Commons News

Welcoming David Wiley, CC’s new Education Fellow

Cable Green, September 13th, 2013

In the McKay School of Education / Mark A. Philbrick / CC BY

David Wiley, longtime open education leader, has joined Creative Commons as a CC Education Fellow. Welcome David!

David is also currently a Shuttleworth Fellow, on leave from Brigham Young University, and leading Lumen Learning, an organization dedicated to supporting and improving the adoption of open educational resources (OER) by middle schools, high schools, community and state colleges, and universities.

David will be promoting Creative Commons and its interests in open education activities and meetings and will:

  • visit institutions of secondary and post-secondary education promoting OER and CC licenses;
  • continue to share his “Intro to Openness in Education” course with the School of Open;
  • actively participate in the Open Policy Network; and
  • create, CC license, and publish primers on OER and open textbook adoption at the secondary level and post-secondary level.

To start, David addresses the problems with the “open” washing that is occurring with more frequency in education as OER gains popularity, over at his blog. Welcome David!

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4.0 draft 4 ready for comment — final consultation before publication

Diane Peters, September 12th, 2013

We are delighted to finally publish the fourth and final draft of the 4.0 license suite for public comment. We are publishing draft 4 of BY-NC-SA today, and will publish the other five licenses over the course of the next few days.

The prior public comment period – lengthy as it was – netted important input from the community, stakeholders, and our affiliate community. It was also the signal for CC to pause and consider one final time what more we might do to make the license suite as long-lasting, international, and easy to use as possible. We have introduced changes in this draft that we feel accomplish these goals more completely. A few highlights follow – read more on our 4.0 wiki.

ShareAlike – In discussions with our community (including our affiliate network), it has become evident that there exist several different understandings about how ShareAlike operates — in particular, whether and how the licenses “stack” when different SA licenses are applied (such as ports and later versions), like they stack for adaptations of BY and BY-NC works. We also know that in practice, many (perhaps even most) users of those remixes look only to the last SA license applied as the source of their obligations as to all copyright holders.

Given the expected longevity of the 4.0 suite, we are taking the opportunity now to insert a provision (see Section 2(a)5)) that brings the legal code fully in line with what we believe is the prevailing practice and expectation. Thus, while the original license continues to apply to the original, all copyrights in remixes of 4.0 SA-licensed works will be under a unified set of terms and conditions (those of the last SA license applied), even when a later version of the SA license is applied by a downstream remixer. We welcome input on this important revision.

Effective Technological Measures – While we are retaining the prohibition on these measures, we are taking the opportunity to clarify within the license what has been long-standing confusion over what is and is not prohibited. We introduce in draft 4 a new defined term that makes clear that the prohibition is limited to those technologies that have the effect of imposing legal restrictions on reuse, just as our licenses prohibit additional terms that restrict reuse.

Attribution – Draft 4 improves inter-version compatibility between 4.0 and prior license suites while retaining the new addition introduced earlier that subjects all requirements to a standard of reasonableness.

Other improvements include consolidation of provisions relating to sui generis databse rights for ease of reference and to reduce confusion, eliminating an unnecessary (and confusing) license interpretation clause, removal of a provision that would have allowed customized warranties to form part of the license, and other language clean up and simplification. Read more about the changes and improvements to draft 4, including a comparison of this draft to Draft 3 [PDF] and a chart summarizing changes to the attribution and marking requirements [PDF]. More info on our 4.0 wiki.

Please note that this consultation period is abbreviated. We will be drawing the comment period to a close sometime the week of September 23rd. Please participate!

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Global Summit Wrap Up

Jessica Coates, September 9th, 2013

GS2013 Final Day in Hall
GS2013 Final Day in Hall
(Ibtihel Zaatouri / CC BY SA).

And so we have it – we just came back from the Global Summit, CC’s bi-annual meeting of our global community, for another two years.

And the resounding opinion seems to be that this year’s Summit was a huge success. With over 300 attendees from over 50 countries and 5 days worth of events, it was our biggest meet up yet, and our first to have simultaneous language translation for most of the sessions. It had side events, keynotes, unconferencing, casual meet ups, and a rocking CC Salon.

Some highlights:

Paul Keller addresses the crowd at the Copyright Reform Miniconference

Paul Keller addresses the crowd at the Copyright Reform Miniconference (Lupa / CC BY SA)

  • the opening night CC Salon, featuring CC-licensing Argentinian musicians Shaman y Los Pilares de la Creación, Villa Diamante, and Sara Hebe and Ramiro Jota. Visuals were provided by vijay Valentino Tettamanti;
  • the plenary panel on CC in the Real World, with inspirational projects such as Daniel Reetz’s DIY Scanner project and Valentín Basel’s educational robotics project, Fedora;
  • fruitful discussions about CC’s stance on copyright reform, both at the pre-event miniconference and throughout the Summit. Watch the CC blog for more news on the resulting statement soon.
  • the keynote by Lawrence Lessig at the University of Buenos Aires’ School of Law, during which he announced that he was teaming up with EFF to launch a landmark lawsuit against Liberation Music, who alleged copyright infringement when Lessig used part of one of its songs in a lecture he posted to Youtube. The suit could be an important precedent in defending fair use and setting limits on the overzealous copyright threats that to often occur on the internet.

If you missed out, you can find materials, including presentations and notes, on the Summit website. Watch for videos, which will be put up over the next few weeks.

The Summit couldn’t have happened without a lot of people. CC would like to thank the Summit Sponsors, the City of Buenos Aires, Banco Credicoop, Google, the Macarthur Foundation and Dotspin. We would also like to thank our venue, Cultural San Martin, and our side event organisers, FLACSO Argentina, Concepto Cero, and the Faculty of Law of Buenos Aires Unviversity. But most of all, we’d like to thank our coorganizers – our CC Argentina affiliates Foundacion Via Libre and Wikimedia Argentina. They did a fabulous job!


Congratulations! Announcing Affiliate Project Grant Recipients

Meryl Mohan, September 9th, 2013

Creative Commons Global Summit 2013 (cckorea / CC BY)

You might remember a few months ago when CC announced the start of an affiliate project grant program to support and expand the work of CC’s global volunteer network.

Today, we are thrilled to announce the recipients of those grants. With a pool of over 70 applications from our community, 18 have been selected to receive grants that support and further open policies and practices in their region. From an open source platform for expression led by a Palestinian rap group, to an online copyright course for Latin american librarians, to a revived CC WordPress plug-in from Finland, we are more than excited to watch these projects unfold in the coming months.

We want to thank everyone for the thoughtful and varied submissions we received from our global affiliate community. In selecting the recipients, we based our decisions on a number of criteria, including the relevance to our mission, benefit to the CC community, significance of outcome, impact, feasibility, partners, and cost effectiveness.

Please join me in congratulating the recipients of the CC Affiliate Project Grants:

Kenya – School of Open Kenya Initiative
South Africa – Creative Commons for Kids
Tanzania – Tanzania CC Salon
Uganda – Promoting Creative Commons Initiatives in Uganda
Cross Regional – Activate Africa

Algeria – Arabic Icons
Lebanon – CC Simply Explained in Arabic
Morocco – Creative BookSprint
Palestine, Lebanon – Hope Spoken/Broken: Change in the Eyes of Palestinian Refugees

Japan – Workshops and Symposium for Open Data in Japan
New Zealand – Media Text Hack
Taiwan – Practices and Depositories for The Public Domain

Finland – WpLicense Revived
Ireland – Awareness-raising Event in Dublin, November 2013
Romania – OER Awareness Activities for Librarians and Academics in Romania

Chile – Promotion of Open Knowledge in the Chilean Academia: Ways to Facilitate Adoption of Creative Commons in the Academic World
Colombia, El Salvador, Uruguay – An Online Course on Basic Copyright, including the open concept that will be totally developed in Spanish for Latinamerican librarians
Guatemala, Uruguay – Promoting Free Music in Central and South America

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California Community Colleges require Creative Commons Attribution for Chancellor’s Office Grants & Contracts

Cable Green, September 9th, 2013


At today’s meeting of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, the Board voted unanimously to require open licensing on publicly funded materials resulting from all Chancellor’s Office contracts and grants.

The previous policy for these grants maintained ‘all rights reserved’ copyright over grant materials by the Chancellor’s Office; the exact language (PDF) reading, “The copyright for all materials first produced as a result of this Work for Hire agreement shall belong to the Chancellor’s Office.”

Upon reviewing the existing policy, and discussing the benefits of open licensing for publicly funded materials, the Board of Governors voted to adjust its policy so that any works created under contracts or grants funded by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office will be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) license.

The Chancellor’s Office will maintain its copyright over grant and contract funded materials, while enabling wide dissemination, reuse, and adaptation of those materials under the CC BY license. With 72 districts and 112 colleges, the California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in world to now require a CC BY license on its publicly funded grant materials.

According to the press release (PDF),

Using a CC BY license also saves taxpayers money by not funding duplicate work that may only be accessible on the local level. For instance, under the old grant requirements a community college staff may have produced a report under contract from the Chancellor’s Office but was not required to openly license or share that report with other colleges. This made it difficult for other colleges to access and reuse the report, but with the new CC BY requirement, other colleges can both view the report and reuse, share, and improve upon it with updated information and data.

“The Chancellor’s Office already held copyrights to all materials that had been contracted,” California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris said. “But the great thing about the action taken by the board of governors this afternoon is that those materials will now be available to a world-wide audience. Also, the tax-paying public shouldn’t be required to pay twice or more to access and use educational materials, first via the funding of the research and development of educational resources and then again when they purchase materials like textbooks they helped fund. So, ultimately this decision to change the board’s regulations will save taxpayers money over time. That’s always a good thing.”

Dean Florez, President and CEO of the 20 Million Minds Foundation added:

“These are exciting times as the California Community Colleges takes the lead in advancing higher education. Creative Commons licensing saves families and taxpayers money and the advancement of Open Educational Resources further expands access to materials for faculty members and their students.”

The video of the open policy discussion from the September 9th meeting is embedded below and available here. Learn more at the press release (PDF) and the presentation and analysis of the agenda item (PDF) from the meeting. Creative Commons is thrilled with this recent development and hopes this new policy by the California Community Colleges inspires other college systems to also implement open policies for their grants and contracts.

Thank you, California Community Colleges for ensuring publicly funded educational resources are openly licensed.

Related: California’s Community Colleges Shift to Creative Commons Licenses by The Chronicle of Higher Education


Vote for CC at SXSW!

Elliot Harmon, September 4th, 2013

Are you planning to go to South by Southwest next year? CC has two pending sessions at SXSW Interactive and one at SXSWedu.

If you’d like to see these sessions happen next year, then please cast your vote. Voting ends this week, so please show your support now!

Open Education: The Business & Policy Case for OER

The Internet, increasingly affordable computing, open licensing, open access journals and open educational resources provide the foundation for a world in which a quality education can be a basic human right. Yet before we break the “iron triangle” of access, cost and quality with new models, we need to develop sustainable open business models with open policies: public access to publicly funded resources.

How Open Licensing Is Transforming Design

When designers share their work under an open license, they invite others to build upon and transform their designs without asking for permission, sometimes even using them commercially. A few years ago, the idea of letting non-clients steal your work was crazy; today, it’s a big part of how designers network, collaborate, and create professional opportunities for themselves and each other.

How Creative Commons Is Changing Artists’ Careers

When creators share their art under a Creative Commons license, they invite others to build upon and transform their work without asking for permission. Everyone has heard the stories of big names like Amanda Palmer and Cory Doctorow licensing their work under CC, but what about artists who don’t already have a massive following? Does open licensing open doors for developing creators, or does it close off potential revenue streams?

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Where’s 4.0? A Post-Summit Update

Diane Peters, August 29th, 2013

When we published Draft 3 of Version 4.0 of the CC license suite in February, we reminded our community that the ensuing consultation period would be its final chance to comment on the licenses before publication. The publication of that draft and reminder caused some stakeholders and others in our affiliate network to take a final hard look at the legal code. This was also the trigger for us here at CC to conduct one last review as planned. After all, one of our foremost goals has been to develop a long-lasting suite of licenses that will carry us as far into the future as possible. If there are some improvements we can make now and that will avoid problems later, then we ought take the time to account for those when possible.

That our publication caused the legal code to undergo this final level of scrutiny is the good news. We were also able to have a concluding discussion with our affiliates face-to-face during the 2013 Global Summit in Buenos Aires last week. There, we received valuable input from those in attendance about the final draft of the licenses.

The unfortunate news is the ensuing delay. For those eager to move from 3.0 to 4.0 — and there are many of you who have been waiting patiently — we recognize that the delay is a source of frustration. We are excited to say that the wait will pay dividends for everyone; however, the community identified a few important issues and we’re working together to address those issues in the upcoming draft. We’ll be expanding more on those when we publish the draft, slated for next week.

For those of you interested in commenting on the final draft, take note that the consultation period will be abbreviated, no longer than two weeks. The bulk of the changes are not substantive and do not involve a shift in policy. Instead, they involve further refinements and simplification in language when possible, consolidation of the sui generis database rights provisions into a single section for ease of reference, and similar improvements. The remainder will be concisely framed and explained, and we don’t expect them to be controversial.

Watch this space and our 4.0 wiki for the final drafts of the licenses next week. Thanks again for your patience and support. We’re close!

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CC Global Summit is underway!

Elliot Harmon, August 21st, 2013

The Creative Commons Global Summit is almost here! If you’re not joining us in Buenos Aires, there are several ways you can follow the summit this week:


News from CC China: eXtreme Learning Process

Elliot Harmon, August 16th, 2013

Earlier this year, CC China Mainland volunteers helped organize an educational event to promote open licensing. The CC China Mainland team recaps the event in this guest blog post, which originally appeared on the CC China Mainland blog.

CC China Mainland volunteers recently helped organize the Trans-disciplinary System Integration Design Challenge, a program of the eXtreme Learning Process (XLP) initiative at Tsinghua University. Volunteers designed IP rules for the course, educated participants about Creative Commons, and handed out the Spirit of CC Award during the closing ceremony of the course.

Students and teachers of the XLP course with musician Yibing Zhu
Students and teachers of the XLP course with musician Yibing Zhu (Cheng Hu / CC BY)

The Trans-disciplinary System Integration Design Challenge lasted for four days at the Fundamental Industry Training Center’s Electromechanical Innovation Lab. The course attracted 126 participants from Tsinghua University, Renmin University, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, and Beijing Jiaotong University, including undergraduates, Master’s candidates, and Ph.D. candidates. Participants were divided into “Challengers” and “Actors.” The 51 students and teachers who comprised the Challengers helped design the scenarios and problems, while 75 students made up the Actors, who were divided into eight groups to carry out the tasks and find solutions to the problems.

CC volunteer Zhaowen Wang kept track of the open-source technology released under CC licenses by each team.

CC volunteer Zhaowen Wang kept track of the open-source technology released under CC licenses by each team. (Cheng Hu / CC BY)

Here’s the challenge: “A plate shifting in South China Sea was caused by a sudden earthquake. As a consequence, a new unmanned island, A, appeared. Your task is to win the offer from the venture capitalist to exploit it into an offshore oil city by building a material delivery system and writing a business plan.”

The teams had 80 hours to complete the challenge. In the course, students are required to work on their own to learn certain technologies, such as the programming software NXT, the project management tool Projectlibre, and so on. Having managed that hardware and software, students were able to build an automatic material delivery system and make virtual functions perform in the sand plate. The course not only trained the problem-solving skill of the students, but also innovative thinking, teamwork, dynamic project control, and time management. This course was covered by Xinhua News Agency, China News Agency, People’s Daily, Beijing Evening News and many other news agencies.

In order to assure the technology development process to flow in orderliness and openness, CC volunteers designed the IP rules for this course, by integrating real-life IP law and regulations with the scenarios of the course. In the copyright rules, students were directed on how to claim their copyright in their slides, photos, and business plans, as well as to effectively share their works by using CC licenses.

CC volunteers issue the Spirit of CC Award to the most open and creative team.

CC volunteers issue the Spirit of CC Award to the most open and creative team. (Han Jin / CC BY)

The patent and open source rules instructed the students on how to apply and exploit patents, and how to make their technical solutions open source technology and cooperate with other developers by using CC licenses. CC volunteers served as officials in XLP Patent Office and judges in XLP Court to make the course more real and competitive. With the help of CC volunteers, four contracts of technology cooperation were signed, the students learned the concept and benefit of sharing directly, and they accomplished their work with much more efficiency using CC licenses.

On the last afternoon of the course, all eight groups carried out their automatic material delivery systems on the sand plate and performed a virtual commercial bid. Students labeled their works with CC marks and published their business plans and videos using CC licenses, as they hoped their works can be delivered further and give inspiration to people who are also fascinated by extreme learning. During the following ceremony, CC volunteers handed out the Spirit of CC Award and CC souvenirs to the most open and creative team. Members of the team expressed their delight of receiving the award, and wished CC would make a bigger difference in open-source technology.

The Trans-disciplinary System Integration Design Challenge found a new path to attenuate the limits of teaching-learning roles, space and time. The novel way in which the course was taught aroused students’ interest and motivation. The role of CC is crucial and inspiring for learners to explore a far more efficient and cooperative world.

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India launches National Repository of Open Educational Resources

Jane Park, August 14th, 2013


India has launched a new learning repository for open educational resources (OER). India’s Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and the Central Institute of Educational Technology, National Council of Educational Research and Training have collaboratively developed the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER). Dr. Pallam Raju, India’s Minister for Human Resource Development, launched the repository on Tuesday, and Dr. Shashi Tharoor, India’s Minister of State for Human Resource Development, announced the repository’s default license for all resources — Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA).

The repository currently includes videos, audio, interactive media, images, and documents, and aims to “bring together all digital and digitisable resources for the [Indian] school system – for all classes, for all subjects and in all languages.”

From Dr. Tharoor’s announcement,

This initiative is also a significant step towards inclusive education. Opening access to all requires a debate on the issue of ownership, copyright, licensing and a balancing of reach with legitimate commercial interests. This is particularly important for public institutions and public funded projects. I am glad that the NCERT has taken the initiative of declaring that the NROER will carry the CC-BY-SA license… This decision by NCERT is in tune with UNESCO’s Paris Declaration on Open Education Resources and will ensure that all the resources are freely accessible to all. To put it in the language of the Creative Commons — to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute.

To contribute to the repository, one must ensure that they are “agreeing to host the resources under a Creative Commons license” (CC BY-SA) and “that the documents uploaded are encoded using non-proprietary, open standards.” To learn more about contributing your OER, visit


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