CC for the Association of Women in Communications, Santa Barbara Chapter


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Slides from the web presentation I gave to the Association of Women in Communications on October 7, 2013. Recording available here: Recording available at

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  • Hi everyone! So I’m here today to talk about Creative Commons. As __ mentioned, my name is Jane Park and I’ve been with Creative Commons for almost 6 years now, and in that time I’ve worn many different hats, working in open education, open culture, communications, and then to my current role as the lead for the School of Open project, which is a community of volunteers working to bring free education opportunities on open resources in their regions. Many of our members are self employed writers, specialize in PR, marketing/sales, graphic design, corporate communication, publishing as authors or book shepherds or publishers/self-publishers and bloggers, social media, coaching managers/executives, or be UCSB students, etc. Most work for themselves or small firms; a few work for corporate or institutional entities. They are interested in learning more about how they can share their work and protect their intellectual property. We recently had a presentation on intellectual property law, but it was very traditional and it would be great to also be able to provide information on the new paradigms CC creates. Origins of CC and how it interacts with copyright law, how the CC licenses work, some examples of CC use in culture and education, followed by a Q&A. Examples: one of each Design – Some rights reserved Publishing/journalism - GOOD, Gawker, Al Jazeera, Propublica, boing boing, plos, Education – UC OA policy, open courseware, Khan academy Culture – Jonathon Worth
  • Today I’m going to go over three things – First I’m going to talk about Creative Commons and its origin in copyright, then I’m going to explain all about Creative Commons licenses and how they work, and lastly, I’m going to go over some examples of CC license use in culture – mainly some journalism and publishing examples because I was told that is relevant to this group’s work. I hear we have some professional bloggers in the room!
  • So first of all, Creative Commons itself is an actual nonprofit organization. And you can learn more about our mission, learn about our licenses, and explore all of the programs that we are involved in at our website which is at creative
  • We have a lot of different things we do, and like every nonprofit we have a somewhat complicated mission and vision statement, but in a nutshell this is what we do, We make sharing content easy, legal, and scalable. And though it might get a little more complex than that when it comes to the details, that ’ s the big picture. We make sharing content easy, legal, and scalable.
  • The reason we do this, is because sharing content is not always easy, legal, or scalable, thanks to something called copyright. I ’ m sure you ’ re all very aware of this copyright symbol, along with its accompanying phrase “ all rights reserved ” . And I ’ m sure you ’ re very familiar with copyright –
  • Which in the United States is “ a set of exclusive rights granted to creators of “ original works of authorship. ” These rights govern what you can do with the copies of creative works.
  • And they include the rights to distribute a copy, perform or display a copy publicly, or adapt a copy in some way, such as translate, edit, or remix it. Basically, whenever you want to do something with the copy of a creative work, you are required, under copyright law, to obtain the explicit permission of the creator (or copyright owner). And copyright covers all forms of creativity: literature, music, architecture, and choreography. Basically any creativity that you can set into a tangible medium is covered by copyright.
  • And not everyone knows this, but copyright is automatic -- in the is granted at the instant of creation. It reserves all the rights previously mentioned, And it lasts a very long time. IN the US, that means It lasts life of the author plus 70 years. It lasts 120 years for corporate works. And the terms just keep getting extended. It didn ’t used to be this way; copyright started out as a limited right that creators had to apply for and renew every 14 years. Starting in 1976, copyright became automatic and much more restrictive. Every time works are about to fall into the public domain, new laws are passed.
  • And the problem is actually very ironic. Before the internet, when sharing was more difficult, copyright laws weren’t as restrictive. Now that sharing has become easier, copyright is more restrictive than ever. It seems that copyright law is going backwards in a time when technology is moving things exponentially forward – and so much is possible in our digital landscape today.
  • Especially because today, everyone is a creator of copyrighted content, whether they know it or not. If you exchange emails with your mom or grandma – they are creators of copyrighted content! And every time you send an email or forward an email, you are creating a copy of that content Of course copyrighted content on the web is more than just emails. They are also educational materials like lesson plans , scientific research, university lectures, and all those millions of YouTube videos. Virtually everything you browse on the Internet is copyrighted. That’s a lot of stuff.
  • And that’s because the Internet has made it so easy to share. You publish a blog post or Instagram a photo – and you’ve shared something! Technically, it’s very easy to share.
  • But legally, it’s not so easy. And this is because the law has not caught up with technological development; in fact, as I discussed earlier, it’s gone in the other direction to be more restrictive than ever before.
  • This means that when people don’t even know that they are sharing copyrighted content, they can be liable for copyright infringmenet. And copyright infringement can get expensive, ranging from 750 to 150k dollars in the US.
  • When people are aware of copyright, it doesn’t really make their life easier either. Under default copyright law, trying to figure out what you can do with a resource can be confusing, restrictive, and time-consuming. You usually have to get your lawyers talking to other lawyers in order to clear permissions to use or share a resource, and those contracts are usually worked out every single time you do so. And it ’ s not always clear if you can share it under the same terms again in the future. Usually there ’ s a time limit to the contracts that you work out with other institutions or companies , for example if you are leasing etextbooks owned by publishers.
  • So these barriers exist when you actually want to do something with that content, such as share it with others, collaborate with other individuals or organizations on materials, distribute it to your colleagues or students , make translations or accessible versions. So at this point, you might be ready to throw your hands up and wonder what CANyou do?
  • That ’ s where Creative Commons comes in. With Creative Commons, you don ’ t have to work out a complicated legal solution each and every time. That ’ s because, with Creative Commons, creators can grant copy and reuse permissions in advance. And these permissions apply for the future as well, so there ’ s no uncertainty about the availability of what you share 5, 10, 20 years down the line.
  • So how is that possible? How is CC less complicated than the existing system? Very simply, we offer free copyright licenses that creators can attach to their works.
  • And because we recognize that different creators may have different needs, we offer a set of licenses for creators to choose from. Each license has different permissions. There are a total of six CC licenses that reflect a spectrum of rights that the creator can communicate to the public. All of the licenses are simple to understand and are the standard licenses used in the US and around the world to grant copyright permissions to your work.
  • Essentially, all of the licenses are made up of a combination of these four conditions, which are Attribution, ShareAlike, Noncommercial, and No derivative works. All of the CC licenses have the first condition, which is attribution. You can think of Attribution as the base condition, on top of which a creator might choose to apply one or more of the additional three conditions. For example: - If you want to prohibit commercial uses, you would add the non-commercial condition - If you want to require that downstream users also reshare their adaptation of your work, you would add the sharealike condition - If you want your work to be redistributed “ as-is ” , you would add the no derivatives condition
  • CC is the standard for copyright licensing today. And the reason is thanks to their unique 3 layer design -- which is b asically a fancy way of saying that you can communicate the license in three different ways: for lawyers, for normal creator and user like you and me, and for machines.
  • So the first, base layer is the actual license, the document that lawyers have drafted and vetted so that the license works like it ’ s supposed to according to US and international copyright laws. This is written by and for lawyers.
  • * But since most of us are not lawyers, we also make the licenses available in a format that normal people can read and understand. * We call this the “ human readable ” summary of the license, which sums up the most important terms and conditions of the license into non-technical language. * One way to think of it is as the user-friendly interface to the actual license.
  • * The third and final layer of the license design is the machine-readable metadata. This is what really makes the CC license viable for the Internet age. This small snippet of HTML code summarizes the CC license and associated metadata (such as who the work is authored by) into a format that software, search engines, and other kinds of technology can understand. * You don ’ t have to worry about coming up with this code by yourself, because we have a tool that spits it out for you. All you have to do is copy and paste into your webpage.
  • When properly marked in this way, CC-licensed works are discoverable via CC-enabled search engines such as Google. Web platforms that have integrated CC license options, such as Flickr, automatically take care of the machine-readable step for you.
  • What can Google, the most popular search engine in the U.S. (if not the world) do?
  • Well, did you know that you can search for CC-licensed content on Google Advanced Search? Google could probably make this much more prominent--since most people don ’t know about it!
  • The works that you will discover are not limited to the US, but originate from all around the world. It doesn ’ t matter where the author of the CC licensed work lives, because CC licenses work globally. We ’ ve worked very hard to make sure of that.
  • And because CC has made it easy, legal, and scalable, we estimate that you can browse more than 500 million works on the web that are shared under CC licenses.
  • And that number keeps growing each year.
  • built on copyright law. Does not replace, substitute, or provide an alternative to copyright. So I’ve given you a lot of information already, so I want to pause here to repeat three things you should remember about CC licenses. 1 – is that CC is built on copyright law. CC works within the current system to offer creators a some rights reserved alternative to the allrights reserved default. Without copyright law, CC could not exist. 2 – CC is not offering an alternative to copyright, it is simply giving creators more options. CC licensing something does not mean you are giving up copyright. On the contrary, you are maintaining your copyright, just under more flexible terms. This is my work, and here’s what you can and can’t do with it. 3 – Lastly, CC makes it clearer to your end user what they can do with your copyrighted work, which minimizes transaction costs on your end. You won’t have to work out a different contract with every single person who wants to use your work, or vice versa. If you want to use something on the web, you can check for the CC license and use it according to the license, without having to ask permission every single time.
  • There are more questions you might have regarding how the CC licenses work, and this page is really the best place to go as we created based on 10 years worth of creators and users questions. I’m also happy to answer questions at the end of course.
  • But now – on to the more interesting stuff – who actually uses Creative Commons?
  • Well, here’s a major adopter of Creative Commons that you might not have known about. Wikipedia, the global collaborative encyclopedia, is all free for you to reuse under a Creative commons license, specifically the CC attribution sharealike license, which requires you to give credit to wikipedia and share back any adaptations you make of the work under the same license. Wikipedia is huge – with over 77,000 contributors working on over 22 million articles in 285 languages. The license ensures that these contributions continue to add to the encylopedia, so that it is constantly growing.
  • Another major platform you may have heard of is Flickr, the photo sharing website owned by Yahoo that recently underwent a really fantastic redesign thanks to the leadership of Marissa Mayer. Flickr has been offering CC license options for its users for years. There are millions of photos under all six of the CC licenses contributed by Flickr’s users that you can use for free as long as you follow the conditions of the license. Many bloggers use Flickr as a resource.
  • is also another one you may not have heard of. Unfortuantely, the government is still shut down, but you can still access all content on the website. Everything created by the US government is in automaticlaly in the public domain, but there are a lot of third party contractors that work with the gov’t. Those works are governed by the CC Attribution license.
  • Creative Commons is also ubiquitous in the music scene. These are a few of the music platforms and communities that support CC license options for their users. Many people interact with each other in these communities, remixing each others songs and beats. And there is a very rich culture of sharing in music, as you know.
  • In journalism, CC has been used for a long time now by various publications and organizations. Let me talk about two of these
  • The first is Propublica, a nonprofit journalism venture funded largely by foundations. Propublica is an independent 32-person newsroom producing investigative journalism, and it i s led by Paul Steiger, the former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal. As you can see from this page, Propublica encourages others to "steal"[1] its stories; it encourages other sites to reproduce their stories as long as they are credited and linked to under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license (CC BY-NC-ND). Propublica also gives certain stories first to major news outlets, such as the New York Times and CNN, in order to maximize their impact. After a window of exclusivity, which can be anywhere from seconds to hours after the original publication depending on the agreement, these stories are also published on the Propublica site under CC BY-NC-ND.
  • Boing boing, the popular culture blog with various contributors, licenses all of its content under the CC Attribution Noncommrecial license, which means you are free to reblog, translate, or otherwise share their blog posts as long as you do so for noncommercial purposes and provide credit. Cory Doctorow, one of the main contributors to boing boing, is also an award winning author of several CC licensed books. He credits CC with helping with the publicity for his books and for the very interesting adaptations into other languages and formats, such as audio podcasts.
  • CC is also used in the more traditional publishing world, though mainly in education and science. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the public library of science, which is a successful peer reviewed open access journal, with everything under the CC BY license. is a relatively new publishing venture that has a very interesting model
  • So it’s sort of crowd-funding like in the Kickstarter sense, but for books that have already been published in the past under all rights reserved copyright. Many of these books are either out of print, received limited distribution at the time they were published, and are just no longer being read, even if they were really good resources. So basically, Unglueit puts up these books as part of a crowdfunding campaign. If they raise enough money, then they can pay the publishers and authors to open up the book so that the world has access to it. So this is one example called Oral Literature in Africa. Literature in Africa ! The rights holder, Open Book Publishers , agreed to release Oral Literature in Africa to the world as a Creative Commons licensed ebook (CC BY) if it was fully funded. And it was! So now its available for free under CC BY. Which ensures that it will never go out of distribution again bc it is available digitally under the license. Anyone can print and distribute it.
  • There are also a lot of educational materials out there that are under CC licenses. These educational materials are known as open educational resources, or OER.
  • The most famous, and the one that started it all – is MIT Open Course Ware, which started licensing its courses online under CC back when CC started 10 years ago. So here’ s a course on Globalization offered through MIT OCW
  • Here’ s Portuguese translation of the same MIT OCW class for Universia. * Many MIT courses like this one are being translated in many other languages * This translation is enabled by the CC license which preclears the rights to translate the material, allowing anyone or institution in the world to translate the material without the need for getting university lawyers involved. Today MIT has over 2,000 courses available online under CC, they’ve reached 100 million individuals worldwide, and their courses have been translated into at least 10 languages. MIT OpenCourseWare has been releasing its materials — web versions of virtually all MIT course content — under a CC BY-NC-SA license since 2004. Today, MIT OCW has 2000 courses available freely and openly online for anyone, anywhere to adapt, translate, and redistribute. MIT OCW have been translated into at least 10 languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, French, German, Vietnamese, and Ukrainian. They ’ ve already reached over 100 million individuals, and announced MITx, an initiative to provide certification for completion of its courses. The OpenCourseWare concept has now spread to hundreds of universities worldwide.
  • And the opencourseware concept is not just limited to MIT, there are hundreds of universities around the world now that have opened up their courseware.
  • So those are just a few examples of CC license use in culture, publishing, and education. There a lot more – I didn’t even touch on scientific research and data, design, public sector information.. So I encourage you to check out The Power of Open book, which features short stories of creators in these and many other fields.
  • You can access the book for free at It too is licensed under CC Attribution.
  • Just like this presentation, and the video recording which will be made available after today.
  • And in the spirit of CC, these are the credits for the images I used for this talk, shared freely under Creative Commons licenses. I didn ’t have to seek permission, because permission was already granted.
  • CC for the Association of Women in Communications, Santa Barbara Chapter

    1. 1.
    2. 2. •  Origins in Copyright •  CC Licenses & Tools •  Examples in Culture & Publishing
    3. 3. We make sharing content easy, legal, and scalable. What do we do?
    4. 4. All Rights Reserved
    5. 5. A set of exclusive rights granted to creators of ‘original works of authorship’
    6. 6. ü Automatic ✓ All Rights Reserved ✓ Lasts a very long time ✓ Keeps getting extended
    7. 7. The problem: 
 Traditional © designed for old distribution models now governs the Internet
    8. 8. In a digital world, most everyone is a creator of copyrighted content.
    9. 9. Technically, it’s so easy to share!
    10. 10. Legally? Not so easy.
    11. 11. $750-$150,000 per copyright infringement
    12. 12. CC BY-NC “fuzzy copyright” by PugnoM -
    13. 13. “Students in Jail” by Judy Baxter / License: CC BY-NC-SA
    14. 14. With Creative Commons, creators can grant copy and reuse permissions in advance.
    15. 15. Free copyright licenses that creators can attach to their works. How do we do it?
    16. 16.
    17. 17. CC licenses are unique because they are expressed in three ways.
    18. 18. Lawyer Readable Legal Code
    19. 19. Human Readable Deed
    20. 20. Machine Readable Metadata
    21. 21. 2 5
    22. 22. 2 6
    23. 23. 74 jurisdictions
    24. 24. 500 million works
    25. 25. ü CC is built on © law ü CC gives creators more options ü CC minimizes transaction costs Some things to remember
    26. 26.
    27. 27. Who uses 
 Creative Commons?
    28. 28. Wikipedia: Over 77,000 contributors working on over 22 million articles in 285 languages
    29. 29.
    30. 30. Creative Commons and the double C in a circle are registered trademarks of Creative Commons in the United States and other countries. Third party marks and brands are the property of their respective holders. Please attribute Creative Commons with a link to
    31. 31. Photo: “fuzzy copyright” Author: Nancy Sims Source: License: CC BY-NC Photo: “Students in Jail” Author: Judy Baxter Source: License: CC BY-NC-SA Attributions