Skip to content

Public Service for Creative Commons


If you don’t know Mike Carroll, fix that. He is currently a visiting professor at American University and an all-around great person. In addition to many accomplishments such as publishing insightful articles and running Carrollogos, Mike is on the board of Creative Commons. He has circulated an email on the Cyberprof listserv regarding Creative Commons and its needs. Mike has allowed me to publish it here.

If you know you want to give to Creative Commons do so here. If you need more information, please take a read and contact Mike with further questions.


Dear all,

In the past, Mark has been gracious enough to allow me to address a year-end pitch to the list, and I hope that is still okay. As one of the Board members of Creative Commons, I am duty bound to help find support for the organization, and members of this list have been very generous in the past. Thank you for that, and I hope you can continue that support. We close our annual campaign on December 31st.

In the past, members of this list have been generous supports, and I thank you for that. I have heard from some folks who want to know what is the work that requires further support. Essentially, there are 5 areas of activity that are likely to be of interest: Law, Culture, Education, Science, and Tech. If this is the kind of work you care to support, please visit Creative Commons’ Support page.

Law. CC now is in different stages of progress with 50 jurisdictions around the world that have ported CC licenses or are in the process of doing so. The professional network engaged in this work is a remarkable group who are self-funded, but CC staff must coordinate the activities of this growing group. Working in coordination with this group, CC is in the process of splitting the public domain dedication tool into two pieces. One, which is about to be released, is CC0 – a public domain dedication/copyright waiver tool. In 2009, with support, we hope to launch a public domain assertion tool that will allow a person to make a machine-readable and human-readable assertion that a work is in the public domain and to provide metadata identifying the factual basis for the assertion (e.g. publication date) and the identity of the person or entity making the assertion.

Culture. CC licenses continue to become recognized by professional creators, like Nine Inch Nails, as well as a range of amateurs and the Web 2.0 businesses built around amateur creation. There’s been continued growth in the use of the licenses across the range of human creativity.

Education. ccLearn is working with the open education community to be more self-aware of copyright licensing choices being made with respect to Open CourseWare and other open educational resources.

Science. We have a research project called Neurocommons, which aims to demonstrate the power of open access combined with Semantic Web technologies to promote the progress of science. The Knowledge Base has now been released and is being hacked on by a variety of bioinformatic researchers. With continued advocacy, the Science Commons Material Transfer Agreement that supplements the UBMTA (university-to-university licensing) with a standard university-to-industry license also is gaining traction.

Technology. The CC tech staff work on three layers. The bottom layer involves keeping the web site operational and up-to-date. The middle layer involves working with new companies that want to incorporate the CC licensing engine into their interface or to otherwise offer a CC licensing option to their users. Our tech staff often have to work with them to ensure that they understand the machine-readable layer of the licenses and how that might be used. One of the best results of this kind of consultation is the Flickr search tool. Picasa now also enables CC licensing. The top layer involves standards work and other high-level technology discussions involving the future of the entire web. This year, after more than a year of patient advocacy, CC tech staff were instrumental in getting the W3C to bless RDFa, a protocol that allows the regular web and the semantic web to interoperate. CC licenses were the use case for this standard. Similarly, the Science Commons scientists played an essential role in successfully advocating for a number of open bioinformatics standards recommended by the W3C. This is hard, essential work, that is hard to fund but will have a lasting effect that favors openness on the web.

I recognize that this is a tough year for everyone, of course — CC is no exception — so your donation would be particularly welcome. (As you can see, we have inaugurated a new project called the CC network; the details are on that page. Your donation entitles you to membership.) Basically you pick the amount you want to donate and click “Join” under that number — or just put in a number of your own! All donations gratefully accepted. And depending on the amount, the donation brings all kinds of cool things, including an Open ID, your own CC network site, a jump drive full of Jonathan Coulton music, a signed Lessig book, a cool CC laptop sleeve and so on.

Thanks so much for this — and please feel free to pass this e-mail on to others who might like to support CC.

Warm regards,