Boston Children’s Hospital OPENPediatrics Launches Open Multimedia Library

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Children’s Hospital, Boston, Mass. [front] / Boston Public LIbrary / No known copyright restrictions

The OPENPediatrics program at Boston Children’s Hospital announced the launch today of a new open educational resource (OER), a multimedia library that presents animations and illustrations from OPENPediatrics instructional videos under CC BY-NC-SA for use by clinicians and academics in their own instructional materials.  OPENPediatrics provides online learning opportunities for pediatric clinicians worldwide on a website specifically for medical professionals, but some of the resources created for that site—including those in the new multimedia library—are now being made available to the general public as well.

“An important part of our production process is the addition of high quality animations and illustrations to our didactic and procedural videos,” said Steve Carson, Director of Operations for the program.  “Until now these resources have been embedded in our videos and only accessible to clinicians.  Now, inspired by MIT OpenCourseWare and other OER projects, we are making the animations and illustrations available under open licenses and in downloadable formats to encourage wide usage.”

The initial 48 animations and illustrations are among the hundreds that will eventually be made available. The first set of resources illustrates key concepts of airway management, respiratory care, neurology, clinical procedures and other areas of pediatric care. The animations and illustrations have all been peer reviewed for accuracy.  In the coming months, OPENPediatrics will continue publishing animations and illustrations from its back catalog as well as from newly released videos and other resources. The multimedia library is the second publicly available resource from OPENPediatrics, joining a collection of World Shared Practice Forum videos, which share global perspectives on key aspects of pediatric care.

Institute for Open Leadership kicks off next week

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The Presidio by Mindus under CC BY-NC-SA

It’s a new year, and Creative Commons and the Open Policy Network are excited to work with the inaugural group of fellows at the Institute for Open Leadership. The Institute for Open Leadership–or IOL–is an effort  to cultivate new leaders in open education, science, public policy, and other fields on the values and implementation of openness in licensing, policies and practices. The rationale for the Institute is to educate and empower potential open advocates within existing institutional structures in order to expand and promote the values and practices of the idea that publicly funded resources should be openly licensed.

We received nearly 100  high quality applications and selected 14 fellows for the first Institute. The fellows come from around the world (12 countries), and reflect a wide range of institutions–from community colleges to government ministries  to public radio.

We’re hosting the in-person portion of the Institute in California next week. It’s important that the Institute help fellows move from theory to reality: a major component of the program requires fellows to develop, refine, and implement a capstone open policy project within their home institution. Creative Commons and the open community will provide mentorship and guidance throughout this process. As the fellows build and eventually implement their policy projects, we’ll ask them to share their progress, challenges, and successes. We also plan on running a second Institute for Open Leadership outside of North America – in late 2015.

A year-end message from our CEO

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There’s still time. Support Creative Commons in 2014.

This is the fundraising message where the CEO writes and tells you about how important your donation is. And without question, your donation is important. Earlier this month, you heard from our board chair, and a member of our legal team, and a volunteer leading our chapter in El Salvador. My message today is the last of a series of messages that we hope has inspired you to give to Creative Commons before the end of the year.

The year-end campaign is the most important fundraiser for any nonprofit. Most charities will raise half their funds between November 1 and December 31. And almost half of that — a quarter of total annual fundraising — will happen in the final two weeks.

Right now.

So first of all, let me say I’m sorry for all those messages. From everyone, not just us. It’s a lot of email to get, all with the same punchline: please give.

But I wouldn’t do it if it weren’t so important.

Of all the organizations that fundraise to help create a more open web, CC’s budget is tiny.

We have fewer than 20 full-time staff, but we have a large community: over 100 volunteer chapters in 79 countries. We set an ambitious goal this year, with higher targets, and we’re almost there. Your donation today could help us meet our annual goal.

Despite our small stature, we’re a big deal on the web.

Wikipedia, Flickr, SoundCloud, and YouTube, and 9 million other websites all rely on our licenses to provide legal sharing options. We’re the global standard that powers free culture, open access in science and academia, open textbooks, and open data. Every day, our small team works as part of a number of global movements that rely on CC licenses.

This year, CC licenses were endorsed by both the White House and the European Commission for open government. Both the Gates and Hewlett Foundations adopted policies that will require the money they grant to create freely licensed content and research. Just a few examples of our team creating a more open world for all of us.

The commons now contains almost 1 billion works. And they are viewed tens of millions of times a day. All that content is free — both to those who share and to those who enjoy what is shared.

I expect you give to a few charities every year. Most people do. My hope is that this year, you’ll choose Creative Commons as one of them. Donations of $5 or $10 really add up, and mean a lot to CC and to our global community. Will you support Creative Commons today?

The commons is a huge collaborative project that spans centuries, and CC is creating enormous and lasting value — every dollar helps ensure that more free content makes it online: data, academic research, educational curriculum, videos, music, pictures, and more.

And once it’s there, it’s there forever. For anyone to use.

This is an important year for Creative Commons. Our 12th anniversary was earlier this month, and while we are well known and vital to the web, we’re not sustainable without your help. We rely on a small and very dedicated base of annual donors who help ensure we keep doing our work, and a number of very generous foundations.

But to continue to meet our goals, we need to grow our donor network. That means we need to earn your support, and that of your friends, and your friends’ friends.

It’s a big undertaking, and you’ll hear more from us over the coming year about it, along with some really exciting new projects, like a mobile photo app, tools for searching the commons, and more.

But for now, I’m hoping you’ll make a donation as part of your year-end giving that will directly support the kind of internet we all love: free, open, transparent, vital, and even a little silly.

Thank you for listening, and thank you for your support.


PS: If you make a donation, your gift will count as double thanks to a grant we received from the Brin Wojcicki Foundation. Please give today.


Sharing is our path forward

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Invest in a more open culture. Support CC.

I’m writing on behalf of the Creative Commons Affiliate Network, a community of over 100 affiliate teams in 79 countries. El Salvador joined CC’s global network this year, and I am its first public lead. I work every day to preserve and protect cultural heritage, under CC’s model of open sharing for everyone.

Creative Commons is a global movement, but our work requires a local touch. We donate our time to bring the joy of sharing to educators, lawmakers, and artists. And we do it all because we believe in CC.

Sometimes when I tell people about my work with CC, they ask why I spend my time on something so complicated and academic, especially in a world of urgent need and important causes.

I disagree. Creative Commons makes access to knowledge possible in a concrete, tangible way. And access to knowledge is essential. It has a real and immediate impact on all fundamental rights, from self-determination to participation in cultural life. Your donation to CC is an investment in a more open culture and an active CC community in every country on the planet.

There are many organizations and groups fighting to improve people’s quality of life. The changes we’re fighting for at Creative Commons benefit the work of those organizations too. Sharing is our path forward, both for El Salvador and for the world.

If you believe that everyone should have access to the world’s knowledge and culture, I’m proud to be on your side. Will you help us by making a donation to Creative Commons today?



Photo: Claudia Cristiani de Creative Commons El Salvador en el #CPSLV1 / Sara Fratti / CC BY 2.0

Norwegian translation of 4.0 published

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Congratulations to CC Norway on the Norwegian translation of 4.0! This is the second published official translation of the license suite.

The translation effort was led by longtime CC affiliate and noted internet scholar Gisle Hannemyr, of the University of Oslo. We are particularly grateful to this early team for working with us as we developed the translation process (as did CC Finland, whose 4.0 translation was recently published).

We’re excited to see this work progressing as more people are able to use the CC licenses in their own language. Look for a few translations from outside the Nordic region—including some involving teams from several continents!—in the near future.

The world Creative Commons is fighting for

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Be a voice for sharing. Support CC.

2014 was a big year in the open movement. Both the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation approved open policies requiring grantees to publish their content under CC BY, the most open Creative Commons license. That means that for any content funded by either foundation, anyone can reuse it for any purpose, so long as they give attribution.

Being former president of the Hewlett Foundation and the current board chair at CC, I had a unique perspective on Hewlett’s open policy, and got to watch closely as it came together.

In many ways, the Hewlett Foundation’s decision was exactly what you would expect from them. After all, it was Hewlett that helped start the open education movement, and it has been Hewlett’s policy to require CC BY for educational resources for years. And yet, before the decision was finalized, it met a fair amount of uncertainty, both internally and from grantees. And the organization that was consistently there to encourage and assist the foundation was Creative Commons.

After 12 years, it’s easy to see Creative Commons’ impact on the world. 14 countries have made national commitments to open education. Here in the U.S., the Department of Labor is spending two billion dollars on open educational resources. The idea that openly licensed resources can do more good for the world than closed ones is becoming mainstream, and that’s largely thanks to CC and its supporters.

But the fight isn’t over. Governments, foundations, institutions, and even corporations need someone pushing them in the direction of sharing. And CC has stepped up to lead.

Please take a moment to think about why Creative Commons is important to you. CC is a very small nonprofit funded only by donations and grants. Your gift supports the licenses, our ongoing advocacy, and a global network in 79 countries. I know that you’re inundated with fundraising letters at this time of year, but I hope you will consider making a donation to CC.


Public access to research language retained in U.S. spending bill

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Last year, the U.S. Congress included a provision in its appropriations legislation that would ensure that some research conducted through federal spending would be made accessible online, for free. It mandated that a subset of federal agencies with research budgets of at least $100 million per year would be required provide the public with free online access to scholarly articles generated with federal funds no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The agencies affected by the public access provision of the appropriations bill included the Department of Labor, Department of Education, and Department of Health and Human Services. Of particular note is the Department of Health and Human Services, which encompasses research-intensive agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SPARC reports that the public access language has been included in the fiscal year 2015 spending bill (PDF), which appears on p. 961-962:

SEC. 525. Each Federal agency, or in the case of an agency with multiple bureaus, each bureau (or operating division) funded under this Act that has research and development expenditures in excess of $100,000,000 per year shall develop a Federal research public access policy that provides for— 1) the submission to the agency, agency bureau, or designated entity acting on behalf of the agency, a machine-readable version of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals describing research supported, in whole or in part, from funding by the Federal Government; (2) free online public access to such final peer reviewed manuscripts or published versions not later than 12 months after the official date of publication.

Alongside the federal spending legislation, there were references included in accompanying reports (see Departments of Commerce, Justice, Science report at p. 30 and Department of Interior report at p. 32) that point to President Obama’s Directive requiring agencies to increase access to the results of federally funded scientific research. The appropriations language passed for 2014 and 2015 echoes the language of the White House Directive, issued in February 2013. It directs “Federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research.” The agency plans were due in August 2013, and according to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), all agencies have submitted at least a draft plan (PDF). Those plans are now being reviewed by OSTP.

Progress has been slow, but public access to publicly funded research remains on the table in the United States.


What School of Open volunteers accomplished in 2014

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Another End of Year list, but one which I hope you’ll take to heart: the amazing accomplishments of the volunteers running School of Open programs around the world, comprised of the Creative Commons, P2PU, Mozilla, and related open communities.

SOO logo on Holiday Wreath by Kelly Teague under CC BY-SA

This year, our community:

For 2015: Some changes are on the horizon. Mainly, we’ll be working to revamp our website to better support our volunteers wherever they are based, streamline the process for volunteers who want to run their own online courses, and re-strategize around what it means to develop and run a School of Open program. Above all, we want to increase our impact by combining forces with all open web and education advocates who are being leaders in their regions. Stay tuned…

On behalf of our intersecting communities, CC wishes you a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year!

See how far we’ve come:

The Commons in Aotearoa showcased on NZCommons.org.nz

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Wellington / John Bunney, courtesy of Te Papa Tongarewa / No known copyright restrictions

In the first of a series of blog posts focusing on our global activities, Matt McGregor tells us of exciting developments in CC in New Zealand Aotearoa.

2014 has been a busy year for the commons in Aotearoa. After a few years of relatively slow progress, many of New Zealand’s public institutions have started to adopt open policies. So many, in fact, that we’ve decided to launch an entire website, NZCommons.org.nz, dedicated to discussing the opportunities and challenges of opening New Zealand’s culture and knowledge for access and reuse. With a particular focus on copyright, licensing and the public domain, the NZCommons site aims to help cross-pollinate and energise the various open groups in New Zealand, who are all doing excellent work, though too often in isolation from one another. The site will have news, case studies and a range of pieces from New Zealanders working to grow the commons, supporting and encouraging the many individuals and institutions working to adopt CC licensing across the country.

And what a lot there is to be discussed. I’ve already mentioned some of the developments being highlighted on NZCommons in my recent post to this blog about Creative Commons policies being passed in New Zealand schools, now up to the rate of around one per week. But the increased adoption of CC licensing hasn’t been limited to schools.

This year, both the University of Waikato and the University of Canterbury passed open access mandates requiring all research published within their respective institutions to be uploaded to the library’s repository, enabling research to be made openly available as soon as possible. In so doing, they joined Lincoln University in paving the way for open access policies at other New Zealand research institutions.

And then, in the middle of the year, we saw three big developments in the heritage sector. First, the National Library of New Zealand passed their excellent use and reuse policy, which provides a clear framework for opening up the library’s collections. Under the policy, out-of-copyright works will be clearly labelled as such, which has not generally been the case in the sector; also, in-copyright works that are owned by the library will be made available under a Creative Commons licence. Our case study of this policy has been up on NZCommons for a few weeks now.

Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand followed this announcement by releasing over 30,000 high resolution images under either a no-known copyright or a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives licence — a figure that has since approached 40,000. As it happens, we published a case study about Te Papa recently, as well. Since that release, Te Papa have signalled that they will shortly remove the ‘ND’ restriction from their licences.

Then, the WW100 team, announced that as part of New Zealand’s commemorations of the Centenary of World War I, the Turnbull Library was openly releasing the H Series of photographs taken during by New Zealand’s official photographer, Henry Armytage Sanders. As Melanie Lovell-Smith points out in a detailed background piece, these photographs are “the most comprehensive visual record of New Zealanders on the Western front from 1917 to 1918.” Other GLAM projects, such as the Marsden Online project, are also starting to use CC licensing.

One of the most exciting things about these announcements is the best practice implementation by each of the institutions. Although all of them use their own method, all of the photos are clearly marked as being available to download and free of copyright restrictions, with a detailed and easily accessible description of what you can and can’t do with the image (see pictured). Te Papa even allows you to use copyright status as a search term. This level of transparency when it comes to copyright is essential to unlocking the value of our national collections.

Excerpt from Te Papa’s image download page / Te Papa Tongarewa

Other open projects — such open government data, open textbooks in higher education and legal tools for indigenous knowledge — are also progressing quickly. Working with Susy Frankel and Aroha Mead from Victoria University of Wellington and CC Panel Member Karaitiana Taiuru, the local Creative Commons team is working on developing an indigenous knowledge notice that will help Māori creators, iwi (tribe) and hapū (sub-tribe) to release their works more openly.

In the government data sector, Land Information New Zealand have released truly massive — and massively interesting — open datasets, including detailed aerial photography of the entire country and 3D models of Christchurch before September 2010. These openly licensed models can be adapted and 3D printed by anyone, to help remember the heritage that was lost in the earthquakes.

Taken together, these projects will add an enormous amount of high quality copyright works to the commons, making it easier to access and reuse the works produced and held by New Zealand’s public institutions. These releases promise to save time and money for both the organisations involved and the public. They will also enable others to adapt and build on existing works, which means that fewer people will have to — excuse the cliche — reinvent the wheel.

Good news, then. But these projects are only the beginning: there are thousands of other schools, heritage and research institutions with millions of copyright works that could be made openly available to the public for sharing and reuse. This could fundamentally change how New Zealanders access and engage with their culture and knowledge.

For this to happen, these sectors are going to need some help. To help out, we’re developing toolkits — remixing some resources and platforms developed by HQ, and making a bunch of our own — that organisations can use to open their works for reuse. These toolkits will include an introductory paper, brochures, articles, sample policies and examples of best practice from New Zealand and around the world. We’re hoping to launch them at the National Digital Forum in Wellington in late November.

Beyond the toolkits, though, we’re going to need much more open discussion and analysis on copyright, licensing and reuse — especially in the heritage sector, where copyright issues can be very complicated, and where there isn’t nearly enough information and discussion available online. NZCommons is designed to prompt that discussion. With it we hope to build momentum and support for more open policy across the country, and help realise the potential of the commons in Aotearoa.

European Space Agency shares Mars Express images and videos under CC

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Hellas Chaos on Mars / ESA/DLR/FU Berlin / CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

As of yesterday, the European Space Agency is now sharing all of its images and videos from the Mars Express mission under CC BY-SA. ESA is using the IGO port of CC BY-SA 3.0. ESA is one of several intergovernmental organizations to use the IGO port since we introduced it last year.

From ESA’s announcement:

Since January 2004, ESA and its partners at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Freie Universität Berlin (FUB) have been jointly publishing colour, stereo pictures of the martian surface from orbit, both still and moving. For example, a “Mars showcase” video, comprised of HRSC images, has been viewed almost 700,000 times since it was published on ESA’s Youtube channel in 2013.

But starting today, something is different with these regular image releases: in a joint undertaking by all three partners, Mars Express HRSC images will be made available under a Creative Commons (CC) licence. The licence we will apply is the same one we recently introduced for Rosetta NAVCAM images: CC BY-SA IGO 3.0.


While at ESA we have only just begun releasing content under Creative Commons licences, our partners at DLR have been using CC as their standard licencing policy since 2012. Nevertheless, there is still something just a little bit special about the news today: as far as we know, it is the first time that three public organisations in Europe have teamed up in licencing a batch of joint content under Creative Commons.

ESA also posted this amazing video yesterday, making it the first video of Mars the agency has published under BY-SA:

Flickr removes CC-licensed photos from Wall Art program

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In October, Flickr announced a new service that allows its members to order printed photos on wood or canvas, choosing either from their own photos, from a set of curated images, or from about 50 million CC BY or CC BY-SA–licensed images. Flickr would share profits with the photographers of the curated images, but not the CC-licensed ones, as those licenses permit Flickr to use the photos commercially.

Today, we learned that Flickr is removing all CC-licensed images from the Wall Art program. I understand why Flickr has made the decision to change the program, and appreciate their commitment to working to strengthen our community.

This has been a controversial topic here at Creative Commons — at all levels of the organization, and in our community. Some feel that a community discussion should have come before launching the program, or that Flickr users should have had a choice of whether to allow Flickr to monetize their CC-licensed photos. Others think that abiding by the terms of CC BY isn’t enough, and that there is a moral obligation to share profits. And still others think that this is exactly what the free culture movement intended — permissive use of any kind by anyone (even large companies), so long as the terms are met.

Flickr has been a big part of the growth of the commons, and the advancement of CC licenses. In our recent State of the Commons report, we identified over 880 million licensed works — 307 million of them are on Flickr. It’s the largest public archive of CC-licensed images. So when I read articles and blog posts recommending that Flickr users remove their works from the commons, I was concerned. Users of any media platform should feel secure in their understanding of how their content will or won’t be used.

A central principle of open licenses is that the rights they grant apply to everyone, from hobbyists to large corporations. I hope this decision does not create confusion for those who would use licensed works. Under CC licenses, everyone plays by the same rules. Entrepreneurs should be able to experiment with monetizing openly licensed content without fear that if they become successful, the licenses will no longer apply to them. Just as licensors should be able to feel confident that the licenses are legally airtight, so should licensees.

Everyone can agree that providing clearer information on how CC licenses work — and what rights they grant — can prevent many misunderstandings. I see this as an important opportunity for Flickr and CC to do more to engage and inform users. We’re a global nonprofit that represents a diverse community of creators, users, businesses, and activists. In order for our work to be meaningful, we must recognize that the people who make up the commons are its most important asset.

Our vision is one where content of all kinds is freely available for use under simple terms, where the permissions are clear to everyone. If that doesn’t happen, creators can feel misled or cheated, and users are left uncertain if they can use the commons as a source of raw material. That’s not just about the terms of the licenses. It’s about how platforms develop and position their products and services, and how users engage in a community.

The Flickr team has asked Creative Commons to work with them to help make their messaging about CC license options clearer, and help ensure their programs are in alignment with the spirit of both communities. We hope that we can use this opportunity to help foster stronger relationships throughout the commons community, license users and media platforms alike. As we do that work in the coming months, I welcome your suggestions and ideas.

Happy birthday, Creative Commons

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Help build the next era of sharing online.
Make a donation to Creative Commons.

12 years ago today, we launched the first Creative Commons license suite.

The internet was changing the way people share, and changing what it meant to be a creator. But copyright law hadn’t caught up. The Net was making sharing easy; the law was making it hard.

We made a bet that many creators would stand between the extremes. That they would be inspired by the idea of “some rights reserved” and dedicate some of their rights to the commons.

One billion licensed works later, I think we were right.

Back then, it was a leap of faith. We just didn’t know. I certainly didn’t know that CC licenses would catalyze a global community in almost 80 countries, or that governments and foundations would take our values and embed them in official policies, dedicating funds to create freely available works. But that’s what CC has been helping to facilitate.

Today, Creative Commons is making another leap. We’re betting that if we can make it more seamless to share CC-licensed content between different web platforms, we can multiply CC’s impact exponentially. So this is what our tech team is building.

We’re also betting that by investing in a new generation of advocates for open, we can accelerate our policy wins to a worldwide tipping point.

CC licenses are having a real impact on people’s lives. They are helping reveal information used to treat diseases, to make governments more transparent and accountable, and to make education accessible for everyone, everywhere. That’s an incredible impact for a set of simple, free licenses.

That’s why I hope you will consider making a donation today.

I’ve been inspired by many idealists. And I’ve had my heart broken more than a few times as I’ve rallied people together for change. But CC has proved that big change can happen, when it is supported by many, and often.

So please take a moment to think about the role that Creative Commons licenses play in your life and in our communities. CC licenses have transformed how the internet works, but we’re just getting started.

Please consider making a gift to Creative Commons.



Are you on #teamopen?

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Stay up-to-date with CC by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on Twitter.

Are you on #teamopen?

We’re proud to present Series Two of Team Open, our ongoing project to tell the stories of people who use Creative Commons. In Series Two, you’ll meet a musician who used Creative Commons licensing to score a sponsorship deal with Toyota, a filmmaker who convinced his funders to give his film away, a professor who saved students a million dollars, and one of the minds behind the best-selling game on Amazon.

When you use a CC-licensed photo in a presentation or share your latest song under CC, you’re a part of the story of CC’s impact in the world. We’re proud to share in this amazing journey with you.

Redacted / opensource.com
CC BY-SA (cropped)

We’ve learned disturbing details of of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement that could extend copyright terms 20 years. Join us in demanding that the agreement be made public.


Nearly 900 million CC-licensed works, and most of them under licenses that allow commercial use and adaptations. Check out our brand new State of the Commons report.

Casey Fyfe / CC0

Your daily awesome from the internet. Start your morning with the Creative Commons Thing of the Day.


Remember that time when CC Version 4.0 broke the internet?

Team Open: Stories of how we use Creative Commons

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A few weeks ago, we published a report showing that there are nearly a billion Creative Commons–licensed works. That’s an impressive number, but it only hints at how powerful and widespread CC licenses have become.

The real story of Creative Commons is the story of the people who use CC licenses. It’s the story of people who use CC licenses to make information, education, and data more public and accessible. Creators who have built real careers on free and open content. Policymakers working to make open the rule, not the exception. If you’re reading this, the story of CC is your story.

Today, we’re proud to present Series Two of Team Open, our ongoing project to tell the stories of people who use Creative Commons. In Series Two, you’ll meet a musician who used Creative Commons licensing to score a sponsorship deal with Toyota, a filmmaker who convinced his funders to give his film away, a professor who saved students a million dollars, and one of the minds behind the best-selling game on Amazon.

When you use a CC-licensed photo in a presentation or share your latest song under CC, you’re a part of the story of CC’s impact in the world. We’re proud to share in this amazing journey with you.

If you’re proud to be on Team Open, please consider making a donation to help carry Creative Commons into 2015.

48 Civil Society Groups Demand Public Release of TPP Agreement Text

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Today Creative Commons and 47 civil society organizations and academics released a letter (PDF) calling on negotiators of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to publish the draft text of the agreement. Up until now the text of the TPP has been developed mostly in secret by the 12 negotiating countries. Wikileaks published a draft text of the chapter on intellectual property in October, revealing several provisions that would threaten access to and re-use of creative works, including an arrangement to allow countries to extend copyright terms by another 20 years. CC and other groups wrote a letter calling for that proposal to be rescinded.

Today’s call for increased accountability into the process and substance of the TPP agreement follows on the heels of the European Commission’s announcement for transparency into the negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a trade agreement being negotiated between the United States and the European Union.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) organized the letter from civil society organizations and experts. They said, “As TPP seems to arrive at its final stage, this is a prime moment for trade ministers to stop the secrecy and re-commit themselves to democratic principles of transparency and public participation in rule making.”

We couldn’t agree more.

The text of the letter (PDF) is below.


Dear TPP Ministers and Heads of Delegation,

Ever since talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) began over five years ago, there have been broad public calls on leaders to make negotiations more transparent and open to the public. In statements, in letters, and in face-to-face meetings with trade representatives, we have urged the adoption of concrete practices that would better enable the kind of open debate and oversight that would help demystify these ongoing negotiations by making better, more accurate information available to the public.

The European Commission has recently taken leadership on this issue in the parallel context of negotiations over a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), recommending on 25 November 2014 that the EU’s TTIP text proposals henceforth be released to the public, and that other information related to TTIP be shared more broadly with all Members of the European Parliament, beyond the currently limited membership of the International Trade Committee.

The end of TPP negotiations now seems to be coming into focus. They have come down to high-level political decisions by negotiating countries, and the text is largely completed except for some resolutions on remaining landing zones. At this point, we know that there is a draft of the TPP that is mostly agreed upon by those negotiating the deal.

Today, we strongly urge you to release the unbracketed text and to release the negotiating positions for text that is bracketed, now and going forwards as any future proposals are made. The public has a legitimate interest in knowing what has already been decided on its behalf, and what is now at stake with our various countries’ positions on these controversial regulatory issues.

We call on you to consider the recent announcement from the European Commission as a welcome precedent to follow, thereby re-affirming your commitment to fundamental principles of transparency and public participation in rule making. The negotiations in Washington DC this week would provide the perfect opportunity for such a ground-breaking accord to be announced.


Article 19
Creative Commons
Consumers International
Oxfam International

Australian Digital Alliance
Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET)
Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA)
Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC)
Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA)
Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA)

Council of Canadians
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (Réseau juridique canadien VIH/sida)
OpenMedia International

ONG Derechos Digitales
Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios de Chile (ODECU)

Movements of the Internet Active Users (MIAU)
Creative Commons Japan

New Zealand:
Consumer NZ
Its Our Future NZ

Malaysian AIDS Council
Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+)

Mexico, Chile, Peru:
International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC-LATCA) (Regional Office for
Latin American and Carribean Networks)
Alianza LAC – Global por el Acceso a Medicamentos

Peruvian Association of Consumers and Users (ASPEC)
Acción Internacional para la Salud (AIS)

Action on Smoking and Health
American Library Association
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Fight For the Future
Food & Water Watch
Government Accountability Project
Health GAP
Just Foreign Policy
Knowledge Ecology International
National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices
Public Knowledge
Sunlight Foundation
Association of Research Libraries

Gabriel J. Michael, Yale Law School
Pam Samuelson, Berkeley Law School
Susan Sell, George Washington University
Sean Flynn, American University
David Levine, Princeton University

Our OER Mythbusting guide launches today

European Open EDU Policy Project -

Anyone conducting advocacy and outreach work for Open Educational Resources naturally hears a lot of criticism of openness. While some of it is valid, much is based on lack of knowledge, unfounded fears and misconceptions or even misrepresentations of the issue. After hearing them one time too many, we decided to create an „OER mythbusting guide”, which collects the most popular myths, together with ways of „busting” them.

We are launching the Open Educational Resources mythbusting guide today, both as an online resource and a PDF guide (which can also be printed). The site is divided into two parts – a mythbusting guide and a quick introduction to OER. Both will help you find fast, simple and useful answers to myths, statements and unsupported claims about how Open Educational Resources (OER).

The guide has been written by Kamil Śliwowski (CC Poland) and Karolina Grodecka (Coalition for Open Education, Poland) and is based on results of a series of mythbusting workshops conducted over the course of the last year and a half, as well as a survey among OER advocates.


Free Bassel

Creativecommons.org -

Bassel / Joi Ito / CC BY

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)

Lessig to speak in San Francisco

Creativecommons.org -

Lawrence Lessig / Joi Ito / CC BY

CC co-founder Lawrence Lessig will speak on January 9 at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. JCCSF has provided CC with a special discount code to share with our community.

From the announcement:

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.

Internet Censorship Editathon in San Francisco

Creativecommons.org -

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.

From the announcement:

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.

Please join us in person or online to help improve the public conversation on Internet Censorship. All levels of Wikipedia-editing experience are welcome!


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