Creative Commons CEO, Ryan Merkley Speaks on 2016 and expectations for 2017

Dear friends,

I can’t wait for 2016 to be over.

Refugee crises, outbreaks of disease, and a divisive US election has left many disappointed and exhausted by the challenges ahead. 2016 was difficult, destructive, and terrifying for many all over the world. I truly believe that if we want the world to be more equitable, accountable, and accessible to all, we have to build it together. More than ever, we need to work together to share our knowledge and resources, to build the world we want for ourselves and our families. As the year finally comes to a close, many are asking how they can be part of the solution? How can we start 2017 with renewed energy?

Creative Commons isn’t the most obvious answer to that question. But our team, our community, and our tools are at the centre of so many global movements that are working to build a more equitable and innovative world. From open educational resources for at-risk communities, to unlocking research to find a cure for Zika or Cancer, CC is part of the solution.

Our reach is large, but we’re much smaller than you might think. Just 20 staff worldwide, with a small and vibrant community of global affiliates. And yet, over 1.1 billion times, we’ve helped people share and collaborate together for a better world. We’re completely supported by grants and donations, and we can’t continue our work without your help. Our small but dedicated group of donors make all the difference; your donation – at every level – tells us that you’re ready to help CC drive change when it is needed most.We can’t do this without you.

The list of causes that need your help is overwhelming, but I truly believe Creative Commons is fundamental to so many movements that I hope we’ll make your list. We’re almost at the end of the year and we are SO close to hitting our goal. With the amazing show of support from all of you – our global community – we’re 85% to our goal. I am writing to ask for your help in pushing us to the finish line so we can head into 2017 with new optimism, and the resources we need to hit the ground running alongside our incredible supporters like you.

We’ve come so far with all of you. We compelled governments, foundations and organizations to share millions of new works; we rallied communities to fight the TPP and advance copyright reform; we unlocked research and data to drive innovation and discovery. We really couldn’t have done this without you – thank you.

We have big plans for the year ahead. New tools to support discovery and re-use, and build a commons of collaboration and gratitude; stronger global communities that can advocate and activate sharing cultures around the world. I can’t wait to share all our big wins with you – but first, we need your support to make it happen.

A commitment to a more vibrant creative world begins today. Let’s light up the commons together

With thanks from all of us at CC,

Ryan Merkley

CEO, Creative Commons

Culled from:

Creative Commons Tech Lead gives Keynote Speech at OpenCon 2016 Lagos

Creative Commons  Nigeria Tech Lead, Kayode Yussuf was selected to give the keynote speech at OpenCon 2016 Lagos. Kayode spoke on Building Innovation Through Trust.

Kayode spoke the importance of trust in the creation of innovation, with focus on how Creative Commons licenses can help build trust between owners of creative works and users of the same works.

OpenCon satellite events are local conference that discuss the benefits of openness. OpenCon brings students, researchers, and early career professionals who are interested in learning and advocating for open access in education, research materials and research data together.

Speakers lined up for the event included Funke Opeke (CEO, MainOne), Lorraine Chuen (representative from Right to Research organization in Washington DC), Kayode Yussuf (tech lead at Creative Commons Nigeria), Godwin Benson (CEO, and Adisa Bolutife (Open access advocate, University of Lagos ).

OpenCon 2016 Lagos held at the Julius Berger Hall, University of Lagos on December 23, 2016.

The top of the commons 2016: Favorites from our community of commoners

Jennie Rose Halperin


December 20, 2016

2016 is almost at a close, and our global communities are as busy as ever. Around the world, diverse groups are working together to create meaningful connections and light up the commons. From announcements of new communities in Turkey and Panama to the best in music, photography, and open education from communities around the world, we’re pleased to present this year’s best from the commons as chosen by our affiliates and staff.


Vančo Džambaski is a photoactivist who publishes tons of HQ HR photos via flickr using CC BY-NC-SA. He attends events, mostly organized by civil society, as well as protests and demonstrations, and publishes albums of selected photos from each event. His photos are then used by media both local and foreign (incl. Global Voices), as well as social media users, and on the long run, he provided photos from historical events for some books even. We are working on spreading the CC idea amongst activists and independent media as a way for them to increase visibility.

Our Art is Free of Charge! 02.06.2016 #ColorfulRevolution by Vančo Džambaski CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

There are several nonprofit media outlets in Macedonia that use CC licenses (the first two are founded by Metamorphosis).

  • (leading news portal in Albanian language)
  • News Agency (independent news agency working in Macedonian, Albanian and English)
  • CIVIL — Center of Freedom (NGO working in different areas incl. election monitoring, who also produce a lot of news contents)


From the CC Uruguay team we would like to share 2 Year End Lists. From the content of the lists you’ll see that we love music and digitizing 😀

Top CC Licensed Uruguayan Albums of 2016:

1. Mux (by Mux)
2. Mapas Anatómicos (by Carmen Sandiego)
3. Registros akashicos (by Pau O’Bianchi)
4. Flor de Nadie (by Los extranjeros)
5. Carcasa (by Martes Mártir)

Top free software for digitizing public domain works:

1. Scantailor
2. Pi Scan
3. Tesseract OCR
4. ImageMagick
5. Pdfshuffle


Most Open Music Collective: Space Gambus Experiment (SGE)
Most Shared Creative Projects via Behance (with CC license): Chow Hon Lam
Most Proactive Commoner: Sinar Project
Emerging Commoner: Ezrena Marwan, Malaysia Design Archives
Most Active Open Source Community — Malaysia Open Source Community
Most Preferred Digital Libraries: Tan Sri Dr Abdullah Sanusi Digital Library, Open University Malaysia and Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Library, Wawasan Open University


CC Indonesia’s Most Open Events in 2016 Lists:

  1. Media: Horison Magazine Uploaded 264 Editions of their Magazines to Wikimedia Commons (Licensed with CC BY-SA)
Horison magazine cover July 1966, CC BY-SA

2. Socialization: CC Indonesia’s first Law Faculty Socialization in Gadjah Mada University Yogyakarta — CCID Activities Report Page Dated 15th of October 2016
3. OER: A governmental institution “Indonesian National Science Foundation’s Scientific Documentation Center” (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia: Pusat Dokumetasi dan Informasi Ilmiah, abbreviated as PDII LIPI) have started an initiative to use Creative Commons on each research products they publish. — CCID Activities Report Page Dated 2nd of November 2016:

Music: Top 5 CC Music Albums in 2016 Lists!

1. Frau — Parasite Lottery (Digital/Vinyl 7’’) (Yes No Wave Netlabel)
2. Peonies — Landscape (Compact Disc) (Masashi Records)
3. Low Pink — Phases EP (Compact Disc) (Kolibri Rekords)
4. Take — A Storyline (Cassette Tapes) (Rizkan Records)
5. Dialita — Dunia Milik Kita (Digital/Compact Disc) (Yes No Wave Netlabel)

Regulation: All Open License in Indonesia are freed from License Recordal Mandatory!

Kayode Yussuf, cc Nigeria

1. Favorite CC Academic Resources: National Open University of Nigeria
2. Favorite CC Law Research Resources: Young African Research Arena
3. Favorite CC Licensed Movie : RUN, a short documentary film focusing on child marriage in Nigeria.


My Favorite CC Profiles from this year:

  1. Re:vive’s creative interpretations of archival music with top electronic musicians: Reviving archives through remix. This interview was interesting not only because the project itself is dynamic and wide-reaching, but also because Gregory Markus is a thoughtful representative for creative archival uses and reuse/remix.
  2. Agile uses of CC0 for information literacy in Letters for Black Lives and the Refugee Phrasebook. Letters for Black Lives remains one of our most popular interviews to date because the project spread so rapidly and is a topical and compelling story. The Refugee Phrasebook is equally inspiring and wide-reaching: Teaching language skills to incoming refugees is such a crucial project, and this is an excellent use of CC0 data to create an agile and effective spread of data and information.
  3. Most creative use of CC in nontraditional objects: Make My Pattern. This was one of the first interviews I did at CC, and it was so fun! Joost’s project is so innovative and his adoption of the licenses is always changing for his audience. I love the way that he’s thought through using CC on patterns and physical objects, as well as the way he discovered his community in “sewcialism.”
  4.  CC and the concept of the commons in fine art: Caroline Woolard’s artistic practice. I met Caroline at a lecture she gave at the Oxbow school last year and was bowled over by her thoughtful conceptual vision. She has a strong artistic viewpoint and her work speaks volumes to community creation and the concept of the commons.
  5.  Information activism and CC: Freedom of the Press Foundation. The work for press freedom has never been more important, and Trevor Timm’s interview was prescient for the current moment, particularly as it concerns privacy and transparency in government and the press.
  6.  Creating cross-cultural connections: Maya Zankoul’s use of CC and illustration in Lebanon. My mom loved this profile of Maya Zankoul, a popular Lebanese blogger and illustrator. Her use of clever storytelling and beautiful illustrations invite people to step into her captivating and colorful world.


Turkey had its official launch in 2016!


  • Favorite CC photographers: Tomasz Mikołajczyk, CC0 (pixabay) teacher and amateur photographer, promotes CC0 among other teachers
Tomasz Mikołajczyk, CC0


Favorite CC photographer: Diego Gómez Hoyos. Biodiversity pictures from Latin America

Diego Gomez, “Hypsiboas rufitelus” CC BY-NC 2.0


Favorite CC photographer: Yluux

Elton Nunez, San Juan y San Miguel, CC BY NC-ND 4.0

Favorite CC Music: EEEEKs
Favorite CC film: Al margen
Most Open Music Collective: Fran
CC things or objects: Rodi the robot
Most Shared Creative Projects: Fotociclo
Most Active Open Source Community: HacklabAsu
Journalistic illustrations with CC: El Surtidor


Top OER blog posts of 2016

  1. Pondering the future of open in Nigeria: Jane Frances Agbu of the National Open University of Nigeria
  2. How can educators find and use OER in their classrooms?
  3. Active OER: Beyond Open Licensing Policies
  4. Cultivating a culture of Knowledge Sharing, by Fiona McAlister
  5. Open Textbooks 4 Africa (and exploring open textbooks in Uganda)
  6. Isla Haddow-Flood on How Wikipedians are changing the narrative around Africa


  1. CC Film:
  2. CC Artist:
  3. CC Projects:
  4. CC Ilustrations:
  5. Our CC Lawyers:
  6. CC Community:


Top 5 CC sites for New Zealand

Geonet. Lists NZ earthquakes in real time. Had 250 million hits on 14 November 2016, the day of New Zealand’s recent 7.8 magnitude Kaikoura Earthquake. All content CC BY licensed. Look at

Land Information New Zealand Data Service. Lists all public data released, including maps and aerial images. All content CC BY licensed. Look at Publishes tens of thousands of open government datasets for central, regional and local government in NZ and internationally. Provides detailed metadata including CC licensing.

Digital New Zealand. Search engine for New Zealand culture, connecting people to over 30 million digital items from 200 content partners. Active advocate for CC licensing. Go to

Collections Online, Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand). Offers 30,000 high resolution images, including over 14,000 under a CC BY NC ND licence, allowing legal re-use for “homework, on your blog, print it and hang it on your wall”. Also offers 17,000 images with No Known Rights restrictions. Go to

This year’s winner of the GIF IT UP contest, created by Jeff Gill and Kristen Carter using material from Europeana.

Creative Commons Stake Holders Conference on Open Access Presentations



Presenter Title
Mr. Michael Akpan Open Access and Copyright in Nigeria: Perspectives from the Copyright Reforms of the Nigerian Copyright Commission
Dr. Ifeoma Oluwasemilore  
Esther Ekong Open Access models to Publishing
Kayode Yussuf How to license your works CC
Samuel Atiku Open Data: Seizing the Potential
Abiodun Thorpe Creating A Sharing Economy That Fosters Collaboration

Creative Commons Stake Holders Conference on Open Access Presentations


Presenter Title
Mr. Michael Akpan Open Access and Copyright in Nigeria: Perspectives from the Copyright Reforms of the Nigerian Copyright Commission
Dr. Ifeoma Oluwasemilore  
Esther Ekong Open Access models to Publishing
Kayode Yussuf How to license your works CC
Samuel Atiku Open Data: Seizing the Potential
Abiodun Thorpe Creating A Sharing Economy That Fosters Collaboration

Creative Commons Nigeria and Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies of Nigeria host Roundtable on Open Access

In the area of knowledge governance today, it is no longer in doubt that ‘open’ is an important and emerging paradigm and philosophy. The shift from strictly closed and proprietary forms of knowledge governance is irrefutable and the notion of exclusive and absolute control over their content by authors is fast becoming the exception rather than the rule. This has resulted in the proliferation of different concepts, models and mechanisms of knowledge governance such as Open Access publishing, Open Education Resources, Open Data. Alongside these are new forms of licensing including Creative Commons, GNU, etc.

Creative Commons Nigeria got support from Creative Commons headquarters and Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies to host a stakeholders’ roundtable discussion on Creative Commons and its effect on open access to information and knowledge. The theme of the roundtable is ‘Understanding the Importance of the Open Access to Content in Nigeria in the Light of Current Copyright Law Reforms’

The meeting had 85 participants drawn from various sectors such as government, regulators, academia (high school and universities). The meeting also had librarians, technology start-up companies, social enterprises in attendance. The aim of the meeting was to introduce Creative Commons to the stakeholders and get their feedback. An important part of the meeting was listening to the fears of the community on using Creative Commons licenses.
It was enlightening to note that the Nigerian Copyright Commission, which is the intellectual property regulator in Nigeria had plans for Open Access licenses. The regulator had done a lot of research on Creative Commons Licenses and was willing to work with Creative Commons Nigeria in educating the users of these licenses.

There are good reasons for this trend. The concept of Open comes with great merits in addition to the fact that it is in perfect alignment with digital technology as the principal means of knowledge production and dissemination today. The philosophy of ‘open’ in knowledge governance and its merits can be seen in both the public and private sectors in education, research, governance.
For a country in the process of reforming its copyright laws to align with current requirements of the digital age, the concept of ‘open’ cannot be ignored. Unfortunately, it is clear that the philosophy of ‘openness’ in any form of knowledge governance is still a strange phenomenon in Nigeria. The level of awareness and scale of implementation of the different models of openness in knowledge governance in the country are insignificant in proportion to its size, needs and population. Reasons for this include lack of awareness and misconceptions about concepts and models, particularly Creative Commons and Open Access publishing. For instance, despite the increasing recognition of and justification for the use of Creative Commons licenses internationally, the mainstream Nigerian populace in the creative industry regards it with misgivings and suspicion. There is indeed a strong perception of CC among the stakeholders as a threat to their interests as copyright owners. Lack of awareness also exists in the academia and among key policy makers. These concerns clearly underscore the importance and imperative for enlightenment programs on Creative Commons in particular and open access practices and policies in knowledge governance generally in Nigeria. This imperative is further strengthened by the fact that Nigeria is on the threshold of amending her extant copyright statute in response to digital technology. Amending the law without properly integrating the philosophy of ‘open’ and the diverse models in knowledge governance developed on the basis of the philosophy would constitute a serious setback to knowledge governance in Nigeria.
This roundtable was designed to fulfill this need. It provided a platform for CC Nigeria to discuss with provide adequate knowledge of CC to the NCC and other policy makers and stakeholders in the academia and the creative industry as a whole. Such knowledge would be useful in providing them with enough understanding of the objectives of CC and the modalities of the licenses and thus help to clarify existing misconceptions and misgivings over CC.
Next steps after this stakeholders’ roundtable will be to begin to engage each sector. It will be great to host training for librarians, academics, business people and for those in entertainment.

Speakers at the roundtable included the representative of the Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Prof. Adebambo Adewopo and Ms. Esther Ekong of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies,  Mr. Michael Akpan of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Dr. Ifeoma Oluwasemilore of University of Lagos, Abiodun Thorpe of Rainy Lemon Ltd, Samuel Atiku of BudgIT, Idrees Ibrahim and Kayode Yussuf of Creative Commons Nigeria.

Photos of the event can be seen on Flickr


Institute for Open Leadership Fellows develop OER Policy Development Tool

After spending time with the Institute for Open Leadership,  Amanda Coolidge and Daniel DeMarte  have designed an OER Policy Development Tool.

The OER policy tool will help anyone who wants to create an OER policy do so quickly and without any stress. The contents of the OER policy tool are intended to be adopted and adapted for use within a college or university’s culture using the OER Policy Assumptions, OER Policy Components and OER Policy Resources.

Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons headquarters put it as ‘A win from the Institute for Open Leadership for Colleges / Universities wanting to create an OER policy’.

Amanda Coolidge and Daniel DeMarte are both 2016 fellows of the Institute for Open Leadership.

More details on this tool can be found on

Creative Commons Interviews Jane-Frances Agbu of Nigeria

National Open University Logo CC-BY 2.0

Open educator and Institute for Open Leadership Fellow Jane-Frances Agbu works as a senior lecturer in health science and coordinates the award-winning Open Educational Resources program at NOUN, the National Open University of Nigeria.  NOUN provides open and distance education to over 180,000 students in the region.
Agbu has seen the benefits of open education firsthand as a teacher, an administrator, and an advocate for free education for all students.
What does open education mean to you as an educator? How do OER increase access and equity in your institution? What has OER changed at your institution, if anything?
Open education means access, equity in education. It helps to reach the unreached and the marginalized (for example, those in conflict area, women in difficult situations, youth that must work but need to study at the same time). It is flexible and accommodating. It is the right education mode for the information and technology age. OER awareness is just two years in at my institution and we have been able to understand the creation and use of OER through collaborations and sensitization in this area. With OER, educational resources are shared, used, adopted, adapted free of cost. Lecturers now use OER to improve on teaching materials and personal research, students use OERs as additional knowledge for deeper insight in their courses. Institutionally, NOUN seeks to gradually share its body of courseware as OERs to further contribute to this noble ideal.
How do you support OER at NOUN? How have you used your time at the Institute for Open Leadership to encourage better access to educational resources in your region and beyond?
I was the coordinator of NOUN-OER projects until July 2016, and I raised awareness in this area.This culminated in an award for my institution in March 2016.
My contact and time with IOL has broadened my insight on open policy and I have used the knowledge gained to help draft an OER policy for my institution that was recently approved by the University Senate. This policy will help encourage better access to educational resources in my institution and beyond.
How do you promote advocacy of open licensing in Nigeria and West Africa in general? What is your motivation for promoting open education in these regions? Why does OER matter to your region?
This is achieved through sensitization in this area and collaboration with other institutions. In December 2015, NOUN presented its OER initiative to the Federal government of Nigeria, a way of advocating for others to come on board.
Advocacy around open licenses is geared towards opening-up knowledge for common good and this is needed in my region, the West African region, where most are in dire need of better quality of life.
Have you worked directly with any students in Nigeria who have inspired your work? Are there any particularly exciting stories or data points that you’d like to share?
We are gradually understanding the beauty of open education, OERs and open license framework and our advocacy in this area has inspired many institutions and individuals around us. Perhaps my exciting story, aside from the award we got in this area, is a recent publication that further sharpened my understanding of the benefits of open education: The Best of Two Open Worlds at NOUN.
Open education is more than licensing. How do you inspire working open in your work and teaching?
Yes, it is more than licensing.
It upholds the dignity of mankind. We need to be open-minded to understand and tap into the beauty of open education.
For me, though trained in a conventional university system, I am glad that I can reach (and provide education) to more students by working in an open education system. I now publish in open access journals because that is how it should be in the first place. Research findings should be seen and utilized immediately and not shelved away in a concrete library. I also try to use open license in some of my personal materials so that students to easily adapt them without seeking permission. I also use open-licensed audio and videos to improve my teaching.
With many students going back to school this week, what kind of advice do you have for students who want to inspire their institution to embrace OER? How can we spark a movement as open educators and students?
For my part of the world, OER is still in its infancy. OER, just like everything tagged “open” is sometimes misunderstood. For example, when NOUN started in 2003 as an open university, it met a lot of resistance, but learners are gradually embracing its unique opportunity that provided flexibility and access in education. So OER may have its initial resistance but once the beauty is understood through continued advocacy, champions will rise.

Creative Commons Affiliate Teams Call for Copyright reform in Colombia to focus on supporting users’ rights

Today Creative Commons, CC Colombia, and over a dozen other CC affiliates and partners sent a letter to the Colombian government calling for user-friendly copyright reform. Colombia’s copyright law is being re-opened to come into compliance with the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

We believe that this is a timely opportunity to introduce positive changes to copyright that will support users and the public, such as adopting a flexible use exception like fair use. Our community looks forward to providing ideas and feedback during the reform process.

Letter of support for balanced Colombian copyright law reform [English]
Carta para apoyar una reforma equilibrada al derecho de autor en Colombia [Spanish]

The signatories below are writing to you regarding the proposed updates to copyright law in Colombia that will be introduced in order to implement the U.S.-Colombia Trade Agreement. We are concerned that these changes will only further tip the balance of copyright toward the interests of rights holders, while ignoring necessary protections for the public domain, as well as for users, consumers, and the general public.

We understand that the proposed changes would include increasing copyright terms  for some types of rights holders, and adopting an instrument to mirror the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We urge the Congress to take this opportunity to provide for crucial balances to copyright that protect the rights of users. In the fast-changing digital and online environment, the Congress should consider introducing a flexible exception to copyright that echoes the regulation of countries that have adopted “fair use” or “fair dealing” exceptions.

It has been our experience that to ensure the maximum benefits to both culture and the economy in this digital age, the scope and shape of copyright law need to be reviewed. Now is the time for the Congress to ensure that appropriate and necessary exceptions and limitations are updated in order to protect and support users, access to information, and creativity.

Creative Commons Colombia
Creative Commons
Fundación Karisma
COMMUNIA International Association on the Public Domain
Centrum Cyfrowe
Creative Commons Peru
Creative Commons Uruguay
Creative Commons Netherlands
Creative Commons Ireland
Creative Commons Ukraine
Creative Commons Indonesia
Creative Commons Portugal
Creative Commons UK
Australian Digital Alliance
Creative Commons Chile
Creative Commons Australia
Creative Commons Nigeria

#PS: Content copied from Creative Commons HQ Website

Announcing the 2017 Creative Commons Global Summit

We’re pleased to announce that the next Creative Commons Global Summit will take place in Toronto, Canada from April 28-30, 2017. This vital event will gather a global community of technologists, academics, activists, creatives, and legal experts to work together on the expansion and growth of the commons, open knowledge, and free culture for all. Previous summits were held in Seoul (2015), Buenos Aires (2013), and Warsaw (2011). As one of the most multicultural cities in the world, Toronto is a perfect location for this important meeting of the top minds in our field.

CC Korea, Global Summit 2015, CC-BY

CC Korea, Global Summit 2015, CC-BY 2.0

The Toronto summit will be a launchpad for the next phase of work for Creative Commons and its global communities. Earlier this year, we unveiled a new Strategic Plan, which focuses on collaboration, vibrancy, gratitude, and usability as our key principles. This is our first summit since this announcement, where we expect to draw together nearly 500 participants from a variety of disciplines including policy and law, arts and culture, open education, GLAM, free culture, open science, open access, and technology. This event is for the global open community, broadly construed, and its focus all aspects of “open” work in education, free culture, open data and research, open knowledge, and more.

David Kindler, CC Summit 2011, CC-BY

David Kindler, CC Summit 2011, CC-BY 2.0

Communities around the world are at the heart of our work. Without activists, advocates, professionals, and supporters around the world, Creative Commons would not be the globally recognized standard it is today. Our summits have historically kickstarted actions to help creators make connections and celebrate the commons, and the 2017 summit is poised to be our most successful yet.

We wholeheartedly invite you to join us in Toronto next April. For information about how to participate, please sign up for our special summit email list below. Thank you for your support.

CC Korea, CC Global Summit 2015, CC-BY 2.0

CC Korea, CC Global Summit 2015, CC-BY 2.0


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