Making the CC Global Network Work Better for You

This post is written by Ethan Senack, a member of Creative Commons USA and the Global Network Council Executive Committee.

Just over a year ago, the Executive Committee of the CC Global Network Council (GNC) launched an open process to collect feedback from all members on the network structure, with the purpose of understanding what was working and what was not, and to offer recommendations on how to make the structure work better for those on the ground and in local communities. 

We were committed to making the process deeply open and transparent— not just in the procedure, but in the discussion and decision-making as well. That often conflicted with our desire to move forward and significantly extended the timeline, but we believed it was necessary to build trust, to encourage compromise, and to ensure that a variety of voices and perspectives were heard. 

It wasn’t an easy process, but the result is a series of recommendations grounded in the input from our network, repeatedly reviewed and refined by members and chapter leads, and ultimately voted on by the Global Network Council. 

That’s why I am proud to say, as of this week, the GNC has voted overwhelmingly to accept these recommendations. 

From here, we can move forward as a stronger, more community-owned network. The full sets of recommendations are linked below, but here are just a few of the pieces we think will have a big impact: 

  • Local chapters will now have real input into membership decisions that affect their jurisdiction. 
  • Guidelines on chapter fundraising for CC efforts have been streamlined to make it easier for chapters to grow. 
  • We removed barriers and addressed issues around chapter structure that have caused confusion in practice. 
  • There are now clearer, more transparent processes for the Community Activities Fund and Certificate Scholarship program, supporting the disbursement of $30,000 (so far) to local organizing efforts and members. 

I’m grateful to the Executive Committee (Lisette Kalshoven – CC Netherlands; Franco Giandana – CC Argentina; Alek Tarkowski – CC Poland; Liz Oyange – CC Kenya; Jorge Gemetto – CC Uruguay; as well as Claudio Ruiz, Delia Brown, and Cable Green from CC HQ), and to Julia Brungs, CC Network Manager, who all put in significant effort to get this process across the finish line. I also want to express appreciation for all the network members, chapter leads, and GNC representatives who spent time to submit comments, give feedback, and push for changes to make the Network better. Over the next few months, the ExCom, the GNC, and CC staff will have to work together to implement these changes. 

You can see the entire process from start to finish in the following links:

Initial Documents: 

  1. Launching a Review of the Network Structure: Call for Feedback
  2. Transcript of Submitted Comments
  3. Analysis of Submitted Comments

Resulting Recommendations:

  1. Area 1: Membership
  2. Area 2: Funding and Volunteerism
  3. Area 3: Chapter and Network Structure
  4. Area 4: Miscellaneous

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Facing 2020 at the CC Global Summit: A Look at This Year’s Keynotes

Let’s take a moment and step out of the heavy fog that is 2020 and try to look back at the last few months with a new perspective. Through the challenges and uncertainties, we believe there have been opportunities for personal reflection, social solidarity, and care. Of course, we recognize this is not true for everyone, but we certainly hope it’s true for most. 

One of the unique challenges for this year’s CC Global Summit was to connect events of the past year with our work—and find a path forward in hope and optimism. We asked: How can we best celebrate “open” and continue to foster the culture of gratitude and collaboration that our work and our community brings? How can we link the challenges we’re facing as a planet (e.g. health, human rights, democracy, etc.) with the opportunities for solutions found in creating a more open and free world?

Alongside the 100+ sessions hosted at this year’s CC Global Summit, we believe the three keynotes will help answer those questions, as well as reshape our perspectives, conversations, and attitudes as we near the end of 2020 and look forward to 2021. 

The 2020 CC Global Summit keynotes are: 

  • A Culture of Peace: the first keynote, held on Tuesday (12:00 UTC), will foster a necessary discussion on the role “open” plays in advancing peace. Speakers Bushra Ebadi (Canadian Commission for UNESCO), Deepak Ramola (Project FUEL), Leonardo Párraga (Juventudes Por La Paz), and Asha Siad (Memories of Mogadishu) will challenge the audience to critically examine preconceived notions of open access, open culture, and open knowledge, and to understand the role decolonized and democratized conceptions of these terms will serve in building the future we want. 
  • Hacer Feminista Lo Abierto: Poniendo Nuevos Engranes a La Cultura Libre (Making Open Feminist: Putting New Gears in Free Culture): the second keynote, held on Wednesday (15:00 UTC), will give Irene Soria (CC Mexico) the stage for exploring new definitions of “open.” Using intersectionality as a framing, Irene will help us navigate the relationships between race, gender, and social class as new ways of seeing the open movement. The session will be in Spanish, but the question and answer period will be in English. 
  • Democracy for Sale: the final keynote, on Thursday (15:00 UTC), will have CC’s CEO Catherine Stihler and Board Member Alek Tarkowski speaking with author Peter Geoghegan about his upcoming book, Democracy for Sale. In particular, the panel will discuss how rightwing ideology, money, and social media have been used to hollow out modern democracies, particularly in North America and Europe. The links between fighting for our democracies and fighting for “open” and the public interest will be discussed during this conversation. 

In one way or another, these keynotes touch on the most compelling questions and challenges we’re facing today and serve as the perfect framing for the entire 2020 CC Global Summit—and for our work as a community moving forward. 

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Internationalizing the Open COVID Pledge: Translations and Outreach

United Nations Headquarters“United Nations Headquarters” by United Nations Photo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

As an important part of our stewardship of the Open COVID Pledge, we are pleased to announce that the Pledge is now available in all six of the official languages of the United Nations: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. This increases accessibility and usefulness of the Pledge to more than 3.7 billion persons in their first or second languages. We are also excited to be launching a simple translation process through which any member of our community can contribute translations of the Pledge in other languages at our upcoming 2020 CC Global Summit.

Understanding and communicating the value of the Pledge is a critical part of encouraging companies, universities, research teams, and others to contribute their valuable IP to help solve COVID-19 quickly. As we begin working with the CC Global Network to increase the Pledge’s reach and secure additional Pledges, we’ll also be working with our community to translate information and adoption guides as they become increasingly important.

These are the first internationalization efforts that CC is undertaking since we announced our leadership of the OCP work in August—but they’re certainly not the last. In addition to launching the simplified translation process, we’ll also be discussing advocacy and outreach techniques at next week’s CC Global Summit, where we’ll be gathering our community’s ideas for how they can contribute to this effort. We’ll also be identifying tools that will assist with outreach both to those who hold valuable intellectual property as well as those seeking to use the IP that is pledged at that workshop on Wednesday, October 21. In addition, founders of the OCP will provide an informational overview of the OCP project for newbies on Tuesday, October 20, where companies that have adopted the pledge will share their reasons for joining. Finally, watch for us to announce an expansion of the CC OCP Advisory Council early next year to ensure better international expertise and diversity.

In combination and alongside other collaborations, we expect these efforts will scale the OCP internationally to create critical mass and impact. You can support our international efforts by joining us at the CC Summit and sharing your ideas for effort by encouraging your company, university, or research team to make the Open COVID Pledge. Visit or contact us at for more information.

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Meet CC Tanzania, Our Next Feature for CC Network Fridays!

After introducing the CC Italy Chapter to you in July, the CC Netherlands Chapter in August and CC Bangladesh Chapter in September, we are now travelling to Africa to introduce the CC Tanzania Chapter! 

The Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN) consists of 45 CC Country Chapters spread across the globe. They’re the home for a community of advocates, activists, educators, artists, lawyers, and users who share CC’s vision and values. They implement and strengthen open access policies, copyright reform, open education, and open culture in the communities in which they live.

To help showcase their work, we’re excited to continue our blog series and social media initiative: CC Network Fridays. At least one Friday a month, we’re travelling around the world through our blog and on Twitter (using #CCNetworkFridays) to a different CC Chapter, introducing their teams, discussing their work, and celebrating their commitment to open! 

Say hello to CC Tanzania!

The CC Tanzania Chapter was formed in July 2018. Its Chapter Lead is Aristarik Hubert Maro and its representative to the CC Global Network Council is Emmanuel T. Malongo. Since the beginning, the Chapter has been involved in advocating CC licences, promoting and supporting open education and copyright but over the last year, in particular, it has enhanced its activities covering almost all CCGN Platforms. For this post, we spoke to CC Tanzania Chapter Lead Aris who told us a bit more about the Chapter’s work. He responded in both English and Swahili! 

CC: What open movement work is your Chapter actively involved in? What would you like to achieve with your work?

CC Tanzania: We are now actively engaged in advocacy training on CC Licenses and Open Educational Resources (OER) to teachers and educators in Tanzania. We are also currently conducting online training on “ICT Soft Skills to Librarians” in Tanzania. Recently, we participated in the AfLIA Creative Commons Webinar on Open Access to Information. CC Tanzania would like to achieve its mission to connect and engage effectively all key stakeholders in the free knowledge ecosystem to actively participate in CCGN Platforms.

CC Tanzania: kwa sasa tunajishughulisha na mafunzo ya leseni za CC na maudhui huru za Elimu kwa Walimu Tanzania. Pia tunaendesha mafunzo kwa njia ya mtandao ya Ujuzi wa TEHAMA kwa Wakutubi Tanzania. Hivi karidbuni CC Tanzania imeshiriki katika Semina kwa njia ya Mtandao ya AfLIA Creative Commons juu ya upatikanaji huru wa taarifa. CC Tanzania  inapenda kufikia dhima yake ya kuwakutanisha na kuwafikia wadau muhimu wa mfumo wa maarifa huru kuweza kushiriki kikamilfu katika majukwaa mbali mbali ya CCGN.

 CC: What exciting project has your Chapter engaged in recently?

CC Tanzania: We had three projects funded by the CC Community Activities Fund (CAF), these were:

These CAF projects gave us great experience advocating for CC in Tanzania and enhanced active participation of stakeholders in CC Tanzania’s activities. 

CC Tanzania: Tulipata udhamini wa miradi mitatu kupitia Fedha za Kazi ya Kijamii (CAF) ambazo ni:

Miradi hii imeleta uzoefu mkubwa sana kutangaza CC nchini Tanzania na kuimarisha  ushiriki hai wa wadau katika shughuli za CC Tanzania. 

CC: What do you find inspiring and rewarding about your work in the open movement?

CC Tanzania: The willingness of the members to participate in the funded activities and the readiness of key actors like teachers, librarians, students and technologists to get involved with Creative Commons’ ideals.

CC Tanzania: Uhai wa wanachama kushiriki katika shughuli zilizodhaminiwa na utayari wa watendaji muhimu kama walimu,wakutubi,wanafunzi, na wanateknolojia kujihusisha na mambo bora yanayohusu Creative Commons.

CC: What are your plans for the future? 

CC Tanzania: We are planning to actively involve more actors, especially those involved in copyright reforms, educators, writers and technologists in the country. Through these actors, we will be able to initiate copyright reforms that accommodate open licences to allow the free sharing of knowledge, as well as advocate for open licences in the education and technology industries.

CC Tanzania: Tunapanga kuwahusisha kikamilifu watendaji/washiriki zaidi hasa wale wanaohusika na mabadiliko ya sheria, walimu, waandishi na wanateknolojia nchini Tanzania. Kupitia hawa watendaji tunaweza kuanzisha utaratibu wa kufanya mabadiliko ya sheria ya haki miliki kutambua leseni huru ili kuruhusu kugawana maarifa bila gharama yoyote na kuhamasisha matumizi ya leseni hizo katika sekta ya elimu na teknolojia.

CC: What projects in your country are using CC licenses that you’d like to highlight? 

CC Tanzania: We love the learning materials for children found at UBONGO Kids sites and other learning platforms.

CC Tanzania: Tunapenda maudhui ya kujifunzia ya watoto yanayopatikana katika tovuti ya UBONGO Kids na majukwaa mengine

CC: Anything else you want to share?

CC Tanzania: Since its inception, CC Tanzania has also been supported by local sister institutions in Tanzania, including:

CC Tanzania: Toka kuanzishwa kwa CC Tanzania pia imekuwa ikipata msaada kutoka kwa taasisi za ndani ya nchi ambazo ni 

Thank you to the CC Tanzania team, especially Aris and Emmanuel for contributing to the CC Network Fridays feature, and for all of their work in the open community! To see this conversation on Twitter, click here. To become a member of the CCGN, visit our website!

📸: Featured image has icons by Guilherme Furtado and Vectors Point via Noun Project (CC BY 3.0).

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Implementing the Marrakesh Treaty in Latin America: A Look at the Experiences of Four CC Community Members

Four years ago today, the Marrakesh Treaty entered into force. The Treaty is truly special in the international copyright law universe: it has a clear humanitarian and social development dimension and it’s the first international treaty that focuses on the beneficiaries of limitations and exceptions, rather than on the rights of creators or holders of related rights. Adopted at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2013, the Marrakesh Treaty’s main goal is to create a set of mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the blind, visually impaired, and otherwise print disabled (VIPs).

Creative Commons and exceptions and limitations—Creative Commons is strongly committed to furthering exceptions and limitations in international copyright law, as we recently stated in relation to our engagement in policy work at WIPO. It’s also worth recalling that, by design, CC licenses do not reduce, limit, or restrict any rights under exceptions and limitations to copyright. If a use of CC-licensed material would otherwise be allowed because of an applicable exception or limitation (such as those provided in the Marrakesh Treaty, where they apply), one does not need to rely on the CC license or comply with its terms and conditions. This is a fundamental principle of CC licensing. *Learn more.

The Marrakesh Treaty is a huge step forward for VIPs around the world, as it facilitates access to works in adapted versions. However, making sure the treaty works on the ground in each country or institution is not necessarily plain sailing. Alongside the formal implementation of the treaty into national law, practical issues arise and pose challenges to those working hard to provide VIPs access to the widest possible range of works in formats that are accessible to them (Braille, full audio, Daisy, etc.). 

Countries that have signed and ratified the Marrakesh Treaty
Countries that have signed and ratified the Marrakesh Treaty and currently have it in force, as of August 2020, based on WIPO’s website. Created by Scann, licensed CC0.

In this blog post, four members of the Creative Commons Global Network, Virginia Inés Simón, Carina Patrón, Carolina Botero and Mariana Valente share their successes and challenges in the practical implementation of the provisions of the Marrakesh Treaty in Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and Brazil, respectively. In their own words, they present their projects and talk about how they envision the next steps and the road ahead.

Argentina – Virginia Inés Simón 

The copyright law of Argentina includes an exception that allows people with visual disabilities to access texts in accessible formats. However, the flexibility provided under this exception falls short of guaranteeing the right of access to information to people with certain disabilities, in particular people with disabilities that cause reading difficulties, and not necessarily visual disabilities. Furthermore, this exception is limited to the territory of Argentina and does not cover the cross-border sharing of accessible works.

In June 2018, Bill No. 1762/18 was introduced to implement the Marrakesh Treaty in Argentina. To date, it has been partially sanctioned but is not yet in force. During the drafting process, the Observatory of the Marrakesh Treaty in Latin America, among other organizations, was able to have its suggestions reflected in the text of the bill. Some aspects of the bill are really positive, such as the broad scope of the concept of beneficiaries, which incorporates people with hearing disabilities and consequently extends the scope of accessible formats to include sign language in, for example, video books. Other points are left to subjective interpretation, such as the provision on commercial availability, which is not mandatory. 

Once the bill will have been enacted, the challenge of effectively implementing the Treaty will remain through regulation. One of the most important issues will be to ensure that the country’s great library institutions—the National Library, the Library of Congress of Argentina, the National Library of Teachers, the National Commission of Popular Libraries—will assume various responsibilities in the process of carrying out collaborative work to reach all beneficiaries. Any type of regulation will also need to define the management of the national repertoire, on which we hope that the use of free software can be promoted to guarantee digital sovereignty, data protection and the right to privacy of people with disabilities.

Full implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty in Argentina will allow one of the largest accessible collections in Latin America to be shared through the cross-border exchange of works: the Tiflolibros Library.

The Observatory of the Marrakesh Treaty in Latin America is currently providing a certificate course on the Marrakesh Treaty, with the aim of drafting regional guidelines. This proposal has garnered the interest of key actors across Latin America: national libraries, ministries of education, intellectual property offices, libraries, activists, and beneficiaries.

The most important challenge for our region, after almost 20 years of Creative Commons’ existence, is to promote the idea of accessible open access to encourage our communities to broaden the concept of “open.” The Marrakesh Treaty is a strong reminder that CC licenses and the public domain can act as catalyzers for the enjoyment and exercise of several rights dependent on the fundamental right to read.

Uruguay – Carina Patrón 

Uruguay was the first country in Latin America to implement the Marrakesh Treaty, ratifying it in 2015 and approving its regulation in 2017. In this context, the “BIDYA Project” (for “Digital Accessible Library”, in Spanish) was developed in 2016 by the Núcleo REAA (Interdisciplinary working group on open educational resources (OER) of the Universidad de la República) and the National Blind Union. Creative Commons Uruguay is part of the OER interdisciplinary working group of the Universidad de la República and took part in the BIDYA Project, particularly in running training activities.

The BIDYA project consisted in several stages that covered different aspects that the Marrakesh Treaty and the national law required as part of the regulation, for example, the adaptation of materials in accessible formats, cross-border exchange and the establishment of authorized entities.

This project created several tools, such as procedural guidelines for the creation and dissemination of an accessible library and information literacy. Several training courses were delivered for blind people or people with low vision and for librarians, including a hands-on day where the general public was invited to participate in work stations to help create accessible materials. This project also played an active role in the creation of the Observatory for the Marrakesh Treaty in Latin America.

Some of the outcomes of this project are being used by the libraries of different faculties at the Universidad de la República that have blind or low vision students. The Library of the Legislative Palace of Uruguay also uses these guidelines when designing its publications.

An article on CC Uruguay’s initiative will be published soon on the CC Global Network Medium Publication.

Colombia – Carolina Botero

Colombia is not yet a party to the Marrakesh Treaty. It has signed but not ratified it yet. The ratification project moved between different ministries and offices until it finally reached Congress, which was meant to vote on the issue mid-September. No public notice of the vote result had been issued at the time of drafting. Our overall impression is that the government considers that Law No. 1680 of 2012—which includes the first exception for blind people in the country—covers the scope of flexibilities provided by the Marrakesh Treaty.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Law 1680 is only for blind people and contains several other restrictions. For instance, it doesn’t allow for cross-border exchanges of works, a very important provision introduced by the Marrakesh Treaty. In short, Law 1680 is incredibly narrow in comparison to what the Marrakesh Treaty offers.

An interesting opportunity to discuss the need to broaden exceptions and limitations, including those provided under the Marrakesh Treaty, might present itself next year. After the implementation process of the free-trade agreement between Colombia and the United States of America on issues of copyright, a law that reformed the copyright regime in Colombia established that, every three years, the Copyright Office must open a public hearing to analyze how the public interest is reflected in Colombian copyright law. The first public hearing will take place in 2021. CC Colombia will seize that opportunity to push forward for the ratification and implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty in Colombia.

Brazil – Mariana Valente

Brazil ratified the Marrakesh Treaty in 2015, and, although the government had been active in its negotiation, it only got promulgated in October 2018. In 2020, the government’s Special Secretariat for Culture published a public consultation for a decree that will detail the implementation of the treaty.

Creative Commons Brazil studied the text and submitted a proposal, which was also signed by the CC Chapters of Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia. Al Sur, a coalition of 11 Latin-American organizations, also submitted their own comments, with the help of members of CC Brazil and CC Colombia. In both cases, our concerns were that a few provisions on this text established inadequate burdens upon the “authorized entities” for their use of the exception and that the consultation asked whether the “commercial availability” clause should be implemented. 

Drawing from international experience, we argued that such a clause hollows out the potentials of the treaty, because of the hardships it imposes on organizations, and the legal uncertainties it creates. All the public comments posted on the website point to the same direction. 

At this stage, the Brazilian government is expected to give feedback on the consultation, and publish its decision on the matter. We hope that the positions of organizations working with VIPs, libraries and the public interest in copyright will be taken on.

If you would like to support this process, please get in touch with CC Brazil—we will gladly connect you with a larger network of people working on this.

Creative Commons’ community is making incredible strides in fighting for the rights of VIPs and making sure they have as easy and hassle-free access to a broad range of creative content as possible. Do you also wish to share your experience with implementing the Marrakesh Treaty? Get in touch:  

*Creative Commons and exceptions and limitations (continued):
In practice, this means that if the material is licensed under a CC license that doesn’t allow adaptations (NoDerivatives or “ND” condition), the terms of the license cannot prevent sharing an adaptation of the material that would otherwise be allowed under an exception. To the extent that an exception or limitation, articulated in national law through the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty or otherwise, allows adaptations necessary to make material accessible to VIPs, that activity is exempt from the restrictions of the ND condition. Those adaptations would not violate the terms of the license.
Furthermore, anyone can make adaptations of ND-licensed materials so long as they don’t share those adaptations. So, for example, were a blind person to feed an ND-licensed work into a program that resulted in either an audio reading or Braille content, that would be permissible under the terms of the license, so long as the person wouldn’t share it, e.g. by posting it on the internet.

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Why Universal Access to Information Matters

The coronavirus outbreak not only sparked a health pandemic; it triggered an “infodemic” of misleading and fabricated news.

As the virus spread, trolls and conspiracy theorists began pushing misinformation, and their deplorable tactics continue to this day.

Nonsense has been shared about links to 5G phone masts or that a secret cure already exists, and this month alone there was yet another claim that COVID-19 was made in a lab – which has been quickly debunked.

An opinion poll in May found that over half of people (51%) in the United Kingdom said they had seen content about COVID-19 they believed to be false or misleading.

The EU warned in June that a “massive wave” of disinformation was harming the health of EU citizens, accusing China and Russia of running fake news campaigns about the coronavirus.

In some countries, rumors about food shortages prompted people to stockpile supplies, which inevitably then caused actual shortages.

In Iran, hundreds died after drinking methanol alcohol because social media misinformation messages claimed it had cured other people of the coronavirus.

Access to official information can therefore be the difference between life and death.

Today, on September 28, UNESCO marks the International Day for Universal Access to Information.

This year’s theme is naturally dominated by COVID-19, with the slogan “Access to Information – Saving Lives, Building Trust, Bringing Hope.”

The day is an opportunity to call on all UN member states to enact and fully implement “Right to Access to Information” laws.

These rights are always vital, but even more so during a health emergency.

Proactively disclosing information helps build trust among citizens, as well as providing the clarity that people seek amid the infodemic.

By providing factual information to citizens, there is a stronger feeling of belonging.

And, fundamentally, it helps keep people safe.

That applies particularly to vulnerable populations who rely on public health information the most.

The right to universal access to information goes much wider than public health though, as it is a key plank of a country’s human rights record.

Laws are not just about guaranteeing access to information, but provide the necessary accountability which should apply to governments, courts, the police, and other authorities which make critical decisions on behalf of people.

However, to date, only 127 countries have passed access to information laws.

And amid the coronavirus crisis, some nations imposed restrictions on the right to know from the outset.

The global right to information (RTI) tracker monitors this across the world.

It’s perhaps not too surprising to see Brazil on the list, where President Jair Bolsonaro enacted measures to suspend deadlines to answer RTI requests – before the Supreme Court issued an injunction.

What is more surprising though is to see my home nation of Scotland on the list of countries which restricted RTI.

The Scottish Government used emergency powers to extend the deadline for Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, before later being forced by opposition parties to withdraw the changes.

That was a disappointing episode, which lessons must be learned from.

UNESCO has been clear that any restrictions can only be justified if authorities of a particular institution are overburdened or to protect public health, or if physical processing in lockdown situations is not possible.

This year’s International Day for Universal Access to Information is therefore a timely opportunity to demonstrate the value of the right to information during times of crisis.

Keeping citizens informed, building trust, and reducing the spread of misinformation is vital.

This approach goes to the heart of the international work we do at Creative Commons.

Since 2001, we’ve been removing legal and technical obstacles to unlock nearly 2 billion works around the world by offering free, standard, public licenses that anyone can use.

Recently, we launched the Open COVID Pledge – a global initiative that works with organizations around the world to make their patented inventions and copyrighted materials freely accessible. 

The initiative aims to encourage wider, equitable access to designs, research, and data protected by copyright and patents that will be key to developing solutions to the challenges caused by the pandemic.

Creative Commons has also worked with partners to launch the #FreeTheTextbook campaign, pushing for adoption of openly licensed, free textbooks in colleges and universities. 

The campaign also pushes back against big publishers’ “inclusive access” contracts at universities, which see students forcibly “opted in” to buying textbooks, meaning the cost is wrapped into their tuition without their knowledge. 

This unsavory practice started in the US and publishers are now spreading the model to other countries.

Removing obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity matters because of the pressing challenges facing us, as COVID-19 continues to wreak devastation across the globe, with an alarming impact on education, health, and economies.

So as Creative Commons prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2021, our work matters more than ever.

The world has changed dramatically since we launched, and while technological advances have brought many people closer together, so too have they pushed some people apart.

We’ve built the infrastructure for the open web, and we want to unlock, share, and preserve more of the world’s knowledge. 

That’s not only freeing the tools to help us get through the coronavirus pandemic, but also to address other major challenges – particularly the climate emergency.

There is an urgent need to address humanity’s greatest global challenges through collaboration and accessing information. 

It’s time to unlock knowledge for everyone, everywhere.

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Registration Is Now Open for the CC Global Summit! Join Us on 19–23 October!

The CC Global Summit is back and better than ever! For the first time in its history, we’ve moved the entire event online. This has allowed us to support multiple time zones and languages as well as host two keynote panels and over 150 sessions with more than 200 speakers across 40 countries (with more to be added).

Yes, you read that right! Over 150 sessions and more than 200 speakers! 

There’s a lot of exciting activities in store, and between now and the 19th of October we’ll feature a few of them on our blog and social media. To kick things off, we’re sharing some exciting highlights:

Art by Marco Villar (CC BY)
  • 150+ Sessions: This year we’re hosting sessions on a range of topics, such as artificial intelligence and creativity, traditional cultural expressions and the public domain, open science and research, ethics of “open,” collaborating across regions and cultures, increasing language diversity, internet censorship, and more!
  • The Playground: For years you’ve told us you wanted a space of your own, 2020 is the year we’re giving it to you! The Playground is a community-driven space where you can hold open office hours, create an ideation room, share a virtual “coffee” with a friend, network with experts in your field, or just have a good laugh with an old friend! 
  • Hack4OpenGlam: We’re co-hosting @hack4openglam, a four-day culture hack for all creators and tinkerers to get creative with open access cultural heritage. Register your interest, and submit your project here!
  • CC Summit Closing Celebration: This is a virtual event featuring live DJ sessions, performance art, co-creative experiences, and music to celebrate the artistic side of our global community.

Throughout the 2020 CC Global Summit, there will be sessions for both newcomers to Creative Commons and long-time supporters. We welcome anyone interested in issues related to open education, open science, open source, copyright reform, cultural heritage, and more to join us for discussion and debate, workshops and planning, talks and community building. 

View the full program for the 2020 CC Global Summit here!

It’s been a wild ride as we’ve transitioned our annual in-person event to a fully virtual one, and we’re proud of what we’ve created. We’re excited to kick off the event and we can’t wait for you to join us, from wherever you are in the world.

Questions? Check out our short FAQ below!

  • Is the CC Global Summit free?

Yes! This event is 100% free to attend. 

  • How do I register?

In order to ensure a safe, engaging, and welcoming space for event attendees, we’re asking you to fill out the Intent to Register form. Once you’ve done so, you’ll receive a welcome email and confirmation of receipt. Closer to the event, we’ll send you more details on how to access our virtual platform. We’ll also email you information on the additional tools we’ll be using during the event, including Slack channels, social media handles, and hashtags to follow. Finally, we’ll share with you tips and tricks, networking opportunities, accessibility considerations, our code of conduct, and more! 

  • How do I attend sessions?

The event will be held virtually through our event platform and across multiple time zones. Our event platform is accessible on desktop or mobile and has multiple interface languages available. With 150+ sessions, we know you won’t be able to attend everything so we’ll try our best to ensure that live content (e.g. keynotes, sessions, performances) is recorded and shared following the end of the event.

  • How do I receive communication about the event?

We’ll be sending detailed instructions, program information, and more via email. When you fill out the Intent to Register form, the email you provide will be our primary contact. Be sure to check your email regularly for updates!

  • Are you accepting volunteers?

Yes! Our call for volunteers is open until October 1, 2020. We’re looking for Community Liaisons and Summit Website Content Translators. Learn more about these volunteer opportunities here

👋 Fill out this form to attend the CC Global Summit!


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In Support of the Wikimedia Foundation WIPO Application

One of our roles at Creative Commons involves influencing policy making at the international level.

This is a role we can fulfill notably thanks to our permanent observer status with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the UN agency that shapes international intellectual property (IP) law.

However, a few days ago, the Wikimedia Foundation’s application to become a WIPO observer was halted.

The Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind the well-known free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, has made remarkable strides in advancing the goal of ensuring universal access to knowledge, a goal that Creative Commons fully shares.

Its voice in the policy arena echoes the legitimate interests of the public and of society as a whole, and this voice must be heard in order to achieve a fair and balanced IP system. 

We therefore fully support the organization’s application to join us as a WIPO observer, and hope this situation can be resolved swiftly.

Together, we share the goal to unlock knowledge for everyone, everywhere.

The post In Support of the Wikimedia Foundation WIPO Application appeared first on Creative Commons.

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Six Projects Get Funding from the Creative Commons Copyright Platform Activities Fund

We’re delighted to announce the six selected projects that will receive funding from the CC Copyright Platform Activities Fund in 2020!

The CC Copyright Platform is an active space for copyright advocates and experts to coordinate copyright law and policy-related activities. This year, CC launched an Activities Fund to support copyright-related activities by Platform members. The Fund made available a total of US$20,000 to platform members, who were invited to propose activities in the field of copyright that advance our shared CC mission and in alignment with the goals and principles of the CC Copyright Platform. 

In this blog post, we present the six winning projects. We also warmly thank all applicants for their proposals and members of the decision committee (Lisette Kalshoven of CC Netherlands; Elliott Bledsoe of CC Australia; Franco Giandana of CC Argentina; Liz Lenjo of CC Kenya; and Sami Mlouhi and John Weitzmann of the Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN)) for their dedication and commitment. 

  • How the Paying Public Domain impacts the CC0 and Public Domain Mark tools

Maximiliano Marzetti of CC Argentina wrote in his proposal that “the public domain is not completely free everywhere.” Argentina and Uruguay are two of the many countries that enforce a paying public domain system. For instance, the Argentinian dominio público pagante requires the payment of a fee to a state agency (the Fondo Nacional de las Artes or National Fund for the Arts) for reproduction, publication, performance, communication to the public, and many other acts in relation to any type of work in the public domain. Not that long ago, UNESCO and the World Intellectual Property Organization were busy promoting the internationalization of the paying public domain, including in model laws. In this project, Maximiliano proposes to study how the paying public domain system may affect open culture and CC initiatives and tools such as the Public Domain Dedication Tool (CC0) and the Public Domain Mark (PDM). To that end, he will contact all relevant CC Chapters and create a map and/or an infographic (using design tools) to show information in a visually friendly way.

  • Low-bono DCDSM transposition proposal

Siyanna Lilova, a member of CC Bulgaria, proposed a project that engages a legal team to research and draft expert legal opinions on the current Bulgarian copyright legislation and the best way to transpose the European Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (DCDSM). The focus is on promoting user rights and helping public stakeholders such as GLAMs (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) and educational institutions identify the most beneficial way to implement the new copyright exceptions and limitations set out in the Directive. 

  • GLAMS to Fix Copyright: Preparing GLAMs for the Copyright Reform in Bulgaria

In a related but distinct project, Ana Lazarova, also a member of CC Bulgaria, proposes a training series for public libraries and national archives in Bulgaria to inform them about the European Copyright Directive implementation into national law, with a particular focus on exceptions (e.g. text and data mining, out-of-commerce works, digitization and preservation). These will have a direct impact on access to knowledge. Digital Republic, which is an institutional member of the CCGN, will lead the project. Digital Republic is traditionally actively engaged in providing legal advice and promoting copyright literacy for local GLAMs. 

  • Rebooting 

In 2016, on the eve of the European Union (EU) copyright reform process, Kennisland (then the host of CC Netherlands) build the website The purpose of this website was simple: show the uneven implementation of copyright exceptions throughout the EU Member States in order to make a case for further harmonisation of users rights in the EU. The simple map-based interface of the was powered by contributions from researchers from the different EU Member States, many of whom had affiliations to CC-related projects. After its launch, quickly became a reference point for activists and policymakers. But since 2018, the website has not been actively maintained and with the ongoing implementation of the 2019 EU Copyright Directive (which contains five new EU-wide exceptions), it risks becoming out of date. With help from the CC Copyright Platform Activities Fund (and additional support from Wikimedia Italia), Paul Keller of CC Netherlands and his team will rebuild the underlying technical infrastructure of the website and update the information on copyright exceptions in the EU Member States. 

  • Building an Open Science Platform in Slovenia

Maja Bogataj Jančič, a member of CC Slovenia, will design a strategy on how to set up and run an Open Science Platform aimed primarily at the scientific sector, but also geared towards the education sector, cultural heritage institutions, and civil society. More than a platform, the Open Science Platform will be a community of stakeholders that will collaboratively carry out several activities, such as the creation of resources, running of workshops as well as the development of a long-term learning program to empower stakeholders into tackling copyright issues on their own. 

  • Copyright, copyleft, public domain and policy making —  A transmedial initiative to strengthen the commons in Mexico

Proposed by Ivan Martinez, a member of CC Mexico, the project plans to create a research group and the first issue of a transmedial publication devoted to the analysis and diagnosis of copyright law and copyright-related policies, background, risks and opposition against copyleft, in order to strengthen open access and CC licences in Mexico. Several authors and researchers will integrate a multidisciplinary group guided by a lead researcher and project manager. The aim is to build tighter links among key players across regions. Research proceedings will include a print-ready publication, a platform-agnostic ebook, and international online talks. The research group will found the “Proportional Intellectual Property Task Force” to be presented in online/offline events and is intended to be the seed of opposed speech gaining momentum in Mexico.

We look forward to seeing project results in December 2020, and we expect these projects to fuel more copyright law and policy activities in 2021 and beyond. 


The post Six Projects Get Funding from the Creative Commons Copyright Platform Activities Fund appeared first on Creative Commons.

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Meet CC Bangladesh, Our Next Feature for CC Network Fridays!

After introducing the CC Italy Chapter to you in July and the CC Netherlands Chapter in August, we are now traveling to Southeast Asia to introduce the CC Bangladesh Chapter! 

The Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN) consists of 45 CC Country Chapters spread across the globe. They’re the home for a community of advocates, activists, educators, artists, lawyers, and users who share CC’s vision and values. They implement and strengthen open access policies, copyright reform, open education, and open culture in the communities in which they live.

To help showcase their work, we’re excited to continue our blog series and social media initiative: CC Network Fridays. At least one Friday a month, we’re traveling around the world through our blog and on Twitter (using #CCNetworkFridays) to a different CC Chapter, introducing their teams, discussing their work, and celebrating their commitment to open! 

Say hello to CC Bangladesh!

The CC Bangladesh Chapter was formed in June 2018. Its Chapter Lead is Nasir Khan and its representative to the CC Global Network Council is Mostafa Azad Kamal. Since the beginning, the Chapter has been involved in promoting and supporting open education and copyright but over the last year, in particular, it has enhanced its activities covering almost all CCGN Platforms. For this post, we spoke to CC Bangladesh member Mohammed Galib Hasan Abir who told us a bit more about the Chapter’s work. He responded in both English and Bengali

CC: What open movement work is your Chapter actively involved in? What would you like to achieve with your work?

CC Bangladesh: Currently, CC Bangladesh is working on Open Education, Copyright, and Open Data. We have a group of dedicated volunteers working on these individual activities. Though Open Education is not a new term in Bangladesh, we’re currently working on advancing OER policy-level work for future objectives. We are planning to collaborate more with other organizations to achieve this goal. Our representative Mostafa Azad Kamal personally developed two institutional Open Policies policies so far for Bangladesh Open University and the Dhaka Ahsania Mission—both were supported by the Commonwealth of Learning. Besides this he also worked on National OER policy which is with the ministry for final approval.  

CC Bangladesh: বর্তমানে ক্রিয়েটিভ কমন্স  বাংলাদেশ চ্যাপ্টার উন্মুক্ত শিক্ষা ,কপিরাইট,উন্মুক্ত তথ্য ইত্যাদি বিষয় নিয়ে কাজ করছে। আমাদের স্বতন্ত্র স্বেচ্ছাসেবীর একটি দল  রয়েছে যারা এই স্বতন্ত্র প্রকল্পগুলোতে  কাজ করছে । যদিও উন্মুক্ত শিক্ষা বাংলাদেশের প্রেক্ষাপটে নতুন কোন ধারণা  নয় তবে বর্তমানে ক্রিয়েটিভ কমন্স  বাংলাদেশ চ্যাপ্টার ভবিষ্যতের লক্ষ্যে উন্নত নীতিমালা বাস্তবায়নের জন্য কাজ করছে, যার জন্য আমরা অন্যান্য সহযোগী সংস্থার সাথে আরও সহযোগী কাজের জন্য পরিকল্পনা করছি। ক্রিয়েটিভ কমন্সে আমাদের দেশের প্রতিনিধি মোস্তফা আজাদ কামাল ব্যক্তিগতভাবে দুটি প্রতিষ্ঠানের নীতিমালা বিকাশ করেছেন একটি হলো বাংলাদেশ উন্মুক্ত বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় এর জন্য উন্মুক্ত শিক্ষা নীতিমালা এবং অন্যটি ঢাকা আহসানিয়া মিশন এর জন্য  এবং উভয়ই কমনওয়েলথ অব লার্নিং দ্বারা সমর্থিত ছিল। এছাড়াও  তিনি বাংলাদেশের জাতীয় উন্মুক্ত শিক্ষা নীতি প্রণয়নে  কাজ করেছেন যা বর্তমানে  চূড়ান্ত অনুমোদনের জন্য মন্ত্রানালয়ে  কাছে অপেক্ষাধীন রয়েছে।

CC: What exciting project has your Chapter engaged in recently?

CC Bangladesh: We worked on Open Data and related initiatives by conducting a seminar mini conference. In October 2019, we celebrated Open Access Week with other open source organizations, such as the Bangladesh Open University who contributed as a co-organizer. Besides this, in 2020 we arranged the Open Data Day 2020 Program with the Open Knowledge Foundation, the theme for this year was “Bringing the benefits of open resources to Bangladesh.” We plan to observe these two events every year as it is also a promotional event for us. 

CC Bangladesh: ক্রিয়েটিভ কমন্স বাংলাদেশ চ্যাপ্টারে আমি ব্যাক্তিগতভাবে উন্মুক্ত তথ্য এবং এর সাথে সম্পর্কিত কিছু কাজের জন্য উদ্যোগ গ্রহন করি এবং কয়েকটা সেমিনার ও ছোটো আকারের সম্মেলন এর আয়োজন করি। ২০১৯ সাল থেকে ক্রিয়েটিভ কমন্স  বাংলাদেশ চ্যাপ্টার ওপেন অ্যাক্সেস সপ্তাহ উদযাপন করছে এবং তারা অন্যান্য ওপেন সোর্স সংস্থাগুলির সাথে একটি যৌথ কর্মসূচির ব্যবস্থা করছে যেখানে বাংলাদেশ উন্মুক্ত বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় একটি সহ-সংগঠক হিসাবে অবদান রাখছে  (কর্মসূচির বিস্তারিত), (কর্মসূচির বিস্তারিত)। ২০২০ সালে ক্রিয়েটিভ কমন্স  বাংলাদেশ চ্যাপ্টার ওপেন নলেজ ফাউন্ডেশনের সাথে যৌথভাবে ওপেন ডেটা ডে ২০২০ কর্মসূচির আয়োজন করেছে, এই বছরের প্রতিপাদ্য বিষয় ছিল “বাংলাদেশে উন্মুক্ত সংস্থার সুবিধাসমুহ প্রণয়ন” (কর্মসূচির বিস্তারিত)। ক্রিয়েটিভ কমন্স বাংলাদেশ চ্যাপ্টার বার্ষিক পরিকল্পনা হিসাবে প্রতি বছর এই দুটি কর্মসূচি পালনের পরিকল্পনা করছে যা এই চ্যাপ্টারের প্রচারমূলক কর্মসূচির অন্তর্গত।

CC: What do you find inspiring and rewarding about your work in the open movement?

CC Bangladesh: Working with the open movement is always a pleasure for us. We have been involved with this movement for the last five years and everyday it is a new day to think about how we can do more social good for society. We believe this kind of movement makes the world smaller and more connected with people of every region. This helps in trying to understand different cultures, histories, etc. We’ve already seen how these types of connections work efficiently in the case of a pandemic, when we have the chance to think about the world as a whole. 

CC Bangladesh: মুক্ত আন্দোলনের সাথে কাজ করা আমার পক্ষে সর্বদা আনন্দকর । আমি বিগত পাঁচ বছর ধরে এই আন্দোলনের সাথে জড়িত আছি এবং যা আমাকে প্রতিদিন সমাজের নিত্য নতুন সমস্যা এবং সমাধান সম্পর্কে ভাবতে সাহায্য করে আমি বিশ্বাস করি যে এই ধরণের আন্দোলন এবং এর সাথে আমার সম্পর্ক স্থাপনে এটি বিশ্বকে আমার নিকট আরও ক্ষুদ্র আকারে উপস্থাপন করে তুলেছে যেখানে আমরা কোনোনা কোন ভাবে বিশ্বের প্রতিটি অঞ্চলের মানুষের সাথে সংযুক্ত রয়েছি এবং তাদের সংস্কৃতি, ইতিহাস ইত্যাদি বোঝার চেষ্টা করছিআমরা ইতিমধ্যে লক্ষ্য করেছি  যে এই ধরণের সংযুক্তি যেকোনও ধরণের মহামারীতে কীভাবে দক্ষতার সাথে কাজ করে, যা আমাদেরকে সুযোগ করে দেয় পুরো বিশ্ব সম্পর্কে চিন্তা করার  

CC: What are your plans for the future? 

CC Bangladesh: We plan to engage in further initiatives to promote open education and internet literacy in rural settings—especially female participation in open education and internet activities in Bangladesh, which is needed. Statistics show that women’s participation in the open movement and open internet activities is much lower, so we will focus on this issue and look for increasing women’s participation. One of our members has already been advised to work on gender issues in Bangladesh. Besides that, we plan to run an Internet for All campaign with the support of CC and our local government. Our Country representative Mostafa Azad Kamal is trying to connect with the University Grants Commission, Ministry of Education and ICT Ministry to start a wider open mission. Hope we will see a bigger impact by 2022. We are trying to sync our education system with the open pedagogies under the framework of Digital Bangladesh initiative of the government.

CC Bangladesh: ক্রিয়েটিভ কমন্স  বাংলাদেশ উন্মুক্ত শিক্ষা ও ইন্টারনেট শিক্ষা এবং সেগুলা গ্রামীণ স্তরের প্রচারের জন্য কিছু উদ্যোগের পরিকল্পনা করছেবিশেষ করে বাংলাদেশে উন্মুক্ত শিক্ষা এবং ইন্টারনেট কার্যক্রমের ক্ষেত্রে মেয়েদের অংশগ্রহনের ব্যাপারে । পরিসংখ্যান দেখায় যে উন্মুক্ত আন্দোলনে এবং উন্মুক্ত ইন্টারনেট ক্রিয়াকলাপে মেয়েদের অংশগ্রহণ ছেলেদের তুলনায় বেশ কম, সে কারনেই আমরা ক্রিয়েটিভ কমন্স  বাংলাদেশ চ্যাপ্টার এই বিষয়ে মনোনিবেশ করবো এবং মেয়েদের  অংশগ্রহণ বৃদ্ধি করার জন্য কিছু কার্যক্রম গ্রহণ করবো। ইতিমধ্যে আমাদের চ্যাপ্টারের একজন সদস্যকে মেয়েদের অংশগ্রহণ বাড়াতে কাজ করার পরামর্শ দেওয়া হয়েছে। ক্রিয়েটিভ কমন্স  বাংলাদেশ ও স্থানীয় সরকারের সহায়তায় “ইন্টারনেটের সবার জন্য” কর্মসূচির পরিকল্পনা করা হয়েছে। এছাড়াও আমাদের চ্যাপ্টার প্রতিনিধি মোস্তফা আজাদ কামাল আরও বৃহত্তর উন্মুক্ত আন্দোলন শুরু করার জন্য বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় মঞ্জুরী কমিশন, শিক্ষা মন্ত্রণালয় এবং আইসিটি মন্ত্রণালয়ের  সাথে সংযোগ স্থাপনের চেষ্টা করছেন। আশা করি আমরা ২০২২ সালের মধ্যে তার একটি বড় প্রভাব দেখতে পাব। আমরা আমাদের শিক্ষাব্যবস্থাকে সরকারের ডিজিটাল বাংলাদেশ কাঠামোর আওতায় বিভিন্ন উদ্যোগের সাথে একীভূত করার চেষ্টা করছি।

CC: Anything else you want to share?

CC Bangladesh: We’re keen to promote open activities, open education, and Internet for All activities in Bangladesh. That’s why our members are developing their working module together. With the support of CC and other organizations, we are confident that we can achieve our goals.

CC Bangladesh: ক্রিয়েটিভ কমন্স  বাংলাদেশ চ্যাপ্টার বাংলাদেশে সকলের জন্য উন্মুক্ত কার্যক্রম, মুক্ত শিক্ষা, সবার জন্য ইন্টারনেট প্রচার করতে আগ্রহী। এ কারণেই চ্যাপ্টারের সদস্যরা পৃথকভাবে ও দলগতভাবে তাদের কার্যক্রম চালিয়ে যাচ্ছে। ক্রিয়েটিভ কমন্স  এবং অন্যান্য সংস্থার সমর্থন নিয়ে আশা করি ক্রিয়েটিভ কমন্স  বাংলাদেশ চ্যাপ্টার তার লক্ষ্যগুলি অর্জন করতে পারবে।

Thank you to the CC Bangladesh team, especially Mohammed Galib Hasan Abir for contributing to the CC Network Fridays feature, and for all of their work in the open community! To see this conversation on Twitter, click here. To become a member of the CCGN, visit our website!

📸: Featured image has icons by Guilherme Furtado and Vectors Point via Noun Project (CC BY 3.0).

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