Creative Commons: Using Provenance in the Context of Sharing Creative Works

ml, October 3rd, 2011

I provided a brief non-technical writeup on Creative Commons and provenance for the W3C Provenance Working Group‘s Connection Task Force documenting “Communities Addressing Important Issues in Provenance”.

See the writeup on the Provenance WG wiki (please suggest edits in comments below), current version follows.

Creative Commons Creative Commons (CC) provides licenses and public domain tools that can be used for any kind of creative works like texts, images, websites, or other media, as well as databases. CC tools are well known and used, especially in online publications. Each CC license and public domain tool is identified by a unique URL, allowing proper identification and reference of these as part of a work’s provenance information.

Additionally, Creative Commons provides a vocabulary to describe its tools and works licensed or marked with those tools in a machine interpretable way: The Creative Commons Rights Expression Language (CC REL). CC REL can be expressed in RDF.

The provenance of assertions about a work’s license or public domain status is of great important for licensors, licensees, curators, and future potential users. All CC licenses legally require certain information (attribution and license notice) be retained; even in the case of its public domain tools, retaining such information is a service to readers and in accordance with research and other norms. To the extent license and related information is not retained or cannot be trusted, users ability to find and rely upon freedoms to use such works is degraded. In many cases, the original publication location of a work will disappear (linkrot) or rights information will be removed, either unintentionally (eg template changes) or intentionally (here especially, provenance is important; CC licenses are irrevocable). In the degenerate case, a once CC-licensed work becomes just another orphan work.

The core statements needed are who licensed, dedicated to the public domain, or marked as being in the public domain, which work, and when? Each of these statements have sub-statements, eg the relationship of “who” to rights in the work or knowledge about the work, and exactly what work and at what granularity?

Provenance information is also necessary for discovering the uses of shared works and building new metrics of cultural relevance, scientific contribution, etc, that do not strictly require on centralized intermediaries.

Finally, in CC’s broader context, an emphasis on machine-assisted provenance aligns with renewed interest in copyright formalities (eg work registries), puts a work’s relationship to society’s conception of knowledge in a different light (compare intellectual provenance and intellectual property), and is in contrast with technical restrictions which aim to make works less useful to users rather than more.

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Closing: What’s next in 2009

frank, December 12th, 2008

Nathan Yergler proceeded to wrap up the tech conference with some humble predictions about where CC tech will be headed.

The following are a brief list of these future initiatives:

  • Using RDFa to publish metadata in a distributed fashion
  • The Next Generation of MozCC
  • Making attribution easier
  • Universal Education Search
  • CC0 & Public Domain Assertion
  • OSCRI / CC Network and creating an interoperable registry with Safe Creative and Registered Commons
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Copyright Registries 2.0

frank, December 12th, 2008

Mario Pena of Safe Creative, Joe Benso of Registered Commons, and Mike Linksvayer of CC gave a talk on “Copyright Registries 2.0″ as a continuation of the registration conversation we had at our first tech summit in June.

Mario began with a summary of registries and how they should work: they must provide pointers to works, and they must facilitate the sharing of relevant information. He pointed to RDFa and ccREL as examples of technologies in this sphere promoting interoperability. He also mentioned the Open Standards for Copyright Registry Interop as an example of the work being done to help foster online registries interoperability and standardization.

Next, Joe discussed what he sees as necessary for registries moving forward. The big point he made was that Registered Commons feels a registry authority is a necessary condition for registries to be successfully implemented. He started with a brief history of Registered Commons and named the features they provide, including use of the CC API, timestamping of works, and physical identity verification. He finished with the need for an authority: to allocate namespaces, appoint registries based on criteria, identify entities to be certified, etc.

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Digital copyright registry technology landscape, challenges, opportunities

brian, June 18th, 2008

Mike Linksvayer – Vice President, Creative Commons

Why do we need a registry?
Assurance that license claims are correct
Without a registry it is easier for works to become orphaned
Registries enable payment to find its way to artist

What makes a digital copyright registry?
It is digital!
Not only motivated by registration
Scales up

Who wants a registry?
License management orgs
User media orgs
Collective rights management orgs
Cultural Heritage groups
Creators and Users

Who is building registries?
Registered Commons
Open Library
Noank Media
Among others

Best Quote “We believe in the Net, not a cenralized, Soviet-style information bank controlled by a single organization” old CC FAQ.

(photo Joi Ito, CC:BY)

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CC Tech Summit pre-blogging

ml, June 18th, 2008

CC’s awesome interns (and perhaps others) will be live blogging the tech summit tomorrow, but panelist (and long time CC friend and innovator) Rob Kaye has a pre-blog — Thoughts on Copyright Registries.

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