As of today, Creative Commons Syria lead Bassel Khartabil has been in prison for 1000 days. Today, we take a moment to honor Bassel and his contributions to Creative Commons. And we stand with our peers in the free software and free culture communities in demanding that he be freed.
Before Bassel was imprisoned, he worked hard to build digital literacy in Syria. Not only did he play a central role in Syria’s CC community; he was also active in Wikimedia, Openclipart, and numerous other free culture projects. As Lawrence Lessig wrote, “Mr. Khartabil isn’t a partisan, aligned with one Syrian faction against another. He represents a future, aligned against a totalitarian past.”
Bassel’s imprisonment is also a reminder that our fight is real. For those of us that work in relative safety, it can sometimes be easy to forget that a free and open internet is not a theoretical matter. Real lives are at risk.
Visit freebassel.org for more information on Bassel and how you can get involved. If you’re in San Francisco, visit Noisebridge this evening for a Free Bassel letter-writing event.
More information: Bassel Khartabil profile (Free Syrian Voices)Comments Off on Free Bassel
CC co-founder Lawrence Lessig will speak on January 8 at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. JCCSF has provided CC with a special discount code to share with our community.
Harvard Law Professor and legal activist Lawrence Lessig (Republic, Lost) believes he’s found a way to mitigate the corrosive effect of big money on elections. He discusses Mayday PAC, his own crowd-funded Super PAC, launched in order to elect a Congress committed to fundamentally reforming the way campaigns are financed.
If you use the code DEMOCRACY, you can pay $10 for standard or $15 for premium tickets.
Edited December 11. We’d previously reported the incorrect date for this event.2 Comments »
Join us in San Francisco on December 14 for a Wikipedia Editathon on interent censorship. If you’ve never edited a Wikipedia article, don’t worry! There will be experts there to help you through the process.
Join volunteers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons, and the Bay Area Wikipedia community to write and edit about human rights and free speech online. We will improve, create, and update Wikipedia articles related to global internet censorship. People regularly turn to Wikipedia to get a basic overview of internet censorship, so it’s crucial that we ensure Wikipedia’s coverage is up-to-date and accurate. Internet censorship means that users across the world aren’t always using the same Internet, cannot access the same websites, or can’t contribute to or read the same Wikipedia articles. Speech-chilling government surveillance, blocking, and filtering are all methods of censorship, and they are globally ubiquitous. Internet censorship impacts users everywhere, because fewer people are able to upload or contribute to the Internet or access information online.
In addition to improving articles on Internet Censorship as a broad topic, we will focus on improving and updating key articles about internet censorship for individual countries, and if possible, ensure the content is also available in their local language.
1 Comment »
Please join us in person or online to help improve the public conversation on Internet Censorship. All levels of Wikipedia-editing experience are welcome!
Comments Off on #SharingEveryday
All six Creative Commons licenses require licensees to attribute the original creator. Although we provide guidelines for attributing a work, we also recognize that standards for how and where licensees should provide attribution vary a lot from medium to medium. That’s why CC licenses allow licensees to fulfill the attribution requirement “…In any reasonable manner based on the medium, means, and context in which You Share the Licensed Material.”
A recent court case in Germany has raised questions among some CC license users about what qualifies as reasonable attribution. Must websites that use openly licensed images make the attribution information visible at all times, even in a gallery of image thumbnails? And what about when a visitor accesses an image directly, via the “View Image” feature in her web browser? Must attribution information be visible then too?
Fortunately, we believe that common sense has won out in a recent appellate ruling.
The defendant had diligently attributed the rightsholder on the page where they used the picture, but the website also had a dynamically generated “overview” gallery showing preview thumbnails of pictures and the site didn’t restrict users from downloading the images via “View Image.” When a visitor viewed an image in these two ways, attribution information was not visible.
The trial court ruled that the preview thumbnails (which did not include attribution information) were acceptable as they were under the two rulings of the German Federal Supreme Court on preview pictures. Regarding the direct viewing via “View Image”, the court ruled that this was not covered by the thumbnail rulings, and interpreted the terms of service of the stock photo site to require attribution no matter how the picture is viewed. The judges said that the name of the rightsholder would in case of “View Image” need to either be integrated into the picture itself (i.e. as an additional part of the graphic) or be part of the URL of the picture.
The stock photo provider, which was not a party to the case, provided a statement on behalf of the defendant, saying that their terms of service were not intended to require that the name of the author (also) be part of the URL. Nonetheless, the court ruled otherwise. The main argument advanced was that “appropriate to the medium” only applied to how attribution was to be given, not to whether it would be given, and as the picture could be viewed separately, attribution was also required in that view no matter how complicated its implementation would be.
After the decision became public, a debate started amongst bloggers and others who regularly use CC-licensed pictures, many of whom worried whether the court’s strict interpretation of the attribution requirement would also be relevant to how the BY condition of CC licenses is interpreted, at least under German copyright law. It was obvious that almost none of the CC-licensed pictures used on the net are attributed in the graphic itself or in the URL, and that it would be virtually impossible to move attribution to such a standard across the net.
On appeal, the higher district court in Cologne indicated in an oral hearing in August that they did not intend to follow the original decision. Firstly, in their view, the terms of service are very strictly against editing/adaptations of the pictures taken from the site, which speaks against the obligation (or even the right of users) to insert attribution information into the graphics. This would constitute an impermissible edit. Secondly, they interpret “appropriate to the medium” to not only cover how attribution is given, but also to cover whether/when attribution is necessary. The court regards the “View Image” function as a mere technological side-feature of how the web works and not a separate type of use that requires separate approval by the rightsholder. The latter in effect means that this function doesn’t trigger separate obligations on the user’s part, beyond the ones triggered by the use of the picture in the regular browser view. The plaintiffs subsequently took back their claims. Users of pictures that are available under standard terms can relax again to some extent regarding the practicalities of attribution.
While it’s limited to Germany in its legal applicability, this ruling demonstrates how flexible attribution requirements can be well understood by all parties and adapt well to changing technology. The ways that we share content on the web are changing all the time, but if you approach CC licenses with a reasonable, logical approach to attribution, misunderstandings will be few and far between.
Read more: Stellungnahme zu möglichen Auswirkungen der Pixelio-Entscheidung (auf Deutsch)Comments Off on German appellate court upholds common-sense attribution
Creative Commons staff, affiliates, and supporters were active participants and contributors at this year’s Mozilla Festival, which has become an annual rallying point for the Open Web and our shared values. Our sessions covered a wide range of issues, from new technology, to open education and science, to working as an open organization. Thanks to Mozilla for inviting us. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event.
CC makes tools for makers
by Matt Lee and Ryan Merkley
In CC makes tools for makers, CC’s Ryan Merkley and Matt Lee joined Mozilla dev Ali Al Dallal to talk about tools and technology solutions that could enhance the reach and value of CC-licensed works. CC shared some early screens for The List, a new mobile app that allows anyone to create and share a list of wanted images, and allows users to respond by taking pictures and sharing them in a global archive, all licensed CC BY. CC also shared CC Search, which will aggregate results from publicly-facing search APIs of openly licensed works. Ali demoed a prototype of MakeDrive, which will allow a user to search for a CC image, then grab it into their own local synced storage.
Participants broke into smaller groups to discuss challenges and opportunities, and identified solutions that were shared back with the group. Issues ranged from UX and usability needs to opportunities for monetization. Everyone was encouraged to join The List mailing list at creativecommons.org/thelist for updates, and to head to hackspace.cc to join the development process and contribute.
Portrait of a Creative Commons Artist
by Jane Park
In Portrait of a Creative Commons Artist, a group of musicians, filmmakers, museum curators, and arts education practitioners gathered to discuss the kinds of art being created in today’s digital landscape and how and why they share their artworks and the artworks of others. Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, the artists’ motivations for sharing included no commercial goals. Motivations cited included wider distribution; to grow a community of like-minded artists; to elicit feedback or emotion; and result in new inferences and ways of thinking.
We also identified barriers to sharing in certain environments, such as child privacy in arts education and the time-consuming effort involved in cataloging artworks for museums. We addressed individual artists’ hang-ups to sharing, such as fear of plagiarism and not being quite ready or confident in the quality of one’s art to open it up for public criticism. Lastly, we brainstormed potential solutions to overcoming these barriers and help artists feel more comfortable with sharing their works online under more liberal re-use terms, such as Creative Commons licenses. Such solutions included: a tool that could display a canonical representation of your work, including all derivatives made from the original; a better attribution prompt enabling artists to specify exactly how they want to be attributed; and a registry of artworks in the commons. Additional needs included improved interaction design with artworks online, consulting or advisement on how to share such networked art, and simplified best practices around sharing and attributing open artworks. Full agenda and notes from the session are available, in addition to Kevin’s coverage of the session in The Open Standard, “The Plight of the Open-Source Artist” — which is aptly licensed under CC BY-SA.
This session affirmed and informed our intentions with several CC projects in development, such as a registry of CC-licensed works, a smart phone application that would make it easier for photo contributions to the commons (The List), and the Free Culture Trust, a coalition of organizations that would offer comprehensive services to artists wanting to donate their art to the commons.
Mapping #SchoolofOpen and #TeachtheWeb to places
by Jane Park
In Mapping #SchoolofOpen and #TeachtheWeb to places, community members from Creative Commons, School of Open, and Mozilla Webmaker came together to physically map their open web education programs, such as Maker Party and the recent School of Open Africa launch. We “hacked” a map of the world by creating our own version of it, and most interestingly, Africa was front and center with the U.S. largely as an afterthought. After mapping, we self-organized into two streams: those leading open web education for adults and those leading open web education for kids and teens. After much discussion, we are now planning to better bridge our communities to increase our impact in several regions, including Africa, India, and the U.S. We will be creating a digital version of our Hack the Map activity, allowing others to add themselves virtually over time, and also planning a joint School of Open and Mozilla Webmaker event with our communities for 2015.
OpenMe – Kids can Open
by Jane Park
In OpenMe – Kids can Open, a few of us from the CC, School of Open and National Writing Project communities gathered to discuss current efforts around CC and open web education for kids and strategies for replicating those efforts in other jurisdictions. Kelsey Wiens, CC South Africa public lead and School of Open program lead for CC4Kids, shared her experience with piloting CC4Kids in schools. Generally, starting with private schools resulted in more favorable results, in addition to partnering with existing organizations with strong ties to schools, such as Innovate South Africa’s Code4ct. We are now in conversation to pilot the CC4Kids model in the U.S. with the National Writing Project’s Educator/Innovator network. To start, we will be hosting a webinar as well as sharing a call to the network for after school pilot participants.
Walking the talk – How to work open
by Jane Park
In Walking the talk – How to work open, CC facilitated the strand on Partnerships and collaboration, or how to better work together as open organizations with overlapping missions and projects. How do we not reinvent the wheel and collectively have greater impact? Part of the solution lies in better communications and transparent organizational practices, but how do we translate these needs into an action item? We brainstormed several “best case scenarios” and in the end came up with a strong list of concrete solutions, with an Annual Capacity Building Conference for open organizations at the top of the list. Such a conference would focus specifically on knowledge sharing for the purpose of building capacity within and outside of our organizations to achieve our missions and realizing our vision for universal access to research and education and full participation in culture. Other ideas included:
- A Natural Language Processing tool that links cross-organizational communications in different languages in one hub
- Culture training for organizations that encourages failure and knowledge sharing, versus an environment where keeping information secret results in a competitive edge
- Working groups of ambassadors in each city to represent all open organizations in that city (and that would work to bring in new organizations seeking representation)
- A Task Rabbit-like platform for open organizations that would match organizations needing capacity in a certain area with an organization that could provide it
Complete notes from the session are available, in addition to results from the Community Building track of which this session was a part. The wranglers for the track are now working on a community building toolkit and will be rallying all organizational representatives in the next few months to make one of the above ideas into a reality. We vote for the Annual Capacity Building Conference of open orgs!
Skills Mapping for Open Science
by Billy Meinke
In the Skills and Curriculum Mapping for Open Science session, facilitators and participants on Mozilla Science Lab’s “Science on the Web” track came together to build a map linking together the many nouns and verbs that describe interactions between people and scientific research, all of which are connected the Commons. An underlying focus of the session was to identify the ways scientists and citizens interact with outputs of research including content, data and code.
Taking a simplified approach to mapping these nodes will lend to the ability of others to expand on the map, and to translate the nodes into learning objectives that can be included in education and training programs around open and reproducible science. Over the two days of the festival, we facilitated the mapping of outputs and interaction types, aiming to capture key statements that describe the way scientific artifacts are created, reused/remixed, and shared. We welcomed scientists and non-scientists alike to stop by and critique the map as it was constructed, and to add nodes or connections where they felt something was missing. Did you ever once produce a dataset for your research blog? Then you’ve created data! Have you ever downloaded an Open Access research paper? If you have, then you’ve reused content! Have you ever uploaded a script to Github? Then you’ve shared code! It’s easy to drop most interactions people have with science into these buckets once we take a step back, and simplify the statements around what we do with scientific content and code in the Commons.
To allow others to build on the skills mapping done at Mozfest this year, a digital version of the map has been uploaded to Github , and is open for anyone to revise, tweak, and add to as they wish. Plans to expand this work include a full build out of high-level learning objectives, and alignment to existing Open Educational Resources in science training programs. A number of universities have expressed interest in piloting an undergraduate or graduate-level course on open and reproducible science, and the idea is that this map will be useful when developing such a course, revealing how and where skills learned in such a course apply to the way we work with content and code in the Commons.Comments Off on CC goes to #Mozfest 2014
The newly founded K-12 OER Collaborative has released an RFP for the creation of open educational resources (OER) in mathematics and English language arts and literacy. As all content developed under this RFP will be openly licensed under CC BY 4.0, U.S. states, territories and school districts (and anyone else in the world) may freely reuse, revise, remix, redistribute and retain these educational resources.
Forty-three US States + Washington DC + Guam + American Samoan Islands + US Virgin Islands + Northern Mariana Islands (map) have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)… and they all need current, high quality, affordable, CCSS-aligned educational resources for their students, teachers, parents and districts.
Will these US States and territories have the public funds necessary to update educational resources (including textbooks) for these two subjects?
According to the Association of American Publishers school districts across the U.S. spend over $8 billion on instructional materials every year. Textbooks quickly fall into disrepair, students are not allowed to write in or keep their books as they graduate each grade, and teachers are not legally and technically empowered to update outdated educational resources. In addition, much of this spending is on costly, yearly subscription fees for digital content which school districts merely lease (not own).
This aggregate demand represented by the nationwide need for new CCSS-aligned educational materials creates a unique opportunity for states to acquire higher quality, more effective content in a smarter, far less expensive, and far more flexible manner, and make these resources available to teachers, parents and districts. Specifically, states and districts can transition from expensive and rigidly controlled materials to OER.
The RFP specifically seeks complete courses for the following grades and subjects:
- K–2 English Language Arts/Literacy
- 3–5 English Language Arts/Literacy
- 6–8 English Language Arts/Literacy
- 9–12 English Language Arts/Literacy
- K–5 Mathematics
- 6–8 Mathematics
- 9–12 Mathematics — Integrated/International Pathway (Secondary Mathematics I, II, III)
- 9–12 Mathematics — Traditional Pathway (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2)
Courses will be designed to meet Common Core State Standards, accessibility standards, technical specifications, and an open licensing requirement of CC BY 4.0 on all new content produced. For details on the development process, see the complete RFP.
An informational webinar will take place next week on December 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM PST for those interested. RSVP at http://k12oercollaborative.org/rfp/webinar/.
The deadline for an initial Letter of Intent is January 9, 2015 by 5:00 PM PST.
About the K-12 OER Collaborative
The K-12 OER Collaborative is a coalition of eleven U.S. states and eight organizations, including Creative Commons. Together we are working to make quality K-12 educational resources aligned to state standards and accessible under the most open Creative Commons license, CC BY, so that we can drive down the cost of K-12 education for everyone. Learn more about the collaborative at http://k12oercollaborative.org.Comments Off on K-12 OER Collaborative launches RFP for math and English
Philanthropic foundations fund the creation of scholarly research, education and training materials, and rich data with the public good in mind. Creative Commons has long advocated for foundations to add open license requirements to their grants. Releasing grant-funded content under permissive open licenses means that materials may be more easily shared and re-used by the public, and combined with other resources that are also published under open licenses.
Yesterday the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced it is adopting an open access policy for grant-funded research. The policy “enables the unrestricted access and reuse of all peer-reviewed published research funded, in whole or in part, by the foundation, including any underlying data sets.” Grant funded research and data must be published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (CC BY). The policy applies to all foundation program areas and takes effect January 1, 2015.
Here are more details from the Foundation’s Open Access Policy:
- Publications Are Discoverable and Accessible Online. Publications will be deposited in a specified repository(s) with proper tagging of metadata.
- Publication Will Be On “Open Access” Terms. All publications shall be published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License (CC BY 4.0) or an equivalent license. This will permit all users of the publication to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and transform and build upon the material, including for any purpose (including commercial) without further permission or fees being required.
- Foundation Will Pay Necessary Fees. The foundation would pay reasonable fees required by a publisher to effect publication on these terms.
- Publications Will Be Accessible and Open Immediately. All publications shall be available immediately upon their publication, without any embargo period. An embargo period is the period during which the publisher will require a subscription or the payment of a fee to gain access to the publication. We are, however, providing a transition period of up to two years from the effective date of the policy (or until January 1, 2017). During the transition period, the foundation will allow publications in journals that provide up to a 12-month embargo period.
- Data Underlying Published Research Results Will Be Accessible and Open Immediately. The foundation will require that data underlying the published research results be immediately accessible and open. This too is subject to the transition period and a 12-month embargo may be applied.
Trevor Mundel, President of Global Health at the foundation, said that Gates “put[s] a high priority not only on the research necessary to deliver the next important drug or vaccine, but also on the collection and sharing of data so other scientists and health experts can benefit from this knowledge.”
Congratulations to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on adopting a default open licensing policy for its grant-funded research. This terrific announcement follows a similar move by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, who recently extended their CC BY licensing policy from the Open Educational Resources grants to now apply foundation-wide for all project-based grant funds.
Regarding deposit and sharing of data, the Gates Foundation might consider permitting grantees to utilize the CC0 Public Domain Dedication, which allows authors to dedicate data to the public domain by waiving all rights to the data worldwide under copyright law. CC0 is widely used to provide barrier-free re-use to data.
We’ve updated the information we’ve been tracking on foundation intellectual property policies to reflect the new agreement from Gates, and continue to urge other philanthropic foundations to adopt open policies for grant-funded research and projects.3 Comments »