Free culture is winning

The idea behind Creative Commons is to make it easy to distinguish between the different licenses, and the license selector also makes it easy for those who are completely inexperienced users of CC to determine the correct license. Some licences are more open, also called free culture licenses, others are more restrictive. Statistics from 2015 shows that most of us choose the free culture licenses, and that is great news for all that love to re-use and re-mix.

I get many questions on how many limitations you should choose to associate with a picture, video or text. There is an axis between more open licenses with few limitations and the most restrictive ones that have limitation on derivatives and commercial use.

The License CC-BY and CC-BY-SA (includes CC0) is often defined in a separate category licenses that support the “free culture.” This is a good thing because it provides even greater freedom for those who want to reuse, even for those who engaged in commercial activities.

My advice is that you should use free culture licenses as often as you can. The anual statistics from Creative Commons shows a clear trend that these “free culture” licenses are the most popular ones.

The most popular license is CC Attribution-Share Alike (BY-SA).  37% of all work published are released under this license. By comparison, only 14% have chosen to use CC Attribution-Noncommercial-No processing (CC BY-NC-ND). One of the most restrictive licenses.


GoOpen Talk with Meredith Jacob

In this GoOpen Talk I have a conversation with Meredith Jacob, Assistant Director at American University Washington College of Law. Meredith is a part of the legal team at Creative commons US and a leading expert on IP and Copy right issues. In this videoblogg she talks about the OER situation in American schools and the GoOpen campaign launched by the The U.S. Department of Education.

GoOpen talk with Meredith Jacob from on Vimeo.

Lawrence Lessigs book «free culture» has been crowdsourced into Norwegian

«Free Culture» is a book by law professor Lawrence Lessig that he released under a Creative Commons license. Both the book and and his work with Creative Commons puts Lawrence Lessig in a group of visionary thinker that early on understood how important it would be to have a free license also for content and how law and regulation on copyright has been moving in the wrong direction.

In november 2015 the «free culture» book was launched in Norwegian, and the cool thing about this projects is that it has been a crowdsourcing effort lead by my friend Petter Reinholdtsen. The book is now printed in a professional format and Petter has given one copy to every parlament member in Norway.

I have known Petter for a longe time as a free software activist and I know him as one of the most dedicated believers of free culture and the free and open internet in Norway. As many of the smart and skilled programmers in the free software movement he is also very focused one the implications that technology has on our every day lives. His work on this project shows ones again how dedicated Petter is to this cause.

So what is the book about?

The book documents how copyright power has expanded substantially sins the 70´s and even though the original book was released in March 2004 it is still relevant as the problem with our copyright laws being a relic from the «Gutenberg paradigme» still is not solved.

The inspiration for the title and for much of the argument of this book comes from the work of Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation, and Lessig himself writes that one could argue that the book is «merely a derivative».

If you have not read the book you can find it in a PDF version her.

For more info on the project itself goto Petters blogg.

How to chose the right open license for commercialization


Over the last two months I have been working with the Norwegian agency for development(Norad) on their project EduApp4Syria and advising them on open source licenses and license for content being developed as a part of the project.

In general choosing the right license for your software and content is not a difficult process, but my advice is to think it trough and start with your goals for reuse and sharing, and let this be the starting point.

Historically, the GPL license family has been one of the most popular open source(Free software) licenses and I am myself a copy-left advocate. The GPL license is defined a Copyleft license.Copyleft is a copyright licensing scheme in which an author surrenders some, but not all rights under copyright law.

Under copyleft, derived works may be produced provided they are released under the compatible copyleft scheme. This means that in most cases the derived product can not be incorporated into proprietary products.

In this project Norad wanted to impose minimal restrictions in terms of commercialization of new products derived from the project. As many other large development organizations Norad have a strong focus on getting as much out of every invested dollar and going in to the project we look at The Principles for Digital Development where open standards and open source is set as one of the 9 principles.

An important aspect is to enable others to reuse both digital content and technology developed as part of the project, subsequently supporting self-enhancing diversity of production models and interactive communities. My advice in this case was to go for a permissive free software licenses.

So in this case, my advice is:

Both licenses allow others to reuse, change and distribute, even commercially.

This means that it is possible for anyone reusing the technology or content from this project to commercialize their product. BSD Licenses allows proprietary use and allows the software released under the license to be incorporated into proprietary products. However, we are receptive to feedback on these issues and the guidelines are intended only to apply to those who receive economic incentives.

The project is actually letting the marked compete in several iterations starting with a self made prototype. This lead us to the question on when the required should take effect. Our conclusion was that the open source license and Creative Commons will not be required for self financed prototyping and proof of concept development, lowering the bar for companies to use their mockups as input to the project.