The Future of Creative Commons


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Creative Commons licenses were designed to help
creators utilize the Internet’s potential as a place
for collaboration without copyright law getting in
the way. Since CC was founded, the possibilities
for creativity on the Internet have expanded
tremendously. CC’s products and community must
continue to grow and transform too.

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The Future of Creative Commons

  1. 1. 1the future ofcreativecommonsRealizing the value of sharing in a digital world
  2. 2. 2Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion andexpression; this right includes freedom to ... seek, receiveand impart information and ideas through any media andregardless of frontiers.—— Article 19, Universal Declaration of Human RightsEveryone has the right to freely participate in the culturallife of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share inscientific advancement and its benefits.Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral andmaterial interests resulting from any scientific, literary orartistic production of which he is the author.—— Article 27, Universal Declaration of Human RightsCreative Commons empowers people and institutions toshare their creative, scholarly, and other knowledge assets.Our technical tools and legal standards make it possiblefor educators, artists, bloggers, musicians, and institutionsto give permission for their works to be copied, collaged,curated, and redistributed while giving credit to the creator.Sharing and reuse of CC-licensed work happens on someof the world’s most popular platforms for user-generatedcontent and across a range of prominent institutions.Creative Commons has thus helped grow a publiccommons of knowledge and culture.Online media platforms have been key toexpanding both the breadth and depthof material available under CreativeCommons licenses. Today, there are over200 million CC-licensed photos on Flickrand four million CC-licensed YouTubevideos. Platforms like these are wheremany people first encounter CreativeCommons licenses and learn how toreuse and remix CC-licensed content.Gottlieb Jazz Photos, Library of CongressØ 1.0
  3. 3. 3Our vision is nothing less thanrealizing the full potential ofthe Internet — universal accessto research, education, and fullparticipation in culture — fordriving a new era of development,growth, and productivity.
  4. 4. 4The Internet is vast.So too is the untapped potential for people aroundthe world to contribute to the commons. New,yet-to-be-developed tools and products will extendthe reach of Creative Commons and stimulatemainstream adoption of our licenses.As platforms and technologies evolve, opportunitiesmust be developed to integrate Creative Commons’legal and technical tools across the Internet, insimple and seamless ways.Creative Commons licenses were designed to helpcreators utilize the Internet’s potential as a placefor collaboration without copyright law getting inthe way. Since CC was founded, the possibilitiesfor creativity on the Internet have expandedtremendously. CC’s products and community mustcontinue to grow and transform too.Wikimedia Commons hosts photos, videos,audio files, and more, all licensed to allowderivative works and commercial use. InDecember of 2012, Wikimedia Commonsreached 15 million files, a major milestonethat seals Wikimedia Commons’ importanceas a resource for educational and culturalmedia. This photo of two European bee-eaters won Wikimedia’s 2012 Picture of theYear award.Pair of Merops apiaster feedingPierre Dalous BY-SA 3.0
  5. 5. 5Empowering Creators to ChooseWhen Creative Commons launched, it was evident that digital technologiesoffered unprecedented opportunities for individuals to make and disseminatecreative works, to build on others’ contributions, and to collaborate inpreviously unimaginable ways.The Internet gave musicians, artists, authors, and scholars a new platform nolonger restricted by traditional boundaries. Yet, the complexity of copyrightlaw stood as an obstacle to the ideal of creative collaboration and sharing.Copyright automatically bestows upon creators exclusive rights to reproduce,distribute, and modify what they create. The default status is “all rightsreserved.” Yet, many creators do not realize that they are copyright owners, orwhat legal terminology allows them to share and invite others to reuse theirwork. Therefore, the opportunity to share often goes untapped.The machine-readable licenses that Creative Commons launched in 2002provide the legal means to share on terms less restrictive than copyright. Thelicenses are standardized legal deeds that creators can attach to their song,photograph, article, or other work to clearly authorize sharing under “somerights reserved” terms.Creative Commons offers to the public a menu of licenses to choose from topermit reproduction and other reuse. All licenses require proper attribution tothe creator. Most importantly, CC licenses give creators the power to choose.AttributionAttribution — NonCommercial — NoDerivsAttribution — NonCommercial — ShareAlikeAttribution — NoDerivsAttribution — NonCommercialThe six Creative Commons licenses providea simple vocabulary for what would otherwisebe a complicated agreement between creatorand licensee. By selecting a license, copyrightholders choose which rights they’d like to keepand what types of reuse to allow.Attribution — ShareAlikeThe creators who thrivetoday are the ones who useInternet distribution mostintelligently. In fact, the oneswho are most generous withtheir work often reap themost reward. People usedto think of reuse as stealing;today, not letting othersuse your work can meanirrelevance.—— Cathy Casserly, CEO, Creative Commons
  6. 6. 6OppikirjamaratonSenja Opettaa BY 2.0 Commons–licensed educationalmaterials aren’t justfree; they’re alive. Openeducational resources(OER) grow andtransform as educatorsadapt them and sharetheir versions. That’s whyeducators, students, andgovernments are makinginvestments in OER.The increased worldwide attention on openeducational resources has opened doors toexciting new possibilities for collaborationand rapid curriculum development. In 2012, agroup of Finnish educators, students, and mathenthusiasts spent a weekend together writing aCC-licensed secondary mathematics textbook.Today, the project has expanded to a full seriesof math texts being used in schools aroundFinland, all freely available and openly licensed.The Opportunity TodayThe social and economic value of sharing content with open licenses is welldocumented. In education, openly licensed content proffers enormous costsavings over traditional textbooks.In science and medicine, shared access to research can help save livesand encourage interdisciplinary efforts to accelerate problem solving. Ingovernment and philanthropy, where tax dollars and charitable contributionssupport the public good, open licensing ensures the results of investments aremade available to the broader public and can be continually built upon.On major websites, embedded CC licenses enable anyone, anywhere to join theparticipatory and collaborative culture and creatively use, improve on, and remixeducational content, videos, music, and photos. The net-positive impact of openlicensing is evident.Despite this success, Creative Commons is still far from realizing the fullpotential of its vision. Overreliance on traditional practices hinders adoption ofnovel approaches while advances pose new challenges and opportunities.Today the majority of the world’s population has access to the Internetand accordingly, the means to create and engage with each other. CreativeCommons must continue to serve the needs of this changing world in whichspectators have become active creators.
  7. 7. 7Our Mandate for TomorrowOur overall vision and strategic priorities are accomplished through targetedactivities involving a diverse range of institutions and communities interestedin sharing. Looking ahead:We will continue to cultivate the growth and diversity of knowledge andcultural resources in the shared global commons.We will develop a road map for product development to steer the creationand promotion of new legal and technical tools that meet the needs of ourusers and synchronize with emerging technologies.We will invest in the support and expansion of our network of affiliatesacross the globe.We will work with platforms to extend our reach into popular and domain-specific communities.We will develop a strong organizational and financial base in order toaccomplish these priorities and to ensure long-term sustainability.Creative Commons engages with communitiesof practice that bring about the greatest socialgood through use of CC tools. Our strategyfor change employs expertise, outreach, andsupport via a global network of affiliates andengagement with policymakers.Scienceand dataProducts, technology, and legal knowledgeOperations and fundraisingGovernmentandphilanthropyMedia andplatformsEducation Cultureï ï ï ï ïGlobalnetworkPublicpolicyAreas of social impact     
  8. 8. 8 CC & CultureFrom individual, independent performers to big-name commercial artists togalleries and government archives, Creative Commons is the standard for openlicensing for creative works.Since Creative Commons launched, it’s been embraced by cutting-edge artistswho recognize the limitations of the “all rights reserved” default. Today, thoseartists have been joined by a new generation of creators using open licensingto build new business models. As composer Chris Zabriskie wrote on hisdecision to release all of his music under the CC Attribution license, “You haveto think outside the very dusty box if you want anyone to hear what you do, letalone buy it.” CC & EducationOpen educational resources (OER) released under Creative Commons licenses— such as textbooks, courses, and lesson plans — are easy to find, easy to share,and easy to customize and combine. With CC licenses, learners can find andincorporate freely accessible materials for reports and presentations, educatorscan customize textbooks and lesson plans, universities can distribute videolectures to a global audience, and publishers can adapt materials and developservices for an enhanced learning experience.Educators, students, schools, and governments are investing in openeducation in big ways, and those investments are paying off. In 2012 alone,the governments of Poland, California, and British Columbia passed majorlegislation in support of OER, and the United States Department of Labor isawarding $2 billion (over four years) in grants for OER development.Taken in aggregate, these commitments represent a major shift in how theworld thinks about education. And thanks to open licensing, students andteachers will be able to reuse and adapt those resources worldwide.
  9. 9. 9 CC & GovernmentWe’re strong believers that publicly funded resources should be openly licensedand freely available. Since the beginning of Creative Commons, governmentsand public institutions have leveraged CC licenses and public domain tools toshare their data, publicly funded research, educational and cultural content,and other digital materials. Numerous countries around the world have adoptedopen licensing requirements for their own content and data, resources createdby grantees, or both. Governments from Kenya to Australia to Poland licensegovernment-created and/or government-funded works under CC.A massive amount of work is ahead, and with a committed communityof advocates, interested governmental departments, and open-mindedpolicymakers, we can together work toward a close integration of openlicensing in the public sector. If we do so, governments can better support theirpopulations with the information they need, increase the effectiveness of thepublic’s investment, and contribute to a true global commons. CC & ScienceCreative Commons licenses are at the center of a major shift in how scientificresearch is conducted and shared. Organizations like Public Library ofScience have led the charge in making science publishing CC-licensed. Moretraditional publishing stalwarts like Nature Publishing Group have quicklyjoined the movement too, adding CC licensing options to their publications.Meanwhile, startups like figshare are exploring new ways to help scientistsshare data and findings with each other in real time.In 2012, Creative Commons joined 65,000 people in support of a petitionto the White House, asking that scientific research that’s funded by the USgovernment be available freely over the Internet. In 2013, the White Houseresponded with a directive requiring that its 19 largest federal agencies createpolicies to “ensure that the public can read, download, and analyze in digitalform final peer-reviewed manuscripts or final published documents.”
  10. 10. 10As Creative Commons’community hasgrown and diversified,community membershave started using CClicenses in ways that noone would have originallyimagined. Licenses thatfunction across differentmediums and specialtiesopen possibilities forcombining and mixingwildly divergent types ofcontent.Guiding PrinciplesCreative Commons is bounded by a core set of guiding principles:The Commons is best optimized with a trusted steward.For the Commons to succeed, it must interoperate.A voluntary, open, and participatory community optimizes the likelihoodof success.The potential for sharing through open licensing has barely been tapped.Creative expression is critical to a vibrant Internet.Crypton’s virtual singer Hatsune Miku hasperformed in sold-out concerts all overthe world. A big part of Miku’s success isa creative community of fans who createtheir own recordings and videos starringMiku and a cast of other virtual characters.In 2012, Crypton acknowledged thecommunity’s role in its success by licensingMiku and related characters under CreativeCommons. According to entrepreneurand CC board member Joi Ito, “HatsuneMiku is an amazingly unique, inspiring, andsuccessful example of how sharing pullstogether communities and empowers anexplosion of creativity. I’m so excited thatCreative Commons can now be part of thatstory.”Crypton Future Media charactersCrypton Future Media BY-NC 3.0
  11. 11. 11cFive Strategic Priorities1 Steward the Global Commons2 Develop Innovative Products3 Strengthen the Affiliate Network4 Increase Platform Use5 Ensure Sustainability
  12. 12. 12cSteward the Global CommonsStewardship is an integral part of Creative Commons’ mission, history, andfuture. We are a steward of the Commons; a leader and trusted broker; achampion of open standards, policies, and practices.In its role as steward, Creative Commons ensures the Internet is a place ofsharing, innovation, and collaboration. We support interoperability of differentopen licensing schemes and the global community of open license usersthrough policy advocacy, outreach, and education.Priority 1Key Stewardship ActivitiesEngage the Creative Commons global affiliate network and international communityin developing and implementing Creative Commons Version 4.0 license suite.Grow Creative Commons’ presence in international policy arenas where openpolicies are debated, and advocate for the adoption and implementation of openpolicies through the creation of an Open Policy Network.Launch and promote the School of Open to educate prospective users aboutcopyright law and open licensing.Document and demonstrate the economic and social value of sharing knowledge,creative works, educational materials, research, and data.c c
  13. 13. 13cPriority 2 Develop Innovative ProductsIt is through technology that CC licenses enable people to share their culturalworks and learning resources, and to reuse and remix the work of others. It isthus critical for Creative Commons to keep pace with evolving technologiesand outside innovation. Our tomorrow is about enabling people to build on andremix the multitude of shared works in the Commons.Building on top of the CC license suite and existing resources, we will breakground with new products to serve and grow the CC user community, and toaddress mission-critical issues in today’s digital environment. We will developand systematically test a targeted pipeline of products, and launch the productsproven to have the highest potential impact and scalability. We will leverage thepower of the open source community and our network of peer organizations tohelp us.Key Product ActivitiesDevelop a core platform or interactive framework to engage users by showing howtheir content is being reused by others, and to motivate further contributions to theCommons. Via this product, collect data on reuse to demonstrate the vibrancyof the Commons.Enhance the technological means for users to communicate around shared CC-licensed content, connecting authors and creators with remixers and reusers.A more deeply engaged and connected user community will demonstrate the powerand usefulness of sharing and grow the Commons.Build a community of volunteers around the development of products,institutionalize this community through a governance structure, and createguidelines for participation. Form a technical and product advisory group to bringseasoned and external expertise to bear on product strategy.c
  14. 14. 14cStrengthen the Affiliate NetworkThe Creative Commons Affiliate Network includes more than 70 affiliate groupsaround the world, as well as many informal community groups and individualvolunteers. The network donates expertise and time to promote the mission inmany ways, from sharing legal expertise and educating the public about openlicensing, to holding local events.Regional Coordinators help ensure the smooth functioning of this globalnetwork, encouraging affiliate engagement and facilitating relations amongand between affiliates and CC headquarters. Affiliate groups are ambassadors,each linked to a local institution such as a law office, university, or nonprofitorganization.Affiliates know the local culture, laws, norms, government protocols, andlanguage(s), and can more easily connect, both physically and culturally, withcommunities and policymakers. They expand CC’s reach far beyond what wouldever be possible by CC’s core full-­time staff.Priority 3Key Affiliate Network ActivitiesFoster a culture of collaboration and mutual support among affiliates. Establisheffective communication channels through which affiliates can mentor one anotherand share their expertise with each other and the entire organization.Develop and provide support for the reuse of tools, resources, and trainingmaterials. Support programs and initiatives that may be easily localized andtranslated for use by Creative Commons’ global affiliate network.Collaboratively develop a broader network strategy. Support the development ofnew affiliate organizations in jurisdictions with an interest in the Creative Commonsmission.c c
  15. 15. 15cIncrease Platform UseCreative Commons licenses have enabled new businesses to thrive and areembedded in some of the largest platforms on the Internet. These platformsmaximize our reach into both popular and domain-specific communities andbuild a broader awareness of open licenses.Internationally, in the social and public sectors, organizations and institutionsalso adopt CC licenses on their platforms to lower cost and improve access toknowledge in education, science, and government.Creative Commons will increase outreach and support to existing and potentialplatform adopters in order to improve the implementation of our licenseson platforms, recommend ways to communicate the value of CC licenses toplatform user communities, and increase platform adoptions of CC licenses.Priority 4Key Platform ActivitiesCultivate relationships with new platforms, and by extension, their communities toreach a broader audience and user base.Strengthen alliances with existing platform adopters through provision of supportresources for implementation and ongoing use.Encourage content curation in communities of practice that use CC licenses, onplatforms and in repositories. Provide guidance and training resources to help usercommunities reuse and remix CC-licensed content.Enhance public perception and awareness of Creative Commons and its missionthrough targeted cross-promotional activities and events. Position CreativeCommons for higher visibility alongside key platforms in all domains.c
  16. 16. 16cEnsure SustainabilityIncreasing organizational effectiveness and securing adequate resources forstrategic priorities are critical steps on Creative Commons’ path to long-termsustainability.Over 2013–15, Creative Commons will work towards the following essentialelements of sustainability: secure funds for core needs, develop a long-termrevenue model, and ensure a strong organizational culture and structure.Priority 5Key Elements of Organizational EffectivenessThere is a shared organizational culture and a staff of talented people with deepexpertise and diverse skills, established networks, and a passion for cultivatingopenness in practice, culture, and community.The governance of the organization is comprised of engaged board members whoprovide strong organizational oversight, serve as public representatives, and offerdiverse expertise, support, and networks.Strategic communications and transparency measures are implemented to increaseawareness, associate brand with mission, and improve community engagement.Technology developments are well documented in an open environment thatencourages collaboration and input from external contributors.c
  17. 17. 17Our Approach to FundraisingCreative Commons relies on foundations, corporations, andindividuals to provide philanthropic support for initiatives that increaseour global footprint and impact.The range of activities that drive our success can only be sustainedif a strong organizational base supports them. To secure resourcesthrough 2015, we will:In parallel with this fundraising approach, we will undertake an in-depth exploration of social enterprise models and potential newrevenue streams. By identifying a steady long-term revenue source wewill mitigate risk, free up resources to support innovation, and ensureadaptability and sustainability of the organization.Build an alliance of fundingpartners to support coreoperations and plannedactivities.Advance corporatesponsorship opportunitiesfor in-kind and monetarysupport.Diversify funding sourcesthrough a range of targetedfundraising efforts.Cultivate and retain anengaged and committeddonor base.
  18. 18. 18Scaling the CommonsBased on statistics from media platforms with built-inCC functionality, we know that there are over 500 millionCC-licensed works. That’s a big number, but it only beginsto reflect the vast array of materials with CC licenses, themultitude of ways in which those licensed materials areused and reused every day, and the diversity of the CreativeCommons community.Did you know?500: Number of one-terabyte hard drives required todownload every Creative Commons-licensed photo on Flickr.$0: The cost for students to use job training materialsproduced under the US Department of Labor’s two-billion-dollar Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College andCareer Training Initiative.609: Number of volunteers working around the world inCreative Commons’ affiliate network.40: Number of years it would take to watch all 4 millionCC-licensed videos on YouTube.715: Number of new, CC BY-SA-licensed articles contributedto Wikipedia in English every day.59,000: Number of articles published by Public Libraryof Science under the CC Attribution license. On average,each article is viewed over 2,000 times.90: Number of high-quality, CC-licensed university textbooksto be created through recent government initiatives in BritishColumbia and California.30: Number of gatherings that took place around the world incelebration of Creative Commons’ tenth anniversary.1: Number of gatherings that took place in Antarctica incelebration of Creative Commons’ tenth anniversary.c
  19. 19. 19People are open and willing to share, andthe CC model makes sense. Look howmany people are allowing their contentto be used for commercial purposes. It’samazing that people are open to allowfor others to make money from the thingsthey create, as long as they’re cited. That’sgreat, and I think it’s really important.—— Blake Whitman, VP of creativedevelopment, VimeoBlake WhitmanDave Dugdale BY-SA 2.0 introduced School of Open idealsto young girls in the Precious Blood Schoolin Kenya. The response was overwhelming.Soon, we were discussing the value ofopen in a world where “withheld” is whatfeels secure. They are now working onreleasing short videos of their teachersteaching various subjects, licensing themunder Creative Commons, and uploadingthem to YouTube. They are doing this for thethousands of young people who don’t get achance to go to high school in Kenya.—— Kasyoka Mutunga, executive directorof JamlabKasyoka MutungaCC BY-NC-SA 3.0 phenomenal growth is entirelydriven by free and open distribution. CClicensing has enabled sharing in wayswell beyond what we could have done onour own. When we decided to open ourlibrary, we had one single goal: to spreadideas. A Creative Commons licenseclearly communicates that you are reallyserious about the spread of ideas.—— June Cohen, executive producerof TED MediaJune CohenRed Maxwell BY-NC 2.0 a writer, my problem is not piracy,it’s obscurity, and CC licenses turn mybooks into dandelion seeds, able to blowin the wind and find every crack in everysidewalk, sprouting up in unexpectedplaces.—— Cory Doctorow, authorCory DoctorowNK Guy, BY-SA 2.0 Commons enables us to connectwith people from other cultures, shareideas, and solve problems together. Itis a tool that gives voice to creativity,and allows us to share symbolic spacewithin society, charting alternative routesto inclusion across the continents, in alllanguages. I believe that open tools suchas Creative Commons are essential forcreating better societies. We have a lot tolearn from each other.—— Renata Avila, CC GuatemalaProject LeadRenata AvilaJoi Ito BY 2.0 Commons ensures that otherscan use the papers we publish withoutrequiring the additional time and costthat asking special permissions wouldrequire. It ensures that translators andeducators know they are free to usethe research we publish and it allowsWikipedia editors to enrich this criticalreference work with text and resourcesfrom the research literature.—— Peter Jerram, PLOSPeter JerramPLOSCC BY 3.0
  20. 20. 20Over the past decade, Creative Commons hasbecome the standard internationally for sharingcreative works. But that’s just the beginning.The next ten years will be all about tapping thepotential of the global community of Commonersto build a more open Internet and a freer world.—— Lawrence Lessig, Co-founder, Creative CommonsUnless otherwise noted, the text and layout of thisdocument are licensed under a Creative CommonsAttribution Unported 3.0 license( trademarks and logos of Creative Commons andany other organization are not included under theterms of this Creative Commons license. Images arelicensed as marked. For more information on reusego to Design:EXBROOK