenous philosopher and governance practitioner and a leading figure in the online Māori renaissance of the internet, feels that the translation “is an important step for te reo Māori resources being able to utilise the power and flexibility of Creative Commons…The translated licences will promote taonga and matauranga to be created, shared and published with the legal protection of the Creative Commons licences while recognising iwi, hapū and whānau, as well as whakapapa of the material.”

The Japanese translation will also help significantly with the adoption of CC in that country. Japan still sees ongoing discussion on open data licensing, both at national and local levels, and this Japanese translation will add important choice for those interested in this issue. The process was started on Feb. 2014 and led by Tasuku Mizuno. Other contributors include Mitsuru Maekawa, Maki Higashikubo, Yuuri Nakao, who developed initial draft, as well as Naoki Kanehisa, Yuko Noguchi and Tomoaki Watanabe who joined the review process. Big thanks go to Der Spiegel im Spiegel, Butameron, Mr. Kawanishi, and others who publicly or directly provided CC Japan team valuable inputs.

We are looking forward to seeing what new uses of the licences come from these translations. We also have some more great translations coming up, so watch out for more info.

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Help Outernet and Creative Commons build a #LibraryFromSpace

Jane Park, July 13th, 2015

Hubble Space Telescope and Earth Limb / NASA on The Commons / No known copyright restrictions

If you could send a folder with 50 MB of content to every human on Earth, what would you include? This weekend Creative Commons volunteers and Outernet are hosting a CC Content Edit-a-thon to populate the first Outernet library to be broadcast from space. The edit-a-thon will take place at Mozilla Festival East Africa (MozFestEA) in a weekend-long track that will be kicked off Saturday morning by Outernet and CC volunteers from Uganda and Kenya. During the first hour, Outernet will introduce the initiative and set guidelines, and CC volunteers will provide basic knowledge and training about how and where to find open content. This first hour will be recorded and posted to the Outernet wiki and Outernet’s YouTube channel so that anyone in the world may participate.

Remote participation from anywhere in the world is encouraged! Here’s how you, your friends and colleagues can participate:

  • Tell people about it! Send them to this blog post, or this one by Outernet, or and tweet using #LibraryFromSpace.
  • Re-post this on your own blog – this blog post is public domain (CC0).
  • Register (free) to help Outernet anticipate the number of participants.
  • Come to a physical edit-a-thon. In addition to the MozFestEA session in Kampala, Uganda, CC volunteers in Guatemala will host their own satellite edit-a-thon to start building a CC library in Spanish for Latin America. CC volunteers in Nigeria will participate remotely as well.
  • On 18-19 July, head over to the Outernet wiki: Video, guidelines, directions, and the links to where you’ll be curating, creating, and editing open content will all be here. There will also be an open chatroom to communicate directly with MozFestEA participants and CC volunteers in Guatemala, Nigeria, and anywhere.

We hope to find and curate the best content for each country that is openly licensed or in the public domain. All new content created as part of this event will be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

In addition, Outernet is working on its CC platform integration to provide options for individuals who want to release their content into the public domain (via CC0) or under CC licenses.

Outernet and CC volunteers are building a library that everyone can enjoy, even without an Internet connection. Be one of the first to put content on its shelves!

More about Outernet

Outernet is Humanity’s Public Library, a free data signal broadcast from space that eludes censorship and is publicly editable. To receive the Outernet signal, a user can build their own receiver or purchase one from Outernet. Once an Outernet receiver is active, a user can browse the content they have received using any Wi-Fi enabled device.

More about MozFestEA

MozFestEA brings together different groups of people to build open innovative solutions and to brainstorm ideas and solutions to the current challenges in East Africa with the help of the web as a platform and web literacy. This years MozFestEA will take place at Victoria University in Kampala, Uganda on 17-19, July 2015.

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