How to access more then 500.000 public domain pictures directly from your CMS or blogg

GoOpen.no -

When developing open educational resources, or just writing a blogg, most of us like to add pictures and illustrations. In the old paradigme this was both difficult and expensive. Over the last few years services offering pictures under a free license have been popping up to compete with commercial stock photo alternatives. Pixabay.com is one of these services.

The project is an international website for sharing high quality public domain photos, illustrations, vector graphics, and film footage. In January 2016, Pixabay offered about 550,000 free photos, illustrations, and vectors and almost 1,300 films. They also offer a public Application Programming Interface (API) allowing third party users and website developers to search Pixabay’s image database.

In the demo at det bottom of this blogpost I will show you how I connect to the Pixabay API from WordPress without doing any programming of my own.

Pixabay is not the only provider of pictures and it is important to be aware of the differens between Royalty free and a free license, some of the free license ones that I have used are:

Royalty-free is not the same as a free license

When images are offered royalty-free, this simply means that the purchaser pays a fee and can then use the image without paying additional royalties or licensing fees. This also means the purchaser doesn’t have to give attribution. This is the model used by paid stock photo sites. The problem with this model is that every provider has their own rules and licenses and limitations.

Within the range of Creative commons licenses that require attribution the CC BY license is the most flexible and the CC BY-NC-ND is the most restricted and the part that says Non Commercial is in fact a bit problematic on its own.

Creative Commons Zero (CC0) is the most flexible: CC0 enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright- or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.

Pixaby that i use in my blogg license most of their pictures under CC0. In this demo I will show you how easy it is to connect directly to the API at Pixabay without writing any code. It takes about 2 minutes if you are using WordPress.

COMMUNIA hosts public domain celebration in the European Parliament

Creativecommons.org -

This is a guest post by Lisette Kalshoven.

On Monday, January 25th COMMUNIA organized a Public Domain Day celebration at the European Parliament. COMMUNIA advocates for policies that expand the public domain and increase access to and reuse of culture and knowledge, and consists of many organisations including Creative Commons, Kennisland and Centrum Cyfrowe. The event, which focused on showcasing creators who have chosen to donate their output to the public domain, was hosted by MEP Julia Reda.

Julia Reda at the Public Domain Day Celebration by Sebastiaan ter BurgCC0

Highlighting creators sharing in the public domain

COMMUNIA invited creators such as Kenney Vleugels, who makes game assets available to other game developers under the the CC0 Public Domain Dedication, Alastair Parvin of WikiHouse.cc, who is developing an open source approach to sustainable housing, Femke Snelting of Constant, who is publishing public domain magazines, Eric Schrijver, who is writing a sharing guide for artists, and Thomas Lommee from Open Structures, a standardised open design system. The lunch discussions focused on the artistic and design practices of these creators and the challenges they run into. A recurring theme was the legal uncertainty created by overly complex copyright laws, and the excessive length of copyright protection.

The public domain is traditionally seen as a body of works that are no longer under copyright because the terms of protection have expired. Public Domain Day celebrates this very moment, when the period of copyright protection ends for works of certain authors. But the public domain is not simply a dusty collection of old works. During the event COMMUNIA highlighted the fact that the public domain is a modern phenomenon—it is alive. We celebrate the practice of authors contributing to the public domain long before their copyright expires. From this perspective, the ongoing policy debate on European copyright will structure the shape and scope of our collective public domain for years to come.

Public Domain Day Celebration at the European Parliament by Sebastiaan ter Burg; CC0

Copyright debate in Europe should support the public domain

The European Commission is in the process of proposing changes to the copyright rules in the EU. It laid out some of its ideas through a Communication in December 2015, and will present concrete legislative proposals in June 2016. In 2016 and beyond COMMUNIA will advocate for specific points, including the three below. You can read more here.

  1. Ensure that the mere digitisation of public domain works does not create new rights over them. Some member states would like to allow anyone who digitized a public domain work to claim new exclusive rights. This creates legal uncertainty and undermines the concept of the public domain.
  2. Introduce a mandatory and strong exception to copyright for educational use. We need to ensure that education is not burdened by copyright-related barriers. To ensure this, we need a broad, harmonised exception. It should cover all types of uses, including digital and online activities, both inside and outside of the classroom.
  3. Allow cultural heritage institutions to make out-of-commerce works available online. Vibrant and diverse cultural heritage institutions are one of the defining features of our European culture. In order to remain relevant, they need to show their collections online. A new exception should allow these institutions to make available online the out-of-commerce works in their collections.

COMMUNIA is following the events in Brussels closely, and is sharing the advantages of a strong public domain and a flexible copyright to policy makers. You can see photos from the Public Domain event here (all CC0, created by Sebastiaan ter Burg). If you want to stay informed on the changes in European copyright, you can follow the developments on the COMMUNIA blog. If you are interested in the area where copyright and education clash, please have a look at our Medium series on it: Copyright Untangled.

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U.S. Department of Labor adopts CC BY licensing policy department-wide

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Creative Commons (CC) believes publicly funded education, research and data resources should be shared in the global commons. The public should have access to what it paid for, and should not be required to pay twice (or more) to access, use, and remix publicly funded resources.

This is why we are pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has adopted a department-wide Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license requirement on intellectual property developed under a competitive Federal award process.

DOL’s new open licensing policy may be viewed in the federal register (PDF) and on regulations.gov

  • 6. Revise § 2900.13 to read as follows:
    • §2900.13 Intangible property.
      • In addition to the guidance set forth in 2 CFR 200.315(d)*, the Department of Labor requires intellectual property developed under a competitive Federal award process to be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. This license allows subsequent users to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the copyrighted work and requires such users to attribute the work in the manner specified by the recipient.

While the total dollar amount of competitive DOL Federal grants affected by this new open licensing policy is not yet known, Lindsey Tepe at New America estimates the rule change will impact somewhere between $300 and $400 million annually.

The adoption of Creative Commons licensing clarifies to the public how they may access, use, and adapt publicly funded resources. There are multiple benefits of DOL requiring a CC BY license on publicly funded resources:

  • Government increases the impact, reach and scalability of its grants.
  • Government creates conditions for maximum potential value created from of all resources it funds, more efficiency, and better stewardship of public funds.
  • Public has access to the education resources it funded.
  • Innovative and entrepreneurial uses of openly licensed materials are enabled.
  • Resources are available for reuse and value-add by anyone, including individual citizens, educators, scientists, public sector employees, and entrepreneurs.

This major open licensing policy development codifies DOL’s longtime leadership at the program level where the department required CC BY licenses on multiple grants before making this a department-wide open licensing policy. Examples include:

DOL has already begun to integrate open licensing into its existing professional development SMART training series. The CC BY license requirement is referenced in the following modules:

These resources signal that the DOL is off to a great start. Creative Commons looks forward to supporting DOL with its Open Licensing Policy Toolkit and CC certificate (to be developed) for government staff.

Creative Commons and dozens of other organizations urged the U.S. Department of Education to adopt a similar open licensing policy. We hope DOL’s policy will be a useful guide as the Department of Education as it considers its proposed Open Licensing Requirement for Direct Grant Programs.

We applaud the U.S. Department of Labor for leading the way.  Well done!


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New CC directors to focus on platforms and content creation

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Creative Commons is pleased to announce the appointment of two new senior-level positions to help implement our new strategy. Last week, CC announced a renewed vision to create a vibrant, usable commons, powered by gratitude and collaboration. These two positions will be fundamental to bringing this strategy to life. I’m pleased to appoint Jane Park as Director of Platform and Partnerships, and Eric Steuer as Director of Content and Community.

Jane Park

Jane has eight years of organizational experience in open education, communications, fundraising, and community building. Most recently, she established CC’s first internal platform team to support adoption on content platforms, and drove data collection and analysis for the 2015 State of the Commons report. As Director of Platform and Partnerships, she will be focused on engaging CC’s partners in creating and sharing content to make the commons more usable, collaborative, and full of gratitude.

Prior to this new role, Jane founded CC’s School of Open, recruiting 60 volunteers across 6 continents, and launching 100 open education courses and workshops. She has programmed workshops and resources to support grantees of the $2 billion U.S. Dept of Labor career training program requiring CC BY for all grant outputs, has led numerous public campaigns and events for CC, including a website redesign, fundraising drive, and open education salons. And she has driven adoption of CC licenses for platforms such as Blackboard, Boundless, and edX, in addition to co-authoring reports and surveys on the state of open licensing policies and copyright barriers in education. Jane’s appointment was effective January 1.

Eric Steuer

As Director of Content and Community, Eric will focus on activating creators and collaborators around open content, knowledge, and data. He will lead CC’s communications team, bringing the best of the commons to the forefront, and celebrating communities that share and create together.

Most recently, Eric was a Senior Director at WIRED, running its Audience Development group. In this role, he built readership and oversaw community engagement across all of WIRED’s properties. Under Eric’s direction, WIRED’s social media audience more than tripled and its newsletter traffic grew by 2,500%. Additionally, Eric built a syndication network made up of more than two dozen partners. Eric remains a contributing editor at WIRED, and has authored well over 100 features, essays, and articles—including two cover stories for the magazine.

Eric’s history with Creative Commons goes back over a decade. He was CC’s Creative Director from 2005-2011, and led the organization’s work with artists, media, technology companies, and cultural institutions. Eric was a key member of the team responsible for the adoption of CC’s tools by users including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Vimeo, SoundCloud, YouTube, Warner Bros, Al Jazeera, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Nine Inch Nails, Random House, WhiteHouse.gov, and many others.

Eric is the board chair of CASH Music, a member of KQED’s audience development advisory group, and a recording artist. He will begin his new role at CC on February 1.

Follow Jane and Eric on Twitter (@janedaily and @ericsteuer) or reach them directly via https://creativecommons.org/contact.

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Celebrate CC music: Netlabel Day accepting applications from independent labels

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The second annual Netlabel Day celebrating free music under Creative Commons licenses will take place on 14 July, 2016. The call for digital record labels is now open and applications will be accepted through 29 February.

First organized by the Chilean label M.I.S.T. Records in March 2015, the 2015 edition featured 80 labels from around the world and released more than 120 digital albums under CC licenses.

In addition to Creative Commons, this year’s sponsors include the Internet Archive and Free Music Archive.

Organizers will host local gigs and record label expos in Argentina, Canada and Chile.

“The goal this year is to discuss, debate, promote, and explore the state of musical management in the participant countries”, says Manuel Silva, M.I.S.T. label head and creator.

To apply, email contact.netlabelday@gmail.com. Visit http://netlabelday.blogspot.com for more info.

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Copyright Week 2016: The public domain is not lost

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We’re taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of the law, and addressing what’s at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.

Every year we breathe a collective sigh of disappointment for millions of pieces of creative content that will not enter the public domain because of incredibly long copyright terms. We all know that creativity and knowledge owes something to what came before it—every creator builds on the ideas of their predecessors. Copyright terms that last decades past the death of the author will undermine the potential of the commons and needlessly limit the potential for new creativity.

And in the last few years, we’ve seen additional threats to the commons from prospective trade agreements such as the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership. If the TPP comes into effect, it would force member nations to set their term of copyright protection to life of the authors plus 70 years (if they do not already have that term), which increases the term an additional 20 years past the baseline required by existing international agreements. This means that works still under copyright in Brunei, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Vietnam will be automatically granted another 20 years of protection before they enter the public domain. We’re in agreement with leading economists that there is no logical reason to increase the term of copyright: an extension would create a tiny private benefit at a great cost to the public. It is estimated that the copyright term extension that would be required if the TPP is enacted would cost the public hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

At the same time, we celebrate the amazing works that are finally a part of our shared public domain. In addition to works that are now in the public domain because their copyright has expired, we’ve seen several interesting things happen this last year that is helping authors to share their works in the public domain right now. This is because major online content creation and sharing platforms like Flickr and Medium have added options to share works in the public domain using the CC0 Public Domain Dedication and the Public Domain Mark. What is CC0? It’s a tool that allows anyone to waive their copyright and place a work directly into the global public domain—prior to the expiration of copyright. What is the Public Domain Mark? It’s a digital stamp that anyone can apply to a work that’s already in the worldwide public domain—such as very old works whose copyright has clearly expired.

First stage of Falcon 9 rocket by SpaceX, CC0

What does the public get when authors share content in the public domain? We get to access and use an incredible body of content, including photos from SpaceX, NASA, and millions of others creators.

In the 2015 State of the Commons report, we noted a huge increase in the number of works dedicated to the public domain using the CC0 Public Domain Dedication and out-of-copyright works marked with the Public Domain Mark. According to the data, the total number of public domain works using these tools in 2014 was about 17.5 million. That number jumped to nearly 35 million in 2015. This means that the size of the CC-marked public domain nearly doubled over the last year. This is, in part, due to the tools being more widely and adopted by platforms like Europeana and Flickr. Of course, the public domain is not limited to content marked with CC’s public domain tools, but providing clear information about the public domain status of works alerts subsequent creators they can use those works without any restriction.

Even though copyright lasts far too long, the public domain is not lost. By fighting  for more reasonable copyright policy, and continuing to develop and steward legal tools that empower sharing in the public domain, we can help regain the public domain for all of us.

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Let’s light up the global commons

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Over the past week, we’ve talked about sharing, and its fundamental role in societies, and I’ve shared our goal of a vibrant, usable commons, powered by collaboration and gratitude (Read our previous posts: We need to talk about sharing”, and “Towards a vibrant, usable commons.”). What follows next is our plan for bringing the strategy to life.

Yesterday, we announced an incredible gift from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation: a $10 million unrestricted grant, which will have a transformational impact on our work. For many years, CC has struggled with sustainability, and has lacked a strong fundraising program. Over the past 18 months, with support from many of you, we’ve set that right. We’ve tripled the number of donors, doubled individual fundraising, cut our expenses, and focused our work on the areas where we will have the most impact. That’s been difficult, but also essential to building the kind of support required for a gift of this magnitude.

I’m personally very grateful to Hewlett for their support for CC — they’ve been there from the very beginning, and it’s clear they’ll be there well into the future. Their donation doesn’t mean we’re free and clear: we’ll need these new resources to make some important investments, but we’ll also need others to join us if we’re going to be successful. But more on that another day. For now, let’s focus on the plan.

To articulate our strategy, we developed an intended outcome statement — a brief statement that expresses clearly our goal:

“Creative Commons will, within 3-5 years, foster a vibrant, usable, and collaborative global commons, powered by an engaged community of creators, curators, and users of content, knowledge, and data. We will do so by focusing in three intermediate outcomes: discovery,  collaboration, and advocacy.”

That could mean a lot of things, and the hardest part of any strategy is deciding which things you’re not going to do. Saying no is much harder than saying yes. CC will focus our strategy in three specific areas: Discovery, collaboration, and advocacy.

Discovery is about creating a more vibrant and usable commons, both on the platforms where open content is hosted, and also for those works that are individually hosted on creators’ websites. It is also about telling a compelling story of open collaboration, and demonstrating its value to the world so that others will join the movement. Search, curation, meta-tagging, content analytics, one-click attribution are all examples of areas where improved discovery would support creators that use the commons.

To do this work, CC will need to establish a small developer team. We work in the open, and can draw on the open source community, but to do that we need the capacity to develop our own prototypes and tools, maintain our services to licensors, and work with contributors. We’ll also strengthen our communications team to tell the story of the commons, our partners, and our community — watch for an announcement on that soon.

Collaboration is about helping creators across sectors, disciplines, and geographies, to work together to share open content and create new works. CC’s role is to facilitate greater cooperation and engagement in the commons, realizing the unique benefits of open across many of the communities that rely on open content.

To do this work, CC will play an active role in developing and facilitating solutions for cooperation and engagement in communities like OER or open access. Solutions which will often then scale up to other communities — imagine helping to build more effective search for open educational resources, or The List, a mobile app that allows users to request images and others to submit them with a CC BY license to a public archive, as simple ways to facilitate collaboration that can scale up across multiple communities. CC will assign staff to develop partnerships with platforms and creative communities that create and remix content, and help improve the experience of sharing and working in a public commons.

Advocacy is about CC’s vital role in advocacy and policymaking. Creative Commons has a powerful and respected role in pushing for positive reforms. We are frequently called upon to lend our voice to important open policy debates, and to explain the impacts for the public good of particular policies, while identifying areas where new or existing policy impacts the ability of users to apply or rely upon CC licenses. However, the fight for copyright reform is a global one, and will only be won if we activate the power of many interconnected global communities.

To do this work, CC will focus on strengthening and supporting the global affiliate network — chapters in over 85 countries comprised of some of the world’s leading experts and advocates in open content and knowledge. At our most recent summit in Seoul, South Korea, the energy and excitement from the network was inspiring — but we have to ensure that energy turns into action, and there’s an urgent need to create a global network strategy to connect it all together. CC may not have the capacity or expertise to manage dozens of copyright reform campaigns globally, but the CC affiliate network does, if properly supported and engaged. With a strong team in place, micro-grants for local projects, and better infrastructure, CC will put collaboration at the centre of our approach, as we have been successful at supporting and collaborating with connected communities that advocate for policies that strengthen the commons, like the Open Policy Network and Communia.

This is where you come in

What’s next? We’re now developing program implementation plans, including consultation with the CC global affiliate network and key partners. We expect that work to be complete by the end of February.

We want to hear from you about how we can truly light up the global commons. This will be a transformative change for Creative Commons — a new direction that is more focused and will have even greater impact. We don’t have all the answers, and we can’t do it alone. I hope you’ll join us as we shape the projects and programs that will bring this strategy to life.

So tell us: What’s your idea to help CC make the commons more vibrant and usable, and to foster communities of collaboration and gratitude?


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Creative Commons awarded $10M grant from Hewlett Foundation to support renewed strategy

Creativecommons.org -

On behalf of the Creative Commons staff, Board, Affiliate Network, and global community, we are thrilled to announce that the Board of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has unanimously approved an unrestricted multi-year grant in the amount of $10 million to Creative Commons.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been a proud founding partner and longstanding supporter of Creative Commons; In particular, CC and Hewlett have worked closely together to innovate in education — CC licenses are at the heart of Open Educational Resources, and CC is an active and engaged leader in the OER movement. Hewlett is also an adopter of CC — the Foundation has implemented an open policy for many grantees, requiring open licenses on grantee outputs to ensure maximum use and re-use.

The grant comes at pivotal time as a major investment in CC’s new strategy. “Creative Commons is the chief steward of a large and growing movement for openness, a movement to make knowledge more freely available, to foster sharing and collaboration, and to spur advances and improvements that make the world a better place for everyone,” said Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer, in announcing the grant.

With this critical lead support and tremendous vote of confidence in our work, Creative Commons is now able to invest in its next organization phase, a renewed vision for not just the licenses but for the broader commons movement. “Our renewed strategy will be aimed at building a more vibrant, usable commons powered by collaboration and gratitude,” said Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley. “This is how we light up the commons: Creators need to be able to easily find the very best content in the commons, share feedback, give gratitude, get analytics, and work together to build networks around their interests and passions.”

This effort to build a more connected global commons is nothing short of transformational. It’s a strategic shift for Creative Commons that will require us to develop new infrastructure, new tools, and new resources; and it will require a new level of investment. Lead support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation provides key momentum and will be critical in catalyzing this new level of investment, part of a much broader effort to ensure long term organizational sustainability and a thriving global commons for decades to come.

Our deepest thanks to The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and to all of you who have supported CC over the years. And for those of you who are new to CC, we welcome you to our community and look forward to sharing all our big wins with you. We are humbled by the generous show of support and feel privileged to be able to take on the important work ahead.

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Towards a vibrant, usable commons

Creativecommons.org -

Over the next few days, I’m going to share a series of posts about Creative Commons’ 2016-2020 strategy. Let me skip to the end: CC is going to refocus our work to build a vibrant, usable commons, powered by collaboration and gratitude. Over the course of these next few posts, I’ll explain what that means, and how we plan to achieve it. Read our first post: We need to talk about sharing.

The challenge we face

While we may all be hard-wired for sharing, legislators in every country in the world have taken copyright well beyond its original role as “an incentive for creation” to a carefully-guarded and nearly never-ending right to private profit.

Copyright was originally designed to inspire more creativity from creators — to guarantee them some limited benefit to incentivize their creation. Today’s copyright practically ignores the fact that the Web and technological innovation made us all creators and publishers, often dozens of times a day. This modern reality has implications for creativity, innovation, privacy, business models, and more, yet most of these issues remain unaddressed in antiquated copyright structures. As a result of its refusal to acknowledge the present, today’s copyright rules restrict sharing, slow and prevent collaboration, and leave millions of works locked away regardless of the author’s desire (or lack of desire) to use them.

As a society, we are failing to limit the past — this was Lawrence Lessig’s warning and refrain from “Free Culture.” In fact, we have capitulated to the past, protecting traditional structures and business models, often at the expense of innovation and creativity. We put private good before cooperation. We will never know exactly what we’ve lost as a result. It’s impossible to quantify fully the inventions not made, discoveries not revealed, and creativity restrained.

The benefits that should be afforded to the public as part of an effective system of copyright are sadly lacking today, and it’s reasonable to expect that without a dramatic shift we may never realize these benefits. Secret deals, negotiated by governments and corporations hand-in-hand, without public review or consideration, are the new normal. Most copyright negotiations and consultations are focused on making minor changes, rather than addressing the major failures of laws that were written for another century. The fight for copyright reform can’t be won without rethinking our approach, and harnessing the power of many interconnected global communities.

Hacking copyright and driving reform

Creative Commons didn’t change copyright. The terms of copyright are still so long that a new work published today will be locked down until long after we are all dead. But a Creative Commons license offers an elegant solution for someone who wants to share right now. The licenses are not, and never will be, an alternative to meaningful copyright reform, but they are a powerful tool that creators can employ now without waiting, and without asking permission. CC created a release valve to the constraints of copyright — a doorway to an alternate reality of free and open content, powered by creators who share a set of important values. And while CC has been successful, our work will not be complete until we light up that universe of content and creators to establish what we might describe as an open distributed social network.

Now well into our second decade, the CC licenses are ubiquitous, and accepted as the global standard for sharing of content under permissive legal terms. They are embedded in major content platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, and Medium, public archives like the DPLA, Internet Archive, and Wikimedia Commons, and have been adopted by governments and foundations, including the White House and major US foundations including Hewlett, Gates, and Ford. The CC licenses enable open access to academic research and data, open textbooks, and are increasingly used for government open data (via CC0). The license suite functions globally, and is brought to life around the world by CC affiliate chapters in 85 countries. The commons is massive and growing. The 2015 State of the Commons report showed that between 2010 and 2015, the commons nearly tripled in size.

Creative Commons represents just one part of the global commons. Today’s commons: one with the potential for infinite abundance rather than the tragedy of mismanaged scarcity, is made up of many overlapping communities: open source, open government data, open science, open educational resources (OER), Wikipedians, Mozillians, free software creators, etc. While we don’t agree on everything, our common thread is a desire to foster the benefits of openness: access, opportunity, equity, innovation, transparency.

Taken together, the commons is a platform for cooperation. Each person joins the network when they share, which invites a collaboration with others — sometimes direct, and often indirect. Today, there are over 1.1 billion Creative Commons licensed works, shared by millions of people around the world. What’s most powerful about this number is that each creator chose to cooperate, to collaborate, and to share. Despite this profound gift, their works too often sit disconnected from each other, without context, gratitude, or mechanisms for collaboration.

A renewed focus

CC’s focus should no longer be to achieve scale. The key challenge facing the commons today is usability, vibrancy, and collaboration.

CC has helped to foster a global movement that has reimagined the idea of the commons as a digital environment of infinite abundance inspired by collaboration, rather than mismanaged scarcity plagued by self-interest. The size of the commons is not as important as how (and if) the works it contains are used to achieve our vision and mission. This is most likely to come to fruition if the materials contained within the commons are easy to discover and curate, to use and remix, and if those who create feel valued for their contributions. To date, this has not been the case. In every part of the commons, users struggle to realize these benefits. The opportunity for CC is to focus and do more to offer tools, education, advocacy, and community-building.

The Web has obviously changed significantly since 2002 when CC launched, but the way the CC licenses work hasn’t. While most web services and apps are data-driven and accessible via API, CC’s licenses are largely static, devoid of data, and rooted in markup. There are no services to enhance the user experience, or provide additional value and create connections. Users still have to manually provide attribution. There are no analytics about use or re-mix. Adding a work to the commons is a huge gift, but contributors get very little in exchange — no feedback, no analytics, not even a “like” or a “thank you.” While CC is integral to many kinds of creativity and sharing on the web, it has yet to capitalize on this influence to connect and light up the commons.

CC must recognize its various roles in a variety of diverse and active communities. We provide essential infrastructure for the Web, and are vital contributors and leaders in these global movements. The opportunity to realize the benefits of openness will come from showing how “open” is uniquely able to solve the challenges of our time. Our role is not just as providers of tools, but also as strategic partners, advocates, influencers, and supporters to quantify, evangelize, and demonstrate the benefits of open.

We also acknowledge that Creative Commons is both an organization and a movement, and that there will be many actors — especially CC’s global affiliate network — who will take on their own projects and initiatives that extend the scope of these activities. That is not only acceptable, it must be encouraged and supported to the greatest extent possible. A powerful movement is one of common values with many independent actors seeking a shared outcome, not uniform application of programs and tools. If we are successful, our initiatives will support these communities in various ways as we all seek to strengthen the commons.

Next: Our strategy and plan

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Where are we?

Creativecommons.org -

Over the next few days, I’m going to share a series of posts about Creative Commons’ 2016-2020 strategy. Let me skip to the end: CC is going to refocus our work to build a vibrant, usable commons, powered by collaboration and gratitude. Over the course of these next few posts, I’ll explain what that means, and how we plan to achieve it.

The Creative Commons 2016-2020 Organizational Strategy reflects over a year of intensive consultation, discussion, brainstorming, analysis, and testing throughout CC’s global community, including staff, board, affiliates, partners, supporters, and donors. The insights and approaches contained within it have been influenced by hundreds of valuable discussions with creators, non-profits, foundations, government officials, advocacy organizations, content platforms, lawyers, librarians, museums, archivists, industry advocates, and open community leaders.

These essential discussions have taken place on mailing lists, in chat rooms, in boardrooms and coffee shops, in large groups and in one-on-one discussions. Prompted and unprompted, time and time again, the need for a more vibrant, usable, collaborative commons has been an issue of concern. This is a critical moment for the commons, for the open Web, and for Creative Commons. I am incredibly enthusiastic about this new direction for the organization, and we are all deeply motivated to bring it to life. I’m grateful to everyone who has given their time and energy to help shape this strategy.

We need to talk about sharing

Collaboration, sharing, and co-operation are in our nature — building community, co-operating towards common goods, and creating shared benefits are at the heart of who we are. In fact, these values live even closer to us than our beating hearts, operating at the level of our DNA. Martin Nowak, a Harvard professor who studies the underpinnings of evolution, argued in Scientific American that humanity’s story is one of both competition and cooperation. According to Nowak, it is not just a struggle for survival, but also an essential “snuggle for survival.”

An extreme take on Darwin’s theory of evolution might suggest we should never help our fellow humans. We are expected to exploit our creative works to the greatest extent possible, to extract the maximum benefit, to the exclusion of all others. To accept anything less is foolish. And yet the leading thinkers, and the data, suggest the exact opposite.

Nowak’s research shows that co-operators — even those who share at their own expense — often win out over time. Elinor Ostrom’s research on the power of shared economies and the collaborative management of common resources won her the Nobel Prize in Economics. In Adam Grant’s book, “Give and Take”, he goes beyond the idea that givers are purely altruistic, and argues that those who “give first are often best positioned for success later.” And giving doesn’t just help the giver, it also begets more giving. According to Grant, when researchers studied giving across social networks, they found that when one person gave at their own personal cost over a series of rounds, others were more likely to contribute in subsequent rounds, even with people who were not in the original group. “The presence of a single giver was enough to establish a norm of giving,” wrote Grant.

Sharing is not a purely selfless act — while thinking beyond one’s own personal benefit is at the core of why we share, it also pays itself forward in reputation, and rewards us with good feelings and personal gratification. Sharing contributes to our individual identity — how we want to see ourselves, and be seen, in the world. Nowak calls this kind of earned reputation “indirect reciprocity” — common in large, complex communities, where direct reciprocity is nearly impossible. Complex communities like the ones we created together with the Web. Individuals who share in these communities establish and accumulate reputation. To be known, and to be valued — that’s reputation — and it is essential to vibrant, open communities, from Wikipedia, to open science, to open source software. We accumulate benefits from others who give freely because of the norms created in those groups. These acts are not entirely altruistic, and the motivations behind them are real and powerful.

This is the real power of sharing: concurrent and lasting benefits, multiplied for the giver, the receiver, and society. If Grant’s research is right, then a global movement built around sharing and collaboration will be infectious — converting not only those who give and receive, but establishing and reinforcing new norms in online communities. Every share can inspire others — eventually, over the long run — to “share alike”.

The Internet is real life

The line between these online communities and real life is blurring, or in many cases, altogether irrelevant. The Internet is real life. It’s where we go to work. It’s how we connect to the people we love. It’s where we tell our stories. This is the society we’re building together. If it is going to be fair, equal, diverse, vibrant, serendipitous, and safe for everyone, it will only be because we choose to make it that way. If it is going to be accessible, equitable, and full of innovation and opportunity, it will require our leadership to build the foundations that support these ideals.

This is how Creative Commons can be successful: by ensuring that the legal, technical, and policy infrastructure we create is designed to foster cooperation and sharing. The tools and services we create are important, but equally or perhaps even more important is how we create them: by supporting and fostering open, collaborative communities and driving engagement across the spectrum of open knowledge and free culture. Our open values are at the heart of what we do, but also how we do it. If we are successful in this endeavour, we will be much closer to realizing our vision: unlocking the full potential of the Internet to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity.

Next: Towards a vibrant, usable commons.

The post Where are we? appeared first on Creative Commons Blog.

When Analytics Are Not Enough: PLOS Launches ‘PLOS BLOGS Reader Survey’ So Readers Can Be Heard

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Today PLOS launches its first-ever poll of the more than 2 million regular readers of its PLOS BLOGS Network of 26 staff and independent science blogs. Read on to find out why, when and how you can participate in this PLOS BLOGS Reader Survey.

What will happen to the data collected? Working with science communication researcher Dr. Paige Jarreau, PLOS intends to use this data to shape the future of PLOS BLOGS, one of the most read and influential science blog networks, and one of few written primarily by researchers for other researchers. Survey responses will also collectively provide insights for research being conducted by Dr. Jarreau on science communication habits in the broad scientific community.


Since its inception, PLOS has worked to make science more open and accessible to diverse authors and readers of the scientific literature. It has done this in traditional and nontraditional ways, beginning with PLOS Biology as an Open Access journal; then, reshaping the literature itself with the creation of PLOS ONE, a multidisciplinary journal that welcomes all ‘sound science.’

PLOS has also worked to make science more open and accessible in informal ways, most notably through The PLOS Blogs Network with its central mission to provide explanatory science within a venue for community discussion. As recently shared in a year-end roundup highlighting the most read (of more than 600) posts on PLOS BLOGS in 2015, the number of blogs on the network and their readerships have grown exponentially.  In the decade since launching The Official PLOS Blog, and in the five years since PLOS began hosting select independent blogs, PLOS BLOGS has expanded to include six staff-written blogs (including Speaking of Medicine, PLOS Biologue, EveryONE), four PLOS Community-affiliated blogs (PLOS Neuro, PLOS Synbio, PLOS Paleo, PLOS Ecology), and 16 active independent blogs – together receiving more than 2.3 million visits per year.

As a trusted source for formal and informal science communication, PLOS would like to enlist the help of its regular readers to go beyond bare-bones Google Analytics in shaping the future of PLOS’ science blogs. This means tapping your knowledge and hearing your preferences about what and how PLOS should approach the science and medicine covered on PLOS BLOGS. We’d also like to get your input on how to engage better with you, our authors and readers, using social media. To do so, PLOS is working with independent science communication researcher and survey consultant Paige Brown Jarreau to administer a first-ever PLOS BLOGS Reader Survey. This survey will launch on January 11, 2015 with announcements and links to be placed on all PLOS journals and blogs and PLOS social media channels. It will run approximately four weeks, closing Feb 15.

In addition to your content preferences, with this survey PLOS also wants to discover more about YOU as individual readers. Answers to demographic questions will help PLOS BLOGS better meet your needs as research authors, early, mid or later career researchers, clinicians, patients, undergraduate students, science writers, patients, popular science readers – or possibly identify a new category of reader not yet known to us.

Take 10 minutes to answer 10 questions. Help us improve PLOS BLOGS. Contribute to the science of science communication. And, be eligible to win a classic PLOS T-shirt.

Survey questions are applicable to any and all PLOS BLOGS Network readers, including visitors to staff, community and independent blogs, and the whole survey requires no more than 10-15 minutes to take. As an incentive, PLOS T-shirts will be awarded to 100 randomly selected people who take this survey! Keep in mind: the more of you who participate, the better PLOS will be able to serve all our readers. So, ‘Be Heard’ — take the survey yourself, and then share the announcement/link with your colleagues!

Thank you for taking the time to help PLOS serve you better.

Share this link with your friends and colleagues: http://plos.io/PLOSblogs16

How to combine the Hollywood blockbuster The Hobbit and creative commons content in the same OER

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Can you combine Copyright and Creative Commons? Yes you can!

After a meeting at the EU parlament on Copyright and IP related issues in October 2015 I have received several questions regarding copyright versus creative commons and more specifically how we at Norwegian digital learning arena(NDLA) combine the use of Copyright and CC license.

The main strategy at NDLA is to release content under Creative Commons BY SA but we also use NC on pictures and Copyright in some cases.

To explain this it is best to show an example from NDLA where we do this with a combination of text from our own staff, a picture from NTB Scanpix and the Hollywood blockbuster film made by Peter Jackson called The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug.


These different parts all are released under different licenses:

  1. The text by Tina Andersson Jensen is released under Creative Commons BY SA
  2. The picture of Peter Jackson(top right) by Hannibal Hanschke is released under Creative Commons BY SA NC
  3. The full length movie is released with Copyright and with the limitation that it can only be accessed from IP adresses in Norway.

When combining resources like this it is important to be accurate in marking the different parts with the correct license. In the screenshot under the three different licenses are defined. When a user puts the cursor over the icon the license and relevant information shows in the black frame. (Norwegian text)

What license to chose?

My personal opinion is that it is best to use Creative Commons BY or BY SA. When using NC(non-commercial) there are some problems in terms of “what is non-commercial” and how this term is to be interpreted.

Photo: NTB Scanpix, HANNIBAL/dpa – Creative commons by-nc-sa 2.0



This post will come in a new version soon. The Hobbit has be replaced with The King’s Speech on ndla.no


Author Credit: PLOS & ORCID Update

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Receiving credit for your work on a research article is important for academic recognition.  Scientific research and collaboration is now a global endeavor and while exciting, consistently identifying who has worked on what, and to what degree, is challenging. Given the current research environment, attributing appropriate credit to authors is complicated.  In an effort to help disambiguate author identity and to recognize authors for their contributions, PLOS is excited to share with you an update on our efforts to help all authors receive credit for their research.


For more than two years, PLOS has made it possible for authors, editors and reviewers to register  and log into our manuscript submission system with an ORCID.  Starting this month, we will send those iDs associated with authors of newly-published papers through to Crossref in our metadata deposits.  Crossref, in turn, will communicate that information to ORCID, where if the author has agreed to allow for updates, their ORCID profile will be enhanced to include their new publication. This auto-update function makes it possible for authors to maintain their records going forward without touching them!

Registering for an ORCID iD is simple to do – thousands of PLOS authors have already signed up!

ORCID Open Letter

This week, PLOS, in collaboration with eLife, the Royal Society and other major publishers, signed an Open Letter that commits publishers to following best practices when collecting, processing, and displaying ORCID iDs. An ORCID iD distinguishes authors from others with similar names by providing a unique identifier that permanently links all research published by that author to his or her ORCID iD —even if their name has changed over time or has been spelled differently in various contexts.  We worked with ORCID and other publishers to establish best practices that ensure we maintain the integrity of the ORCID record and best serve our authors. By signing this letter, our CEO, Elizabeth Marincola, has committed PLOS to begin requiring all corresponding authors to associate their name with an ORCID iD during 2016 – the exact date for implementation is still to be determined.

While our plan for the future is to require an ORCID iD for corresponding authors, we strongly encourage all contributors (authors, reviewers, editors, etc) to register for an ORCID iD and use it consistently for all their content.

Looking Ahead

PLOS is committed to providing new tools and services that help accelerate the pace and transparency of scientific research. We plan to continue collaborating with publishers, institutions and others that are practicing or want to establish ways to make publishing science faster, improve the author experience, and advance standards for reporting and reproducing research. As we move forward, we will continue to update our authors, contributors and community on our progress. Thank you for your continued support as we work on improving how authors and contributors receive credit for their research.

Helen Atkins

Director of Publishing Services


Open Education Week: 7-11 March, 2016: Call for Participation

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Open Education Week 2016: Call for Participation, by: Open Education Consortium, CC BY 4.0

The Open Education Week planning committee invites your contributions to and participation in the 2016 Open Education Week (#openeducationwk), featuring online and in-person events around the world. There are many ways to participate – including but not limited to:

  • host an event
  • help someone find and reuse open education resources (OER)
  • run a webinar
  • commit to openly license your educational resources
  • submit a video
  • make a commitment to advance OER
  • use the week to highlight the benefits of open education in your institution

Open Education Week is a celebration of the global Open Education movement. The purpose of the week is to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide, and there is always a need for the Creative Commons (CC) community to highlight how CC licensing makes OER “open.” Moreover, the CC community continues to innovate in open education and this is an opportunity to share your amazing work with the world. Participation in all events and use of all resources is free and open to the public.

Please submit your ideas on how you will contribute to Open Education Week by 12 February, 2016. You are welcome to submit multiple resources or events. Please fill out one form for each contribution.

Submitting your event / resources through this form will show the strength of commitment to openness around the world – all languages and time zones are most welcome!

Your event will be featured in the Open Education Week schedule, on the world map of events, and will be promoted through Open Education Week social media channels. You’ll also receive the official Open Education Week badge to display on your webpage or event promotional materials.

Kudos to our friends at the Open Education Consortium for organizing Open Education Week 2016!

The post Open Education Week: 7-11 March, 2016: Call for Participation appeared first on Creative Commons.

A Proactive Approach to Reproducibility with Evidence-Based Research on Research

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Discovery and reproducibility are cornerstones of the scientific enterprise. Without one, the other is hindered; new work is built on the foundation of previous results, for both breakthroughs and smaller advances, and the ability to reproduce published results expedites discovery.

Scientific research is increasingly technical, multidisciplinary and collaborative, bringing additional challenges to reproducibility and reliability. It is not new that there have been instances when published results were irreproducible, what is relevant in recent years – aided by Open Access – is the ability of motivated scientists to analyze not only data consolidated from multiple studies, in meta-analysis, but also to analyze the design, methods, reporting and evaluation of research, in meta-research studies.

Meta-research is the study of how science is conducted and reported. In recognition of the importance of this emerging field to bolstering public confidence in science and reducing unnecessary costs and efforts, PLOS Biology is taking a proactive approach to encourage reproducibility efforts with a new Meta-Research Section devoted to evidence-based research on research.

In expanding its scope to include this branch of scientific research, the journal aims “to provide a high-visibility home for research on research practices in the life sciences,” says PLOS Biology Senior Editor Stavroula Kousta. “By recognizing the importance of meta-research as a field, we hope to help reduce waste and restore the public’s trust in science,” she adds. In elevating the importance of data-driven meta-research, PLOS Biology ultimately aims to improve research practices.

Launch of this new section in PLOS Biology is accompanied by an editorial further detailing the motivation behind this addition (together with cited evidence) and the description of types of research to be considered for inclusion. In conjunction with the section launch is a new Meta-Research Collection containing curated PLOS meta-research classics and recently published meta-research articles across the PLOS journals. The interactive PLOS Science Wednesday redditscience Ask Me Anything on January 13 will cover bias in preclinical research with a focus for improvement.

The new Meta-Research Section in PLOS Biology is not the only example of how PLOS strives to improve the scientific endeavor through innovative communication efforts. PLOS has always recognized that publication of studies that reproduce published work or null results, either confirming or refuting the original result, is essential for progress in research. In fact, the largest journal at PLOS, PLOS ONE, is one of only a handful of publications that actively encourage these types of submissions with The Missing Pieces Collection.

As part of ongoing efforts to improve the quality and communication of scientific work and enhance trust in the scientific endeavor for all stakeholders – including the public, policymakers, educators and scientists – PLOS welcomes submissions in meta-research.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

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

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

The post Thank you and Happy New Year! appeared first on Creative Commons.

Keep the commons thriving

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

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

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

With thanks,

Ryan Merkley
CEO, Creative Commons

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

Special request from Esther Wojcicki, Creative Commons Advisory Council

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

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

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

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

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

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


The post Special request from Esther Wojcicki, Creative Commons Advisory Council appeared first on Creative Commons.

Happy Birthday CC license suite!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make your contribution to Creative Commons right now.

The Future of Science Communication

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

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

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


Abonner på creativecommons.no nyhetsinnsamler