Last month, I had the honour of providing a keynote address and two workshops at a teacher conference at Northcote College1, on the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand.
Like many schools, Northcote is in the process of developing an overarching digital citizenship policy for staff, students, and the wider community. This policy is likely to include – alongside other issues like safety, privacy, research and integrity – a commitment to Creative Commons licensing.
If Northcote College does adopt a Creative Commons policy, they will join between fifty and one hundred New Zealand schools that have decided to formally give permission for teachers to share resources using a Creative Commons licence, with a preference for CC BY and CC BY-SA.
The policy is designed to address the fact that, under Section 21 of the 1994 Copyright Act, the first owner of copyright works made by New Zealand teachers in the course of their employment is their employer – namely, the schools governance board, known as the ‘Board of Trustees’ (BoT).
This means that teachers who share resources they make are legally infringing the school’s copyright – even when they are sharing with other teachers in the New Zealand state education system.
We’re advocating two solutions to this problem. First, we think every school in New Zealand’s pre-tertiary education system – all 2,500 of them – should pass a Creative Commons policy. This policy allows – and encourages – teachers to share their resources with other teachers under a Creative Commons licence.
Second, we think that teachers should adopt practices of finding, adapting, and sharing open content into their workflow. This will give teachers more confidence and flexibility when re-using third-party resources, and provide more resources for other teachers to build on and reuse.
We’ve been working at this for a couple of years now, spreading the word to the many groups working in the sector, including teachers, principals, Boards of Trustees, unions, disciplinary associations, public agencies, and other NGOs.
It’s been a long campaign, but we’re starting to make real progress. We’re giving an average of forty talks and workshops per year to the education sector, and we’re currently looking for ways to scale this work to meet the needs of every school in the country. This will become increasingly important as new resource sharing platforms – such as the crown-owned Network for Learning’s Pond – begin to take off.
The other challenge is to follow the lead of other CC affiliates, such as Poland, and help open up works produced or contracted by the Ministry of Education. There are signs that more of these resources will be openly licensed.
The adoption of open policy in schools coincides with similar moves in the local heritage and research sectors, and follows the continuing integration of CC licensing in central government. While there is still plenty to be done, it appears as if open licensing is on the verge of becoming mainstream across New Zealand’s public institutions – which is definitely good news for the global commons.
If you’ve been making or enjoying music under Creative Commons licenses for very long, there’s no doubt you’re already familiar with ccMixter, a community that’s been leading the way in CC music for ten years. What makes ccMixter really special is how enthusiastic its users are about borrowing and building off of each other’s tracks. Users are constantly creating new music from each other’s stems and playing with each other’s ideas. It’s a celebration of what makes CC licenses great.
Last week, ccMixter announced its first-ever crowdfunding campaign. ccMixter’s volunteer team needs to hire an admin to help maintain ccMixter’s infrastructure; they also have some big plans for website improvements and upgrades.
“ccMixter is the most prominent experiment in free music culture,” stated renowned professor of law and global activist Lawrence Lessig, when explaining the unique aspects of ccMixter’s free, open-source-music community based upon sharing.
ccMixter connects individuals in countries all around the world, through the universal language of music. It is unlike all other music sites on the web, as it is based wholy upon collaboration, not competition. This makes ccMixter a uniquely positive place for musicians. ccMixter’s fundraiser campaign and supporting videos, posts, social media and tweets, will utilize a hashtag that represents the spirit of ccMixter: #MusicConnectsUs
“ccMixter connects me deeply to musicians all around the world I’ve never met through the universal language of music. That is powerful and positive,” remarked Emily Richards, CEO of ArtisTech Media and ccMixter artist known as Snowflake.
ccMixter has some really cool gifts lined up for funders. Check it out!
What were five hundred folks from 30 countries doing in 40+ different sessions running concurrently in three rooms of two gorgeous buildings in Ciudad de México? They were showing, sharing and learning from the best of each other’s work utilizing open data, pushing governments to adopt open policies, and hacking for social, environmental and humanitarian change in Latin America and the Caribbean. Condatos may be the most important regional conference on open data held in Latam, but it is undoubtedly a showcase of the diversity, ingenuity, vibrancy and perseverance of the changemakers in that historic yet energetic region.
Creative Commons was invited to a panel discussion on user licenses. Some of the innovative sessions that stood out were on Migrahack, health education in favelas in Brasil, a session on the Internet of Things, a hacking workshop, and mapping labs including one on using drones for mapping.
The two buildings of the conference venue were definitely symbolic of the dynamic nature of the gathering—the historic and gorgeous Biblioteca de México with Octavio Paz looking down on the young crowd and its high stone walls inscribed with words from the giants of Mexican literature were like bookends in time; the soaring, modernistic architecture of Cineteca Nacional were a nod to the exponential change in thinking and practice that was being hacked by the young crowd.
We are grateful for the chance to present our vision for a public commons of information that can both drive and be driven by the energy and innovation on display at the conference, and are thrilled at the new partnerships that hold promise for further expansion of the powerful concepts of open and sharing.
To the extent possible under law, Puneet Kishor has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to all photos and PDF in this blog post.
I’m writing to announce that Creative Commons is closing its office in Mountain View, CA.
For most people reading this, the news will hardly come as a surprise. We’ve always been a virtual organization. Although we have a group of staff in the Bay Area, we have full-time staff in six US States and two Canadian provinces, not to mention the regional coordinators and affiliates all over the world.
The photo above was taken a few weeks ago, at the September CC Salon event in San Francisco. There are a few people missing, but I still love it because it’s the closest thing we’ve had to a complete staff photo since I’ve been with Creative Commons. It’s also a reminder that we’re a diverse, global organization.
Being a distributed team lets us spend more time interacting with the people who use Creative Commons tools and share our mission. We’re embedded in communities of hackers, lawyers, artists, and social change activists, all communities that our mission relies upon.
See our Contact page for updated contact information. If you have any questions about the change, feel free to drop us a line.