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“Build the Commons, so it is better for all”: CC Global Summit 2018 -

Like a Creative Commons event, this post will open and close with gratitude.

Thank you to everyone who attended, participated, tuned in, and raised their voices in support of the Commons this April, whether it was in Toronto with 435 other commoners or online through the stream and social feed.

From April 13-15, Commoners gathered for workshops, discussions, seminars, and plenaries about the future of the Commons, the network, and what’s next for our community of sharing. Through snow, raining ice, and bitter cold, we kept warm at the Delta Hotel with a full agenda and the collective excitement of seeing each other, many of us for the first time in a year. (Did we mention we’ll be in Lisbon next year?)

Photo by Terry Williams

The Summit opened with a packed breakfast for Summit newbies – more than 100 people came to eat and meet newcomers to the CC Community every morning. Arriving to find this year’s Uncommon Women coloring book on their seats and a snazzy new pin in their swag bags, attendees sipped their coffee as they enjoyed a variety of CC items.

Like last year, the opening session began with an invocation by Whabagoon (Patti Phipps-Walker), an Ojibway indigenous elder, who recognized the tribal roots of the land and said “Miig-wetch” (thank you) for our gathering place. Later that day, one of our most popular sessions discussed indigenous cultural heritage and intellectual property and its challenges and futures. In a charged panel, practitioners and academics discussed the historic harm to traditional knowledge and the concept of “sharing” and discussed alternative forms of cultural heritage demarcations, such as Traditional Knowledge (TK) labels.

Kicking off the #ccsummit with @creativecommons coffee and @uncommon_women book! At cc newbies breakfast with lovely new faces

— Jane Park (@janedaily) April 13, 2018

“Build the commons, so it is better for all”

Wikipedia Executive Director Katherine Maher’s keynote and discussion on Friday asserted that free knowledge is inherently radical. She encouraged our communities to “lean into our values and our value,” and “build for the world we want to have.” Her keynote was a call to action for our communities to come together as a community of practice, resisting enclosures of knowledge and leaning into our collective power. “To be truly equitable, we need to acknowledge that the work is political,” she said. While for some, Open is a hobby or interest, for those at the margins, it can be inherently risky and difficult, a sentiment echoed by second keynote speaker Chris Bourg on Saturday.

Read an interview with Katherine Maher.

In the discussion that followed, Maher discussed the future of the “Big Open” movement with Ryan Merkley, CEO, and Mark Surman, of Mozilla. All focused on the need for the Open Internet as an antidote to the current, broken system of ad-based and surveillance economies. For Open movements, the pull of enclosure and corporate utilization of the commons without giving back represent what the speakers called “the tension of success.” “We need to make sharing reciprocal,” said Maher, bringing the discussion to the need for governance and full community participation. “Participation must be active, not exploitative. We’re building the commons for everyone, not just those who are already in it,” she said.

“Sharing goes both ways: it asks for you to participate, not just consume. We want people to be active on internet” – @krmaher at #ccsummit

— Zachary McCune (@zmccune) April 13, 2018




State of the Commons

Another highlight on Friday was the presentation of the first set of data from our annual State of the Commons report. These graphics, commissioned from designer Amy Collier, represented a sample of the full report designed by Affinity Bridge, which will be released this month.

“Lift up the people around you”

Many participants attended the Uncommon Women session, where women leaders and allies in the movement discussed inclusivity and the need for more diverse voices in the movement. The Uncommon Women coloring stations throughout the event provided necessary connection and relaxation as well!

I ran into @amirad and @amirad at the #ccsummit !!!!! Thx @uncommon_women

— Chris Lawrence (@chrislarry33) April 14, 2018

Another gold nugget from the @uncommon_women audience: Lift up the people around you, but also practice private and 1:1 affirmations. #ccsummit

— ccglobalsummit (@ccglobalsummit) April 13, 2018

Humans of the Commons

Throughout the Summit, more than 60 participants shared their stories at our podcasting popup “Humans of the Commons.” In a specially outfitted space, participants were interviewed by our partners at Loup about their experiences in the movement, their work, and their communities.

View the first stories

"The more I learn about how technology impacts my life and the lives of people around me, the more curious I get"@mozilla's @TheSamBurton talks about how her work and hobbies drive her interest in digital rights at #ccsummit Humans of the Commons Listen:

— Loup Design & Innovation (@listening_loup) April 15, 2018

The Future of the Network

During the Summit, our platforms, working groups, and network leaders met to discuss the future of their work. In the next year, the network will focus on recruiting, creating strong local teams, collaboration, and governance. In order to build collective, dispersed power, the network’s working groups and platforms in Open GLAM, Copyright Reform, Open Education, Community Development, Translation, and Communications met to discuss their future and next steps.

Great session on the future of the CC global network with @atarkowski @nicsuzor @claudio @ryanmerkley and others. Most valuable takeaway for me to think about change and new members as additive, not substitutional. #ccsummit

— Meredith Jacob (@meredithjacob) April 13, 2018

Join the network. Get CC Certified

On Saturday, Jennryn Wetzler, our new Assistant Director of Open Education, opened up registration for the Creative Commons Certificate program this summer. From her blog post: “The CC Certificate provides an-in depth study of Creative Commons licenses and open practices – helping you become an expert in open licensing and the Commons. The program is offered both as a 10-week online course starting in July 2018 as well as a week-long, in-person bootcamp in 2019. In keeping with our values, we will openly license (CC BY) the Certificate content – making downloadable and editable file formats available for informal learning from our website by July 2018.”

Read the announcement Register now

Excited about new project from @creativecommons: CC Certificates for educators & librarians. Also looking to make course content available CC-BY for informal learning #ccsummit

— Natalie Colaiacovo (@lilstairz) April 13, 2018

Registration is now open for the @creativecommons Certificate for Librarians and Educators. As one of the beta participants, I highly recommend this course. You can ask me about my experience too. See #ccsummit

— Regina Gong (@drgong) April 14, 2018

“Collaboration Moves at the Speed of Trust”

MIT Library Director Chris Bourg’s wide-ranging keynote and discussion “Open as in Dangerous,” discussed the need to address the “dangerous” parts of our movements in Open, echoing Maher’s assertion that free knowledge is a political act. “The best librarians are radical,” she said, and not only have libraries “never been neutral,” they “have the potential to be agents of decolonization and social change.” Social justice was a key message in Bourg’s talk, which emphasized the need for open access to knowledge to produce better research, ultimately making the world a more just place. “Individuals who have access to knowledge can lead better and more empowered lives,” said Bourg. In her conclusion, she discussed how online risks mirror real world structural inequalities in their uneven distribution among those with less societal power. “’Open as in Dangerous’ is about loss of control, of privacy. For marginalized people especially, the very danger of being open is the danger of being targeted for abuse,” she concluded.

Read an interview with Chris Bourg.

In the panel discussion that followed, Amira Dhalla of Mozilla, Amy Buckland of University of Guelph, and Bourg discussed the balance of Open, privacy, and sharing. Discussing the need to deemphasize dominant discourses in order to focus on meaningful collaborations that challenge hegemonic structures, the speakers emphasized relationships in subjects like web archiving, privacy, and decolonization in open projects. Intentionality was a key focus for the speakers, who come to Open from a variety of backgrounds. The conclusion of the discussion emphasized the need to build trust into systems, recognizing histories of oppression and colonization that continue to impact the structures of power that exist today.

“Out of that defeat, you were born”

The packed room for Lawrence Lessig’s talk “From Unlocking Free Culture to Reviving American Democracy” listened, rapt, as he outlined his career from copyright to representational democracy. For Lessig, the Eldred defeat was the catalyst for his years of work on the role of big money in government and law, and his founding of Creative Commons in the process.

Like copyright, asserted Lessig, the fight for a more representational government is a fight for integrity. Unlike copyright, people are already convinced – the common view in the United States is that government is nonrepresentational. “Keep your values in sight,” concluded Lessig, after discussing his role as “digital Cassandra” in 2001 and the community’s failing of Aaron Swartz, Creative Commons co-founder. After a moving and inspirational talk, the audience’s appreciation of Lessig’s years of work to end systemic corruption was apparent as they rose in acknowledgment and support.

The complexities of civil disobedience versus copyright law @lessig #ccsummit18 #ccsummit @creativecommons

— Matthew Rimmer (@DrRimmer) April 14, 2018

Open Bazaar

Makers at the CC Summit found their kin at the Open Bazaar, a space to meet and greet projects from around the commons. From Open Textbooks to 3D printing, projects from around the world were represented as part of the meet and greet format.

Having a great time at the #CCSummit – come say hi to Brett and Casey at the Open Bazaar tomorrow, table 22! @creativecommons @ccglobalsummit

— Library Innovation (@HarvardLIL) April 13, 2018

Party for the People (of the Commons)

At Boxcar Social, a hip bar on Toronto’s waterfront, Summiteers braved the snow and joined our Commons People Party, a welcoming space where they could warm up with wine, whiskey, and good company. The party featured a screening of Vincent Moon’s Hibridos, the multimedia documentary based on Moon’s travels in Brazil. Read an interview with the filmmaker.

“Cultural goods are not treasure troves to be locked up by the people who can afford them.”

Professor Ruth Okediji, Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard University and Co-Director of the Berkman-Klein Center, gave the final, resonant keynote of the Summit, focusing on her work for a more just international copyright system. Dr. Okediji stressed the need for better policy to open up resources for equality internationally. She discussed her work on the Marrakesh Treaty, a copyright exception to support individuals with visual impairments, and connected it to the need for expanded exceptions and limitations and a better global copyright policy.

Copyright, she claimed, has become a means of control by the few to dictate the access of the many. “Authors want to be read,” she asserted, and said that the use of copyright as a means of control is “troubling.” In the panel discussion that followed, Dr. Okediji discussed the future of copyright with Teresa Nobre, CC Portugal Legal Lead, Michael Geist, Canadian Research chair at University of Ottawa, and Delia Browne, Australian National Copyright Director. In the discussion, they talked about the need for sustained engagement with copyright policy. In the words of Dr. Okediji, “We don’t win just by showing up at the end.” Copyright as a tool to empower citizens and create power through access was a theme in the discussion, which brought together some of the most important lawyers working on exceptions and limitations today.

“Education is vital” Ruth Okediji responding to the copyright battle in Canada & EU on panel w/ @mgeist @tenobre @deliabrowne #ccsummit

— Abby Cabunoc Mayes (@abbycabs) April 15, 2018

By Giulia Forsythe CC BY “The most fitting way to do justice to the legacy of Bassel Khartabil and his family, is to lift up the voices of those like him.”

On Sunday, we announced the inaugural recipients of the Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship and Memorial Fund with our partners. After a statement from filmmaker Dana Trometer, a friend of Khartabil’s, the fellowship was awarded to Majd Al-shihabi, a Palestinian-Syrian engineer based in Beirut whose work focuses on oral history and the digitization of public domain Palestinian maps. The Fellowship was presented alongside three inaugural Bassel Khartabil Memorial Fund grants, awarded to Egypt-based The Mosireen Collective, and Beirut-based organizations Sharq and ASI-REM/ADEF Lebanon (Arab Studies Institute-Research and Education Methodologies / Arab Digital Expressions Foundation).

After the presentation of the awards, award-winning filmmaker Yasmin Fedda screened part of her upcoming film Ayouni, still in production, which will focus on the more than 10,000 disappeared people of Syria, including Khartabil. The film’s footage tells the tragic story of Khartabil and his wife, human rights lawyer Noura Ghazi, who has been fighting for justice since his disappearance in 2012.

“Realizing the full potential of the creative spirit that is demonstrated by the internet”

Over lunch, participants enjoyed a “fireside chat” on the past and future of Creative Commons with Molly Van Houweling, Lawrence Lessig, and Claudio Ruiz.

Learn to think like a creator of open content

During the #ccsummit, @ter_burg worked non-stop to take pictures of all the beautiful humans that were there to share and plan for the fights ahead. Thank you! <3

— Leo Arias (@yoelopio) April 16, 2018

As usual, the creativity of our community was on full display at this year’s Summit. From the whimsical swag to the gorgeous window displays of our community’s photos, we lit up the commons through photography, video, and even live theater – the Summit concluded with a performance of CC Portugal’s “Copywrong” play.

Photographer Sebastiaan Ter Burg’s openly licensed photos capture the faces and moments that made the Summit shine.

View them all

To close with gratitude, thank you. Thank you to the 435 attendees from 64 countries, the 192 speakers, the 26 volunteers, the staff, the programming committees, the sponsors, and the Commoners who traveled a collective 1.56 million kilometers to join together and share in our community. Until next year in Lisbon!

So much gratitude for everyone at the CC Global Summit this weekend. See if you can spot yourself in this video of great #ccsummit moments by @ter_burg.

— Creative Commons (@creativecommons) April 15, 2018

All photos linked to source, most photos CC BY, Sebastiaan Ter Burg, except Keynote Drawings by Giulia Forsythe, CC BY and CC0

The post “Build the Commons, so it is better for all”: CC Global Summit 2018 appeared first on Creative Commons.

Power to the Preprint

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Preprints are here!!! Starting today authors submitting their manuscript to most PLOS journals* can also choose to post their article on bioRxiv, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s preprint server for the life sciences. This is an important development for both PLOS, for bioRxiv, for the authors we serve, and for the life sciences. For PLOS, it enables us to achieve a long-standing aspect of our vision to make research more quickly available to enable discovery and reuse.  For bioRxiv, this development will augment the server’s already rapidly climbing manuscript submission rate. And authors will gain the opportunity of sharing their work before peer review on a trusted platform.

“Collaborating with bioRxiv is part of a much bigger strategy for PLOS moving forward, one in which we’ll renew our roots of being a catalytic open publisher” said Alison Mudditt, CEO of PLOS. “To accelerate innovation, we’ll often act in partnership with others in the community, which will move us closer to our vision of how scientific communication should work.”

“We warmly welcome the further integration of PLOS journals with bioRxiv,” said John Inglis, co-founder of bioRxiv. “The server’s goal is the acceleration of research and providing unrestricted access to manuscripts before they enter an often lengthy process of peer review is one of several ways bioRxiv is delivering on its promise.”

So what are preprints exactly?

A preprint is an openly available scientific manuscript that an author uploads to a public server like bioRxiv prior to peer review. The preprint contains data and methodologies and is typically the same manuscript that is submitted to a journal.

Why are preprints important?

Well, for starters, early sharing of ideas can lead to new discoveries and collaboration, and early feedback can help improve your manuscript. We are committed to putting your science first. By allowing a submission to be posted on bioRxiv, authors accelerate the dissemination of their work and invite commentary by a broader community, which PLOS editors may evaluate as part of peer review.

How will it work? This graphic is a visual representation:

In short, PLOS will perform initial manuscript screening compatible with bioRxiv standards, covering appropriate scope and article type, plagiarism detection, and other basic ethical and technical criteria. Articles will then post to the bioRxiv server and be freely accessible online. Authors must choose to opt-in to this preprint process when they submit papers to PLOS.

When sharing this post on Facebook or Twitter please use the hashtag #powertothepreprint to help increase visibility and awareness for preprints. Publish with PLOS and post your preprint on bioRxiv and let’s keep science open, and accessible, together.

*PLOS Medicine continues to permit authors to post preprints of their research, but given particular issues related to research in human health, will not initially be offering transfer of submitted manuscripts to bioRxiv.  PLOS Biology also continues to encourage authors to post preprints and will enable this automated preprint posting service to submitting authors in a few months.

Joint Publisher Statement

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PLOS, together with the Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Cell families of journals issued a joint statement that addresses a recently proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

PLOS has always been a strong proponent of sharing data to improve the transparency of scientific research, but we recognize that some datasets cannot be made publicly available for ethical reasons. The EPA proposed rule is presented as informed by the journals’ policies. However, insisting on public availability of data would allow the EPA to exclude relevant data simply because it cannot be made publicly available. We believe this could prevent the use of relevant scientific evidence in the regulatory process.

You can read the joint statement here.


J. Berg, P. Campbell, V. Kiermer, N. Raikhel, D. Sweet, Science. 10.1126/science.aau0116 (2018).

Mexican Senate passes changes to copyright law that would censor content online -

Digital rights organisations in Mexico are sounding the alarm after the Senate approved changes to the copyright law that would censor information online. The measures would allow for the preemptive removal of content without having to prove that a copyright infringement has actually taken place.

Yesterday the Senate approved the modifications to the Federal Copyright Law, with 63 votes in favor, 11 against, and 23 abstentions. The Senate voted with little internal discussion, and without the knowledge of or input from civil society organisations or the public.

Essentially, the changes to the law would permit courts—without holding a trial—to preemptively remove online content which is suspected to be an infringement of copyright, or even to seize equipment such as servers and routers that facilitate access to allegedly-infringing material.

This practice is unjustified and harmful to freedom of expression. Luis Fernando García from R3D noted that the approved changes “clearly constitute a measure of prior censorship, in violation of article seven of the Mexican Constitution.” In addition, the law seemingly contravenes Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights (ratified by Mexico), which establishes that freedom of expression “shall not be subject to prior censorship” except for in specific circumstances—which does not include enforcement of copyright.

This is a very troubling development, with potentially massive negative implications to both access to information and due process of law. We’ll continue to work with our partners in Mexico to monitor and act on this issue.

Censorship icon by luca fruzza on The Noun Project, CC BY.

[En Español]

Organizaciones de la sociedad civil en México han hecho sonar las alarmas después de que el Senado aprobara cambios a la ley de derecho de autor que podría permitir la censura en línea. Estas medidas permitirían la remoción preventiva de contenido sin tener que comprobar que ha ocurrido una violación al derecho de autor.

El día de ayer, el Senado aprobó las modificaciones a la Ley Federal del Derecho de Autor con 63 votos a favor, 11 en contra y 23 abstenciones. El Senado votó con muy poco debate de por medio y sin el conocimiento o la participación de las organizaciones de la sociedad civil o del público.

En esencia, estos cambios permitirían a las cortes, sin juicio, eliminar de forma preventiva contenido que, se sospeche, estaría violando el derecho de autor. Incluso permitiría el decomiso de equipo de cómputo como servidores y ruteadores que hayan sido utilizados en la supuesta infracción.

Esta forma de actuar no tiene justificación y es dañina para la libertad de expresión. Luis Fernando García, de la organización R3D comentó que los cambios aprobados “constituyen claramente una medida de censura previa, en violación al artículo séptimo de la Constitución Mexicana”. Así mismo, la ley parece contravenir el Artículo 13 de la Convención Americana de Derechos Humanos (ratificada por México) la cual establece que la libertad de expresión “no deberá estar sujeta a censura previa” a excepción de en ciertas circunstancias dentro de las cuales no se encuentran las infracciones al derecho de autor.

Este es un evento muy desafortunado que tiene implicaciones muy negativas hacia el acceso a la información y al debido proceso. Continuaremos trabajando con nuestros colaboradores mexicanos para monitorear el progreso de esta situación.

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The Global Digital Library -

Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to work with the Global Digital Library, an incredibly rewarding project, with the vision that children around the world will have the opportunity to learn to read in their own language. My responsibility as the CTO of the project has been product development, user testing, partner involvement and marketing. 

The GDL collects existing high quality open educational reading resources, and makes them available on the web, mobile and for print. By the end of 2018 the Library will offer resources in at least 25 languages, and by end 2020 at least 100 languages. The platform also facilitates translation and localization of GDL-resources to more than 300 languages.

By the end of 2018 the Library will offer resources in at least 25 languages, and by end 2020 at least 100 languages. The platform also facilitates translation and localization of GDL-resources to more than 300 languages.

After working over the past year with fantastic people at Norad, NDLA, USAID, UNESCO and a large group of other organisation, it is safe to say that this has been a collaborative effort. To be able to launch the GDL platform this week as part of the Global Book Alliance is truly rewarding.

As part of the launch of the platform in Addis Ababa this week,  we created the first introductory video that explains the project in 50 seconds




The Global Digital Library -

Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to work with the Global Digital Library, an incredibly rewarding project, with the vision that children around the world will have the opportunity to learn to read in their own language. My responsibility as the CTO of the project has been product development, user testing, partner involvement and marketing. 

The GDL collects existing high quality open educational reading resources, and makes them available on the web, mobile and for print. By the end of 2018 the Library will offer resources in at least 25 languages, and by end 2020 at least 100 languages. The platform also facilitates translation and localization of GDL-resources to more than 300 languages.

By the end of 2018 the Library will offer resources in at least 25 languages, and by end 2020 at least 100 languages. The platform also facilitates translation and localization of GDL-resources to more than 300 languages.

After working over the past year with fantastic people at Norad, NDLA, USAID, UNESCO and a large group of other organisation, it is safe to say that this has been a collaborative effort. To be able to launch the GDL platform this week as part of the Global Book Alliance is truly rewarding.

As part of the launch of the platform in Addis Ababa this week,  we created the first introductory video that explains the project in 50 seconds




56 organisations tell EU legislator to delete the absurd link tax -

Creative Commons and 55 organisations sent a letter to the head of the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee, MEP Axel Voss, urging him to remove the harmful and counterproductive press publishers right from the EU copyright reform docket.

Last month, we wrote about the proposal floated by Voss that would take the already-harmful press publishers right and make it even worse. This new right, laid out in Article 11 of the draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, would introduce an additional right for news websites to extract fees from news aggregators for incorporating short snippets of—or even linking to—their content. Voss’ proposed changes assert that press publishers will receive—whether they like it or not—an “inalienable right to obtain an [sic] fair and proportionate remuneration for such uses.” This means that publishers will be required to demand payment from news aggregators. Such an inalienable right directly conflicts with publishers who wish to share freely and openly using Creative Commons licenses. Forcing publishers who use CC to accept additional unwaivable rights to receive payment violates the letter and spirit of Creative Commons licensing and denies publishers the freedom to conduct business and share content as they wish.

In addition, Voss proposed to expand the scope of beneficiaries of Article 11 to cover not only press publishers, but also news agencies. This could have the effect of inappropriately granting copyright-like protection to facts and compilations of basic information.

The coalition letter reinforces the pervasive danger to access to information, the right to link, and the development of a free and pluralist press.

Voss’ proposal must be rejected, and Article 11 should be deleted. An additional right for press publishers won’t support quality journalism or grow the digital single market. Instead, it will negatively affect access to information and the ability for publishers to share using the platforms, technologies, and terms beneficial to them.

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Making a home for the Physical Sciences and Engineering in PLOS ONE

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Calling all physicists, chemists, earth scientists, computer scientists and engineers: help PLOS ONE make science more open, more reproducible and more transparent.

PLOS ONE is known for its multi- and interdisciplinary approach. The journal is open for papers in all areas of science. From particle physics to pulmonology, we particularly welcome papers that break down barriers between disciplines. Historically speaking, however, most of our initiatives and publications have focused on biomedical topics. Given that all of PLOS’ founders came from biomedical fields, this focus arose organically.

But PLOS ONE’s approach to consider all rigorous research irrespective of impact and PLOS’ commitment to driving innovations in Open Science and Open Access in a non-profit framework have always attracted a diverse group of researchers and disciplines. Indeed, communities in physics, chemistry, earth sciences, computer sciences and engineering have adopted PLOS ONE as an outlet of choice in the past. We have published influential papers on complex networks, 3D printing, polymer chemistry, climate change and machine learning, to name but a few topics.

To build on these strengths, PLOS ONE has created a  Physical Sciences and Engineering team as part of a wider effort to better serve our communities through subject-specific in-house editorial groups. The team is led by me, Division Editor Leonie Mueck (Physics, Computer Science, Engineering). I am proud to present the team working beside me:   

  • Associate Editor Victoria Black (Earth Sciences)
  • Associate Editor Helen Howard (Chemistry and Materials Science)

You can meet us at many 2018 conferences, including the ACS National Meeting, MACRO2018, Goldschmidt2018, the 2018 MRS Fall Meeting, the 2018 AGU Fall Meeting, and NetSci 2018.

Physical Sciences and Engineering is a vast remit and we are building an experienced editorial board in the different research fields, an editorial family which you are invited to join as an Academic Editor. PLOS ONE is a journal that is run by the community for the community, and we invite researchers in the field to join us in our efforts.

Together with some of these communities, we have already started working on various editorial projects:

There are more projects in Physical Sciences and Engineering in the pipeline, and we are committed to sharing our progress with you as we move forward. We want to hear from you, the researchers in these communities. Share your thoughts and help us shape physical sciences and engineering at PLOS ONE! Your perspectives will help shape future projects, topics for calls for papers and how to support you with Open Science initiatives. Please fill out this form if you want to share your ideas with us.

A Thank You to Everyone Who Supported Diego and Open Access to Knowledge -

In December Diego Gómez was finally cleared of the criminal charges levied against him for sharing an academic research paper on the internet. The Tribunal de Bogotá—the Colombian appellate court—affirmed the lower court’s acquittal.

Gómez is a scientist from Colombia who had been criminally prosecuted for the last three years for sharing an academic paper online. When Diego was a student in conservation biology, he had poor access to many of the resources and databases that would help him conduct his research. He found and shared an academic paper so that others could read and learn from it. Gómez didn’t get permission to reshare the article, and subsequently was prosecuted for copyright infringement. He faced up to eight years in prison, along with a substantial monetary fine.

A global campaign—Compartir no es Delito (Sharing is not a Crime)—has been supporting Diego since 2014 – The campaign is now complete. But it’s important to recognize the incredible efforts of everyone involved. First, thank you to Diego for his courage and perseverance during the legal case against him. He continued to stand and fight under immense pressure, including financial uncertainty and the possibility that he would have to serve a prison sentence. Second, thank you to the incredible civil society organisations that immediately jumped into action to organise and collaborate in defense of Diego, and to show their support for open access to research. These efforts were led by the Colombian digital rights organisation Fundación Karisma, with support from groups including Derechos Digitales, Electronic Frontier Foundation, SPARC, Creative Commons, and many others. Finally, thank you to the journalists, op-ed writers, crowdfunding supporters, and hundreds of individuals around the world who shared Diego’s story with friends, family, and the world through writing and social media.

Diego’s case is over, but surely it won’t be the last time overzealous rights holders try to leverage copyright to suppress the sharing of scientific research meant to be shared with the public for the good of everyone. As we’ve said again and again, instead of prosecuting students for sharing knowledge, governments and communities should be encouraging the free exchange of scientific information by reinforcing positive norms around scholarship and collaboration, promoting open access to research, and eliminating out of control copyright penalties that serve no reasonable public interest purpose. Furthermore, we should encourage our governments to boost national legislation that promotes the release of public funded research results as open access.

Thank you to Diego, and everyone who has supported this campaign and movement. You can read more about Diego’s case here, and learn about open access here.

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Russian translation of 4.0 published -

We are happy to announce the official translation of the Creative Commons 4.0 license suite into Russian. Congratulations to the CC Russia team for the great job! The translation team consisted of Mr. Yuri Hohlov – Public Head; Mr. Alexander Evtyushkin – Expert; Ms. Louisa Rizmanova – CC Russia Project Manager; Mr Alexander Generalov – translator – from IIS; Mr. Michael Yakushev – Legal Head; Ms. Svetlana Vorozhbit; Mrs. Elena Voinikanis; Ms. Natalia Sorokina; Mr. Maksym Naumko; Mr. Vitaly Kalyatin. Special thanks to Mrs. Tatiana Ershova and Mr. Nikolay Dmitrik for reviewing the final draft.

The translation of 4.0 was performed after article 1286.1 of the Russian Civil Code came into effect, which created the definition of the open license under Russian law. Prior to that, the legal regime analogical to Creative Commons had never been defined. This new article benefited Creative Commons users, as well as the free software community. As copyleft licenses, such as GNU GPL, have a long history of translation into the Russian language, there was an effort in the translation process to put the 4.0 legal instruments into the context of the article 1286.1 of the Russian Civil Code and translation of the licenses used for free software.

Surprisingly, there were few issues arising from the lack of the Russian terminology. This new translation reflects the fact of maximum convergence between the Russian legislation on intellectual property and the contemporary documents in the copyright sphere.

View the new licenses.

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One Small Step for Preprints, One Giant Step Forward for Open Scientific Communications

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Thanks to our recent partnership with bioRxiv, PLOS authors will have the choice of posting their submitted manuscript on the bioRxiv preprint server on May 1st. Preprints enable authors to accelerate the dissemination of their work and invite commentary by a broader community, which PLOS editors will evaluate as part of peer review.

Posting your work before formal peer review has other significant advantages:

  • You can stake an intellectual claim to methods, results and ideas contained within that paper, while obtaining citations.
  • Your work can be discovered. Many journals, including PLOS Genetics, use preprint servers to identify and solicit manuscripts.
  • Early posting can lead to collaborations by fostering connections with researchers in different disciplines.

Still not convinced of the value of the preprint and its role in accelerating scientific communication? There are a lot of resources on this topic. Here’s a sampling:

PLOS is committed to putting your science first. Please send any questions, concerns or delights that you have regarding preprints to following our launch on May 1st. Publish with PLOS and post your preprint on bioRxiv and let’s keep science open and accessible, together.

Reproducibility and Recognition: One year later

Plos -

This blog is authored by PLOS staff with contributions by Lenny Teytelman, CEO.

For many scientists, there is a common frustration with methods sections of research papers that lack sufficient details, which are necessary to follow up on the work. The mission of is to encourage precision and to facilitate the sharing of these details.  We’re excited that our partnership with them over the past year is providing yet another catalyst for transforming research communication. Our combined aim is simple: improve the rigor of published research papers by encouraging authors to report precise protocols accompanying their manuscripts on

“In addition to helping the PLOS papers and the scientists reading them, this partnership also had a dramatic impact on the adoption of The new author guidelines at PLOS helped to also connect in a similar way to 200 other journals,” says CEO Lenny Teytelman. “As a result, the number of scientists creating new protocols every month has more than tripled on over the past year.”

Figure Legend: Number of scientists creating new protocols each month on

“Partnering with organizations like and bioRxiv is a way for PLOS to achieve its Open Science mission in the spirit of collaboration,” says PLOS Executive Editor Veronique Kiermer. “Leveraging the effective platform that has developed enables us to take a leap forward in promoting reproducibility.”

Out of the hundreds of protocols accompanying PLOS articles published over the past year, we want to highlight a few great and diverse examples of what scientists have chosen to share via their Materials & Methods sections:

Looking ahead to the rest of 2018: continues to broaden its scope to include “all research” instead of simply biomedical and the life sciences. And thanks to our continued partnership authors will soon see an improvement to the platform interface for clinical trials, neuroscience and other fields; a better experience for reporting reagents and equipment; and easier to use templates.

Publish with PLOS and your protocols with and let’s keep science open, transparent and reproducible together.


Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship and Memorial Fund Recipients Announced -

Majd Al-shihabi CC BY Ziad Tareq Hassan

The inaugural Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship was awarded today to Majd Al-shihabi, a Palestinian-Syrian engineer and urban planning graduate based in Beirut, Lebanon. The Fellowship provides operational costs and a stipend of $50,000USD to carry out work honoring the legacy of Syrian activist Bassel Khartabil. The announcement was made at the 2018 Creative Commons Global Summit by Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley and filmmaker Dana Trometer. In tandem with the launch of the Fellowship, Creative Commons announced the first three recipients of the Bassel Khartabil Memorial Fund: Egypt-based The Mosireen Collective, and Lebanon-based and ASI-REM/ADEF Lebanon.

The Fellowship will support Majd’s efforts in building a unified platform for Syrian and Palestinian oral history archives, as well as the digitizing and release of previously forgotten 1940s era public domain maps of Palestine. “Even though I never met Bassel, I am realizing that the projects and the communities that I have been involved in are influenced by his spirit of openness and collaboration,” says Fellow Majd Al-shihabi. “I hope that through my projects, I will propagate those visions for re-building our Palestinian and Syrian societies towards a fair and free future.”

“It has been extraordinary to see the range of projects and initiatives proposed for this first Fellowship honoring Bassel’s work,” offered Bassel’s widow, Syrian human rights lawyer Noura Ghazi. “Bassel was first and foremost a proud member and leader within Syria’s Creative Commons, open source and free culture communities. I would like to send my heartfelt thanks to everyone at Creative Commons for all the love and support they gave us throughout the hard years Bassel spent in a Syrian prison. I would like to congratulate Majd and the Memorial Fund recipients and I know Bassel would have been a great colleague and supporter of all involved. I wish you good luck with the summit and I regret not being able to be there with you.”

The Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship was made possible by the support and funding from organizational partners Creative Commons, Wikimedia Foundation, Mozilla, Fabricatorz Foundation, #FREEBASSEL, #NEWPALMYRA, Jimmy Wales Foundation, SMEX, and YallaStartup.

Bassel Khartabil by freebassel, CC0

The Bassel Khartabil Memorial Fund is generously supported by Private Internet Access, the family of Bassel Khartabil, and individual donors.

Inaugural Fellowship to focus on a vibrant platform for sharing oral histories and release of public domain maps of Palestine

Majd Al-shihabi’s work as the Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellow will focus on collaboration with archivists and oral historians in Lebanon and beyond to increase the accessibility and openness of Syrian and Palestinian oral history collections online. In tandem, Majd will work with local GIS and mapping communities in Lebanon to digitize and publish recently discovered print maps of Palestine from the pre-1940s, British Mandate era. These archival maps will help identify the location of long-since destroyed villages, landmarks, and communities in an open and freely-redistributable web platform, ensuring the perseverance of Palestinian history and culture.

Three recipients of Bassel Khartabil Memorial Fund

The Fellowship was presented alongside three inaugural Bassel Khartabil Memorial Fund grants, awarded to Egypt-based The Mosireen Collective, and Beirut-based organizations Sharq and ASI-REM/ADEF Lebanon (Arab Studies Institute-Research and Education Methodologies / Arab Digital Expressions Foundation). Grants are valued at up to $10,000USD and targeted at work or projects that will unfold through May 2019.

The Mosireen Collective: Archive –

The Mosireen Collective is a volunteer media group born out of the rapid expansion of citizen journalism and cultural activism during the Egyptian revolution of 2011. Mosireen worked to film, document, edit and upload video works related to the revolution, and to train and organize video activists, as well as establish a physical space for meetings and screenings. Following the military coup of 2013, the Collective migrated its work entirely to the web and focused on the creation of, a predominantly open source collection of 858 hours of filmed, indexed, and geo-located archival footage from within the Egyptian revolution.

With support from the Memorial Fund, the Collective will expand and grow the online collection, and work to establish it as a “living,” growing, and responsive collection of video works. The Collective plans to launch new workshops and training for video activists, bring together other collections and collectors of video, engage new volunteers to archive and annotate works, and train them in the use of open-source video platform to help them upload their own footage. Arab World Voices Library –

Sharq’s mission is to strengthen the ability of Arab citizens to hear and be heard, and to engage in honest and productive interactions. Sharq carries out this work primarily through the production of oral history collections that capture the stories and experiences of individuals across the Arab world. Sharq’s Managing Director, Reem Maghribi, is a journalist and communications professional who has focused Sharq’s project efforts around empowering citizens to gain skills for expression and debate, through publishing, training and cultural initiatives.

To date, Sharq has produced varied collections of hundreds of video and audio recorded oral histories from across the Arab region, all under CC license. Recent collections center on culture and society in Syria prior to 2011, human rights abuses during the Gaddafi era in Libya, and employment for Palestinians in Lebanon. The Arab World Voices Library will see Sharq’s wider collection of online, oral histories combined into a single, virtual library destination. Through workshops and online training, visitors from around the world will be invited to explore and help curate and grow the library for future generations.


ASI-REM / ADEF Lebanon: Youth Media Activists Camp –

The Arab Digital Expression Foundation builds spaces and fosters environments focused on digital expression, learning, skills development, and empowerment of Arab-speaking teenagers and youth to strengthen their engagement with society. ADEF promotes the creative use of media, art, and technology – with a strong focus on the promotion of open source and free culture tools and outputs – to increase the production and dissemination of Arabic knowledge and culture.

ADEF Lebanon, CC BY

ADEF Lebanon has been conducting the Youth Media Activists Camp since 2014. The 10-day camps are an annual gathering place for exchange of knowledge and skills for up to 50 young participants representing collectives, student and social activists, media groups, technologists, and aspiring writers and journalists. Participants take an active role in designing and planning the camps, with an emphasis on developing skills and abilities central to collaboration, expression, and community-building. This year’s camps, partially supported by the Memorial Fund, will continue to mobilize and catalyze a new community of Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian social and political activists.

2018 CC Global Summit

The Memorial Fund and Fellowship recipients were announced at the 2018 Creative Commons Global Summit, the annual gathering of technologists, legal experts, academics, activists, and community members who work to promote the power of open worldwide. Held in Toronto, Ontario, the summit brought together over 450 participants this year.

Summit keynotes this year included Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director, Katherine Maher, Director of Libraries at MIT, Chris Bourg, and Ruth L. Okediji, the Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard University and Co-Director of the Berkman-Klein Center. Other notable speakers include Lawrence Lessig, advocate for US democratic reform and Creative Commons founder. Yasmin Fedda, BAFTA-nominated filmmaker, presented exclusive footage from her film, “Ayouni,” which probes the fates of Bassel Khartabil and Italian Jesuit priest Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, two high-profile figures in Syria’s pro-democracy movement who were both forcibly disappeared in the early days of the Syrian revolution. Creative Commons’ CEO Ryan Merkley moderated a conversation with the filmmaker.

During the summit, Creative Commons also announced the launch of its new CC Certificates program, an in-depth course and certification program about Creative Commons open licenses, open practices and the ethos of the Commons, CC’s new Global Network outreach strategy to expand and grow a global community of affiliates and volunteers, and announced a landmark 1.4 billion works shared under CC licenses.

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Announcing Open Registration for CC Certificates -

In response to the growing use of CC licenses globally, and the corresponding need for open licensing expertise, Creative Commons is officially launching the CC Certificate program today. Registration for the Certificate program is now open and details are available on the Certificates website.

The CC Certificate provides an-in depth study of Creative Commons licenses and open practices – helping you become an expert in open licensing and the Commons. The program is offered both as a 10-week online course starting in July 2018 as well as a week-long, in-person bootcamp in 2019. In keeping with our values, we will openly license (CC BY) the Certificate content–making downloadable and editable file formats available for informal learning from our website by July 2018.

The CC Certificate uniquely develops participants’ open licensing proficiency and understanding of the broader context for open advocacy. Course content addresses copyright law, CC legal tools, and Commons values and practices. Currently geared for educators and librarians, the Certificate will soon be offered for additional audiences (such as government and GLAM).

Participants who successfully complete the Certificate program receive a digital Certificate (PDF) that recognizes specialization in open licensing and the Commons, and the ability help others understand and implement open licenses. Certificate recipients will be able to create new openly licensed resources, adapt and innovate on existing open materials – keeping their institution’s knowledge base relevant and up to date. Certificate recipients will also be equipped to meet open licensing requirements increasingly present in government and foundation grants and contracts.

We want to express our gratitude to our Beta cohort of 50 who helped us build, test, and refine the content, as well as Lumen Learning and Canvas for providing the instruction and platform support.

Course Registration is open! Sign up here. We look forward to working with you.

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The Commons Opens Up the World -

Cynthia Khoo on net neutrality, where creativity comes from, and getting involved with the Creative Commons Summit

Based in Toronto, Cynthia Khoo is an internet and technology lawyer working at the intersection of digital rights, copyright and freedom of expression. In advance of the Creative Commons Global Summit, we’re gathering the stories of inspiring humans working around the world to shape the Commons’ future. We want to share your story, too — drop by the “Humans of the Commons” listening lounge at the Summit to get interviewed and add your voice. Here’s an edited transcript of Cynthia’s story:

I first got involved with Creative Commons last year when the Creative Commons Global Summit happened in Toronto. I had just moved to Toronto, so it seemed like a great opportunity to see what the organization did firsthand. The summit was an amazing experience; I loved it. It felt unlike other conferences I’d been to up to that point.

After that I went from just being aware of Creative Commons to actively wanting to be a part of it. I got added to the Creative Commons Slack – I hung out for a bit, just to see what was up and keep an eye out for ways to get involved. I was working with Open Media at the time on their copyright reform platform, and because Creative Commons is in that space as well we found opportunities to collaborate together.

So when the opening came up for volunteers to help organize this year’s summit, I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to help out and pay it forward.

From the 2017 CC Summit in Toronto. Sebastiaan ter Burg — Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) “Yes! They got it!!”

One recent success I’m really proud of is a significant victory for net neutrality here in Canada. Net neutrality is under serious threat in the U.S. and around the world right now, and last year’s hearing was similarly critical for Canada. It focused on “zero rating,” which is about whether phone and cable companies should be allowed to discriminate or privilege some content on your mobile phone data plan, like certain music or video services.

One of the challenges we faced from the parties on the opposing side, I thought, was a misrepresentation around how our internet access is structured. Their argument conflated two very different layers: the access component of going online, and the content component. If you think of a layer cake, it was like they were trying to cut through both layers of the cake and serve them to consumers as slices. That would essentially be a form of Internet rationed out to users piece by piece, as opposed to a neutral Internet connection that’s essential for access to information and freedom of expression.

I wanted to make it really clear that wasn’t an accurate characterization of how the system actually works. We had to figure out how to make the Commissioners see that there are reasons we need to keep those layers distinct, going back to basic telecom principles like common carriage and non-discrimination between users in similar situations. That was something I spent a lot of time trying to think through, because they came at that argument from several different angles.

When the decision came out, the Commissioners explicitly cited some of the arguments that we had made and language we had used. Other public interest groups and individuals intervened in the case and made similar arguments — but it was important to me and I had spent so much time on it… I just had this moment of: “Yes! They got it!!”

We ended up winning the case. There’s some debate about how strongly they ruled in our favor, but they established a framework that was along the lines of what we were arguing for.

From Theft: A History of Music CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 “Where’s the line between imitation and inspiration?”

I believe the greatest threat to the Commons today is disproportionate copyright enforcement.  That has a number of effects and attacks the Commons from multiple angles.

Copyright enforcement itself is of course fine, and we need it; artists and creators should have their work protected and get due compensation for it. But when copyright enforcement becomes disproportionate, things go off the rails. That’s where you end up with mis-ranked priorities — like placing some publishers’ royalties above freedom of expression or above access to information.

So much of creation, whether it’s music or film writing, is iterative. It’s based on the past.

Disproportionate copyright enforcement also stops new things from even being created in the first place, because so much of creation, whether it’s music or film writing, is iterative. It’s based on the past.

There’s this amazing graphic novel called Theft: A History of Music about how music is based on imitation and iteration and inspiration. Where’s the line between imitation and inspiration?

If modern-day copyright laws existed in the past, it’s possible things like jazz or blues wouldn’t even exist today at all.

They would have been sued out of existence. The type of music deemed “worthy” of copyright had a racialized aspect as well. A lot of Westernized classical music, for example, was protected because the melody was considered copyrightable. But other types of music – music that was more beats-based or rhythms-based and associated with African-American musicians – the courts found was not copyrightable. That appears to be based more on a cultural difference than something inherent in the music itself. So when you have that kind of selective enforcement, is it really about creators’ rights? Or is it actually about power and concentrating control?

From Theft: A History of Music CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 “Nothing in the world is equally distributed right now”

Access to information, freedom of expression, diversity, social progress, social, political, and economic equality — all of these things are advanced by a vibrant Commons. The Commons opens up the world. It opens different aspects of the world to different groups of people for whom it might otherwise be closed.

It’s only by removing unfair barriers that we will get to a better world.

That’s so important because nothing in the world is equally distributed right now. Everything is unfairly distributed — because you happen to be born into a rich family, say, or happen to be born in Canada. A vibrant Commons is where these things come out, and it provides a way to remove some of those unfair barriers. And it’s only by removing unfair barriers that we will get to a better world.

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5 Things I’m looking forward to at the CC Global Summit -

Photo by Sebastiaan Ter Burg, CC BY

The CC Summit begins tomorrow. For the second year in a row, we’re sold out, and it’s our largest event yet. The summit is organized every year by a spectacular group of international contributors from the CC community, with stellar support from the CC staff. This year’s event was co-chaired by Claudia Cristiani of CC El Salvador, and our own Cable Green, Director of Open Education. They led the process of developing the program, working with a volunteer program group from around the world.

The CC Summit is much more than its three great keynotes and 110+ sessions: it’s full of surprises, big and small. Last year, we revealed the 3-D printed Tetrapylon, the UnCommon Women colouring book, and added Ontario’s new Chief Digital Officer Hillary Hartley as a surprise keynote. This year we have more great things in store for you. We can’t wait.

Here are five things I hope you’ll explore at this year’s summit:

The growing network

The most significant community investment we’ve ever made has been to completely redesign the CC network to enable collaborative governance and decision-making, deeper engagement, and community leadership. The affiliate network, which made CC a truly international organization, is evolving into the CC Global Network, which focuses on enabling individual contributors to collaborate in international chapters. You can sign up today to become a member, and there’s an entire track of sessions to help you get involved.

Humans of the Commons

CC board member Johnathan Nightingale often says, “It’s all made of people.” The Humans of the Commons project is an interactive listening lounge where you can drop by, get interviewed, and share your story with the rest of the Summit, Creative Commons network and the world. You’ll find them on the 2nd floor.

Sebastiaan ter Burg

With so many incredible contributors in the CC movement, it’s nice to have great photos. If you give public talks, having a headshot makes you look more professional. CC community photographer Sebastiaan ter Burg will have a photo booth set up to take individual and group shots.

Inaugural Bassel Khartabil Memorial Fellowship

Last year, we learned of the death of CC friend and community leader Bassel Khartabil. At the request of his family, we established and led the development of a fellowship in his name. With our many open community partners, we’ll be announcing the first fellow, along with a series of funded community-based projects.

More CC surprises

There are always other surprises in store, so keep your eyes and ears open. The CC staff have been working hard to create some delightful commons experiences for you, including some stellar visual and audio experiences. See you soon!

The post 5 Things I’m looking forward to at the CC Global Summit appeared first on Creative Commons.

Upcoming highlights from the CC Global Summit -

The Creative Commons Global Summit, the annual event for the promotion of open knowledge, sharing, and the Commons around the globe, kicks off on Friday in Toronto, Canada. This can’t miss event will bring together more than 450 advocates, activists, lawyers, educators, policy-makers and technologists for over 110 sessions about open education; galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM); legal and copyright reform; open access; the future of the Commons; and the Creative Commons Global Network.

CEO Ryan Merkley says, “At its heart, the CC Summit is a community event — people from all over the world built the program, selected the speakers, and will now travel to Toronto to plan the future of the collaborative commons. It’s inspiring.”

Keynotes and panels will feature Katherine Maher, Executive Director of Wikipedia / Wikimedia Foundation, Chris Bourg, Director of MIT Libraries, and Ruth L. Okediji, John Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard University and Co-Director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Each day of the Summit, Creative Commons will launch a new project or piece of work, including the 2017 State of the Commons annual report, the official launch of the CC Certification Program for Librarians and Educators, and the much-anticipated announcement of the recipients of the Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship and Memorial Fund. The fellowship announcement will be accompanied by exclusive footage from award-winning, BAFTA nominated documentarian Yasmin Fedda, whose film “Ayouni” chronicles the lives of Khartabil and Jesuit Priest Paolo Dall’Oglio, both killed in Syria in the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Merkley will be joined via video conference by Khartabil’s widow, Syrian human rights lawyer Noura Ghazi Safadi, to present the award.

Featured sessions at the CC Summit include:

Thank you to Private Internet Access, lead sponsor of the CC Global Summit, as well as supporting sponsors: The Argosy Foundation, Top Hat, eCampus Ontario, Mozilla, Re:Create Coalition, Intellus Learning, Lumen Learning, Yoyow, and in-kind sponsors Canvas and Shareable.

Keynotes will be streamed at 11AM Friday, 10:15AM Saturday, and 10:30AM Sunday, EST, on YouTube @creativecommons. Follow the Summit on Twitter at #ccsummit.

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Katherine Maher on a generosity of spirit and contributing to the Commons -

The Wikimedia and Creative Commons communities are inextricably linked, sharing networks, content, and a vision of the world’s knowledge collaboratively governed in a Global Commons built on gratitude and sharing.

Photo by Victor Grigas, CC BY-SA 3.0

Katherine Maher has been the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation since 2016, and is one of the leading advocates for Open around the world. As a leader, her centering of community voice and the Wikimedia global network, as well as a strategic vision built around Wikimedia 2030 has led to some of the organization’s most creative growth and evolution.

Katherine will be speaking on Friday, April 13 at 11AM at the CC Global Summit and will follow up her talk with a panel on “The Big Open,” exploring how networks for Open can work together collaboratively and effectively.

The Wikimedia 2030 strategic document proposes that Wikimedia become the essential infrastructure for free knowledge. What does this strategic statement mean to the Wikimedia organization and what does it mean to the movement?
Wikimedia is one of the largest and most widely used free knowledge resources in the world. More than a billion devices visit our sites every month and we have been supported by millions of people over the years. In some ways, to the extent that an open source project is successful and has a daily tangible and visible impact on people’s’ lives, Wikimedia is the definition of that success.

What we’ve also seen… is that Wikipedia is the essential infrastructure for free knowledge in many places in the world. We have stepped into that role in different language communities where free knowledge may not have as robust an ecosystem.

Both Creative Commons and Wikimedia provide valuable infrastructure for the open web. As institutions working towards complementary goals, how do you see this these organizations as part of a larger global community of open knowledge?
Like in open source, CC and Wikimedia are part of the core infrastructure – but we play different roles on the stack. More than 50% of the content across the internet relies on open source and Wikimedia is the largest website or open media property on the planet. That means that we have been successful in achieving our open goal. The Creative Commons licenses power billions of freely licensed content that is accessible to the whole world. We’ve reached a point in which our model has demonstrated its success. Now the question is, “Where do we go from there?”

As communities and projects that started based on the premise that individual contributors and individual people all over the world create and build open culture and the Commons, we now see that other institutions and players are getting involved.

As successful projects, how do we go forward from here? What’s the course that we chart?

Practically, how do you see the networks working together and sharing resources?
As Ryan [Merkley, Creative Commons CEO] likes to say, “Many Creative Commoners are Wikimedians, Mozillians, Open Street Mappers…” If you are part of an open community, the distinction between those communities is artificial.

There’s already collaboration and mutual support across these communities. What are the fights that we want to fight together and how are we more effective when we [collaborate]? How can we bring in more institutions that historically haven’t been part of our ecosystem, and how can we scale up at this size?

Those are great conversations for us to have as partners, and to learn from our successes and our failures as well, as we try to take these missions forward.

What does a vibrant, usable Commons powered by collaboration and gratitude mean to you? What do you think sharing will look like online in the future?
A vibrant Commons is something that everybody has access to and people can give back to in a meaningful way. The work of creating a Commons doesn’t just happen –there’s labor involved… When we think about the importance of supporting and ensuring that the Commons is a part of the world in which we live, that speaks to the issue of generosity.

Those people who contribute to the Commons are actually a very tiny fraction of the overall whole. Some folks contribute directly, because they contribute their work, their creations, their ideas, and others contribute financially.

But again, it’s a small group – although it is a very generous group. If we were to imagine a future in which [the Commons] is a vibrant and robust ecosystem that continues to grow and thrive, then generosity needs to be something that’s reflected by a much larger group of individuals than it is today.

And we need to be generous in return.

We need to be generous in the spirit in which we approach these conversations, in the way that we welcome people into our communities, in the way that we think about the folks who use the content that we create. Generosity flows both ways.

How do you complement the work that Wikimedia provides as a tool or a product on the open web with the community building work you’ve done as an organization?
They’re deeply interrelated. I often talk about how what makes us different is the fact that we are a community project, but what makes us powerful is the fact that we are a website that’s used by hundreds of millions of people all over the planet. I don’t think you get to have one without the other. Wikimedia would not exist without the incredible community that has built it, that supports it, that has defined its values, and that ensures we stay true to those values.

We support the websites because they are how we achieve our mission, but that support has to be in service of the people that we are trying to serve, like our community members and the people who read, use, and learn from the knowledge we support.

How is Wikimedia working toward a better web as an organization and a community? How are you working toward a better world?
To a better web – we are one of the larger open source projects that exists today and every single thing that Wikimedia produces is open source. We believe that a web that is open, interoperable, and rewriteable is the right sort of web.

We stand apart from any other platforms in that we are largely trusted, we are community governed, we present a model for what we can and should be, and we hearken back to the ideals of the early web [of sharing].

In terms of working for a better world? What animates all Wikimedians is the belief that when more people have access to knowledge the world is, in fact, a better place. People are more informed and have access to critical information that shapes the way they make decisions in their lives. They have the opportunity to educate themselves in their communities.

While we don’t necessarily say in our vision statement that “we’re out here to change the world,” that is exactly what most Wikimedians believe we’re doing every day.

The post Katherine Maher on a generosity of spirit and contributing to the Commons appeared first on Creative Commons.

“This is all about Sharing“ -

“This is all about sharing”
By Sebastiaan Ter Burg, CC BY-SA Aris Maro on the power of networking, librarians, and sharing African knowledge with the world

Aristarik Hubert Maro is the CC Tanzania Public Lead, an executive secretary at the Tanzania Library Association, and a PhD candidate at University Dar es Salaam. In advance of the Creative Commons Global Summit, we’re gathering the stories of humans working around the world to shape the Commons’ future. We want to share your story, too – drop by the “Humans of the Commons” listening lounge at the Summit to get interviewed and add your voice. Here’s an edited transcript of Aris’ story:

I was part of the team that founded Creative Commons in Tanzania. Since that time, we’ve created a large network and come to know so many people. To me, that’s the greatest strength of my involvement with CC; I’ve gotten to connect not only with people from Tanzania, but also people from around the world.

I now have friends in places like South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria – and colleagues in South Korea and Canada, where I attended previous summits. If it weren’t for Creative Commons, I wouldn’t have met these people. The success is the power of networking.

Creative Commons has become a big part of my life, especially when I’m talking about issues of shared data and licenses. That’s why I’ve decided to focus my PhD research on Creative Commons licenses. And why it’s a big honor for me to be able to represent Tanzania at the Creative Commons Summit in Toronto.

A CC Advocacy training at Lugalo Secondary School, Iringa region Librarians as “masters of learning”

When I first started organizing trainings and events about Creative Commons, people wondered: “Why is this librarian talking about sharing and licenses and the like?” Most people used to think that librarianship was just about books, books, books. But today, Creative Commons has helped people perceive librarianship as part and parcel of technology.

Creative Commons has helped me change people’s perceptions about librarianship in the country.

You can’t separate librarianship today – or library teaching or information science – from technology. People are coming to realize that libraries are where this knowledge is stored, and that if you want to access knowledge on just about anything, whether through old technologies or new, the library can provide that.

This is all about sharing. Librarians are becoming more like “masters of learning.” And if you empower librarians with high-tech skills, it’s a completely different story. This is the direction we are going. My work with CC has helped bring us to that level.

Creative Commons Tanzania and Open University of Tanzania donating computers to Kumbukumbu Primary School in Dar es Salaam Sharing local knowledge and skills globally

One of the biggest challenges we face in Tanzania is knowledge around how best to utilize technology – especially when technology is moving and changing so fast. Each night when you go to sleep, you wake up to find that everything you knew has changed completely. This has been the biggest challenge in my work: getting people access to the knowledge and know-how they need when the pace of change is so fast.

You cannot talk about a better world today without talking about technology, and about the sharing of technology.

One of the greatest challenges to the Commons that I see is understanding of the licenses by the majority of the African continent. If we are able to reach out to all of the creators – the artists, the musicians, the writers – in the grassroots, in different places, in the rural areas, that will be a great opportunity for Creative Commons.

I want to ensure we aren’t leaving out the potential creators and creative people in the grassroots. There are so many new platforms where we can share their viewpoints and demonstrate their skills and knowledge. Creative Commons has a big part to play to make sure that all of the achievement of these people, their creativity and skills, can be shared globally. We need to reach out to ensure African knowledge and skills are shared globally.

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Derecho de autor en el tratado de libre comercio Mercosur-Unión Europea: pocas mejoras y muchos retrocesos -

Publicado originalmente en inglés el 6 de abril de 2018. Traducción: Equipo de CC Uruguay.

Un borrador recientemente filtrado del tratado de libre comercio Mercosur-Unión Europea muestra pequeñas mejoras en el capítulo sobre propiedad intelectual. Parece que la extensión innecesaria e injustificada de 20 años de duración del derecho de autor ahora se elimina del acuerdo, y las partes han introducido cierta flexibilidad para que los usuarios eviten las medidas tecnológicas de protección con el fin de ejercer sus derechos. Pero en su mayor parte, las negociaciones continúan favoreciendo un mayor endurecimiento de los derechos de autor a expensas de las protecciones para los derechos de los usuarios y los bienes comunes. Como explicamos a continuación, las medidas para proteger el dominio público continúan diluidas, la disposición que requiere una compensación obligatoria -independientemente de que los creadores la quieran o no- se mantiene y la sección de excepciones y limitaciones al derecho de autor se reduce a un mínimo.

El año pasado, en colaboración con varios capítulos de nuestra red global, Creative Commons publicó un análisis que abarca diversos temas relacionados con el derecho de autor presentados en un borrador del capítulo de propiedad intelectual del tratado de libre comercio Mercosur-UE.

La Unión Europea (UE) y el Mercosur han estado negociando este tratado de libre comercio (TLC) desde el año 2000. El tratado es expansivo y se ocupa de aspectos tan dispares como el comercio de bienes industriales y agrícolas, cambios potenciales a las reglas que rigen a las pequeñas y medianas empresas, compras gubernamentales y disposiciones de propiedad intelectual, incluyendo los derechos de autor y las patentes. En nuestro análisis del año pasado, examinamos cuestiones que afectarían el dominio público, la creatividad y el intercambio de conocimiento, así como los derechos de los usuarios en la era digital.

Las negociaciones del TLC entre el Mercosur y la UE tienen lugar en un entorno en el que se está definiendo de manera creciente la regulación de derecho de autor a través de acuerdos comerciales multilaterales. En nuestro informe, los principales puntos que discutimos fueron los siguientes:

  • los plazos de derecho de autor no deben extenderse,
  • los derechos de los usuarios deben protegerse expandiendo las limitaciones y excepciones al derecho de autor,
  • la remuneración obligatoria interfiere con el licenciamiento Creative Commons,
  • las medidas tecnológicas de protección no deben limitar el ejercicio de los derechos de los usuarios.

También recordamos el principio de sentido común según el cual las negociaciones de tratados comerciales deben ser transparentes e involucrar a la ciudadanía, no secretas y decididas a puerta cerrada.

Desde nuestro análisis del año pasado, ha habido dos nuevos borradores filtrados del capítulo sobre propiedad intelectual. Uno fue publicado por Greenpeace en diciembre de 2017 en base a la 28ª ronda de negociaciones. Otro fue publicado la semana pasada por el sitio web, basado en el texto consolidado tal como quedó al final de la 32ª ronda de negociaciones que finalizó el mes pasado.

Como Jorge Gemetto escribió en el blog de la Asociación Communia, el borrador del capítulo de propiedad intelectual filtrado por Greenpeace reveló un gran desacuerdo entre las partes.

Se advierte fácilmente que, mientras el interés de la Unión Europea es el de aumentar los plazos y áreas de protección de la propiedad intelectual, así como imponer nuevas sanciones penales para las infracciones, los países del Mercosur buscan evitar estándares más altos de propiedad intelectual, incorporar excepciones y limitaciones obligatorias al derecho de autor, y favorecer la identificación y protección del dominio público.

Como lo advierte Gemetto, existe un gran desbalance entre el poder de negociación de cada parte, y la UE claramente tiene la ventaja. Estando la UE ya alineada con el marco restrictivo de propiedad intelectual “TRIPS Plus“, busca exportar a otros lugares estas medidas de incremento de la protección y su aplicación.

Finalmente, llegamos al borrador del capítulo de propiedad intelectual filtrado recientemente que publicó Hay algunos cambios importantes desde la versión publicada por Greenpeace.

La mención del dominio público se diluirá y quedará sepultada

La filtración de Greenpeace de diciembre de 2017 encontró que las partes discutían si (y cómo) debía mencionarse el apoyo al dominio público en el Artículo 4 (Principios). La UE propuso el texto: “Las Partes reconocen la importancia de un dominio público robusto, rico y accesible”, mientras que los países del Mercosur abogaron por: “Las Partes tendrán debidamente en cuenta la necesidad de preservar un dominio público robusto, rico y accesible, y cooperarán entre sí para identificar los diferentes materiales que han ingresado en dominio público”.

La versión de la UE ganó. El texto consolidado compartido por ahora dice: “Las Partes reconocen la importancia de un dominio público robusto, rico y accesible”. Además, una nota en el documento mueve el texto de la sección “Principios” a la sección “Cooperación”.

La remuneración obligatoria permanece

La borrador anterior, publicado por Greenpeace, mostraba que las partes discutían si habría una remuneración obligatoria (Artículo 9.6) para los intérpretes, ejecutantes y productores de música. La UE quería que el texto dijera: “Las Partes otorgarán un derecho para garantizar que el usuario pague una única remuneración equitativa a los artistas intérpretes o ejecutantes y productores de fonogramas, si un fonograma publicado con fines comerciales, o una reproducción de dicho fonograma, se utiliza para la transmisión por medios inalámbricos o para cualquier comunicación al público.” El Mercosur quería que este derecho fuera opcional, sugiriendo que el texto dijera: “Las Partes pueden otorgar…”.

La versión de la UE ganó. El texto consolidado ahora dice “otorgarán”. Este cambio muestra un esquema que se repite en las negociaciones: las disposiciones que tienen que ver con la aplicación de la propiedad intelectual y la protección de los titulares de derechos son obligatorias (“deberán”), mientras que las disposiciones que beneficiarían a los usuarios y al interés público son solo opcionales (“pueden”). Este tipo de disposición interferiría con el funcionamiento de algunas licencias Creative Commons, exigiendo un pago incluso cuando la intención del autor es compartir su trabajo creativo con el mundo de forma gratuita.

La extensión del plazo de derecho de autor fue puesta en suspenso

El borrador filtrado por Greenpeace reveló que las partes continuaban discutiendo sobre el plazo de derecho de autor (Artículo 9.7). La UE quería la vida de autor + 70 años, mientras que el Mercosur quería la vida + 50 años.

El texto consolidado ahora dice “transcurrirá durante la vida del autor y no menos de 50 años o por 70 años cuando así lo disponga la legislación nacional de las Partes…”.

La versión del Mercosur ganó porque el texto indica que se aplicarán los términos nacionales existentes. Esta es una mejora significativa en el sentido de que no obliga a aumentar el plazo a los países que tienen un plazo más corto. Ampliar aún más los plazos de derecho de autor no hace nada por promover la creación de nuevas obras, e incluso exacerba los desafíos relacionados con los plazos extensos, como el problema de las obras huérfanas.

Las excepciones y limitaciones fueron reducidas al mínimo

La filtración de Greenpeace mostró que las partes discutían sobre el alcance de la sección sobre limitaciones y excepciones (Artículo 9.9). El Mercosur quería incluir una lista no exhaustiva de usos aceptables para ser cubiertos bajo limitaciones y excepciones, incluyendo la crítica, la cobertura de noticias, la enseñanza y la investigación.

Sin embargo, el texto consolidado publicado por no incluye la lista no exhaustiva. En su lugar, esencialmente vuelve a apoyarse en el texto de la regla de los tres pasos (“Cada Parte establecerá excepciones y limitaciones a los derechos exclusivos solo en ciertos casos especiales que no entren en conflicto con la explotación normal de la obra y no perjudiquen injustificadamente los intereses legítimos de los titulares de derechos”).

La protección del derecho de autor y las medidas de aplicación de dicha protección siempre deben equilibrarse con consideraciones de interés público; en otras palabras, los derechos de los autores siempre deben limitarse, reconociendo y defendiendo los derechos de los usuarios en el ecosistema del derecho de autor. El texto consolidado solo proporciona una mínima consideración para los derechos de los usuarios.

Una cierta flexibilidad para ejercer los derechos bajo los esquemas de medidas tecnológicas de protección

Por último, la versión publicada por Greenpeace reveló que la UE estaba proponiendo un nuevo texto en torno a las medidas tecnológicas de protección (TPM, por sus siglas en inglés) (Artículo X.15). En ese borrador anterior, no se incluía ningún texto que autorizara a eludir las medidas tecnológicas para que un usuario pueda ejercer sus derechos bajo una excepción o limitación.

Sin embargo, el texto consolidado ahora incluye el siguiente texto: “Las Partes (UE: cuando sea permisible de conformidad con su legislación nacional) deberán (UE: podrán) garantizar que los titulares de derechos pongan a disposición del beneficiario de una excepción o limitación los medios para beneficiarse de esa excepción o limitación, en la medida necesaria para beneficiarse de esa excepción o limitación”. Por lo tanto, parece que habrá al menos alguna consideración legal para proteger la capacidad de los usuarios de eludir las TPM para ejercer sus derechos bajo una excepción o limitación.


Si bien es positivo que al menos las partes están llegando a la conclusión de renunciar a la extensión innecesaria del plazo de derecho de autor, la mayoría de los cambios en el texto consolidado muestran un persistente endurecimiento de la protección del derecho de autor, que favorece a los titulares de derechos a expensas de los usuarios y de los bienes comunes.

Además, las negociaciones siguen siendo esencialmente secretas y cerradas, con escaso conocimiento público salvo estas útiles filtraciones, y con pocas oportunidades para que la ciudadanía exprese sus preocupaciones. Es preciso reformar las negociaciones para apoyar plenamente un proceso que sea transparente, inclusivo y responsable.

The post Derecho de autor en el tratado de libre comercio Mercosur-Unión Europea: pocas mejoras y muchos retrocesos appeared first on Creative Commons.


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