The State Of The Commons: Case Studies 2010

Rachel Cobcroft, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

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Abstract: ‘What artists need to see before they can feel confident about the licenses are examples of other[s] taking the licenses; incorporating them into their practices.’ –, p. 8 The Creative Commons Case Studies initiative, established in 2008, offers the ‘free culture’community a qualitative resource to chronicle trends in open content licensing (OCL). Seeking feedback as to individual and organisational motivations towards OCL adoption, and through its provision of usage data, jurisdiction and disciplinary distribution, the CC Case Studies wiki complements current quantitative research projects such as CC Monitor. Containing over 200 entries in July 2010, the CC Case Studies wiki covers several genres such as publishing, moving images, music, visual arts, interactive resources including games, performance, education, and ‘government 2.0’ open data initiatives. Entries represent 25 contributing jurisdictions, with studies being written in several languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Korean. By sharing stories of success and identifying areas of innovation and collaboration, the CC Case Studies wiki encourages creators to contribute to the Commons, whilst contributing to a broader understanding of the dynamics of ‘free culture.’


On 7 May 2010, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam became the 53rd jurisdiction to adopt Creative Commons (‘CC’) licences worldwide.[1] The expanding reach and impact of CC licences internationally has led Creative Commons’ CEO Joi Ito to declare that the movement has reached a ‘threshold of adoption where we can now legitimately call CC a global standard.’[2] Celebrating its seventh anniversary in December 2009, the non-profit organisation reflected on its recent successes:[3] the adoption of its open content licences (OCL) by the United States White House[4] and Arabic-language news network Al Jazeera, by major educational and scientific institutions such as the California Learning Resource Network (CLRN) and National Institutes of Health (NIH),[5] ‘to countless individual bloggers, musicians, photographers, teachers, and more.’ The intention of the Creative Commons Case Studies initiative is to share such stories and to document the licences’ many legal and linguistic adaptations worldwide with increasing rigour.

This paper develops a descriptive framework to facilitate qualitative analysis of the 220 entries now available on the CC Case Studies wiki, identifying emergent trends in OCL across participating jurisdictions. In outlining prominent motivations to license under CC, in addition to identifying specific licence selection, the paper demonstrates the significant reach and impact of Creative Commons over its seven years of operation. As such, this paper provides an update to Building an Australasian Commons: Case Studies Vol. 1[6] and ‘Capturing the Commons: (Ways Forward for) The CC Case Studies Initiative’,[7] noting prominent developments in the domains of publishing, film and visual design, music, education and democracy, including the ‘open data’ movement. It is hoped that the findings presented here will inform Creative Commons’ engagement and education of content creators and re-/users worldwide, and contribute to further qualitative analysis.

By identifying themes, the paper fulfils a primary role of qualitative analysis.[8] Its descriptive framework allows the researcher to situate specific phenomena – or case studies – within their real-world context, to draw comparisons, and propose, pilot, and validate models. As observed by Gery Ryan of the RAND Corporation in relation to the standards of rigour for qualitative research:[9]

‘In exploratory mode, the goal is to discover themes and patterns and to build initial models of how complex systems work.’

A Note On CC Licences

The six primary Creative Commons licences are explained in detail on the organisation’s site, in human-readable, machine-readable, and legal form. Standard abbreviations are employed throughout this paper (CC BY, CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC-SA, etc.), referencing the four licence elements of:

• Attribution (BY): Licensees may copy, distribute, display and perform the work and make derivative works based on it only if they give the author or licensor the credits in the manner specified by these;
• Non-Commercial (NC): Licensees may copy, distribute, display, and perform the work and make derivative works based on it only for non-commercial purposes;
• Share Alike (SA): Licensees may distribute derivative works only under a licence identical to the licence that governs the original work;
• No Derivatives (ND): Licensees may copy, distribute, display and perform only verbatim copies of the work, not derivative works based on it. A tool to determine licence interoperability is available via Creative Commons Taiwan.


This paper follows Robert K. Yin’s widely employed conception of case study methodology,[10]defined as:

‘[A]n empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context; when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident; and in which multiple sources of evidence are used.’

Case study methodology allows a multi-method approach, encompassing both quantitative and qualitative techniques, with complementary perspectives leading to greater research validity and reliability. The CC Case Studies wiki enables researchers to categorise, tabulate, and recombine data to pursue different lines of enquiry, primarily in response to ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions surrounding licence adoption. Additionally, it allows investigators to capture emergent and immanent perspectives alongside the historical, thereby establishing a chain of evidence in a publicly accessible way.

The CC Case Studies project seeks to gauge the impact of the organisation’s legal, technological, social, media and policy initiatives. By chronicling cases of the Commons’ success and identifying areas of innovation, the wiki engages the free culture community in the discovery of new works, new models, and new ways forward for CC. As a repository of site statistics and usage data, it allows various analyses of the commons over time. This project complements current quantitative initiatives undertaken by Commons researchers, such as CC Monitor, and as further noted on the CC Metrics site.

Yin designates three types of case study: exploratory; explanatory; and descriptive.[11] Exploratory studies seek to define the questions and hypotheses of subsequent studies or determine the feasibility of proposed research. Explanatory studies aim to test the causal relationships in hypotheses. Descriptive case studies seek to present a complete description of a phenomenon within its context.[12]

By examining emergent patterns within collected data and positing theories as to causation, over time it should be possible to understand the context in which the case studies operate, together with various institutional and societal interventions. This paper presents an initial descriptive framework on which to base subsequent investigations. The case study protocol initially employed in this investigation has sought to capture the key characteristics of CC licensors, with primary, open-ended questions asked of contributors being:

Overview: Please provide an overview of the work. Describe the author or organization (location, funding/business model, partner organizations), objectives, current projects.
License Usage : Please specify the license adopted. How is the license applied? Can you provide any available statistics? What has been the author or organization’s experience with Creative Commons licenses so far – what have been the benefits and lessons learned?
Motivations: How did the author or organization first hear about Creative Commons? Why did they choose to license under Creative Commons? Which license did they select and why?
Additional Comments : Any other issues you may have come across/comments you’d like to make.
Media: Please include any screenshots, logos, links to videos, audio files, press hits, etc. Data gathered thus outlines individuals’ and organisations’ engagement and experience with OCL, current business models and stated goals.

With regard to case study selection, initial participants identified in Building an Australasian Commons included individuals and institutions known to the organisation through professional connections, in addition to those found through track-back licence links. Promotion of the project via the CC Network and annual fundraising campaigns has brought a wider participation to the wiki.

The author has classified each of the 220 wiki entries by licence type, jurisdiction, and discipline. The jurisdictional breakdown of entries is found in Appendix A, whilst each discipline heading commences with a list of pertinent cases, noting respective licence adoption. Ascertaining specific motivators and connectors with the commons, the author has undertaken textual analysis of not only the wiki but also news items on the CC site, identifying common memes.

At present, a second case studies volume is in production at Creative Commons Australia, to document innovative business cases emerging from the wiki. For this reason, business models will not be identified in detail here. Certain entries are excluded from this analysis, owing to the incomplete nature of their statements, or inconsistencies between statements on the wiki and the material they reference (e.g., the claim that content is licensed CC BY when a website states All Rights Reserved.) This points to the need for the inclusion of metrics of wiki content, employing a ratings system similar to that of Wikipedia.

Sector summaries shown at the end of each discipline seek to demonstrate licensing trends. Platforms offering all CC licences are counted in each licence; hence, the total number of projects is not discrete. Projects constituting each section are found in Appendix B. These summaries have been compiled by noting the specific licences chosen by individuals and institutions per sector, as well as those made available via specific publishing platforms, to demonstrate the current licensing behaviours of CC adopters, as indicated on the wiki.

Primary Motivators to Contribute to The Commons

Individuals and organisations participate in the Commons for a variety of reasons, some philanthropic and others self-promotional, some philosophical and others wholly utilitarian. As identified by Andrea Hemetsberger,[13] incentives to contribute may be divided along such lines, between interest held in self and others, reaping extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. As seen through the range of current case studies, the following factors significantly influence commitment.


Creative Commons is like having 100,000 free publicity officers. You get heaps of people watching your film because no one is scared of being arrested because of it.’ – Pete Foley, Black brow[14]

Creative Commons’ guarantee of attribution has inspired several creators to contribute their works to the Commons, typically under CC’s ‘advertising’ licence, CC BY-NC-ND.[15] The free distribution allowed by this licence enables the spread of works whilst maintaining their integrity. Musician Brad Sucks summarises as follows:

‘I think CC licenses, the entire open attitude is absolutely essential for artists that don’t have huge promotion budgets. Without the money to force advertising and radio play down people’s throats, you have to rely on the good will of your fans spreading your music for you. And if you handcuff them by making it illegal, I think you’re doing yourself a real disservice.’[16]

As Flickr photographer Bettina observes in the inaugural ccSalon Australia exhibition, ‘Creative Commons gives me the confidence to share in the knowledge that I will be recognised for my work.’

Legal Certainty

[A]rtists have more control over their work and the creative process than they ever had before.’ – Matthew Siegel & Daniel Zaccagnino, Indaba Music

The legal protection provided by CC licences is of critical importance to creators. Establishing a ‘transparent, reliable, and accountable rights environment,’[17] CC offers ‘flexibility and accessibility,’[18] overcoming the need to consult with lawyers. CC therefore reduces transaction costs associated with content production and distribution, all-important in the age of User-Generated Content. Copyright cases such as Adam Curry’s claims against Dutch tabloid Weekend[19] are closely scrutinised by contributors to Flickr and other social media sites,[20] to ensure that CC licences continue to provide appropriate legal protection.


‘If you give away cool stuff, what you get in return is always more!’ – Ton Roosendaal, Blender

Reciprocity, also known as ‘quid pro quo,’ is the expectation that contributions to the commons will return benefits to the creator, realised through both economic and reputational gain or, as Robert Putnam terms it, ‘social capital.’[21] As noted by CC musician Chris Willits, associated with this is the trust placed on an audience to buy merchandise and attend concerts in exchange for the free distribution of his music.[22]

The importance of contributing in-kind is eloquently expressed by Misteriddles, an exhibitor in the inaugural ccSalon Australia:

‘I have found access to others’ images very useful. Consequently, it is only fair that I put some source material back into the community for others to use in their own experiments.’[23]

The market and social dynamics of the ‘sharing economy’ have been the subject of several academic texts, most notably Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom.[24] Throughout the wiki, creators have expressed their desire to participate in a ‘sharing culture,’[25] as seen with Pamoyo:

‘We believe in collaboration and that, by sharing ideas and build[ing] upon each other, great things can be achieved.’
Equally, Anson Mak of A Map of Our Own observes:
‘It is important to promote diversity both in the views and practices of copyright to encourage creativity and sharing.’

Whether a creator holds the expectation of direct benefit may influence licence choice, such as the selection of a ShareAlike ‘copyleft’ licence, which places a formal requirement on the equivalent licensing of derivative works. This issue has gained significant attention in the FLOSS community since its inception.

Public Good

Part of the Library’s mission is “to contribute to the common good by collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge.”’ – Molly Kleinman, University of Michigan Library

As noted in Government 2.0 initiatives, there is now a governmental and institutional imperative to distribute publicly-funded research data and cultural works under OCL. In the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown initiated this trend with the Power of Information Taskforce, established in March 2008 to identify exemplars and enablers to the release of government-held information, to increase democratic engagement and foster innovation. This is now manifest in, seeking to make Public Sector Information (PSI) easy to find, license, and re-use.

In the United States, the Obama-Biden Administration announced its intention to create a transparent, participatory, and collaborative government, observing, ‘Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.’ Australia’s Government 2.0 Taskforce followed suit, seeking to make government more consultative, collaborative, and accessible. Other jurisdictions are increasingly adopting open data and PSI initiatives to bring greater engagement and enlightenment to their citizenry. Similarly, International IDEA’s research seeks to promote accountability, efficiency, and transparency for democratic processes and institutions, and to inform the debate surrounding political participation and capacity building.

Altruism is expressed by numerous NGOs and individuals, given their belief in contributing to the public good without expectation of direct reward. The ‘gift economy’[26] is explored directly in GiftTRAP, and articulated by Sam Stephens of Postmoderncore: ‘These licenses… expressed ideas I already had about creativity as a gift, rather than something to be owned and hoarded.’[27]


CC licences allow creators to contribute content to the community for reuse and remix whilst availing others’ openly-licensed works. ccMixter is the perfect example of this. Equally, Brett Gaylor’s ‘participatory media experiment’ RiP!: A Remix Manifesto 2.051 provides users with a platform and content to collaborate in the creation of a shared cultural experience.[28]

Reflecting on ‘My Life Changed,’ a remix of his track ‘My Life,’ Colin Mutchler expresses his joy at finding others ‘who wanted to collaborate across space and time.’ Producers of vodcast Epic Fu[29] likewise remark,

‘The topics we are most interested in involve individuals, artists, and groups who are using technology and the web to define a new idea of what it means to collaborate with each other and distribute their ideas globally.’

According to Albert Bandura,[30] such collaboration brings participants a sense of ‘self efficacy,’ of contributing significantly to a group to achieve a desired outcome. As observed by Hemetsberger,[31] creators may also contribute to the completion of a task or product because they derive an important utilitarian benefit from doing so. Contributors to Knowledge Management network are an exemplar of this, participating in this collaborative network to solve both collective and individual issues.

Creation of, and Connection with Community

A sense of (virtual) community, as described by Blanchard and Markus,[32] has been shown to increase altruism and instill feelings of loyalty and civic virtue amongst participants in a given area of interest or activity. Based on the exchange of support and establishment of shared emotional connections among members, in addition to self-governance mechanisms, SoVC inspires individuals to contribute their knowledge, time, and goods to a common cause. As is manifest in the many arts organisations featured on the Case Studies wiki, notably Augensound, Artabase, ArtServis, Strayform, and 60Sox, as well as many institutional initiatives such as ABC Pool, the creation of, and connection with, communities of practice and interest is both facilitated by Creative Commons, and inspires continued expansion and protection of CC.

American author and academic David Bollier has documented the history of the Commons movement in Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own, an entry for which has been contributed to the wiki.

Philosophy of FLOSS

Philosophies of the Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) movements play a significant role in the adoption of CC licences in certain sectors, as outlined in detail in the disciplinary section that follows. Whilst this article employs FLOSS[33] as a term to denote liberally licensed software, it acknowledges the existence of two communities distinct in their focus on ‘free’ philosophy versus ‘open’ pragmatics – that of Free Software as espoused by the Free Software Foundation,[34] and Open Source as per the Open Source Initiative.[35] A revelatory history of the FLOSS communities can be found in Glyn Moody’s Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution.[36]

Commons Connectors

Key connectors into the Commons are most notably, and not unexpectedly, Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow, with their writings and presentations introducing creators to its ideas and ideals.[37] Secondly, the Flickr photo-sharing platform has played a significant part in the introduction of many users to CC, given the CC licence generator’s inclusion in the image upload process. Professional and personal connections continue to count in influencing users to license under CC.[38]

Disciplinary Analysis

The following discipline areas mirror those found in Building an Australasian Commons, with the addition of wikis, interactive resources, and FLOSS.

New Ways of Doing Music Business: Creative Commons & Sound

table 1

The music industry continues to provide an informative and exemplary study of innovative open business models. Following the widely acknowledged success of Nine Inch Nails’ independent release of Ghosts I-IV and The Slip under CC,[39] many musicians, both established and emerging, have adopted OCL for their works. On 26 June 2008, the ccSalon Los Angeles played host to two important musicians: Curt Smith, solo artist and co-founder of Tears for Fears, and Monk Turner, an LA-based multi-instrumentalist, who spoke of their motivations to use Creative Commons licences, and how adopting CC has a promotional, ethical, and artistic impact beyond traditional copyright.[40]

Curt Smith released his semi-autobiographical album Halfway, Pleased in 2008 under CC BYNC-SA 3.0 United States, observing the following:

‘Nothing would make me happier than for my music to be heard by as many people as possible. If people like the album and its songs enough to put it on their website or share it with their friends, that’s fantastic.’

In August 2009, Smith provided further insights into his inspirations in an interview with CC’s Creative Director Eric Steuer for GOOD Magazine on the (musical) value of sharing:[41]

‘I don’t primarily make music just for me, I want it to be listened to by other people, I want people to take it apart, I want people to delve into it and get the different textures and different meanings of lyrics.’

Exploring alternative forms of distribution with their seventh studio album In Rainbows, British band Radiohead released the data underlying the ‘House of Cards’ film clip via Google Code. Nearly 400MB of 3D animation data[42] is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 United States. In addition to derivative data visualisations shared on the ‘House of Cards’ YouTube group, this resulted in lead singer Thom Yorke’s head being sculpted into a 3D model at Thingiverse.[43] Jamendo’s catalogue continues to expand, reaching 20,000 albums on 25 May 2009, having achieved 10,000 albums only 11 months previously.[44] In June 2010, the site featured over 35,000 CC-licensed albums from over 18,000 artists – a significant increase. In February 2009, the site launched Jamendo PRO,[45] offering commercial portals for background music, public events, audiovisual works, and websites and blogs.

table 2

Berlin’s Breipott Bar promotes openly-licensed music curated by musicians, DJs, and event organisers, with tracks almost exclusively licensed under CC. Patrons equipped with USB sticks download tracks directly from three on-site terminals. According to the bar’s managers, music rights are meticulously checked with GEMA, and other commercial collecting societies before being entered into Breipott’s database, soundPott. The bar collaborates with numerous netlabels and scours online offers and demos to discover new music.

Summary of licence use in sector

table 3

• The creators of audio content clearly favour NonCommercial licensing, with 68% of entries retaining the right to exploit their work commercially.

• Jamendo follows this trend, with 52% of albums being licensed CC BY-NC-SA, and a further 20.9% under CC BY-NC-ND, as of 28 June 2010.

• Attribution-only licenses are adopted in 11.9% of cases overall, with Jamendo users being 3.8%.

Instilling Indigenous Points of View: Creative Commons & Democratic Change

table 4

The following case studies underscore important initiatives to encourage awareness, realisation and protection of rights for Indigenous peoples, and preservation of local perspectives. Through both contemporary and historic lenses, emphasis is placed on celebration and retention of local customs, culture and tradition, whilst reinforcing unity in diversity.

A Map of Our Own: Kwun Tong Culture and Histories is a multimedia website supporting discussions of urban identity and renewal in Kwun Tong, a town in East Kowloon, Hong Kong. Launched in 2009, the project aims to raise awareness of the impact of Hong Kong’s largest urban renewal process planned for Kwun Tong town centre, over its projected 12 years of operation. A Map of Our Own is based on the ideals of the participatory web, with users encouraged to contribute images, sounds, and impressions of the local area to explore its identity and stimulate discussion.

All six localised CC Hong Kong licences are available for contributors to the site. At the start of the project, in July 2009, usage statistics showed:

table 5

Notably, NonCommercial and NoDerivatives licences are the most popular with the site’s contributors at this initial stage of development. The Global Lives Project (GLP)[47] aims to document the daily activities, aspirations, and realities of ten individuals who represent the diversity of the world’s population as closely as possible.[48] Captured over the course of 24 hours, video footage shows the lives of people across the globe without commentary or imposed narrative, inviting viewers to reflect on their own experiences.

GLP footage is released under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 Unported. After significant debate, this licence was chosen to protect the moral rights of interviewees through its NonCommercial clause, whilst retaining the right of distribution and remix. In 2008, Malaysian Artistes for Unity formed in Kuala Lumpur to record ‘Here in My Home,’ an anti-racist, unity song which was intentionally both non-profit and non-partisan. Initiated by Pete Teo, a Malaysian musician and actor, the project attracted the collaboration of 120 ‘artistes,’ including both high-profile and indie musicians, dancers, filmmakers, arts curators, actors, poets, painters, art students, models, entrepreneurs and more. The video received an overwhelming response from across the globe, with the project’s supporters now including record labels, advertisers, businesses, and broadcasters.

CC licensing was integral to the project’s success, allowing free distribution of the video across many sites, under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 Unported. Music stems were made available for remix under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 Unported. Several derivative works are now published on YouTube. The project has also inspired spin-offs such as the Digital Malaya UNITY Project.[49] The Pacific Media Centre (PMC), TE AMOKURA, was established by Auckland University of Technology in 2007 to bring greater representation to Māori, Pasifika, and ethnic issues in academic research. PMC believes that by encouraging informed journalism and rigorous research, the Centre contributes to strong economic, political, and social development of the region, better representation, and improved accountability in reportage.[50] PMC uses CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 New Zealand licences for its works, underscoring its belief in improved access to information.

Remixing Çatalhöyük represents a collaboration of Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük (BACH) with Berkeley students and staff examining the 9,000-year-old settlement of Çatalhöyük, in central Turkey. Offering themed collections including ‘Life Histories of People, Places and Things,’ and ‘Senses of Place,’ the project seeks to ‘support a multi-vocal approach to history, where the global, online community is invited to participate in the dialogue alongside the physical, local community.[51] Research materials are offered under CC BY-NC 3.0 Unported to keep the research data alive, and foster public engagement by creating different contexts and meanings.

Sarawak Gone is a micro-documentary project directed by Andrew Garton in 2009 to draw attention to the indigenous Bidayuh communities of Sarawak, Malaysia, who are increasingly threatened by the construction of dams, logging, and palm oil plantations. Publishing a series of five-to-ten minute documentaries on EngageMedia in February 2010,

Garton shows the precarious nature of the communities and the state of the biomass in the face of these construction projects. These documentaries have been produced in collaboration with Rengah Sarawak to raise awareness and support for the traditional peoples of the four remote Bidayuh communities[52] living within an hour of Kuching, Sarawak’s capital. A strong supporter of CC, Garton has licensed these micro-documentaries and postproduction scripts under CC BY 2.5 Australia, to tell the stories of the Bidayuh people through multiple media reaching the widest possible audience.

Unleashed Tongue (Razvezani jezik) is the first free online dictionary of the Slovene spoken language. Published online in December 2004 in wiki format, and printed in hard copy in 2007, the dictionary preserves a different perspective of the Slovene language – with common catchphrases, clichés, and neologisms, in addition to more obscure terms. In the tradition of ‘reclaim the streets,’ the dictionary’s producer seeks to ‘reclaim the language.’ CC licensing ensures equal access and ongoing use of the material for all. As with other wiki projects, the dictionary is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0.

Summary of licence use in sector

table 6

• The preferred licence for entries documenting democratic projects is CC BY-NCND at 31.3%, with the second most favoured being CC BY-NC-SA at 25%. CC’s NonCommercial clause is perceived to protect the personality rights of individuals featured in documentary projects.[53]

Freeing Footage for All: Creative Commons and Open Source Cinema

table 7

Whilst open-source cinema project A Swarm of Angels, addressed in Building an Australasian Commons, is currently on hiatus, its contribution to open cinema has been significant. In 2008, director Matt Hanson and team developed a classification system for open media, proposing the following three states, each building on the former and referencing a seven-point scale: Open (O-) The baseline, concerned with freely consuming and sharing the content (1-3). Open Source (O) Being able to view and remix the source files (1-5). Open Plus (O+) The ability to participate in a transparent, documented process (1-7).

Accordingly, open media is thus:

1. Freely accessible: Available to stream, or download without a fee. Should be available via direct download and P2P media, so it is not behind a gateway.
2. Freely available: Permanently available without DRM, or release windows. The end user able to share the work without restriction.
3. Freely viewable: Available in multiple formats, and to be converted freely (in the case of video works, for example, as dvd, xvid/divx, mp4, and HD formats). The above qualities are essential for open content. Open source content adds to the cultural commons by making creation of new content from the work.
4. Giving source files: Source media, such as rushes and raw graphics files should be archived and available for other creators to work with.
5. Allowing remixing: Materials should be licensed explicitly to allow derivative work (eg. other works based on the script, or video mashups, and remix edits) for at least non-commercial/artistic purposes. Creative Commons and other licenses are available for flexible copyrighting. Open Plus adds more opportunities for participation and involvement in the work whether as a creator, or as part of what used to be called ‘the audience’.
6. Reveal the process: Allowing access to not only the final source media, but work-in-progress material and software files, adding another layer of transparency and documentation.
7. Open contribution: Adding ways to influence and participate in the creation of the original work through various types of community/audience involvement (opportunities such as open crewing, direct feedback or contribution mechanisms).

The CC Case Studies wiki hosts a number of open-source cinema projects, of varying complexions according to this scale. The following provides a brief précis of the current offerings.

El Cosmonauta (‘The Cosmonaut’) is a science-fiction feature being produced by Spanish Riot Cinema Collective. Inspired by A Swarm of Angels and Artemis Eternal, the film is both co-created and crowdfunded. Riot Cinema offers two methods of collaboration: ‘producer,’ for €2, or ‘investor,’ for €1000, the latter receiving a percentage of the film’s profits. As of 1 July 2010, El Cosmonauta had 2178 contributors. The film is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0 to enable derivative works and remixes, with the best rewarded by prizes.

The Hill Productions is a Swedish independent film company specialising in low-budget, DIY films. Subscribing to a sharing culture, the company employs CC BY 3.0 Unported for its films, made available via ClearBits and Internet Archive. Current releases include Dozer.,an experimental exploration of technology and filmmaking, and Pentagon, a mobile-phone film shot with a SonyEricsson k880i, both directed by Davor Radic.

‘Change your attitude and you’ll change the world’ entreats Joan Planas, director of Hot for Profit. Set in Barcelona and Nicaragua, this documentary contextualises poverty in the First and Third Worlds:

• Every 24 hours 25,000 people die of hunger. 1000 million people live on less than 1 dollar per day.
• Wars and violence kill 900,000 humans each year. Why?

The director examines the role played by NGOs, the media, education, politics, and religion in achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Hot for Profit is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 Unported licence.

Nasty Old People is a feature film by Swedish director Hanna Sköld, unique in having premiered on The Pirate Bay on 10 October 2009 under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.5 Sweden licence. Its distribution largely relying on BitTorrent, the film has screened at more than 20 film festivals, with users submitting subtitles in numerous European languages. The project commenced with a loan of €10,000, and has earned the director a significant reputational gain:

Nasty Old People becomes marketing and a promotion for Hanna Skold. It has to be better resume filler for a filmmaker to talk about tens of thousands of people downloading and watching your film than just going in cold saying you want to make a film.’ – TechDirt[54]

Canadian filmographer Brett Gaylor launched the Open Source Cinema Project in 2007 to encourage collaborative filmmaking. In production is Preempting Dissent – Open Sourcing Secrecy, based on the eponymous book by Greg Elmer and Andy Opel. Coordinated through a ‘road map,’ the film incorporates submissions, testimonials and mashups from Open Source Cinema participants. As with other OSC projects, it is licensed CC BY-NC 3.0 Unported. Award-winning documentary RiP!: A Remix Manifesto, directed by Gaylor, examines the legality of remix culture in the digital age. Featuring performance artist Girl Talk (Gregg Gillis), CC Founder Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow, the film explores how culture builds on the past. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0 Unported, the work welcomes remixes as RiP!: A Remix Manifesto 2.0.

Receiving critical acclaim from the New York Times[55] and Roger Ebert[56] and popular acclaim from international audiences, Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Bluesis a feature-length animation whose licensing and distribution is inspired by the free software movement. Licensed using the ‘copyleft’ CC BY-SA 3.0 and distributed for free, Sita Sings the Blues is supported by sales of merchandise and DVDs. Paley explains her philosophy thus:

‘Dear Audience, I hereby give Sita Sings the Blues to you. Like all culture, it belongs to you already, but I am making it explicit with a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. Please distribute, copy, share, archive, and show Sita Sings the Blues. From the shared culture it came, and back into the shared culture it goes.’

Valkaama is a collaborative open-source cinema project offering all source material (film, photos, text) for re-/use via CC 3.0 licences. Director Tim Baumann has called for public participation in the post-production process, allowing remixes and other editorial interventions. Licence conditions currently vary per contributor; however, the film’s source material is offered under CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported. Discussion of the NonCommercial restriction is ongoing.

Summary of licence use in sector

table 8

• For films, a strong preference is shown for CC BY-NC-SA (27.8%), with the ShareAlike attribute accounting for almost half of all releases (44.5%).

• Choice of other CC licences is fairly evenly spread.

Exhibition Open!: Creative Commons & Visual Arts

table 9

Fashion & 3D Design

In ‘Lessons from Fashion’s Free Culture,’[57] a TEDTalk recorded at TEDxUSC in April 2010, Johanna Blakley examines creativity and ownership in the fashion industry, where strong IPprotection does not exist owing to the ‘utility’ of wearable goods. Blakley asks what kind of ownership model will lead to the greatest innovation in the digital world.

The CC Case Studies wiki contains two entries pertaining to fashion: Foncept and Pamoyo. Foncept is a t-shirt design community based in Hong Kong, established with the objective of helping local designers to share their designs, whilst increasing consumer awareness of fashion’s potential. Through fortnightly design contests, Foncept’s users are able to vote for their favourite shirts, with winning designs printed for sale and associated revenue distributed to designers.[58]Foncept’s designers show a preference for CC NonCommercial licensing, allowing reuse and redistribution of designs without commercial implications. As reported in the Case Studies wiki, as of 28 August 2009, the site’s licence distribution was as follows:

table 10

From the total pool of 1051 submissions:

table 11

Pamoyo markets itself as ‘green open-source fashion.’ Based in Berlin, the enterprise seeks to foster ecological production and fair-trade fashion by publishing designs under the localised CC BY-SA 2.0 Germany licence.

SomeRightsReserved, established by the UK collective KithKin, sells digital blueprints for a diverse series of products and prototypes, ranging from a ‘Street Sofa’ to ready-tosew mittens. SomeRightsReserved aims to connect designer straight to consumer, making transactions more transparent and empowering. Of the site’s 30 current products, 26 adopt a CC licence, with BY-NC-ND being most favoured. Operating under the slogan ‘A Download Revolution’ in reference to a sharing culture, the site offers nine products for free, whilst the rest are affordably priced from £1 to £10.

Flickr Collections

On 21 March 2009, Yahoo!’s photo-sharing site reached 100 million CC-licensed photographs.[59] Analysing data made available via the CC statistics site, Christian from identified users’ preferences in licence choice,[60] finding that photographers preferred NonCommercial licences, and ‘the bulk of photos are licensed rather restrictively.’

table 12

Ongoing analysis of Flickr contributions is currently being undertaken by Commons researchers to identify longitudinal trends in OCL. Crescat Graffiti, Vita Excolatur is a photographic project by Quinn Dombrowski to document graffiti in the University of Chicago’s Regenstein Library. The collection, hosted on, contains over 1000 images, classified according to themes such as ‘math,’ ‘logic,’ and ‘intellectual commentary.’ Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic, Crescat Graffiti imagesare regularly used on blogs. In November 2009, Quinn published Crescat Graffiti, Vita Excolatur: Confessions of the University of Chicago. The blog accompanying the project is licensed CC BYNC-SA 3.0 Unported.

‘I see beauty everywhere, and I want others to see it too.’ – Quinn Dombrowski

Quinn Dombrowski’s Flickr collection currently contains over 44,800 photographs licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic. With topics including the 2008 United States Presidential election, Quinn’s photos have been used by the BCC, Wall Street Journal, and Boing Boing.

A further use of Flickr photos can be seen in Orchestration, a performance piece by Guy Yedwab at New York University. Guy projected CC-licensed Flickr photos as the backdrop to choreography, enjoying the ability to use the images legally.

Summary of licence use in sector

table 13

• With regard to fashion, Foncept demonstrates designers’ preference for NonCommercial licensing, at 41% of total designs versus 59% for traditional copyright.

• Longitudinal statistics from also show photographers’ preference for NonCommercial licensing, with 72.67% opting for the NC term in June 2010. There is a slight trend towards greater openness, with 3.13% more images being licensed under CC BY in June 2010 than March 2006.

• On average, the sector demonstrates just over half of licensors (50.6%) employ NC licensing, and 30.3% use the ND clause.

Archives Alive!: Creative Commons, Cultural & Governmental Institutions

table 14

A significant development for governmental and cultural institutions since Building an Australasian Commons has been the ongoing adoption and consolidation of the Flickr Commons. Launched on 16 January 2008 with a pilot project from the Library of Congress, and with the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney being its first Museum adopter, as noted in Case Studies vol. 1, the Commons on Flickr has two primary objectives: to increase access to publicly-held photography collections; and, to provide a way for the general public to contribute information and knowledge.

Flickr Commons’ growth is documented on Indicommons and the Flickr Commons group, created by Anna Graf in December 2008. The Commons presently comprises 45 institutional members[61] across the Galleries, Archives, Libraries and Museums sector, and is projected to double its collection over the course of 2010.[62]

The Commons represents our shared visual heritage. Our culture is enriched by the release of these historical photographs and further enriched by the public’s participation in the collection and aggregation of related historical information.’

On 2-3 October 2009, participating institutions held the inaugural ‘Common Ground: A Community Curated Meetup,’ an international celebration of the photographic collections contributed to the site to date. With Flickr users voting for the images to be included in the event (by ‘favoriting’ their chosen photos), the event was billed as the world’s first crowd-sourced curation of publicly-held archives. Common Ground came to life as a connected slideshow projected against the participating institutions’ buildings over the course of the event’s two days.

The community also contributes to the ongoing design and development of ABC Pool, a social media site hosted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to feature creative, collaborative works alongside archival footage released by the broadcaster. Recipient of the Australian Government 2.0 Taskforce Innovators’ award[63] in November 2009, and the ABC Innovation Blue Sky award[64] in February 2008, ABC Pool features several projects focusing on history, community, and remix cultures. One such project is ‘Gene Pool,’[65] established to celebrate the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth via the release of ABC archival materials on the theme of evolution and mutation. With recordings released under CC BY-NC 2.5 Australia to encourage remixing, Gene Pool culminated in a public exhibition of user contributions at Melbourne’s RMIT on the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species.

A further initiative to make archives accessible, the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre (NZETC), established in 2002 at Victoria University of Wellington Library, seeks to create a digital library to preserve access to significant digitised heritage material and born-digital resources of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. The current collection of 2,600 texts is delivered through an open source, standards-based framework, offering free and full access to multiple formats for download and online browsing.

Summary of licence use in sector

table 15

• In projects such as ABC Pool and Picture Australia, institutions allow contributors to choose which licence suits their needs, but express a preference to allow remixing.

• Flickr Commons is a project drawing on cultural institutions’ heritage materials, licensed ‘no known copyright,’ encouraging viewers to annotate and update collections. Government 2.0 & Access to Public Sector Information (PSI)

Government 2.0 & Access to Public Sector Information (PSI)

table 16

On 18 June 2008, the OECD Ministerial Seoul Declaration for the Future of the Internet Economy was endorsed,[66] establishing a widely acknowledged framework for the provision of access to, and re-use of Public Sector Information (PSI), including scientific data and works of cultural heritage. Foundation principles underpinning ‘Government 2.0’ continue to be discussed internationally,[67] and efforts to provision Tim Berners-Lee’s ‘linked data’[68] documented on the Open Knowledge Foundation blog,[69] amongst others. CC Australia project lead Professor Brian Fitzgerald chronicles these developments in Access to Public Sector Information: Law, Technology & Policy, a newly launched two-volume publication detailing the global shift in the way PSI is published and produced.

In the United States, the Obama-Biden Administration affirmed its commitment to open government upon taking office, declaring that government should be transparent, participatory, and collaborative. The licensing of third-party materials on the domain under CC BY 3.0 United States underscores the pivotal role of CC in Government 2.0. In June 2009, the New York State Senate released photographic and textual content housed on its site under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 United States, with third-party materials licensed CC BY 3.0 United States. In a novel step, the Senate endorsed use of the CC+ protocol in all circumstances except political advertising.

Cheong Wa Dae, the Republic of Korea’s Presidential website, has released PSI materials including national parliamentary bills under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Korea. In a similar move, the Australian Parliament announced the migration of its central website across to CC BY-NCND 3.0 Australia on 7 June 2010, the first known adopter of Australia’s new licence version. Australia’s Government 2.0 Taskforce was convened in June 2009 to consider guiding PSI principles and practices.[70] As part of its consultation, the Taskforce called for innovative implementations of PSI in Australia. Responding to the call, Mosman Municipal Council, the local government administration for the north shores of Sydney, utilised CC and social networking as part of its Community Engagement Strategy (CES), licensing the CES under CC BY-NC 2.5 Australia. In November 2009, Mosman’s Council was named the Small Agency Innovator by Australia’s Government 2.0 Taskforce.[71]

The Government 2.0 Taskforce’s final report, Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0, was handed down on 22 December 2009, with recommendations that PSI be made open, accessible, and reusable, and moreover that:

‘Consistent with the need for free and open reuse and adaptation, PSI released should be licensed under the Creative Commons BY standard as the default.’[72]

Use of restrictive licensing arrangements would be reserved for special circumstances only. This is the approach adopted by Queensland’s Government Information Licensing Framework (GILF), detailed in Building an Australasian Commons, and endorsed as Queensland Government policy in March 2010. Significant examples of Australian public sector adoption of CC include the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), with its release of Australia’s national census data on 18 December 2008 under CC BY 2.5 Australia. In November 2009, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) Improving Water Information Program, recommended that data suppliers implement CC BY 2.5 for all data supplied under the Water Regulations 2008. Geoscience Australia officially adopted the CC BY 2.5 Australia licence for its website in December 2009, releasing more than 18,800 products and 3,690 datasets for reuse.[73]

On the State level, Victorian Parliament’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee (EDIC) Report, Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data[74] was tabled on 24 June 2009, endorsing open access as the default position for the management of the State’s PSI, and that the CC licensing model be applied to its Information Management Framework.[75] The Victorian Government’s response to EDIC endorsed these recommendations in February 2010.

App My State is a competition initiated by the Victorian Government to build mobile and web applications for the benefit of the State’s citizens. This coincides with the release of PSI datasets through a central online repository.

Summary of licence use in sector

table 17

• The most popular licence for the release of PSI is CC BY, at 28.6%.

• Government websites, such as Cheong Wa Dae and New York State Senate, tend to be published under CC BY-NC-ND, as with Australia’s Parliamentary site. The Restrictive Licence (RL) is offered by GILF to account for materials inappropriate for public release, such as those with privacy concerns or containing confidential information.

Remix My Lit: Creative Commons and the Written Word

table 18

Building an Australasian Commons: Case Studies Vol. 1 featured the first Australian book to be published under CC, legal and technology blogs, and several journalistic endeavours. The following case studies represent fact and fiction, as a social history, an open-access academic journal, a novel, and remixable anthology. These publications join with Lawrence Lessig’s Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy, published by Bloomsbury Academic on 1 May 2009 under CC BY-NC 3.0 Unported, in being notable exemplars in open publishing. Award-winning author and free culture advocate Cory Doctorow released Little Brother, his fifth novel, on 29 April 2008 under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 Unported. Referencing the surveillance state and the War on Terror, Little Brother chronicles the life of w1n5t0n, a student hacker from San Francisco, apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security after a terrorist attack. The book, published by Tor, sits alongside Doctorow’s other works in celebrating free culture and free speech.

PLATFORM: Journal of Media and Communication is a peer-reviewed open-access, online graduate journal published by the Media and Communications Program at the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne. Submissions are received from Australian and international Honours, Masters and Doctoral candidates and refereed by an editorial board of emerging and established scholars. Contributions are encouraged under CC BY 2.5 Australia. Volume 1: Mediated Mobilities: Negotiating Identities released in July 2009 contained six submissions, three under the default CC BY 2.5 Australia licence; two under CC BY-NC 2.5 Australia; and one under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5. In July 2010, PLATFORM is further contributing to open access, open standards and free culture with ‘Yes, We’re Open!,’ edited by Jessica Coates and Elliott Bledsoe from CC Australia.

Through the Clock’s Workings is a remixable and remixed anthology of short stories, edited by Australian author Amy Barker. Published by Sydney University Press and released under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5 Australia in 2009, the work represents literature that is both ‘read’ and ‘write.’ It builds on nine original works by notable Australian writers including Cate Kennedy and Kim Wilkins, and offers 13 remixes, featuring poems and abridgements. The distinctive cover art was produced by Ali J, who featured prominently in the Visual Arts section of Building An Australasian Commons.

David Bollier, editor of, author and policy strategist, published Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own in 2009 with The New Press, as a history of the ‘free culture’ movement and its free software antecedents. Documenting key moments in copyright activism, scholarship, technology and social innovation, Bollier examines new business models surrounding peer production, open science and education. Viral Spiral is released under a CC BY-NC 3.0 Unported licence.

Summary of licence use in sector

table 19

• Two licences are the most popular in publishing: CC BY-NC-SA (26.6%) and CC BY-NC-ND (23.4%). Authors such as Cory Doctorow have adopted the former, allowing non-commercial adaptations of their works.

Beyond the Classroom: Creative Commons & Open Educational

table 20

Innovation and collaboration in education is central to CC, with a renewed focus placed on Open Educational Resources (OER) in January 2010.[76] Ensuring educational materials continue to be widely accessible, adaptable, interoperable and discoverable is of primary concern to CC, leading to implementation of its education ‘landing page’[77] in April 2010. Project priorities include reconsideration of social, media, and policy objectives, to allow continued development of OER case studies and interviews, ‘highlighting the best and brightest implementations and implementers of CC for OER.’ This is clearly an area in which the CC Case Studies wiki can expand its role, aiding the development of metrics for OER adoption, with a possible Wikimedia WikiProjects-inspired ratings system.[78] Several instructive OER entries currently feature in the CC Case Studies wiki. These sit alongside core open education institutions featured on CC’s landing page:

table 21

The California Free Digital Textbook Initiative is the first free, open-source digital textbook project in the United States. Launched by Governor Schwarzenegger in June 2009, ‘This first-in-the-nation initiative will reduce education costs, help encourage collaboration among school districts and help ensure every California student has access to a world-class education.’[79]

The Initiative’s initial phase featured ten standards-aligned, open-source science and mathematics texts from the CK-12 Foundation, Curriki, and Connexions, amongst others.[80] The second phase, commenced in February 2010, received 17 history, social science and advanced mathematics texts; of the 15 reviewed, ten carried a CC BY-SA or CC BY licence, two GFDL, with one being in the public domain.[81]

Flat World Knowledge (FWK) is a commercial textbook publisher in Irvington, New York, offering high quality, peer-reviewed higher education texts for free, online. All FWK texts, both in print and print-on-demand, are distributed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 Unported. The business’s rationale for CC is thus:

‘We’re giving away great textbooks and making them open because it solves real problems for students and instructors. In so doing, we are creating a large market for our product. We then turn around and sell things of value to that large market.’

In April 2010, FWK partnered with Barnes & Noble to distribute low-cost print versions of its texts, placing them in 3,000 B&N and National Association of College Stores across the United States. Non-profit publisher Pratham Books joined the Commons in November 2008,[84] prompted by its work with Nepal’s One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) and Open Learning Exchange. Established to make children’s books more accessible, and to provide primary education for every child in India, Pratham offered six children’s books under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5 India via Scribd. Pratham has revisited its licence choice, subsequently adopting CC BY 3.0 Unported, and CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported for audio versions, podcast in English and Urdu by Radio Mirchi. Pratham has also expanded the format in which books are made available.

Qedoc Interactive Resources offers learning materials in a range of disciplines across the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, allowing teachers and learners to reuse and remix content according to their needs. Qedoc employs a variety of CC licences, although disallows –ND, in line with the OER definition. Qedoc has found the CC BY-NC-SA licence to be the most adopted. For documentation and development, the project employs a wiki licensed under CC BY-SA Generic. Stanford graduate John Wetzel established WikiPremed to assist premedical students prepare for the US Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). WikiPremed offers twenty modules of materials in physical and biological sciences, ranging from textbooks to test questions. The site offers digital materials for free under CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported, but charges for print materials such as flash cards. Of its business model, Glyn Moody notes:

‘What’s interesting here is that once again it’s analogue goods that bring in the money, while the digital side does the marketing – a pattern that is emerging in many sectors… Free content has another great case study showing how you can make money from giving stuff away.’[82]

Several independent textbooks have been developed in this time – Dive Into Python and Python for Informatics, discussed in FLOSS, and Motion Mountain: The Free Physics Textbook, developed by Christoph Schiller and licensed CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 Germany. Summary of licence use in sector

Summary of licence use in sector

table 22

• A recent report issued by P2PU, A Guide to Choosing an Open Licence: The Peer 2 Peer University Experience,[83] considers which CC licence best suits OER. After consultation with educational and legal experts, P2PU chose CC BY-SA, with allowance for CC BY for third-party funded materials. Traditionally, OER licences are the more open of the CC suite to facilitate continued remixing and reuse amongst educators and their institutions.

• CC BY and CC BY-SA are used by CK-12 Foundation, Connexions, Curriki, P2PU, Pratham Books, and WikiPremed. In contrast, MIT OpenCourseWare uses CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 United States.

• 21.4% of surveyed projects adopt ND. This clause is excluded from sites such as Qedoc as it prevents the remixing of materials.

Anyone Can Edit: Wikis & Creative Commons

table 23

Perhaps the most notable development to occur subsequent to the publication of the initial Case Studies collection has been Wikimedia’s transition to CC BY-SA,[84] thereby assuring the ‘interoperability of free culture.’[85] Approving Wikipedia’s migration from the GNU Free Documentation Licence (GFDL) to the CC ‘wiki’ licence on 21 May 2009,[86] the Wikimedia Foundation has also overseen the licence transition of all Wikimedia-hosted wikis, including projects such as Citizendium,[87] WikiEducator, and the Encyclopedia of Earth, amongst many others.[88] In his declarative post, ‘Wikipedia + CC BY-SA = Free Culture Win!,’ Creative Commons’ Vice President Mike Linksvayer emphasised the importance of outreach to non-Wikimedia wikis to encourage the adoption of the CC wiki licence. The CC Case Studies wiki (published under the more permissive CC BY 3.0 Unported licence) now includes details of the following openly licensed wiki projects: GrassrootsWiki, Hitchwiki, Rezepte Wiki, Stack Overflow, Travellerspoint Travel Guide, and WikiPremed.

Containing educational content, WikiPremed is detailed in the OER section of this paper, with Stack Overflow summarised in the FLOSS section. Outlining its motivations to adopt the CC wiki licence, the founder of Stack Overflow notes:

‘The community has selflessly provided all this content in the spirit of sharing and helping each other. In that very same spirit, we are happy to return the favor by providing a database dump of public data. We always intended to give the contributed content back to the community.’[89]

Summary of licence use in sector

table 24

• 100% of wikis surveyed for this project employ the CC Wiki licence, CC BY-SA, reflecting a successful adoption campaign.

From Free Software to Free Culture: Open Source & Creative Commons

table 25

Several studies develop or deploy Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), or are directly inspired by the norms of these movements, notably the work of Richard M. Stallman of the Free Software Foundation. These case studies are often allied to educational initiatives, offering open textbooks or internships. A notable example of the success of open source is Mark Pilgrim. Author of popular programming texts Dive Into Python and Dive Into Python 3, Mark is a prominent advocate of FLOSS and OCL. Stating ‘free software deserves free documentation,’ Mark licensed Dive Into Python under GFDL in October 2000. Given the success of the download, Mark collaborated with Apress on a hardcopy, earning him over $10,000 in royalties. Apress published Dive Into Python 3 in January 2009 under CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported, a ‘mature alternative to GFDL.’ Recognising Mark’s commitment to open licensing and free online publishing, Google Press has commission Dive Into HTML5. Mark negotiated a CC BY licence with O’Reilly for this work. Mark believes that CC BY and CC BY-SA best reflect the free culture ethos, allowing books to take on a life of their own.

‘You have the freedom to keep this book alive. If I choose to stop distributing it, you can distribute it yourself. If I move on and this book goes out of date, you can pick up where I left off and keep this book current and relevant.’

Python for Informatics: Exploring Data is a text compiled by Chuck Severance, a legal remix of Think Python: How to Think Like a Computer Scientist, by Allen B. Downey, Jeff Elkner et al., licensed under GFDL. Following Wikipedia’s transition to CC BY-SA from GFDL, Chuck obtained permission from the current copyright holders to change the text’s terms:

‘Using the CC BY-SA license maintains the book’s strong copyleft tradition while making it even more straightforward for new authors to reuse this material as they see fit.’ (Preface)

Supporting education at the university level, Google Summer of Code (GSoC) offers students stipends to work on a wide array of FLOSS projects over summer. Initiated in 2005 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, GSoC has partnered with CC to offer students insights into open content as well as open software. The program offers all documentation and APIs created during internships under CC and FLOSS licences.

Computer Masti (CM) is a computer course offered by InOPEN, Mumbai, for school children in India. InOPEN works extensively with FLOSS technologies at both the university and school levels. CM’s program offers a series of educational technical books and activities, published under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5 India, to encourage educators to translate content and contribute to the project.

A podcast about Linux and FLOSS, Linux Outlaws is hosted by Fabian Scherschel and Dan Lynch, two free culture and free software advocates who record live from Bonn, Germany, and Liverpool, UK, respectively. First broadcast on 5 September 2007, the podcast deals with an everyday, rather than expert, opinion on Linux distributions and developments in open source. Each episode attracts around 2000 downloads,[90] and is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported. MCM is the Canadian author of The Pig and The Box, a CC BY-NC-SA-licensed children’s tale of the dangers of Digital Rights/Restrictions Management (DRM). A response to Access Copyright’s ‘Captain Copyright’ campaign, the book has attracted praise from Cory Doctorow and Richard Stallman. MCM considers his licensing approach in ‘Creative Commons: To NC or Not to NC,’ noting that 2/3 of all CC-licensed works carry the NonCommercial restriction.[91]

The Open Clip Art Library is a repository of user-contributed clip art freely available for any use, and in particular, open-source software such as or AbiWord. In June 2010, the archive hosts over 64,000 images, all of which are in the public domain. The site is powered by open-source software ccHost. PICOL, the Pictorial Communication Language, is a project initiated by Melih Bilgil in December 2008 to create a standard sign system for electronic communications. As of 1 July 2010, 105 icons are available for download under CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported, being ‘free to use and open to alter.’ Haansoft Office 2007 is an extension developed by Hancom Inc., Korea, allowing the application of the CC licence suite to word-processing documents. Hancom is additionally pursuing open-source software via the Asianux Linux distribution.

Stack Overflow is a wiki-styled website featuring community-curated questions and answers on technical issues. Established by Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky in 2008, Stack Overflow serves as a repository of collective wisdom on difficult and unusual programming tasks, being collaboratively built and maintained, with registered users contributing expertise and being rewarded by reputation points and badges. User-contributed content is licensed under ‘CC Wiki,’ CC BY-SA 2.5 Generic, whilst podcasts discussing programming-related issues are released under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 United States.

Summary of licence use in sector

table 26

• The most popular licence among FLOSS projects is predictably CC BY-SA (41.7%), which best accords with ‘copyleft’ sentiment, mirroring Wikipedia’s transition from GFDL to CC BY-SA in 2009.

• The next most adopted licence is CC BY-NC-SA, which preserves the ShareAlike provision (25%).

Are You Game? Exploring the Gift Economy with Interactive Resources

table 27

A new category of entry featuring on the CC Case Studies wiki is interactive, gaming resources.

GiftTRAP is a prominent proponent of CC in its use of CC BY Flickr images on game cards, themselves licensed CC BY-NC 2.5. Established in 2006 to explore the gift economy, GiftTRAP encourages players to contribute new rules and derivations, and even a new name for the game. Awarded Spiel des Jahres 2009, GiftTRAP has been translated into eight languages, and attributes its success to CC.

Runes of Gallidon establishes a collaborative fantasy world where users (‘artisans’) are encouraged to contribute creative works to enrich gameplay, whilst retaining commercial rights. Employing CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 for submissions, Runes’ founding company Brain Candy, LLC explores the idea of a ‘renewable entertainment franchise model,’ enabling users to recombine each other’s ideas in innovative ways whilst interacting with franchise content. Through an ‘Artisan’s Agreement,’ users allow Brain Candy to format, post, sell, and market their work under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0, whilst retaining those rights.

‘Choosing Creative Commons for our license… demonstrated how much we want to encourage and endorse what fans already do: re-interpret content on their own terms, in their own way.’ – Scott Walker, Co-Founder, Runes of Gallidon

Also drawing on the world of gaming is Strange Company, the world’s oldest machinima[92] concern. Founded in 1997 by Gordon McDonald and Hugh Hancock, Strange Company crafted the feature-length film Bloodspell over three years, employing the BioWare Aurora game engine. Released under CC BY-NC 2.5 Generic in 2007, Bloodspellattracted around 100,000 views. Hugh explains the company’s choice of CC:

‘I want people to be able to show my movie to their friends. I want them to be able to make music videos from it, or fan-fiction, or whatever. If they’re doing that, they’re talking about our work, they’re getting their friends involved in it, they’re spending time in our universe.’

table 28

Summary of licence use in sector

table 29

• The distribution of licensing choice for interactive resources and games is evenly spread.

Ways Forward for The CC Wiki Project

‘The licenses have attracted passionate musicians from Brazil, resourceful hackers from Amsterdam, talented remix artists from Japan, educators from South Africa concerned with open education and open access publishing, and so many other people.’ – David Bollier[93]

As identified throughout this paper, the CC Case Studies wiki is an invaluable resource for both the organisation and users of Creative Commons. Since its establishment in 2008 by Creative Commons Australia[94] in collaboration with an international development team, the wiki’s evolution has occurred according to a roadmap, emphasising collaborative curation of the site.

With regard to quantity of contributions, it is desirable that further CC jurisdictions become involved in this project to illustrate how localised licences have been received, and identify where assistance can be provided. Multilingual support of the wiki is integral to its ongoing relevance. To capture the interdisciplinary nature of CC, it is also desirable that the wiki reach artists and institutions of all kinds. Further outreach programs are required, whether through enlisting the connectors identified in this article, word-of-mouth campaigns, or via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. ccSalons, conferences, and competitions all feature within this program. The challenge of course remains of connecting with creators who aren’t yet aware of CC.

In terms of quality of contributions, continued curation is required. Assisting contributors whose entries remain incomplete and understanding the challenges of data collection is key. Providing ‘how-to’s, FAQs and translation tools, alongside multi-format feedback mechanisms is central to this campaign.

An additional enhancement may be the incorporation of thematic ‘trails,’ curated to provide a pathway through a specific topic. Illustrative narratives are presented by Picture Australia, demonstrating images of ‘Arts & Culture’ and ‘History & Society,’ amongst others. To provide rigour to the wiki, the implementation of Wikipedia-styled metrics may be appropriate, although the possibility of creating further barriers to participation should be noted. Any such step should be undertaken in consultation with the CC community, via mailing lists and the website. Ultimately, by celebrating success, the CC Case Studies wiki can facilitate ongoing, informed licence adoption. The CC story has just begun.


[1] ‘CC Vietnam Launches at Open CourseWare Consortium Global Meeting in Hanoi,’ Michelle Thorne, 7 May 2010,

[2] ‘Creative Commons Newsletter September 2009,’ Issue No. 14, http://mirrors.

[3] ‘Planning for sustainable and strategic impact: Creative Commons and open education,’

Mike Linksvayer, 25 January 2010,

[4], as applied to third-party materials uploaded to the site.

[5] ‘NIH Open Access mandate made permanent,’ Thinh Nguyen, 17 March 2009,

[6] Cobcroft, Rachel (Ed.) (2008). Building an Australasian Commons: Case Studies Vol. 1. Available at

[7] Thorne, M. & Cobcroft, R. (2009). ‘Capturing the Commons: (Ways Forward for) The CC Case Studies Initiative.’ Available at

[8] Ryan, G.W., & Bernard, H.R. (n.d.). Techniques to Identify Themes in Qualitative Data. Retrieved August 20, 2010, from

[9] Ryan, G.W. (n.d.). What Are Standards Of Rigor For Qualitative Research? Retrieved August 20, 2010, from

[10] Yin, R.K. (1984). Case Study Research: Design and Methods, 1st ed. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, p. 23.

[11] Triangulation is at the heart of the case study approach: Yin, R.K. (2002). Case Study Research Design and Methods, 3rd ed, London: Sage, p. 93. For endorsement of mixed methods, see for example, Gable, G. (1994). Integrating case study and survey research methods: an example in information systems. European Journal of Information Systems, 3(2), pp. 11212 Yin, R.K. (1994). Case Study Research, Design and Methods, 2nd ed. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, pp. 4-6.

[12] Yin, R.K. (1993). Applications of Case Study Research. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

[13] Hemetsberger, A. (2003). ‘When Consumers Produce on the Internet: The Relationship between Cognitive-affective, Socially- based, and Behavioral Involvement of Prosumers,’ p. 9. Retrieved 1 July 2010 from

[14] Similarly, music site Jamendo implements CC saying, ‘Be known and recognized. Spread your music worldwide,’

[15] See, for example, the policy of Gatehouse Media:

[16] ‘Brad Sucks,’ Cameron Parkins, 29 September 2008, entry/9750.

[17] As per EdgeX co-founders Axel Bruns and Sal Humphreys,

[18] Noted by Simeon Moran of Digital Fringe, Studies/Digital_Fringe.

[19] ‘Judgement Day,’ Adam Curry, 9 March 2006,

[20] ‘Creative Commons Licenses Enforced in Dutch Court,’ Mia Garlick, 16 March 2006,

[21] Putnam, R. (2000). Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster.

[22] Chris also observes that, ‘I believe that if you live your love and passion, and if you open up the exposure to your work in creative ways, like using CC to communicate your intentions of sharing, you will see the benefits and the effects that your creativity has on the world.’

[23] Misteriddles,

[24] Benkler, Y. (2006). The Wealth of Networks. Retrieved 1 July 2010 from http://www.

[25] The desire to share is widely expressed, in entries including Blender Foundation, Brad Sucks, Dozer., EngageMedia, Filter Magazine, Foncept, Gatehouse Media, Global Voices Online, GotoKnow, Hot for Profit, IGeneration, Nasty Old People, Pamoyo, and Christopher Willits.

[26] See Hyde, L. (1983). The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property. New York: Vintage Books.

[27] See also Filter Magazine, ‘Artwork is created to be shared, not owned,’ http://wiki.creativecommons. org/Case_Studies/Filter_Magazine.

[28] Cheliotis, G. & Yew, J. (2009). ‘An Analysis of the Social Structure of Remix Culture.’ In Proc. 4th Intl Conf on Communities and Technologies 2009, Penn. State Univ., USA, June 2009. Springer Verlag, Berlin.

[29] ‘CC Talks with Epic Fu,’ Cameron Parkins, 4 August 2008, weblog/entry/8674.

[30] Bandura, A. (Ed.). (1995). Self-Efficacy in Changing Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[31] Op. cit., p. 10.

[32] Blanchard, A., & Markus, M. (2002). ‘Sense of Virtual Community – Maintaining the

Experience of Belonging,’ Proceedings of the 35th Annual Hawaii International Conference

on System Sciences (HICSS’02), 8, pp. 270b. Abbreviated as ‘SoVC.’

[33] This encompassing term was first employed by Rishab Aiyer Ghosh in 2001, and has been used in worldwide impact studies for the European Union, as per http://www.flossworld.Org/.

[34] The Free Software Definition, encompassing four freedoms, is published by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) at

[35] Open Source Definition, as per the Open Source Initiative, docs/osd.

[36] Slashdot (21 February, 2001). Rebel Code, shtml.

[37] Lessig and Doctorow have inspired musician Jonathan Coulton, Brian Boyko (director Following Alexis West), educator Mike Seyfang, and Aduki Independent Press’ manager Emily Clark, amongst others. Coulton opines, ‘Everyone in the world should read Lawrence Lessig’s book Free Culture. …The things he says make so much sense,’

Flickr has been the means by which the following creators were introduced to the Commons: Ali J Art & Illustration,’s John Yi, Bert Jerred, and VOCAB: with Bennu’s Vincent Brown.

[38] The professional and personal connections with Creative Commons have influenced the adoption of CC licences for OESR and ultimately GILF, and New Zealand’s Knives at Noon.

[39] In addition to attracting $US1.6 million revenue in its first week and achieving #1 on Billboard’s electronic charts, Ghosts I-IV was ranked the best-selling mp3 album of 2008 on Amazon’s MP3 store. ‘NIN’s CC-Licensed Best-Selling MP3 Album,’ Fred Benenson, 5 January 2009,

[40] ‘CC Salon LA (6/26/08): Curt Smith and Monk Turner Discuss CC/Music,’ Cameron

Parkins, 19 June 2008,

[41], publishedunder CC BY 3.0 United States. In addition, Smith’s site features a video interview on Retro Rewind with Dave Harris from 4 November 2008 in which the artist discusses the benefits of CC:

[42] Data was captured usinggeometric informatics and Velodyne LIDAR, employing 64 lasers rotating 360° and shooting 900 times per minute, in exchange for lights and cameras.

[43] ‘Printing Thom Yorke’s Head,’ Fred Benenson, 2 November 2009, http://creativecommons. org/weblog/entry/18970.

[44] ‘20,000 albums? We can hardly believe it!,’ 25 May 2009,; ‘Jamendo reaches 20,000albums,’ Mike Linksvayer, 25 May 2009, entry/14695.

[45] A deal was subsequently struck with the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) to provide ambient music for their estimated 300,000 hotels and 8 million restaurants, with artists receiving 50% of revenue raised: ‘Commercially Licensed Music from Jamendo Pro,’ Fred Benenson, 19 February 2009, In April 2010, MusicMatic invested in Jamendo, buying out Mangrove Capital Partners’ share: ‘Jamendo PRO Partners with International Hotel & Restaurant Association,’ Cameron Parkins, 2 November 2009,

[46] ‘Commercially Licensed Music from Jamendo Pro,’ Fred Benenson, 19 February 2009,

[47] Founded by David Evan Harris, GLP is an international collaboration of filmmakers whose aim is to encourage intercultural education and understanding via technology, forming an ongoing dialogue about development and diversity, social justice, sustainability, and similarities across cultures. The collective currently comprises hundreds of volunteers – filmmakers, programmers, photographers, engineers, architects, designers, students and scholars – who are creating an ongoing, participatory library of human experience. New footage is continually being incorporated, and subtitling into many languages progressing.

[48] ‘When Global Lives got started, our core objective was to record the daily lives of ten people

who were “roughly representative of the world’s population”,’ http://creativecommons. org/weblog/entry/12296.

[49] The project is led by Muid Latif to capture the keywords ‘Unity’ and ‘Love’ in street portraits to be published on Flickr.

[50] In pursuit of this goal, the Centre has developed relationships and collaborations with a number of allied organisations, including the Asia NZ Foundation (ANZF), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), the Human Rights Commission (HRC), and the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF).

[51] ‘Remixing Çatalhöyük Launches,‘ 5 October 2007,

[52] Literally, ‘inhabitants of land.’

[53] ‘CC Talks with The Global Lives Project,’ Cameron Parkins, 23 January 2009,

[54] ‘Nasty Old People, Give It Away And Pray And Releasing Movies For File Sharing,’ Mike Masnick, TechDirt, 16 November 2009,

[55] ‘Hindu Goddess as Betty Boop? It’s Personal,’ Margy Rochlin, The New York Times, 13 February 2009,

[56] ‘Having a wonderful time, wish you could hear,’ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 23 December 2008,

[57] ‘Lessons from fashion’s free culture: Johanna Blakley on,’ 25 May 2010,, licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 Generic.

[58] Interesting parallels can be drawn with the Threadless community, as researched by Karim

R. Lakhani, Harvard Business School, ‘Threadless: The Business of Community,’;

[59] ‘Celebrate 100 Million CC Photos on Flickr with Joi Ito’s Free Souls,’ Fred Benenson, 23 March 2009,

[60] ‘100 Millionen freie Bilder bei Flickr,’ Christian, Metawelle, 22 March 2009,; ‘Analysis of 100M CC-Licensed Images on Flickr,’ Michelle Thorne, 25 March 2009, http://creativecommons. org/weblog/entry/13588.

[61] Current participating institutions in The Commons on Flickr are noted here, from the Library of Congress to the National Library of Scotland:

[62] ‘Flickr to double its Commons collection,’ Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing, 30 January 2010, A recent post by Indicommons co-founder, and latterly Flickr employee Cris Stoddard, ‘The Commons: Vital, virile, virtual and viral,’ 28 January 2010, discusses its rationale and demonstrates its success:

[63] ‘Structured Brainstorming Competition: Congratulations to all our winners!,’ Peter Alexander, 19 November 2009,

[64] ‘Inaugural ABC Awards Celebrate Excellence In Digital Media,’ 29 February 2009,

[65] ‘ABC enters the Gene Pool,’ Jessica Coates, 17 February 2009, http://creativecommons.

[66] OECD. (2008). The Seoul Declaration for the Future of the Internet Economy,,3407,en_21571361_38415463_1_1_1_1_1,00.html.

[67] As with the United Kingdom’s New Public Sector Transparency Board and Public Data Transparency Principles, announced on 25 June 2010,

[68] Berners-Lee, T. (2007). Linked Data,

[69], in addition to discussions by scholars and practitioners on its <open-government> mailing list.

[70] The Taskforce was preceded by Cutler’s 2008 Venturous Australia Report on the Review of the National Innovation System,, endorsing the formation of a National Information Strategy (Recommendation 7.7) and open licensing in Recommendation 7.8.

[71] ‘Structured Brainstorming Competition: Congratulations to all our winners!,’ Government 2.0 Taskforce, 19 November 2009,

[72] Recommendation 6.3.

[73] ‘More on Government Data – Geoscience Australia goes CC,’ Elliott Bledsoe, 16 December 2009,

[74] Parliament of Victoria. (2009). Inquiry into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data, final_report.html

[75] Respectively, Recommendations 1 and 14, with a tailored suite of licences for restricted materials being Recommendation 15.

[76] ‘CC & OER 2010,’ Mike Linksvayer, 30 January 2010, weblog/entry/20329. ccLearn was consolidated at this point.

[77] ‘Creative Commons & Education Landing Page And Wiki Project,’ Mike Linksvayer, 7 April 2010,

[78] ‘Gov. Schwarzenegger Launches First-in-Nation Initiative to Develop Free Digital Textbooks for High School Students,’ 6 May 2009,

[79] ‘CA Free Digital Textbook Initiative Launches Phase 2,’ Jane Park, 2 February 2010,

[80] ‘Phase 2 Results of the CA Free Digital Textbook Initiative,’ Jane Park, 3 May 2010,

[81] ‘On Joining the Commons,’ Gautam John, Pratham Books, 17 November 2008,

[82] ‘WikiPremed: Making Money from Free,’ Glyn Moody, Open…, 11 March 2010,

[83] ‘Choosing An Open License – the P2PU Experience,’ Jane Park, 25 May 2010,

[84] ‘Wikipedia + CC BY-SA = Free Culture Win!,’ Mike Linskvayer, 22 June 2009,

[85] ‘Wikimedia Foundation announces important licensing change for Wikipedia and its sister projects,’ citing Lawrence Lessig,

[86] ‘Wikimedia community approves license migration,’ Jay Walsh, 21 May 2009,

[87] under CC BY-SA. The Citizendium community has initiated a project to ‘improve Wikipedia articles by importing any useful content from their Citizendium counterparts,’ at

[88] ‘Licensing update rolled out in all Wikimedia wikis,’ Erik Moeller, Wikimedia Foundation,

[89] ‘Stack Overflow Creative Commons Data Dump,’ Jeff Atwood, 4 June 2009,

[90] ‘Linux Outlaws Podcast - Great for people wanting to get into Linux,’ Ali Ross, 2 March 2009,

[91] Citing ‘CC Stats,’ Giorgos Cheliotis, 2 July 2007,

[92] A portmanteau of ‘machine’ and ‘cinema.’ See the Guardian’s commentary at

[93] ‘CC Talks with David Bollier,’ Mike Linksvayer, 5 March 2009, http://creativecommons. org/weblog/entry/13189.

[94] Project funding was obtained through the Creative Commons Clinic at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.

To cite this article: Cobcroft, R. (2010) The State of the Commons: Case studies 2010’, PLATFORM: Journal of Media and Communication, Yes, We’re Open! Why Open Source, Open Content and Open Access. A Creative Commons Special Edition (December): 14-63. ISSN: 1836-5132 Online © Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Australia licence

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Volume 5 - Issue 1

October 2013
Edited by Luke Heemsbergen & Suneel Jethani
Diana Bossio

Volume 4 - Issue 1

June 2012
Edited by Luke van Ryn & Shujie (Phoebe) Guo

Volume 3 - Issue 1:
Media and "Race"

April 2011
Edited By Sandy Watson

Volume 2 - Issue 2:
Collaborative Media and Networked Publics

September 2010
Edited By Dale Leorke

Volume 2 - Issue 1

January 2010
Edited by Amira Firdaus

Volume 1: Mediated Mobilities: Negotiating Identities

July 2009
Edited by Esther Chin

Special Issues:

Young Scholars’ Network of ECREA

November 2011
Guest Edited By Benjamin De Cleen, Alenka Jelen and Julie Uldam

Creative Commons

Dec 2010
Guest Edited by Elliott Bledsoe and Jessica Coates


April 2010
Guest Edited by Diana Bossio