Yesterday the European CC Leads have under their regional identity CC Europe responded (PDF) to the ‘Public consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules’, run by the EU Commission through its Internal Market and Services Directorate. Like several other groups, the CC Leads have stressed the need for more robust and flexible exceptions and limitations throughout the region, especially regarding transformative uses in general and educational uses in particular. They also urge the EU Commission to find ways for copyright law in Europe to better recognize creator’s wishes to contribute to the ‘voluntary Public Domain’ through legal tools like CC0. They also highlighted once more the fact that CC Licenses are a patch for certain aspects of the copyright system but not a fix that substitutes legislative action. According to the Commission, all responses to the 80 question consultation will be published at some point in the future.
This is part three of a five week series on the Affiliate Team project grants. So far, you’ve heard from our affiliates in Africa and the Arab World. Today, we’re showcasing projects in our Asia-Pacific region, including open data workshops from Japan, a media studies textbook from New Zealand, and software tools and guidelines for public domain materials from Taiwan.
Japan: Workshops and Symposium for Open Data in Japan
by Puneet Kishor (project lead: Tomoaki Watanabe)
Last year in June, the CC Japan Affiliate team (CCJP) hosted by CommonSphere, won a grant to hold three workshops and a public symposium on the use of CC tools (licenses and the CC0 Public Domain Dedication) in the context of open data. The aim of the workshops was to respond to informal inputs from government and other stakeholders on their implementation of CC tools in the context of open data, a new frontier of openness in the last few years in Japan. The team was planning to invite involvement from Japanese national and municipal government agencies and Open Knowledge Foundation Japan.
The first event was a workshop at Information Processing Agency, IPA, an independent administrative agency discussing open data licensing. The panel involved a member of Open Knowledge Foundation Japan as well. The whole session was video-recorded by the IPA staff, and it is now available online, along with presentation materials. The attendance was mostly government officials and the agency staff, around 50 people, and an attendant survey indicated a reasonable success.
The second meeting was held among key figures related to open data and other relevant initiatives, as invitation-only discussions on licensing and other legal issues. CCJP provided logistics support and expertise. It was decided by the attendants that the discussion will remain informal and unpublished.
The third was a symposium to discuss implementation issues of open data, including licensing issues organized by the third party, Innovation Nippon, a joint project between Google Japan and GLOCOM. Both CCJP and OKF Japan helped with pre-event publicity and provided expertise. It featured and was attended by local government officials and municipal law makers, along with business people and academics. The event was videocast and the archive is available already, along with the slides.
- Political will, however, key politicians are not necessarily expected to support liberal licensing allowing use that goes against public order.
- Evidence, anecdotal or scientific, showing that more liberal licensing results in better outcomes. However, such evidence is not abundant, and some government agencies have very specific uses in mind that may make them hesitate.
- Evidence showing other governments of developed countries are doing things differently from what Japan is doing or planning to do. UK, FR, US, AU, NZ all are CC-BY compatible or use a CC-BY license. Their licensing all seem to be open in the Open Definition sense. Japan may result a bit differently.
- Prospective users actively asking for a change.
The challenges faced by the team so far have been 1) the above-mentioned development away from CC tools and 2) the lack of availability of licensing and editing talent on a more stable basis.
The team is in talks with a local government to hold at least one more workshop to discuss licensing issues as they relate to local governments. The symposium was originally planned to be at the end, but given the emerging development above, it may be timed differently.
New Zealand: Media Text Hack
by project lead Matt McGregor
In the middle of 2013, a few New Zealand academics and librarians began to toss around an exciting-but-preposterous-sounding idea: what if they could hack a media studies textbook in a weekend, and then release the results to the world under an open Creative Commons license?
The social benefit – the why – was clear. With textbook prices continuing to rise (and rise) well above inflation, and student debt levels ballooning, the Pacific region desperately needs a new model for producing and distributing educational resources. As Dr Erika Pearson, who led the Media Text Hack project, put it, “Textbooks currently available for New Zealand first year students are often produced overseas, usually the US, and can have a cripplingly high price tag.”
The how was a bit more difficult. Academics and librarians are already rather busy people, and the process of building and managing a team of contributors is labor intensive, with plenty of emailing, documenting, cat-herding, and problem-solving. Thankfully, with the help of a $4000 affiliate grant from Creative Commons, the team could hire a project manager — Bernard Madill — to help build the network of contributors, document progress, and make sure the hack weekend progressed smoothly.
Cut to 16-17 November, 2013: the team, largely made up of early career researchers from across New Zealand and Australia, got together and successfully produced the ‘beta’ version of the textbook. For the last few months, they have been progressively editing and re-editing content, to ensure that the textbook is classroom ready in time for the first down-under semester, which starts in late February.
As the book is shared, edited, and reused by students and teachers across the world, the team will incorporate new ideas, explanations, and examples, producing a text that can be hacked and re-hacked over the years ahead.
This is new territory: while there have been a few textbooks hacks in other disciplines – including this inspirational group of Finnish mathematicians – this is of the first (to our knowledge) of this kind of text-hack in the humanities.
For this reason, the team is putting together a parallel ‘cookbook’, to enable other projects to understand what worked – as well as what did not work – about the project. This will be released in the first half of 2014, and will hopefully inspire other projects around the world to attempt open textbook projects of their own.
The team is hopeful that open textbooks will become more prevalent in public higher education. As University of Otago Copyright Officer Richard White, a core member of the text-hack team, puts it, the open textbook marks a return to the “core principles of academia: sharing knowledge, learning from, and building on the work of others.”
Taiwan: Practices and Depositories for The Public Domain
by project lead Tyng-Ruey Chuang
The project “Practices and Depositories for The Public Domain” (PD4PD) aims to develop software tools and practical guidelines to put public domain materials online more easily. This is a joint uptake of the GNU MediaGoblin project , NETivism Ltd. , and Creative Commons Taiwan , with the latter coordinating the team effort. The overall project goal is to firm up access to and reuse of the many digital manifestations of public domain cultural works by means of replicable tools, practices, and communities.
Tools: The plan is to extend the functionality of the GNU MediaGoblin software package so as to make it more suitable for hosting large collections of public domain materials. For this purpose, new features have been suggested to add to GNU MediaGoblin to help users self-hosting their media archives. These features include batch upload of media (with proper metadata annotations), customizable themes and pages, and an “easy install” script (to install GNU Media Goblin itself).
Practices: The plan is to develop guidelines and how-to on self-hosting public domain materials. Two versions are planned: One in English and the other one in the Chinese language used in Taiwan. An educational website on the public domain, and self-hosting, is also planned.
Community: The plan is to outreach to content holders in Taiwan, and to work with them in releasing some of their holdings to the public domain. It will be demonstrated by a website using the tools mentioned above.
This six-month project started in December 2013 and plans to finish in June 2014. The GNU MediaGoblin project has been focusing on tool development while NETivism Ltd. is concentrating on community outreach. Creative Commons Taiwan is working on practical guidelines. Several interns have been recruited to help with this project.
Dear CC Community,
I love this CC photo of the open road. It is inspiring, and speaks to me of the journey, the path one travels. You can’t quite see around the bend, but you suspect the road will take you to another intriguing place, and so you are urged on and continue to learn and explore.
And so it is with me. Tomorrow I will sign off from this section of the path. My journey with CC has had different segments, contexts, and textures. What I have found so rewarding during this leg as CEO is working closely with our deeply talented and dedicated staff, regional coordinators, affiliates, partners, and supporters.
Together, we have made tremendous progress to create a global footprint of sharing, legally. We continue to extend our reach into critical communities – learning, science, data, and culture – and educate the world about the power of open. And while we have not yet reached our collective mission, we have advanced, and will continue to do so. Here at CC, we have worked hard over the past months to ensure the CEO transition is smooth. The board has the search well underway and Paul Brest, CC board chair, has stepped up as interim CEO. My profound thanks to Paul, both personally and on behalf of the broader community, for his unyielding leadership and support.
My open journey began more than a decade ago with an arc that brought me from Hewlett to Carnegie to CC, and has most often felt like a sprint. So during the next few months, I will pause and relish more time with family and at the coast, and the opportunity to trek along remote mountain paths. After my hiatus, after what I am sure will feel like the blink of an eye, you will find me re-engaged to advance the newly emerging architecture for learning, an ecosystem no longer constrained by time, space, and pace.
Looking back on the open road, I am grateful for the camaraderie of fellow travelers energized by the challenge. And looking ahead, I await our next productive collaboration.
Until then I wish you all the very best,
On the 18th of February, Creative Commons organized a debate on „Really Open Education. Domestic Policies for Open Educational Resources”, hosted by Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein, MEP. The meeting brought together almost 40 experts and stakeholders from a range of educational projects, national schooling systems, and national and international non-governmental organizations across Europe.
The debate started with a presentation of three national initiatives. Hans de Four, founder of the Belgian KlasCement, presented the project. KlasCement started as a bottom-up initiative to create a portal for sharing content among teachers. Currently, 70 000 teachers are members, and share 30 000 items, over half of which are available under a Creative Commons license. OERs on the site are downloaded 300 000 per month. de Four talked about the significance of having a bottom-up project, which is able to tap into the grassroots energy of teachers. At the same time he underlined the importance of the support of the Flemish government, which ultimately began supporting the project and is now a governmental initiative. de Four also mentioned the challenge faced by teachers when dealing with unclear copyright rules – especially the difference between which uses are allowed in the classroom, and which are allowed online. According to de Four, reforms that would clarify and standardize these rules for both online and offline education would be much appreciated by Belgian teachers.
Robert Schuwer from the Dutch Open University presented the Wikiwijs initiative – a repository similar to KlasCement, but different in several key ways. Wikiwijs is a top-down project, launched in 2008 by the Ministry of Education. All content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution or Attribution-Share Alike license. WIkiwijs has a peer review mechanism for ensuring quality, as well as quality marks certified by partner organizations. Schuwer explained that the goal of Wikiwijs is not just to increase the development and use of OERs, but to support teachers in professionalization and the creation of their own teaching materials or courses. The system makes available to Dutch teachers 650 000 content building blocks and 35 000 full lessons. Schuwer ended with providing a broader policy perspective – the Dutch government has recently announced a program that will provide EUR 1 million a year for development of open education at the higher education level.
The third speaker was Piotr Dmochowski-Lipski, director of the Polish Center for Educational Development. He presented the Polish open e-textbooks initiative (together with the educational resources repository, Scholaris). The e-textbooks project, which forms part of a larger “Digital School” initiative, will create a set of 62 publicly funded textbooks on 14 subjects by 2015. After presenting the project, Dmochowski-Lipski focused on policy issues related to the project, initially by relating to a range of European and Polish strategic documents. According to him, the project is a response to an egalitarian approach to educational matters in the Polish society, and growing belief that “What is 100% funded by public money should be free and accessible”. Dmochowski-Lipski demonstrated how open education fits into a broader public debate on copyright and funding of different forms of creativity, by presenting “pros” and “cons” raised by actors in the Polish debate. He ended by declaring commitment of the Polish government to developing OERs, coupled with a careful approach to copyright matters.
During the fourth presentation, Teresa Nobre from Creative Commons Portugal presented the preliminary results of a study of educational exceptions and limitations, which she has been investigating as part of the “OER policies for Europe” project (the full results will be available during 2014 Open Education Week). The presentation demonstrated the fragmented landscape of user rights that allow teachers, educators and students to quote works, make compilations for educational purposes, and transform works. This fragmentation leads to uncertainty and additional costs related to rights clearance, especially in international projects. On the one hand, this demonstrates the advantage of OERs as content that provides users with certainty about allowed uses. On the other hand, it shows the importance for reform and modernization of the copyright system in Europe.
The meeting ended with a speech by Ricardo Ferreira from DG Education and Culture, who presented the European “Opening Up Education” initiative. Ferreira argued that education is not just public spending, but an important investment for society. For this reason we need to bring education into the digital age, and at a time of budget cuts, increase its cost efficiency and effectiveness. Open education is an approach that can be helpful with regard to all these issues – especially if introduced as part of a comprehensive education reform. With regard to OERs, Ferreira stressed the complementarity of OERs and traditional resources – combined with the freedom of choice by teachers – as the basic principle. Finally, he described the importance of supporting grassroots initiatives – with this goal the “Opening Up Education” portal was created as a common access point. This, coupled with an Open Access requirement included in the Erasmus+ program, will according to Ferreira provide support for the growth of OER projects in Europe.
We hope that the event provided an opportunity for participants to learn more and discuss open education initiatives taking place in EU member states. We plan to continue this discussion, which hopefully will lead to the adoption of OER policies across Europe.
CC is doing a five week series on the Affiliate Team project grants. Last week, you heard about the exciting events and activties from CC’s African region, and today we are featuring those from the Arab World. You’ll learn about a book about Arabic iconic figures that is first of its kind, videos explaining CC in a simple and exciting format, a book on open technology and media production, and an open source platform for stories of hope and change led by a group of Palestinian rappers and spoken word artists.
Algeria: Arabic Icons
by Meryl Mohan (project lead: Faiza Souici)
CC Algeria is currently finalizing its project agreement. With Faiza Souici as lead, the team will prepare an Arabic book under CC licenses, telling the stories of iconic Arabic figures who have had a positive influences in countries throughout the Arab World. They plan to include as many as 20 participants from the community, each writing about the distinctive personality of his or her country. CC Algeria plans to introduce the book at the next CC Salon.
Lebanon: CC Explained Simply in Arabic
by project lead Maya Zankoul
We’re working on two explainer videos for Creative Commons in Arabic. The first movie explains to people with no background whatsoever what Creative Commons is, how it started, and why there is a strong need for Creative Commons. The second movie is focused on licensing, explaining in Arabic what are the different types of licenses and how they can be used.
Our first movie is ready; you can view it here:
Our second movie is being animated at the moment and will be ready in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here is a screenshot from the movie!
Maya Zankoul / CC BY
Morocco: Creative BookSprint
by Meryl Mohan (project lead: Ahmed Mansour)
CC Morocco is writing a print and online book that will be the first in Arabic language on open source software for multimedia production, remixing, and publication. The title of the book will be “Guide to Free Culture,” or in Arabic “دليل الثقافة الحرة” where they will talk about the broad free culture movement (open source software, open data, OER, etc.) with a focus on Creative Commons licenses and most importantly how to be part of that larger movement by licensing your content using CC.
The project targets media creators in the Arab region by introducing them to the free culture movement and the benefits of CC licenses. In addition, it will be a how-to guide to using open source software in producing and remixing media including audio manipulation and video editing.
Four participating authors from Morocco’s affiliate team will work on the project, and upon its completion, they will continue to update the book with feedback from the community. By collaboratively engaging the local community and sending the resulting book to other local affiliates in the region, others can also use it for future workshops and events. With this initial project, free culture and the CC mission can continue to spread throughout Morocco and the North African region.
The book cover and the website (still under construction) where the book will be available for download and online viewing are here: http://opentaqafa.github.io.
The cover is made of a “remix” of the Glider that represents the hacker subculture and CC license symbols.
Ahmed Mansour / CC0
Palestine, Lebanon: Hope Spoken/Broken: Change in the Eyes of Palestinian Refugees
by project leads Bashar Lubbad and Stefan Larsson
Hope Spoken/Broken is a social innovation project hosted by the Internet Institute and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University. The project records stories of hope and change from the Jabalia Refugee Camp in Palestine and invites rappers and spoken word artists to reflect on these stories using hip hop and spoken word poetry. In this project, we will interview Palestinians from different age groups, record their oral histories, and work with rap artists and poets (spoken word artists/lyricists) to turn their true stories into performance pieces for a wider audience. Using digital and social media, we will spread the words, thoughts, and feelings of Palestinians living in the Jabalia Refugee Camp to viewers around the world who would otherwise never hear these stories. Spoken word and hip hop poetry have the unique ability to increase listeners’ empathy. By connecting with poets who live in both Washington D.C. and Palestine as well as with rappers from Sweden, Denmark, and Palestine, we will build an international partnership to create, record, and share an original collection of poems and songs inspired by recorded oral histories from the Jabalia Refugee Camp. Artists (poets and rappers) will attempt to draw parallels between the lives of Palestinian refugees and that of ethnically, socially, politically and economically marginalized groups in the United States, Denmark, and Sweden.
For further information, check out the links below:
In honor of Bassel Khartabil and Free Bassel Day, artist Niki Korth is putting together a #freebassel cookbook. Bassel, a free software activist and leader of the Syrian Creative Commons community, has been in prison since 2012. In Niki’s words:
The #FreeBassel Cookbook is a collection of recipes from people who care about Bassel and would like to share a meal with him if he weren’t in prison.
Please contribute a recipe to this collection. Submit it before 10 March 2014 to get it included in the first edition of the cookbook. Pick a recipe that is special to you, a recipe that makes you think of Bassel, a recipe that reminds you that the virtual/digital world is only a tool for real world human encounters, and is in no way a substitute for experiences such as sharing a meal, or a recipe for a meal that you think Bassel would enjoy.
The #FreeBassel Cookbook V.1 will be released as a free, digital book on #FreeBassel Day 2014 (15 March)
If Bassel has not been freed by this date, please make a recipe from this collection on this day in his honor and share it with people who you care about. Share pictures of your meal with the #FreeBassel hashtag.
Repeat until Bassel is free.
Previously: Disquiet Junto honors Bassel Khartabil