Commons News

Your CC donation will be matched now through Dec 25

Jane Park, December 13th, 2011

Exciting news! The Brin-Wojcicki Foundation is offering Creative Commons a big boost as 2011 wraps up. The Foundation has generously offered to match dollar-for-dollar all donations up to $100,000 now through December 25th.

If you needed another reason to show your support for Creative Commons, take The Brin-Wojcicki challenge and help CC claim the full $100k, while showing your support for openness and sharing on the Internet. Go ahead, donate now!

The Brin-Wojcicki Foundation was started by Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google and his spouse, Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of the online genetics firm 23andMe. Anne’s mother Esther Wojcicki is Vice Chair of the Creative Commons Board of Directors and a long-time teacher at Palo Alto High School.

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CC is looking for a Director of Strategic Partnerships

Jane Park, December 12th, 2011


Donor Strategy cake / HowardLake / CC BY-SA

Creative Commons is looking for a Director of Strategic Partnerships! The Director of Strategic Partnerships will be responsible for building and executing a comprehensive fundraising strategy, focusing mainly on individual and corporate donations. This position will report directly to the Controller and work very closely with the CEO and Board of Directors.

The Director will join our team and office in Mountain View—a collaborative, community-building atmosphere grounded in an environment of mutual respect and trust. Ideal candidates are familiar with open source technology, copyright, and issues relating to creativity on the Internet, not to mention 5-7 years of nonprofit development experience and a successful track record in short and long-term strategic planning and implementation, including recruitment and maintenance of past, present and potential donors. See the full job description at our opportunities page.

Please email any inquiries, your cover letter and résumé to jobs [at] creativecommons.org with the subject heading of “Director of Strategic Partnerships Application.”

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CC News: Public Discussion Launches for Version 4.0 of the CC Licenses

Jane Park, December 12th, 2011

Stay up to date with CC news by subscribing to our weblog and following us on Twitter.

Public Discussion Launches for Version 4.0 of the CC Licenses

We are pleased to announce the beginning of the public discussion process that we expect to result in version 4.0 of the Creative Commons license suite. The 4.0 discussions held at the 2011 Global Summit confirmed for CC the need to commence the 4.0 discussion process now if we wish to consider issues relevant to important would-be adopters in a timely manner. As explained following legal sessions at the Summit, version 3.0 is working (and will continue to work) really well for many adopters, but the reality is different for others. Read more.

Stop [U.S.] American censorship of the Internet

The SOPA and Protect IP bills threaten every site on Internet, but would especially harm the commons. While standard public licenses like CC have lowered the costs and risks of legal sharing and collaboration, SOPA and Protect IP would drastically increase both the costs and risks of providing platforms for sharing and collaboration. Sites ranging from individual blogs to massive community projects such as Wikipedia to open education repositories to Flickr and YouTube could be in jeopardy if a single possibly infringing item causes an entire domain to be taken down. Read more.

 

Wired.com now releasing photos under CC Attribution-Noncommercial

We are thrilled to relay Wired.com’s announcement that from now on all Wired.com staff-produced photos will be released under a CC Attribution-Noncommercial license (CC BY-NC)! Wired.com’s Editor in Chief Evan Hansen says, “Creative Commons turns ten years old next year, and the simple idea of releasing content with “some rights reserved” has revolutionized online sharing and fueled a thriving remix culture. At Wired.com, we’ve benefited from CC-licensed photos for years — thank you sharers! Now we’re going to start sharing ourselves.” Read more.

In other news:

  • In related data news, Europeana has published its Licensing Framework, which supports re-use of data and content through CC legal tools (CC0, the Public Domain Mark, and CC BY-SA), providing guidelines for their appropriate applications.
  • The German UNESCO Commission released a practical guideline to open content licenses, featuring the CC license suite as its primary example.
  • A recent study by the Australian National Data Service found that the benefits of free and unrestricted public sector information (PSI) outweighed costs.
  • The first Spanish CC movie (in Catalàn) premiered in Spanish cinema. Check out "Interferències" under CC BY-NC-SA.
  • Creative Commons was at WIPO, represented by CC Costa Rica at the 8th Session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
  • Lastly, this is just a friendly reminder that the White House wants your input on Public Access to Data and Publications by January 2, 2012.

Banner photo crop of "Trent Reznor" by Wired Photostream – CC BY-NC.

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Version 4.0 – Public Discussion Launches

Diane Peters, December 9th, 2011

We are pleased to announce the beginning of the public discussion process that we expect to result in version 4.0 of the Creative Commons license suite.

Timeliness and Opportunity

The 4.0 discussions held at the 2011 Global Summit confirmed for CC the need to commence the 4.0 discussion process now if we wish to consider issues relevant to important would-be adopters in a timely manner. As explained following legal sessions at the Summit, version 3.0 is working (and will continue to work) really well for many adopters, but the reality is different for others. The treatment of sui generis database rights in the 3.0 licenses continues to be a show-stopper for many, including governments in Europe. This fosters an environment in which custom licenses proliferate, inevitably resulting in silos of incompatibly-licensed content that cannot be maximally shared and remixed. But there exist still other reasons for pursuing 4.0 at this time, including the desire to adjust the licenses to more fully support adoption by intergovernmental organizations and those looking for a more internationally-oriented license suite.


CC BY, Version 3.0

The consequence of not addressing these challenges now is one of opportunity — bridging these differences sooner rather than later (where possible) is always advisable, especially if a more inclusive commons may result. For those fond of version 3.0, rest assured that CC will continue to support existing and future implementations and adopters that rely on those licenses. We will take pains not to create a 4.0 suite that undermines or otherwise presents challenges for those communities.

Process – Discussion Forum – 4.0 Wiki

Importantly, for the first time in CC’s history we begin the versioning process without publishing a draft of the new licenses for review. This is intentional, and it is designed to ensure we hear from the community first. During this 2-3 month requirements gathering period, we urge everyone with a proposal, concern or other input to please put it forth, as our goal is to make the first draft as comprehensive as possible. We will alert the community when the requirements period draws to a close, expected to be mid-February 2012. As in the past, we will publish at least two drafts of the licenses before finalizing, which we anticipate will occur late 2012.

As with past versioning efforts, the central discussion forum will be CC’s license discuss list (subscribe now). New to the 4.0 process, however, is a dedicated group of wiki pages (accessible through the main 4.0 wiki page) where topics and proposals under discussion on that email list will be documented, annotated, and evaluated. We have pre-populated the wiki pages with several of the issues we expect to address during this process, framing key topics to help shape the discussion and including known and anticipated proposals related to each. Among others, we expect healthy debates regarding the treatment of moral rights, the definition of NonCommercial, scope of ShareAlike, treatment of sui generis database rights, and much more. The issues are organized by topic with cross-references to related issues throughout the wiki, but there is also an open forum (the Sandbox page) where you should be encouraged to suggest other topics you feel are important to discuss for version 4.0 (a few placeholders already exist).

For a fuller description of CC’s objectives, the process and expected schedule, visit the 4.0 wiki homepage.

We encourage everyone who is interested in the future of Creative Commons, and open licensing generally, to participate in this process. The more voices that chime in to raise issues and debate the merits of various proposals, the stronger version 4.0 will be, helping us achieve our goal of creating a set of robust licenses that will endure long into the future. If you have an opinion about how to simplify CC’s attribution requirements, for example, or any of the other important issues we plan to examine during the process, please post your suggestion to the CC license discuss list (subscribe today) and add it to our 4.0 wiki. We look forward to hearing from you.

Support CC

The Version 4.0 process and many other activities are supported by contributions from our community. As a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools, Creative Commons has always relied on the generosity of both individuals and organizations to fund its ongoing operations. Please consider donating to our Annual Campaign, going on now. Thank you.

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Safecast: Global sensor network collects and shares radiation data via CC0

Jane Park, December 5th, 2011


INTERPOLATION MAP / Lionel Bergeret, Safecast / CC BY-NC

One week after the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Diachi plant in March, the Safecast project was born to respond to the information needs of Japanese citizens regarding radiation levels in their environment. Safecast, then known as RDTN.org, started a campaign on Kickstarter “to provide an aggregate feed of nuclear radiation data from governmental, non-governmental and citizen-scientist sources.” All radiation data collected via the project would be dedicated to the public domain using CC0, “available to everyone, including scientists and nuclear experts who can provide context for lay people.” Since then, more than 1.25 million data points have been collected and shared; Safecast has been featured on PBS Newshour; and the project aims to expand its scope to mapping the rest of the world.

“Safecast supports the idea that more data – freely available data – is better. Our goal is not to single out any individual source of data as untrustworthy, but rather to contribute to the existing measurement data and make it more robust. Multiple sources of data are always better and more accurate when aggregated.

While Japan and radiation is the primary focus of the moment, this work has made us aware of a need for more environmental data on a global level and the longterm work that Safecast engages in will address these needs. Safecast is based in the US but is currently focused on outreach efforts in Japan. Our team includes contributors from around the world.”

To learn more, visit http://safecast.org. All raw data from the project is available for re-use via the CC0 public domain dedication, while other website content (such as photos and text) are available under CC BY-NC.

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Europeana Licensing Framework published

Jane Park, December 2nd, 2011

Yesterday, Europeana — Europe’s digital library, museum and archive, and the first major adopter of the Public Domain Mark for works in the worldwide public domain — published and made available The Europeana Licensing Framework using the CC0 public domain dedication. The licensing framework encompasses and is a follow-on to the recent Data Exchange Agreement that Europeana adopted in September, and which Europe’s national librarians publicly supported weeks later.

In Europeana’s own words, the licensing framework “underpins Europeana’s Strategic Plan” for 2011-2015:

“The goal of the Europeana Licensing Framework is to standardize and harmonize rights-related information and practices. Its intention is to bring clarity to a complex area, and make transparent the relationship between the end-users and the institutions that provide data.”

“Users need good and reliable information about what they may do with [content]. Whether they can freely re-use it for their educational, creative or even commercial projects or not. The Europeana Licensing Framework therefore asks data providers to provide structured rights information in the metadata they provide about the content that is accessible through Europeana. Doing so makes it easier for users to filter content by the different re-use options they have – by ‘public domain’, for example and hence easier for users to comply with licensing terms.”

The framework supports re-use of data and content through CC legal tools (CC0 public domain dedication, the Public Domain Mark, and CC BY-SA), providing guidelines for their appropriate applications. Download the European Licensing Framework (pdf) or peruse the full set of resources at Europeana Connect.

Update

Relatedly, see Europeana’s white paper no. 2 published last month, The Problem of the Yellow Milkmaid: A Business Model Perspective on Open Metadata (pdf). The white paper “explore[s] in detail the risks and rewards of open data from different perspectives” after “extensive consultation with the heritage sector, including dozens of workshops.” It opens:

“‘The Milkmaid’, one of Johannes Vermeer’s most famous pieces, depicts a scene of a woman quietly pouring milk into a bowl. During a survey the Rijksmuseum discovered that there were over 10,000 copies of the image on the internet—mostly poor, yellowish reproductions1. As a result of all of these low-quality copies on the web, according to the Rijksmuseum, “people simply didn’t believe the postcards in our museum shop were showing the original painting. This was the trigger for us to put high-resolution images of the original work with open metadata on the web ourselves. Opening up our data is our best defence against the ‘yellow Milkmaid’.”

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Donate $50. Get a t-shirt.

Jane Park, November 30th, 2011

At your right is our t-shirt model, Timothy Vollmer, also CC’s Policy Coordinator. He is sporting the limited edition run of the teal “I Love to Share” t-shirt. Do you have one?

If you do, join our Flickr pool and show us you love to share.

If you don’t, you can give to Creative Commons today, and also show the world you love to share with a donation of $50 or more.

Creative Commons is a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools, with affiliates all over the world who help ensure our licenses work internationally and raise awareness about our work. Our tools are free and our reach is wide.

Join us in our efforts to help make sharing online easier for everyone. Donate today to claim your awesome t-shirt!

Learn more about why CC runs an annual fundraising campaign.

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Reminder: White House wants your input on Public Access to Data and Publications

Timothy Vollmer, November 30th, 2011

In the U.S., the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has released two Requests for Information (RFI) soliciting public input on long term preservation of and public access to the results of federally funded research, including digital data and peer-reviewed scholarly publications. The deadline for responding to the RFIs is January 2, 2012.

Persons and parties interested in weighing in on the requests can find more information in the Federal Register announcements:

Our friends at SPARC offer some additional guidance, also listed below:

It is important that as many individuals and organizations as possible – at all levels – respond to these requests for information. For reference, the RFI specifically calls for comments from “non-Federal stakeholders, including the public, universities, nonprofit and for-profit publishers, libraries, federally funded and non-federally funded research scientists, and other organizations and institutions with a stake in long-term preservation and access to the results of federally funded research.” Both RFIs pose a series of questions, and respondents should answer those questions as specifically as possible. It should be emphasized that organizations beyond the U.S., with experience with open-access policies, are also invited to contribute.

The input provided through this RFI will inform the National Science and Technology Council’s Task Force on Public Access to Scholarly Publications, convened by OSTP. OSTP will issue a report to Congress describing: 1) Priorities for the development of agency policies for ensuring broad public access to the results of federally funded, unclassified research; 2) The status of agency policies for public access to publications resulting from federally funded research; and 3) Public input collected.

The main point to emphasize is that taxpayers are entitled to access the results of the research our tax dollars fund. Taxpayers should be allowed to immediately access and fully reuse the results of publicly funded research.

Again, the deadline for submissions is January 2, 2012. Submissions to the publications RFI should be sent via email to publicaccess [at] ostp [dot] gov. Submissions to the data RFI should be sent via email to digitaldata [at] ostp [dot] gov. Please note: OSTP will publicly post all submissions after the deadlines (along with names of submitters and their institutions) so please make sure not to include any confidential or proprietary information in your submission. Attachments may be included.

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Free and unrestricted Public Sector Information: Study finds benefits outweigh costs

Timothy Vollmer, November 28th, 2011

Governments around the world are increasingly relying on open licenses to release public sector information (PSI). A September 2011 report titled Costs and Benefits of Data Provision, prepared by John Houghton for the Australian National Data Service, examines the immediate and wider economic costs and benefits to making PSI available.

The key takeaway from the study: “the direct and measurable benefits of making PSI available free and unrestrictedly typically outweigh the costs. When one adds the longer-term benefits that we cannot fully measure, cannot even foresee, the case for open access appears to be strong.”

The report offers an interesting and instructive analysis about the overarching cost-saving potential of making PSI available online for free and under open licenses (we assume the figures to represent Australian dollars):

[W]e find that the net cost to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) of making publications and statistics freely available online and adopting Creative Commons licensing was likely to have been around $3.5 million per annum at 2005-06 prices and levels of activity, but the immediate cost savings for users were likely to have been around $5 million per annum. The wider impacts in terms of additional use and uses bring substantial additional returns, with our estimates suggesting overall costs associated with free online access to ABS publications and data online and unrestrictive standard licensing of around $4.6 million per annum and measurable annualised benefits of perhaps $25 million (i.e. more than five times the costs).

The Houghton study suggests that open licensing is a key component to reducing friction in the downstream use of PSI:

It is not simply about access prices, but also about the transaction costs involved. Standardised and unrestrictive licensing, such as Creative Commons, and data standards are crucial in enabling access that is truly open (i.e. free, immediate and unrestricted) … The efficient economic solution for the dissemination of PSI is likely to be free libre and free gratis (i.e. making it freely available online and using unrestrictive licensing such as Creative Commons).

In a separate internal document noted in the report, the Australian Bureau of Statistics described the impact of adopting CC licensing. It says that CC licensing “meets public expectations with regard to open government, facilitates data sharing (including across government), allows for more timely reuse of statistics, facilitates innovation, [and] makes sense to a growing percentage of people who recognise and understand CC licence symbols and conditions.”

The study urges us to try to understand and foster the unpredictable yet potentially powerful innovation that can be unleashed when PSI is made freely available online and released using unrestrictive licenses:

In the longer term, there may also be unforeseen uses and re-uses that simply cannot be accounted for, and again this may mean that the costs and benefits experienced in the early years of implementation tend to understate the longer-term advantages. Use and re-use can also have wider impacts, in terms of innovation and the development and introduction of new products, services and processes that, in turn, generate new economic economic activity, new business opportunities, better informed and potentially better government and business decisions.

The full report is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia License.

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LRMI Specification version 0.5 released

Greg Grossmeier, November 21st, 2011

LRMI Logo

The Learning Resources Metadata Initiative (LRMI) Technical Working Group just released the latest draft of their specification. This version is another step on the road to the final public release and submission to Schema.org, the multiple search engine group that is maintaining a standard metadata specification for online content. LRMI intends to extend Schema.org’s documentation to include metadata that is important to the educational community; everyone from commercial publishers and OER producers to learners of all varieties (and of course, educators).

Please explore the 0.5 version of the specification and provide any feedback via the LRMI mailing list by December 9th.

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