Jul 212014

nn300x200Last week, CCUSA submitted a comment to the Federal Communications Commission on Net Neutrality.  The full comments, by Michael Carroll and Meredith Jacob, are available here as a PDF.

Creative Commons users in the United States deserve to have the content they create be available over the Internet on the same basis and at the same data rates as content owned or controlled by large commercial interests with the ability to negotiate special terms of Internet access. While CC licenses are used by many large organizations (see ), many creators of CC-licensed material are small or independent creators, or are creators producing content as part of a non-profit or publicly funded project. One of the specific benefits of CC licenses is that they allow individual creators to remove copyright barriers to the greatest possible public dissemination of their work.

A level playing field, in the form of net neutrality and a free and open Internet is essential to further this goal.

Jul 152014

mc at carnegieMichael Carroll will testify today at 1:00 before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet on the topic “Moral Rights, Termination Rights, Resale Royalty, and Copyright Term.”  The full witness list for the hearing is available here.  The full text of Michael Carroll’s prepared statement (PDF) follows:

Chairman Coble, Ranking Member Nadler, Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, and members of the Subcommittee, my name is Michael Carroll, and I am a member of the faculty at American University Washington College of Law, where I direct the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property and serve as the Public Lead for Creative Commons USA.  Creative Commons USA is the United States’ project that works under the terms of an agreement with Creative Commons, Inc., a global non-profit corporation headquartered in California.  Creative Commons has agreements with projects in more than 70 countries through which the local project is authorized to represent Creative Commons at the national level.  Creative Commons and Creative Commons USA have some experiences and legal tools that are relevant to the topics of today’s hearing.  Briefly, these are:

Creative Commons and Moral Rights

Creative Commons provides the public with a range of legal tools designed to promote the legal sharing and reuse of works of authorship.  Creative Commons offers six standardized copyright licenses that a copyright owner can choose to grant the public permission for royalty-free use subject to a range of conditions.  See and Appendix A.

These licenses are recognized as the global standard for sharing works and are used by Wikipedia, open access journal publishers, creators of open courseware and open educational resources, bloggers, photographers, musicians, filmmakers, and every other kind of creator imaginable.  There are at least 500 million copyrighted works available under one of these Creative Commons licenses.

Users of Creative Commons licenses require attribution in exchange for permission to use their works of authorship, and this license term overlaps the moral right of attribution. The licensor waivers the remainder of her moral rights to the extent allowed under national law.  Originally, the suite of Creative Commons licenses treated attribution as an optional term.  However, when data showed that more than 98% of license adopters opted for the attribution requirement, Creative Commons made attribution a required term of all six licenses.  Other conditions that can be imposed are restricting use to non-commercial use, requiring that any derivative works produced from the licensed work are licensed under the same terms (the “Share Alike” term), or that the work can be shared but not modified.  A more detailed explanation of these licenses is attached as Appendix A.

In the experience of Creative Commons, creators have a strong interest in receiving attribution for their work, and this interest in some cases is more important to the creator than any interest in profit or compensation.  If Congress were to consider creating an exclusive right of attribution, doing so would be more difficult than may appear at first glance.  A quick summary of the kinds of issues that have arisen in the Creative Commons experience include what is the threshold creative contribution that must be made to receive an attribution right, how should attribution be given for works created in iterative and group settings, and must the attributing party specify who contributed what elements of the work of authorship when giving attribution?  These issues suggest that as strong as the attribution interest is, proper attribution is a contextual matter.

Creative Commons and Copyright Term

Creative Commons also provides two tools directly related to the term of copyright.  One is the CC0 (pronounced CC Zero) tool that enables copyright owners to effectively shorten the term of protection for their work by dedicating their copyright to the public domain. See The other is the Public Domain Mark, which is just a label that enables members of the public to mark works as having the full range of reuse freedom that comes when a work enters the public domain. See

CC0 has been used in a number of contexts, such as by a repository of public domain clipart, by creators of scientific databases, and by public bodies in countries that extend copyright to government works.

Creative Commons and the Termination Right

Exercising the termination right is overly cumbersome and confusing to many authors and their heirs.  Creative Commons created and hosts an Internet based tool still in its beta version that provides those with a potential termination right a means of assessing whether and when they may exercise their termination rights.  See

Creative Commons did this to aid authors or heirs seeking to reclaim their copyrights for the purpose of sharing their works through a CC license.  In that regard, one obstacle is financial.  Even after an author or heir has run the administrative gantlet, termination is not effective until they pay the Copyright Office recordation fee of a minimum of $105 for one transaction and one title.  See U.S. Copyright Office, Calculating Fees for Recording Documents and Notices of Termination in the Copyright Office at While modest for economically valuable copyrights like those in a character such as Superman, this recordation fee is potentially cost prohibitive for scholars, journalists, or others who have created and published many copyrighted works that they would like to share with the public through a Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons USA recommends that the Subcommittee consider a measure that would waive the recordation fee in cases in which the terminating party seeks to reclaim copyright for the purposes of making the work of authorship freely available over the Internet under the terms of an open license.

With this background, I now turn to the issue of copyright term that I was invited to address.

The Term of Copyright Is Too Long

From the public’s perspective, copyright is a trade-off.  It provides incentives for investors to supply funds for creative endeavors and for some professional creators to create new works.  But, copyright restrains freedom of expression and serves as a tax on the cost of purchasing educational, entertainment, and related expressive works. As the English parliamentarian Thomas Macauley recognized long ago, lengthening the term of copyright is economically equivalent to passing a tax increase:  “The principle of copyright is this. It is a tax on readers for the purpose of giving a bounty to writers.”

Focusing on the economic effects of copyright, the issue of copyright term is a question of how long the public should have to pay the copyright tax for any given creative work.  The general economic principle is that the term should be no longer than necessary to induce enough creators and enough investors to devote their efforts to creating and distributing new works of authorship. Recognizing this trade-off, the Founders, when granting Congress the power to create copyright law, also required that copyrights expire. Congress has specific power to enact copyright law for the purpose of “promot[ing] the progress of science and useful arts,” subject to the condition that the “exclusive right” that Congress gives to authors in their “writings” be only “for limited times.”  U.S. Const., art. I, § 8, cl. 8.

Under current law, copyright lasts for the life of the author plus another 70 years, or in the case of works made for hire, 120 years from the date of creation or 95 years from the date of publication.  As a group of leading economists, including five Nobel laureates, have shown this term is too long to serve copyright’s purposes because for all intents and purposes it is virtually equivalent to a perpetual term.  The proper time horizon for copyright is one that provides a meaningful incentive for creators and investors to create new works.  As these economists explained, profits that might be had many decades after an author is deceased are worth less than pennies on the dollar today and therefore cannot be said to be doing any work in promoting the progress of science and useful arts.

This is a problem.  There are three kinds of actions that Congress should consider to remedy this problem, or at least, not make it worse:

(1)    Shorten the term
(2)    Refuse to the lengthen the term any further
(3)    Require registration with the Copyright Office to enjoy the final 20 years of protection

A Shorter Term in the American Tradition

Ideally, Congress would reclaim the American tradition on copyright term and substantially reduce it, if the United States’ international copyright relations were not an issue. A good benchmark for doing so would be to consider reverting copyright term back to what it was prior enactment of the Copyright Act of 1976: an initial term of 28 years that could be renewed for another 28 years.

This policy had two beneficial features.  First, the term of protection was relatively easy to determine because it was based on a work’s date of publication. Second, the renewal requirement acted as a beneficial filter.  Works that retained economic value after the first 28 years of protection had their copyrights renewed.  Those that did not – and this was the majority of registered copyrighted works – were not renewed and went into the public domain.

However, our international copyright relations are a valid consideration that influences policy on copyright term. Congress lengthened the term in the 1976 Act with an eye toward one day joining the Berne Convention, a treaty of European origin reflecting the European model that, among other things, measured the term of protection by the life of the author plus 50 years. Joining the Berne Convention would confer some benefits on some American authors, but it would do so by imposing an increase in the copyright tax on the American public. Congress then passed a copyright tax increase in 1998 when it enacted the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, Tit. I, Pub. L. No. 105-298, 112 Stat. 2827 (Oct. 27, 1998), which extended the term of copyrights both prospectively and retrospectively for an additional 20 years.

Extending the term of existing copyrights was the basis for a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court on the basis that doing so violated the free speech rights of the public and violated the principles of limited government because the Constitution authorizes Congress to grant copyrights only for “limited times,” and retrospective extensions of term are a means of granting, in the words of my colleague Peter Jaszi, a perpetual term “on the installment plan.” Over two vigorous dissents, the Court rejected this argument, deciding that Congress had the power to extend copyright’s term. Eldred v. Ashcroft, 537 U.S. 186 (2003).

No More Extensions

At a minimum, Congress should not lengthen the term of copyright any further.  The Court in Eldred posed the constitutional question as whether Congress had a rational basis for extending the term of copyright for an additional 20 years.  But even a rational basis does not make term extension good policy.  For all of the reasons expressed in Justice Breyer’s dissenting opinion in Eldred, 537 U.S. at 242, which I hereby incorporate by reference, extending the term of copyright imposes a series of harms on the public that are not justified by any offsetting benefits.

Specifically, there is no incentive based support for term extension. See Eldred, 537 U.S. at 256-57 (Breyer, J., dissenting). Term extension did not provide the claimed benefits of uniformity, and going forward this argument would be without basis because we already have acquiesced in the European version of copyright term. And, arguments about longer lifespans actually undermine the case for any term extension rather than supporting it.  See id. at 263.

I should also note that the public has become much more aware of the costs of overly long copyrights than it was in 1998. The problem of orphan works has become exacerbated, and it frustrates the ability of those who would make older copyrighted works available over the Internet to do so. Were Congress to entertain proposals to extend the term of copyright, it should expect vigorous opposition. As evidence, consider the open letter that opposes the United States’ proposal to include in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement a term requiring all parties to extend their terms to life + 70.  The letter was signed six days ago on July 9, 2014, by a broad coalition of creators and users of copyrighted works organized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that was sent to negotiators working on the See

A Middle Ground – the Public Domain Enhancement Act

As a middle ground between the American tradition of fixed copyright terms, and the European model of life of the author plus a number of years, I would support the reintroduction of the Public Domain Enhancement Act. First co-sponsored by Representative Lofgren and Doolittle in 2003, H.R. 2601, 108th Cong., and then reintroduced in 2005, H.R. 2408, 109th Cong., the bill in its last form would have required that for works first published in the United States, after the term of the life of the author plus 50 years had passed, the copyright owner seeking the next 10 years of protection up to the maximum term would have to renew the copyright by paying $1 and filing the requisite paperwork with the U.S. Copyright Office. Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante spoke in favor of this proposal when she testified before this Subcommittee. This proposal complies with the United States’ international obligations while also addressing the costs of an overly long copyright term by asking copyright owners to signal that they still value copyright protection by renewing it at a more than reasonable cost.

Jun 242014
CC-BY Sage Ross

CC-BY Sage Ross

On Friday, THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY: The Story of Aaron Swartz, opens at Washington’s West End Cinema, located at 23rd St, NW.

From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.

For more on Swartz and his impact, see

Launch of the Open Policy Network

 Posted by on May 19, 2014
May 192014

opn[Timothy Vollmer, Open Policy Network, Link, (CC-BY)]  Today we’re excited to announce the launch of the Open Policy Network. The Open Policy Network, or OPN for short, is a coalition of organizations and individuals working to support the creation, adoption, and implementation of policies that require that publicly funded resources are openly licensed resources. The website of the Open Policy Network is

Increasingly, governments around the world are sharing huge amounts of publicly funded research, data, and educational materials. The key question is, do the policies governing the procurement and distribution of publicly funded materials ensure the maximum benefits to the citizens those policies are meant to serve? When open licenses are required for publicly funded resources, there is the potential to massively increase access to and re-use of a wide range of materials, from educational content like digital textbooks–to the results of scholarly research–to troves of valuable public sector data.

There is a pressing need for education, advocacy, and action to see a positive shift in supporting open licensing for publicly-funded materials. The Open Policy Network will share information amongst its members, recruit new advocates, and engage with policymakers worldwide. The OPN members are diverse in content area expertise and geographic location.

With today’s launch of the Open Policy Network, we’re announcing our first project, the Institute for Open Leadership. Through a weeklong summit with experts, accepted fellows will get hands-on guidance to develop a capstone project for implementation in their organization or institution. The Institute for Open Leadership will help train new leaders in education, science, and public policy fields on the values and implementation of openness in licensing, policies, and practices.

The Open Policy Network is free to join and anyone is welcomed as long as s/he agrees to contribute and abide by the mission and guiding principles. More information on the Open Policy Network is available at the website, Google Group, Twitter, and Facebook.

Mar 182014

[Cable Green, Creative Commons, Link, (CC-BY)] I recently interviewed Dr. Phil Venditti, professor of communication studies at Clover Park Technical College in Washington State (USA). Phil teaches public speaking and other oral and written communication courses. In 2010 Phil learned about the Open Course Library project and became an enthusiastic adherent.

Phil developed two courses in the Open Course Library, wrote a textbook which he licensed CC BY, and has since saved his students roughly $60,000 by using open educational resources (OER).

The Open Course Library was Phil’s first exposure to OER, but it wasn’t his last. He testified to the State Legislature in favor of a bill which would have mandated that all educational materials created by state postsecondary education employees be openly licensed. As President of FACTC — the Washington Faculty Association of Community and Technical Colleges, Phil has promoted adoption of OER by college faculty members throughout his state. FACTC passed a resolution in 2012 endorsing the ideal of OER on economic, educational, and moral grounds.

Phil recently went on sabbatical and decided to interview 50 prominent speakers to gather tips on effective public speaking for his students — and for the world because all of Phil’s work and videos are openly licensed under CC BY 4.0 license. Nearly 30 hours of his videos can be browsed at Phil’s YouTube channel. Speakers included in the project are 29-time Emmy winner and “Almost Live” alum Bill Stainton, Tacoma News Tribune Executive Editor Karen Peterson, former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, and wildlife artist and conservationist Becci Crowe. To complete the project, 40 of Phil’s public speaking students and a team of editors from Clover Park’s Media Design and Production program spent more than 700 hours reviewing and editing the interviews. When it is launched online in May of this year, the project will offer a database of free, CC BY-licensed materials at on subjects ranging from how to conquer stage fright to how to organize a presentation.

On March 20, the “50 Wise Speakers” project will be presented in a red-carpet gala at Clover Park Technical College.

Phil says OER has changed the way he thinks about teaching and learning.

“I believe that the essence of education should be sharing. Every day I ask myself, ‘How can I help connect more people to more information that might change their lives?’”

Following Phil’s lead, what will you share today?

Jan 202014

[Time Vollmer, Creative Commons, Link, (CC-BY]

Photo by C.E. Kent (CC-BY)

Photo by C.E. Kent (CC-BY)

Both the U.S. House of Representative and Senate have passed the 2014 omnibus appropriations legislation (2.9 MB PDF). President Obama is expected to sign the bill shortly.

What’s so special about this legislation? Federal agencies with research budgets of at least $100 million per year will be required provide the public with free online access to scholarly articles generated with federal funds no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The agencies affected by the public access provision of the appropriations bill include the Department of Labor, Department of Education, and Department of Health and Human Services (which includes research-intensive sub-agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

According to SPARC, the bill “ensure[s] that $31 billion of the total $60 billion annual U.S. investment in taxpayer-funded research is now openly accessible.”

The inclusion of the public access provision builds upon existing initiatives, such as the NIH Public Access Policy. And it echoes the more recent push for public access to publicly funded research advocated through the introduction of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) and the White House directive. But with FASTR tabled in Congress last year and the federal agencies dragging their feet on complying with Obama’s public access directive (plans were due in August 2013), the passage of the 2014 spending legislation is a welcome measure for increasing access to publicly funded research.

SPARC thinks the language in the bill could be strengthened by adopting a shorter embargo period (e.g. six months), which would benefit the public without harming journal publishers. In addition, they suggest that research articles be shared via a central repository similar to PubMed Central and incorporate provisions to ensure the ability to conduct text and data mining on the entire corpus of federally-funded articles. Creative Commons and other groups have also communicated the need for not only free public access, but also access whereby publicly funded research is made available under open licenses.

Open Access icon was created by Duke Innovation Co-Lab and in the public domain.
U.S. Department of Education seal is in the public domain.
U.S. Department of Labor seal is in the public domain.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seal is in the public domain.

Jan 172014

copyright week croppedThis piece by AU Professors Peter Jaszi, Patricia Aufderheide, and Brandon Butler, is cross posted from ARL Policy Notes, Link (CC-BY).

Copyright Week is the perfect occasion to celebrate fair use, certainly the most dynamic and arguably the most important doctrine in copyright law. The last 15 or 20 years have seen a remarkable series of developments that make fair use, now more than ever, the most vital protection of the public interest in the Copyright Act. For Copyright Week, we wanted to highlight a part of the fair use landscape that, perhaps more than any other, puts fair use in the hands of practitioners who need it most: the Fair Use Best Practices movement.

With a little help from a team of researchers at American University, an ever-growing cadre of communities has identified where their work necessarily encounters copyright and the kinds of fair uses that are essential to the communities’ continued flourishing and success. Each code (read them all here) contains a short but powerful description of fair use’s broad history and meaning, followed by a set of principles that describe situations where fair use may apply accompanied by limitations that describe the outer bounds of community consensus. The effects of these documents can be dramatic. Documentary filmmakers came first, and had great success, but they’ve been joined by educators, scholars, poets, online video makers, journalists, and (most importantly for this blog) librarians. As more and more people need fair use to continue getting things done, best practices are an idea whose time has come.

So, without further ado, we give you five reasons fair use best practices are changing the world:

  1. They’re based on solid legal footing. Specifically, path-breaking research by copyright scholar Michael Madison. Madison surveyed over a century of fair use decision making and found that, over and over again, courts determining whether a use was fair inquired into the mission and values of the communities standing before them to vindicate their fair use rights. Uses firmly grounded in the socially beneficial mission of a practice community were much more likely to be blessed as fair.Each code starts from that insight, together with the dominant paradigm of “transformative use” that informs court decisions in fair use. The community norms developed on this foundation are then further shored up by a legal review by five independent experts from diverse backgrounds who certify that the Code represents a reasonable application of fair use law to the practice area. Practices consistent with the Documentary Filmmakers Code have been blessed by federal courts, as have practices identified as fair in the #Librarianscode. Indeed, between Georgia State and HathiTrust, the practices described in four of the eight principles in the #librarianscode have been blessed by federal courts.
  2. They clear away the crud. Anyone who engages with copyrighted material for more than a few minutes will encounter a dizzying array of so-called ‘guidelines,’ rules of thumb, ‘negotiated’ agreements, and urban myths and legends that proliferate around copyright. The goal of best practices is to identify the best approaches to recurring fair use scenarios, rather than to measure the lowest common denominator of the status quo and freeze it in amber forever. Therefore, developing best practices is an opportunity for communities to step back and question current practice in light of the latest developments in fair use law and the broadest, deepest understanding of the mission of the community. Librarians, for example, categorically rejected the arbitrary numerical limits in the 1976 Classroom Photocopying Guidelines. On reflection, they were simply impossible to justify in light of the actual needs of librarians and the contours of modern fair use law.
  3. They make the law less alien, and rights less scary. By grounding fair use choices in practices and norms that are native to a community, best practices change attitudes toward fair use. People with a Code go from a kind of grudging, fearful “compliance” with an alien copyright law imposed from above to a unified exercise of core First Amendment rights that emerges from their own values. Teachers, librarians, filmmakers, and poets who used to feel like they were acting alone in the face of an intimidating body of law come to understand that they are actually engaged collectively in legitimate, lawful acts that are normal, indeed essential, for their profession.
  4. They help you get things done. The bottom line for any group with a shared mission and goals is whether they are able to advance mission and achieve goals. Where myth, misinformation, fear, uncertainty, and doubt dominate, any number of important projects and practices can be suppressed, driven underground, or stymied altogether. Films don’t get made, or they don’t get distribution; poems aren’t written or published; works languish in archives inaccessible to remote or print-disabled researchers. Best practices are relentlessly pragmatic and mission-centered; through them, practitioners articulate fair use solutions to real, live problems. When the community takes best practices seriously, real work gets done—work that might otherwise have been inconceivable.
  5. They help you get management on board. Almost everyone has a supervisor, counselor, or other gatekeeper who decides what projects they can pursue, whether their work will see the light of day, and so on. Whether it’s a Dean, a TV producer, or a publishing agent, sooner or later you’ve got to convince someone else that what you’re doing is legit. Understandably, gatekeepers are often expected (forced, even) to play the role of “copyright cop,” saying “no” to any project that looks like it might raise an eyebrow.Before best practices, each practitioner would face these folks alone, often as non-lawyers, and try to convince them to take a risk based on, well, who knows what. But with best practices in hand, practitioners can go to their Deans, their publishers, their producers, whomever, and say, “What I’m doing is normal. It’s grounded in the values of my community. And it’s in line with a document that’s been vetted by experts and endorsed by leading organizations in my field.” That’s powerful stuff! No wonder the Documentary Filmmakers code has been so transformative, as has the #Librarianscode, and many many others.

So, there you have it. As Copyright Week winds down and we contemplate the copyright system we have, and the opportunities for change and improvement, we submit that fair use best practices are, by far and away, the most accessible, effective, and powerful tool in the hands of the public.

For more information, check out the full roster of best practices at the Center for Media and Social Impact and check out Pat and Peter’s book, Reclaiming Fair Use.

Nov 262013

4-0-400[From Diane Peters, General Counsel, Creative CommonsLink (CC-BY)] We proudly introduce our 4.0 licenses, now available for adoption worldwide. The 4.0 licenses — more than two years in the making — are the most global, legally robust licenses produced by CC to date. We have incorporated dozens of improvements that make sharing and reusing CC-licensed materials easier and more dependable than ever before.

We had ambitious goals in mind when we embarked on the versioning process coming out of the 2011 CC Global Summit in Warsaw. The new licenses achieve all of these goals, and more. The 4.0 licenses are extremely well-suited for use by governments and publishers of public sector information and other data, especially for those in the European Union. This is due to the expansion in license scope, which now covers sui generis database rights that exist there and in a handful of other countries.

Among other exciting new features are improved readability and organization, common-sense attribution, and a new mechanism that allows those who violate the license inadvertently to regain their rights automatically if the violation is corrected in a timely manner.

You can find highlights of the most significant improvements on our website, track the course of the public discussion and evolution of the license drafts on the 4.0 wiki page, and view a recap of the central policy decisions made over the course of the versioning process.

The 4.0 versioning process has been a truly collaborative effort between the brilliant and dedicated network of legal and public licensing experts and the active, vocal open community. The 4.0 licenses, the public license development undertaking, and the Creative Commons organization are stronger because of the steadfast commitment of all participants.

With the 4.0 licenses published, we will be turning our attention to official translations of the legal code in partnership with our affiliate network and larger community. Translations of our new deeds are also underway, with a significant number already completed.

Thank you and congratulations to everyone who participated in making 4.0 a reality!

Nov 202013
Photo by C.E. Kent (CC-BY)

Photo: C.E. Kent (CC-BY)

Yesterday, Representatives Hinojosa and Miller introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act. The text mirrors that of the Senate bill introduced last week by Senators Durbin and Franken (see CCUSA’s statement on the Senate bill here).

The Affordable College Textbook Act would provide funding for the creation of textbooks, which would be made available to the public under open licenses, allowing students and educators to “access, reproduce, publicly perform, publicly display, adapt, distribute, and otherwise use the work and adaptations of the work for any purpose, conditioned only on the requirement that attribution be given to authors as designated.”

Creative Commons USA Director Michael Carroll issued the following statement:

By introducing a companion bill, Representatives Hinojosa and Miller have made an important statement about how to reduce cost and increase access to high quality textbooks in higher education.  Investing in open textbooks is a policy that deserves bipartisan support. Support for this bill is support for student success.

For more information on the Affordable College Textbook Act, see this page by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).

Creative Commons (CC) is a nonprofit organization that designs user-friendly copyright licenses which provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work. Its license are used by authors, artists, and other creators worldwide. Creative Commons U.S.A. is a volunteer affiliate housed American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP), which works on CC related issues specific to the United States, including state efforts to expand the use of Open Educational Resources. It will also work on matters related to the interaction of the CC license suite with doctrines in US law, such as fair use.

Nov 142013

open edu 300-x-200px copyCONTACT: Michael Carroll, Director
PIJIP, American University Washington College of Law
202-274-4047 |

Senators Dick Durbin and Al Franken today introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act, which directs the Secretary of Education to fund the creation of college textbooks and materials to be made available under open licenses.  The licenses will allow students and educators to “access, reproduce, publicly perform, publicly display, adapt, distribute, and otherwise use the work and adaptations of the work for any purpose, conditioned only on the requirement that attribution be given to authors as designated.” The full text of the bill is here.

Creative Commons USA Director Michael Carroll issued the following statement:

Senators Durbin and Franken should be congratulated for their leadership.  This bill seizes the opportunity to make high quality textbooks affordable and reusable by paying once for their production and permitting free copying, updating, and adaptation with the requirement of an open license.

Creative Commons (CC) is a nonprofit organization that designs user-friendly copyright licenses which provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work. Its license are used by authors, artists, and other creators worldwide. Creative Commons U.S.A. is a volunteer affiliate housed American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP), which works on CC related issues specific to the United States, including state efforts to expand the use of Open Educational Resources. It will also work on matters related to the interaction of the CC license suite with doctrines in US law, such as fair use.