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Happenings from and about Creative Commons in Australia

On the back of a lot of really interesting work and events last year, Creative Commons Australia have released their “Unlocking the Potential Through Creative Commons” report which examines the role (and potential roles) of Creative Commons licensing in Australia.  It’s an easy read and has lots of examples, so very useful for artists, media producers, educators and many others who are thinking about the Creative Commons as the right copyright for their work!

Also in Australia, the CC Au blog looks at a recent controversy which has arisen due to Virgin Mobile in Australia using Flickr images licensed under Creative Commons terms.  It appears Virgin may have ignored a CC ‘non-commercial’ clause in at least one case, but also on the table is the moral question of getting the permission of people who actually appear in the photos, especially since some of the advertisements put out by Virgin Mobile are clearly mocking in the people in the pictures.  That said, clearly this is a very mainstream use of CC-licensed work and that’s definitely welcome.  It’s also noteworthy that at least some of the photographers are delighted to see their work appearing as part of this campaign.  For some of the more vitriolic comments which highlight the grey areas between intent and use, see the comments of these two Flickr images.  It’s also worth checking out the online arm of Virgin’s campaign using these images (which, I have to say, is actually quite a clever use of some of these pictures!)

More broadly, last month Mary Taylor Huber from the US Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching gave a series of guest talks here in Perth (you can hear Mary’s lecture here) and focused on what she calls building the ‘teaching commons’ which is, essentially, shared ideas and resources about teaching and learning across the globe.  In our conversation after her public lecture, we were talking about the Creative Commons as the mechanism by which the actual resources of a teaching commons could be shared.  Following that idea, I was absolutely delighted to see Creative Commons central announce that their CC Learn – “the education division of Creative Commons” – has gone live, with this fantastic mission statement:

* With legal barriers, we advocate for licensing of educational materials under interoperable terms, such as those provided by Creative Commons licenses, that allow unhampered modification, remixing, and redistribution. We also educate teachers, learners, and policy makers about copyright and fair-use issues pertaining to education.
* With technical barriers, we promote interoperability standards and tools to facilitate remixing and reuse.
* With social barriers, we encourage teachers and learners to re-use educational materials available on the Web, and to build on each other’s contributions.

Obviously CC Learn is in its early stages, but the mission is definitely a very important one and I can’t wait to see CC Learn grow!

Update (8.50am, 28 Jul 07): I’ve been reading more about the Virgin Mobile use of Flickr CC images and these posts are worth reading: “Uh, I thought YOU got the release . . .” by Carolyn E. Wright, looking at the need for model release forms for commercial use of people in photos; a post from Ian Wilson who was quite happy to see his image used by Virgin Mobile; Agency Spy’s “Flickr Is Going To Cost Virgin Mobile Millions Of Dollars“; and a longer conversation on Flickr “Virgin Mobile advertising campaign using Flickr photos“.

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1 Comment

  1. Man, I wish it could be as simple as “I don’t want anyone to use this photograph for anything without my expressed and explicit permission”.

    Not even putting a © works on anything anymore (which is why I’ve taken to watermarking the crap out of all my images).

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