Finding, and (Re)Using CC Licensed Resources

Posted on Updated on

Welcome to yet another post in the #CCByBrian series.

CC licenses are standardized – which means the terms and conditions are the same for all works subject to the same type of CC license. Despite creatives and authors who use the licenses wanting to make modifications to meet diverse ( or slightly different) needs and wants, CC strongly discourages from customizing open copyright licenses. Aside from the confusion this might create, it will take an immense amount of time and effort for users to learn about these bespoke customization. If you change any of the terms and conditions of a CC license, you cannot call it a Creative Commons license or otherwise use the CC trademarks. This rule also applies if you try to add restrictions on what people can do with CC licensed work through your separate agreements, such as website terms of service or privacy policies.

There is a detailed CC legal policy outlining these rules, but the best way to apply them is to ask yourself: is what you want to do going to make it easier or harder for people to use your CC licensed work? Note that all of the above applies to creators of CC licensed work. You can never change the legal terms that apply to someone else’s CC licensed work.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anatomy of CC Licences

Posted on Updated on

Welcome to what has now become a very exciting #CreativeCommons (CC) series.

Let’s Refresh on the basics

CC licenses give creators (or licensors) a clear and standard way to grant users (or licensees) permission to use creative work. Essentially, you are trying to tell a potential reuser of your creative work what they can freely and legally do (or not do). Remember, even with CC licenses, authors and creators retain their copyright and are recognized (or get credit) for their work. These common features serve as the baseline, on top of which licensors can choose to grant additional permissions when deciding how they want their work to be used. In this post, I delve into the exact structure and anatomy of the CC licenses.

CC licenses function within copyright (the “all rights reserved” approach), yet they differ by employing a “some rights reserved” approach. By default, all CC licenses grant the public permission to use the works. The licenses provide for additional conditions, but remain in place for as long as the underlying copyright lasts or until a reuser violates the license terms. It is fundamental to clarify that CC licenses work on top of copyright, not instead of copyright.

Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding Copyright (Law)

Posted on Updated on

Welcome to the second post my #CopyrightEdu series (also written in submission as an assignment to my Creative Commons Certification class – which by the way is so exciting!)

So I play the guitar, but not quite like Charmant – he plays, but has invested significant effort into a creative project – a music album! Whatever his motivation for doing this, did you know that at the time creatives like Charmant are making new works of art like music, or maybe poetry, it may not be clear to them that there is such a thing called automatic copyright – and it likely restricts most reuses by others without their permission? What if you knew upfront, would it change the way you create? or the rules under which you might want to copyright your work?

Copyright law, even though it varied from one country to another, just like traffic laws, is very integral to our lives – specifically creating limits on how others may use the original works of creatives. It establishes the basic terms of use that apply automatically to original works, giving the creator or owner of copyright certain exclusive rights while also recognizing that users have certain rights to use these works without the need for a license or permission.

Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding Creative Commons

Posted on Updated on

This post was created, in response to CC Certification Assignment – #1

So you have seen the circled C – the embodiment of restrictions – All Rights Reserved – the tag that accompanies CopyRight. This month, I am part of the Creative Commons Certificate Class, and I invite you, through my assignment, to discover how we got here (copyright); and how we can move on from here.

The story of Creative Commons (fondly aka CC) begins with copyright. Copyright, in law, regulates the way human creativity products are used – like books, academic research articles, music, and art. The creator, or author, gets a set of exclusive rights so that they can prevent others from copying and adapting their work (for a limited time).

This may have been okay in a world without the technological advancements of the 21st century. The internet has given us the opportunity to access, share, and collaborate on all human creations at an unprecedented rate (and scale). This instant-always-on-sharing capabilities made possible by digital technology are in tension with the sharing restrictions embedded within copyright laws around the world.

Technology makes it possible for online content to be consumed by millions of people at once, and it can be copied, shared, and remixed with speed and ease. But copyright law places limits on our ability to take advantage of these possibilities. Creative Commons was founded to help us realize the full potential of the internet.

How does one work around this real, and ever present conflict?

Read the rest of this entry »

Getting The Most Out Of A Hackathon

Posted on Updated on

The Basics:  A hackathon goes by many names – hack day, hackfest or codefest. Essentially, a hackathon is a design, build and demo sprint-like event where you get random people to team up and collaborate intensely, usually for 24 to 72 hours. The skills required are typically in software development, graphics or human centered design; user interface and user experience design, project managers, and domain or subject matter experts.

The organizer will provide some challenges, and the participants will form teams and try to come up with their best ideas/solutions. Eventually, the team(s) who presented the best ideas/solutions will get to win some cool prizes. Prizes can be cash or some gadgets.

Here are some thoughts about how to make the most of your participation in a Hackathon.

Read the rest of this entry »

I Had A Dream – A Digitally Empowered Community Health Worker

Posted on Updated on

In 2008, I worked for Uganda Chartered HealthNet, deploying PDAs to health workers, so that health records could be transferred to the Ministry of Health using a gprs-enabled access point mounted at a wall in the health facility. We were leaders in the work to digitize health records. OpenMRS was in its infancy while DHIS2 had just been released. The platform that would change the way we support frontline health workers was named GATHERdata. Meanwhile another company, FrontlineSMS was threatening to move our cheese. Frankly the writing had been on the wall. SMS was gaining traction. Essentially, any health worker anywhere, could send in a report without needing a central place to “sync” data. (Can you imagine we did that over an infrared beam??). Here you can see Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, rally community health workers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Raising Andela’s Pocket Change

Posted on Updated on

How do you fix a thing that isn’t broken?

John Doe was terrific at Java. John left the university, worked for a software company here, and even found time to lecture at the University. A USAID project came looking and John was the natural fit – top and exceptional Java talent to run a mega IT project. Soon, the project came to a wrap. John – now accustomed to an 8-figure salary and great perks couldn’t get rehired by regular companies. John couldn’t find gigs small enough to sustain his life. Also, there weren’t many Java projects in town – the tech stacks were fast and fluid, the specialist left feeling jurrassic! After a while, John landed an opportunity – but he had to relocate abroad. His skill, though precious and top-notch, is now fit only in specific markets, for people who are ready to pay 8 figures (I know, wait, I mean Ugx). You could say, John is not a fit for this Ugandan “ecosystem” anymore.

Andela is currently being vilified for what smaller software companies are now calling “a drain of the ecosystem” – of all the top developer talent. Junior developers are not spared, they even run a teen-code club (by the way its an excellent free program!). What happens to this talent? The simple version – Get in, get a mac, get trained, and for 4 years develop, as part of a team, world class software, for a global market! Surely what’s evil about this?

Read the rest of this entry »