[cc-education] Moving ahead

David Wiley dw2 at opencontent.org
Wed Feb 11 01:47:35 EST 2004

Stephen Downes wrote:

 > And lest this email be misunderstood, I would like to make
 > it clear that in my conversations with David I have come to
 > appreciate his knowledge, charity and sense of committment.
 > Our understanding and our desires for this field are virtually
 > identical, and we have more that unites us than that separates
 > us. I think that nobody shares a greater desire to come to a
 > mutual understanding than David and myself, and I think we
 > both understand well enough the dangers of internecene
 > conflict and take great care to stress our common goals,
 > however this particular disagreement may be resolved.


I want to echo this sentiment. Stephen's heart is in the right place. 
(At least I hope it is, because it's in the same place mine is.) We're 
arguing so pationately because we so strongly believe in what we're 
trying to accomplish. Let me try to recap where we are, how we got here, 
and where we need to go.

Almost a year ago Creative Commons announced several new license 
projects - Sampling, Developing Nations, and Education - to compliment 
their existing portfolio of licenses - Public Domain dedication, By, 
By-SA, By-NC-SA, and other permutations, and Founder's Copyright. Larry 
and Glenn believed that an Education license was a good idea. So did I. 
So did several other people we talked to.

Stephen has requested that a process be put on the table for how license 
development would proceed. There has been a process on a webpage 
(hopefully that is good enough) since at least June 2, 2003 according to 
the Wayback Machine at archive.org. This same process which guides the 
development of the education license is still available online at 
http://creativecommons.org/discuss for all to see. This is the process 
CC has identified for new license development, and this is the process 
we are following. As you will have seen on the webpage, Public 
Discussion is the core of the process.

Stephen says "Let's see a process for making this decision put on
the table. A process that ensures that people with a stake in the issue 
have a bearing on the outcome." The last eight months of public 
discussion have had a significant effect on the license. Look at the 
original draft Kevin Rothman and I hammered out and presented (according 
to the CC process):


This draft relied completely on the notion of an "educational 
institution" as outlined in the US Copyright Act and elaborated by 
Nimmer. We tried very hard to stretch the notion but you will see that 
this draft relies completely on affiliation with an institution to 
determine whether a person may make use of materials licensed under the 
then-proposed cc.edu.

Now fast-forward eight months. A new draft is available (I'm linking to 
the one with options): 
which takes a completely different approach to defining the class of 
individuals who would qualify. Instead of relying on "institutional 
affiliation," it attempts to grant permissions based on the "type of 
use" of a resource an individual wants to make. I posit that this 
represents a significant improvement to the license, and one that came 
about due to the public discussion called for in the CC license 
development process.

Stephen further states that he would like "A process that amounts to 
something more than just 'Creative Commons doing what it wants.'" Larry, 
Glenn, myself, and as I understand their recent posts, the majority of 
list participants are in favor of taking the next step with a draft of 
the education license. I realize there are some on the list who, like 
Stephen, honestly and genuinely believe that this is a conterproductive 
move. I actually respect that perspective. But the majority of the list 
want to see the license efforts move forward, as does CC. So we will 
cautiously go forward, into *beta*, with a draft license.

I can think of nothing more democratic than moving the cc.edu draft into 
public beta where *more* people can provide broader feedback on the 
draft. Only 11 people have participated in the discussion around the new 
draft (participation being generously defined as making at least one 
post). We desparately need the eyeballs of real users on the draft. 
Let's face it -- each of us on this list are probably CC-By people if 
not public domain people. We're not the target audience of cc.edu.

Heather has graciously offered to lead a research effort to understand 
broader user perceptions of the beta license which will shape the 
direction of the final version of the license. I hope those who have so 
actively voiced their *opinions* (including me) about what users will 
think of the draft license will join Heather in an empirical 
investigation of users *actually* think of the beta license.

The beta license is *not* the final version! The license will not be 
finalized until we gather and deal with comments from the beta period 
(e.g., http://creativecommons.org/license/sampling). In other words, 
members of this august list, everyone who still cares several months 
from now is invited back to relive this experience. =)

The question we should spend the next 24 hours discussing (since our 
deadline is the end of the day tomorrow) is - which draft should go into 
beta? With all respect to those who feel that we should not, the time is 
past to discuss whether we should or shouldn't. We need to now start 
talking about how we will. I sincerely hope that Stephen and others who 
believe we are making a mistake will hang around long enough to help us 
gather and interpret data, and empirically determine what the effects of 
the license will be.

I believe that the option-enabled draft linked above is the right draft 
to move into beta because it provides the broadest range of choice to 
users (does this make me "pro-choice?" =). Heather has also argued for 
this version in her most recent letter. Does anyone feel that the 
no-option license should be the one which goes into beta? If so, why?


More information about the cc-education mailing list