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Platforms: A commons-based approach to global collaboration

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 15:19

CC’s community grew up around the licenses, but over the past decade it has evolved into a powerful and diverse movement of interests and areas of work including open policy, open education, access to research and data, and cultural sharing. While those communities grew naturally, CC has never had a model for collaboration, shared goal-setting, and mobilizing action. The new network strategy, for the first time, creates a simple structure to enable global collaboration and action.

The Global Network will identify and collaborate on a series of shared interests and priorities, which we have called Platforms. A Platform is an area of work, a space for individuals and institutions to organize and coordinate themselves across the broad network. It’s open to anyone inside and outside the Creative Commons Global Network to support, share experience and collaborate on its goals and objectives. Through Platforms, we want to initiate strategic collaboration between network members that will have worldwide impact.

We are using the opportunity of this Global Summit to open the conversation about designing Platforms in several ways. On Friday, just after the opening, we will host a session called Programs for the New CC Global Network: How Can We Work Together? (Friday 13:30 – 15:00), where we expect to talk about the future work our community would like to be engaged to work in the future and have a big picture conversation about it. On Sunday (13:30 – 15:30), there will be a session called A Platform for Big Thinking about CC, a follow up session to the first, where we expect to think really big about the Future of the Commons, both in terms of challenges surrounding CC but also the Digital Commons.

Then, we will have specific sessions on Platforms related to the Open Education Platform (Friday 15:00 – 16:50), Copyright Reform (Saturday 15:30 – 18:00) and Open GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) (Sunday 13:30 – 15:30). And, strongly connected with this community-driven effort, we also scheduled a specific session on Building a culture of appreciation for the new Global Network (Saturday, 16:00 – 17:30) where we expect to open a conversation about requirements, needs and tools we would like to see to make our community strengthen and grow healthy and diverse.

While participating in the Summit, and especially leading sessions, please keep in mind the possibility of establishing a platform around a shared issue of interest. We have prepared guidelines for people interested in proposing a platform.

The CC Summit is an exciting opportunity for global collaboration and action. Summit participants will begin to share their goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics and lead a global conversation towards a stronger commons and community through an open invitation that starts at Summit, but will continue through the year, and beyond.

The Summit is the beginning of this conversation as well as the beginning of a big experiment in working together. By proposing a platform early on, you can join this early phase of testing how platforms will function. If you have ideas about CC platforms, please share them on social media using #ccplatforms hashtag and in our Slack. We would be very happy to see a broad range of platforms being discussed. Join us.

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Categories: Political Action

Made with Creative Commons: Available at the CC Summit

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 14:47
Our new book was released to Kickstarter backers today and will be available at the CC Global Summit and in wide release May 5.

For the last year and a half, Creative Commons staff Sarah Hinchliff Pearson and Paul Stacey have been writing a Kickstarter backed book about sharing and open business models called Made With Creative Commons.

Here’s a short excerpt:

“When we began this project in August 2015, we set out to write a book about business models that involve Creative Commons licenses in some significant way — what we call being Made with Creative Commons. With the help of our Kickstarter backers, we chose twenty-four endeavors from all around the world that are Made with Creative Commons. The mix is diverse, from an individual musician to a university-textbook publisher to an electronics manufacturer. Some make their own content and share under Creative Commons licensing. Others are platforms for CC-licensed creative work made by others. Many sit somewhere in between, both using and contributing creative work that’s shared with the public. Like all who use the licenses, these endeavors share their work — whether it’s open data or furniture designs — in a way that enables the public not only to access it but also to make use of it.

We analyzed the revenue models, customer segments, and value propositions of each endeavor. We searched for ways that putting their content under Creative Commons licenses helped boost sales or increase reach. Using traditional measures of economic success, we tried to map these business models in a way that meaningfully incorporated the impact of Creative Commons. In our interviews, we dug into the motivations, the role of CC licenses, modes of revenue generation, definitions of success.

In fairly short order, we realized the book we set out to write was quite different from the one that was revealing itself in our interviews and research.

It isn’t that we were wrong to think you can make money while using Creative Commons licenses. In many instances, CC can help make you more money. Nor were we wrong that there are business models out there that others who want to use CC licensing as part of their livelihood or business could replicate. What we didn’t realize was just how misguided it would be to write a book about being Made with Creative Commons using only a business lens.”

The book we ended up writing is so much more than what we set out to do. Made With Creative Commons started as a book about business models, but it ultimately became a book about sharing. Part analysis, part handbook, part collection of case studies, we see Made With Creative Commons as a guide to sharing your knowledge and creativity with the world, and sustaining your operation while you do. It makes the case that sharing is good for business, especially for companies, organizations, and creators who care about more than just the bottom line. Full of practical advice and inspiring stories, Made with Creative Commons is a book that will show you what it really means to share.

We’re thrilled to announce Made With Creative Commons is now ready for release. It will first be released to our Kickstarter backers April 21, 2017 and print copies will be distributed April 28, 2017 to all attendees of the Creative Commons Global Summit. The book will be officially made available to the public on May 5, 2017 at You can pre-order copies on Amazon now.

We can’t thank our backers, case study interviewees, and Creative Commons colleagues enough for their support and encouragement. Writing Made With Creative Commons transformed and inspired us. We hope it inspires you too.

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Categories: Political Action

Driving community change through campaigning: Open Democracy Project at the CC Summit

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 12:59

In the fall of 2016, a small Toronto-based civic tech group convened around a question: What if we could use technology to connect municipal campaigners and enable them to share knowledge and tools in an open resource kit across traditional geographic and partisan divides?

We were motivated by the significant advantage incumbents enjoy as well as an appreciation of the potential impact thousands more well-run, digitally-savvy campaigns could have on our democracy.

At their best, local campaigns are ideal learning environments for skills to drive community change. They can be:

  • Relevant – Issues often directly affect all community members.
  • Independent – In jurisdictions with no political parties, individual candidates must make a direct appeal to voters based on their own track record and ideas.
  • Diverse – Campaigns draw teams of volunteers across professional, class, ethnic and partisan lines.
  • Entrepreneurial – They’re low-resource pressure-cooker environments that form meaningful bonds between community volunteers.
  • Risky – Campaigns are time-limited and election day provides a built-in failure mechanism.
  • Important! Campaign volunteers make our system of representative government possible by helping civic leaders find their public voice and run for office.

Despite the significant role election campaigns play in our democratic system, the process of planning and managing a successful ground campaign remains a mystery to the average citizen.


In October 2016, we founded the Open Democracy Project and launched an Indiegogo campaign that raised $31K – enough to develop the first version of DemocracyKit. Upon release April 25, 2017, DemocracyKit will have a searchable campaign resource library, community directory and campaign orientation with five modules: Explore, Build Your Team, Create a Plan, Choose Technology and Run a Campaign. Documents are stored in Google Drive to facilitate editing by a distributed team of contributors and editors and made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) licence.

Your Input

Open Democracy Project is a distributed team and we use the same technology and tactics as the municipal campaigns we’re preparing to serve. Currently, we meet weekly in Toronto and Ottawa, Ontario and have volunteers organizing to launch this summer in Alberta.

We’re in the process of drafting a 2-year strategic plan and are keen for input on how best to structure the organization to allow for growth and partnerships across Canada and abroad.

We would appreciate your input. Please join our Creative Commons Global Summit workshop on April 29, 5 – 6pm.

Workshop Agenda

  1. Introduction to the Open Democracy Project
  2. DemocracyKit walkthrough
  3. Workshop & feedback:
  • Feedback on Mission, Vision, Values
  • Preparing to expand in Canada
  • Preparing to partner internationally

Hope to see you there!

The post Driving community change through campaigning: Open Democracy Project at the CC Summit appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

Announcing 470,000 images from Europeana, now in CC Search

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 09:37

“Runde mit Flechtwerk und Knoten” by Dürer, Albrecht is licensed under

CC0 1.0

CC Search beta has added 470,000 images from the millions of materials contained in Europeana’s collection of Creative Commons images. Europeana is Europe’s digital platform for cultural heritage, collecting and providing online access to over 54 million of digitised items ranging from books, photos, and paintings to television broadcasts and 3D objects. As an important cultural partner to CC, Europeana’s platform strengthens the commons through its large, searchable collection of digital records from nearly 4,000 European libraries, archives, museums and audiovisual galleries. As CC Search continues to grow, we’ll be adding more material from this rich repository of cultural heritage images, data, and records.

The new CC Search provides tools to make lists, attribute work with one click, and serves up a massive collection of images by utilizing open media APIs. This new addition from Europeana brings the number of searchable objects up to 10,022,832 making Europeana the second main image provider. Previous repositories include February’s landmark release from Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as large collections of freely licensed images from 500 px, Flickr, Rijksmuseum, and New York Public Library. While the beta project focuses on images, the tool aims to provide a ‘front door to the commons,’ bringing together a multitude of collections to inspire creativity and collaboration on the web.

Among the images now available in CC Search are major works by masters of European art as well as photographs, prints, drawings, and more. Explore the entire collection at the CC Search page.

The post Announcing 470,000 images from Europeana, now in CC Search appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

Remixing Recipes and Sharing Spices when Virtually Connecting meets CC

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 14:31

Listen to a recording of this post on Soundcloud

Food brings people together. Sharing favourite recipes and talking about interesting spices can open conversations. But it’s not the recipe or the spice that leaves a lasting impression. It’s the people that come together to share the meal. It’s going to be a global smorgasbord when the Creative Commons Global Summit comes to Toronto, April 28 to 30th. I’m looking forward to swapping some recipes and experiencing new spices while sharing about Virtually Connecting (VC).

#OpenEd16 Virtually Connecting
VC sessions from #OpenEd16
by Autumn, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

At the CC Global Summit there will be many opportunities to share the magic that happens within Virtually Connecting sessions in both physical and digital spaces. It’s an opportunity to bring people together in small groups to share ideas, experiences, feelings, connections between and among the formal conference sessions. These common ingredients often become remixed and cook up unexpected results. VC sessions range in format from hallway hangouts to conversations about conversations. However these sessions happen, it’s about the people at the table that makes the meal a memorable one. A list of the many VC sessions shared is found on the VC site.

Since I’m a relative newcomer to the Creative Commons (CC) neighbourhood, I’m looking forward to meeting new people and actively sharing my VC experiences. I’ll also be connecting with the VC community through conversations with people who are attending the summit. Since this is now a sold-out event, there’s an opportunity for those who can’t physically be present to engage in the conversations. VC sets the table and anyone can join the meal.

What will happen when Virtually Connecting meets CC?

Will new topics simmer while recipes are remixed? Will exciting flavours be exchanged? There’s a wealth of creativity in the common ground that food and cooking can bring. A meal together breaks down barriers and builds community – no telling where this can lead. Toronto and the CC Global Summit will have much to offer when VConnecting meets CC.

VC is centered on people, conversations, and topics that are open and invitational. These global campfire conversations are “motivated by a desire to improve the virtual conference experience for those who cannot be present at conferences for financial, logistical, social or health reasons.” (Virtually connecting web site). These video collaborations use Google hangout to connect people from the physical conference space to virtual participants who engage in live conversations. Check the VC website to see how it all started over two years ago and how it’s grown over time.

The aim of VC is to welcome and include while recognizing that these conference conversation experiences are bounded by time, space, access, technology, and by the availability of volunteers who can engage in these synchronous physical-with-virtual gatherings. Technology issues with hardware and software are often uncontrollable ingredients. Speakers, microphones, laptops, tablets, mobile technologies, and environmental locations become controlling factors in the quality and novelty of the conversational context.

#DigPed UMW
Digital Pedagogy Lab Institute University of Mary Washington 2016

The recipe for VC sessions is an ever-changing blend of ingredients. As master chefs are aware, it’s not the recipe that rules the outcome, but the serendipity of quality, quantity, diversity and novelty of ingredients that create the best dishes. While adding spices to the combinations, it’s the magic of the moment that determines the outcome. As it is with VC conversations, not all seasoning combinations work out well and the resulting flavours aren’t necessarily to everyone’s liking, but the lessons learned in the explorations are worth the efforts. When VConnecting meets CC at the Global Summit it’ll be less about reduction or intensifying discourse, and more about adding zest to the open dialogues.

The CC Global Summit will provide space and place for people from diverse neighbourhoods within the CC movement to engage openly in conversations of importance to the community. With there may be separate tracks for engagement at the summit, there’s potential for a rich diversity of flavours to add into the mix. VC will bring a metaphoric campfire to augment and spice up the conversations. With this shared collaboration in physical and digital spaces, VC and CC can create a savoury exchange of ideas, people and experiences. With the upcoming VC and CC interactions, I hope that some VC spice will leave a lasting, positive impression in the CC cooking pot. In return, I’m certain that CC experiences will flavour the meal for VC participants. The possibilities that can come from the CC Global Summit with a VC presence are potentially catalytic which hopefully will continue the remixing of recipes for both movements.

Virtually Connecting is ON!
George Station, Mia Zamora, Kate Green, and Christian Friedrich at DML Conference 2016
by Alan Levine Public Domain

You are welcome to join in these conversations and add your unique ingredients. The schedule of VC sessions happening at the CC Global Summit is posted on the Virtually Connecting site. If you are on-site at the summit, you are welcome to watch a session in action. When you’re ready, join into an event. If you can’t get to the CC Global Summit you can participate in a session virtually or watch live while it’s happening. Sessions will be recorded and can be viewed after the event. Send us a tweet @VConnecting or add a comment on the blog post to let us know you’re open to the opportunity. Please let us know how and when you’d like to join in.

So let’s get together in the kitchen and stir the pot a little! New spicy combinations will emerge.

The post Remixing Recipes and Sharing Spices when Virtually Connecting meets CC appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

Imagining together the future of the commons

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 11:29


Remix of the Visions of the Future HD40307 poster courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech. Original created by The Studio. Made available by JPL for any purpose without prior permission.
Remix by Paul Stacey, for Creative Commons Global Summit 2017.

CC Summits have always been an opportunity for the Creative Commons global movement to take stock of our work and plan next steps. This year, we decided to make this theme even more prominent, and defined “Future of the Commons” as one of the five tracks of the Global Summit.

This track was formed due to the influential research from the internal “Faces of the Commons” study conducted by a team led by Anna Mazgal. One of the recommendations in her report was that Creative Commons create a platform for engaging people in generating big ideas and insights related to the future of the commons and the potential for Creative Commons to be an agent of exponential social change.

Why should we care about the future of the commons?

This interest is due in part to the ongoing strategic process, which will conclude at the Summit with the adoption of a new model for the CC network. As we re-design our global community, we need to ask ourselves: what are our long-term goals, what is the role that CC can play in shaping our societies, and how do we address new challenges?

Creative Commons builds its activism on the belief that the way in which we manage a variety of resources matters, particularly when it comes to copyright. When properly shared, our intellectual resources will foster collaboration, equity, innovation and engagement. This fundamental assumption is valid as much today, as it was when CC was formed in 2001.

The “Future of the Commons” track is an opportunity to reflect together on our mission and goals, on the relevance of CC tools, and ways in which we can adapt to better address current challenges. We also want to talk about how we can work collaboratively with others, to build a broader open movement and a shared vision of the commons.

Future of the Commons graphic by Joanna Tarkowska, CC BY The three strands of the track

The Future of the Commons track was shaped around three strands, each with their own set of questions.

Strand One: What is the commons, in particular the digital commons? How has CC contributed to the digital commons in the last 15 years? What part does CC currently play in helping it flourish and what more could CC do? Who else is working on this and how might CC collaborate with them?

Strand Two: What is the role of the commons in the future economy? How do we develop open business models? What is CC’s role in sharing cities, platform cooperatives, and the sharing economy? How do we apply the concept of sharing to other crucial resources and technologies (like data or the internet of things)?

Strand Three: What is CC’s role in going beyond licenses? How do we engage in and advance the social community practice of commoning? How is a commons managed? What are social norms for helping a digital commons thrive?

You can learn more about the track sessions in our Summit schedule.

If you care about the future of the commons – get in touch!

We invite Summit participants who are particularly interested in these issues to meet during lunch on Friday for an informal chance to meet peers. Look for the track logo in the lunch area.

We will also be organizing a Virtually Connecting session on Sunday during the 10.00 am break, to bring together summit participants with online peers, in order to share more broadly the track experience.

To make the Future of the Commons track interactive we are inviting participants attending each session to write down one big idea or action from the session they think CC should pursue to ensure a flourishing future commons. All ideas will be posted to a Future of the Commons wall poster in the Summit venue hallway. Over the course of the summit, the Future of the Commons wall will gradually have more big ideas on it. to encourage idea browsing and conversation.

All the ideas from the Future of the Commons wall poster will feed into a culminating session on the last day of the Summit called “A Platform for Big Thinking About the Future of the Commons”. All participants in this final session will be engaged in an activity that selects and prioritizes ideas from the wall poster into a Future of the Commons action plan.

The “Future of the Commons” track has been shaped by an organizing team including: Alek Tarkowski (Poland), Claudia Cristiani (El Salvador), Alexandros Nousias (Greece), Anna Mazgal (Poland), SooHyun Pae (South Korea), and Paul Stacey (Canada).

The post Imagining together the future of the commons appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

March for Science on Earth Day

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:00

On April 22, 2017 (Earth Day) tens of thousands of people will join the March for Science and stand together “to acknowledge and voice the critical role that science plays in each of our lives.” Marches will take place in Washington, D.C. and over 500 other cities.

The mission of the March for Science is to champion the robust funding and public communication of science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. It aims to promote science that serves the public interest, fuels evidence-based policymaking, and advocates for cutting-edge research and education.

A particularly important aspect of science is communicating openly about the results of scholarly research. Practicing science in such a way that promotes collaboration can accelerate and improve research discoveries. From the website:

Restricting the free exchange of scientific research within local and global communities threatens to stall the scientific progress that benefits people all over the world. Gag rules on scientists in government and environmental organizations impede access to information that is a public right. Our tax dollars support this scientific research, and withholding their findings limits the public’s ability to learn from the important developments and discoveries that we have come to expect from our scientists. In addition, scientists often rely on the public to help identify new questions that need to be answered.

Check out the satellite events and join a march to promote and protect science for the good of all.

The post March for Science on Earth Day appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

An interview with Michael Geist: copyright reform in Canada and beyond

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 06:55
ACTA workshop at the EP by European Parliament, CC BY-NC-ND

Dr. Michael Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. He is an authority on intellectual property, telecommunications, and privacy policy, and is a frequent writer and commentator on issues such as international trade negotiations and Canadian copyright reform. Geist will join the CC community at the Creative Commons Global Summit later this month.

Creative Commons is looking forward to hosting its Global Summit in Toronto at the end of this month. One of the topics to be discussed is how CC allies from around the world can share information and work together around supporting the reform of copyright rules in service of users and the public interest. CC affiliates are already active in copyright reform and commons advocacy in Europe, Australia, Latin America, and other places. Can you describe what’s going on with copyright reform in Canada, and how the Creative Commons network can help mobilize positive changes? What do you think we should push to achieve at the Summit re: copyright reform organising?

Canada is often held out as a great example of successful copyright advocacy leading to a more balanced law. After more than a decade of debate, the law was overhauled in 2012.  While there are plenty of provisions for rights holders – strong anti-circumvention laws and anti-piracy measures – the law also features some innovative limitations and exceptions such as an exception for non-commercial user generated content.  There is also a cap on statutory damages in non-commercial cases and a privacy-friendly approach to intermediary liability.  Moreover, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that fair dealing is a user’s right that should be interpreted in a broad and liberal manner, leading to results that affirm a balance to copyright.

The 2012 reforms also included a mandatory review every five years, which means that a new review will start late in 2017.  There is still room for improvement and learning from best practices from around the world would be enormously helpful.  Moreover, there is an expectation that some rights holders will demand that the government roll back fair dealing at the very time that other countries are open to fair use provisions.  The Global Summit offers an exceptional opportunity to develop national and international strategies, learn about reforms around the world, and begin the process of speaking with a consistent voice on positive copyright reform.

You’ve been a key voice in opposition to international trade agreements that attempt to push through restrictive clauses around intellectual property and e-commerce that enhance corporate protections while downplaying user rights. The most recent version of this was the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a sprawling agreement signed by 11 Pacific Rim nations, including Canada. Now that the United States, under the Trump administration, has formally withdrawn from the agreement, what is the future for the TPP? And what do you make of the seemingly inevitable reopening of NAFTA, especially with regard to digital rights?

The TPP in its current form is dead.  The agreement reflects a bargain for countries premised on access to the U.S. market.  Without the U.S., that bargain doesn’t make any sense.

That said, the U.S. seems intent on reviving many of the IP provisions in future trade talks, including NAFTA.  The renegotiated NAFTA will have enormous implications for copyright and digital rights more generally.  I expect to see pressure for copyright term extension and increased criminalization of copyright. On the digital rights issue, privacy concerns such as data localization and data transfers will be on the agenda.  The U.S. is likely to promote restrictions on both issues, leaving countries between a proverbial rock and a hard place with the U.S. seeking open transfers and the European Union focused on privacy protections from localization and limits on transfers in some circumstances.

As usual, there’s a lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) that’s continually sown around claims about copyright’s effect on rightsholders. You’ve written on several of these topics recently, including efforts by rightsholders associations to inflate numbers on piracy rates, fraud in search index takedown notices, and disinformation around the impacts of fair dealing on publishers’ businesses. How can digital rights advocates fight against such tactics?

There has been a remarkable amount of fake news associated with copyright’s effect on rights holders. The Google data on fake takedown notices from its search index were stunning – more than 99% of requests did not involve an actual page in its search index. Similarly, during a recent trip to Australia and New Zealand I was shocked to see how Canadian law has been badly misrepresented with claims about effects on publishers that were simply false.

The best way to counter FUD is with facts. In Australia, one representative from a leading publisher approached me after a talk to express embarrassment over the claims that had been in that country’s policy process in light of the real facts. Our community should not hesitate to counter inaccurate claims on piracy and fair use/fair dealing with a clear, objective discussion of the reality online and in the marketplace.

The issue of supporting and expanding copyright exceptions for education is on the table now within the context of the reassessment of the EU copyright rules, the international agenda at WIPO, and other national level copyright reforms. How do you see this will be addressed within the Canadian copyright reform which will commence this autumn?

Canada included several new exceptions within the 2012 reforms, including the additional of “education” as one of the fair dealing purposes. The reality is that this change was relatively minor since the existing purposes such as research and private study covered most purposes within education.  Indeed, the Supreme Court’s rulings on fair dealing were far more important than the legislative change.  That said, there will be a concerted lobbying effort to roll back fair dealing for education in Canada that must countered with facts.  Further, there is room for improvement. Canada’s anti-circumvention laws are among the most restrictive in the world and do not include a fair dealing exception.  That should change if Canada wants to ensure that fair dealing is treated equally in the analog and digital worlds.  Moreover, Canada would still benefit from a fair use provision, particularly given the increased emphasis on data and machine learning, which may not neatly fit within our existing purposes in all circumstances.

The post An interview with Michael Geist: copyright reform in Canada and beyond appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

Spheres of Open: strengthening ties across the movement

Fri, 04/14/2017 - 13:09

Sessions in the “Spheres of Open” track will focus on meaningful discussions about how we can work together to enhance, promote and move further the premises of CC in different areas of Open, such as Open GLAM, Open Education and Open Culture. Be prepared not only to learn from global practitioners, but also to be involved in a collective journey to search for the common questions regarding how we can make the world a better place with the CC community, its values, licenses and tools. This is an important year for the Creative Commons (CC) community gathering at the CC Summit, as we’re in the middle of discussing our new strategy, so be sure to drop by and join us!

Some of the questions that we’ll be exploring include:

  • How can we celebrate and strengthen our ties to creators of culture who make the Commons visible and real to people?
  • How might we ensure Open Access initiatives meet the knowledge and information needs of the public?
  • How can we shape the future of the GLAM sector in a world with imbalanced copyright laws?
  • How do we open up government archives and advance Open Data initiatives?
  • Should we create an annual a CC film festival?
  • How do we mainstream Open Education?
  • How can open education be aligned with the global grand challenges we all face?

These are some of the questions we’ll be exploring as the CC network shifts from its role as a set of legal tools and licenses to a community that focus on people, sharing, and gratitude.

The post Spheres of Open: strengthening ties across the movement appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

Future living with SPACE10: Open Source innovation for a local food system

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 15:19
Photo by Alona Vibe, Munchies Festival

SPACE10 is a Danish “future living lab” with an open source twist. Founded by IKEA in 2015, the lab is focused on innovative design to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. To that end, in February 2017, the lab licensed their popular Growroom design under CC BY in order to provide the maximum impact possible. This attractive, sustainable indoor circular garden quickly grows a massive amount of food in only a few square feet by utilizing vertical space, urban architecture, and hydroponics. In the words of director Carla Cammilla Hjort, “At Space10, we envision a future where we grow much more food inside our cities. Food producing architecture could enable us to do so.”

The Growroom can be downloaded and fabricated for free at the SPACE10 website and you can find out more about the project via their “Conversational Form.” Thanks to SPACE10 Communications Director Simon Caspersen for the interview.

Photo by Alona Vibe

The Growroom was launched in 2016 and open-sourced in February 2017. The expressed impetus for open sourcing the design was to encourage local production and materials. How did you come to that conclusion, and how has the project changed since it was open sourced? Why is open sourcing the plans vital to local food production?

We feel it makes complete sense because both our global food production system and our global supply chain of goods are based on the same model.

We produce everything on massive scale far away from where we live and ship everything halfway across the planet and into our cities, where we consume it before we export the waste.

This model has served us well. Humans have never been more food secure in the history of mankind and it would probably not by overreaching to claim that much of the living standards and material prosperity of modern society can be traced back to our current industrial model. The model, however, also has its physical limits, and these have been reached.

Our food system is driven by scale, chemicals, and fuel. It is one of the most crucial drivers of climate change. It is a critical user of our dwindling supplies of fresh water, the process compromises the nutritional value of our food severely, and 1/3 of the food produced goes to waste due to spoilage and overproduction. Furthermore, we each year note the date when humanity exhausts a year’s supply of the earth’s natural resources. In 2006 that date fell in October. In 2016 it was in August. All the evidence suggests that if we continue at our current rate, we’ll soon need a second planet…

We wanted to explore alternatives. The Growroom started as an architecture competition that we launched together with CHART. We wanted to explore how cities can feed themselves through food producing architecture. The winner was two Danish architects: Sine Lindholm and Mads Ulrik Husum, who created The Growroom as a one-off pavilion for the festival. The ideas was to spark conversations about this local food production.

The Growroom ended up sparking excitement from Taipei to Helsinki, from Rio de Janeiro to San Francisco, where people reached out and wanted to buy or exhibit The Growroom. But we didn’t feel it made sense to promote local food production and then start a centralised production of The Growroom and ship this large structure across oceans and continents.

We therefore tapped into the fab city movements idea of globally connected, locally productive cities that aspires to produce everything within our cities, went back to the drawing board and remade a version designed for open source, so we could ship the digital design files and let people build it themselves locally instead of the physical structure.

SPACE10 is a lab, a journal, and an exhibition space that explores the future of urban development. How do you think that open source plays into the future of global cities and production? How do you balance your approach to open as an Ikea project?

I think open source is one of the most exciting opportunities of our time. Open source could potentially change everything and empower people in ways we can’t even imagine. One thing is that open source and the advancements in digital fabrication will allow us to make everything locally – on demand. Whether it’s furniture, housing, cities, everything. Open source also enable us to not only share but also learn, build upon, and develop together. I deeply believe that if you are the smartest person in a room, you are in the wrong room. We need to surround ourselves with people who are smarter than us and open source allow us to learn and work together with the brightest minds out there.

In terms of IKEA, we are 100 % supported by IKEA and we work as an external future-living lab. If we weren’t looking into the opportunities of open source, we would be a pretty useless future-living lab, wouldn’t we?

We are also aware that transforming our current production system is a huge and complex issue and one of the biggest creative challenges of our time – and we also need to be aware of the social consequences if production moves out of areas where people depend on that for their livelihood. Nevertheless, it’s about getting in now, gaining learnings, and helping shape a future that is better for all of us.

Photo by Alona Vibe

How difficult is it to actually put together the Growroom? How long would it take? Have you seen any successful examples of the finished project that you’d like to share?

It is fairly simple actually. We have a very intuitive manual. No big tools needed: two rubber hammers and a screwdriver. We just exhibited in Milan for the design week and it took three people one hour, but they have also done it before and the local fab lab had a very precise CNC, so everything was like LEGO.

We are seeing different versions pop up different places using the hashtag: #space10growroom on instagram, but have also seen people who have set a little business up on top of the design – here is a nice little video from Denmark and a website in Belgium. There have also been articles in the USA and Canada. And we have been in touch with people who have concrete plans to build one in:

Lund, Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden
Helsinki, Finland
Rensselaer, United States
Minneapolis, United Sates
Pittsburgh, United States
Alberta, Canada
Québec, Canada
Plymouth, UK
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This is the real beauty of open source. Our version is just the beginning. People are iterating, improving it, personalizing it, scaling it and implement technology in it. We even talked with people who want to make it in mycelium and pressed dirt, so it becomes 100 % biodegradable.

Photo by Niklas Adrian Vindelev, SPACE10

What advice would you give to other architects and designers who want open source their designs? Do you have plans to openly license other designs at SPACE10 in the future?

If your aspiration in life is to design beautiful solutions that makes a difference for a lot of people, then you have a unique opportunity with open sourcing your solutions or build on top of others. We are challenged with some big questions and our current answers seems insufficient and outdated. We need collaboration and forward thinking people to work together more than ever. Open sourcing the physical world is still in early stage, so it’s about dipping your toes in the water, exploring the opportunities and seriously: how often do you have a chance to be a pioneer in a field that have the potential to change everything?

At SPACE10 we would like to open source every time it makes sense. We strongly believe that collaboration beats competition.

We launched an open source digital framework back in November called the “Conversational Form” that turns web forms into conversations —  we make it easy for developers and designers to engage with users in a more compelling and conversational way. We needed one for ourselves, but couldn’t find any suitable solutions, so we decided to build one of our own and open sourced it. A couple of months after – 200.000 people use it on daily basis on different platforms, and developers from all over the world iterate and build upon our initial framework, which benefits everyone. Imagine how much money we would have needed to build that big of a team to do the same work inhouse. Or imagine if Wikipedia had decided to build their site with an inhouse team. Imagine how your architectural design could scale, develop and improve over time if you just open sourced it.

Why did you choose to use CC BY as your license?

I was actually a bit unsure of what the right license would be. I wanted it to be as accessible as possible, but it was important that Mads-Ulrik Husum and Signe Lindholm (the designers) were credited for their work.

Photo by: Alicia Sjöström, Salone Del Mobile

Design blogs are asking if the Growroom is the urban gardening of the future, cementing its importance in the development of cutting-edge urban agriculture. How are you maintaining the project’s longevity What hopes do you have for the Growroom, and what would you like to accomplish with it in the future?

We have been very overwhelmed and incredibly happy with the positive response we have had from people, design institutions and media. For us, the ideal outcome would be that we didn’t do anything, but that people are inspired to build it themselves locally and gets joy from producing food on their own doorstep, rooftop or in their community – that it brings people together, support people’s sense of well being and provides food that is fresh, healthy, organic, and tastes better. That is what we dream of and why we open sourced it in the first place. I would also love to see people improve it, make it better and be creative with the design.

The post Future living with SPACE10: Open Source innovation for a local food system appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

The Usable Commons at the CC Summit

Wed, 04/12/2017 - 14:21


The Usable Commons track at the CC summit contains an exciting array of sessions that explore how to make the digital commons more discoverable, usable, and human-centered. In content communities such as 3D printing, research, and social media, we will focus on key questions of human behavior, including: What motivates people to share online? What social and technical design factors help people to make connections and build relationships? What can CC and its partners do to better facilitate and foster this collaboration online?

In order of appearance on the summit agenda, below are some of the sessions and speakers central to the Usable Commons. Note that all sessions at the summit are tagged across multiple tracks. The Usable Commons is simply one way for you to navigate this year’s excellent program.

We look forward to collaborating with you at this year’s CC Summit in Toronto!

Note: Session times are subject to change. For up-to-date descriptions of each session, check the Sched app.

Sharing norms that go beyond the licenses and CC’s role, starting with 3D design community

(Day 1, April 28) Friday, 1:30-3:30pm

What would it look like for Creative Commons to shift its primary focus to the norms of sharing content online, rather than the precise legalities of sharing? To help us envision this strategy in practice, we will apply it in the area of 3D printing. We will look at the existing norms for sharing 3D designs, and then discuss how Creative Commons could help make the culture of sharing even more pronounced and productive in this domain. As part of the discussion, we will brainstorm specific things CC might do and talk about the potential negative consequences, as we explore this new way of operating. This will be a two-part session, with discussion/debate in the second hour.


  • Tony Buser (Thingiverse/Makerbot)
  • Meghan Coakley (NIH 3D Print Exchange)
  • Jeric Bautista (re3D)
  • Ben Malouf (Lulzbot/Aleph Objects)
  • Meredith Jacob (CC U.S.)
  • Frank Polcino (Thingiverse/Makerbot)
  • Michael Weinberg (Shapeways)
  • Sarah Pearson (Creative Commons)
  • Jane Park (Creative Commons)

CC Search: Usability, Features, and Partners

(Day 1, April 28) Friday, 4:00-5:30pm

In February, Creative Commons released a working beta of CC Search. The initial service indexes about 1 percent of the Commons, and has a few key features, including list making, favoriting, and one-click attribution. Following the release, many partners have come forward asking to be involved. Before CC builds a complete index and service, we should continue consulting with partners, users, and the CC community. We’ll generate insights and map ideas for the future of CC search as a product. We will conduct a user-testing session; share statistics and analytics of CC search tools and partner platforms; work in smaller groups to generate solutions for a vital search product for the commons built to go beyond discovery to support collaboration and human connections


  • Ryan Merkley (Creative Commons)
  • Liza Daly (Software engineer, lead of beta CC Search)
  • Rob Myers (Creative Commons)
  • Maarten Zeinstra (CC Netherlands /Kennisland)

How to encourage prosocial behavior

(Day 1, April 28) Friday, 4:00-5:30pm

Healthy collaboration requires a lot more than copyright licenses. Among other things, it requires that people recognize the humanity in each other and behave accordingly, something that is far from a given online. Creating online environments that encourage prosocial behavior requires proactive effort and design. This session will feature platforms who regularly grapple with these issues. Each will explain the processes and infrastructure they use to create online environments where people interact in productive ways. Discussion will follow regarding what else we can do to foster greater cooperation and sharing online, especially with regards to commons content communities. We will explore the lifecycle of sharing, including: the pre-conditions for sharing, the actual act of sharing, what happens after sharing, and then what might feed back into the cycle, which may be ongoing or a one-time act.


  • Juliet Barbara (Wikimedia Foundation)
  • Ashe Dryden (Programmer, Diversity Advocate and Consultant)
  • Alex Feerst (Medium)
  • Tony Buser (Thingiverse/Makerbot)
  • Sarah Pearson (Creative Commons)
  • Jane Park (Creative Commons)

Share or Die: Is the Future of Manufacturing Open Source? Open Hardware Business Models

(Day 2, April 29) Saturday, 9-10am

How can manufacturers open source their design and products without losing their unique value proposition? This panel, organized by Danish Design Centre, debates the challenges and opportunities of designing open source-based business models for manufacturing and looks at the future of production in a new era. An era increasingly defined by not only the technology of the maker movement, but also its major underlying currents of knowledge sharing, co-creation and crowdsourced innovation. A future where manufacturers and designers will have to learn to share – or die.


  • Christian Villum (CC Denmark)
  • Paul Stacey (Creative Commons)

How to make good on the Creative Commons Promise?

(Day 3, April 30) Sunday, 10:30-11:30am

As use of Creative Commons licenses increases, we are seeing more instances of people misunderstanding the licenses or making mistakes with reuse. Creators who use Creative Commons face the issue that they often do not receive proper attribution that the licenses promised them when their works are reused. Reusers of CC-licensed works are increasingly facing the issue of legal threats from creators if they make mistakes in their attribution. In this session, we will discuss these issues, share our experience with them, and develop strategies for addressing them. We hope to develop an approach for how to proceed to better ensure that people are getting what they expect when they both release their works using a CC license and when they reuse CC-licensed works.


  • Charles M. Roslof (Wikimedia Foundation)

Patents: The Next Open Access Fight

(Day 3, April 30) Sunday, 1:30-2:30pm

Even as scientific research becomes accessible to a wider public, some of that same research is falling into the hands of patent trolls, companies that serve no purpose but to amass patents and sue innovators who independently created similar inventions. Those trolls can undo open access allies’ work in bringing knowledge and innovation to the public. Join us for an overview and discussion about current day challenges and opportunities, and the role that Creative Commons might play in furthering a patent commons.


  • Elliot Harmon (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
  • Jorge Contreras (University of Utah)
  • Diane Peters (Creative Commons)
  • Ryan Merkley (Creative Commons)

CC Usability: Reimagining CC’s tools for real users

(Day 3, April 30) Sunday, 3:00-5:00pm

If we were to reimagine CC’s core tools for real users in 2017, who would be our core audience? If we didn’t have the constraints of 15 years ago when the licenses launched, how would we design the licenses to serve CC users’ needs and desires today? We will present and discuss current and new designs of the CC licenses, buttons, deeds, and chooser. Content platforms will provide insight into their users’ motivations. Additionally, we invite participants from every region to give us insight into their users’ needs, and an opportunity to help reimagine CC’s tools for the current web and sharing climate.


  • Alex Feerst (Medium)
  • Melissa Nightingale (Wattpad)
  • Cheyenne Hohman (Free Music Archive)
  • Charles M. Roslof (Wikimedia Foundation)
  • Mack Hardy (Affinity Bridge)
  • Eric Steuer (Creative Commons)
  • Ryan Merkley (Creative Commons)
  • Jane Park (Creative Commons)

The post The Usable Commons at the CC Summit appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

Hacia la Implementación del Tratado de Marrakech en Uruguay

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 14:19

El “Tratado de Marrakech para facilitar el acceso a obras publicadas a las personas ciegas, con discapacidad visual o con otras dificultades para acceder al texto impreso”, constituye un hito en la relación entre los derechos de autor y los DD.HH., siendo el primer tratado internacional consagrado con el objetivo exclusivo de proteger los derechos de acceso a la cultura y el conocimiento.

Dicho Tratado fue aprobado en el ámbito de la OMPI en el año 2013 y entró en vigor el 30 de setiembre de 2016. Desde su aprobación y ratificación, varios Estados parte se encuentran trabajando para lograr su efectiva implementación a nivel nacional.

La implementación del Tratado de Marrakech

Dos aspectos clave a tomar en cuenta para la implementación de Marrakech en las legislaciones nacionales son:

1) Marrakech constituye un mínimo de protección.  Las cláusulas mandatorias del tratado incluyen la obligación de establecer como mínimo las siguientes excepciones o limitaciones relacionadas con el acceso a las obras publicadas a las personas ciegas, con discapacidad visual o con otras dificultades para acceder al texto impreso:

  1. Excepción o limitación para la producción de obras en formatos accesibles.
  2. Excepción o limitación para la distribución y comunicación al público de obras en formatos accesibles.
  3. Excepción o limitación para la exportación (transferencia internacional) de obras en formatos accesibles.
  4. Excepción o limitación para la importación (introducción al país) de obras en formatos accesibles.
  5. Excepción a las Medidas Tecnológicas de control de Acceso (DRM)

Si bien en el cuerpo del Tratado se sugieren modelos de implementación para estas excepciones, estos modelos no son vinculantes. Las Partes Contratantes podrán incluir limitaciones y excepciones distintas a las previstas o con un mayor alcance, en la medida que se cumpla con la regla de los tres pasos presente en todos los acuerdos de DA y conexos.

2) La clave del éxito de Marrakech depende de la creación de redes internacionales con procesos ágiles de producción e intercambio de ejemplares accesibles, procurando evitar la duplicación de esfuerzos.

La mayor innovación del Marrakech es, sin lugar a dudas, la instauración de un régimen internacional de transferencia internacional de ejemplares en formato accesible, facilitando el intercambio y fortaleciendo la eficiencia de aquellas entidades habilitadas a realizar la producción y distribución de este tipo de obras. Estas instituciones deben contar con un marco normativo claro y compatible con el de las entidades de otros países. Un país miembro podrá establecer como requisito suficiente para la exportación que el país haya ratificado Marrakech o que su legislación lo permita, pero también podrá disponer otro tipo de restricciones. Esto último podría dificultar enormemente el análisis de la legalidad de la transferencia, operando de barrera en el intercambio. La redacción óptima de esta excepción será siempre la más simple y menos restrictiva.

El régimen de cooperación internacional encaminado a facilitar el intercambio transfronterizo previsto en Marrakech establece a la OMPI como punto de acceso a la información, por lo que la OMPI se encuentra actualmente trabajando en la creación de una base de entidades autorizadas a nivel mundial, un catálogo mundial de obras y mecanismos de análisis de la compatibilidad entre legislaciones (a través del Proyecto ABC). Entendemos que, la implementación óptima del tratado a nivel nacional, deberá efectuarse indefectiblemente en coordinación con la OMPI.

Implementación de Marrakech en Uruguay

Los días 23 y 24 de marzo tuvo lugar en la ciudad de Montevideo el “Seminario Nacional: El derecho a la accesibilidad. La excepción a los derechos de autor en la Ley de Derechos de Autor del Uruguay y la implementación del Tratado de Marrakech de la OMPI” coorganizado por el Consejo de Derechos de Autor del Ministerio de Educación y Cultura de Uruguay (CDA – MEC) y la OMPI.

En dicha ocasión, fue presentado y discutido el proyecto de Decreto reglamentario del Tratado elaborado por el CDA-MEC. A su vez, las diferentes instituciones del gobierno, academia y sociedad civil que se encuentran trabajando en proyectos de bibliotecas digitales accesibles, presentaron sus experiencias e inquietudes.

Destacamos algunos aspectos de la propuesta de Decreto Reglamentario presentado por el CDA- MEC de Uruguay:

  • Se implementa el Tratado mediante la instauración de excepciones, excluyendo el uso de licencias obligatorias o limitaciones con remuneración compensatoria. Este requisito de remuneración compensatoria sería un gran obstáculo o carga poco razonable, ya que los proyectos de bibliotecas digitales accesibles de países como Uruguay cuentan con pocos recursos e infraestructura. Por otra parte, no existiría nada que compensar cuando la oferta comercial de obras en este tipo de formatos es prácticamente inexistente.
  • Se propone la creación del “Registro de Obras e Instituciones Autorizadas comprendidas en la excepción de derecho de autor a favor de personas ciegas o con otras discapacidades para la lectura”, el registro será de carácter obligatorio e implicará la creación de un catálogo nacional de obras y de una nómina de instituciones autorizadas. Dicho Registro estará a cargo de la Biblioteca Nacional del Uruguay que además cumplirá con las funciones de control, coordinación y colaboración con las las instituciones autorizadas, así como la facilitación y estímulo del intercambio interinstitucional y transfronterizo.
  • El Proyecto de Decreto declara como “instituciones autorizadas” para proporcionar y producir ejemplares en formatos accesibles a las instituciones de enseñanza públicas y/o privadas, las Bibliotecas públicas o privadas y a dos asociaciones: la Unión Nacional de Ciegos del Uruguay y la Fundación Braille del Uruguay. De esta forma se facilita la existencia de proyectos de producción y distribución de ejemplares en formatos accesibles en estas instituciones. Se prevé que, para otro tipo de instituciones sin fines de lucro, exista un trámite de acreditación, autorización e inscripción en el registro.
  • Se habilita directamente a los beneficiarios del tratado (personas ciegas o con problemas de acceso al texto escrito) y a las personas que actúen en su nombre a producir e importar ejemplares en formato accesible, no solamente a las instituciones autorizadas.
  • El Proyecto de Decreto NO obliga a efectuar un análisis de mercado previo a la producción o distribución de cada ejemplar, con el fin de determinar la posibilidad de obtención comercial en condiciones razonables. Simplificando, de esta forma, el trabajo de las bibliotecas, instituciones educativas y fundaciones.
  • El Proyecto de Decreto plantea una redacción simple, clara y sin mayores restricciones para el caso de intercambio transfronterizo de obras: toda institución autorizada que se encuentre registrada podrá distribuir, comunicar o poner a disposición de las personas beneficiarias o para una institución autorizada establecida en otro país Parte Contratante del Tratado de Marrakech o de un país cuya legislación lo admita, las obras en formato accesible de su catálogo.
  • Por último, se establece la legalidad de la elusión de medidas de protección tecnológica en el marco de las actividades relacionadas con estas excepciones. Por lo que, por ejemplo, desencriptar o desactivar la protección tecnológica de un archivo que contenga una obra, para producir un ejemplar accesible, no sería sancionable por el delito penal previsto en el artículo 46 de la ley de derecho de autor de Uruguay.

Consideramos que la reglamentación propuesta por el Consejo de Derechos de Autor del Uruguay es un buen modelo a seguir, esperamos sea aprobada a la brevedad por el Poder Ejecutivo.

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Categories: Political Action

Almanaque Azul: a Panamanian travel guide licensed under CC

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 14:06
Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA by Alamanque Azul

Almanaque Azul is a group of Panamanian environmentalists, artists, and explorers that began the process of creating a travel guide for the beaches of the Republic of Panama in 2005 through a blog that chronicled the amazing cultural and natural diversity of various small towns and deserted beaches.

Alamanque Azul, CC BY-NC

Over the years, dozens of volunteers reported from along the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean coasts of this thin Central American isthmus, otherwise known for the Canal that goes through it (though more recently for the “Panama Papers” leak of documents related to corporate tax-avoidance!)

The images and reports from volunteers were carefully edited into the Almanaque Azul website, which quickly became a popular point of reference for local travellers. The website was published under the Spanish port of the CC BY-NC-SA 2.5 licence. The scope of Almanaque Azul gradually became more activist, as large-scale tourism development and a booming real estate market for coastal land drove people off the land and caused environmental destruction throughout the country. We started promoting a more sustainable community and nature based tourism, which was being largely ignored by the market and regulatory agencies.

In 2009 the Almanaque Azul team began work on compiling the research done by the volunteers over the years into a book. We decided to go beyond the coasts and to cover the entire country, including rivers, mountains and inland towns. The result was the first edition of the Almanaque Azul Panama Travel Guide, a 432-page book published in Spanish in 2013 under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 unported license, with a print run of 2500 copies. We did our own, very limited distribution but even then we sold out in less than two years and the book became somewhat of a cult object.

By then we were already working on the second edition, which we just published last March. This time, we collected $20,000 from a crowdfunding campaign, which we used to print 6000 copies. The book grew to 560 pages and the license used was a 4.0 international license. More than 100 people contributed research, text, photographs, and illustrations for this edition. We have learned a lot about distribution, marketing and inventory control as well, so we expect to do much better on the economic side of publishing this edition.

We also published an e-book version of the first edition, which we sold on Amazon, under the same license and with no copy-protection.

We used almost entirely free software tools for both editions. The first one was laid out using Scribus, for the second edition we used LaTeX, which turned out to be the perfect choice for a book this large and complex. We had to invest some money in developing a LaTeX class with the book specs, which we plan to release but still haven’t decided whether to use a BY NC-SA, a BY-SA, or just an attribution license.

Using Creative Commons licenses is a natural choice for us, especially since it is a collaborative project where we want the information to spread as far and wide as possible, where everyone should be able to use, remix and republish the content. We felt it would be only fair to restrict commercial reuse, which also made it easier for some people to agree to contribute material.

We did publish some of the pictures from our volunteers and contributors on a different project, La Mochila, intended to support science education in Panama. Since we added all of those images to Wikimedia Commons, we used a CC Attribution-Share Alike License, which required us to do a bit of convincing of the institutions that contributed images, and the Creative Commons Panama Chapter team helped us.

You can check our original website (which is offline at the moment) on the Internet Archive. The book’s promotional website is here.

Casco Antiguo de Panamá desde el aire, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

The post Almanaque Azul: a Panamanian travel guide licensed under CC appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

Influencing centres of change: the policy and advocacy track at #CCSummit

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 11:37
Photo by Saša Krajnc, CC BY 4.0.

In a couple of weeks in Toronto, we will welcome a global community of advocates working to improve education and access to information and culture through copyright reform and open policy. The summit’s Policy and Advocacy track will focus on increasing the effectiveness of our community in the current and future hotbeds of law and policy change. We hope you join us in sharing your experiences, learning about what others have been doing, and collaborating with us on education and advocacy activities.

Check out the full programme, and view some of the highlights from the Policy and Advocacy track below.

Fixing copyright for Education

This session on Friday afternoon, led by CC Portugal’s Teresa Nobre focuses on sharing research and campaign experience on influencing the current copyright reform underway in Europe. If you want a sneak peek of what they have been doing, take a look at the campaign.

Campaigning for Copyright Reform: New Perspectives and Lessons Learned

Here’s a session that will be led by Vladimir Garay from Derechos Digitales. It will build on the perspectives and lessons learned from advocating for copyright reform from Uruguay to Europe to elsewhere, and explore new ideas and approaches for law reform and open policy adoption worldwide.

Index, Map, Registry: How can we Track Open Policies Around the World?

Alek Tarkowski of Creative Commons Poland leads this session, building on the “State of Open Policy” report, which provides an overview of open policies in the spheres of education, heritage, science, and data. This session showcases the outcomes and tries to figure out with your help how can the 2017 report be an even better resource.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the summit!

The post Influencing centres of change: the policy and advocacy track at #CCSummit appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

The Future of the Commons is an Open Planet

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 14:04

At the end of April, I’ll be joining hundreds of open culture advocates at the Creative Commons Summit in Toronto. The program is looking amazing and I’m looking forward to meeting up with friends and colleagues, both old and new.

I’ll be wearing several hats at the Summit, and I invite everyone to come and chat with me about any of them!


To begin with, I can’t wait to be in a place where people believe that “sharing is at the core of successful societies”. I want to talk about how we’re all sharing this critical asset: Our Planet. All of us need to collaborate on ecological issues – it’s the only way we’re going to solve some of the global problems we’re facing.

At Greenpeace, we’re redesigning our global web presence to engage with people and to help them act on behalf of our planet. The project, code named Planet 4, is the first openly run project of its size at Greenpeace International. In the workshop “Negotiating for Open”, we’ll use Planet 4 as a case study and explore open decision and design frameworks to help you and your organization establish relationships that can achieve global impacts.

User-driven and community-based design projects are impactful and fulfilling. In the redesign of a remix of the Open Decision Framework, the Open Design Kit and community collaboration is of highest importance. In this interactive session, I’d like to share my experiences in a hands-on way. Participants can bring their ideas, their businesses, their strategic directions, and together we’ll help each other set up structures and processes that invite people in. We’ll give advice, talk through issues and create a working atmosphere that helps people solve real world problems.

The open community is full of people with the skills and attitudes that could truly affect global change. I’m hopeful that wearing my Greenpeace hat will help open advocates see the value in sharing with activists and contributing to the environmental movement.

Image by Bryan Mather, We Are Open Coop We Are Open Co-op

Not only do we all need to understand how our planet fits into the idea of the Commons, we need to talk about openness outside of what we call Open Source or Open Culture communities. Building bridges is the future of the commons. I want to help find and illuminate connections between different communities.

I’ve spent my career working at the crossroads between technology and a variety of different industries, leading to the combinations of: Technology + Media, Technology + Education, Technology + Activism. Spreading the beliefs, processes and culture of open from the tech community and into other sectors is part of the reason I am a founding member of the We Are Open Coop. Open principles and practices have gone mainstream in the past few years – from open government to open data, open science to open education, we’re working to connect people to the ideals of open.

Over the last year it’s also become more and more clear to me how much open and co-ops have in common. Reading Hal Plokin’s excellent post and attending the Open: 2017 Platform Cooperatives conference are just two recent things that have me thinking about finding ways to translate between open communities and co-op communities. Along with Doug Belshaw, a fellow co-founder of the We Are Open Co-op, I’ll be running a session called “Help us forge links between co-ops and the commons”.

By the end of this session, we hope to have some sort of an artefact that visualizes or structures the commonalities between the Open Movement and the Co-op Movement. We’ll build off the International Principles of Co-operation to create amap or framework (or comic strip!) to help people from both movements understand how they can work together to build a most just and equitable world.

More things to talk to me about

I’m looking forward to digging in deep and having meaningful discussions about sharing, community, and collaboration. I’m bound to get into a discussion about the work we’re doing at, and I always have plenty of thoughts on open education, remix, diversity and inclusion…Basically, just come find me and let’s see what we have to talk about. You can also reach out on twitter in advance of the Summit.

Let’s see how our sharing helps light up the commons.

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Categories: Political Action

Global Coalition Pushes for Unrestricted Sharing of Scholarly Citation Data

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 14:35
Photo by Syd Wachs, CC0

This week a coalition of scholarly publishers, researchers, and nonprofit organizations launched the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC), a project to promote the unrestricted open access to scholarly citation data. From the website:

Citations are the links that knit together our scientific and cultural knowledge. They are primary data that provide both provenance and an explanation for how we know facts. They allow us to attribute and credit scientific contributions, and they enable the evaluation of research and its impacts. In sum, citations are the most important vehicle for the discovery, dissemination, and evaluation of all scholarly knowledge.

There’s now open citation data from 14 million scholarly papers. Both open access and subscription-based scholarly publishers are contributing to the project. These publishers include the Association for Computing Machinery, PLOS, Wiley, SAGE Publishing, Springer Nature, eLife, Taylor & Francis, and many others.

The goals of project is to promote the availability of data on citations that are “structured, separable, and open.” According to the I4OC website:

Structured means the data representing each publication and each citation instance are expressed in common, machine-readable formats, and that these data can be accessed programmatically. Separable means the citation instances can be accessed and analyzed without the need to access the source bibliographic products (such as journal articles and books) in which the citations are created. Open means the data are freely accessible and reusable.

In order to ensure that the data are freely accessible and reusable, the structured citation metadata will be published using the CC0 Public Domain Dedication, which means that the data may be used without restriction. CC0 enables 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.

Congratulations to I4OC on the launch of this important initiative. We hope that the open sharing of citation data can aid in the discoverability of all types of research, and generate new and interesting connections in our understanding of scientific and scholarly works.

The post Global Coalition Pushes for Unrestricted Sharing of Scholarly Citation Data appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

Community and Movement at CC Summit: We’re ready to jump in

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 12:07

It’s been a big year for community at Creative Commons. At the CC summit at the end of this month we’ll move ahead on the Global Network Strategy. We have identified platforms for people to start analysing and have network discussions for deeper conversations. The Global Network Strategy began at the last Global Summit in Seoul in 2015. No doubt you’ve either read the document, participated in a webinar or in person meeting or joined the Slack channel. This is the first time CC has spent time seriously looking at the affiliate network and the broader community. We heard you, we’re ready to jump in.

credit: Lara the Yellow Ladybird , Illustrated by Catherine Holtzhausen , Written by Martha Evans, Designed by Nadene Kriel, CC-BY 4.0

With all this energy, the Community & Movement track is filled with new voices as well as established members. If you want to learn how CC licenses work in the wild, be sure to visit the session with projects like Book Dash, African Storybook Initiative and Pratham in their session Addressing the Scarcity of Multilingual Reading Resources for Children.

Look out also for a discussion on CC in the South Seas: Lessons Learned in Aotearoa New Zealand from CC New Zealand Public Lead Elizabeth Heritage. CC New Zealand has always been a strong team, with effective newsletters and content, and this talk is sure to be inspiring to community members of all types.

Open Science nerds don’t worry! We’ve got you covered in Community & Movement. Brian Bot from SAGE Bionetworks will be there to share insights on their project in decentralized biomedical research ecosystems. Interested in hadron colliders? The ATLAS experiment at CERN is will be in Toronto to talk about Outreach and Education by large Scientific (or just Physics) collaborations.

Ready to get your hands dirty and dig in? Open educational resources (OER), Galleries, libraries and Museums (we call them ‘GLAM’), and copyright reform they will have their own space to discuss in depth regarding their actual challenges and how our movement will actively contribute to those spaces. No matter what your level of experience, join the conversation!

In addition, at summit we have three great discussions: one on Building a Culture of Gratitude and another called How Can we Work Together? Another exciting session is called Thinking BIG for the Commons.

Come find your people at the Community & Movement track! In the meantime, you can find me on Slack in the #cc-summit channel. Looking forward to seeing you in Toronto.

With Gratitude.

The post Community and Movement at CC Summit: We’re ready to jump in appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

The revolution will be openly licensed!

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 13:37
An interview with Dave Mitchell of Beautiful Trouble

After Occupy and the Arab Spring in 2011, the artist-activists of Beautiful Trouble burst on the scene with a number of seasoned professionals ready to change the dialogue by utilizing creative, radical protest. Since then, the organization has created a number of invaluable online resources for social movements through their online book (CC BY-NC-SA), technology tools, case studies, and network mapping across societal and international boundaries.

Dave Mitchell, one of the founders of Beautiful Trouble, describes their goal as to “make social movements more creative, more effective, and more likely to win,” and credits CC licensing with enabling them to adopt a modular, agile approach that contributes to their message of social good. Focusing on social movements around the world, the book, game, toolbox, and litany of online and offline resources provides a much needed dose of unity, levity, and practical focus in a divisive political era.

The Beautiful Trouble toolbox can be found online, and the organization is creating a number of new tools to support social movements, including a chatbot and a game. In addition, their network of in-person artist-activist trainers provide vital resources both online and offline to support change agents around the world.

Workshop in Oaxaca, MX. Photo by Dave Mitchell

Beautiful Trouble is a toolbox for revolution, a training manual, a collection of case studies, a network map, and more. What was the impetus to start this collection of resources? Why is it important for people to be able to access a toolbox like this online?

Beautiful Trouble emerged in 2011, the year of Occupy and the Arab Spring, and with much the same creative DNA as those flashpoints. We set out to create a common platform where people could come together to share experiences, learn from the ideas and innovations of organizers all over the world, contribute their own ideas, get inspired, get involved, make something happen.

We wanted to popularize the idea that social change isn’t about just mindlessly repeating the same tactics over and over again — but also that it isn’t rocket science. That many small groups of clowns and pranksters can change the world; indeed, maybe it’s the only thing that ever has.

While Beautiful Trouble is best known in its book form, from the beginning it has also been accessible online, where so many of us live. And because it’s modular, interlinking, and constantly expanding, it lives more comfortably online. Now we’re experimenting with letting people access the toolkit as a chatbot, accessible through various messaging apps like Telegram, Slack, and Facebook Messenger.

Beautiful Trouble Workshop in Oaxaca, MX by Dave Mitchell.

Why did you decide to license your work under CC BY-NC-SA? How does the CC licensing play into your work?

Creative Commons licensing made sense to us both politically and practically. Politically, our goal is to make social movements more creative, more effective, and more likely to win, and we believe that happens by promoting the kind of agile, creative and modular thinking that Beautiful Trouble embodies.

Basically, we want the ideas in Beautiful Trouble to become common knowledge — to be used, shared, repurposed, translated, adapted — so it made no sense to throw barriers of intellectual property in the path of that, beyond those required by our excellent and supportive publisher.

Practically, as the project took shape, we realized how much of it involved referencing and codifying other people’s ideas and methods. We tried always to give credit where it was due, but we also never wanted to suggest that any one person (certainly not us) owns any of the concepts or methods we included. Creative Commons licensing was one way to signal all of that.

World Social Forum Workshop, by Søren Warburg.

“Artist-activists” are at the heart of Beautiful Trouble’s work. How do you define “artist activists?” How does someone join your network?

“Artist-activist” is such an awkward, artless term — we really struggled to come up with something better… artivist? pranktivist? bohemshevik? Nothing quite fit, but what we wanted to signal was the marriage of two distinct worlds: the elegance, eye for detail, and outside-the-box creativity of the art world with the time-bound, eyes-on-the-prize, immediate-results focus of the organizer. That sweet spot is where minds and hearts open and revolutions take flight, and it’s something anyone can (and should!) seek to embody in their work. Folks who want to pitch us an idea can drop us a line at

How do you define “the commons?”

The commons represents our best hope for a liveable future. It’s an important enough concept to us that we included it as one of the ‘theories’ in the book, in a piece written by Peter Barnes. In that piece, he proposes that by building a system that protects and expands our common wealth rather than one that exploits it, we can address both our ecological and social imbalances.

What kinds of stories can you tell about your work and how you support global social movements? What kinds of wins are you celebrating? What has your work looked like since November? Has it changed?

For the past few years we’ve been busy working with ActionAid and activists from across the Global South to document the tools and tactics of creative activists operating under authoritarian regimes. That project is available online at, and will be published this year as Beautiful Rising: Creative Resistance from the Global South (OR Books).

After last November’s presidential election, that focus on authoritarian regimes is sadly much more relevant and timely for activists in the United States. Specifically in response to the Trump moment, we’ve started a “Trouble vs. Trump” series to update our toolbox for the current moment. We’ve been hard at work expanding our training program to meet the explosion of interest in nonviolent direct action training, and we’ve just launched a resistance hotline to help support the surge of new progressive activists planning their first actions and campaigns.

Creative Action Training in NYC, by Søren Warburg.

You have a number of projects in addition to Beautiful Trouble including Beautiful Rising, Climate Action Labs, and Beautiful Solutions as well as your in-person trainings for activists. How do you balance this work?

Much like the book we produced, we’re basically a modular organization — a motley crew of activists, trainers and editors scattered around the globe who are organizing horizontally together to spin out related projects that align with our goal of making social movements more creative and effective. That loose structure means we’re able to respond fairly quickly to new opportunities, but also that we sometimes struggle to keep everything running smoothly, since we’ve got no central office, no dedicated development director, and a dispersed leadership structure. Somehow we’ve managed to produce a lot of great tools and keep all the plates spinning so far. Folks who want to support this juggling act are welcome to kick in a few bucks on our Patreon page, and get a copy of our next book as a token of our thanks.

As a bunch of communicators, what do you think messaging is going to look like on the left in the upcoming months and years? What should it look like?

There’s a battle raging right now for the future of the electoral left. It has taken different forms in different countries, but at its core, that struggle is over whether or not the traditional left/liberal parties can be repurposed to present a compelling, broad-based, radical alternative that speaks to people’s 21st-century fears and frustrations, hopes and dreams, or whether these parties will continue to play the role of neoliberalism’s good cop. The outcome of that battle will basically determine whether or not we can bring the fight for a better future from the margins to the mainstream.

Another way to say it: the left needs to get much better at speaking to people’s values hopes, and desires for a better future, and then put that messaging to work in service of a shared political project.

The post The revolution will be openly licensed! appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

RightsCon Redux: Working Toward A Progressive Copyright Framework For Europe

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 07:00

RightsCon is an annual conference that focuses on awareness-raising, organising, and advocacy on global issues at the intersection of technology and human rights. The event is produced by the international nonprofit organization AccessNow. RightsCon participants include members of digital rights organisations, legal experts, civil society, government, and business representatives.

Creative Commons, Mozilla, and the Wikimedia Foundation organized a panel discussion on the work being done to reform the European Union copyright rules. The goal of the session was to share information on key topics in the Commission’s proposal related to copyright and digital rights as well as connect people with educational and advocacy efforts that support a progressive reform in the public interest.

MEP Julia Reda set the stage for the panel, providing background about both the underlying principles for modernising the copyright rules, and also the process that’s involved and where we are now. Ms. Reda is a member of the European Pirate Party and VP for the Greens/European Free Alliance group, She was the rapporteur for the comprehensive copyright evaluation report presented to the Parliament in 2015.  

Photo by Anna Mazgal, CC BY 4.0

We then moved on to explore six key issues of the copyright reform proposal. Lisette Kalshoven from Kennisland and the Communia Association explored the opportunities and challenges presented by the new copyright exception for education. Lisette talked about how the existing copyright exception for educational uses laid out in the 2001 Information Society Directive is quite good, but is not harmonized across all Member States and doesn’t cover online uses of educational content. The new education exception introduced in the Commission’s proposal is positive because it is mandatory. However, there are three main challenges. First, there is a feature whereby if there is a licensing option in a particular Member State, then that country could ignore the implementation of the education exception. Second, the exception would only cover more traditional educational establishments, such as schools, leaving out other informal education practices, such as online courses. Finally, there’s still some confusion about whether the new exception would adequately cover both online and offline uses of educational resources. Lisette also mentioned the recently-launched digital campaign, which aims to mobilize the public in supporting positive changes to copyright that will improve access and use of educational materials and technologies for teachers and students of all types.

Raegan MacDonald from Mozilla discussed the possibility for including a copyright exception for user-generated content. Raegan talked about how the idea of introducing this type of copyright exception would go a long way in creating a better balance in the reform, since the current provisions seem to address the (sometimes unwarranted) concerns of the traditional rights holders like publishers rather than new creators and users. While it was not included in the Commission’s original proposal for a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, an exception for user-generated content (UGC) has been introduced in the draft opinions of both the Culture and Education Committee and the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection. The key point on introducing a UGC exception is to support new digital creativity, free speech, and cultural expression.

Paul Ayris from University College London Library talked about the proposed exception to enable text and data mining. Paul said that current research predicts a 1.9% growth of European GDP if the EU commits to a broad exception for text and data mining. Researchers (or anyone else) should not be forced to acquire additional licenses to conduct text and data mining on content which they already have lawful access, and he argued that the EU should follow the lead of the recommendation laid down in the Hague Declaration that “the right to read is the right to mine.” The exception should also cover users and uses outside of the traditional academic research community, as doing so would promote novel innovation across and between the public and private sectors.

Marta Peirano from talked about the controversial ancillary right for press publishers. Marta explained the negative repercussion to news producers of Spain when they implemented an ancillary copyright a few years ago. This is because Google News, which would have been forced to pay fees to link to and provide context to publishers’ content, called the bluff of rightsholders by discontinuing their service. When users weren’t able to discover information through content aggregation services, access to news sites dropped precipitously. She explained that the publishers pushed for a similar ancillary right in Germany, with comparable results. With so much harm to readers and no return to rights holders, the only sane option is to remove the Commission’s ancillary right for press publishers through Parliament amendments.

Agata Nowacka from Seznam talked about the Commission’s proposal that would require filtering of user-uploaded content. Seznam is a search engine based in the Czech Republic that enjoys a high market penetration there—it is one of the few places in Europe where Google does not fully dominate the search market. Agata said that as a relatively small operation (~1000 employees) Seznam would be hard pressed to pull the resources required to implement an active monitoring mechanism proposed by the Commission’s draft directive. This type of “active censorship” would be negative for most of their users, and might only work to reinforce the ubiquity of the major players, thus reducing competition in the search business.

Finally, Dimi Dimitrov from Wikimedia’s Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU discussed policy options for safeguarding the public domain. While there are some positive provisions in the Commission’s proposal to strengthen cultural heritage institutions, there are several ongoing disputes between museums and the Wikipedia community. Dimi pointed to a case in which a German museum claimed copyright on the digital reproduction of a portrait of composer Richard Wagner. The work was painted in 1862, so it clearly is in the public domain, which would make it a natural addition to the Wikipedia page about Wagner. However, the museum claims a new copyright that arises when the work was digitized, thus for all practical purposes keeping the work out of the public domain. Dimi said that these types of disputes are not uncommon, and that a forward-looking EU copyright law should aim to clarify that digital reproductions of public domain artworks should also be in the public domain—for the broad benefit and enjoyment of the public.

We’ll continue to advocate for a progressive reform in the public interest. Right now amendments are being tabled by the relevant committees, which will eventually be negotiated and voted on in the European Parliament and Council. There’s still time to fix this copyright law to make sure that it supports users and creators in the 21st century.

The post RightsCon Redux: Working Toward A Progressive Copyright Framework For Europe appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action Making copyright work for education

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 09:58


Last week COMMUNIA launched the campaign in order to support a better copyright for education. Let’s raise our voices and spread the word about this petition so we can influence European legislators in creating a better copyright for education.


Why we need your help

The European Commission has presented a new European copyright law (Draft Directive) to the European Parliament that deeply impacts education in a disappointing and non-facilitative manner. Educators have embraced modern possibilities, and so should copyright. Therefore, COMMUNIA has developed a campaign website to collect signatures of educators throughout Europe to let the European Parliamentarians know we need a better copyright for education.

The European parliament will vote on the proposal later this year and can change, accept or reject it. COMMUNIA will present the outcomes of the petition in the European Parliament, clearly showing them the voice of citizens eager for a good-quality education, and a copyright that matches.

Copyright impacts education – it determines the extent to which a teacher may use, share or remix any material made by someone else. In some cases, there is a special exception to copyright for education, but teachers are often forced to do things that are not allowed. All European countries have implemented the current EU laws on copyright in a different way, which makes it very difficult for teachers to know what they can and cannot share internationally.

What you can do

Please visit the campaign website and sign the petition for a better copyright for education. Please share the campaign with your colleagues, friends and family via mail, social media or face to face as well. You can find sample tweets, posts and images on the campaign website.

If you would like to know more about the campaign, or have questions, please contact Lisette Kalshoven at

The post Making copyright work for education appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action