Blog - Page 64 of 397 - Creative Commons

U.S. Dept of Ed funds Bookshare to make open textbooks accessible

Jane Park, December 2nd, 2009

Remember the California Free Digital Textbooks Initiative and how it resulted in 16 open textbooks, 10 of which met 90% of California’s standards? Well, since these textbooks were licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses that allows derivation (the licenses sans the ND term), they can not only be translated into various languages, but also modified and adapted into various contexts, including converting them into accessible formats, such as audio and Braille. No extra transaction costs have to be incurred by some middleman to allow these adaptations—any entity with the resources to adapt these textbooks may do so, since the rights for derivation are pre-cleared via Creative Commons.

Realizing this, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs has granted $100k to Bookshare, “the world’s largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities.” The grant is aimed at “[creating] the first accessible versions of open content digital textbooks. The initial planned conversion of open content textbooks, which are distributed freely under a license selected by the author, are math and science textbooks approved for California students.” From the press release,

“As other states begin to approve open content textbooks, Bookshare will continue to convert these materials to accessible formats for all students who read better with accessible text. The first open content textbooks approved for use in California will be available via Bookshare. The texts will be offered in the accessible DAISY format that enables multi-modal reading, combining highlighted on-screen text with high-quality computer-generated voice, and BRF, a digital Braille format for use with Braille displays or embossed Braille.”

“Traditional copyrighted books, including those contributed to Bookshare by publishers, are protected with digital rights management technology and available only to those with a documented print disability. But Bookshare’s open content books will become part of the freely distributable books in the Bookshare collection and can be used by anybody without proof of disability,” says Benetech CEO Jim Fruchterman. “These accessible books will not only help disabled students throughout the U.S. and globally, but provide parents, teachers and assistive technology developers with free access to real talking textbooks.”

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The Wall Street Journal on “Sita Sings The Blues” and Profit Numbers

Cameron Parkins, December 1st, 2009


RamSitaGods, Nina Paley | CC BY-SA

Last week, The Wall Street Journal posted a fascinating article on the profits made by Nina Paley for her film Sita Sings The Blues. Widely available for free online under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license, Sita has garnered $55,000 to date, an impressive amount for a film that has spent nothing on promotion or adverting.

While this amount only conveys part of the story – the article leaves out the cost to make the film as well as Paley’s cost-of-living – it is inspiring to see such fiscal success from a work of open-cinema. Aurelia Schultz, current CC legal research volunteer, digs deeper with the numbers on her blog, making the following observation:

A better tally of how [Paley] has done would include how the Sita copyright issue and subsequent CC licensing have increased Nina’s income from her other works by increasing her visibility; how much she makes from speaking engagements (which she say are her most lucrative work); and how much more she would have paid out under her settlement agreement had she released the film in a more traditional manner. Since all of these things only add to what she has already made, it’s clear that releasing Sita under a Creative Commons license was a good choice for Nina.

For more information on Sita Sings the Blues be sure to read our interview with Nina Paley as well as check out our case study on the film itself.

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Iceland

Michelle Thorne, December 1st, 2009

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Deproduction and Civic Pixel combine to form Open Media Foundation

Cameron Parkins, November 25th, 2009

omf_logoDeproduction, a Denver-based video production company, and Civic Pixel, an open-source web development group, have joined forces to become the Open Media Foundation. The two groups were previously affiliated through Denver Open Media where they taught local communities media production tools, producing unique and engaging content in the process.

The Open Media Foundation picks up where these two groups left off, focusing upon services (video production, website creation, and graphic packages), education, and accessible tools. One of OMF’s most engaging aspects is the scalability of their mission. Nearly all of the content they produce is either CC-licensed or open-source, allowing it to be adopted easily and legally elsewhere. In January, Access San Francisco will become the 8th station to adopt the open source tools OMF developed as part of the Knight NewsChallenge. Similarly, through support from the Google Summer of Code program, the OMF made major improvements to CC support in Drupal.

To learn more about Open Media Foundation, check out this introductory video at their site – we interviewed Tony Shawcross, then Executive Director at Deproduction, back in January.

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ccMixter Curation at the Free Music Archive

Cameron Parkins, November 25th, 2009

ccmixterThis Monday, we began a guest curation series at our Free Music Archive portal. Rather than attempt to distill the vast landscape of CC-licensed music on our own, we thought it better to reach out to those on the ground working to support and expose these type of artists in their given communities. What better way to start then with a selection of tracks from ccMixter admin/developer/mentor Victor Stone:

For all the activism in the Open Music movement, nothing pushes the ball forward like brilliant, evocative music. While there is plenty of underground music of all sub-genres at ccMixter, there is also a growing collection of mainstream, above-ground producers who understand the value of sharing as a means of boosting their own creativity along with their exposure.

You can listen and download Victor’s full playlist at the FMA and ccMixter – titled Above Ground Collection, it is brimming with excellent music from producers with “an ear for the popular without sacrificing artistry.”

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CC Learn Advanced Topics

Jane Park, November 24th, 2009

Earlier this year, CC Learn launched CC Learn Productions, highlighting reports and three document series: CC Learn Recommendations, CC Learn Explanations, and CC Learn Step by Step Guides. Since April, we have greatly expanded our repertoire to about a dozen documents, touching on basic topics such as Why CC BY? to legally incompatible content in OER. We’ve verily become document-making machines, cranking out new publications every month.

In the course of production, we found there are certain topics that cannot be distilled to a general audience, mainly because these topics are too specialized, and impractical, for the majority of CC’s user base. We realized that another document series was necessary, one specifically dealing with advanced topics, topics which require additional expertise and address the concerns of a smaller cross section of the OER community. The CC Learn Advanced Topics series, which is not intended for general consumption or to serve as legal advice, aims for this.

The first CC Learn Advanced Topic is CC Licenses and Trademarks: A Guide for Organizational OER Creators and Distributors. This primer distinguishes between copyright and trademark as they pertain to OER, and clarifies some of the confusion surrounding CC licenses and trademarks. For OER organizations with a strong trademark, or with the plans and capacity to build and sustain one, this primer is a guide to understanding the relationship between your organization’s rights as a copyright owner using CC licenses (particularly CC BY) and your organization’s trademark rights within the context of open educational resources (OER). This primer is not relevant for OER creators generally, as trademark law only pertains to those entities with the capacity to build and sustain a brand.

Though CC and CC Learn are open to consulting around business models generally, we are not in a position to give advice around trademark law. This primer is simply an explanation of a separate set of rights you may have to protect your work – trademark rights – while still allowing for the downstream adaptation, translation, and localization of your work that are so central to the goals of OER. Additionally, this primer is an example of one way certain organizations may deal with their concerns, and we hope that it will become an important document in our ongoing work.

All CC Learn Productions are licensed CC BY.

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To Shoot An Elephant, CC BY-NC-SA Documentary, Wins Award at Festival dei Popoli

Cameron Parkins, November 20th, 2009

genesis_DARK_logoLast week To Shoot An Elephant, a CC Attribution-Share Alike CC Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike licensed documentary on life in the Gaza Strip, won the award for “Most Innovative Filmmaker” at Florence’s Festival dei Popoli. From the voting committee:

“After we watched this film we engaged in a long passionate discussion. This film never left us. We want to award the filmmakers for sharing with us an emotional, physical and stressful experience for being there and witnessing the horrors and destruction of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip earlier this year.”

It is wonderful to see open source cinema receive these types of accolades, solidifying its place in the larger film landscape. Congratulations to film-makers Alberto Arce and Mohammed Rujailah on their win! You can learn more about To Shoot An Elephant at their website.

UPDATE: The film To Shoot An Elephant is licensed under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike license – the film’s website is licensed under a CC Attribution-Share Alike license.

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WikiEducator, Connexions, and MediaWiki join forces in OER Remix Project

Jane Park, November 20th, 2009

In case you haven’t heard, WikiEducator‘s Wayne Mackintosh announced earlier this week that they were joining forces with Connexions “to provide educators with greater freedom of choice to mix and match the best of two OER worlds, namely “producer-consumer” models with more traditional work flow approaches and commons-based peer production.” WikiEducator and Connexions are two collaborative OER projects that use Creative Commons licenses. While WikiEducator, licensed CC BY-SA, focuses “on building capacity in the use of Mediawiki and related free software technologies for mass-collaboration in the authoring of free content,” Connexions, licensed CC BY, focuses on the collaborative development, sharing, and publishing of modular educational content that can be easily integrated into larger collections or courses. According to the announcement, the two projects will partner “to build import export capability between the Connexions and WikiEducator/Mediawiki platforms.”

It’s definitely exciting to see these two OER projects working together, especially since the collaboration is being generously funded by a grant from one of our own biggest supporters, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. There are various ways you can tune into its progress, including visiting the project planning node, subscribing to the Connexions mailing list, or helping them develop use case scenarios.

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Costa Rica

Michelle Thorne, November 20th, 2009

Creative Commons is working with the University of Costa Rica to create Costa Rica jurisdiction-specific licenses from the Unported Creative Commons licenses.

The BY-NC-SA 3.0 license draft adapted to Costa Rican law is ready for public discussion. The Spanish and English versions of the BY-NC-SA license are available, as is a summary of the substantial changes proposed by the legal team to port the licenses to Costa Rican copyright law. The public discussion is an open forum where everyone – from lawyers to active license users, from linguists to translators — is invited to contribute.

If you have comments about the licenses, whether in regards to legal, linguistic or usability issues, please feel welcome to use the wiki’s discussion page or the CC Costa Rican mailing list to share your thoughts.

CC Costa Rica Team

Project Leads: Rolando Coto Solano and Carlos Saborío

Legal Leads: Dr. Andrés Guadamuz and Lic. Denis Campos MBMC

More about the University of Costa Rica

The University of Costa Rica is a public university in the Republic of Costa Rica. Its main campus, Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio, is located in San Pedro, in the province of San José. It is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious institution of higher learning in Costa Rica.

As an independent institution of higher learning, the University of Costa Rica is constituted by a community of teachers, students and administrative staff dedicated to teaching, research, social action, study, reflection, artistic creation and dissemination of knowledge.

There are different perceptions of the mission that a university must meet. For the University of Costa Rica, the primary activity is aimed at advancing knowledge in its highest expression and at responding effectively to the needs generated by the integral development of society.

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CC board chair Esther Wojcicki on teachers sharing … and supporting CC

Mike Linksvayer, November 19th, 2009

Esther Wojcicki, Chair of the Creative Commons board of directors, has insightful comments on a recent New York Times story on teachers selling lessons online. Esther’s column in the Huffington Post closes with:

While it is an interesting alternative for teachers to have the option of selling their lesson plans, realistically the culture of teachers nationwide is one of sharing, not selling.

How true! Read the whole column, which also includes a good overview of available open educational resources.

Also, our entire board is making a public committment to raise funds for our campaign this year. We’re rolling out “personal campaign pages” for board members, where they explain why they are personally commited to CC and ask you to help them support us. Check out Esther’s campaign page and support Creative Commons today. Currently your contribution will be doubled by WhippleHill, a communications company that shares our values of openness and innovation on the web, with a particular focus on education.

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