Thank you and Happy New Year!

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Cheers to an incredible 2015. With your support, creators around the world have now shared over 1.1 billion, including NASA’s iconic images, educational materials in every subject, scientific research, government open data, 3D models, and more. Thank you!

And as we head into 2016 and beyond, there is much more to do. We’re thrilled to have you among our community as we continue to advocate for the widespread adoption of CC licenses, open policy, and the growth of the commons. And what’s more, we’ll be working hard to build an even more vibrant, usable, and collaborative commons. We look forward to sharing all our big wins with you.

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Keep the commons thriving

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You’ve heard about the incredible 1.1 billion CC licensed works available to be reused, revised, remixed, and redistributed in infinite ways. You’ve heard about huge gains in OER and Open Policy. You’ve heard about the threats to our shared global commons, and that we now find ourselves in one of the most restrictive eras of copyright in recent history.

Creative Commons needs you right now to stand with us. We are a small team, working to solve global challenges. We have ambitious year end fundraising goals, and we’re not there yet. We rely on you, our Creative Commons community, to help support our work.

Our year end fundraising deadline is in 48 hours. Please take a moment to donate $10, $25, $50, or more to Creative Commons right now to join the movement and help us build a creative, free, and more connected global commons.

With thanks,

Ryan Merkley
CEO, Creative Commons

The post Keep the commons thriving appeared first on Creative Commons.

Special request from Esther Wojcicki, Creative Commons Advisory Council

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Below is a guest post by Esther Wojcicki from the Creative Commons Advisory Council.

As a lifelong educator and recent author of Moonshots in Education, I’m proud to serve on Creative Commons’ Advisory Council and to have served as Chair of the CC Board. CC is at the very heart of the open education movement — our licenses put the “open” in Open Educational Resources (OER).

I’m writing to ask you to support CC’s high impact work in open education. Will you make a contribution of $25, $50, $100 or more today?

At a time when the cost of higher education is skyrocketing, OER has delivered $174M in textbook savings to students to date. At a time when people around the world are demanding equitable access to education, CC and our open education partners make it easy for educators and students everywhere to freely share curriculum, textbooks, and research at near zero cost.

What’s more, our advocacy has helped direct a shift at the government level. The United States Department of Education just outlined a major open licensing policy, and today over 19 countries around the world have legislation supporting OER.

I’m proud of our work in OER, but there are too many more students around the world waiting for easy access to education. We need your support. Make your contribution to Creative Commons today. Thank you!


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Happy Birthday CC license suite!

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It’s hard to believe that it was 13 years ago today that we shipped the very first version of the CC license suite.

Before then, without the CC licenses, the barriers to collaborating in a global commons were too high. The benefits of shared educational content or scientific research, or paving the way for creators who could easily innovate as artists have throughout the ages, were hampered by complexity and confusion.

I never would have imagined the global commons as it stands today: over 1 billion CC licensed works, and millions of public domain materials. It’s incredible, and it’s because of all of us. We chose to build this together. And we need to remember that this has been the first step. We need to do more.

To help steward the continued growth, vibrancy, and usability of the commons, will you make a contribution of $10, $25, $50 or more today?

Join us as we continue to advocate for the widespread adoption of CC licenses, open policy, and the growth of the commons. And join us for the work ahead that will ensure that the very best content in the commons is easy to find, engaging to use, and that its data is accessible to both the contributor and the user.

We need to light up the content and creators of our shared commons.

Tonight is the night. Tonight you can help us soar past our first year-end campaign benchmark and kick off our next ambitious goal. In celebration of the 13th birthday of the CC license suite, will you help us raise $45,000 by next Tuesday to keep us on track toward our year-end goal?

Make your contribution to Creative Commons right now.

The Future of Science Communication

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As a participant in OpenCon 2015, a conference geared towards Early Career Researchers in all disciplines, PLOS had the opportunity to hear what the next generation of open science innovators are thinking and doing, and to share a few of the initiatives at PLOS aimed at serving and supporting this community.

In a video address, PLOS Executive Editor Veronique Kiermer highlights The Student Blog and the PLOS Early Career Researcher Travel Award Program, two opportunities for young researchers to engage with PLOS. Kiermer also addresses additional concerns of young researchers related to publishing in Open Access journals and outlined resources PLOS has developed to tackle these issues.

The brief video is an introduction to an OpenCon community webcast and will provide a glimpse of where PLOS believes the future of science communication is headed. That future is no longer only about Open Access – it is about Open Data and Open Science.

A warm welcome to our incoming Board members

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Creative Commons is delighted to announce two new appointments to our Board of Directors, Johnathan Nightingale and Katherine C. Spelman.

Johnathan Nightingale is the Chief Product Officer at Hubba, and was formerly the head of Firefox for Mozilla. In his role at Mozilla he was responsible for the engineering, product management, marketing, and design of the Firefox web browser on desktop and mobile platforms; a suite of products developed by a global community, used by over 400 million people worldwide, and localized into more than 80 languages. He has been an invited expert to the UK’s House of Lords on issues of surveillance and tracking, sat for 3 years on the W3C’s usable security working group, and has spoken often at industry conferences on issues of technology and security. He was among the first to graduate from the University of Toronto’s Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence program in 2001. He is an avid photographer, a Wikipedian, author of the ubiquitous Linux command line tool, “beep”, and a proud parent.

Kate Spelman, partner at K&L Gates, represents many of the players in the content distribution ecosystem: author, university, nonprofit, publisher, and technology developer both nationally and internationally. She serves on several copyright task forces and advisory committees, among them the American Bar Association Intellectual Property Section Task Force on Copyright Reform; American Law Institute Restatement of Copyright; and the American Intellectual Property Law Association Amicus Committee.  A graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison and the University of Michigan, Kate also has further education in technology and engineering from the University of California Berkeley.

Kate and Jonathan were formally elected to the Board on Sunday, December 6 and will serve a 4 year term through 2019. We look forward to their many valuable contributions to the Creative Commons community.

Our deepest thanks and a very bittersweet farewell

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It is with our deepest gratitude that all of us at Creative Commons offer a bittersweet sendoff to Board members Hal Abelson, Michael W. Carroll, Laurie Racine, Eric F. Saltzman, Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, and Esther Wojcicki whose Board terms will come to a close at the end of this year. It is impossible to overstate the tremendous leadership and dedication that these Directors have contributed to Creative Commons, and we remain proud to carry on the important work that they so tirelessly stewarded.

CC has benefited greatly from the exceptional commitments from these Board members to help support a smooth transition. All have graciously accepted our invitation to join CC’s esteemed Advisory Council or other CC affiliate organizations in order to remain engaged in the guidance and stewardship of the organization in the years to come. We are grateful for an extended year of leadership service from Board Chair Paul Brest who will remain as Chair throughout 2016.

With our deepest gratitude, we wish Hal Abelson, Michael W. Carroll, Laurie Racine, Eric F. Saltzman, Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, and Esther Wojcicki our warmest farewell.  We look forward to keeping them all very close, and look forward to their ongoing contributions to Creative Commons in their roles on CC’s Advisory Council and CC Affiliate teams.

CC BY Licensing Shows Momentum

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Today PLOS celebrates Creative Commons and its positive impact on the distribution of creative works of all media types, clearly demonstrated in its State of the Commons report for 2015. The report, released today, shows continued global Open Access adoption with more than one billion CC licenses now in use across 9 million websites—making it easier for anyone to use, reuse and remix content.

Since its inception PLOS has used the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) for all articles that it publishes. A founding belief of PLOS is that scientific and medical publications must be fully and freely available for society to reap the maximum benefit of both private and public investment in research.

The CC BY license maximizes the potential for both economic and scholarly impact, protects the rights of authors while allowing others to build on their work and strengthens the long-standing tradition of appropriate attribution and credit for scholarship.

The great advantage of publishing in Open Access journals is the increase in exposure, reach and influence an article can have as interested readers, educators, policy makers and other researchers share, reuse, integrate and build upon that Open Access content without restriction.

Note: The reports details the number of articles published by PLOS. That total is through December 31, 2014.

State of the Commons Report Highlights Milestone of Over 1 Billion Creative Commons Works Shared Online

Creativecommons.org -

Annual State of the Commons Report highlights global cultural and policy impact of free and open content

Creative Commons, the global nonprofit that makes it easier for creators to share their work under simple copyright terms, announced a major milestone in the release of its 2015 State of the Commons Report today: over 1 billion works have been licensed using Creative Commons since the organization was founded.

This milestone was announced along with other significant data points in its State of the Commons report, which covers the growth of CC content on platforms, the globalization of CC tools, and cultural trends in the digitization of creative works. The State of the Commons report can be viewed at stateof.creativecommons.org/2015.

“We started the State of the Commons in 2014 to quantify the impact of creators everywhere who are making the conscious decision to share their content,” said Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley. “Our focus now is to create a vibrant, usable commons powered by collaboration and gratitude. Empowering the world to share free and open content and data results in more equity, access and innovation for everyone. We’re thrilled to see the impact fostering this climate is having on the Internet and society.”

Creative Commons works in over 85 countries to lead this expanding global movement. A major factor in its growth are official translations of the Creative Commons Version 4.0 license suite. To date, the 4.0 license suite has been translated into 7 languages, with 3 more languages to be published before the new year. In 2015, people viewed content under Creative Commons more than 136 billion times.

More than 50 cultural institutions have made their permanent collections or records available for liberal use around the world under CC licenses or public domain tools. Forms of content shared include photos, videos, research articles, audio tracks, training materials, and other educational resources. Major platform partners including Flickr, Wikipedia, 500px, Medium, Vimeo, and YouTube among others have helped to grow the number of CC licensed works, participating in a worldwide effort to expand the commons, along with millions of individual websites.

“Wikipedia relies on Creative Commons to make vast amounts of material available for the world to discover,” says Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Freely licensed images and works of the world illustrate and enrich the articles Wikimedia’s volunteer editors write each day, making it possible for people everywhere to share in knowledge.”

There has also been a shift towards sharing in government. The recent #GoOpen initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Education with support from CC and technology giants Amazon and Microsoft signals a strong business case for open education. To date, the open education movement has delivered $174 million in savings to students using open textbooks with an additional $53 million projected through the next academic year — savings that can be used to improve access and equity for all students.

Highlights from this year’s State of the Commons report include the following:
  1. CC licenses continue to be the global standard for sharing: CC-licensed works passed the 1 billion mark this year, and have nearly tripled in the last 5 years, signaling an exciting increase in the number of people choosing to share content.
  2. Velocity of change: The CC-marked public domain is growing rapidly and has nearly doubled in size over the last 12 months.
  3. Openness is far reaching: People are using CC licenses to share in as many as 34 different languages. Creative Commons now has affiliate institutions located in 85 countries.
  4. Advances in Foundation policies: In 2015 a significant number of foundations switched their granting default from “closed” to open, including the Ford Foundation, Wikimedia Foundation, Vancouver Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. These open funding policies ensure maximum impact of and access to Foundation-funded resources.
  5. Momentum in the digitization of culture: The realization that there is a business and societal case for online sharing around culture–even in the presence of extremely divergent points of view–has resulted in museums opening their collections to share with the world under Creative Commons licenses and public domain tools. The Netherlands’ Rijksmuseum is leading the charge by digitizing collections.
  6. A shift towards sharing in government: The proposed U.S. Department of Education open licensing policy will ensure government funded educational materials are openly licensed and freely available to the public that paid for them. Access to these materials will be open by default rather than require people to pay twice (or more) for access.
  7. Open education movement goes mainstream: To date, the open education movement has delivered $174 million in savings to students through open textbooks.
  8. Platforms as partners: Support and growth of openly-licensed content continues on platforms such as Wikipedia, Europeana, and Flickr, with new platform partners like Medium and edX.

The State of the Commons report can be found online in various formats for sharing at stateof.creativecommons.org/2015. The report has been translated into 17 languages by Creative Commons affiliates, with at least 5 more translations to come.

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization at the center of a high-profile, international movement to promote sharing of creativity and knowledge. Our goal is to help realize the full potential of the Internet—universal access to research and education, full participation in culture—to drive a new era of development growth, and productivity. CC provides the well-known suite of licenses and public domain tools that have become the global standard used by leading companies, institutions and individuals across culture, education, government, science, and more to promote digital collaboration and innovation.

The CC licenses are everywhere—1 billion CC licenses in use across 9 million websites—making it easy for anyone to use and reuse content. For example, CC licenses give the world access to NASA’s most iconic images from space, help educators create curriculum that reduce the cost of college for everyone, and allow scientists to freely share their work with medical professionals and researchers around the world. CC also works with foundations and governments to ensure that publicly-funded content, including research and educational materials, are made available for everyone to freely use, share, and improve.

Creative Commons, Report Contact:


Press Contact:

Marci Hotsenpiller: marci@zincpr.com

The post State of the Commons Report Highlights Milestone of Over 1 Billion Creative Commons Works Shared Online appeared first on Creative Commons.

State of the Commons: 1 Billion Creative Commons Works

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I’m proud to share with you Creative Commons’ 2015 State of the Commons report, our best effort to measure the immeasurable scope of the commons by looking at the CC licensed content, along with content marked as public domain, that comprise the slice of the commons powered by CC tools.

Creative Commoners have known all along that collaboration, sharing, and cooperation are a driving force for human evolution. And so for many it will come as no surprise that in 2015 we achieved a tremendous milestone: over 1.1 billion CC licensed photos, videos, audio tracks, educational materials, research articles, and more have now been contributed to the shared global commons.

Our small team continues to work to grow and improve the commons for everyone. We’re proud of our accomplishments, but there’s more to do and we need your help. Our goal is to raise $30,000 over the next week to celebrate the release and accomplishments of our 2015 State of the Commons report. Will you make a contribution of $10, $25, $50 or more today?

As we grow the size and scope of the commons, we are working hard to ensure that it becomes a vibrant, usable commons — full of collaboration and gratitude. We need our contributors to be able to talk to each other, find new content, give feedback, offer their thanks and encouragement, get analytics, and build networks and communities around the content they are creating. We want to light up the commons, and we need you to join us.

CC is a global charity that relies on our generous community of supporters like you. Kick off our year-end campaign strong by helping us meet our first benchmark: $30,000 over the next week to celebrate the release and accomplishments of our 2015 State of the Commons report.

Make your contribution to Creative Commons today.

Thank you for being a part of this.

With thanks,

Ryan Merkley
CEO, Creative Commons

Read the full report: stateof.creativecommons.org/2015.
Read the press release.

Tell the Department of Education ‘YES’ on open licensing

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In October we wrote that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is considering an open licensing requirement for direct competitive grant programs. If adopted, educational resources created with ED grant funds will be openly licensed for the public to freely use, share, and build upon.

The Department of Education has been running a comment period in which interested parties can provide feedback on the proposed policy. Creative Commons has drafted a response, which discusses the open licensing policy and other questions proposed by ED. You too can share your thoughts with ED–here’s a guide about how to do it. The deadline is December 18.

We think the adoption of an open licensing requirement is useful because it clarifies the rights of the public in how we may all access, use, and adapt ED-funded resources.

The license must be worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, and irrevocable, and must grant the public permission to access, reproduce, publicly perform, publicly display, adapt, distribute, and otherwise use, for any purposes, copyrightable intellectual property created with direct competitive grant funds, provided that the licensee gives attribution to the designated authors of the intellectual property.

We think ED should include a specific mention that the open license definition they provide most closely aligns with the permissions and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 license (CC BY). This way, it will be clear to grantees which open license ED requires them to use.

It’s good to see the Department of Education proposing a similar rule that the Department of Labor introduced several years ago with their community college and career training grant program. That $2 billion grant pool required that educational resources created with Department of Labor grant funds be licensed under the CC BY license. By doing so, the Department of Labor made sure that the resources created with its grant funds can be easily discovered and legally reused and revised by the public.

Creative Commons draft response to Department of Education open licensing policy

How to submit a comment

New fellows for 2016 Institute for Open Leadership

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cape point (panorama) by André van Rooyen, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In September we announced that Creative Commons and the Open Policy Network are hosting a second Institute for Open Leadership. We’ve seen a significant increase in the number and diversity of policies that require that publicly funded resources should be widely shared under liberal open licenses so that the public can access and reuse the materials. These resources range from scientific research to digital textbooks to workforce training curricula, and more. Philanthropic foundations have been stepping up too–requiring their grant-funded works to be made freely available under Creative Commons licenses. We want to see more of these open licensing policies flourish, which will feed the commons, promote cross-discipline collaboration, and even increase the transparency of government and philanthropic investments.

The Institute brings together mentors who work with the fellows to develop a open licensing policy for their government, university, or project. We received many applications, and our review committee has invited the following group to join us in Cape Town in March 2016.

  • Jane-Frances Agbu – National Open University of Nigeria – Lagos, Nigeria
  • Rim Azib – British Council, Tunis – Bizerta, Tunisia
  • Steve Cairns – Greenpeace International – Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Amanda Coolidge – BCcampus – Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Daniel DeMarte – Tidewater Community College – Norfolk, VA, United States
  • Paula Eskett – CORE Education – Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Mostafa Azad Kamal – Bangladesh Open University – Gazipur, Bangladesh
  • Roshan Kumar Karn – Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital – Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Vincent Kizza – Open Learning Exchange Uganda – Kampala, Uganda
  • Fiona MacAllister – University of the Witwatersrand – Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Katja Mayer – University of Vienna – Vienna, Austria
  • Caroline Mbogo – The World Agroforestry Centre – Nairobi, Kenya
  • Niall McNulty – Cambridge University Press – Cape Town, South Africa
  • Juliana Monteiro – Museu da Imigração do Estado de São Paulo – São Paulo, Brazil
  • Jacques Murinda – Great Lakes School of Open – Kigali, Rwanda
  • Alessandro Sarretta – Institute of Marine Sciences – Venezia, Italy

None of this would be possible without the assistance of the Open Policy Network and ongoing support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Open Society Foundations. Thank you.

OER: A Catalyst for Innovation

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The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published its latest Open Educational Resources (OER) report yesterday: Open Educational Resources: A Catalyst for Innovation, Educational Research and Innovation. (PDF)

The report covers the following topics:

  1. OER in educational policy and practice
  2. OER as a catalyst for innovation
  3. Fostering new forms of learning for the 21st century
  4. Fostering teachers’ professional development
  5. Containing educational costs
  6. Improving the quality of educational resources
  7. Widening the distribution of high quality educational resources
  8. Reducing barriers to learning opportunities
  9. Research on OER and the challenge of the extended lifecycle
  10. Securing the sustainability of OER initiatives
  11. Public policy interventions to improve teaching and learning through OER

Authors Dominic Orr, Michele Rimini and Dirk Van Damme describe the report as:

[following on] earlier work by CERI on OER, which resulted in the publication Giving Knowledge for Free in 2007, and an OECD country questionnaire on OER-related policy and activities in 2012. It seeks to provide a state of the art review of evidence on OER practice and impacts, and evaluate the remaining challenges for OER entering the mainstream of educational practice.

Creative Commons is also pleased to see OECD using a CC license on its report. We look forward to seeing more OECD reports openly licensed in the near future.

This report is a welcome contribution to overall OER strategy and open licensing policy recommendations to governments; and will be helpful in educating national governments, policy markers and educators about the benefits of OER specifically and open education more generally.

See also: OECD’s blog post.

Children’s Investment Fund Foundation adopts open licensing policy

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The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) is a UK-based charity that “seeks to transform the lives of poor and vulnerable children in developing countries.” Yesterday the foundation announced its first Transparency Policy, which requires its grantees and consultants to widely disseminate resources they create under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY).

We aim to make as much content as possible freely available through open licensing, such as a Creative Commons license. This includes development work, research and data funded by CIFF. For instance, CIFF-funded peer-reviewed research articles which would have gone behind a publication’s pay-wall will now be freely available.

In addition to requiring open licensing for grant-funded materials like presentations and reports, CIFF has taken a progressive approach to data sharing.

CIFF believes that providing access to research plans and research data permits healthy scrutiny of evidence, reduces duplication of effort, and enables secondary uses of data, which improves efficiency of resourcing.

The foundation “expects that all data created using grant funds should be released into the public domain” using the CC0 Public Domain Dedication.

Like other foundations, CIFF realizes that there may be cases where exceptions to the default open license may be warranted.

The organization has also developed an implementation guide to help staff and grantees understand the open policy requirements. This guide is licensed under CC BY, and was a remix based on the Hewlett Foundation’s Open Licensing Toolkit for Staff (also licensed under CC BY).

Creative Commons is happy to have been able to work with CIFF as they developed their open licensing policy over the last year. Congratulations to the foundation for this important policy adoption! It’s fantastic to see philanthropic organizations from around the world working together to populate the commons and increase the global impact of their charitable giving.

Securing user rights in education – reflections from our policy debate

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How to secure user rights in education? This was the question we asked during a policy debate organised by Communia and hosted by MEP Michał Boni in the European Parliament on the 17th of November. Panelists, politicians and stakeholders participating in this debate discussed two approaches: the creation and use of Open Educational Resources (OER), and a progressive copyright reform for education.

While these issues are usually presented separately, as Communia we see them as two aspects of a single effort to ensure user rights in education. This two-path approach has been acknowledged at least since 2013, when the Creative Commons community argued that the movement behind open licensing policies needs to be involved in the copyright reform debate as well. Today in Europe, we are facing both developments related to OER policies (related to the Opening Up Education initiative, launched in 2013), and a copyright reform process in which education has been highlighted by the EC to be one of key areas for modernisation of copyright.

Throughout the meeting, policies supporting OER and copyright law reform were presented as two solutions that are complementary, not mutually exclusive. This issue was highlighted by Michał Boni in his introductory speech, which highlighted the innovative potential for OERs—but also spoke about the need of securing a strong, harmonised copyright exception for educational uses. Boni also discussed the need for an approach that balances the varied interests of stakeholders in the educational sphere, including right holders and users.

Dr. Dominic Orr, consultant with OECD, presented insights from a new report titled „Open Educational Resources: a Catalyst for Innovation” (of which he is a co-author). The report goes beyond highlighting the importance of OER for ensuring educational equity, and stresses the innovative potential of resources that can be easily reused and repurposed.

Josie Fraser, a social and educational technologist working for the Leicester City Council, talked about ties between open education, digital literacy, and teacher training. She explained her experiences with introducing a city-wide policy that permits teachers to release their educational resources as OERs. Fraser also mentioned that copyright reform—especially the simplification of legal provisions so they’re easy to understand—could go a long way in empowering and encourage teachers to create OERs.

Teresa Nobre, representing Creative Commons Portugal and Communia, spoke about the importance of a harmonised approach to copyright exceptions for education. Her research on the current state of these exceptions demonstrates a fragmented and insufficient support for educators and learners across Europe.

Alek Tarkowski, who moderated the meeting on behalf of Centrum Cyfrowe and Communia, stressed that this discussion needs to take into account not just a balanced copyright system, but also the needs of educators and learners. In the sphere of education, copyright policy should reflect educational strategies, and support high quality, innovative, personalised education across Europe. This perspective was further underlined by participants in the debate, including representatives of Schoolnet, Education International, DG Education and Culture, and University of Zagreb. They spoke about needs of teachers— in particular the need for legal certainty when creating, using and publishing educational content. From this perspective, copyright awareness becomes a fundamental aspect of digital literacy and professional development for teachers.

Marco Giorello from the Copyright Unit at DG Connect placed the debate in the context of the Digital Single Market strategy of the European Commission, which brings in crucial issues having to do with enabling cross-border uses and the market effects of educational exceptions to copyright. With these considerations in mind, the EC will attempt to balance educational goals that can be achieved through reform of the educational exception.

As Communia, we will continue to participate in the policy debate on copyright in education. We believe that European Union should continue to develop policies and tools supporting Open Educational Resources, in line with its “Opening Up Education” initiative. Furthermore, we need to use the opportunity of the ongoing copyright reform to establish a strong and clear exception for education. As proposed by Teresa Nobre during our meeting, we need a single, broad and harmonised educational exception, defined by educational activity—not the type of institution. Furthermore, the exception needs to allow commercial as well as noncommercial use, and include an open norm to ensure its flexibility into the future.

(For further opinions about the event, please read posts by Sandra Kucina Softic from University of Zagreb and Christer Gundersen from NDLA).

(This post has been cross-posted on the blog of the Communia Association).


Towards a Collaborative, Coordinated Strategy for OER Implementation

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Game Plan. By Rob Armes, CC BY 3.0

Today, the OER community releases the Foundations for OER Strategy Development. This document provides a concise analysis of where the global OER movement currently stands: what the common threads are, where the greatest opportunities and challenges lie, and how we can more effectively work together as a community. Ideas for this document came from across the OER community, following a 6-month drafting and feedback process. The document can be found at http://oerstrategy.org

This document reflects the state of the OER movement through the eyes of its practitioners: what we need as a movement, what we agree on, areas where we differ, and opportunities for advancing OER globally. The Cape Town and Paris Declarations set the vision for the OER movement, including the value statements that form the basis for our work. We see the Foundations for OER Strategy Development as forming the basis for future actions and commitments.

Our next step is to make the commitments for actions that will continue the momentum.

Make a commitment to advance OER:

  1. Read the document.
  2. What actions will you take? Consider:

– How will you address the opportunities and challenges outlined?
– What do you see as the greatest opportunity and what ideas do you have to address it?
– How can your organization work effectively with others to address this?
– What roles are you best suited to take?

  1. Make your commitment public.

– Tweet your commitment using the hashtag #oerstrategy.
– Follow the conversation … we’ll also capture the tweets at oerstrategy.org

  1. Get to work and keep us updated.

– Tweet your updates using #oerstrategy.
– Let’s track our collective progress and build an even stronger global OER community.

Thank you for helping to build the open future of education!

Foundations for OER Strategy Development drafting committee: Cable Green, Nicole Allen, Mary Lou Forward, Alek Tarkowski, Delia Browne.

Free Music Archive launches 2015 fundraising drive

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The Free Music Archive, a long-running Creative Commons music platform, is running its first-ever fundraising drive. It will run from mid-November until mid-December 2015, and is offering donors shirts and stickers at various pledge levels. The Free Music Archive has existed for many years and has provided millions of users with curated, ‘some rights reserved’ audio tracks. Artists are recognizing the value of a progressive approach to distribution and licensing in the digital era, and the Free Music Archive seeks to promote their work with intent to support artists, and those who want to experience the Commons as it continues to grow.

The Free Music Archive began with a generous grant, and has been grant-supported in the past. This fundraising campaign is designed to engage its various communities: users, contributors, curators, artists, media producers, and more. The website has not seen significant changes since its launch, and is in need of upgrades to make it easier to use.

Specifically, FMA plans to make its in-page player more like other ubiquitous audio players, including scrub bars, waveform displays and volume control; to enhance search and allow users to browse by artists and albums, not just tracks; to support a wider variety of audio formats (the site currently only accepts MP3 files); and to release a new version of the FMA API for its dev community.

The money raised in this campaign will be used in hiring the Free Music Archive’s part-time developer on for a full-time year of work, in which time FMA will roll out these improvements. To donate, please visit www.freemusicarchive.org/donate.

Four PLOS authors receive 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

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Publishing in Open Access journals is not only ethically rewarding, it also can be financially rewarding.

Through the Breakthrough Prize – initiated and funded in 2012 by Bay Area biotechnology innovators, social media venture capitalists and successful internet entrepreneurs – outstanding scientists working in the fields of life sciences, fundamental physics and mathematics receive recognition, money and a bit of glamour.

This year, four of the five scientists awarded a $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences chose to publish some of their work in Open Access journals over the course of their careers. In so doing, Edward S. Boyden, Karl Deisseroth, John Hardy and Svante Pääbo ensure their research is available for distribution, discovery and reuse, introducing opportunities for all scientists to build on their discoveries.

Collectively, the four PLOS authors and Breakthrough Prize winners have published 55 articles in PLOS journals: 35 articles in PLOS ONE, nine articles in PLOS Genetics, eight articles in PLOS Biology and three articles in PLOS Computational Biology. They’ve also rocked out to the tunes of Pharrell Williams in an Oscar-style ceremony.

PLOS authors and this year’s awardees include:

  • Karl Deisseroth, professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, also for advancing optogenetics. Deisseroth and Boyden collaborated on a seminal paper in 2005 that made the optogenetics technique more widespread. Deisseroth’s eight articles all were published in PLOS ONE and cover topics ranging from use of optogenetics to monitor stem cell-derived dopamine neurons in a Parkinson’s Disease model and new methods for applying optogenetics to study the peripheral nervous system, to identifying the mesolimbic dopamine system as the point of early convergence where addictive drugs alter neural circuits.
  • John Hardy, professor of neurology at University College London, for discovering a genetic mutation implicated in early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Hardy has published 19 articles in PLOS investigating genetic linkages between certain cancers and neurodegeneration, a multifunctional cell signaling enzyme as a potential drug target against Alzheimer’s disease and processes implicated in late onset Alzheimer’s disease related to cholesterol metabolism. Together with colleagues Hardy launched an Open Access collection of mutated fibroblast cell lines to study neurodegenerative disease, deposited at the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke and available for anyone to use.
  • Svante Pääbo, a biologist focused on ancient genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, for sequencing ancient DNA and genomes in order to understand the origins of modern humans, the relationship between humans and extinct relatives, and the evolution of human populations and genetic traits. Pääbo has published a total of 22 articles with PLOS and in 2008 was interviewed by Jane Gitschier for PLOS Genetics. Pääbo’s work uncovered that mitochondrial DNA sequenced from Neanderthal fossils is not present in large quantities in early humans, identified the date of interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans and through high-throughput RNA sequencing of human, chimpanzee and macaque brains discovered genes that may have contributed to development of human-specific traits.

While recognizing each of these scientists as leaders in their respective fields, the prizes also acknowledge and reward the collective and collaborative nature of science. In past years and in other categories this year, awards can be shared. This year 1,370 contributors will share a physics prize.

Collaboration and open science have the power to rapidly advance scientific knowledge and discovery. Sometimes the benefits are important but mundane, and other times the benefits are transformative. In both cases, the positive outcomes for society are immediate access to validated data and research results that are discoverable, transparent and preserved for all to distribute and reuse. Watch the awards ceremony video to hear awardee comments on collaboration, community and a love of science.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Would Harm User Rights and the Commons

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The final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was released earlier this month. The gigantic agreement contains sweeping provisions regarding environmental regulation, pharmaceutical procurement, intellectual property, labor standards, food safety, and many other things. If adopted, it would be the most sweeping expansion of international restrictions on copyright in over two decades. Over the last five years, the TPP has been developed and negotiated in secret. With the text now locked down, participating governments will decide whether to ratify it.

The TPP is a direct threat to the public interest and the commons. It downplays the importance of the public domain and exceptions and limitations, increases the term of copyright protection, and demands harsh infringement penalties.

The TPP must be rejected.

In our initial analysis, we examine several issues that would be detrimental to the public domain, creativity and sharing, and user rights in the digital age.

  • 20-year copyright term extension is unnecessary and unwarranted: The agreement requires member nations to increase their term of copyright protection to life of the authors plus 70 years. Six of the twelve participating countries will have to increase their copyright terms 20 years past the baseline required by existing international treaties.
  • The mention of the public domain is lip service, at best: Text has been removed which more actively supported the public domain as a key policy objective.
  • Enforcement provisions are mandatory, while exceptions and limitations are optional: Instead of securing mandatory limitations and exceptions for uses of copyrighted works under TPP, all of the provisions that recognize the rights of the public are voluntary, whereas almost everything that benefits rightsholders is binding.
  • Potentially drastic infringement penalties, even for non-commercial sharing: The agreement allows for infringement penalties that are disproportionate to harm, providing for the possibility of imprisonment and excessive monetary fines for lesser infringements.
  • Criminal penalties for circumventing digital rights management on works: The agreement adopts a mechanism that would prohibit the circumvention of technological protection measures (DRM) on works, and treats this type of violation as a separate offense regardless of any copyright infringing activity on the underlying content.
  • Investor-state dispute settlement mechanism may be leveraged for intellectual property claims: Copyrighted materials can be subject to the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, meaning that a private company could bring a lawsuit against a TPP country if that country adopts a law that the company claims would harm its right to exploit its copyright interest.

Statement from Creative Commons on copyright-related aspects of the TPP

Message to our community about the Paris and Beirut attacks

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It’s been a very frightening evening and a sombre morning. We are all worried for our friends around the world who are at risk. Last night we saw the attacks in Paris in Beirut, but we also know that this kind of violence is sometimes a daily reality in countries around the world not so fortunate to even merit coverage by the mainstream media. That’s not meant to diminish the horror of what happened yesterday, but to acknowledge that we have friends everywhere who are at risk, and who may need our help.

As news of the Paris attacks was breaking, CC was publishing a post to bring attention to new rumours that our friend Bassel may have been sentenced to death in Syria, and to invite him to become a CC fellow — which only highlights for me that the world is a dangerous place, even for those who only wish to do good things.

Last night, as Parisians fled the attacks, the hashtag #PorteOuverte was being used for those who didn’t feel safe to go home. Strangers took each other in. Even in the face of evil and fear, people helped. The desire to take care of each other is so much more powerful than the urge to harm.

To all of you, take care of each other. My hope is that we will respond to hatred with love, and combat fear with openness.

Ryan Merkley
CEO, Creative Commons


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