Creativecommons.org

CC’s 4.0 license suite now in Greek

Guest post by Ioanna Tzagaraki from the University of Cyprus.

All six of the Creative Commons licenses v4.0 are now available in Greek as a result of the joint and volunteer effort of the University of Cyprus, the Pedagogical Institute of Cyprus, and the legal firm Ioannides Demetriou LLC. The multi-year process began when the first draft translation of the Creative Commons license into Greek was submitted to CC HQ in 2016.

Working under the supervision of Dr. Eleni Tatiana Synodinou, Associate Professor of the Dept. of Law at the University of Cyprus, the Greek Creative Commons licenses were drafted by volunteer law students of the University of Cyprus:

  • Alexander Gioumouxouzis, LL.B University of Cyprus
  • Constantina Markou, LL.B. University of Cyprus
  • Eleni Koumidou, Legal Consultant, LL.M Queen Mary University of London – Banking and Finance Law
  • Georgina Athanasiou, Attorney at Law, LL.B. University of Cyprus
  • Ioanna Georgiou, Attorney at Law, LL.B. University of Cyprus, European Master’s Degree on Human Rights and Democratisation, European InterUniversity Center
  • Ioanna Tzagkaraki, LL.B. University of Cyprus, Head of the Translation Working Group
  • Maria Spurou, Attorney at Law – Legal Consultant, LL.B. University of Cyprus.

The finalization of the Creative Commons licenses in Greek was succeeded in cooperation with CC Greece – EELLAK, represented by Alexandros Nousias.

With the Greek translation now published, Creative Commons Cyprus will continue communicating the Creative Commons licenses to local creators, users, and cultural institutions. To this end, the University of Cyprus, in coordination with the Pedagogical Institute of Cyprus, has already organized a series of conferences, seminars, and workshops in order to reinforce the message of “some rights reserved” and open access in Cyprus.

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Join us for A Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain

On January 1, 2019 in the United States, tens of thousands of new works will join iconic pieces such as Katsushika Hokusai’s Under the Wave off Kanagawa as a part of the public domain.

Save the date! Please join us on January 25, 2019 for a grand day of celebrating the public domain.

Co-hosted by Creative Commons and the Internet Archive, this celebration will feature a keynote address by Lawrence Lessig, lightning talks, demos, multimedia displays and more to mark the “re-opening” of the public domain in the United States. The event will take place at the Internet Archive in San Francisco, and is free and open to the public.

RSVP now before the tickets run out.

The public domain is our shared cultural heritage, a near limitless trove of creativity  that’s been reused, remixed, and reimagined over centuries to create new works of art and science. The public domain forms the building blocks of culture because these works are not restricted by copyright law. Generally, works come into the public domain when their copyright term expires. But U.S. copyright law has greatly expanded over time, so that now many works don’t enter the public domain for a hundred years or more. Ever since the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act, no new works have entered the public domain (well, none due to copyright expiration). But for the first time this January, hundreds of books, films, visual art, sheet music, and plays published in 1923 will be free of intellectual property restrictions, and anyone can use them for any purpose at all.

Join creative, legal, library, advocacy communities to celebrate the public domain growing again for the first time in decades, and come network with an amazing lineup of people and organizations who will help us welcome this new class of public domain works.  Presenters include Larry Lessig, academic, political activist, and founder of Creative Commons, Corynne McSherry, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cory Doctorow, science fiction author and co-editor of Boing Boing, Pam Samuelson, copyright scholar, Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons, Jamie Boyle, the man who literally wrote the book on the public domain, and many others.

In the evening, the celebration continues as we transition to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for the World Premiere of Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky’s Quantopia: The Evolution of the Internet,

a live concert synthesizing data and art, both original and public domain materials, in tribute to the depth and high stakes of free speech and creative expression involved in our daily use of media. Attendees of our Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain event can get discounted tickets here. If you can’t make the daytime event, separate tickets for Quantopia are available here.

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Welcome Kriti Godey, CC’s new Director of Engineering

I’m very excited to announce a new addition to the Creative Commons team. Please join me in welcoming Kriti Godey, who will be taking on the role of CC’s Director of Engineering.

Kriti joins our staff after four years in engineering leadership roles at Ridecell and a CTO role at CasaHop. We asked Kriti if she’d be up for writing a brief bio for the CC site. It’s pretty terrific, so I’ll share it here:

==

Kriti Godey (credit: Joseph Spiros, CC BY-ND)

Kriti shipped her first website when she was ten years old and has been coding ever since. Prior to joining CC, she focused on leading happy and productive distributed engineering teams at startups, and has enjoyed architecting and building both consumer-facing and enterprise software.

She is a firm believer in the value of remix culture and free software and is excited to expand its reach and accessibility through her work at CC.

Kriti grew up in southern India and moved to the U.S. to attend Oberlin College, where she majored in computer science and mathematics. She is now a proud American citizen, and lives in Oberlin with her husband and 13 overflowing bookcases.

==

I also want to thank the departing Paola Villarreal for her work as CC’s first Director of Product Engineering. It’s been my great pleasure to work with her, and I’m incredibly proud of all she has done in the position, and grateful for the team she’s helped build. CC will miss you, Paola, and we wish you great success in your new role.

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CC Certificate Changes and Improvements for 2019

Background: The CC Certificate provides an-in depth study of Creative Commons licenses and open practices, developing participants’ open licensing proficiency and understanding of the broader context for open advocacy. The course content targets copyright law, CC legal tools, values and recommended practices of working in a global commons. The CC Certificate is a 10-week online course for educators and academic librarians.

2018 was a big year for the Creative Commons Certificate program! We beta-tested the first two CC Certificate courses for educators and academic librarians, updated our course content, licensed it CC BY, and shared it with the world; we launched nine official courses for 225 participants, and have since iterated on almost every aspect of the Certificate based on feedback from the global community. As we approach 2019, we are taking stock of 2018’s learnings and now proudly announce updates for the new year.

Our approach to the CC Certificate is one of iteration based on community needs. Each year, we will evaluate what works and what can be improved, based on participant, instructor, and broader community feedback. Thanks to your input and our own lessons learned in 2018, we are making the following changes and improvements:

1) We’re updating our pricing. Why? First, because this program has to be sustainable – our new price will ensure we cover 100% of CC’s cost of delivery, including paying all community instructors who teach, technology and content maintenance, and program expansion and updates, including reaching new audiences and new languages. CC is a non-profit, and we want this program to thrive.

Second, from our initial launch, we knew that there would be some who couldn’t afford to pay full price for the program. As promised, we are creating a scholarship program so the Certificate can be more inclusive of colleagues with less ability to pay, especially CC’s vibrant communities in the Global South. Our new price allows us to build and replenish an annual scholarship fund, offering subsidized CC Certificates to as many participants as possible. Those who pay full price for the course subsidize those who are less able to do so. We will offer at least 15 scholarships in 2019, and hope to provide more as the program grows.

In 2019 and in years to come we will continue to make the CC Certificate both self-sufficient and financially accessible for our global audience.

2) There is more community demand for the Certificate training than CC can currently accommodate. To address this, we have built and will beta-test a CC Certificate Facilitator Training starting in January 2019. Ensuring there are more well-trained and knowledgeable facilitators will allow us offer more CC Certificate courses in the future.

3) While the Certificate program has hosted participants from every global region, we have drawn more participation from the U.S. and Canada. Because the Certificate program is global, we will continue to engage a more global, diverse community by:

  • Developing a scholarship program to support community members’ enrollment, particularly community members from the Global South (as mentioned above).
  • Supporting translations of Certificate content. Community members have already volunteered to translate the Certificate in multiple languages, from Bahasa to Italian to Arabic. We will support translations in a responsible way, ensuring languages are aligned with course developments and annual updates.
  • Developing more local case studies about copyright law and open licensing in different countries. Thanks to participants’ help, we have several case studies drafted.
  • Launching in-person Certificate trainings, or “bootcamps” specialized for select groups that need CC Certification in a short time-frame.
  • Assisting participants with new ways to learn and share with each other, since there is not one platform that works for everyone. For example, we learned a participant in China could only access our epub OER content (available here) rather than content on our main learning platform, Canvas. While we explore new avenues for learning and collaboration, we celebrate the ways participants are already doing this: hosting workshops and conference sessions, developing OER courses, and creating informational flyers for their institutions.
  • Revising the CC Certificate must balance a global, inclusive, and iterative approach with focused, specialized expertise. While we continue to gather participant recommendations and feedback from the global community, we will also launch a CC Certificate Advisory Board of legal and instructional design experts. The Advisory Board will provide input for annual content updates and engage with participants in online course webinars throughout the year.

We are proud of the Certificate we’ve built together so far. We accept anyone interested in taking the Certificate course; our costs are as low as possible, while still offering a scholarship program and maintaining quality content and services; and the course is supporting learners beyond the certification program — several other programs are freely remixing portions of our CC BY licensed Certificate OER for their own audiences. We couldn’t have done it without the contributions of dozens of experts, CC community leaders, and over 100 beta testers from all over the world. Thank you.

We will continue offering the CC Certificate with the greatest flexibility, openness and affordability we can. As such, it is important to us to keep improving the CC Certificate course with community input.

Opportunities for your engagement

In addition to the developments mentioned above, we will explore other improvements to the program in 2019 — making the CC Certificate more inclusive and globally accessible, while ensuring self-sustainability. Have ideas for us?

  • Share your ideas with #cccert on Twitter.
  • Continue to make notes and recommendations via Hypothes.is.
  • Use our CC BY licensed, downloadable and editable CC Certificate content, then let us know what is most useful to you.
  • Sign up to take a Certificate course and engage with the growing Certificate community of participants, alumni, mentors, facilitators, and content experts. Registration for courses in 2019 is open here.
  • Join us for an online Certificate overview and brainstorm session, exploring how to better deliver the Certificate and support open communities: 18:00 EST/ 23:00 UTC on https://www.uberconference.com/creativecommons. If you cannot join, please share questions in advance and we will share a recording. We look forward to working with you!

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CC Summit registration is now open!

Great news! We’re excited to announce that registration for the 2019 Creative Commons Global Summit is now open.

The Creative Commons Global Summit will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, 9-11 May 2019.

Join us for three days of dynamic programming at Museu do Oriente, with a special keynote evening event held at the historic Cineteatro Capitolio.

We’ve grown the CC Global Summit every year as hundreds of leading activists, advocates, librarians, educators, lawyers, technologists, and more have joined us for discussion and debate, workshops and planning, talks and community building. Whether you’re new to the community or a long-time contributor, the CC Global Summit is a can’t-miss event for anyone interested in the global movement for the commons.

Your Participant Pass includes: 

  • Access to all conference programming including workshops, talks, and keynotes (full schedule to be announced in early 2019)
  • Breakfast, lunch, and snacks served onsite every day
  • Evening events showcasing local Lisbon artists

Please be sure to read the event’s Code of Conduct. All attendees, speakers, sponsors, and volunteers at our conference are expected to cooperate to help ensure a safe environment for everyone.

Submit a proposal for the CC Global Summit program!

As always, the summit’s programming is built out of ideas from you. Are you an activist, artist, educator, creator, partner, community member, lawyer, journalist, or CC enthusiast? Submit a proposal for a summit session. We’re accepting proposals through December 10, 2018.

A huge thanks to the CC Portugal team for their ongoing support in co-hosting the event. We’re excited to see you in Lisbon in May!

Photo in graphic by Aurélien Maillet (aka sharkgraphic), used under CC0. Thanks, Aurélien!

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EU’s proposed link tax would [still] harm Creative Commons licensors

Chains by Christina McCarty, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In September the European Parliament voted to approve drastic changes to copyright law that would negatively affect creativity, freedom of expression, research, and sharing across the EU. Now the Parliament and Council (representing the Member State governments) are engaged in closed-door negotiations, and their task over the coming months is to come up with a reconciled version of the directive text, which will again be voted on in the European Parliament next year.

Article 11: The wrong solution to a real problem

A major provision that will be discussed is Article 11, the new “press publisher’s right” (also known as the link tax). Both the Parliament and Council have already approved versions of this unnecessary and counterproductive “publisher’s right,” which would require news aggregators that wish to index or incorporate links and snippets of journalistic content to first get a license or pay a fee to the publisher for their use online.

The Parliament’s version of Article 11 says Member States must adopt the new right so press publishers “may obtain fair and proportionate remuneration for the digital use of their press publications by information society service providers.”

Article 11 is ill-suited to address the challenges in supporting quality journalism, and it will further decrease competition and innovation in news delivery. Spain and Germany have already experimented with similar versions of this rule, and neither resulted in increased revenues for publishers. Instead, it likely decreased the visibility (and by extension, revenues) of published content—exactly the opposite of what was intended. Just last week a coalition of small- and medium-sized publishers sent a letter to the trilogue negotiators outlining how they will be harmed if Article 11 is adopted.

Collateral damage: those that want to share under CC

Not only is a link tax bad for business, it would undermine the intention of authors who wish to share without additional strings attached, such as creators who want to share works under open licenses. This could be especially harmful to Creative Commons licensors if it means that remuneration must be granted notwithstanding the terms of the CC license. This interpretation is not far-flung. As IGEL wrote last week,

“the Parliament’s proposal makes it clear that press publishers should receive financial compensation from search engine providers in particular when they display links to publishers’ websites. Member States, however, could now come up with the idea that this goal could be achieved most effectively if publishers could not waive their right to remuneration. Only the amount of the remuneration claim would then still be negotiable, but not its assertion.”

As we’ve said before, such a 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.”

When an author applies a Creative Commons licenses to their work, they grant to the public a worldwide, royalty-free license to use the work under certain terms. The license text specifically states, “To the extent possible, the Licensor waives any right to collect royalties from You for the exercise of the Licensed Rights, whether directly or through a collecting society under any voluntary or waivable statutory or compulsory licensing scheme.”

For example, the Spanish news site eldiario.es releases all of their content online for free under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. By doing so, they are granting to the public a worldwide, royalty-free license to use the work under certain terms. Other news publishers in Europe using CC licenses that could also find themselves swept up under this new provision include La Stampa, 20 Minutos, and openDemocracy. These outlets have made a conscious decision to share their works for free under Creative Commons licenses without having to jump through additional hoops of charging aggregators or search engines for displaying links and snippets to their stories. If Article 11 would be deemed an unwaivable right, would it prevent these news publishers from using CC altogether since the license would conflict with the legal requirement?   

We firmly believe the author’s right to choose to share, or to seek compensation for all or some uses of their works. At the same time, the EU copyright directive must find a solution that also honors those authors who choose to share with few or no restrictions.

What can be done?

Article 11 should be deleted. Publishers already benefit greatly from the copyrights they have in their content, and don’t need an additional exclusive right to protect or exploit those rights. It’s clear that an additional right for press publishers will not support quality journalism, increase the diversity of media content, 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.

For years academics and public interest advocates have advocated for an easier and more effective way to promote the aims of quality journalism and the ability of press publishers to sustain their efforts without a new press publishers right. This approach was presented in the Parliament by former JURI Rapporteur Comodini, and that would rely on a presumption that publishers are the rights holders, thus making it easier for these entities “to conclude licences and to seek application of the measures, procedures and remedies.” The Parliament’s own research even recommended such an approach. This framing, which draws from Directive 2004/48/EC on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, already provides a robust legal framework for the protection of content without the negative aspects of introducing a new right.

If including some version of Article 11 is unavoidable, the Council version should be prioritised, since it already includes some protections for works under open licenses, or in the public domain. For instance, the previous Council text includes the following provision: “When a work or other subject-matter is incorporated in a press publication on the basis of a non-exclusive licence, the rights […] may not be invoked to prohibit the use by other authorised users [or] works or other subject-matter whose protection has expired.” In addition, the Council text only permits a 1 year term of protection, as opposed to the 5 year term offered by the Parliament version.

So far, the direction of the EU copyright directive reflects a disturbing path toward increasing control of the web to benefit only powerful rights holders at the expense of the open internet, freedom of expression, and the rights of users and the public interest in the digital environment. In the current negotiations, the Parliament and Council should not double down and punish Creative Commons licensors and others who want to share broadly with the world. These authors and creators have made a deliberate choice to use CC legal tools so that others may benefit. Their contributions to the commons should be respected and protected.

Authors:

Timothy Vollmer is Senior Public Policy Manager at Creative Commons. 

Dr. Till Kreutzer is a lawyer,  journalist, and Creative Commons Global Network Council Representative for CC Germany. He leads the Initiative Against An Ancillary Copyright For Press Publishers (“Initiative gegen ein Leistungsschutzrecht”, or IGEL).

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CC Working with Flickr to Protect the Commons

Flickr is one of the most important platforms to host and share CC licensed works on the web, and over 400 million of the photos there are CC licensed – representing over a quarter of all CC licensed works on the web. When Flickr was acquired by online photography service SmugMug last year, we were excited to see that a family-owned values-driven company had purchased it.

When I visited the SmugMug offices, I met a group of people with a deep passion for photography communities and a love for Flickr. They were also worried about its future after many years of neglect and a lack of a viable business model. They were committed to getting the service back on track — doing all the necessary back-end engineering, fixing things that users hated like Yahoo! login, and protecting and expanding the Commons.

For the first time in a long time, I was optimistic about Flickr and its future. I still am.

Today, Flickr announced that they will be limiting the number of photos in their free accounts to 1,000 images, and offering an extended Pro service for $49.99 a year. Users have 3 months to consider their options. Many users are concerned such a limit on free account capacity might cause millions of CC images to be deleted from the Commons. A lot of people have reached out to us directly and asked what we can do. I’m confident that together we can find solutions, if we assume goodwill and bring our collective creativity to the problem.

Creative Commons is working closely with Flickr and its parent company SmugMug to find ways to protect and preserve the Commons, and ultimately help it grow and thrive. We want to ensure that when users share their works that they are available online in perpetuity and that they have a great experience.

At the same time, I think it’s fair to say that the business models that have powered the web for so long are fundamentally broken. Storage and bandwidth for hundreds of millions (if not billions) of photos is very expensive. We’ve all benefited from Flickr’s services for so long, and I’m hopeful we will find a way forward together.

I’m glad that Flickr hasn’t turned to surveillance capitalism as the business model for its own sustainability plan – but that does mean they’ll have to explore other options. No one wants to see works from the Commons deleted, and we’ll be the first ones to step forward to help if that ever were to happen.

I have confidence in Don and Ben and the SmugMug and Flickr teams: they want to do right for the Commons, and they understand how deeply CC and the photo Commons is integrated into the goodwill that Flickr has retained over all these years. We welcome your ideas on how we can help Flickr support the Commons, and hope we’ll be able to share something with you soon.

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Congratulations to the Graduates of our July 2018 Certificate Courses!

From July 16-September 23, Creative Commons hosted two Educator Certificate courses and two Librarian Certificate Courses. Participants from Bangladesh, Canada, China, Great Britain, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, and the US engaged in rigorous readings, assignments, discussions and quizzes. See examples of the assignments that participants participants’ assignments they’ve publicly shared under CC licenses. With the course now complete, we are thrilled to announce 83 new graduates.

The CC Certificate provides an in-depth study of Creative Commons licenses and open practices, uniquely developing participants’ open licensing proficiency and understanding of the broader context for open advocacy. The training content targets copyright law, CC legal tools, as well as the values and good practices of working in the global, shared commons. The CC Certificate is currently offered as a 10-week online course to educators and academic librarians. In 2019, Creative Commons will expand offerings to include 1-week boot camps, a Certificate instructor training, scholarships, and initial translations of the Certificate into multiple languages.

Interested in taking the CC Certificate, yourself? Visit our Certificate website at the end of this month for updates! We will share new updates and open registration for 2019 courses by 31 October.

Also, stay tuned for an updated list of our Certificate graduates by the end of the year. CC kicked off five new Educator and Librarian courses with 125 participants from 14 countries on 1 October and we look forward to welcoming more Certificate graduates at the end of these courses.

We are inspired by our 83 recent graduates, and filled with gratitude for their amazing work. We congratulate them on successful completion of the Certificate, and look forward to their future open efforts!

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What’s next with WIPO’s ill-advised broadcast treaty?

Broadcast Tower by Alex, BY-NC-ND 2.0

Six years ago we wrote a blog post titled WIPO’s Broadcasting Treaty: Still Harmful, Still Unnecessary. At the time, the proposed treaty – which would grant to broadcasters a separate, exclusive copyright-like right in the signals that they transmit, separate from any copyrights in the content of the transmissions – had already been on WIPO’s docket for several years. It’s still on the table today, and now some countries are calling for actions to finalise the agreement.

The broadcasting treaty is still harmful and still unnecessary.

The current text contains many of the same damaging provisions, such as long term of protection (possibly 50 years) and little to no support for limitations and exceptions to the right which could provide needed protections for activities such as news reporting, quotation, education, personal use, and archiving.  

But the dealbreaker for CC is the fact that the treaty would essentially invalidate the permissions that users of Creative Commons grant when they share their creativity under open licenses, and instead gift new and unwarranted rights to broadcasting organizations that have added little or no value to the underlying work being transmitted. This is because the rights provided to broadcasters in the treaty would apply separately from copyright, thus permitting them to restrict how the content is shared even if the creator of the video or audio content has already released it under a Creative Commons license, or if it’s already in the public domain.

This week CC CEO Ryan Merkley presented at a seminar in Geneva hosted by Knowledge Ecology International. The event examined the broadcast treaty in relation to access to culture.  

Below is an excerpt from Ryan’s talk. You can watch the entire event online (Ryan’s remarks begin at 2:05:50).

Journalists, documentary filmmakers, podcast creators and others are using CC licenses to share their works broadly, and some of this media are used by traditional broadcasters too. These creators who choose to share their works and enable some permissive uses expect their works to be broadly accessible to the public under the terms of the CC license they chose. And they should be applauded for sharing works under permissive terms so their audiences can view and use them.

All Creative Commons licensors permit their works to be used for at least non-commercial purposes. When an author applies a CC license to her work, she grants to the public a worldwide, royalty-free license to use the work under certain terms. And many authors simply want to share their creativity freely under open terms to benefit the public good. For example, educators and scholarly researchers create and share works primarily to advance education and to contribute to their field of study—not necessarily for financial remuneration.

CC has pushed back on other policy changes in the realm of IP that would downplay or break how the CC licenses work, or enclose works that should be in the public domain. I remain concerned that the current draft would have a number of negative impacts, because it grants rights that reach overtop of those of creators.

The broadcasters argue that their investment should give them this right. But this shouldn’t be the test. The same argument could be used to give Museums rights over the works on their walls (which of course they want, and which at least one museum in Germany has successfully argued for in their courts), Movie theatres a right over the light particles that pass from the projector to the screen, or Booksellers the right over the books they put on their shelves, or even the trucking company that moves the books from the warehouse to the bookstore. Promoting and delivering content should not convey rights over the content itself — whether we call it the signal or not.

One alarming element in the proposal gives rights over the broadcast signal of works that are in the public domain or openly licensed.

In no cases should the treaty give broadcasters post fixation rights in works that are in the public domain, or openly licensed. It violates the spirit and wording of Creative Commons licensing, and creators who wish to have their works travel freely without additional strings attached. Broadcasters don’t own the content, and have no rights to the content of public domain and Creative Commons licensed works.

Works in the public domain should be free of these copyright-like restrictions, as we’ve argued in other areas – such as the notion that digital reproductions of works in the public domain should also be in the public domain (and not give rise to new copyrights).

Supporters of the broadcast treaty have failed to make a compelling, evidence-based case for a separate right, to identify the specific causes and resolutions for harm, and to show likely positive impacts of the treaty. However, there is significant risk that granting this new broadcasting right will limit access to information and culture.

Broadcasters already have legal remedies available to them to combat signal theft, and copyright law covers infringement in the underlying content.

WIPO should halt the proceedings of the broadcast treaty. With each passing year, it looks more and more like a solution in search of a problem.

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We are seeking a new Director of Engineering

Photo by WOCinTech Chat / CC BY

A couple of weeks ago, I stepped into the role of Director of Product and Research. We are now in the middle of our second sprint for CC search (see results from the last one here) and seeking a new Director of Engineering. Paola Villarreal, our current Director of Product Engineering, will be leaving us in December for a new opportunity. While we are sad to see her leave, we are excited to shape and launch a new phase for Creative Commons that aligns our vision and strategy for product with real world user needs.

The new Director of Engineering will work closely with me, the Director of Product and Research, to lead the technical design, development and implementation of CC’s products and services. Right now that primarily means CC search and its supporting parts (the CC catalog and API), and in the future that may mean new product ideas resulting from user research and pending alignment with our new product vision and strategy (read more about current usability prototypes and research here).

The Director of Engineering will also work closely with our newly formed Tools and Product team, which consists of the following fantastic people:

Sophine Clachar (Data Engineer building the CC catalog that fuels CC search), Alden Page (Software Engineer that is working on all things backend to CC search, in particular making the CC catalog accessible via an API), Steven Bellamy (Front-end Engineer that is making CC search elegant and usable for real people), Diane Peters (General Counsel that makes sure CC is legally covered across all its tools and product offerings), Sarah Pearson (Senior Counsel that also serves as product counsel for CC search), and myself. A Core Systems Manager will also be joining our team next week.

You will be stepping into a role with a lot of moving parts, but with lots of support and excitement from your peers. We look forward to your application! 

Job Opportunity: Director of Engineering

 

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Latvian 4.0 and Basque 4.0 and CC0 translations now available

Creative Commons is proud to announce the release of the official translations of the Latvian 4.0 licenses and Basque 4.0 licenses, as well as the Basque CC0 translation.

After one and a half years and many rounds of consultation, the Latvian 4.0 translation is now published on the Creative Commons site and will benefit almost 2 million native speakers. We would like to thank Toms Ceļmillers and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia for their dedicated efforts in coordinating this translation.

Thanks to an ambitious team, the Basque 4.0 and CC0 translations took only about six months of production. The translation team was comprised of Marko Txopitea, Gotzon Egia, and Ignasi Labastida i Juan. There are around 750,000 native Basque speakers in the world and almost 2 million passive speakers.

With the Spanish (Castellano) translation of 4.0 recently published and the Catalan translation underway, the CC licenses will be officially translated into three of the most frequently spoken languages in Spain.

If you are interested in helping with CC’s translation work, please join our Translation Working Group on Slack, where you can stay informed about materials that need to be translated and/or suggest new materials for the community to translate.

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CC submits proposed Amicus Brief to 9th Circuit on Proper Interpretation of BY-NC-SA 4.0

Photo copier by David Hall, CC BY 2.0

Creative Commons (CC) has asked a U.S. appeals court for permission to file an amicus brief in a lawsuit brought by Great Minds against Office Depot, to aid the court in its proper interpretation of the CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

This case involves a dispute between Great Minds, the creator of educational materials paid for with public funding and licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license, and Office Depot, a commercial copyshop hired to make copies of those materials by public school districts. Great Minds claims here, and in an almost identical lawsuit brought against FedEx Office, that the schools cannot hire outside help to make the copies they need to use the materials for their non commercial purposes in the classroom. Notably, Great Minds explicitly did not object to the idea of a school board employee going to an Office Depot and using a self-serve copier (where copies are sold to customers at a profit). It was only when they engaged an Office Depot employee to make the copies that GM objected.

In the litigation against Office Depot, the district court in California ruled in favor of Office Depot, just as the New York district court and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in FedEx Office’s favor. The California court agreed that so long as a copyshop is acting at the request of a non commercial actor, here the school district, the shop can make the copies and charge for and receive a profit to do so, without violating the license. This is because the copyshop is not acting on its own accord but as a delegate of school district, just as a paid employee of the school might when making copies for use in her classroom.

The brief we request be accepted reinforces what is already the established legal precedent established by the FedEx Office case in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in the United States (spanning New York, Connecticut, and Vermont), as well as the law in the district court in California that Great Minds is now appealing.

CC supports the decision of the California court, which found Great Minds’ lawsuit was an attempt to re-argue the same facts in a different court – a previous lawsuit it had filed, appealed, and lost in the 2nd Circuit against FedEx Office. (See the court order requiring Great Minds to pay Office Depot’s attorney fees for having done so). As both the 2nd Circuit concluded in a case involving FedEx Office [pdf] and the district court concluded in California [pdf], a bona fide non-commercial user may engage contractors to exercise the licensed rights on their behalf and at their direction, irrespective of whether the contractor is itself a non-commercial actor. Notably, in the course of all of its litigation, Great Minds has never objected to the idea of a school board employee going to an Office Depot and using a self-serve copier (where copies are sold to customers at a profit). Its concern has been limited to the nearly identical circumstance a school district employee paying an Office Depot employee to make the copies instead. Were Great Minds’ theory to prevail, it would require every re-user to own the means for reproducing NC-licensed works and avoid using any for-profit actor in doing so, a result that our licenses never intended.

This is not a change from how our licenses have always worked. This does not mean, for example, that a commercial copyshop can independently make copies of NC-licensed textbooks and turn around and sell them. Nor does it mean a teacher can sell an NC-licensed textbook to her neighbor that she previously received from her school district to use in the classroom. In those cases, both the copyshop and the teacher are bound by the NC restriction because they are acting on their own and thus are licensees, in their own right, and the NC restriction would almost certainly be violated.

The filing and acceptance of amicus briefs is standard practice in U.S. appellate courts. Unfortunately, Great Minds has opposed our request on grounds that CC’s interpretation of the very licenses that we wrote and steward will not be of assistance to the Court. Filing such an opposition is rare, and CC has filed a short reply in response.

The outcomes of this case against Office Depot and the prior case against FedEx Office demonstrate the strength of the CC licenses, and we look forward to a successful conclusion in the 9th Circuit.

Finally, we want to thank Andy Gass and his team of lawyers at Latham & Watkins for their expertise and valuable insights in connection with both lawsuits.

The post CC submits proposed Amicus Brief to 9th Circuit on Proper Interpretation of BY-NC-SA 4.0 appeared first on Creative Commons.

New NAFTA Would Harm Canadian Copyright Reform and Shrink the Public Domain

Late yesterday the U.S., Canada, and Mexico reached an agreement on a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The agreement (now rebranded as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or “USMCA”) obligates Canada to increase its copyright term by an additional 20 years if the deal is passed.

Canada currently observes the minimum term of copyright as required by the Berne Convention, which is life of the author plus 50 years. USMCA requires all signatories to agree to a term of at least life of the author plus 70 years.

The extension of already-lengthy copyright terms will discourage new creativity in Canada. It will further prevent Canadians from accessing and using the rich pool of resources in the public domain, which means they can be used free of any copyright protections. Creativity always builds upon the past, and the public domain is our shared cultural commons used to create new works of art and science. Like a sedimentary rock, the “Commons” in Creative Commons starts with the public domain. Fulfilling our mission of protecting and expanding the public domain is why we’ve developed tools to better mark and dedicate content to the public domain. We continue to advocate for changes to copyright policy that promote a robust and accessible public domain.

During the opaque renegotiation of NAFTA, we urged negotiators to ensure that the copyright provisions in the agreement should not be expanded to create new (and likely more onerous) copyright rules. We worked with international groups to release the Washington Principles on Copyright Balance in Trade Agreements to restate the obvious fact that further copyright term extensions make no sense: “there is no evidence to suggest that the private benefits of copyright term extensions ever outweigh the costs to the public.”

The end of copyright protection in a work allows for the production of new works. That is why term length is a balance to be struck — and one which Canada has handled well. Ian Fleming’s literary character James Bond, for example, entered the public domain in Canada on January 1, 2015. This allowed Canadian authors David Nickle and Madeline Ashby to produce License Expired, an anthology of unauthorized 007 stories for ChiZine Publications.

The introduction of the life +70 year copyright term is particularly damaging for Canada, which is in the middle of a national copyright reform process. Before these negotiations took place, an increase in copyright term was not  on the agenda for the Canadian reform. Last year, Canadian ministers responsible for the copyright review indicated some support of the public domain, stating that an updated law “should ensure […] that users benefit from a public domain.” In our submission to the public consultation, we wrote:

We believe that Canada has been right to push back against any extension of copyright term or expansion of the scope. The copyright term of life of the author + 50 years is already far too long. Extremely long copyright terms prevent works from entering the public domain, where they may be used by anyone — including CC licensors — without restriction as the raw material for additional creative works.

If the USMCA is adopted, it will clearly violate the direction of the Canadian copyright reform, which decided to leave the existing term as is.

The USMCA text shows the powerful hand of U.S. copyright interests. A copyright term extension was floated in earlier versions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and Creative Commons joined with dozens of other organisations to push back on it then. After President Trump withdrew the United States from the TPP last year, many of the most damaging intellectual property provisions were suspended, including any call for a copyright term extension. But USMCA shows a swing back in the other direction, almost surely a result of U.S. pressure to ratchet up copyright protection and enforcement measures.  

There are countless competing interests in a massive new trade agreement like the USMCA, and this concern is only one. But from a copyright perspective, it is discouraging to see the inclusion of yet another ill-advised term extension, especially at a time when Canada is actively debating a more progressive future for its own copyright law.

There is no reason for any more copyright term extensions, which would harm the commons and are contrary to the policies and values supported by the Creative Commons community.

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Board statement on harassment, openness, and CC community

Creative Commons is firmly committed to a workplace, community, and culture of mutual respect, free of harassment. We take all allegations of harassment and misconduct very seriously. We care deeply about the pain and anguish that is felt by victims of harassment, even many years after the fact.

CC has recently become aware that former intern and employee, Billy Meinke, has published an open letter to the Board of Directors about his experience working at CC from 2012-2013. Mr. Meinke also blogged in 2017 about his experiences. In response to that post last year, the Board carefully reviewed all the facts and processes related to Mr. Meinke’s 2014 complaint to ensure the matter had been handled appropriately and fairly. We were confident that Mr. Meinke’s claims were promptly and thoroughly investigated when first reported, that CC’s response was appropriate, and that all processes and procedures were properly followed.

We take our role as a leading organization in the open community very seriously. Our strategy, policies, content, and code are all shared in an open community. These are our values, and our commitment is to be as open as we can in all of our work, because we believe it builds healthy, collaborative communities. However, sharing anything related to such sensitive matters must always be done with proper respect for the privacy and safety of the individuals involved. In light of Mr. Meinke’s decision to make his allegations public last year, we wanted to make it clear to the community that CC responds quickly to such claims and that harassment has no place in our workplace or community. We also wanted to ensure that our policies — which are overseen by the Audit Committee of the Board — are well-communicated to our employees and the public. At the time, CC shared as much detail as we felt we could in response to Mr. Meinke’s public post.

The Board has continued confidence in our leadership and staff for their response to these matters, and their efforts to ensure a positive and safe work environment for CC staff and community. Our policies apply to all staff, board members and officers, and to community members who participate in our global network and public events. These policies are designed to prevent harassment, protect victims, respond to complaints, and ensure the fair and prompt resolution of all allegations. Our policies are available for public review on our website, and are also aggregated on our public policies page.

Any member of the public may submit complaints about misconduct via email to the CC Audit Committee at audit@creativecommons.org. Complaints received by the Committee at that address are promptly handled in accordance with our policies and procedures.

Sincerely,

Creative Commons Board of Directors (Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, Chair)

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Findings from the Discovery phase of CC usability

In January, Creative Commons kicked off an exciting new initiative called CC usability with two primary goals:

  1. To update the experience of CC licensing and discovery to reflect the realities of how people are sharing in 2018
  2. To anticipate and design for the future of digital content sharing

In the next two sections, I provide background on the initiative and the process we used to conduct the research. If you’re short on time, you can skip all of it and go directly to the findings. You can also peruse this slide deck for a quick visual summary.

I’m also pleased to announce that in order to further this work, I have stepped into a new role at CC. As the Director of Product and Research, I will lead the strategy, design, and implementation of CC’s product vision for CC Search and related products. Our work will be driven by a research-based approach, which you can learn more about below.

Background

“Relevance to the real world is what separates innovation from invention. Understanding why and how people do what they do today is essential to making new concepts fit into their lives tomorrow.”

— Erika Hall, Director of Strategy at Mule Design, Just Enough Research

The driving motivation behind this initiative is relevance. CC was founded in 2001 and launched its first licenses in 2002, and in the 16 years since, the landscape of the internet has changed a great deal. The CC licenses have been versioned several times over to adapt to international copyright laws and trade agreements, and we’ve developed some new tools (Public Domain Mark, CC0). Lots of programs have been founded and re-founded, driving growth of a global commons of 1.4 billion works, fostering collaboration across an international network of advocates and practitioners, and shifting norms and policies within governments and educational institutions.

But one thing that has not changed in the past decade or so that I’ve been with Creative Commons is how to actually CC license a work. Or for that matter, how to figure out which license is right for you. Or how to add license information so that your computer can detect it. And really, the following things have not changed much either: How to find licensed works. How to attribute authors. How to know whether your application of a CC license is even the right call, since your work may very well fall into the nebulous land of “emerging media and technology” that didn’t exist 16, ten or even a few years ago.

All of this is to say that while the internet and platform technologies for sharing content have changed pretty drastically — the trend towards a few major companies monopolizing content sharing and distribution, machine algorithms determining the content you consume, mobile becoming ubiquitous, media emerging that didn’t exist before like 3D printing and virtual reality — the technicalities and user experience of CC licensing and discovery have remained largely the same, raising the question of CC’s relevance in the internet of 2018.

Is CC still relevant? CC’s tools are used in many different fields, so there’s no one answer on how to be relevant, but in all fields we know the landscape has changed. The way content is created and shared has changed, and even the number and composition of the communities who do the creating and sharing has changed.

I’m happy to report that after six months of user research, I do think CC is still relevant, namely because 80+ people told us as much, and we did not just speak with the choir.

The catch? In order to remain relevant, CC will have to evolve.

Human-Centered Design

“Human-centered design is all about starting with people and building deep empathy; generating lots of possible ideas; building and testing prototypes with the people you’re designing for; and eventually putting new solutions out into the world to improve lives.”

— IDEO.org

We adapted human-centered design principles to conduct our research. HCD is a philosophy and set of tools that have permeated all aspects of user experience and product design today. The specific term — human-centered design — was popularized by IDEO, the design consulting firm, which became known for its multidisciplinary approach to solving real world problems. HCD consists of three phases: discovery, design, and development. Discovery is research, including ongoing background research and reading, but most importantly, talking directly to the people who you are designing for, which in our case are the actual users and creators of digital content.

From February through July, we conducted a total of 81 interviews, in addition to pulling 36 interviews from relevant publications (CC Talks With, Humans of the Commons, Made with Creative Commons). We interviewed super, expert, and future users and creators of all kinds of media, including images, text, data, audio, 3D designs, games, virtual and augmented reality assets. We defined super users as those creators or users who have been using CC for years. We considered expert users people at the forefront of their fields, like academics and company founders, who think a lot about how CC and their subject matter intersect. And we wanted future users that were both professionals in fields like photography who don’t currently use CC but could, and those who have yet to enter a profession because they are too young, like Generation Z (yes, there is a generation after the oft talked about Millennials!). We talked to each person for roughly an hour about their motivations, behaviors, problems, and ideal outcomes for sharing content online, with and without CC licensing.

Then we aggregated, analyzed, and synthesized everything people said in all 117 interviews.

Findings

“An Insight is both an opportunity and a problem statement — two things with tension, two things where you can’t readily have both. For example, share stuff for free but also make money.”

~ Tom De Blasis, Design Strategy Consultant at (tbd) collective

Working closely with two experienced design consultants, we pulled patterns from the data, ultimately extracting nine key insights pertaining specifically to the sharing of images and longform texts (we tabled the domains of data and emerging media/tech for a later date). Insights fell loosely into three categories:

  • i) insights pertaining to CC’s current tools,
  • ii) insights pertaining to the core experience of sharing content, and
  • iii) insights about futures CC might help build.

The following nine insights are a direct result of many people voicing the same needs and concerns across 117 interviews. To preserve the privacy of our interviewees, we will not share the full interviews, but anonymous quotes are included in the slide deck.

The nine insights are:

  1. People understand that CC stands for free content sharing, but the nuances of the specific licenses are lost on them — including experts and longtime CC users.
  2. People are motivated to license their work under CC, but have a hard time figuring out how to do it.
  3. People are motivated to give credit to other people, but they find attribution complicated and a hassle.
  4. People like seeing how their work is used, where it goes, and who it touches, but have no easy way to find this out. This insight incorporated the following two insights:
    • People care that the work they share resonates with people, especially personally, but can only know this if they are told directly by the person it resonated with.
    • People want their work to have real world or social impact, but their sense about what these impacts are are vague. However, people can identify some real or potential outcomes from sharing their work that they enjoy.   
  5. People are often first introduced to CC when they have completed a work, but at that point they are more interested in getting the work out there than thinking through a whole new system for sharing.  
  6. People want to share and find good work, but find it difficult to navigate the abundance of content and information online.
  7. People like the efficiency of sharing via centralized platforms, but are frustrated by the lack of control and ownership over their work, and increasing devaluation of individual creativity.  
  8. People aren’t driven to create for the money, but money is always a good outcome. People like sharing freely, but if someone is making a lot of money off their work, they want to be fairly compensated.
  9. People have a desire to create work that is lasting and meaningful, that eventually has a life of its own, but don’t know what to do with a work beyond publishing it.

Insights 1-3 pertain to CC’s current tools; insights 4-6 pertain to the core experience of sharing content, and insights 7-9 are about futures CC might help build.

Some of these insights may seem obvious. If so, then we did our job by bringing what was obvious to the forefront, but this time backed by data and not conjecture. Other insights are less obvious, such as the one about introducing the concept of CC too late in the process of creation. These are the kinds of insights we relish, and we dug into all insights by developing specific design challenges and generating potential solutions to meet them.

This occurred in a design workshop with CC staff from legal, product, development, and communications. Over the course of 2.5 days, we generated 250+ ideas, heat mapped them to find common issues and approaches, fleshed out the most viable ideas, and decided on nine interventions to bring forward into the Design phase. They are not the only things we’ll ever do, but they are experiments we want to try to see if they can meaningfully address the needs we have identified.

The nine interventions are:

1) New step-through process / Redo language + pathway

Prototype a new pathway and educational tool that clearly communicates the licenses and leads the creator to the appropriate license for her needs. (Insights addressed: 1, 2)

2) Publish a “How To Guide” for where to find your work

Develop and publish a guide to finding where your CC-licensed work was used online, e.g. via reverse image search. (Insights addressed: 4)

3) Button for contact

Prototype an easy way for a user to get in touch with a creator and/or vice versa that ties to a CC license or tool. This could be done in a number of ways, including a button that is chosen from a new CC chooser, a deed + platform solution that connects users to creators, or a separate “contact me” button. (Insights addressed: 4)

4) Archiving

Prototype a few concepts that provide creators with the choice of archiving a version of their works when CC licensing. This could be an archive we provide as a service, tied to a new chooser tool, a separate web page for preserving your work, and also in partnership with an organization like the Internet Archive. (Insights addressed: 7, 9)

5) Reward & Delight — infuse through all prototypes, esp #1

Use this as a framework for all prototypes we develop. In addition, prototype a small, fun idea that gives reward and delight to users, e.g. a graphic CC mascot overlaid to help users navigate the licensing process. (Insights addressed: All)

6) “Polaroid” watermark

Prototype a CC branded watermark that lives outside the image that can be added on download from CC search, as part of “no click attribution.” (Insights addressed: 3, 4)

7) No click attribution

Prototype a tool that removes all friction for users providing correct attribution. This could play out in a number of ways, including having attribution and related information attach upon download of an image (0 click attribution) in CC search, an attribution filter/plugin service that bulk links attribution, or a credit that is automatically added by a platform or related service. (Insights addressed: 3)

8) Narrow use case search

Prototype in CC search a way to search for specific materials to use for specific types of projects, starting with the most popular use cases, e.g. CC music for videos or podcasts. (Insights addressed: 6)

9) Obtain a unique ID to track your work

Prototype a CC unique ID registry that links to the CC catalog and provides information about each CC work through the ID, e.g. CC/12345 would display information such as author, number of shares, etc. (Insights addressed: 3, 4, 6)

What’s next

These nine interventions will be developed or prototyped over the next 3-6 months (pending alignment with CC’s overall product strategy given my new role). Ready prototypes, including those built related to CC Search, will be demo-ed and tested at the Mozilla Festival and Nonprofit Software Development Summit in October and November. Following the design phase, CC will reassess prototypes along user feedback and against new organizational objectives to decide which to phase into development. It’s important to note that some of these ideas might not work out, and might not solve the problems they seek to address. That’s part of the iterative process of human-centered design. Separately, CC will evaluate findings from usability research that did not make it to the design phase as part of its other organizational objectives.

The question of CC’s relevance to various user groups, particularly mainstream creators, is ongoing. We will bring forward a plan to engage more deeply in that work in the next phase of the initiative in 2019, and will engage the community in that discussion at the CC Global Summit in Lisbon next May.

Get involved

If there’s one thing you can do now, it’s to join the #cc-usability channel over at the Creative Commons Slack (https://slack-signup.creativecommons.org) and say — Hi! I’m interested in providing feedback on CC search and usability prototypes as you roll them out — or something to that effect. I’d just like to get to know you and where you’re coming from, like we got to know the 81 people we talked to earlier this year.

You can also follow me (@janedaily) on Twitter, where I’ll post updates and conferences I’ll be at.

If you’re a developer, or versed in the ways of developers, you can follow our progress on each prototype at CC’s public Github repos. We have one specifically for intervention #4 (Archiving) at https://github.com/creativecommons/cc-archive, and will be posting the rest as part of other repos at https://github.com/creativecommons.

The post Findings from the Discovery phase of CC usability appeared first on Creative Commons.

Big changes for CC Search beta: updates released today!

Today, we’ve released a significant update to our working beta of the CC Search product. We launched the project in February 2017 to provide a new “front door” to the Commons with the ultimate goal to find and index all 1.4 billion+ CC licensed works on the web. Since then, our newly formed tech team – myself, Alden Page, Sophine Clachar, and Steven Bellamy – have been working to move this project toward its next iteration, which I am proud to share today.

More providers, better metadata

This is a work in progress — it has great new features, and also has a few bugs, which we’re working on as we go (you can leave feedback here or file issues at Github). This iteration of CC Search integrates access to more than 10 million images across 13 content providers. The data was obtained by processing 36 months of web crawl data from the Common Crawl corpus (an open repository of web crawl data maintained by the Common Crawl Foundation).

The full list of providers:

Provider Domain # CC Licensed Works Animal Diversity Web https://animaldiversity.org/ 14,839 Behance https://www.behance.net/ 5,245,785 Deviantart https://www.deviantart.com/ 206,506 Digitalt Museum https://digitaltmuseum.org/ 88,970 Encyclopedia of Life http://eol.org/ 547,488 Flickr https://www.flickr.com/ 426,214 Flora-On http://flora-on.pt/ 26,498 Geograph UK http://www.geograph.org.uk/ 1,018,560 IHA Holiday Ads http://www.iha.com/ 2,058,272 McCord Museum http://www.musee-mccord.qc.ca/en/ 108,800 The Metropolitan Museum of Art https://www.metmuseum.org/ 96,260 Museums Victoria https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/ 64,719 Science Museum – UK https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/ 14,280

In addition, the new release contains several new features, including AI image tags generated from our collaborator, Clarifai. Clarifai is a best in class image classification software that provides tagging support and visual recognition. Clarifai’s API was integrated in the process-flow as a means to automatically generate tags for the new and existing images. This means that CC search has machine generated tags, user-defined tags, and platform-defined tags that were obtained from the web crawl data. Collectively, these will enhance the user’s search experience and improve the quality of the results. Currently, 10.3 million images have their respective Clarifai tags and the outstanding images will be integrated on an ongoing basis. Thank you to Clarifai for their support.

A New Look


The new design allows users to search by category, see popular images, and search more accurately across a wide range of content.

Users can also now share content and create public lists of images without an account using an anonymous authentication scheme. Shares.cc is a new a link shortening system that makes it easy to share cool stuff you find on our platform to social media – users can share both images and lists, no login required. In addition, the new platform provides the ability to filter by provider, license, creator, tag (including those generated by Clarifai), or title.

(Please note: If you made private lists in the previous system, they will not carry over to this release. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. If there is a list you would like us to recover, please email us at info@creativecommons.org.)

With gratitude

CC Search is made possible by a number of institutional and individual sponsors. Specifically, we would like to thank Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, Mozilla, and the Brin Wojcicki Foundation for their support. With the generous support of our funders, Creative Commons is able to significantly advance its work in pursuit of a more open and sharing world that illuminates the Commons and recognizes the major potential of transformative human knowledge.

Full release notes available here.

 

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Traditional Knowledge and the Commons: The Open Movement, Listening, and Learning

CC licenses and public domain tools help individuals, organisations, and public institutions better disseminate digital resources and data, breaking down the typical barriers associated with traditional “all rights reserved” copyright. At the same time, CC licenses can’t do everything for everyone. First, the licenses operate in the sphere of copyright and similar rights. They do not attempt to license, say, personality rights, trademark, or patent rights. Also, the CC community recognizes that voluntary licensing schemes will never be a comprehensive solution for access to and reuse of knowledge and creativity around the world. This is one reason why CC works on international copyright reform issues, including the protection and expansion of user rights.

Another dimension of openness that could be better understood from the perspective of the “open” community is the sharing of cultural works related to indigenous communities. This has been talked about with terms such as “traditional knowledge”. Traditional knowledge consists of a wide range of skills, cultural works, and practices that have been sustained and developed over generations by indigenous communities around the world. These communities hold entitlement over this knowledge as well as responsibility for the preservation of their knowledge, but haven’t always had the autonomy to decide what can be done with their knowledge. International and national instruments have attempted to codify the value of traditional knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples, but the place of such knowledge within conventional intellectual property structures remains  deeply contested and uncertain.

These issues and more were brought up at the 2018 Creative Commons Global Summit as well, and has since started an important conversation within the CC community. I’m an attorney and doctoral candidate at UC-Berkeley Law, and over the summer I worked as a research fellow for Creative Commons to conduct an investigation into the current issues regarding traditional knowledge and its intersection with the open movement. A draft of the paper is complete, and we welcome your thoughts and suggestions to it.

In addition, we’ll be hosting a session on the topic on Thursday, September 27 at 3:00p at the 5th Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest in Washington, D.C.

The tension between traditional knowledge protection and IP frameworks is exacerbated by digital technologies that have made the creation, dissemination, appropriation and remixing of knowledge and cultural artifacts easier than ever before. Indigenous communities’ preservation efforts and control over traditional knowledge sometimes also seem to conflict with the ‘open’ ecosystem, which consists of organizations, communities, and individuals supporting open and free culture, open licensing and access to knowledge. This is because traditional knowledge is often perceived as being part of the public domain by default, when it is not. 

There is a colonial history of this perception. The doctrine of discovery, which was used to legitimize and expand colonization, held the assumption that indigenous peoples were “uncivilized,” and hence could not own property like European settlers. Therefore, the land and knowledge of indigenous peoples were seen as part of the commons, open for ‘discovery’ and appropriation. Another oft repeated concern that traditional community representatives have voiced at global venues like WIPO is the misuse and appropriation of their knowledge. Appropriation refers not just to taking something of value to a community, but also reaping economic benefit from it. For these reasons, the public domain may be perceived as detrimental to the interests of indigenous communities. It’s important to recognize this because it affects how these communities might perceive open and free culture movements.

Copyright law in particular is based on a number of assumptions that are sometimes at odds with the protection of indigenous knowledge. For instance, sometimes it can be difficult to identify an author of a cultural work because “ownership” might vest in a community, is sometimes continually being invented, or might be passed from generation to generation. The categories of copyright law may not encompass the kinds of expressions found in traditional knowledge. For example, a dance could be manifested in several ways and may have a sequential unique style over several performances. One sequence might be removed and placed in a western song or performance. Not only would there be no protection for this disparate piece, any social or spiritual meaning that might be attached to that dance would also be lost. Furthermore, some traditions are conveyed and preserved orally, and this might not be ‘fixed’ in a tangible form to receive conventional copyright protection.

This perceived disconnect with copyright law in particular puts Creative Commons in a challenging position with regards to indigenous knowledge. On the one hand, Creative Commons strives to make knowledge and information as widely and freely accessible as possible. It seeks to empower individuals who want to define the terms of access to their works. On the other hand, Creative Commons must grapple with ownership structures of traditional knowledge, its position within copyright law, and the terms of access of different kinds of traditional knowledge online. The CC licenses were never meant to be applied to content that is not meant to be shared broadly — so to the extent such content is not intended to be shared broadly or if open licenses do not adequately meet the needs of these communities for reasons described above, then it makes sense not to expect acceptance or use of open licenses as currently available.

Despite these challenges, digital technologies also represent an opportunity to help resolve some of the tensions between IP structures and traditional knowledge and have been used by indigenous communities. Projects like Mukurtu and Local Contexts help preserve and label traditional works while giving indigenous communities autonomy to set the terms for sharing. Local Contexts also provides guidance to indigenous communities about controlling access and preservation of their knowledge. There are flexibilities within CC licenses that could be used in empowering ways by communities that want to make their works open. The conversation needs to involve more communities, policymakers and scholars and the Creative Commons team is exploring the possibilities of working with other projects and involving indigenous communities more closely to understand the role CC licenses could play in the protection and dissemination of traditional knowledge.

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With the European Parliament vote on the copyright directive, the internet lost – for now

© European Union 2018 – European Parliament, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Today the European Parliament voted 438-226 (with 39 abstentions) to approve drastic changes to copyright law that, if ultimately enacted, would negatively affect creativity, freedom of expression, research, and sharing across the EU.

The Parliament voted in favor of almost all provisions that extend more rights to the establishment copyright industries while failing to protect users and new creators online.

The Parliament voted in favor of Article 13, which will essentially force online platforms to install expensive content filters to police user uploads and remove content if there’s any whiff of unauthorized sharing of copyrighted materials. The rule covers all types of content, from music to video to images. If platforms don’t take action, they assume liability for what their uses publish online. Upload filters will limit freedom of expression, as the technologies can’t tell the difference between copyright infringement and permitted uses of copyrighted works, such as memes shared as parody, or the incidental capture of an advertisement in the background of a selfie.

They approved Article 11, which provides extra copyright-like rights to press publishers. Article 11 would force news aggregators to pay publishers for linking to their stories. The rule covers links and snippet over a single word. The Parliament’s vote also included giveaways to other groups, such as a new right for sporting event producers to lock down the sharing of fan photography and short videos at sporting events.

The Parliament refused to make much needed changes to the text that would help ensure that Europe can remain a relevant player for research and innovation. It approved only a limited copyright exception for text and data mining that restricts its use only for approved non-profit research organisations, instead of providing a blanket exception supported by libraries, research organisations, and the EU startup community that would make “the right to read is the right to mine.” As a result, investment and innovation in this space will move to outside of Europe where there’s a more conducive legal environment for text and data mining, such as the United States.

Not only does the plan approved by the Parliament fail to produce benefits for its intended frame, the digital single market, it also does almost nothing to protect user rights, improve the ability to share remixes and other user-generated content (UGC), or protect the public domain. The commonsense amendments in support of UGC, freedom of panorama, and calling for support of the public domain were all voted down.

Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons, appeared on BBC Radio this afternoon for an interview on the copyright directive vote. He reiterated that artists should be able to receive fair and appropriate compensation for their work, and that Creative Commons was formed in order to provide alternative choices for creators in how they share creativity online. But he said that most of the provisions passed in today’s EU Parliament vote only benefited major rights holders like TV networks or music labels:

If you’re a regular person or an independent artist who needs the internet for your every day life or for work or for fun, if you’re somebody who reads articles online or makes your own music or has an idea for a startup, or you’re a scientist who wants to cure a disease, you lose in this proposal. The EU is a less good place to make your art, to make your music, or to drive innovation or discovery.

What’s next?

Now the Parliament enters into closed-door three-way negotiations with the Council of the European Union (the EU Member State governments) and the European Commission (the EU executive body which proposed the original text of the copyright directive). These three bodies will work to reconcile their versions of the directive text, and the final text will again be voted on in the European Parliament probably early in 2019.

The European Parliament was given the chance to fix copyright for 500 million Europeans, and signal to the world that progressive changes to law can empower new creators and champion creativity and the open web. Instead, they chose to side with the most powerful corporate rights holders whose sole objective is to minimize the impact brought about by digital technologies and the internet on their legacy business models.

The fight for the future of the internet is far from over. While today’s Parliament vote was a major setback, it’s up to all of us to continue to organize and advocate for the free and open web we want and need, in the EU and beyond.

The post With the European Parliament vote on the copyright directive, the internet lost – for now appeared first on Creative Commons.

Spanish Translation of 4.0 now available (La traducción al castellano de la versión 4.0 de las licencias está ahora disponible)

Se Oye Libre Radio by @creativecommons Colombia @monequerias @julianitaquetal y su invitada especial @pepebrrs director #iff Creative Commons Instagram CC licenses reach 1/2 billion more creators and users!

After more than three years and many rounds of consultation with legal experts throughout Latin America and Europe, including Spain, Creative Commons is proud to announce the release of the Spanish language translation of the CC 4.0 license suite. This process included standardizing legal terms across multiple Spanish speaking-countries with differing legal systems, and involved the active participation of dozens of community members from different countries. Check out the CC Attribution license (CC BY) in Spanish.

Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world, with approximately 447 million native speakers and an estimated 570 million total speakers worldwide. It is also one of the most geographically widespread languages, reaching a vast number of countries that recognize Spanish as an official language. This brings the total number of people who are able to understand our 4.0 licenses in their first language to more than 2.2 billion.

Spanish speaking communities have been active ever since the launch of Creative Commons in 2001 and some of the oldest chapters were formed in Latin America and Spain. Under the new structure of the CC Global Network, we’re seeing an increase in the number of Spanish-speaking chapters. As more chapters are formed to promote the licenses and the communities that depend on them for sharing, we expect that the Spanish license suite will help more institutions, creators and artists in these countries embrace CC licensing.

We would like to thank the incredible leadership of María Juliana Soto (CC Colombia) and Ignasi Labastida (CC Spain) in drafting the first versions of the translation, and the work of several contributors around the CC Community, including: María Paz Canales (CC Chile); Claudia Cristiani (CC El Salvador); Evelin Heidel (a.k.a. Scann, CC Argentina), as well as the support of CC Staff to bring this forward.

¡Felicitaciones por el trabajo realizado, equipo!

En Español: La traducción al castellano de la versión 4.0 de las licencias está ahora disponible
¡Las licencias CC ahora alcanzan a medio billón más de usuarios y creadores!

Luego de más de tres años y varias rondas de consulta con expertos legales a lo largo de América Latina y España, Creative Commons se enorgullece en anunciar el lanzamiento de la traducción al español de las licencias CC 4.0. Este proceso incluyó estandarizar el conjunto de las licencias a lo largo de múltiples países hispano-parlantes, con la participación activa de decenas de miembros de la comunidad de varios países. Pueden ver la licencia CC Atribución (CC BY) en español.

El español es la segunda lengua más hablada en el mundo, con alrededor de 442 millones de hablantes nativos y un estimado de 570 millones de hablantes en el mundo. También es uno de los idiomas más difundidos geográficamente, alcanzando un gran número de países que lo reconocen como su idioma oficial. Esto lleva a que más de 2.2 billones de personas puedan entender nuestras licencias 4.0 en su idioma materno.

Las comunidades hispano-parlantes han estado muy activas desde el lanzamiento de Creative Commons en 2001. Algunos de los capítulos más antiguos fueron formados en América Latina y España. Bajo la nueva estructura de la Red Global de CC, estamos viendo un incremento de capítulos hispano-parlantes. A medida que se forman más capítulos para promover las licencias y las comunidades que dependen de ellas para compartir, esperamos que las licencias en español ayudarán a más instituciones, creadores y artistas a adoptar CC en estos países.

Nos gustaría agradecer el increíble liderazgo de María Juliana Soto (CC Colombia) e Ignasi Labastida (CC Spain) en armar los primeros borradores de la traducción, y el trabajo de varios colaboradores en la comunidad de CC: María Paz Canales (CC Chile); Claudia Cristiani (CC El Salvador); Evelin Heidel (a.k.a. Scann, CC Argentina), así como el apoyo del staff de CC para completar esta tarea.

¡Felicitaciones por el trabajo realizado, equipo!

The post Spanish Translation of 4.0 now available (La traducción al castellano de la versión 4.0 de las licencias está ahora disponible) appeared first on Creative Commons.

It’s now or never: EU copyright must protect access to knowledge and the commons

We’re coming up on a crucial decision on changes to copyright in the European Union that will govern how creativity is accessed and shared for years to come. On 12 September the European Parliament will vote on the draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.

If you’re in the EU, go to https://saveyourinternet.eu/ and tell your MEPs to stop the harmful Article 13 upload filters and support a balanced copyright reform

MEPs should vote against Article 13 upload filters, which would scan all content uploaded to online platforms for any copyrighted works and prevent those works from going online if a match is discovered. It will limit freedom of expression, as the required upload filters won’t be able to tell the difference between copyright infringement and permitted uses of copyrighted works under limitations and exceptions. It puts into jeopardy the sharing of video remixes, memes, parody, and code, even works that incorporate openly licensed content.

MEPs should vote against Article 11, the unnecessary and counterproductive press publishers right that would require anyone using snippets of journalistic content to first get a license or pay a fee to the publisher for its use online.

MEPs should support amendments that expand Article 4, the copyright exception for education, and Article 3, the exception for text and data mining, which needs to be broadened so that the “right to read is the right to mine.” There’s also some last minute amendments that should be supported, such as the exception that would improve the ability to share remixes and other user-generated content, as well as an exception to enable the commonsense practice of being able to take and share photographs of works of art in public spaces, called “freedom of panorama.”

Even though the Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee approved some of the most harmful measures on the docket back in June, the 5 July plenary vote opened up the debate on the directive to the full Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people made their voices heard, urging for a better and more progressive copyright that will stop the backward proposals like the content filters suggested by Article 13.  

Much of the copyright directive has been narrowly tailored to serve the interests of the most powerful rights holders from the entertainment and publishing sectors. These powerful actors wish to prevent any deviation from their bottom line profits by the revolutionary changes brought about by digital technologies and the internet.

These voices do not represent the incredible diversity of creativity online. On the internet, everyone is a creator, and we want to share knowledge, artistic and political expression, photos and home movies, news, and even code with others in the global commons, on platforms from Wikipedia to YouTube to open access journals to online learning websites. We need progressive policies that support this type of sharing and access if we want to achieve our vision of universal access to research and education and full participation in culture to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity.

Now is the time for Europe to secure progressive rules on copyright that will truly protect all creators and users, not just special interests. MEPs need to listen to the countless voices that represent the future of creativity, innovation, and online sharing.

Tell them now before it’s too late.

The post It’s now or never: EU copyright must protect access to knowledge and the commons appeared first on Creative Commons.

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