By Jessica Stevens
Hi, my name is Jessica and I’m the Global Network Council Representative for the Creative Commons Australian Chapter.
The Australian Creative Commons Chapter held its first meeting in May this year. This meeting marked the establishment of the Australian Chapter, and the first step towards progressing the Creative Commons Global Network Strategy.
Creative Commons (CC) helps you legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world. We seek to reduce access barriers to knowledge and help facilitate sharing and innovation. Creative Commons is best known for their licences but that is not all we do – we are also involved in advocacy and policy work.
We have recently gone through a transition period. The CC movement completed a comprehensive and collaborative review of its structure with the goal of renewing and growing the network. As a result of research and open consultation, the new network – known as the Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN), has been implemented.
The Global Network is home to a community of advocates, activists, scholars, artists, and users working to strengthen the Commons worldwide. The network seeks to collaborate, create and share ideas, projects and together make a difference.
• Global collaboration. Connected with the work of Network Platforms, communities work together to set priorities, goals, objectives and strategies.
• Resilience. The previous model for Affiliate involvement was focused on institutional relationships. We are focusing on individuals and organisations instead. We are providing a path to create a network of trust and real collaboration for the future.
• Growth and inclusion. The goal of the new strategy is to include new and diverse global voices in the conversation and to provide more capacity and agency for teams working locally. We are focused on supporting and activating people.
• Shared decision-making, goal-setting, structure for collaboration. The new strategy provides space for the community to identify priorities.
• Resource allocation. The strategy creates two funds specifically to support community activities, project work and identified movement priorities.
One of the key benefits of the new network is the ability to easily collaborate with other CC members, interested parties and the public. The old structure didn’t provide an easy way to combine the efforts of CC affiliates with those who wanted to contribute but weren’t directly affiliated with CC. This has changed and there are many ways you can get involved should you want to!
CC Chapters are evolving and being created all around the world. Australia was the first country to create its own CC Chapter.
Chapters are made up of Network Members, Institutional Members, other contributing people and organisations working in a particular country. Contributors who are not Members may also participate in Chapters. In our Australian Chapter we welcome all of these ways to participate.
The Creative Commons Global Network establishes four basic rules that need to be adhered to by every CC Chapter:
• Chapters must be open to all Individual and Institutional Members that are working in that country.
• Each CC Chapter will send one representative to the Global Network Council.
• Each CC Chapter will select an individual to be responsible for coordinating and communicating on behalf of CC Chapter activities, the Chapter Lead.
• Chapters agree to work by consensus. This does not mean that all members must make every decision together, or that structures of authority and decision-making cannot be established using a consensus model; it requires that teams work openly, and voices must be heard and considered before making a final decision. In situations of conflict, Chapters can appeal to the Global Network Council’s Dispute Resolution Committee.
The responsibilities of the CC Chapter are to:
• Run activities and provide support to local projects.
• Serve as a contact and information point for questions about CC.
• Represent the CCGN in interactions with governments and organisations.
• Maintain and update a country-specific website on cc.org.
• Establish jurisdictional consensus on positions related to the CCGN.
• Report on accomplishments to the Global Network Council.
• Elect a representative for the Global Network Council and ensure their role and responsibilities are actively fulfilled.
• Ensure jurisdictional positions align with global positions of platforms, where they exist.
The Australian Chapter has elected:
• A Chapter Lead, Nic Suzor. Nic was the legal lead under the old structure. He has been a part of CC for the better part of the decade and was instrumental in establishing the new Global Network structure.
• A Chapter Global Network Council Representative, Jessica Stevens. My job includes co-ordinating Chapter Meetings, setting agendas and liaising with, and attending Global Network Council Meetings. The first Global Network Council Meeting is taking place this week. I will communicate information from this meeting to the CC Australia community.
All CC and Chapter information and documentation are shared openly on Github.
We use Slack as the primary communications platform used by the Global Network and there are many channels related to CC work that you might be interested in joining.
Alongside the work of the Chapters is the work of the Network Platforms.
Network Platforms are how we organise specific areas of work for the Creative Commons community, where individuals and institutions organise and coordinate themselves across the Global Network.
Platforms are the way we create, communicate and work on collaborations. We currently have four key platforms:
- Copyright Reform
- Open Education
- GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives & Museums)
- Community Development
You don’t need to be a member to join a platform – they are open to anyone willing to contribute to and develop, a usable, vibrant and collaborative global commons. There are projects that are occurring in each of the Network Platforms that involve global collaboration.
More information on the specific work of the platforms can be found on the Creative Commons Github repository.
Becoming a Network Member
Another way to get involved in the Global Network is by helping lead the CC community as Network Members.
There are two types of membership in the network: Individual Membership, for individual human beings, and Institutional Membership, for institutions.
You probably want to join the Global Network as an individual member. This allows you to participate in the Global Network with full voting rights and to create and communicate via a personal profile on the Global Network website.
You can join by completing the online sign-up process. Your application needs to be vouched by two people who are already part of the network and know you well enough to vouch for you. The vouching process is an important part of the membership structure. If you don’t know anyone within CC well enough yet we recommend you start engaging with the CC community in other ways to get to know the members. You can engage in the community by attending our next CC Australia Chapter Meeting, joining Slack and start talking with CC members, and/or getting involved in the Network Platforms. Information on upcoming CC Chapter Meetings will be posted on the website.
Once you have completed the sign-up process:
• You will have agreed to the Global Network Code of Conduct and the usage policy for this site.
• Your application will have been viewed by the people you have nominated to vouch for you, and by the Global Council.
• Your photograph, username, and the social media account names you provide during sign-up will be published and publicly visible on the Global Network site.
The process is very similar to sign your organisation up for the Creative Commons Global network.
We are really interested in broadening the CC community here in Australia. There is so much potential for collaboration that we would like to harness. If you are interested in getting involved either as a member or via engaging in the platforms, or the Australian Chapter – we encourage you to do so!
If you’d like more information on the Australian Chapter, or about becoming a member please contact me at [email protected].