Creative Commons Is Now Leading the Open COVID Pledge—Here’s What That Means

We’re pleased to announce today that Creative Commons is taking on leadership and stewardship of the Open COVID Pledge.

Earlier this year, CC joined forces with an international group of researchers, scientists, academics, and lawyers seeking to accelerate the development of diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, medical equipment, and software solutions that might be used to assist in the fight against COVID-19. The result was the Open COVID Pledge, a project that offers a simple way for universities, companies, and others to make their patents and copyrights available to the public to be utilized in the current public health crisis.

Users of Creative Commons licenses will be familiar with the Open COVID Pledge’s approach. Like CC licenses, the Open COVID Pledge offers free, standard, public licenses that anyone can use to remove unnecessary obstacles to the dissemination of knowledge.

Amazon, Facebook, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NASA JPL, Sandia National Laboratories, and Uber are among the dozens of companies and institutions that have used the Open COVID Pledge to make their patents and copyrights open to the public in support of solving the COVID-19 pandemic. As Creative Commons takes on this new leadership role in the project, we’re energized by the potential to expand its international scope, reach, and impact.

We’ll continue working with large companies to unlock their intellectual property (IP) rights in the pursuit of saving lives. But we also aim to team up with smaller startups, universities, and even individual innovators—especially in parts of the world that aren’t well-represented by the project’s current list of pledgors and supporters and that hold patents and other IP critical to the fight against  COVID-19. We’ll achieve this goal by collaborating with members of our worldwide community, including leading organizations in the international arena working on copyright and IP policy, such as the WHO and other UN bodies. We will also leverage the expertise and our deep relationships with the Creative Commons Global Network. Stay tuned for more information on these internationalization efforts, including ways to get involved in expanding the project in your country and region.

We believe this initiative will have a profound impact beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The common set of values, tools, and principles for the responsible use of IP in the public’s interest formed during this particular crisis can and should be used as a necessary model for addressing other crises, such as climate change. We hope to carry this conversation and model forward.

As CC takes on leadership and stewardship of the Open COVID Pledge, we are mindful of the many who contributed to its beginnings. In particular, we thank our co-collaborators for their expertise and collaboration in forging this project and helping it come to life. They have provided and will continue to provide critical strategic input into the future of this project and its growth. 

You can support the effort by encouraging your company, university, or research team to make the Open COVID Pledge. Visit opencovidpledge.org or contact us at ocpinfo@creativecommons.org for more information.

The post Creative Commons Is Now Leading the Open COVID Pledge—Here’s What That Means appeared first on Creative Commons.

Creative Commons: Das Städel Museum stellt mehr als 22.000 Kunstwerke zur freien Verfügung | Städel Museum

From Google’s English:  “The Städel Museum makes more than 22,000 works of art freely available in its digital collection with the Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 4.0. This enables a broad public interested in art to reproduce and share the public domain images of the works, naming the Städel Museum, and to use and edit them for any purpose. Popular works of art by the Städel, such as Sandro Botticelli’s Ideal Feminine Portrait (Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci as a Nymph) (approx. 1480), Franz Marc’s Lying Dog in the Snow (approx. 1911), Paula Modersohn-Becker’s Lying Man under a Blooming Tree (1903), Rembrandts Self-portrait leaning against a stone wall (1639) or Johannes Vermeer’s The Geographer(1669) are thus made available for free download via the digital collection. The aim is – in line with the founding idea – to make the Städel collection accessible to the public and, furthermore, to strengthen participation in the collective cultural property.”

From CC’s New CEO: Working Towards Our Shared Future

It is an honor to be joining the Creative Commons team on the eve of its 20th anniversary year.

For nearly two decades, this organization has worked to make the world a more open and equitable place.

When CC first launched in 2001, I was a recently-elected Member of the European Parliament at a time when copyright and access issues were beginning to receive attention.

But throughout my 20 years as a legislator, directly representing over five million people in Scotland and delivering change for over 500 million Europeans, I took on the task of championing digital policy issues including copyright reform, citizen privacy and data protection, and improving public access to digital tools.

As I reflect, we today find ourselves in a very different world. And as I look to the future, I know the work of CC has never been more important.

We have the opportunity to play a leading role in the global fight to remove obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity.

This matters because of the pressing challenges facing us, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak human and economic devastation across the globe.

Inequality is on the rise, and injustices have been exposed.

The tragic killing of George Floyd sparked the global Black Lives Matter movement, while there have been pro-democracy protests in several countries, including in Belarus only last week.

CC stands with those grieving and protesting against injustices, and with those fighting for justice, representation, and equality around the world.

The challenges and the crises we have witnessed during this extraordinary year have raised legitimate questions about power and privilege.

Who has access to knowledge in our unequal society?

We know that too often it is the hands of the few, not the many, and access is often denied to women, people of color, LGBTQI communities and people from the global South.

We have a role to challenge power and privilege, and the solution to that is to open up access and share knowledge.

During the coronavirus crisis, we saw some progress being made.

Paywalls came down, and research was shared. The race to find a vaccine for COVID-19 demonstrates why rapid and unrestricted access to scientific research and educational materials is so vital.

It’s a shame that it took a global pandemic to realize this, but I hope the lesson has now been learned.

Yet for every step forward there is also a step backwards.

Some nations have imposed restrictions on the right to information and not all have reinstated them.

And too much knowledge remains out of reach, with museum and library doors still shut in many countries, and digital access not available for so many.

Breaking down barriers is not easy.

Take the example of the National Emergency Library, designed by the Internet Archive to make over 1.3 million e-books available for checkout, free of charge during the pandemic.

A consortium of four publishers filed suit and the library was forced to close. This demonstrates the challenges that remain.

But there is also hope.

I have been a longstanding champion of the need to unlock digital access to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity for everyone in society.

I’m excited by the opportunity to make a difference.

The work of CC has already proved crucial during this devastating pandemic. The Open COVID Pledge has made it easier for universities, companies, and other holders of intellectual property rights to support the development of medicines, test kits, vaccines, and other scientific discoveries.

And we have worked to make publicly funded educational resources openly licensed to help the public access reliable, practical information.

There is much more to do.

Our world faces an uncertain future and it is vital that open access policies are adopted by organizations and governments.

Technological advances have brought many people closer together, and yet also pushed too many apart.

Our mission is to build a shared future for all, and I can’t wait to get started.

The post From CC’s New CEO: Working Towards Our Shared Future appeared first on Creative Commons.

Sharing Indigenous Cultural Heritage Online: An Overview of GLAM Policies

This post was co-authored by CC’s Open Policy Manager Brigitte Vézina and Legal and Policy Intern Alexis Muscat. Tomorrow is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, a day that seeks to raise awareness of and support Indigenous peoples’ rights and aspirations around the world. We at Creative Commons (CC) wish to highlight this important … Read More “Sharing Indigenous Cultural Heritage Online: An Overview of GLAM Policies”
The post Sharing Indigenous Cultural Heritage Online: An Overview of GLAM Policies appeared first on Creative Commons.

The Increasingly Open World of Photography: A Conversation With Exposure’s Luke Beard

Over 300 million images are uploaded to Facebook a day. Yes, just Facebook. Once other social media and photo-sharing platforms like Flickr, Unsplash, Instagram, etc. are taken into account, that number quickly grows into the billions. 

A lot has changed since the dawn of photography in the 19th century—when Nicéphore Niépce (a.k.a. the “Father of Photography”) peered through his camera obscura from his upstairs window in France and created the oldest surviving photographic image in 1826. At that time, and for over a century, photography was restricted to (primarily white and Western) wealthy hobbyists and career professionals. However, photography has become more democratized, digitized, and open over time. This process began in the 1940s with Kodak’s “Brownie” camera, then quickened with the invention of the digital camera in the late 1980s, and finally culminated with the smartphone in the early 2000s. In 2019, the Pew Research Center estimated that 1/3rd of the world’s population has a smartphone. This means that billions of people have access to a camera! 

Niépce's View from the Window at Le Gras (1826 or 1827)Niépce’s “View from the Window at Le Gras” (1826 or 1827), the world’s oldest surviving photographic image, made using a camera obscura. Original plate (left) by Niépce; colorized reoriented enhancement (right) by Nguyen. Licensed CC BY-SA.

Along with the democratization and digitization of photography came the rise of open licensing (the CC License Suite was first released in 2002) and “free” photo-sharing and stock photography websites (Flickr was founded in 2004). Although these trends have many benefits, they’ve generally made professional photographers feel uneasy. As photographer and filmmaker Erin Jennings wrote in a 2019 essay, “Not only has accessible digital photography threatened the commercial photography industry, it has also thrown into question the very self-worth of many photographers whose identities were mired in the exclusivity of the analog process.” As a photographer, I understand this uneasiness as well as the apprehension that comes with publishing images under open licenses. I’ve certainly wondered: Is it OK that I’m willingly handing organizations and companies the ability to use my work for “free”? Will this lead to the expectation that photography should always be free? Does this devalue professional photography?

Along with the democratization and digitization of photography came the rise of open licensing and “free” photo-sharing and stock photography websites; although these trends have many benefits, they’ve also made professional photographers feel uneasy.

Luke BeardLuke Beard, Photographer and Designer; CEO and Founder of Exposure.

Over time, I’ve learned more about the purpose of open licenses and the rights photographers are guaranteed under them. For instance, the attribution requirement under CC licenses can actually help maintain the connection between photograph and photographer because the photographer’s name must be attributed if their work is reused. In the age of image theft and image overload, that’s significant. The range of licenses available also gives photographers more freedom to determine how their photography can be used beyond “all rights reserved,” and clarify that to potential users. For up-and-coming photographers, this can be especially useful for building a personal brand and an audience of potential clients.  Personally, I try to always openly license my work—something I recently learned was possible on Exposure, a storytelling platform for photographers and visual storytellers. After using the platform for years, it was a pleasant surprise to learn that the company had enabled CC BY-ND as a licensing option. It also made me curious: Why did a platform that serves as a creative outlet for professional photographers and storytellers decide to allow open licensing as an option?

To find out, I contacted Exposure Founder and CEO Luke Beard via email. A photographer himself, I also wanted to know his personal thoughts about open licensing and the democratization of photography. Our conversation below has been lightly edited for clarity and length. 


VH: The growing democratization of photography has led to a plethora of images online, primarily through free photo-sharing and stock photography websites. Has this trend impacted your identity as a professional photographer? Do you think it’s harming the industry? 

LB: I’d argue that Instagram has done more to change photography in the last decade than legacy and fledgling photo communities built around free sharing or stock [photography]. Instagram has a fairly large conversion rate. Its scale, reach, and impact on photography still feels unprecedented. It’s effectively one of the biggest stewards of the medium the world has ever seen.

The “professional photographer” part of my identity has a strong feeling around giving anything away for “free.” There are both potentially good and potentially negative outcomes, but it also depends on the context. You certainly learn a lot about what feels right or worth it by exploring free avenues. The communities that grow around services like Flickr can be incredible, and I’m sure many working photographers today got their start there. The proliferation of ways to discover photography though free, stock, or sharing [platforms] has certainly raised the bar both competition-wise and creativity-wise, and I’d say it has been a net positive.  

VH: There’s an ongoing debate within photography circles about open licensing and whether or not it harms professional photographers. What do you see as the benefits and drawbacks?

LB: The value of photography has simultaneously been raised and lowered as the internet economy has grown. As a visual medium—with amazing screens in the hands of ~3.5 billion people—photography has so much to offer for the foreseeable future.  

Exposure's HomepageExposure houses creative works from individual photographers, non-profit organizations, governments, and more.

Open licensing also has a lot to offer photographers who are looking for new and interesting ways to share their craft and earn work. On the one hand, you have platforms with a huge reach that take on the hard work of distributing and hosting your photos in exchange for an open license (e.g. Unsplash). The long-tail upside might be that someone thinks your style of photography is perfect and hires you for a shoot. The flip side is that free and openly licensed photos may lose all concept that there is a photographer behind the photo. This devalues both the photographer and the photo. I personally struggle with the idea of normalizing good photography as something that has no cost or doesn’t require credit—although, it’s important to point out that CC licenses do require attribution. A comparison would be this one: it’s hard to make good software, but free applications normalize the idea that software should cost nothing. 

There is still lots of work to be done to reap the benefits of open licensing, and the majority of this work falls to the stewards of the platforms and tools.

Without openly licensed photos, however, we wouldn’t have visually rich Wikipedia pages or great collections like NASA’s image gallery. For individual photographers, I think there still has to be a better way. Maybe the answer is a blockchain solution through micropayments or maybe just a better marketplace platform. There is still lots of work to be done to reap the benefits of open licensing, and the majority of this work falls to the stewards of the platforms and tools. I’m hopeful the benefits will greatly outweigh the negatives. 

VH: Can you explain why Exposure decided to offer an open licensing option and if there were any specific challenges when making and implementing that decision?

We have taken baby steps into offering an open license as a feature. For context, it’s a toggle you can switch “on” or “off” for specific stories. As the creator, you agree to a CC BY-ND license for your photography within that story. This idea initially came about because we wanted to give Exposure members the ability to allow their family, friends, or clients to download their photos. Since the launch, however, we have seen it used for academic and non-profit purposes too, so we plan on expanding it this year by adding more licenses and the ability to license entire stories (including written content) and not just the individual photos. Our non-profit customers have expressed how helpful this would be to share their cause.

VH: Does Exposure educate users on this open licensing option or advertise it in any way?

The photo downloads feature is advertised as a paid feature because there is an infrastructure cost associated with allowing photos to be downloaded. When the feature is enabled by the member, we give a full legal description of how the license works and also a “basic” description in simpler terms. When a visitor downloads any photo that is under the open license they also see a similar dialog and download agreement that indicates the requirements of the license, including attribution to the photographer/source. This way, they know how and where they can use the photo before they actually download it.

Exposure Screenshot of Download AgreementAn example of Exposure’s Download Agreement and use of CC BY-ND. Source: “The Space People” by Victoria Heath (CC BY-ND).

VH: Taking a step back from open licensing, can you share with us one or two of the most impactful stories that have been shared on your platform?

That’s a tough one, as there have been thousands over the years, but right now I’m extra proud to host and share stories on climate change, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, this story from Doctors without Borders (MSF) which shares the struggle to get the supplies needed to fight COVID-19 in Yemen; this piece by the United Nations Development Programme’s Climate Office telling the story of climate-resilient farming and food security in the outer islands of Kiribati; and this story of Black Lives Matter protests in Cobb County, Georgia by a local photographer.  

VH: The goal of the open movement is to build a more equitable, inclusive, and innovative world through sharing—do you believe sharing photography, and creative content more broadly, has a role in achieving that goal?

Openly sharing information has always happened within communities. I strongly believe the open movement has achieved great things since the first few days of ARPANET and the birth of the modern internet. Creative content still has room to mature to be a truly accessible, inclusive, and equitable medium as more people get access to the internet. But as a whole, visual content has had a huge impact by engaging most of the world—now more than any other time in history. There are things that worry me about our ability to achieve any sort of “open web” goal, these include the consolidated power of “Big Tech,” eroding net neutrality, and the disparity of access to reliable and affordable (if not free) internet connections—as recently seen with the impact of COVID-19 on students without a reliable internet connection at home.

VH: Photography as a profession has suffered from a lack of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity which has led to a mirrored lack of diversity in the images created (e.g. stock photos). What actions do you think individual photographers like yourself, and platforms like Exposure, can take to help increase diversity in the industry?

A quote mentioned in Ibram X. Kendi’s book, How to Be an Antiracist has recently been very impactful in my thinking about just this. The quote is credited to Harry A. Blackmun from the 1978 Supreme Court case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. Blackmun wrote, “…in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently.”

There is no progress without change and the status quo of taking a neutral stance does not allow for oppressed voices to be heard.

When I think about how this could be implemented in photography and the platforms that support it, I see several paths to a more equitable community: actively raising, promoting, and empowering the work of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and gender diverse photographers; giving resources to those same communities to enhance their ability to work, and; public platforms taking a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech and racism of any kind. There is no progress without change and the status quo of taking a neutral stance does not allow for oppressed voices to be heard. Exposure, as a platform, can do more on all these fronts, but the future looks bright for more giving and more empowering initiatives. Our Black Lives Matter support statement outlines what we are doing right now, and there is more to come in the future. 

VH: Luke, thank you for speaking with me! By the way, there are a growing number of openly licensed collections that are working to increase diversity in stock photography. These include Nappy, the Gender Spectrum Collection, Disabled and Here Collection, and Women in Tech. Check them out!

?: Featured image by Kollage Kid, titled “Lighthouse” and licensed CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

The post The Increasingly Open World of Photography: A Conversation With Exposure’s Luke Beard appeared first on Creative Commons.

The Increasingly Open World of Photography: A Conversation With Exposure’s Luke Beard

Over 300 million images are uploaded to Facebook a day. Yes, just Facebook. Once other social media and photo-sharing platforms like Flickr, Unsplash, Instagram, etc. are taken into account, that number quickly grows into the billions. 

A lot has changed since the dawn of photography in the 19th century—when Nicéphore Niépce (a.k.a. the “Father of Photography”) peered through his camera obscura from his upstairs window in France and created the oldest surviving photographic image in 1826. At that time, and for over a century, photography was restricted to (primarily white and Western) wealthy hobbyists and career professionals. However, photography has become more democratized, digitized, and open over time. This process began in the 1940s with Kodak’s “Brownie” camera, then quickened with the invention of the digital camera in the late 1980s, and finally culminated with the smartphone in the early 2000s. In 2019, the Pew Research Center estimated that 1/3rd of the world’s population has a smartphone. This means that billions of people have access to a camera! 

Niépce's View from the Window at Le Gras (1826 or 1827)Niépce’s “View from the Window at Le Gras” (1826 or 1827), the world’s oldest surviving photographic image, made using a camera obscura. Original plate (left) by Niépce; colorized reoriented enhancement (right) by Nguyen. Licensed CC BY-SA.

Along with the democratization and digitization of photography came the rise of open licensing (the CC License Suite was first released in 2002) and “free” photo-sharing and stock photography websites (Flickr was founded in 2004). Although these trends have many benefits, they’ve generally made professional photographers feel uneasy. As photographer and filmmaker Erin Jennings wrote in a 2019 essay, “Not only has accessible digital photography threatened the commercial photography industry, it has also thrown into question the very self-worth of many photographers whose identities were mired in the exclusivity of the analog process.” As a photographer, I understand this uneasiness as well as the apprehension that comes with publishing images under open licenses. I’ve certainly wondered: Is it OK that I’m willingly handing organizations and companies the ability to use my work for “free”? Will this lead to the expectation that photography should always be free? Does this devalue professional photography?

Along with the democratization and digitization of photography came the rise of open licensing and “free” photo-sharing and stock photography websites; although these trends have many benefits, they’ve also made professional photographers feel uneasy.

Luke BeardLuke Beard, Photographer and Designer; CEO and Founder of Exposure.

Over time, I’ve learned more about the purpose of open licenses and the rights photographers are guaranteed under them. For instance, the attribution requirement under CC licenses can actually help maintain the connection between photograph and photographer because the photographer’s name must be attributed if their work is reused. In the age of image theft and image overload, that’s significant. The range of licenses available also gives photographers more freedom to determine how their photography can be used beyond “all rights reserved,” and clarify that to potential users. For up-and-coming photographers, this can be especially useful for building a personal brand and an audience of potential clients.  Personally, I try to always openly license my work—something I recently learned was possible on Exposure, a storytelling platform for photographers and visual storytellers. After using the platform for years, it was a pleasant surprise to learn that the company had enabled CC BY-ND as a licensing option. It also made me curious: Why did a platform that serves as a creative outlet for professional photographers and storytellers decide to allow open licensing as an option?

To find out, I contacted Exposure Founder and CEO Luke Beard via email. A photographer himself, I also wanted to know his personal thoughts about open licensing and the democratization of photography. Our conversation below has been lightly edited for clarity and length. 


VH: The growing democratization of photography has led to a plethora of images online, primarily through free photo-sharing and stock photography websites. Has this trend impacted your identity as a professional photographer? Do you think it’s harming the industry? 

LB: I’d argue that Instagram has done more to change photography in the last decade than legacy and fledgling photo communities built around free sharing or stock [photography]. Instagram has a fairly large conversion rate. Its scale, reach, and impact on photography still feels unprecedented. It’s effectively one of the biggest stewards of the medium the world has ever seen.

The “professional photographer” part of my identity has a strong feeling around giving anything away for “free.” There are both potentially good and potentially negative outcomes, but it also depends on the context. You certainly learn a lot about what feels right or worth it by exploring free avenues. The communities that grow around services like Flickr can be incredible, and I’m sure many working photographers today got their start there. The proliferation of ways to discover photography though free, stock, or sharing [platforms] has certainly raised the bar both competition-wise and creativity-wise, and I’d say it has been a net positive.  

VH: There’s an ongoing debate within photography circles about open licensing and whether or not it harms professional photographers. What do you see as the benefits and drawbacks?

LB: The value of photography has simultaneously been raised and lowered as the internet economy has grown. As a visual medium—with amazing screens in the hands of ~3.5 billion people—photography has so much to offer for the foreseeable future.  

Exposure's HomepageExposure houses creative works from individual photographers, non-profit organizations, governments, and more.

Open licensing also has a lot to offer photographers who are looking for new and interesting ways to share their craft and earn work. On the one hand, you have platforms with a huge reach that take on the hard work of distributing and hosting your photos in exchange for an open license (e.g. Unsplash). The long-tail upside might be that someone thinks your style of photography is perfect and hires you for a shoot. The flip side is that free and openly licensed photos may lose all concept that there is a photographer behind the photo. This devalues both the photographer and the photo. I personally struggle with the idea of normalizing good photography as something that has no cost or doesn’t require credit—although, it’s important to point out that CC licenses do require attribution. A comparison would be this one: it’s hard to make good software, but free applications normalize the idea that software should cost nothing. 

There is still lots of work to be done to reap the benefits of open licensing, and the majority of this work falls to the stewards of the platforms and tools.

Without openly licensed photos, however, we wouldn’t have visually rich Wikipedia pages or great collections like NASA’s image gallery. For individual photographers, I think there still has to be a better way. Maybe the answer is a blockchain solution through micropayments or maybe just a better marketplace platform. There is still lots of work to be done to reap the benefits of open licensing, and the majority of this work falls to the stewards of the platforms and tools. I’m hopeful the benefits will greatly outweigh the negatives. 

VH: Can you explain why Exposure decided to offer an open licensing option and if there were any specific challenges when making and implementing that decision?

We have taken baby steps into offering an open license as a feature. For context, it’s a toggle you can switch “on” or “off” for specific stories. As the creator, you agree to a CC BY-ND license for your photography within that story. This idea initially came about because we wanted to give Exposure members the ability to allow their family, friends, or clients to download their photos. Since the launch, however, we have seen it used for academic and non-profit purposes too, so we plan on expanding it this year by adding more licenses and the ability to license entire stories (including written content) and not just the individual photos. Our non-profit customers have expressed how helpful this would be to share their cause.

VH: Does Exposure educate users on this open licensing option or advertise it in any way?

The photo downloads feature is advertised as a paid feature because there is an infrastructure cost associated with allowing photos to be downloaded. When the feature is enabled by the member, we give a full legal description of how the license works and also a “basic” description in simpler terms. When a visitor downloads any photo that is under the open license they also see a similar dialog and download agreement that indicates the requirements of the license, including attribution to the photographer/source. This way, they know how and where they can use the photo before they actually download it.

Exposure Screenshot of Download AgreementAn example of Exposure’s Download Agreement and use of CC BY-ND. Source: “The Space People” by Victoria Heath (CC BY-ND).

VH: Taking a step back from open licensing, can you share with us one or two of the most impactful stories that have been shared on your platform?

That’s a tough one, as there have been thousands over the years, but right now I’m extra proud to host and share stories on climate change, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, this story from Doctors without Borders (MSF) which shares the struggle to get the supplies needed to fight COVID-19 in Yemen; this piece by the United Nations Development Programme’s Climate Office telling the story of climate-resilient farming and food security in the outer islands of Kiribati; and this story of Black Lives Matter protests in Cobb County, Georgia by a local photographer.  

VH: The goal of the open movement is to build a more equitable, inclusive, and innovative world through sharing—do you believe sharing photography, and creative content more broadly, has a role in achieving that goal?

Openly sharing information has always happened within communities. I strongly believe the open movement has achieved great things since the first few days of ARPANET and the birth of the modern internet. Creative content still has room to mature to be a truly accessible, inclusive, and equitable medium as more people get access to the internet. But as a whole, visual content has had a huge impact by engaging most of the world—now more than any other time in history. There are things that worry me about our ability to achieve any sort of “open web” goal, these include the consolidated power of “Big Tech,” eroding net neutrality, and the disparity of access to reliable and affordable (if not free) internet connections—as recently seen with the impact of COVID-19 on students without a reliable internet connection at home.

VH: Photography as a profession has suffered from a lack of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity which has led to a mirrored lack of diversity in the images created (e.g. stock photos). What actions do you think individual photographers like yourself, and platforms like Exposure, can take to help increase diversity in the industry?

A quote mentioned in Ibram X. Kendi’s book, How to Be an Antiracist has recently been very impactful in my thinking about just this. The quote is credited to Harry A. Blackmun from the 1978 Supreme Court case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. Blackmun wrote, “…in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently.”

There is no progress without change and the status quo of taking a neutral stance does not allow for oppressed voices to be heard.

When I think about how this could be implemented in photography and the platforms that support it, I see several paths to a more equitable community: actively raising, promoting, and empowering the work of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and gender diverse photographers; giving resources to those same communities to enhance their ability to work, and; public platforms taking a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech and racism of any kind. There is no progress without change and the status quo of taking a neutral stance does not allow for oppressed voices to be heard. Exposure, as a platform, can do more on all these fronts, but the future looks bright for more giving and more empowering initiatives. Our Black Lives Matter support statement outlines what we are doing right now, and there is more to come in the future. 

VH: Luke, thank you for speaking with me! By the way, there are a growing number of openly licensed collections that are working to increase diversity in stock photography. These include Nappy, the Gender Spectrum Collection, Disabled and Here Collection, and Women in Tech. Check them out!

?: Featured image by Kollage Kid, titled “Lighthouse” and licensed CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

The post The Increasingly Open World of Photography: A Conversation With Exposure’s Luke Beard appeared first on Creative Commons.

Announcing Creative Commons’ New CEO, Catherine Stihler

I’m delighted to announce that Creative Commons has selected Catherine Stihler to be its next CEO. Catherine has been a champion for openness as both a legislator and practitioner for more than 20 years. She currently serves as CEO of the Open Knowledge Foundation, an organization whose work is fully aligned with the values and … Read More “Announcing Creative Commons’ New CEO, Catherine Stihler”
The post Announcing Creative Commons’ New CEO, <br> Catherine Stihler appeared first on Creative Commons.

What is Creative Commons? How CC came to be V1 (June 2020) on Vimeo

“This video was made for the Creative Commons Certificate course for Librarians in June 2020.

A basic understanding of copyright is necessary to understand why and how Creative Commons was founded. This video starts with a few of the notable events in the history of copyright and ends with the Creative Commons, the licenses, the organisation and the community.

This video is work in progress and might be updated in the near future.

Full text: docs.google.com/document/d/1J5R-qk8T3PwHajkd-icryrvQ2D7zMrrP8sw6J4Vn4ng/edit?usp=sharing …”

CC Search Celebrates Its First Birthday!

At the end of April, CC Search officially celebrated its first birthday! After releasing the search tool last year on April 30, we eagerly watched as it was put to use. Now, with a year behind us and over 2.8 million users across 230 countries and territories, we’re gathering and examining search data to better … Read More “CC Search Celebrates Its First Birthday!”
The post CC Search Celebrates Its First Birthday! appeared first on Creative Commons.

CC Search Celebrates Its First Birthday!

At the end of April, CC Search officially celebrated its first birthday! After releasing the search tool last year on April 30, we eagerly watched as it was put to use. Now, with a year behind us and over 2.8 million users across 230 countries and territories, we’re gathering and examining search data to better … Read More “CC Search Celebrates Its First Birthday!”
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Why Sharing Academic Publications Under “No Derivatives” Licenses is Misguided

The benefits of open access (OA) are undeniable and increasingly evident across all academic disciplines and scientific research: making academic publications1 freely and openly accessible and reusable provides broad visibility for authors, a better return on investment for funders, and greater access to knowledge for other researchers and the general public. And yet, despite OA’s obvious advantages, some researchers choose to publish their research papers under restrictive licenses, under the mistaken belief that by doing so they are safeguarding academic integrity

Academic fraud, whether in the guise of cheating, copying, plagiarism or using the services of essay mills, is no doubt a serious issue for the academic community the world over. This age-old problem has been happening since long before digital technologies and open licenses (such as CC Licenses) were on the scene, however. Clearly, OA is neither to blame for academic fraud nor does it invite it or make it worse. 

In this blog post, we explain that applying restrictive licenses to academic publications is a misguided approach to addressing concerns over academic integrity. Specifically, we make it clear that using Creative Commons “No Derivatives” (ND) licenses on academic publications is not only ill-advised for policing academic fraud but also and more importantly unhelpful to the dissemination of research, especially publicly-funded research. We also show that the safeguards in place within truly open licenses (like CC BY or CC BY-SA) are well-suited to curbing malicious academic behavior, above and beyond other existing recourses for academic fraud and similar abuses. 

No Derivatives licenses (CC BY-ND and CC BY-NC-ND) allow people to copy and distribute a work but prohibit them from adapting, remixing, transforming, translating, or updating it, in any way that makes a derivative. In short, people are not allowed to create “derivative works” or adaptations.

Researchers are the ultimate remixers

Researchers publish to be read, to have impact, and to make the world a better place. To accomplish these important goals, researchers need to enable reuse and adaptations of their research publications and data. They also need to be able to reuse and adapt the publications and data of others. Isaac Newton, one of the most influential scientists of all time, famously declared: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants,” meaning the production of new knowledge can only be achieved if researchers can rely on the ideas and publications of their peers and predecessors and revisit, reuse, and transform them, adding layer upon layer of new insights. Researchers are the ultimate remixers—OA is the ultimate way to make remixing possible. 

ND licensed publications are not Open Access

Articles published under an ND license are not considered OA, as first defined in the Budapest Open Access Initiative and in its 2012 recommendations. ND licenses overly restrict reuse of content by fellow researchers and thus curtail their opportunity to contribute to the advancement of knowledge. This is the main reason why it is inadvisable to apply ND licenses to academic publications. Although ND licenses are used for certain types of content, such as official documents that are not meant to be substantively modified, using them to forbid adaptations of academic publications flies in the face of the ethos of academic research. If anything, the ND element harms researchers.

For instance, ND licenses prevent translations. Hence, given that English is the dominant language of academia, ND licenses place barriers to accessing knowledge by non-English speakers and limit the outreach of research beyond the English-speaking world. ND licenses also prevent the adaptation of the graphs, images or diagrams included in academic articles (unless separately licensed under a license permitting their adaptation), which are essential to achieve wider dissemination of the ideas expressed therein. 

Reusers might also be discouraged by how differently “adaptations” might be defined under copyright law in different jurisdictions and how differently exceptions and limitations (E&L) might apply. A notable example is the use of text and data mining (TDM) processes to generate new knowledge. Some laws are very clear about the ability of researchers to do TDM as an exception to copyright even when an adaptation is arguably made during the TDM process, and even when the output can almost never be said to constitute an adaptation of any one input. The use of an ND license might be erroneously interpreted to discourage such perfectly lawful activity altogether, and therefore present another hurdle to the progress of science. 2

Some remixes are still possible under ND licenses

Be that as it may, ND licenses do not completely bar the possibility of reusing and adapting academic publications. First, the licenses do not limit the rights that users have by virtue of the application of copyright’s exceptions and limitations, such as quotation, review, criticism or under the general doctrines of fair dealing or fair use. Further, our FAQ clarifies that, generally, no derivative work is made of the original from which an excerpt is taken when the portion is used to illustrate an idea or provide an example in another larger work. This is solely an act of reproduction, not of improving upon the pre-existing work in a way that could create an adaptation in violation of the ND license. All CC licenses grant the right to reproduce a CC-licensed work for noncommercial purposes (at a minimum). 

Moreover, anyone wishing to adapt ND-licensed publications can seek authorization from the author, who may grant an individual license. This, however, adds unnecessary transaction costs for reusers, who might choose to use different sources rather than go through the often tedious process of requesting permission. 

Despite the ways other researchers are legally able to reuse ND-licensed works, they leave much to be desired in the academic context.

All CC Licenses require attribution 

Multiple protections against reputational and attribution risks are embedded in all CC licenses, which have a strong legal history of enforcement actions against reusers that violate the licenses’ terms. These safeguards, that are in addition to and not in replacement of academic norms and practices, are in place to provide an additional layer of protection for the original authors’ reputation and to alleviate their concerns over changes to their works that might be wrongly attributed to them, such as:

  • Attribution is a requirement for all six CC licenses. Attribution (often called a “citation” in the academe) must be provided to the extent reasonable with regard to the means, medium and context of the reuse, absent a request by the author not to do so (in cases where the author believes the use is one from which s/he wishes to distance him/herself, licensees must remove attribution to the extent reasonable). 
  • Reusers are prohibited from using attribution in any way that suggests the author endorses the views of the reuser.
  • Changes made to the original licensed works must be indicated by the reuser and a link back to the original must be provided. This allows further reusers to see what was modified and, thus, what can only be attributed to the reuser and not the original author. For details, see section 3.a of the Legal Code for CC BY 4.0 licenses

Copyright is not the best framework to uphold academic integrity

Overall, copyright law and CC Licenses are not the most appropriate frameworks to address problems of academic integrity. Better results can certainly be achieved through compliance with and enforcement of relevant, well-established and enduring institutional and social norms, ethics policies, and moral codes of conduct. All told, researchers are not doing themselves or the global academe a favor when they share their publications under ND licenses. To optimize their dissemination and increase their social impact, we recommend sharing academic publications under the most open terms possible, i.e. by applying a CC BY license to the article and CC0 to the data.

We’re happy to provide further assistance and support in the interpretation of CC licenses, as well as in understanding open access for researchers. If you need help, get in touch ?info@creativecommons.org.

Notes

  1. Academic publications broadly include scholarly, academic, scientific and research books, journals, and articles/papers. Academic publications are often publicly funded.
  2. All 4.0 ND licenses permit text and data mining even if adaptations are created during the process, or as an output; however, adaptations may not be shared further and may only be used for internal or personal purposes.

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Tech Giants Join the CC-Supported Open COVID Pledge

Momentum continues to swell in support of the Open COVID Pledge, with the announcement today by Amazon, Facebook, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Microsoft, and Sandia National Laboratories, that they are pledging their patents to the public to freely use in support of solving the COVID-19 pandemic. Following in the footsteps of Intel, Fabricatorz Foundation, and many others, these companies join as Founding Adopters of the Pledge by releasing hundreds of thousands of patents for use worldwide by researchers, scientists, and others who are working to end the and minimize the impact of the disease, including through research, diagnosis, prevention, and containment.

Creative Commons announced its formal support for the project earlier this month, joining forces with legal experts, researchers, and scientists to create the pledge and licenses. This included the publication of two new licenses last week. The licenses now give adopters the ability to choose between licensing all of their copyrights and patents, and licensing only their patents. You can learn more about the licenses on the website.

CC’s involvement in this coalition is a natural fit given our goal of supporting and promoting the sharing of intellectual property freely with the public in order to advance the dissemination of knowledge. Our work since the announcement has focused on building informational resources including a new set of FAQs, drafting and updating the licenses, connecting with those wishing to adopt the pledge and license their IP, and strategizing with other members of the coalition about how the project can best connect adopters with those using the licensed IP to maximize impact. We look forward to continuing this work and sharing these success stories.

Companies, universities, organizations, and individuals can make or support the Open COVID Pledge by visiting https://opencovidpledge.org or contacting opencovidpledge@gmail.com.

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Bassel Khartabil Fellowship Awarded to Tarek Loubani—Using Open Access to Combat COVID-19

Photo courtesy of Tarek Loubani (CC BY)

We are thrilled to announce today that Dr. Tarek Loubani has been awarded the 2020 Bassel Khartabil Fellowship. Loubani is the medical director of Glia, a project focused on using Open Access manufacturing and distribution in order to provide lower costs and vastly increase the accessibility of urgently needed medical supplies and gear.

The Fellowship award will allow Loubani to Combat COVID-19 through the release of Open Access plans for medical hardware, so that vital equipment may be produced cheaply by anyone with commonly available 3D printers. Loubani’s approach enables high quality devices to be made available during periods of global supply chain disruption, and in areas with limited access. Glia has released face shields already being used in the battle against COVID-19, as well as other hardware including stethoscopes, tourniquets, and otoscopes. Additional devices including pulse oximeters, electrocardiograms, and dialysis products are currently in development. See the full press release for more information about Loubani’s work and how the fellowship will support his efforts.

The Bassel Khartabil Fellowship is a project of Fabricatorz Foundation, with partnership and support provided by Creative Commons and Mozilla Foundation. The fellowship honors the work and legacy of our friend Bassel Khartabil, a Palestinian-Syrian technology innovator, artist, open source advocate, and Creative Commons community leader who was “disappeared” in 2012 then executed by the Syrian regime in 2015. The fellowship provides funding, mentorship, and general support to individuals and teams whose work embodies the ideals of free culture and Open Access—ideals that Bassel dedicated his life to.

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Now Is the Time for Open Access Policies—Here’s Why

Over the weekend, news emerged that upset even the most ardent skeptics of open access. Under the headline, “Trump vs Berlin” the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported that President Trump offered $1 billion USD to the German biopharmaceutical company CureVac to secure their COVID-19 vaccine “only for the United States.”

In response, Jens Spahn, the German health minister said such a deal was completely “off the table” and Peter Altmaier, the German economic minister replied, “Germany is not for sale.” Open science advocates were especially infuriated. Professor Lorraine Leeson of Trinity College Dublin, for example, tweeted, “This is NOT the time for this kind of behavior—it flies in the face of the #OpenScience work that is helping us respond meaningfully right now. This is the time for solidarity, not exclusivity.” The White House and CureVac have since denied the report. 

Today, we find ourselves at a pivotal moment in history—we must cooperate effectively to respond to an unprecedented global health emergency. The mantra, “when we share, everyone wins” applies now more than ever. With this in mind, we felt it imperative to underscore the importance of open access, specifically open science, in times of crisis.

Why open access matters, especially during a global health emergency 

Scottish minister talks with health workersNHS24 thanks” by Scottish Government (March 4, 2020) licensed CC BY-NC.

One of the most important components of maintaining global health, specifically in the face of urgent threats, is the creation and dissemination of reliable, up-to-date scientific information to the public, government officials, humanitarian and health workers, as well as scientists.

Several scientific research funders like the Gates Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust have long-standing open access policies and some have now called for increased efforts to share COVID-19 related research rapidly and openly to curb the outbreak. By licensing material under a CC BY-NC-SA license, the World Health Organization (WHO) is adopting a more conservative approach to open access that falls short of what the scientific community urgently needs in order to access and build upon critical information. 

All publicly funded organizations should: 1) Adopt open access policies that require publicly funded research to be made available under an open license (e.g. CC BY 4.0) or dedicated to the public domain. In practice, this means research articles and data can be freely reused by others, thereby enhancing collaboration among scientists and accelerating the pace of discovery. 2) Ensure all educational resources (such as videos, infographics and other media tools) are also openly licensed to facilitate dissemination of reliable, practical information to the public.

The current race to find a vaccine for COVID-19 exemplifies why rapid and unrestricted access to scientific research and educational materials is vital in the most open terms possible. Due to the very nature of the illness, including the fact that it was completely unknown to scientists before the outbreak and is now global, it’s impossible for just one organization, institution, and/or government to tackle this crisis alone. In fact, current global efforts to find a vaccine for COVID-19 wouldn’t be possible without Chinese health officials and researchers initially sharing critical information on the nature of the virus in December 2019.  

We find ourselves at a pivotal moment in history—we must cooperate effectively to respond to an unprecedented global health emergency. The mantra, “when we share, everyone wins” applies now more than ever.

Novel CoronavirusNovel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2” by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) licensed CC BY.

With cases of COVID-19 quickly surpassing 200,000 globally, there is a growing urgency for the entire scientific community to work together with health officials worldwide to find and make available treatments and vaccines. On March 13, government science advisors from 12 countries published an open letter asking publishers to make scientific research and data on COVID-19 open access. “Given the urgency of the situation,” the letter said, “it is particularly important that scientists and the public can access research outcomes as soon as possible.” Additionally, educational materials made available by intergovernmental organizations such as the WHO should be made openly available without any restrictions—this is not only necessary in this global emergency, but is consistent with their public mission and mandate.

Before this open letter was published, many scientists had already begun making their work and data open access using preprint platforms like bioRxiv, ArXiv, and Gisaid. This past week, the nonprofit organization Free Read received over 32,000 signatures on its petition to “unlock coronavirus research.” In response, publishers like Elsevier, Oxford University Press, Springer Nature, and The Lancet began removing paywalls from COVID-19 related articles. Media outlets across the world, including the New York Times, Bloomberg, The Atlantic, Clarin, Publico, Globo, and Folha are also removing paywalls from their COVID-19 content. Individual scientists, in collaboration with media outlets, have even started to release informative graphics communicating complex scientific concepts under open licenses. For example, this GIF by infectious disease expert Dr. Siouxsie Wiles illustrating how we can “flatten the curve” was released under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY-SA 4.0).

“Flattening the curve” by Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris licensed CC BY-SA.

Many open science advocates applaud these efforts to open access to scientific research on COVID-19, but they argue this is something we should’ve been doing all along. Michael Eisen, a biologist at UC Berkeley and editor of the open-access science journal eLife told WIRED, “Of course this should be the default for ALL science, not just COVID-19 science, and it should have been the default for the past 25 years. But I’m glad to see this happening now.”

On its website, Plan S argues that paywalls withhold a “substantial amount of research results from a large fraction of the scientific community and from society as a whole.” This, in turn, “hinders the scientific enterprise in its very foundations and hampers its uptake by society.” For example, researchers examining the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa found that access to vital knowledge about the virus and the risk factors prior to the outbreak was inhibited by publisher paywalls. They wrote, “Although access to knowledge would not of itself have prevented or averted the Ebola epidemic, better-informed health officials might have taken timely preventive measures and been better equipped to mitigate risks during and after the outbreak.” 

Now’s the time to implement and improve open access policies

For these reasons, Creative Commons (CC) has urged the adoption of open access policies by organizations and governments, such as UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). CC is preparing comments to inform UKRI’s consultation process on its proposed open access policy and will soon be sharing similar comments in response to the U.S. Federal Register’s request for information on “Public Access to Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Publications, Data, and Code Resulting From Federally Funded Research.” 

CC Licenses have become the international standard in open licensing, and after supporting successful efforts in the creation, adoption, and implementation of open access policies with various governments and institutions, we continue to strongly advocate for open access for the benefit of researchers, industry and the general public. This includes making all information funded by international organizations or national governments available for the broadest reuse. Additionally, CC embraces efforts to clarify how fair use applies in these exceptional circumstances, such as the Public Statement of Library Copyright Specialists: Fair Use & Emergency Remote Teaching & Research. This resource was recently published by a group of expert copyright librarians from colleges and universities across the U.S., including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

For guidance on implementing an open access policy or using the CC License Suite, please contact us at info@creativecommons.org—we’re here to help. 

? Stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking these steps outlined by the WHO, including washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and social distancing.

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