11/21/2009 06:19 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Creative Commons In 2009: The Accomplishments In Promoting Worldwide Sharing

Education is the pathway out of poverty and Creative Commons (CC) licensing makes it possible to share educational materials (and all creative works) online for free. Their impact worldwide is significant. The licenses allow for legal sharing of text, video, photos, audio, art, music online using one of six free licenses.

The annual Creative Commons (CC) campaign is now in full swing and WhippleHill is providing a matching grant for every dollar donated. Please consider donating, even small amounts!

Here are some of the important changes that have taken place in 2009 with the help of Creative Commons, a non-profit licensing structure.

CC helps expand sharing in the Middle East CC's presence in the Middle East is growing fast. The first Arabic licenses launch in Jordan in November 2009. Early in 2009, Al Jazeera Network announced a Creative Commons Repository, the world's first repository of broadcast-quality video footage released under the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution (CC By 3.0) license, available at In March, the first Creative Commons Arab world meeting was held at Al Jazeera's annual Media Forum, and Al Jazeera has also now integrated CC licensing on its Al Jazeera Blogs site:

United States Government expands the use of CC licenses

Creative Commons has found a fitting and prominent place in the public sector worldwide. Not only was President Barack Obama's campaign site,, licensed under Creative Commons license, but all third party content on, the official Web site of the U.S. administration, is licensed under CC-BY. Aneesh Chopra, the US Government's Chief Technology Officer, recently spoke on CNET about his thoughts on copyright, and proceeded to endorse the Creative Commons approach to licensing creative works.

Creative Commons New Zealand reported that their national government released an open access and licensing framework draft (NZGOAL) for public feedback. The framework will enable greater access to many public sector works by encouraging the New Zealand State Services agencies to license material for reuse on liberal terms, and recommend Creative Commons as an important tool in this process. Meanwhile in Australia, the Government 2.0 Taskforce announced the MashupAustralia contest asking people to show what can be done with open public sector information. To help people get started, 59 datasets from more than 15 different government bodies have been released under CC licences (usually Attribution). Full story:

Launch of CC Zero - no rights reserved

Earlier this year we rolled out CC0 (read "CC Zero"), a universal waiver that may be used by anyone wishing to permanently surrender the copyright and database rights they may have in a work, thereby placing it as nearly as possible into the public domain; essentially, it is a "no rights reserved" option. CC0 is universal in form and may be used throughout the world for any kind of content. CC0 was endorsed this year in an opinion piece in Nature, the international weekly journal on science; the article addresses post-publication sharing of tools and explicitly recommends open sharing and the use of CC0 to put data in the public domain. WisconsinView (part of AmericaView), which supports access and use of imagery collections through education, workforce development, and research, is making available all of its more than 6 Terabytes of imagery data under the new CC0 Protocol More on CC Zero Launch:

GreenXchange - a project of Creative Commons, Nike and Best Buy
Earlier this year Creative Commons, in collaboration with Nike and Best Buy, announced a new project - GreenXchange - exploring how the digital commons can help holders of patents collaborate for sustainability. GreenXchange is hosted inside Science Commons.
GreenXchange draws on the experience of Creative Commons in creating "some rights reserved" regimes for artists, musicians, scientists, and educators, but also on the hard-won successes of patent "commons" projects like the Linux Patent Commons, the BIOS project, FreePatentsOnline and the Eco-Patent Commons. video over at Science

Wikipedia Officially Converts to Creative Commons License (CC BY-SA)
The entire English Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites are now licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license (CC BY-SA), following a community vote and approval by the Wikimedia Foundation board members. The outreach effort to non-Wikimedia wikis to take advantage of this migration opportunity is ongoing, and one very important milestone was reached June 19, when most wikis hosted by Wikia (there are thousands) converted to CC BY-SA.

Google and Yahoo integrate CC licensingYahoo and Google have both officially launched the ability to filter search results using Creative Commons licenses inside their Image Search tool. It is now easy to restrict your Image Search results to find images that have been tagged with our licenses, so that you can find content from across the web to share, use, and even modify. Google also now has a program to enable rights holders to make their Creative Commons-licensed books available for the public to download, use, remix, and share via Google Books. The new initiative makes it easy for participants in Google Books' Partner Program to mark their books with one of the six Creative Commons licenses (or the CC0 waiver).

Launch of New Resources for Open Education: OpenEd, DiscoverEd, Inside OER OpenEd is a new open education community site, hosted at DiscoverEd is an education search engine prototype that is now up and running at It is designed to provide scalable search and discovery for educational resources on the web, but is still in a very experimental phase. Inside OER is a full suite of interviews with movers and shakers in the open education world, all available at

Defining Noncommercial Report Published Almost one year ago we launched a study of how people understand "noncommercial use." The study, generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, included in-depth interviews and two waves of in-person and online focus groups and online questionnaires. The last included a random sample of U.S. (geographic restriction mandated by resource constraints) internet users and in an extended form, open questionnaires promoted via our blog. The resulting Defining Noncommercial study report and raw data are now published, released under a CC Attribution (CC BY) license and CC0 public domain waiver respectively.

Launch of CC Case Studies Project With upwards of 150 million CC-licensed works published from every corner of the world, no single use case can tell the whole story. Creators and users come to CC for different reasons, and for many, CC solves different problems. With the Creative Commons Case Studies 2009, we're trying to capture the diversity of CC creators and content by building a resource that inspires new works and informs free culture. We're collecting cases big and small on our re-launched Case Studies wiki, an online portal to upload and discover documentation about CC-licensed projects.

Ridley Scott to Use CC license (BY-SA) for Blade Runner Web Series
Ridley Scott, the famed SciFi director of the classic Blade Runner will be producing a new web series based on the film, released under our free copyleft license, Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA). The series is initially slated for web release with the possibility of television syndication, and will be a project by Ag8.