A Quiet Revolution
GROWING CREATIVE COMMONS
IN AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND
A Quiet Revolution
GROWING CREATIVE COMMONS
IN AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND
AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND
First published in 2015 by Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand
Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand
PO Box 19069
All text in this book is copyright Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand and
other authors as noted, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution
Open GLAM logo by Open GLAM is made available under a Creative Commons
Kiwi Open Access Logo by the University of Auckland, Libraries and Learning
Services is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence.
Cover design by Elton Gregory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution
Cataloguing-in-publication data for this book is available from the National Library
of New Zealand.
Unless otherwise attributed, all articles written by Creative Commons Aotearoa
Editing and production: Whitireia Pubishing
Cover Design: Elton Gregory
Printed by Printing.com
This book was taken from manuscript to bookshelf by students of
the Whitireia New Zealand publishing programme, who worked on editing,
production, marketing and design. For more information about our editing and
publishing training, visit www.whitireiapublishing.co.nz
□pen GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) 25
Introduction: Reflecting on Open GLAMs in Aotearoa New Zealand 27
Marsden Online Archive at the Hocken Library 35
RECOLLECT: Upper Hutt City Library 38
Te Papa Joins the Commons 41
The National Library's Use and Reuse Policy 4B
Opening New Zealand’s World War One Photography 50
Canterbury Earthquake Digital Archive 53
NZ On Screen and Audio Culture 57
Ministry for Culture and Heritage 59
Open Research 63
Introduction: Open Access to Research in Aotearoa 65
ePress: Open Access Publishing at Unitec 73
Anatomy Teaching Model Patterns Licensed with CC 76
Canterbury's Mandatory Research Deposit 78
Lincoln University's Open Access Policy 83
□pen Access at the University of Waikato 87
Open Arts and Culture 93
Introduction: Open Arts and Culture in Aotearoa New Zealand 95
Illustrating with Creative Commons 103
Ad Lib: Novel Published Under CC 106
Meena Kadri: Creative Commons and Photography 108
Richard White: Openly Licensing Music 111
The Vertical Cinema Manifesto 114
Jem Yoshioka: Openly Licensed Digital Art 117
Open Source and Creative Commons in the Fine Arts 119
John Lemmon: Creative Commons Music in Aotearoa
Dylan Horrocks: Creative Commons Cartoons
□pen Government and Data 131
Introduction: Open Government Information and Data in New Zealand 133
Who is Using Open Government Data? 138
New Zealand Electronic Text Collection HI
LINZ Data Service 144
Statistics New Zealand 148
Ministry for the Environment 151
GNS Science and GeoNet 157
□pen Licensing and the Christchurch Earthquake 160
New Zealand Transport Agency 165
□pen Education 169
Introduction: Open Education 171
The Media Studies Text Hack 177
The Computer Science Field Guide 181
The Waikato Independent 188
NZ's Open Educational Resource Foundation and Universitas 190
Dtago Polytechnic 195
Creative Commons in New Zealand Schools 198
WikiHouse New Zealand 205
Further Information 213
Frequently Asked Questions 214
Creative Commons Licence Elements 216
By Matt McGregor, Public Lead, Creative Commons Aotearoa
A Kiwi Oppikirjamaraton
In September 2012 a group of 30 Swedish maths enthusiasts
got together for a Oppikirjamaraton. For non-Swedish speakers,
this was a 'textbook marathon', in which volunteers wrote a
secondary school mathematics textbook in a single weekend.
The textbook was then released for free, under a Creative
Commons licence, for anyone to adapt and reuse.
Inspired by the Oppikirjamaraton, a group at the University
of Otago Te Whare Wananga o Otago decided to follow suit and
write their own textbook for undergraduate students of Media
Studies. Erika Pearson, Senior Lecturer at Otago's Media, Film
and Communication Department, spearheaded the project
because, as she put it, "textbooks currently available for
New Zealand first-year students are often produced overseas,
usually the US, and can have a cripplingly high price tag.
"Open texts are not only more affordable for students, they
also are more flexible for teachers, who can pull apart open
textbooks to find the more relevant and useful materials for
And so, on the weekend of 16-17 November 2013, they
began the Media Text Hack project: using the Pomodoro
Technique and taking shifts of 25 minutes on, five minutes off,
a group of lecturers and postgraduate students put together
a textbook. Over the next few weeks, they filled any gaps left
over from the weekend, and continued to edit the work.
As Richard White, Manager Copyright and Open Access
at the University of Otago, put it at the time, "This is a real
21st-century textbook - I hesitate to even use that word - that
harnesses the power of the web to break out of the print model
we've had for the last several hundred years. It's Open Access,
which means a lot of different things: it's free; anyone can read
it, use it, adapt it; it's also open to wider scrutiny, which helps
improve it over time."
The textbook was quickly picked up by British Colombia
Campus and accessed by users all over the world. In March
2014, Erika then wrote the Cookbook, a how-to guide
outlining the successes, failures and challenges of the Media
Text Hack project. This, too, was made available under a
Creative Commons licence. In 2015, the book became the
official undergraduate textbook for a Media Studies course at
the University of Otago, and has been used by students and
educators around the world, from Canada to Cape Town.
At first blush, the Media Text Hack project appears quite
radical: it bypassed an established industry, that of textbook
publishing; it embraced new methodologies; by utilising
the energy of postgraduate and early career researchers, it
circumvented conventional academic hierarchies around the
production of teachable content; and, of course, it was released
free of technical, price and legal restrictions on reuse.
In the end, though, this Kiwi Oppikirjamaraton was
fundamentally about a group of researchers and educators
using existing technologies to create and share knowledge
as widely as they possibly could - the core purpose of
New Zealand's education institutions. In so doing, they will
likely save thousands of students from buying expensive,
The Media Text Hack is one of many such projects. Taken
at a global level, open textbook projects like this have the
potential to save students worldwide many billions of dollars,
and to also lead to better educational outcomes. According
to the Student Public Interest Research Group in the United
States, 65% of surveyed students choose not to buy a college
textbook because it's too expensive, and 94% of these report
that they suffer academically because of this choice.
Figures such as these have led the United States'
Department of Labor under the Obama administration to
dedicate $2 billion in contestable funding to produce Open
Educational Resources (OERs) for American community
colleges, and have driven many other OER projects in nearly
every country in the world.
New Zealand's Quiet Revolutions
Such projects depend on two twenty-first-century innovations:
first, technologies that enable users to write, adapt and share
educational resources; second, a global open licensing system
that enables everyone on the planet to give and receive
permission to use others' work in a clear and legally robust
way. These innovations reduce or remove barriers to making
and sharing culture and knowledge - and this, as we have
seen from the Media Text Hack, allows for some truly exciting
The second of these innovations, the licensing system
known as Creative Commons (CC), is the focus of this book.
At its core, Creative Commons is a suite of six copyright
licences (remember, 'licence' just means 'way to give
permission'). Creative Commons licence users can choose to
restrict commercial reuse and derivative works; they can also
choose to require derivative works to use Creative Commons
licensing. All Creative Commons licences require those who
copy licensed works to provide attribution.
There are some additional legal details in the licences,
but that's a good chunk of what you need to know. The core
concepts of the Creative Commons licences - Attribution, Non
Commercial, No Derivatives and Share Alike - are designed
to be easy to understand and to use. We've included more
information, as well as a handy chart, at the end of this book.
But why publish a book? While at the 2011 Foo Camp,
Jez Weston, then Policy Analyst at the Royal Society of
New Zealand, referred to a ''quiet revolution taking place
in the way we use, generate and transfer knowledge". As
this book will show, we are living through many such 'quiet
revolutions', with implications for how all New Zealanders
access and engage with our culture and knowledge.
Opening All the Things
New technologies and licences have enabled projects like the
Oppikirjamaraton and the Media Text Hack, not to mention the
thousands of other open textbook projects worldwide. But what
about research? What about data? What about government
reports, culture and heritage works, music, art and literature?
Each of these areas has its own challenges and
opportunities. In New Zealand schools, for example, teachers
do not own the copyright to resources they produce in the
course of their employment (a consequence of section 21.2 of
the 1994 Copyright Act). We believe that this means schools
- all 2,500 of them in New Zealand - should adopt Creative
Commons policies to allow for greater resource sharing among
the teaching profession.
Another example comes from the wonderfully acronymed
GLAM sector (that's galleries, libraries, archives and museums).
Our heritage institutions rarely own copyright to the works
they hold. As a result, there is a focus in the heritage sector
on opening up more out-of-copyright works and encouraging
donors of newer works to provide more liberal permissions.
In the research sector, the business model of scholarly
publishing and the reliance on prestige and reputation in
academia have proved to be major barriers to Open Access
to publicly funded research. The good news is that several
New Zealand universities - joining their international
counterparts - have adopted Open Access policies, allowing
for free public access to academic research.
As these examples suggest, some of the greatest
opportunities to open New Zealand's culture and knowledge
are in the state sector, which holds and owns vast amounts
of copyright works. Think of all the schools, universities.
polytechnics, libraries, archives, galleries, museums, government
departments, research institutes and crown-owned companies
- the social, cultural and economic benefits of making these
works openly available are truly massive.
What’s the NZGOAL?
This potential has been recognised by Cabinet, who, in 2010,
approved the New Zealand Government Open Access and
Licensing framework (NZGOAL). NZGOAL advocates for
the use of Creative Commons licensing for public sector data
NZGOAL is a great piece of policy that has the potential
to open up millions of government-funded works. Essentially,
NZGOAL either directs or strongly encourages agencies that
produce or fund copyright works to consider making that work
available using Creative Commons open copyright licensing.
It's fair to say that it will take some time to fully implement
NZGOAL: the state sector is large, complex and can face
competing priorities. But the open community is making real
progress, and we have already seen many exciting and world-
leading open releases.
One early adopter of NZGOAL is the Ministry for Culture
and Heritage Manatu Taonga, which has made its popular
national encyclopedia Te Ara available under a Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) licence,
meaning anyone can copy and repurpose its works without
asking the Ministry for permission.
Another leading agency is Land Information New Zealand
Toitu Te Whenua (LINZ), which has released truly massive
open datasets to its award-winning LINZ Data Service (LDS).
LDS allows anyone to view and 'layer' multiple datasets
in their web browser. Some of the more popular datasets
include high-resolution aerial photography of the entire
country and aerial photography of Christchurch after the
A range of datasets from other agencies, including Statistics
New Zealand Tatauranga Aotearoa and the New Zealand
Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA), have also been
released rmder an open Creative Commons licence, and have
been put to use in a range of useful and fascinating projects.
ANZ Bank, for example, used NZTA transport data to
produce the 'ANZ Truckometer', which used traffic flows on
New Zealand state highways to predict movements in Gross
Another more prosaic example is the use of LINZ tide data.
The release of this data under a Creative Commons Attribution
licence enabled a range of developers to produce apps for
both iPhone and Android devices, including NZ Tides Pro,
NZTides, Tideplan, Tide Prediction and Quicktide.
It’s Time to Save Time
Open data, though, is not only about new products; it's also
about saving time and money. Open data ensures, in the first
place, that datasets produced by agency X aren't duplicated
by agency Y. (Believe it or not, government agencies haven't
always been great at sharing data and information.)
It also makes it easier for users to access and reuse data.
For professionals in data-intensive fields, this allows them to
do their job more easily; for citizens looking to access data, this
reduces the cost (in time, money and stress) of requesting data
from public agencies.
The experience of Wellington City Council (WCC) bears
this out. While council data - such as aerial photography,
contours, parks, pipes, windzones and walkways - has always
been available to ratepayers, in the past the process required
both a specific request and a processing fee. According to WCC
staff, this would lead to several data requests per week, with
council staff having to manually extract data each time.
This wasn't, as you might expect, a super-efficient use
of time for either tire Council or the public and the numbers
suggest that the process was putting off many potential users.
After releasing their data openly, the numbers increased
exponentially, with several datasets receiving over 10,000
downloads since their 2010 release.
While it can be hard to quantify these sorts of efficiency gains,
it's easy to see how the release of open data and content can save
time and money across New Zealand society. Looking beyond
open data, think of 100,000 teachers looking for educational
resources, publishers looking for images, researchers looking
for research (and research data), artists looking for creative
works to adapt and build on, and any other New Zealander
who wants to use or access copyright materials.
From Making Open to Open Making
Some of the most innovative uses of Creative Commons
licensing are in the maker community - that is, the community
of people that like to use new technologies like 3D printers to,
well, make stuff. One interesting example of this happened
in 2014 when the Canterbury Spatial Data Infrastructure
Programme, managed by LINZ, released 3D images of
Christchurch before the earthquakes under a Creative
Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.
Under the terms of this licence anyone could copy, adapt
and recreate a replica of tire 36 'core city blocks' and four
'outer CBD blocks' of pre-earthquake Christchurch. LINZ
Chief Executive Peter Mersi says, "A benefit of the open licence
means that anyone can download and improve the models,
and use them in a range of ways to celebrate the heritage that
has been lost."
The folks at LINZ aren't the only people thinking about open
licensing in the built environment. One of the most exciting
projects to be developed under Creative Commons licensing so
far is WikiHouse, a global Open Source hardware project that
enables anyone to "design, download and 'print' CNC-milled
houses and components, which can be assembled with minimal
formal skill or training".
The New Zealand chapter of WikiHouse was formed after
the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes as a way to make the rebuild
more efficient and sustainable. As Martin Luff and Danny
Squires, founders of the New Zealand WikiHouse project,
point out, "A lot of people down here in Canterbury are stuck
in limbo because they are dependent on a whole hierarchy of
other agencies before they can get on with things like repairs
and replacement housing.
“We wanted to empower people. We wanted it to be world-
class in terms of its ability to stand up to seismic resistance.
We also wanted it, longer term, to go beyond sustainability to
something that could be restorative to our environment."
Another fascinating example from the world of making is
Bronwyn Hollo way-Smith, a Wellington-based artist interested
in "internet culture, 3-dimensional printing, open source art,
and space colonisation". In 2012, Bronwyn participated in 'The
Obstinate Object', a multi-artist exhibition at Wellington's City
Gallery. As part of this show, Bronwyn created digital files of
other works in the exhibition and printed small 3D replicas,
which she added to the exhibition. She then posted the files
on Thingiverse under a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) licence, for
anyone to download and print for themselves.
Since uploading the files to Thingiverse, many of the files
have over 3,000 views, with one work - 'After Glen Hayward's
Open Circuit (Security Camera)’ - receiving over 750 downloads.
Another Kiwi project came from the 2013 Mix & Mash
competition. The winner of this competition, Graeme Jenson,
produced an online mihimihi that traced his whakapapa
(or genealogy) back to the birth of humanity, reusing and
repurposing images and information from the National Library
of New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, DigitalNZ
A-tihi o Aotearoa and Papers Past along the way.
Professor Lawrence Lessig - one of the founders of Creative
Commons and the 2013 judge for Mix & Mash - concluded that
"there is something impossibly difficult about the telescoping
nature of the story this tries to tell, and the combination of the
two perspectives - the timeline and then video - to create a
Artists and Creators
Creative Commons licensing is also used by more conventional
artists, including writers, photographers, musicians and
filmmakers. Why would they do such a thing? Reasons vary.
Some use Creative Commons to expand their audience by
removing the legal barriers to others' copying and sharing
their work. This allows them to make better use of the internet
and digital technologies to increase their audience and profile.
Others use Creative Commons because they are committed
to growing the Commons. And some artists also use Creative
Commons because it supports the business model for their
Consider Meena Kadri. A long-time user of Flickr (under
the name Meanest Indian), Meena releases many of her photos
under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-
NoDerivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) licence. Her most popular set
of photos - on the Uttarayan Kite Festival, India - has received
over 50,000 views. Other popular sets include 'Indian Street
Art' (over 40,000 views), 'Back View Bollywood' (nearly 25,000
views) and 'Faces of India' (over 19,000 views).
Given the popularity of her Flickr account, her images
have featured in countless blogs and presentations. For-profit
companies have also paid to use her work, including Serendib,
the magazine of Sri Lankan Airlines, and Phaidon Books, who
included ten of her images in an Indian cookbook.
Other artists using Creative Commons licensing include
novelist and critic Thomasin Sleigh, who released her (print-
only) novel Ad Lib under a Creative Commons Attribution
-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) licence;
musicians Richard White, Disasteradio and Jon Lemmon;
illustrators Judith Carnaby and Jem Yoshioka; and cartoonist
Dylan Horrocks points out that Creative Commons
provides him with an alternative to what he sees as a narrow,
but dominant, vision of culture and art. "When I make a piece
of art, it's me responding to a whole lot of art and the world
around me. When I finish it, I want it to go back into that flow
of art and ideas, and be shared and responded to by people.
Treating it as a single piece of property seems wrong. Lots of
people have a relationship to that piece of art."
The great thing about Creative Commons licences is that
you don't need to ask anyone's permission to use them. This
means that there are many, many more artists out there using
Creative Commons that, as an organisation, we haven't heard
of. In fact, according to information collected by the National
Library of New Zealand, over 8% of music collected by the
library under legal deposit has a Creative Commons licence.
Creative Commons in New Zealand
All this has happened rather quickly. Danyl Strype, a keen
Open Source advocate, had helped set up the CC-NZ email list
in October 2005, from which grew an enthusiastic community
of open licence advocates. One result of these lively discussions
was that Adam Hyde registered the creativecommons.org.
nz domain. Then there was a large meeting at the National
Library in Wellington about the Creative Commons project
in 2006. Soon after that meeting, Dr Brian Opie - then Senior
Lecturer in the Department of English at Victoria University of
Wellington Te Whare Wananga o te Upoko o te Ika a Maui, and
Executive Director of the Council for the Humanities - signed
a memorandum of understanding with Creative Commons
Headquarters, officially launching Creative Commons
Aotearoa New Zealand (CCANZ) under the umbrella of the
After the meeting at the National Library, Jane Hornibrook
was hired to help manage tire project on a day-to-day basis, and
began advocating for the use of Creative Commons licensing
across tire country.
So, we had a project, but we didn't yet have any licences. At
that point, the latest international Creative Commons licences,
version 3.0, had been drafted by lawyers in the United States,
which made them more complicated (and less readable) than
they needed to be for New Zealand. To help address this
problem, Brian made contact with a lawyer, Andrew Matangi,
who happened to work with Brian's son. Andrew worked
to 'port' the licences to New Zealand, building on the plain
English efforts of lawyers in England, Scotland and Wales.
And so, at the end of 2007, Creative Commons Aotearoa
New Zealand launched its local 3.0 licences.
Around this time, some people in the State Services
Commission were looking into the possibility of using Creative
Commons licensing for government data and information,
following on the heels of similar work being done in Australia
and the UK. After a long period of consultation, Cabinet
NZGOAL was followed in 2011 with the Declaration on
Open and Transparent Government, which strengthened and
supported the mandate for agencies to use NZGOAL.
While this was happening, CCANZ followed the Council
for the Humanities into the Royal Society of New Zealand in
June 2010, where the project was housed for the next four years,
with funding from the Ministry for Research, Science and
Technology Te Manatu Putaiao (as it was then called). Around
this time, the CCANZ formed its Advisory Panel, to ensure that
the project meets the needs of its various constituent groups,
and to provide strategic advice.
The latest changes happened in July 2014, when CCANZ
shifted to the Open Education Resource Foundation (OERF),
based out of Otago Polytechnic. While CCANZ remains
based in Wellington, the OERF provides governance and
administrative support. Thanks to the OERF, CCANZ is in
great health, with many exciting projects in the works.
Towards an Indigenous Knowledge Notice
In July 2015, CCANZ translated the Creative Commons 4.0
licences into New Zealand's first language, te reo Maori.
Now, with tire translation complete, CCANZ is looking to
help individuals or groups - such as iwi or hapu - who wish
to make their works more accessible. Creative Commons is
planning to develop a standard notice that would provide
basic information on how the work is to be used.
As many indigenous peoples have long argued, copyright
is not always an effective legal framework for indigenous
knowledge. This is partly because copyright protection on a
work lasts for a limited period of time, after which the work
enters the public domain, where it can be accessed and reused
by anyone - which may not be culturally appropriate.
The age of many indigenous works, which may be very old,
means that their copyright will have long expired. Also, many
indigenous works do not have a single identifiable author.
Instead, such works may be collectively authored, and may
have been incrementally created over tire course of several
Without any legal protections, and without any standard
notice, indigenous works that might otherwise be openly
available are currently closed. CCANZ hopes that a notice will
give the kaitiaki of indigenous works the option of making
their work more openly available, where the kaitiaki consider
this to be appropriate.
Growing the Global Commons
One of the great things about the Commons is that it, like
copyright, is international. This means that everything
Kiwi artists share under a Creative Commons licence is
automatically shared with the world. By the same token, this
means that everything the world shares under a Creative
Commons licence is automatically shared with us.
The good news for Aotearoa is that we're not the only ones
embracing open licensing: it's happening everywhere. There
are Creative Commons affiliate projects like ours in over 70
countries, all with their own priorities and challenges, and
all with their own exciting releases of great openly licensed
content and data. A conservative estimate suggests that
between 800 million and one billion openly licensed works are
already available under a Creative Commons licence, with this
number sure to grow rapidly in the years ahead.
There are far too many exciting international projects to
discuss in this short introduction, but some of my favourites
include: Reijksmuseum, Project LATin, TACCCT Grants, NIH
OA policy, Leicester Schools OER, OER Poland, BC Campus
and Open Seoul.
Join the Revolution
This is all very exciting but we still have a long way to go. We
want the takeaway message from this book to be not so much
"look at these cool projects" as "why aren't these cool projects
happening everywhere?" While there are valid reasons for some
works to remain closed, such as privacy concerns or commercial
interests, it is more often the case that works remain closed
simply because nobody thought they could be otherwise.
We at Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand are
playing our small part by making it easier for institutions
and organisations - including schools, universities, archives,
libraries and more - to adopt Creative Commons policies, in
order to make open licensing standard practice.
But creating lasting change in the ways New Zealanders
can access and reuse their culture and knowledge requires
champions. We need people to make sure that Creative
Commons is always considered before any organisation,
but particularly those that receive public funding, releases a
This is where you come in. We want Kiwis interested in
helping grow the Commons to champion Creative Commons
in their local communities and publicly funded organisations.
This includes your local school, council, polytech, library,
museum, archive, gallery, academic department, research
institute or government agency.
You don't need to ask our permission to champion CC, but
we are here to help out. We've developed a heap of resources
in each of our target sectors, and can let you know how
you can contribute to our collective efforts. You'll be joining
thousands of New Zealanders already using or advocating for
Creative Commons licensing, helping to grow the Commons
Archives and Museums)
Reflecting on Open GLAiis in
Aotearoa New Zealand
By Thomasin Sleigh, Community Manager, and Fiona Fieldsend,
Manager, DigitalNZ A-tihi o Aotearoa
It is redundant to say now, in 2015, that digital technologies
offer amazing opportunities as well as tricky problems for
galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs). How
people access information has radically changed, as has
society's expectations of GLAMs. When making material
available online, licensing is a ubiquitous question that the
sector circles around. Open GLAM is a set of proposals: the
use of Creative Commons (CC) licences, the public domain
and other less restrictive rights statements to allow for easy
access and the active reuse of cultural collections.
The Open GLAM discussion started to formally take
shape in May 2002 at the inaugural National Digital Forum
(NDF) conference. Here, open access to online information,
transparency about copyright and intellectual property
issues, indigenous rights, and the concept that copyright law
must also strike a balance between the rights of owners and
the legitimate needs of the users of copyright works were
all firmly put on the table. Open GLAM was then formally
kickstarted in 2003 by the World Summit on the Information
Society Declaration of Principles and Commitment. At
this event in Geneva, the principle that "information and
communication technology (ICT) should enable anyone
and everyone to have instantaneous access to knowledge
and information" was ratified. New Zealand GLAMs deftly
summarised this as "information democracy" and it became
a core theme in strategic planning across the sector.
With that principle in hand, tire National Library of
New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa took the lead on
the development of the content section of the 2005 New Zealand
Digital Strategy. The key goal: "To unlock New Zealand's stock
of content and provide all New Zealanders with seamless,
easy access to the information that is important to their lives,
businesses and cultural identity."
Alongside this, the National Library publicly supported
the emerging Creative Commons concept and fostered
discussions with a range of experts on the need for Creative
Commons licences to be adapted to the New Zealand legislative
In 2006, the National Library brought together organisations
from across the sector for a national information meeting and
workshop. As mentioned on the Creative Commons listserv,
the National Library hosted "because they are committed, as
part of the draft digital content strategy, to investigate the
feasibility of setting up a Creative Commons for Aotearoa."
This Digital Content Strategy was published in 2007. "Creating
A Digital New Zealand: New Zealand's Digital Content
Strategy" included the outcome "Digital content is being
shared and used" and highlighted the challenges of unlocking
publicly owned content, strengthening the public domain and
creating a connected public digital Commons.
These two documents, the Digital Strategy and the Content
Strategy, as well as the introduction of Creative Commons
in New Zealand, all raised the level of discourse about the
digital Commons, use and reuse, and the public domain across
the GLAM sector. However, opening up content for reuse
remains challenging for GLAMs. Over the years. New Zealand
institutions have raised and worked through complex issues:
the protection of indigenous rights, existing donor agreements,
revenue requirements of image collections, and orphan works,
to name a few.
The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre Te Puhikotuhi o
Aotearoa was one of the earliest GLAM adopters of Creative
Commons licensing: in 2008 it chose Creative Commons
licensing on the digital surrogates of the digitised texts
published on its website. Soon after, NZ On Screen launched,
and applied Creative Commons licences to, its Screentalk
interviews. The National Library was one of the early
contributors to Flickr Commons with a collection of no known
copyright materials launched in November 2008. Following
this, the open source Kete Community Repository built Creative
Commons licensing into its upload workflow for new materials.
It was also in 2008 that DigitalNZ A-tihi o Aotearoa
launched. Funded as a result of the Digital Content Strategy,
DigitalNZ sought to make New Zealand digital content
easier to find, share and use. It started out by prototyping,
testing and showcasing new ways of doing things with
digital content. One such prototype was the Memory Maker,
launched in conjunction with the Auckland War Memorial
Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira, which allowed people to make
their own videos using a selection of materials from a range
of collecting institutions. Participating organisations therefore
had to provide copyright-free digital items; for some, it was the
first time they had made collections items specifically available
DigitalNZ's core work was an aggregated search of
collections, primarily GLAMs at first, to provide a one-stop
shop for New Zealand digital content. DigitalNZ developed
a licence schema that made it possible to filter search results
by rights, and developed the Use and Reuse Guide as part of a
suite of Make It Digital best practice guidance.
DigitalNZ launched the Mix & Mash competition in 2010,
aiming to "show what is possible when a public agency, a
library, a scientist or a museum gives you permission to use
their copyright works. We want to increase the amount of
open content and data out there, and your stories help us
show why it's worth doing!" The competition challenged
students, creatives and developers to use openly licensed
digital content and data to make new artworks, resources
and tools. Winners ranged from an illustrative re-working
of a Katherine Mansfield poem that drew inspiration from
GLAM pictorial collections to a Great New Zealand Walks
smartphone application that included content from a variety of
GLAM institutions. Collaborating with other institutions and
like-minded sponsors, Mix & Mash ran again in 2011 and 2013,
and received many inventive, funny and surprising entries that
reused open material from collections across New Zealand.
Conversations around licensing, the public domain and
heritage institutions continued in a number of fora including
the annual NDF conferences. 2009's conference hosted a 'Fair
Use Forum', chaired by the late Paul Reynolds, with participants
from the National Library, the Creative Freedom Foundation
and the Digital Publishing Forum. Successive NDFs have all
included similar panels and presentations, and have provided
a space for cross-sector discussion about copyright, access, and
the reuse of collections.
Alongside all this talk was some exciting activity: a
growing number of GLAM institutions adopting Creative
Commons and open licences. Palmerston North City Library,
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki and Auckland Libraries
Nga Whare Matauranga o Tamaki Makaurau were some of the
first organisations to apply 'no known copyright' statements
to relevant items in their digital collections. Later, Archives
New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kawanatanga uploaded
digitised footage from the National Publicity Studios, and
they applied the Creative Commons licence that is supported
by YouTube. When Upper Hutt City Library launched their
RECOLLECT site of digitised archival material, the majority
of the collection was licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) licence.
The development of Open GLAM in New Zealand was
considerably bolstered by the release of the New Zealand
Government Open Access and Licensing policy (NZGOAL)
in 2010. NZGOAL explicitly states that "opening up this
information for reuse has considerable and widespread
benefits to government, industry and the public" and added
governmental heft to the argument for publicly funded cultural
institutions to openly license their material, and acknowledge
where content is out of copyright. For example, NZGOAL was
a significant factor in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa
Tongarewa's November 2010 decision to adopt the 'no known
copyright restriction' statement and Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (CC BY-NC-ND)
licence for digital surrogates of collection items displayed in
its Collections Online.
2014 was an important year for Creative Commons and the
Open GLAM movement in New Zealand. The National Library
launched its Reuse Policy, which laid out a clear framework
for identifying out-of-copyright material and explicitly
advocated for the use of Creative Commons licences in its third
principle: "Negotiations with rights owners and donors will
promote and be informed by the Creative Commons licensing
framework as a mechanism to facilitate use and reuse of in-
In mid-2014, tire WW100 Office, prompted by the Ministry
for Culture and Heritage Manatu Taonga's Copyright and the
Cultural Sector meeting, coordinated consistent licensing of
tire H Series, the official World War One photographs taken by
Henry Armytage Sanders, across several institutions that hold
that collection. Also in mid-2014, Te Papa removed the resolution
restrictions and enabled high-resolution download on over 30,000
no known copyright and CC BY-NC-ND images.
Where does this leave New Zealand's Open GLAM
movement in 2015? Importantly, New Zealand now has a
number of best practice examples, from both large and small
institutions, for other GLAMs to emulate in opening up their
collections. In particular, Te Papa, as New Zealand's national
museum and art gallery, has been transparent, through a series
of blog posts and the release of a data set on image download
statistics, about tracking the impact of their image release.
They are reporting their research back to the sector.
Perhaps more significantly, the proliferating activity of
digital communities points to innovative and unexpected uses
of heritage material, and the new demands that audiences have
of GLAM institutions: popular Facebook pages sharing archival
images, Photoshop experts colourising WWI photographs
and GIF-makers remixing old paintings. Responding to this.
Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand has worked
with GLAMs on useful tools such as a guide for donors and
depositors to cultural institutions, and an off-the-shelf reuse
policy for institutions to adapt and adopt.
It has been a busy 12 years of Open GLAM in Aotearoa
New Zealand, and the movement continues to build
momentum. Complex issues remain, such as the protection
of indigenous rights and balancing the sometimes competing
interests of other stakeholders. However, as increasing
numbers of institutions put concerted effort into identifying
and releasing collections that are legally and ethically able to
be openly licensed, and showcasing the value of this work,
the Open GLAM movement can only continue to strengthen
Marsden Online Archive
at the Hocken Library
The University of Otago Library Nga Whare Whakamarama
o Te Whare Wananga o Otago has an online archive that for
the first time allows researchers to search and mine Samuel
Marsden's historic journals and letters with technological
online tools. The documents, detailing life on the nation's
first missions, were brought back from London more than a
century ago by Thomas Hocken and have been transcribed by
retired Associate Professor Gordon Parsonson.
As reported on the Marsden Archive website: "This was a
collaborative project undertaken by the University of Otago
Library and the University's Centre for Research on Colonial
Culture. This project to create the Marsden Online Archive set
out to achieve a number of objectives including:
- creating digital objects from historically significant,
unique items in the Hocken Collections;
- providing appropriate metadata for these resources,
so as to enrich contextual information and extend
- identifying and deploying appropriate technical and
discovery standards to ensure accessibility, preservation
and curation; and
- developing an appropriate platform, structure and web
interface to make the collections useful as a research
Vanessa Gibbs, Business Analyst and Mining Marsden
Project Manager at the University of Otago Library, speaks
about the use of Creative Commons in the Mining Marsden
Project: "The Project Sponsor for the Marsden Online Archive
was already familiar with Creative Commons licensing. He
recommended the use of the Attribution-NonCommercial-
ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) New Zealand licence to Gordon
Parsonson (the copyright owner of the transcripts). We chose
that particular licence because we wanted to make sure
Gordon would continue to get attribution for his work, but
we didn't want to stop other researchers being able to build
upon the material.
"From there it was an easy decision to use the same
agreement for the digital images and metadata. The Creative
Commons licence structure provides a clear and easily
understood framework for the application of copyright
licences. It was easy for us to apply the licence and it is easy for
our users to understand the terms under which they can use
"As we are using the same licence for both the transcripts
webpage. Here we detail when Gordon needs to be attributed
and when the Hocken Collections need to be attributed. This
way there is no confusion for our users.
"We've had really great buy-in from staff on tire Marsden
Online Archive. They are now more open to using a Creative
Commons licence for other material. I guess they see Marsden
as a test case for using a Creative Commons licence and so far
it has been very successful.
"There are already a number of other projects that Library
staff are discussing using Creative Commons licensing for.
Hopefully the success of the Marsden Online Archive will
highlight the usefulness of the Creative Commons licensing
RECOLLECT: Upper Hutt City Library
In 201 2, Upper Hutt City Library (UHCL) launched RECOLLECT,
an online repository of materials from its community archive.
The announcement made the front page of the Upper Hutt Leader,
where it was celebrated as “a New Zealand first".
The RECOLLECT platform allows users to browse and
discuss archival materials. At present, the site has over 21,000
photos and hundreds of other items freely available to access
What was not mentioned in the Leader story, however, was
perhaps RECOLLECT's most remarkable feature: nearly all
its heritage items - old and new - are made available under a
Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) or Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) licence.
The Upper Hutt Community Archive was created in 1996 to
host heritage materials from the local community. It has grown
into a rich resource for local residents and includes thousands
of photos, newspapers, oral histories and maps.
Until recently most of these archival items were largely
unknown. Members of the public would have to request copies,
and would be charged an administrative fee by the UHCL. As
UHCL Archivist Reid Perkins points out, this took up valuable
staff time and tended to "put people off using the images".
RECOLLECT allows users to download images from
UHCL's archive whenever they like. Reid says, "This has been a
popular feature. People like the fact that they have easy access to
these images, which of course if we were using a traditional All
Rights Reserved copyright model we wouldn't be able to do."
Reid came to the RECOLLECT project in May 2012, and says
he was "very impressed" with the library's attitude towards
sharing and reuse. "A lot of institutions are quite risk averse. I
was very pleased to come here and see that they didn't seem to
have that attitude."
In partnership with New Zealand Micrographic Services
Ltd, library staff agreed that the Creative Commons licences fit
with the general ethos of the archive. Their remarkable range
of openly licensed resources includes collections of the Upper
Hutt Leader itself.
Reid admits that the question of rights has given him
some nervous nights, but that most people seem to be willing
to allow the public to access and share their local heritage.
"There does seem to be a good, positive attitude here. The
main feeling seems to be that people are proud of their local
history and want it better known. They want people to access
Reid points to the collection of photos by Revelle Jackson,
a prominent Hutt Valley photographer. Jackson was the
official photographer for local events - including A&P shows,
birthday parties and weddings - for several decades, and his
collection of over 8,000 photos is now available for download
for distribution and reuse under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) licence.
When asked about other libraries following in the footsteps
of UHCL, Reid points out that most libraries and archives are
caught between two basic mandates: to protect the collections
and to provide access. While Reid understands the dilemmas
many librarians and archivists face, he says he's "pleased to be
working in a place where it does seem to lean tire other way,
Reid says that he would "definitely encourage other
institutions to go down this route".
For smaller, regional organisations, open access and open
licensing are a good way to encourage the local community
to share and reuse heritage materials. "Our issue is getting
people to use the stuff, providing access so that people use our
collections. As soon as we are fairly sure that there aren't any
copyright claims, we want to put the work in circulation."
As local groups continue to donate materials to the archive,
Reid looks forward to growing RECOLLECT. "A lot of material
is coming in digital form only. We often digitise the material,
and let the donors keep the original. We're building up a lot of
material like that."
As the collections grow, so does the range of materials
available for sharing and creative reuse. "I've been getting
donors' permission to use their material digitally, and this
includes Creative Commons licensing. I make a point of telling
people, because they might be worried or misunderstand, but
no one seems that concerned. They want their images to be out
there and available.
"I've always made an effort to explain the licences to
donors, and no one's been bothered so far, to be honest. So far,
Te Papa Joins the Commons
People at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
have been thinking about Creative Commons licensing for a
while now. As our national museum, Te Papa is the kaitiaki
of an incredible range of artistic, scientific and cultural items,
including paintings, photos, objects, specimens articles and
over 30,000 Taonga Maori.
A decade ago these collections were difficult for most
New Zealanders to access, especially for those who lived
outside of Wellington. Since then the team at Te Papa has
been working on digitising their collection of over two
million items. In 2005, after years of work, Te Papa launched
Collections Online, a search engine for Te Papa's collections; it
was relaunched in its current format in 2009.
Before any item can be reproduced online, the team at
Te Papa have to figure out whether they have the right to
do so. This can be an arduous process. As a result, Victoria
Leachman, Rights Advisor at Te Papa, says, "Our focus at
Te Papa has been on accessibility, rather than reuse."
The result is an outstanding digital archive, consisting of
over 200,000 objects. This is a fantastic resource for students,
researchers and members of the public.
In a digital environment, however, many visitors to
Te Papa's collections want to share, remix and reuse the images
and data they find. Recognising this, Victoria and her team
have been steadily applying Creative Commons licences to
thousands of items. The team has been "nibbling away at the
edges of the collections".
In 2008, as an initial experiment with open licensing,
Te Papa applied a Creative Commons licence to 21 audio
guides for its 'Rita Angus: Life and Vision' exhibition.
Since then, applying Creative Commons licences has been
a work in progress. Because Te Papa doesn't always own the
copyright to its collections, the process of giving Creative
Commons licences can be complex. The team at Te Papa has
spent years researching the copyright on its images.
Te Papa itself also produces a vast amount of material.
These images have been easier to license: so far, thousands
of images in its Natural Environment Collections have been
given a Creative Commons licence. Thousands of other works
have been labelled 'no known copyright restrictions', which
lets users know that to the knowledge of Te Papa, the work has
fallen into the public domain.
The team has already seen some exciting example of reuse,
including posts in Dr David Winter's The Atavism, hosted by
Other works from Te Papa can be found in its Flickr
stream. Te Papa also holds the copyright to a few of the
objects in its art collections, allowing it to participate in the
Google Art Project.
In addition to its images and artworks, Te Papa produces
a vast amount of original research. Like other organisations,
Te Papa is confronting the trend towards Open Access. In
2011 researchers from Te Papa published a paper in Scientific
Reports on the "slime defence mechanism" of the Hagfish. The
researchers licensed the paper Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (CC BY-NC-ND), and made it
available on Nature.com.
They also released, as the press release put it, "graphic
underwater footage showing for the first time how the
primitive hagfish - also known as the snot-eel - defends itself
by emitting a choking, gill-clogging slime." Because both the
paper and the footage were available under an open licence,
the findings were covered by news organisations like TVNZ
and Stuff. co. nz.
There are also issues of moral rights, cultural rights and
'orphan works' - those works that are still under copyright
but that have no obvious copyright owner. Victoria and others
at Te Papa are working on addressing these issues, while
respecting the rights of those who donate their collections.
Te Papa has now made over 45,000 images freely
downloadable from its Collections Online digital database,
giving the public access to the highest-resolution images it can
and opening the way for creative reuse.
Some of these images are no known copyright but many
have been licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) licences.
Releasing images of the collection for download is now a core
part of the workflow of copyright assessment for Victoria. "It's
no longer a one-off project. It's now a business-as-usual activity
and providing the highest-resolution image file we can means
much wider scope for potential reuse."
Victoria's philosophy throughout has been one of
incremental change: "let's iterate!" She says "GLAM
professionals tend to be completionists, even perfectionists,
and this isn't a project you're ever going to be able to 'finish'.
One of the big messages I'm always trying to get across is to
start with what you can do now, at the foot of the mountain.
Don't worry about what's at the top. It might get solved as you
go and, if it doesn't, you can better concentrate on solving it
when you get there."
The project's launch in June 2014 generated a lot of positive
feedback for Te Papa, both nationally and internationally. There
was a significant visitation spike to the Collections Online site.
Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Chris Finlayson has
recognised Te Papa's efforts and said: "These images from the
national collection are a fantastic resource for New Zealanders.
The Government's Open Access Licensing Framework cuts red
tape, allowing the public to share and enjoy these thousands of
images freely, as well as making them more readily available
for use by professionals in the education, historical, cultural
and creative sectors."
"Another benefit of this work is the internal efficiency
savings." Victoria noted that Collections Online is used heavily
by Te Papa's own staff, and the new, clearer copyright and open
licensing statements mean less confusion, less worry about
inadvertently doing something illegal, and significantly less
time taken up processing rights requests and queries. "Staff
can cut straight through the necessary copyright bureaucracy
and just do it themselves if they need an image for a sign, say,
or an e-newsletter."
But of course the main benefit is the creative and
collaborative potential that freely available public domain or
out-of-copyright and CC-licensed works bestow. One example
close to home is the creation of a new artwork for the Nga Toi
Arts Te Papa exhibition: Knowledge on a beam of starlight, a vinyl
work by Kerry Ann Lee using found images. With Te Papa's
permission Lee used images downloaded from Collections
Online in her artwork.
So what's next for Creative Commons at Te Papa? "Now
we need to analyse the results so far, so that we can keep
improving." Victoria wants to learn how people are using the
images, and what effect the freely downloadable content is
having on Te Papa's image licensing business. She is also very
focused on spreading the word, and making sure that Kiwis
know that their cultural treasures are emerging into the free
digital domain. "Creative Commons is still really early days in
New Zealand. We want people to know what's available and
how they can use these incredible treasures."
The National Library’s use
and Reuse Policy
On 20 May 2014 the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna
Matauranga o Aotearoa published its use and reuse policy. In
nine overarching principles, the policy aims to provide clarity
and consistency around the use and reuse of the National
In line with international 'open GLAM' (galleries, libraries,
archives and museums) recommendations, principle four
advises that "negotiations with rights owners and donors will
promote and be informed by the Creative Commons licensing
framework as a mechanism to facilitate use and reuse of in-
Principle five states: "Where no copyright restriction
applies, the National Library will seek to provide the items
for use and reuse with a statement of 'no known copyright
restrictions', after careful consideration of cultural and ethical
issues relating to the items."
Other principles address the use of appropriate resolution
size, the Government's Open Access and Licensing framework,
and the treatment of 'orphan' works.
Mark Crookston, Digital Collection Strategy Leader at the
Alexander Turnbull Library at the National Library, first
drafted the policy in early 2013.
As he points out, "The purpose of the policy is to be able to
have a consistent framework across the National Library for all
of our reuse activities, from supply to management to delivery.
"On the supply side - such as our negotiations and
agreements with publishers and donors - the policy attempts
to clarify what we say about reuse, and the metadata we use, as
early in the process as possible. On the delivery side, the policy
covers clear and consistent statements, resolution, and also
trying to get the National Library to have more items available
under 'no known copyright' restrictions."
Mark notes that the initial conversations between the
institution and the donor are critical, as this is where conditions
around the reuse of collections' items are formed. These
conditions "flow through the entire life of the collection while
it's with us, which is in perpetuity," he says.
This is why principle four advises that "negotiations with
rights owners and donors will promote and be informed by
the Creative Commons licensing framework". As part of the
implementation of the principle, the National Library is likely
to add a Creative Commons tick-box on the donor form, and
provide donors with a range of explanatory resources. Donors
will retain the right to restrict access to their work, if they so
The passage of the use and reuse policy took around 18
months. "It was a series of conversations. It was important
that we took our time and listened. The different perspectives
in society around use and reuse - which can be a relatively
contentious issue - also exist in the National Library itself. As
an institution, we just talked our way through these issues.
"As a collecting institution, we managed to get a general
agreement as to the purpose of what we do: we develop
collections, and make them accessible (including through
digitisation), because we want people to use them. It was
important to clarify that the accessibility and use concepts
were different. That was a critical point for moving forward
with the policy work."
Now that the policy has been adopted, the National Library
is working to implement its principles.
"We're now establishing our process for the 'no known
copyright' test, supporting principle five in the policy. We
have a process to identify which collections go through the
test, which includes considering any cultural or ethical reasons
to restrict reuse - but still provide access.
"A lot of great people in the National Library have worked
hard to determine those cultural and ethical criteria. Some of
this work is challenging those criteria, but it's also reaffirming
some of them. We haven't yet determined all of the reasons to
restrict reuse on a cultural basis, though the idea with the 'no
known copyright test' is that we'll be able to determine some
of those criteria as we go.
"We're also developing procedures to follow when some
works are reused in a way that goes against the restrictions
set by the National Library or by donors. This goes to that
amorphous issue of trust."
The National Library is also undertaking to map the
array of restrictions placed on works by its donors over the
years, to ensure that online users are always made aware of
these restrictions, while at the same time aiming for clear and
consistent rights statements across the National Library's
As Mark says, “It sounds simple but there are a lot of
current, past, and future permissions and rights statements we
have to be able to reflect, cutting across sizeable and diverse
collections, in different systems with differing technological
The National Library policy follows the release of around
45,000 high-resolution images by the Museum of New Zealand
Te Papa Tongarewa, under either a Creative Commons licence
or a no known copyright statement.
Mark believes that other collecting institutions are likely
to follow in the footsteps of Te Papa and the National Library
- and other international institutions like the Rijksmuseum -
and is curious to see which approach other institutions take.
"While Te Papa and the National Library share the same
objectives - i.e. getting no known copyright images in high
resolution available online - our approaches have differed
slightly. Te Papa's approach is more to release large numbers
of images in order to demonstrate value, which is great, they've
done a magnificent job. On the other hand, the National
Library took more of a policy approach to get our thinking
and framework in place before implementing. I think both
are relevant. It will be interesting to see how these approaches
play out and what other institutions do. I think both Te Papa
and the National Library have demonstrated useful paths
Opening New Zealand’s World war One
New Zealand officially commemorated the centenary of
the outbreak of World War One with both a 100-gun salute
and a field of 100 white crosses on the Parliamentary lawn.
In addition to this, much of the New Zealand GLAM sector
- that's Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums - has
marked the centenary, both for its own sake, but also to
draw attention to the depth and quality of our local heritage
collections. The hub for these efforts is the WW100 website,
which provides a range of resources, including a new search
filter for World War One materials.
Part of the promise of the centenary is to help remind
New Zealanders that this is their history: regardless of
whether one had family members in the war - or even had
family members in New Zealand - the war shaped the kind of
place that Aotearoa became.
And if the events are p art of New Zealand' s common heritage,
then so too are many of the works from that era. Recognising
this, some of the largest organisations in the local GLAM sector
have been working to ensure that the most significant heritage
items from the war are made openly available to everyone, free
of all technical, price and legal restrictions.
A particularly interesting example of this is the work
of the Alexander Turnbull Library (ATL) - in tandem with
organisations across the culture and heritage sector - to release
the H series of World War One photographs.
The H series are photographs taken by Henry Armytage
Sanders, and they are, as Melanie Lovell-Smith points out,
"the most comprehensive visual record of New Zealanders on
the Western front from 1917 to 1918". As Lovell-Smith says,
before 1917 New Zealand didn't have an official photographer
- due to the expense - which means that the only photographs
before that date were those taken by the New Zealand troops
The ATL has released digital reproductions of these
photographs in high resolution, with clear 'no known copyright'
statements. This means that anyone, anywhere, can view, share,
download and reuse the official record of New Zealand in
World War One, without asking permission or paying a fee.
This follows the passage of the National Library of
New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa's Use and
Reuse policy, principle five of which asserts that "Where no
copyright restriction applies, the National Library will seek to
provide tire items for use and reuse with a statement of 'no
known copyright restrictions', after careful consideration of
cultural and ethical issues relating to the items."
While the release of the H Series is very exciting, it is just
the latest in a run of Open GLAM developments. Beyond the
publication of the National Library's open policy, Te Papa has
also released over 45,000 open images under high resolution.
Some of these are made available under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (CC BY-NC-ND)
licence; others have been released without any copyright
These content releases and open policies will surely be the
first of many. There are hundreds of heritage institutions in
New Zealand, with many millions of high-quality works. As
these works are digitised - as they have been for the last 15 or
so years - it's important that they are released as free of price,
technical and legal restrictions as possible, so that as many
Kiwis (and overseas visitors) as possible can access and engage
with works from their own heritage.
As was noted in some of the preliminary discussions
behind the release of the H Series, New Zealand's culture
and heritage sector does not have clear, standardised rights
statements, and sometimes imposes additional price, legal or
technical restrictions on the reuse of heritage works. Thomasin
Sleigh, Community Manager of DigitalNZ A-tihi o Aotearoa
and the Kiwi representative on the Open GLAM Working
Group, tells us that heritage institutions will need to adopt
clear policies and processes to be "clear, consistent, and open
with our cultural collections".
Canterbury Earthquake Digital
UC CEISMIC is a federated archive of materials from the
Canterbury earthquakes, hosted by the University of Canterbury
Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha, which launched in November
2011. With content provided by major New Zealand cultural
institutions, such as the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa
Tongarewa and the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna
Matauranga o Aotearoa, as well as ordinary New Zealanders,
the archive is an extraordinary - and extraordinarily open -
The idea for the archive began when Associate Professor
Paul Millar from the Department of English at the University
of Canterbury approached Dr James Smithies, then working at
the Ministry of Health Manatu Hauora, about what he could
do in response to the February 2011 earthquakes.
James pointed Paul to the 9/11 archive, organised by the
Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.
They also considered the Hurricane Memory Bank, a project
designed to collect and preserve stories from hurricanes Rita
and Katrina. Paul pitched the idea to the university's senior
management team and received a very positive response.
He immediately began tireless work to get James down to
Christchurch and turn the idea into reality.
With these projects in mind, James and Paul considered
how they might build something similar for the Canterbury
earthquakes. As James put it, the team soon decided that they
"would just go out and collect everything."
Dr Christopher Thomson, Programme Office Manager for
UC CEISMIC, outlined the steps James and Paul had to take to get
the archive online.
"They put a proposal to the university and got some
funding to set something up. From there, they started to have
conversations with people across the cultural heritage sector,
and saw that lots of people were asking the same kinds of
questions about an archive for the Canterbury earthquakes.
They then decided to set up the UC CEISMIC consortium."
The UC CEISMIC consortium is led by the University of
Canterbury and made up of organisations from across the
cultural heritage sector, including Archives New Zealand
Te Rua Mahara o te Kawanatanga, the National Library of
New Zealand, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH)
Manatu Taonga, the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch City
Libraries Nga Kete Wananga o Otautahi, NZ On Screen, the
Ngai Tahu Research Centre, the Canterbury Earthquake
Recovery Authority Te Mana Haumanu ki Waitaha, the
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and Nga Taonga
Sound and Vision.
Christopher says, "The idea was that each of the consortium
members would collect their own material and archive it
according to their own policies, and then use DigitalNZ to
surface it in one place, so that users could search for earthquake-
related content at ceismic.org.nz."
So where does Creative Commons come in? Given the
ambitions of the project, in these early stages "Creative Commons
wasn't in the mix". Later, though, James began to introduce the
idea of open licensing.
James had been a Creative Commons supporter for years,
had strong support from Paul to investigate Creative Commons
licences, and was offered excellent advice from Jason Darwin
at CWA New Media (later Learning Media Limited). He
understood the problems 'all rights reserved' copyright can
pose for heritage projects and soon found there were issues
having multiple licensing agreements across different sections
of the project.
The problem was handed to Christopher Thomson when
he arrived in the team. However, little progress could be made,
despite his best efforts and those of a range of stakeholders.
The problem was most difficult with research-oriented data,
which had specific issues related to ethics and privacy.
In the end, when approaching potential depositors, the UC
CEISMIC team recommended the use of Creative Commons
licences, though remained open to more restrictive licensing
agreements, according to the specific needs of content
The archive launched in November 2011, with 10,000 items,
and continues to grow.
The University of Canterbury's specific contribution to the
consortium is called UC QuakeStudies, and includes materials
from Fairfax Media, Environment Canterbury Kaunihera
Taiao ki Waitaha and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.
While much of this content remains 'all rights reserved', the
archive has added a collection by Murray Quartly, who runs
After the earthquakes, Murray took a series of 360-degree
panorama photographs of central Christchurch, producing
what Christopher describes as a "virtual tour of the Red Zone".
After meeting with the UC CEISMIC team, Murray decided
to release the photos under a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) licence.
Another significant part of the consortium is QuakeStories,
which is run by MCH. This archive contains stories and
photos of the earthquake from ordinary New Zealanders,
and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) licence.
Both Christopher and James suggest that the biggest
hurdles to using Creative Commons licences have come from
researchers - especially those working through the University's
ethics committee, which is already a complex process.
The UC CEISMIC team continues to encourage their
partners to use open licensing wherever possible, and Creative
Commons licences remain a core part of the UC CEISMIC
Christopher says, "We don't really know how people
are going to use our content. It makes sense to make it open
wherever possible, because we don't know what research
questions and methods will be like in 100 years' time. We want
to leave that open as far as possible, for the future."
NZ On Screen and Audio Culture
NZ On Screen has provided online access to a wealth of
New Zealand film, television and music videos since 2008.
From the outset it has used a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) licence for all the work on the
site where the copyright is owned by NZ On Screen. While the
video content often belongs to third-party rights-holders, all
the synopses, backgrounds and biographies relating to videos
and people are licensed under CC. This material is impressive
in its scope and quality; the introductions to tire collections,
particularly, are personable as well as thorough.
Clarion Coughlan, former Project Director, says their aim
is not to put everything they possibly can online, but rather to
choose culturally significant pieces and give them space to talk
to each other.
NZ On Screen is a curated website, carefully chosen and
added to, and the context provided by the written material is
crucial. Clarion says, "rather than just publishing videos, we
contextualise them through our writing. As NZ On Screen has
been paid for by taxpayers (via NZ On Air funding), it makes
sense to make that writing available under Creative Commons:
to give something back."
Having that CC-licensed work reused also serves as a useful
advertising tool; when writers reuse their pieces on blogs or
have them published elsewhere, and actors' agencies reuse what
is effectively a pre-written biography, the Creative Commons
licence brings people back to the NZ On Screen website.
Perhaps due to the popularity of NZ On Screen, May 2013
saw the launch of a sister project, AudioCulture - the 'noisy
library of New Zealand music'. The site aims to address the
'digital silence' that has surrounded New Zealand music
online, and to collect together tire stories, multimedia and
ephemera that have contributed to New Zealand music from
the last 100 years.
AudioCulture kicked off with 250 pages of people,
labels and scenes, all under searchable indexes, plus music,
interviews and photographs, with another 300 pages following
in the second year. It was very well-received, gaining 25,000
page views in its first month live, and continues to grow.
Following the successful formula employed over at NZ
On Screen, the music on the site is licensed by PPNZ Music
Licensing and APRA/AMCOS and the images have been
cleared with copyright owners, but the written content in
Profiles, Stories, Labels and Scenes all falls under the Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) licence.
Like the written content on NZ On Screen, these pieces are
not brief introductions; they are well-researched and in-depth,
written by a wide variety of contributors, often with a personal
connection to the subject, providing an extraordinary depth of
Ministry for Culture and Heritage
The Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manatu Taonga (MCH)
is dedicated to supporting New Zealand's arts, media, heritage
and sports organisations, including Creative New Zealand, the
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, RadioNZ and many more.
MCH also produces a range of public resources, including
Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand and New Zealand
History Online Nga Korero a Ipurangi o Aotearoa. Since 2011,
the text for both of these sites has been licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) Licence.
Matthew Oliver, Manager of the Web Team at MCH, says,
“We recognised that the taxpayer has paid for this content to
be developed, and were aware of plans around NZGOAL, and
we saw our content as part of that."
NZGOAL is the New Zealand Government Open Access
and Licensing framework, which encourages public sector
agencies to use Creative Commons licences, to enable the
public to share, remix and reuse publicly funded content.
The team was happy to fulfil the principles of NZGOAL, as
they had already recognised the importance of disseminating
their content. “The more we could get our content used, the
more we justify our work. By making our content available
for reuse, we show that our content is important, that there
is a need.
“The sticking point came down to what sort of licence we'd
adopt, which is why we ended up using the Noncommercial
licence. We had to consider authors' rights, publishing and
licensing deals. We were also sensitive to authors, who often
work for very little or for free."
Matthew believes that Creative Commons licensing could
help to reduce some of the duplication that occurs in the
cultural sector. "If one organisation is good at storing images,
and another is good at writing stories about images, let's
combine them, rather than repeating each other's work.
"It's great that the cultural sector is starting to share each
other's work, but we should also be sharing it with the public.
This ties into the Government's commitment to supporting
innovation. There are some great New Zealand companies
who would love some good content. We've got content. It's
there. With Creative Commons licensing, they can use it."
Without Creative Commons licensing, some innovative
and important projects may suffer in quality, or never get off
the ground. "You just don't know what people will do with
this content, if they could get hold of it. If you make the content
available, someone with more time and more expertise is going
to do something that a government organisation can't do."
Researchers also benefit from open licensing, as it simplifies
the process of clearing picture rights. "We also don't know how
much time this is adding to their research, and what they're
deciding not to use."
Matthew hopes that culture and heritage institutions will
continue to open up their collections. "I'm inclined to start
from a default position of everything should be open, and let's
see where the problems come up. There'll always be problems
- privacy, donor agreements, WAI262 - but the vast majority of
content isn't affected. Start from the other direction.
“If you lock your content away, nobody knows about it.
Forget advertising. You don't need an advertising budget if you
let your content go out there and speak for you. If your image
goes out there, and it's got a link back to your website - and
if somebody finds that content useful and spreads the word
about it - you're getting free advertising. You're letting the
asset that you've got go and promote you as an organisation."
Open Access to Research in
By Fabiana Kubke, Senior Lecturer at School of Medical Sciences,
University of Auckland Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makarua,
and Matt McGregor, Public Lead, Creative Commons Aotearoa
Stop me if you've heard this one before. You're researching
an issue that you care about and find a link to an important
study, a study that promises to give you greater insight about
the subject at hand.
Let's say you're interested in geology, and the article is in
the New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, published
(with public funding) by the Royal Society of New Zealand Te
Aparangi. It also happens to be co-authored by a researcher
from one of New Zealand's publicly funded research
You click on the link and find yourself faced with this
message: "Sorry, you don't have access to this article." You are
asked if you want to purchase the article - for a grand total of
USD$48 (or AUD$146 for the whole issue).
That, for most people, is the end of the process. It doesn't
matter whether you are a businessperson, a policy-maker, a
journalist, a curious member of the public, a student or an
independent researcher - you'll need to pay to get access. And
if you can't pay? Well, tough.
An Untenable Situation
If you work or study in a university or research institute, you
might not know that this is a problem - or maybe you don't
think it's a problem for you.
But before you make up your mind, consider this: the
research sector pays over $50 million on subscriptions to
academic journals. That's about the same amount allocated to
support research by the Marsden Fund.
More to the point, that $50 million doesn't pay for all
published research. University libraries, faced with flatlining
budgets, are having to decrease the number of journals they
can provide access to.
And if you aren't yet convinced that this is a serious
problem, consider this memo from the Faculty Advisory Panel
of Flarvard University, which stated that the cost of journal
subscriptions was "an untenable situation" and that steadily
increasing subscription charges had "made the scholarly
communication environment fiscally unsustainable and
academically restrictive". 1
How could something as fundamental to the life of
a university as journal subscriptions - that is, access to
knowledge - become "fiscally unsustainable" to tire richest
university on the planet?
As it turns out, this issue has been bubbling away for some
time. In 2004 the Association of Research Libraries in the US
revealed that the average cost of a journal subscription had
risen 315% from 1989 to 2003 for its member libraries - that's
compared to a rate of inflation of only 68%. Since then journal
prices have continued to rise by 9% per year. 2
The Public Interest
Academics, then, don't often have immediate access to the
research they need, and it continues to cost more and more
just to maintain the access they currently have. But for those
who work outside the research sector, the current system is
Journalists, for example, are often unable to go beyond
press releases when covering science. As Peter Griffin,
Manager of the New Zealand Science Media Centre, says,
“Newsrooms today don't have the resources to subscribe
to academic databases that would be useful in the process
of generating news content. For journalists, this can be
Similarly, non-government organisations (NGOs) and
policy-makers often lack access to the latest academic research,
as do the individuals and groups that contribute to the policy-
Lillian Grace, Chief Executive of Figure. NZ, notes that open
access to research will enable Aotearoa to get more from its
publicly funded research. She says, “The value realised from
publicly funded research will be hugely increased by making
it open for others throughout our country to learn and apply
findings to business, social, economic and environmental
Siouxsie Wiles, Senior Lecturer at the University of
Auckland Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makarua and recipient
of the Prime Minister's Award for Science Communication,
notes the broader public importance of Open Access. "Science
can empower people to make informed choices that shape their
future for the better. This is the message I want to communicate
and why I believe unrestricted access to the science we fund is
in everyone's best interest."
The Growth of Open Access
The basic definition of Open Access is simple. As Harvard
University Librarian Peter Suber puts it, "Open Access
literature is digital, online, free of charge and free of most
copyright and licensing restrictions." The basic principle of
Open Access is also simple: namely, that everyone should be
able to freely access and reuse the research outputs that are
the result of public funding. This includes everything from
books and journal articles to research data.
There are two basic models for enabling access: either the
publisher makes the research article available, sometimes for a
fee (the 'gold' model); or the researcher deposits an accepted
version of the article in an institutional or discipline-specific
repository (the 'green' model). There are currently over 700
funders and institutions across the world with Open Access
Four New Zealand universities (Lincoln, Waikato,
Canterbury and Auckland) have policies in support of 'green'
deposit, with Lincoln University's policy also including
teaching resources and encouraging the use of Creative
One of the world's leading research institutions, MIT, has
had an open research policy since 2009 following a unanimous
faculty vote, and they've been collecting stories from the
members of the public who have benefitted. Their stories are a
powerful reminder of why Open Access is essential.
A private researcher from Australia, for example, writes,
"[I am] a disabled engineer researching gravity and inertia...
My research is hampered by one thing alone, paywalls."
A student in India points to the barriers that exist in
developing nations: “It's really disheartening when a site
asks for money to display their research work. This initiative
will . . . accelerate research in the emerging nations."
A researcher from the US notes the importance of Open
Access to economic development: "I'm attempting to hire and
fund research in energy production. I have a lot of trouble
getting to the bottom of scientific understanding due to the
publishing industry paywalls. MIT's effort to make good
science that the public helped pay for be available to the public
has helped me a lot building the clean energy economy."
Make It Open? No, Make It Libre!
My institution - the University of Auckland Te Whare W ananga
o Tamaki Makaurau - like other academic institutions around
the country, has an Institutional Repository (IR). It is called
'Research Space' and I suspect many of my colleagues might
have never heard of it, and many might not know how to make
use of it.
As we've pointed out above, Open Access is usually des-
cribed as gold or green. I don't personally find this distinction
palatable, because the gold/green definition says more about
mechanisms of delivery and less about liberties for reuse.
I prefer to think about free Open Access (where the article
is provided free of charge) and libre Open Access (where the
article is provided free of charge and there are few restrictions
for reuse and repurposing). The copyright agreements we enter
or the licence we choose when publishing Open Access defines
where in the free-libre spectrum the article will sit.
If we wish to communicate our findings as widely as
possible, shouldn't we be opting for libre Open Access, where
they can be reused, redistributed and repurposed?
“Limiting Potential Readership Does Not Increase Actual
Unfortunately, research publications do not solely serve
the purpose of communicating our findings. They are also
perhaps the most important contribution through which our
worth as academics will be measured when we apply for a job,
apply for promotion, or seek to be granted tenure. We may be
forgiven many things by staffing committees, but never a poor
publication record. We have been taught that how we brand
our publications (i.e. where we publish them) will be a major
factor for that assessment.
It is not surprising, then, that most of us will feel the need to
do our best to place our article in the better branded journals.
Many of these will charge hefty Open Access fees, but will
publish our article sometimes at a lower price or free of charge
if we are willing to give our rights as authors away to them.
Because this decision of where to publish is so intricately tied to
career progress, the cultural inertia is hard to overcome.
These days, it is rare that I will find someone who doesn't
think that Open Access is 'a good thing' (progress!). As soon as
the term 'Open Access' enters the discussion, however, I can
see the $-shaped tears rolling down someone's cheeks. Most
frequently the discussion veers towards a standard list of 'buts' .
Many of these 'buts' are myths that seem to persist even
in the face of evidence against them. Once someone has the
mindset that Open Access is not a 'viable' alternative to be
embraced by them, by their immediate community of practice
or even by their institution, it does not seem to matter how
much data is presented - the response will inevitably be "Oh,
ok. [pause] But..." If we cannot change scientists' minds
when confronting them with evidence, how will we be able to
persuade our agencies and institutions? Until we overcome our
apprehensions about Open Access, should we just stick to the
Institutional Repositories (IRs) provide a place where
authors who choose to publish in the traditional way can
deposit their peer-reviewed, accepted article for anyone to
access free of charge - and thus massively increase their
potential readership. All the authors need to do is to contact
their librarian and they will happily show them how to do this.
In New Zealand, articles that are deposited in these IRs are
given a second life, free of paywalls and indexed by Google.
In New Zealand the articles (and other research artifacts) are
aggregated in http://nzresearch.org.nz/.
I can't help wondering whether, if we were asked to
identify at our annual performance review (or continuation,
or promotions) the proportion of our output that was
deposited in IRs, we might see some progress.
My personal position is that research outputs that result
from public funds should be made available under a copyright
licence that minimises the restrictions on distribution and
reuse. I also understand that authors may base their choice
of where they publish on different kinds of reasons (some of
which I understand and others of which I don't). But even
when authors choose to publish under traditional pay-walled
schemes, the value of depositing in the IR far outweighs the
reasons not to do so.
As Bjorn Brembs put it, "No matter what field (or planet):
limiting potential readership does not increase actual
readership ." 3
ePreSS: Open Access Publishing
ePress is an Open Access scholarly publishing house at Unitec
Institute of Technology Te Whare Wananga o Wairaka. It
works from the philosophy that the global political economy
is one of the key barriers to human social process. Information
should be free and not a market commodity with a profit
attached to it.
Evangelia Papoutsaki, Editor-in-Chief, says, "At ePress we
believe that knowledge should be accessible to all. Academics
are paid by taxpayers to research and produce knowledge, and
the idea that students and the general public must pay for that
knowledge does not sit well with us. It should be available to
anyone who has the desire to read and use it. Citizens have the
right to learn; access to information and knowledge should not
be through their wallets."
ePress is an online, quality-assured, in-house publisher
for authors and researchers working at, or associated with,
Unitec. As well as there being research produced at Unitec that
needed a publishing home, there were other outputs such as
performances, mixed media, design and art installations that
all had potential as non-traditional publications.
The idea of ePress emerged out of a desire to harness
the publishing potential of all these outputs by providing a
platform from which they could be shared. Launched in late
2011, ePress started off with the more traditional conference
proceedings and reports, and quickly grew to embrace
eMedia and books. In 2014 ePress really hit its stride with the
publication of two books, Press, Politics and People in Papua
New Guinea 1950-1975 by Philip Cass and Nga Reanga Youth
Development Maori Styles by Josie Keelan; an edited collection,
Communication Issues in Aotearoa New Zealand edited by Giles
Dodson and Evangelia Papoutsaki; two wonderful eMedia,
Rosebank: Cabbages, Horses and Science by Paul Woodruffe and
The Moveable Feast Collective Teach Design by Susan Jowsey, as
well as publishing conference proceedings for the 31st Annual
Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand
(translation edited by Christoph Schnoor).
At the beginning of 2015, ePress unveiled new layouts
and cover art for their regular series, launched a new series
titled Perspectives in Biosecurity Research Series edited by Dan
Blanchon and Mel Galbraith, and announced the production
of a forthcoming collection titled Conceptual Works in Sports
Studies, edited by Lesley Ferkins and Mieke Sieuw.
The academic perception of Open Access scholarly
publishing has definitely changed over time. It used to be very
much one of scholarly snobbery. If your work wasn't in the right
journal, or published to certain standards, it was of no merit to
academia. However, things are changing, and fast. The methods
for producing knowledge are changing and so too should our
method of dissemination. More and more scholars are accepting
and embracing the idea that there are other ways to prepare,
produce and disseminate information. ePress has a strong
focus on eMedia publications and they are a great example of
alternative ways to share that knowledge. With these methods
have come new researchers, authors and producers who believe
that Open Access is the way forward for them. This new way of
thinking is producing some truly fun and unique publications
that might not have found a home anywhere else. More
traditional publishers would not have been able to control
their distribution and make a profit.
When authors submit to ePress their processes are
explained along with the Creative Commons licensing system.
"We automatically assign new publications with the
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-
NC) licence and give authors time to investigate the other
licences, should they wish to change," says Evangelia. "The
response to the licensing, and the one we auto-select for them,
has been well received by all of our authors. For those who
are new to Creative Commons, they have really embraced the
goals of Open Access publishing - though they are publishing
with ePress so to an extent they are probably Open Access
Anatomy Teaching Model Patterns
Licensed with GG
Using her background in fashion and design, Fieke Neuman,
Teaching Laboratory Manager, Department of Anatomy
Te Tari Kikokiko, University of Otago Te Whare Wananga
o Otago, has created anatomy teaching models of various
human body parts using fabric, metals and other materials.
She has released the patterns for these models under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike
(CC BY-NC-SA) licence.
It started at the December 2012 combined Australasian
Institute of Anatomical Sciences/ Australian & New Zealand
Association of Clinical Anatomists (AIAS/ANZACA)
conference in Coogee, where Fieke gave a talk about some
fabric models she had made for teaching anatomy. She
promised to send the patterns to people she'd talked to at the
conference, once she'd sorted out copyright issues.
She had known of the University of Otago's policy regarding
intellectual property for decades, without considering that it
would ever apply to her. The policy meant that Fieke couldn't
copyright her work without the permission of the university.
She raised the issue with her colleagues in the Department
of Anatomy. They briefly discussed the possibility of selling
the patterns but decided that they would get more benefit, as
a department, by sharing them. They recognised that it would
require quite a bit of time, money and effort to set up a system
to sell such items - more than it would be worth. Fieke has run
a fashion business in the past and knew how difficult it would
be to make sales to cover all of the costs involved. They also
saw the benefit of strengthening bonds with their community
by being generous and not hiding away information that
others could use. Sharing meant using Creative Commons but
it also meant getting formal permission from the University
to give away the standard copyright. So, in 2013, Fieke got
permission from her Head of Department and he wrote to the
Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Health Sciences who also gave formal
They chose the CC BY-NC-SA licence as it allows others to
remix, tweak, and build upon their work non-commercially, as
long as they credit the originator and license their new creations
under identical terms. It suits the spirit of the scientific and
teaching community of which they are a part.
By Anton Angelo, Research Data Coordinator, University of
Canterbury Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha
In 2014 I had an email discussion with the developer for our
university research information system. My request was to
make a file upload field required rather than optional. It,
in the scheme of things, is a tiny change - a couple of lines
of code in an application that is going to be used by a few
hundred people at a medium scale university.
In this case though, the change that this represents is
huge. It is the bleeding edge of a change in the way that we
understand intellectual property, and realigns the academy
with its original intention of being a university.
Canterbury, like well over 200 other universities, is
adopting an 'institutional mandate' for depositing research
into its Institutional Repository (IR). We have purposefully
kept the word 'mandate', as the implication of imposing
something on scholars provoked the discussion we wanted -
positive engagement with what we were proposing. In reality
the policy suggests that, in the absence of a good reason, every
time a scholar publishes something it should be made freely
available, and we provide a mechanism to do that with our IR.
If a scholar wishes to opt out, they should feel free, but we're
curious to know why.
The small technical change we are making is that we're
requiring a copy of a research output submitted for the
Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) process to be
made available and openly accessible for the entire world, by
uploading it to our IR. Currently, University of Canterbury
scholars can volunteer to upload articles, and about 8% of our
research output is put on the web and openly accessible. By
making the file upload field required, we hope to see a tenfold
increase in deposits.
As usual, there are historical precedents. The Library of
Alexandria had a mandate to take all the books arriving in
the port, copy them, keep the originals and return the copies.
This way - along with an excellent and aggressive collections
budget - the biggest library in the world was created.
Reaction to the suggestion of the policy in the community
was interesting. The vast majority of faculty research
committee meetings and private conversations ended with,
"Why are we not doing this already?" It underscored the
importance most researchers seem to place on having
the widest possible audience for their work. There were
exceptions, usually based on the culture of a particular
academic discipline. For example: high-energy physicists
(and others) already use a repository, ArXive. Why should
they bother with another one?
I admit that uploading things to tire IR is a faff for a lot of
reasons. For example, because of the copyright most publishers
take when they agree to print an article, scholars have to upload
a version that is not the final published one. Academics are not
always great administrators, and can lose their manuscripts. As
well as that, it is an extra button to push, a file to hunt down on
their hard drive, and then, finally, troubling thoughts of "Am I
allowed to do this?" can overwhelm all but the most robustly
legally minded. That last one - what are you allowed to do
with your own work? - is a doozy. A scholar in the humanities
admitted to me that on being offered the loan of a book his first
thought was, "Is he allowed to loan me that?" So entrenched
are our anxieties on copyright that even the thing that lets
libraries exist can be questioned by people who should know
much, much better.
I make no apologies for the faff, for it is not faff of our
making. We pay researchers to do research, and their
research needs to be available for that most old-fashioned
of reasons: the common good. You can quantify the good all
you like in terms of innovation and product development
and state corporate bottom line maximisation, but for me
the qualitative argument comes first, and looms largest. It's
the right thing to do. So why is it hard? Wherefore the faff?
Traditional academic publishers are on a bit of a losing wicket
on this one. Made gigantic on the economic imperatives of
globalisation and the efficiencies of the library 'big deal', they
now have profits they are legally bound to protect for their
shareholders. Faff is their stock-in-trade as a way of slowing
down the opposition - the IR.
Here are a few ways academic publishers try to slow down
deposit into IRs:
- Most standard publisher-author agreements allow only
an obscure version of the work to be added to the IR.
- They confuse the Open Access (O A) landscape by offering
their own version of openly accessible articles, and play
divide and conquer with their customers by making the
academic pay a charge (often in the thousands of dollars)
to publish under an open licence.
- Additionally, sometimes they offer their own 'open'
licences, resulting in even greater uncertainty.
- They employ third parties to scour IRs to find material
that could be non-compliant, and send threatening
letters. Libraries, being excellent corporate citizens,
respond to these by removing material.
- Knowing that old data is less sexy data, they require
embargoes on the release of IR versions of articles,
knowing that makes the IRs less useful.
- As well as this, at least one publisher requires embargoes
on IR content only if the institution requires its scholars
to submit their research outputs to its IR, an open
recognition that IRs threaten publishers' business
It may seem with all those tactics that there is a great
conflict going on, but there really isn't. It is not a war. The
arbitrary exclusions and hoops above are the artefacts of a
rapidly changing (and potentially failing) business model.
New publishers, like PeerJ, Hindawi and PLoS among many,
many others, are simply starting with the assumption that the
material will be OA, and they are a low or non-profit business
and can undercut the old guard entirely.
At Canterbury we have made a tiny technical change.
Instead of asking scholars to volunteer their work to be made
openly accessible, we ask why they would not. That little thing
signals a mighty change for the availability of new knowledge
to the world.
Lincoln University’s Open Access
In July 2013 Lincoln University Te Whare Wanaka o Aoraki
passed a wide-ranging Open Access policy, becoming the first
New Zealand university to do so. Coverage includes research
outputs such as data, teaching materials and the university's
The policy states that “as an organisation Lincoln University
has a policy position which endorses making content openly
and freely available as the first and preferred option". It goes
on to state, "Lincoln University takes a broad ethical position
which asserts that if public funding has supported the creation
of an idea, research or other content then it is reasonable and
fair that it be made publicly accessible."
The policy also encourages copyright owners "to apply
a Creative Commons Licence to their intellectual output to
determine how material may be used, reused or repurposed".
Penny Carnaby, the University Librarian at Lincoln, had
been aware of the benefits of Open Access and open licensing
since her time as National Librarian at the National Library
of New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, where
she participated in the Chief Executives' steering group on
Open Data and information during the development of the
New Zealand Government's Open Access and Licensing
Approved by Cabinet in 2010, NZGOAL supports and
advocates for the uptake of Creative Commons licensing
for copyright works produced or funded by State Services
From her experience at the National Library, Penny
became particularly interested in opening up copyright
works produced by the university sector, including journal
articles, datasets and educational resources. She also noted
the growing importance of Institutional Repositories (IRs) in
research libraries around the world as a way of ensuring much
greater public access to the intellectual output of an academic
institution. Penny had been at the National Library when
the network of IRs was established, along with the National
Library-managed NZResearch, which uses a DigitalNZ-
powered harvester to gather information from research
deposited in repositories across the New Zealand research
sector and make it easier to find.
Noting the strength of Lincoln's Institutional Repository,
LURA, Penny began to investigate what it would take to
develop New Zealand's first Open Access policy at Lincoln, in
line with other universities around the world. The policy was
given strong support from the Vice Chancellor, Dr Andrew
West, who nominated Open Access as a business driver for the
university in 2013.
This strong institutional support enabled a process
of consultation across the university, which gave staff an
opportunity to voice concerns before the policy was approved.
The university also developed a joint union and management
working party, which spent six months working through issues
and developing a final policy that the university community
could be comfortable with.
Penny notes that research staff were, generally speaking,
comfortable with the principle of open scholarship, as they
could see the inherent benefits of Open Access to disseminating
their research to a broader audience.
The same was not true of open educational resources, which
was a relatively novel concept to most teaching staff. "Academics
are generally dual professionals," Penny says. "Each profession
- teaching and research - has different drivers. Researchers
are often fundamentally motivated by the desire to see their
published works have a broad public impact. We found that
the same is not necessarily true of academic teaching resources.
"In the end, we developed an elegant and respectful solution:
the copyright to educational resources would remain with the
creator, while the university would retain the right to use these
resources for the educational purposes of the institution - such
as using them as open educational resources in Massive Open
Online Courses (MOOCs)."
Penny notes that this process of discussion and consultation
was both the most important and most difficult part of
implementing Open Access across the university.
In order to support the implementation process, Lincoln
held its Open Access Week in July 2013, holding several public
events, including a talk by Dr Mark Hahnel, CEO of Figshare,
and a debate on Open Access, with the moot 'Open Access or
These events helped expose awareness gaps in the
institution which a university-wide implementation group is
helping to address.
Penny advises other institutions developing an Open
Access policy to "make the policy itself as broad as possible -
including not only research articles but educational resources
and even public records. Institutions will also need to develop
the policies alongside other existing policy settings, such as
data management and intellectual property."
"And then think very carefully about implementation.
Implementation is everything." At Lincoln, this process of
implementing the policy has led to - at last count - 87 discrete
activities across the university.
"Open Access changes every conversation you have," says
Penny. "Rather than arguing why works need to be open, the
focus at Lincoln University is on why certain works need to
be closed. This requires a massive cultural shift to take place."
Open Access at the University
On 4 March 2014 the University of Waikato Te Whare Wananga
o Waikato announced the passage of an Open Access mandate,
becoming the first university to adopt a direct deposit mandate
in New Zealand, and the second university, after Lincoln, to
adopt an institutional Open Access policy.
The primary principle driving the adoption of the policy, as
stated in its opening line, is that: "Freedom to exchange ideas
and to publish acquired knowledge are fundamental to the
purposes of a university."
The policy represents the University of Waikato's
commitment "to the concept of Open Access to knowledge
through the deposit of full text of academic publications into
the University's digital repository, the Research Commons,
The momentum for the policy was established during Open
Access Week 2012, when Open Access advocates Fabiana Kubke
and Alex Holcombe spoke at a panel entitled 'An Open Access
Mandate for the University of Waikato?'. The panel generated
interest in Open Access from the university community, and
led to David Nichols, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science,
and Ross Hallett, University Librarian, developing a detailed
paper outlining the benefits, risks and options for an Open
Access policy at the University of Waikato.
In that paper, David and Ross gave the university many
different ideas about how an Open Access policy might look.
David says, "We deliberately provided the university with a
range of options and wording for the policy. We also made
sure that we explicitly laid out the costs and benefits."
In presenting the policy to groups within the university,
David emphasised the importance of the digital visibility of
the institution and noted the successful deposit mandate in
place for student theses since 2006.
In terms of benefits, David and Ross pointed out the
increased download rates and potential citation advantages.
They also noted the broader importance of making the
university's research available to society in general, including
industry, university alumni and professional groups, such as
teachers and journalists.
David notes that higher ideals, such as the need for the
public to have access to publicly funded research, were also
emphasised during the consultation process. This ties in
nicely with the motto of the university "Ko Te Tangata - For
the People", which, in the context of OA, is expressed as the
university's "commitment to disseminating the fruits of its
research and scholarship as widely as possible".
After releasing the paper, it travelled for several months,
with David and Ross, through the various committees of the
university, a process which enabled staff from every school
and faculty to provide comments and raise potential concerns.
One such concern was the question of what happens if
infringing material is uploaded to tire Institutional Repository
(IR). Some academics were concerned about possible liability
should they mistakenly upload material for which they do not
have the rights. They were reassured when told that library
repository staff would continue to offer a mediated deposit
service, checking publisher copyright agreements for potential
infringement before adding items to the repository.
The consultation process also provided the opportunity to
clarify confusion around green and gold Open Access ('green'
Open Access is self archiving journal articles in an Open Access
repository; 'gold' is publishing in an Open Access journal),
as well as the names publishers give to document versions
at different stages of the review process, such as 'preprint',
'postprint' and 'published'.
David noted that it was also important for Waikato to
include a waiver in their policy for those publications that may
not be appropriate for deposit in the IR. "It was important that
the policy wasn't seen as entirely black and white."
Waikato's policy is green Open Access, with no references
to gold (or publisher-implemented) Open Access or Creative
Commons licensing. David points out, "We've restricted the
definition of Open Access for this policy to 'read-only'. The
policy doesn't engage with reuse rights at all. These are issues
that we may be able to address in future revisions, though it
was important that this policy took the simplest first step.
"A general notion of incrementalism was essential to
the whole process, especially given the fact that scholarly
publishing is a changing landscape, with many moving parts,
including requirements from external funders."
This incremental approach followed those taken by
comparable institutions overseas, such as Queensland
University of Technology (QUT), which has had a deposit
mandate since 2004. David and Ross consulted with QUT
during the development of the policy.
"QUT has also made public useful information about the
progress of its policy over time, including graphs of the effects
on deposit rates. Its model suggested that we needed to take
a long-term approach to implementing the policy - there was
never going to be an instant change. Progress will be gradual."
This is one of the reasons Waikato didn't follow the example
of another leading Open Access institution, the University
of Liege, which mandates that only works deposited in the
Institutional Repository will be considered during internal
promotion and review. While this is a good model for
increasing the number of works in the IR, it is potentially less
helpful for gaining support from researchers.
David is now working with the National Library, Research
Office and Information Technology Services to implement a
new research information system - called Symplectic Elements
- to help reduce the transaction costs of depositing research into
the university's repository.
As David pointed out, while the policy is important, the
means of technically implementing tire policy must be as
smooth as possible. With the new system, the time commitment
required by the academic to deposit an article should be no
more than the time required to respond to an email request.
The new system will also help Waikato determine the
baseline number of Open Access articles currently published
by university staff, which will make it easier to chart progress
in the years to come.
Ultimately, David underlines the importance of basing
the Open Access efforts at the library. He also advises other
institutions looking at Open Access to factor in a lot of
consultation and listening to staff. As different disciplines have
their own norms and terminology, it's also important to find
advocates across the university's various schools and faculties.
David also reiterates not trying to solve all the problems
with scholarly publishing in one fell swoop: ''The policy is just
the first step."
Open Arts and
Open Arts and Culture in Aotearoa
By Elizabeth Heritage, Communications Lead, Creative Commons
Aotearoa New Zealand
Let's say you're an art student. You've found an artwork online
that you want to download, print out and use in your art project.
You're not sure who created the artwork, or what that artist
might think about you using their work. Do you take a copy? Or
look for something else?
It can be difficult to know. Kiwi artists and creators have
a problem: copyright law is getting in the way of realising the
potential of the internet in creating and promoting their work.
Why is this? And what kind of digital copyright culture should
we be working towards to best support the arts?
Let's start with what copyright in Aotearoa actually is.
Copyright is a form of intellectual property that is granted
by the law automatically upon creation of a work. It prevents
people other than the creator from making copies of (including
adapting, sharing or performing) that work without the
creator's express permission. It is unregistered - unlike
patents or trademarks, you don't have apply for copyright;
you don't even have to use the little © symbol. And it lasts
for a really long time: in Aotearoa, this is tire life of the creator
plus fifty years, after which point the copyright expires and
the work enters the public domain. Copyright laws were
originally written to protect the rights of creators in their work
and to foster a culture that rewards and promotes creativity.
including protecting the ability of creators to earn money from
their works for a certain period of time.
So, for example, at the point at which you publish your
artistic work (let's say a photograph) online, tire law grants
you an exclusive right to control the copying and reuse of that
work for the rest of your life plus five decades afterwards. If
someone wishes to republish your photograph, the law says
they must ask you for permission; that is, they must license
your copyright from you, possibly for a fee. The law does not
distinguish between commercial and non-commercial reuse:
even if someone just wants to put a copy of your photograph
in a small community newsletter, the law says they still have
to have a licence (i.e. permission granted by you, the creator).
The only exceptions to this rule are under what the law
calls 'fair dealing': someone may copy your artistic work for
the purposes of research or private study (e.g. they can print it
out at home), they may quote from it publicly (if it's a written
work) for purposes of criticism or review, and journalists
can copy works for the purposes of reporting current events.
(There are also special exceptions for specific uses like public
administration, libraries and education.) But that's it. 'Fair
dealing' has a very specific, narrow technical definition; it
does not mean - as the general public seems to increasingly be
assuming - that you can copy anything you like as long as you
personally feel it's fair. And, unlike the US legal provision of
'fair use'. New Zealand copyright law does not allow copying
for the purposes of parody or satire.
In practice - partly because the law is so restrictive and
potentially complex and partly because making digital
copies is just so easy - the general public tends to ignore or
misunderstand copyright law. Unfortunately, the reaction of
the law thus far has been to crack down, criminalising common
behaviour, rather than seeking to distinguish between harmful
copying (e.g. piracy) and creative, socially beneficial reuse.
We end up with situations where people - including artists,
or people who could become artists - are too afraid to create.
In addition to this, because one of the fundamental technical
functions of the internet is to create copies, digital technology
means that copyright law applies to exponentially more
day-to-day activities than it ever has before. As anyone who
has ever cut and pasted an image online knows (or perhaps
doesn't), it's become trivially easy to infringe copyright, which
means that lots of us are technically criminals.
All of this massively gets in the way of the extraordinary
creative gift of tire internet: the ability to access, reuse and
build upon the intellectual and artistic history of humanity;
to critically and creatively engage with tire best that has been
thought and said across the world. Not just those works that
are available in physical copies in your local library, or have
been chosen for you in advance by others - now everyone with
an internet connection can access all works that have ever been
digitised (and track down works that haven't). The internet
has made it easier than ever before for artists to get their work
into the world, and has also made it easier for anyone to share
and build upon it. As we have seen, though, at the moment,
copyright either criminalises or gets in the way of new (and old)
forms of creative practice.
Take gifs, for example. Gifs are a new form of digital
art that involve animating and adding to images or video
clips. Although based on existing artworks, they are a new
and original form of artistic expression. But, because they
technically involve making copies of images, copyright law
applies. This means that the artist is legally obliged to check
the exact provenance, rights status and licence conditions of
each image before using it - and this is often almost impossible.
Because you don't have to register for copyright, or even write
your name on your work in order for copyright to apply, it can
be incredibly difficult (and time-consuming) to track down the
owner. And because of copyright's long-lasting nature, even
images that are several decades old, with long-dead creators,
may still be in copyright.
The good news is that help is at hand. Creative Commons
open copyright licences were designed to help creators realise
the extraordinary potential of the internet. They are built on
copyright law and are designed to make the most of it, cutting
through the current situation of confusion and constriction.
Artists can use these free licences to give a range of permissions
in advance to anyone wishing to share or build upon their work,
using clear rights statements that everyone can understand.
They can also use them to forbid commercial reuse by others,
thus retaining an exclusive right to any revenue generated by
their works. Crucially, they can also save their works from
entering a kind of post-commercial limbo, for example by
choosing to let their work enter the Commons (that is, the pool
of cultural and artistic resources available to everyone) after
sales have died off.
Let's think more about that aspect of copyright: the fact
that it expires, at which point creative works enter the public
domain, and become available for everyone to use, reuse or
adapt - including artists. It's worth noting that public domain
- like fair dealing - has a specific technical definition: works in
the public domain are those whose intellectual property rights
have expired, or been forfeited, or which never had any to
begin with. It does not mean 'anything the public has access to'
- and it definitely doesn't mean 'anything you can find online'.
While the length of copyright has increased dramatically
over the last century (it was originally just 14 years), its basic
purpose remains the same: to incentivise creators to make new
works that will, after a period of time, enter the Commons.
This temporary nature recognises that, just as it is fair that
artists be able to derive commercial gain for the works they
create; so too it is fair that society as a whole - including the
next generation of artists - benefits from the enrichment of the
public domain. Framed in this way, the purpose of copyright
is to grow the Commons.
Many creative works have an important first, or commercial,
life: the time during which the work is for sale and the artist
earns revenue for it, thus enabling them to create further
artworks. Many other creative and cultural works, though, are
not intended to be commercial in nature. Even for those that
are, the reality is that, for the overwhelming majority of artistic
works, this life is very limited. Works are created; copies are
sold to tire public; some publicity is generated; but soon, partly
because of the sheer numbers produced every day, interest dies
off. When sales inevitably decline, it stops making commercial
sense to keep producing and marketing copies of the works
for sale. And then the works enter a sort of limbo, when the
artist (or publisher) isn't making the work available or deriving
commercial use from it, but copyright law says that - possibly
for the next century - no one else can use it either. Suddenly,
without anyone intending it to be this way, huge quantities of
artworks are buried and lost.
Of equal cultural importance, then, is the works' non-
commercial life, sometimes called their 'second' life: their life
in the Commons, and of being creatively reused in new ways
completely unimagined by the original creator. In order for
society to grow and develop, it is vital that we all have access
to information about the world around us and knowledge of
others' experience - including artistic expression. This is where
places like libraries, archives and other record-keeping bodies
come in. These are the places that keep works alive long after
their commercial potential has been exhausted. Importantly,
they are also places where people who can't afford to purchase
the works can still access, learn from, and be inspired by them.
So far, we've just been discussing creative works produced
by individual artists, with copyright that is privately
owned. But what about state-funded creative works? TVNZ
programmes, for example? Currently, most of New Zealand's
publicly funded or publicly housed cultural heritage is
unavailable for reuse by Kiwis. Despite ongoing digitisation
projects, these works are neither commercially available
nor publicly reusable. This means that creators who want
to build on the works of the past - from student filmmakers
to non-profit documentary producers - are either forced to
reinvent the wheel or go through a difficult process of asking
permission, even when the original works are publicly funded
and publicly housed and its creators are long deceased.
A better system would ensure that publicly funded copyright
works were, after a period of time, made publicly available
under an open Creative Commons licence. This would provide a
window of time for works to be commercialised, while ensuring
that older, no longer commercially viable works were able to
be shared and reused by the New Zealand public - effectively
giving publicly funded culture a second life.
Artists and creators are increasingly turning to Creative
Commons copyright licences - especially online - because they
provide an easy and legally robust manner to declare what
kinds of copying and reuse the artist permits, and which they
do not. There are both philosophical and practical motivations
for this: artists want to participate in the Commons, and
they also want to harness the power of the internet to get
their works to their audience. In an increasingly crowded
marketplace, obscurity is a bigger problem than piracy . 1 The
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)
i Tim O’Reilly, Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online
licence is particularly popular - this means that casual reuse is
permitted, which helps spread the word, but commercial reuse
is not, which helps protect the artist's revenue.
Part of expecting people to respect your copyright is to
respect the copyright of others - and here again, Creative
Commons can help. There are now hundreds of millions of
openly licensed artistic works online, which means that artists
have an extraordinary pool to draw from when creating their
own remix artworks, from digital collages to electronic music
sampling to meme-worthy gifs. Google now allows you to
search by licence condition, so artists can seek out and use
resources online, confident that they are acting legally and are
respecting the rights choices of their fellow artists. The rise of
Creative Commons as an everyday part of internet culture also
means that everyone gets used to checking the rights status of a
work and obeying the licence conditions, rather than seeing 'All
Rights Reserved' and just choosing to ignore it because it's too
hard. Everybody wins.
This part of the book examines some of the ways Kiwi
artists are using Creative Commons to navigate the complex
terrain of copyright in the digital age. Keep reading to learn
why, what benefits these are bringing, and how you can enjoy
some wonderful homegrown talent.
Illustrating with Creative Commons
By Judith Carnaby, Illustrator
I first became aware of Creative Commons through reading
about Lawrence Lessig and his work. The more I read about the
development of Creative Commons and the copyleft movement,
the more interested I became in the Creative Commons licences
as a less restrictive and more inclusive way to license my work.
My first illustrations published under a CC licence were
for Sam Muirhead's 2013 Year of Open Source swimsuit
calendar, created as a part of his crowdfunding campaign.
My illustrations for the calendar were of the heroes and
heroines of Free Software, Open Hardware and Free Culture,
depicting some of the people who have done the most to
exemplify or further the cause of a more open, collaborative or
more freedom-conscious approach to working, thinking and
It was sent as a thank-you to Sam's crowdfunding donors,
and due to his focus on Open Source, he also wished to release
the images online, with a Creative Commons Attribution-
Share Alike (CC BY-SA) licence, so that people could download,
remix and distribute the images. Working with Sam and
learning about the people I was illustrating made me think
a lot more about the licensing I used for my own work, and
since then I have licensed my personal (non-commercial) work
under an Attribution-ShareAlike licence.
I chose that particular licence because I like that the
Attribution-ShareAlike licence gives others the freedom to
be able to use my work in any way they wish to, but only if
they then allow others to use that work in the same way. By
including the ShareAlike restriction in the licence, if someone
wishes to use my work commercially then they must also open
up their own work, which I feel is a positive thing.
One of the most interesting recent developments for
illustration has been the large-scale and high-resolution releases
of public domain images from the collections of institutions in the
Netherlands, the UK and New York City. Having a huge wealth
of unrestricted imagery that can be used and remixed opens up
new ways of working, as well as deepening understanding of
the history and development of illustration as a discipline. More
broadly, these online collections of illustrations give us greater
and important access to the world's cultural history.
In my personal work I can choose to license as I wish, but
my commercial work is often restricted due to tire different
needs of my clients. Copyright of commissioned illustrations
usually belongs to me, the author of the work, unless there is an
agreement for specific use of the illustration. This can depend on
how clients want to use the work, and for what length of time. For
example, they may wish to use the image online for two months,
or two years, after which I can resell or republish it as I wish.
Contracts can include agreements that I, or the client, cannot
use the illustration for any purpose other than what was agreed
upon. Using copyright agreements often protects an illustrator
from being taken advantage of, but most businesses have a
limited view of what copyright means and can unnecessarily
restrict an illustrator's right (or sometimes need) to reuse, remix
or resell an image.
I like to work with clients who are aware of Creative
Commons licences and use them in their own businesses. For
example, I created the cover design for Thomasin Sleigh's novel
Ad Lib, which was published under a Creative Commons licence.
Another example is the info-video for a bicycle sharing platform,
BikeSurf Berlin. To me it makes complete sense to license my
work in this way.
Ad Lib: Novel Published Under GG
Author Thomasin Sleigh has published her debut novel Ad
Lib under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-
ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) licence, with the publishing
collective Lawrence & Gibson.
Thomasin's work at DigitalNZ A-tihi o Aotearoa to open
up Aotearoa's cultural treasures for sharing and reuse has
informed her decision to license her own work under CC.
"Publishing Ad Lib under a Creative Commons licence was
very much an ideological decision. I am an advocate for
unlocking cultural resources and, even though my book is
published in paper format at the moment, and so is relatively
difficult to copy compared to an ebook, I wanted to contribute
to the Creative Commons."
Thomasin has chosen a licence that gives people advance
permission to use her work in their own creations, as long as
they attribute her and don't make money from it. "Because I
don't write fiction for a living, I have the freedom to release
my work in a way that might be more difficult for professional
novelists." She is also concerned with future-proofing. "The
media landscape is only going to change, and keep changing
ever more rapidly. I don't want there to be any confusion in the
future about how my work is to be treated." Fundamentally,
Thomasin sees potential reuse as a compliment, not a threat:
"If anyone wanted to use or copy from Ad Lib, I would be
Publishing a paper book under a Creative Commons
licence is relatively unusual, and Thomasin was lucky to
be published by Lawrence & Gibson, a Wellington-based
publishing collective that is open to new and experimental
ways of doing things. The cover for Ad Lib was designed by
Berlin-based illustrator Judith Carnaby, who licenses her work
under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike (CC BY-SA).
The printing for Ad Lib was done by hand at Rebel Press, an
anarchist publishing collective that also offers printing services.
Thomasin says that the print irregularities resulting from this
handmade process are "love letters from me to the reader".
If Ad Lib were to be published as an ebook in the future,
Thomasin says she would definitely license it CC BY-NC-SA
as well. As well as opening up her own work, Thomasin's
licensing decision has exposed publishers at Lawrence &
Gibson to the possibilities of book publishing with Creative
Commons, so hopefully we will see more of that from them in
Meena Kadri: Creative Commons
Meena Kadri is a Wellington-based photographer, designer
and Community Manager for OpenIDEO, a collaborative
innovation and design platform.
A long-time user of Flickr (under tire name Meanest Indian),
Meena releases many of her photos under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (CC BY-NC-ND)
licence. Her CC-licensed images have appeared in a variety of
newspapers, magazines, blogs and books, and have been licensed
for commercial use by companies like Phaidon and Apple.
Despite this success, Meena confesses, "I never actually
intended to sell my photos - 1 just wanted to put them online.
But pretty soon I realised the potential."
While teaching at India's National Institute of Design in the
mid-2000s, Meena started using Flickr to source high-quality
images for her presentations; by 2006, she was using Flickr to
share her own photos. "Flickr was the first social network I'd
ever used. I realised pretty quickly how to optimise traffic to
my site using tags, especially because I was taking photos of
events that were both in demand but under-photographed,
such as the Uttarayan Kite Festival in India. It didn't take long
to get my photos on the front page of Flickr image search for
A direct result of the popularity of Meena's Flickr account
is that her images have featured in countless blogs and
presentations. For-profit companies have also paid to use
her work, including Serendib, the magazine of Sri Lankan
Airlines, and Phaidon Books, who included ten of her images
in an Indian cookbook. Meena explains, "What I usually do
in these situations is negotiate. For those people with little or
no money, such as NGOs, I usually say go for it. For others, I
ask, 'Are you getting paid?'. The implication is that if they are
getting paid, then I should be getting paid as well. For them, I
charge my standard rate."
Meena even licensed one of her CC-licensed photos to
Apple, her biggest sale so far. At the same time, Meena ensures
that images sold to for-profit companies like Apple and Phaidon
remain available for reuse under their original non-commercial
Creative Commons licence.
As Meena's images grew in popularity, she experimented
with using Getty, a stock image service. While she made a small
amount of money from the service, Meena "didn't like that they
required you to use All Rights Reserved. I tried it, because they
do move a lot of images, but in the end I decided that I preferred
using Creative Commons on Flickr."
One reason for this is that Creative Commons licences require
attribution, which is not the case with stock image services like
Getty. As Meena explains, "The Creative Commons licences
mean that I receive a lot of traffic from having lots of sites - from
major technology blogs like Wired to smaller community blogs
with loyal followers - link back to my Flickr page."
While Meena is keen to emphasise that the upsides of using
Creative Commons licensing greatly outweigh tire downsides,
she has noticed her images being used without proper
attribution. "Every now and then, I'll find unattributed images
and send a nice email asking for attribution. It's important
to be nice, as a lot of people genuinely don't know how the
licences work. I tend to assume it's a mistake, and send them a
link to the licence page."
Other uses have been more problematic. While visiting
her father's hometown in India, Meena opened a major local
newspaper to find one of her images used - for commercial
purposes and without attribution - to advertise the upcoming
Kite Festival. Meena got in touch with the newspaper, pointed
out that they did not have a licence for commercial reuse, and
was eventually paid her standard rate.
To prevent unlicensed commercial reuse, Meena only puts
web-quality images on her Flickr page. This means that her
images are good enough for blogs or slideshow presentations;
those wanting to use her images for books or posters, however,
will need to ask for a higher resolution.
As a Google Image search for 'Meanest Indian' reveals,
Meena's CC-licensed photos are being freely reused all over
the web. At the same time, for-profit companies are continuing
to pay to license her work for commercial purposes - a great
example of artists making money using Creative Commons
Richard White: Openly Licensing
Richard White is an interesting example of an artist using
Creative Commons to make his own creative output available,
while working in a job that clearly demonstrates the pitfalls
and possibilities of copyright and Open Access (OA) day in
and day out.
Richard has made two of his albums available for download
on Bandcamp, under the name Mermaid Guitar. He began
by offering his earlier album. Me for a Day, with a five dollar
price tag, and then decided to offer Barry Starr for free, with
the 'name your price' function, where users choose how much
they'd like to pay.
Despite being available for free, the second album has had
more downloads and more sales - so he's now offering the
earlier album under the same terms. For Richard, this makes
the process of selling an album more exciting. As he puts it,
''People have paid a lot more than I thought they might, more
than the five dollars I initially offered the first album for."
Plenty of others have downloaded his music for free, but
Richard says that he's totally happy with this. "Ultimately I
just like the idea that someone's listening to my music on their
iPod on the other side of the world." But he's also careful to
point out that he doesn't try to make a living from his music and
concedes that, for those who do, there are greater challenges.
As part of the production process, Richard sourced all
artwork for Barry Starr from Public Domain or Creative
Commons sources, but he says finding images which could
be used with the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike
(CC BY-SA) licence he used for the album, which also fit his
purpose, was trickier than he thought.
"There were some great images I really liked, but they
had either ND (NoDerivatives) or, more commonly, NC
(Noncommercial)," Richard says. "Given that people could
pay, I couldn't use NC. I guess the difficulty I had finding good
stuff showed me that Open Access is still at the 'evangelical'
stage in many respects and we need more converts for it to
become more self-sustaining."
By day, Richard works as Copyright Manager at the
University of Otago Te Whare Wananga o Otago, addressing
any copyright issues or questions encountered by staff and
research students there. This can be a challenge: while most
staff have an understanding of the broad concepts of copyright,
it can be a complex web of legislation, licences and rights.
Richard has found himself a staunch advocate of Open
Access in the tertiary sector and Creative Commons as the
main vehicle for that. "Creative Commons licences simplify a
lot of things from a copyright point of view," he says. "Often
a staff member or a PhD student will come to me or one of our
library staff with questions about permission for something
they want to use in a piece of research. One of tire most
common problems is that they just don't hear from someone
they've contacted to get permission."
He says accessibility is often the last tiring researchers and
academics are thinking about. They're used to things being
done a certain way and aren't necessarily aware of the Open
Access alternatives. Their reputations as academics are affected
by how often they're being published in scholarly journals, and
the quality of those journals is taken into account too.
"That's the major roadblock for Open Access publications,
just getting enough visibility and usage to attract good quality
research, to gain a name as a good journal, not just an Open
Access journal. I mean, I'd love it if all research was open."
Other countries are mandating that all publicly funded
research should be open - the US Government, for example -but
New Zealand isn't making any moves yet. Instead academics
do their research, write it up, submit it for publication, go
through tire peer review process and are accepted into these
big journals where they're published, which universities
around the world then pay subscription fees to access.
He appreciates the freedom Creative Commons licences
give both creator and reuser, academic and artistic. "When
someone has used a Creative Commons licence they've
declared up front what they're happy for others to do with
their work. So part of my work is helping people understand
the implications of their choices with their own work as part of
the knowledge ecosystem.
"In that respect it's no different from choosing Creative
Commons in an artistic medium: you're sharing your work for
others to use and build on. I can't claim that my music has
informed great cultural achievements but there are people
who've put it in compilations or used it in their films, which is
The Vertical Cinema Manifesto
In June 2012, YouTube user 'gloveandboots' released "Vertical
Video Syndrome - A PSA", a video poking fun at filmmakers
who hold their camera-phone vertically. Common across
YouTube, videos shot vertically have two black bands of empty
space framing tire video.
"Vertical Video Syndrome" quickly went viral, picking up
over three million views on YouTube. Noticing the popularity
of the video, Miriam Ross - an academic and filmmaker based
in Wellington, New Zealand - decided to respond. With
research assistant Maddy Glen, Miriam produced "Vertical
Cinema Manifesto ", arguing that vertical cinema was, in fact,
a legitimate cinematic form.
As Miriam explains, '"Vertical Video Syndrome' was very
humorous, but when you see it getting circulated online, it's
used as a form of policing.
"We wanted to get away from that. We wanted to say, we
have all these new tools, let's see what can happen. It's all very
experimental. Hopefully the manifesto is a celebration of what
can be done."
Replete with quotes from feminist film scholar Laura Mulvey,
the result was a close parody of "Vertical Video Syndrome " . The
film closes with six recommendations, the fourth of which reads:
"A Creative Commons licence must be used."
The ideas around the manifesto tied into an Honours film
course Miriam was teaching at the time on DIY filmmaking.
"That paper framed the project. Part of that is trying to move
away from the hierarchies around filmmaking - the idea that
there's a 'best way' to make films.
"We were looking at how people use the technology they
have in their hands to make films with no budget or resources.
Obviously, with DIY filmmaking the Creative Commons
licences became very interesting. It tied into both tire courses
I teach and our project. Because we've got no money, we've
been wanting to find material we can use for free. But we also
want to take part in this Creative Commons culture that's going
round now, where people are licensing their work for free."
Miriam is also interested in how DIY filmmakers remix and
reuse other cultural works. "There's a lot of debate now, because
video essays are becoming more popular. Film academics are
using video clips, and sometimes using voiceover to narrate
the clips, and that could come up against copyright."
As Miriam points out, one of the problems is that
New Zealand lacks the broad 'fair use' allowances enjoyed
in the US. Even "Vertical Cinema Manifesto" itself, which
uses small parts of several copyright films, could occupy a
grey area, despite New Zealand's 'fair dealing' exceptions for
criticism and review.
"It is tricky. One of the things I teach in my course is
mash-ups and video remixes. They are a huge part of our
contemporary culture, and they're all operating in this grey
area. It's strange because the companies, especially film
companies, want their films talked about. The mash-ups
are often a form of advertising for them, but they still aren't
promoting this sort of use."
More recently, Miriam and Maddy produced Heaven, a
short 'vertical' film. "It's an exploration of what we can do
with very little resources and money, using new technologies."
This film, like the manifesto itself, was made collaboratively
with friends and colleagues and carries a Creative Commons
Attribution (CC BY) licence.
"That's what's great about Creative Commons. It
encourages people to take something and just see what they
can do with it. That's the kind of spirit I want to see more
of. Instead of trying to be an auteur starting from scratch to
make something unique and singular, why not build on what
other people are doing to create something that's maybe more
hybrid, but maybe more exciting as a result?"
Jem Yoshioka: Openly Licensed
In 2010, Jem Yoshioka decided to enter Mix & Mash, then a new
initiative from DigitalNZ A-tihi o Aotearoa and the National
Library of New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa.
Reusing Katherine Mansfield's poem 'An Opal Dream Cave',
Jem produced a short comic of tire same name.
With this entry, Jem won the Creative Commons category
of Mix & Mash. As Jem relates, "That was when I began to
think about how I could use Creative Commons material in my
work, and also start licensing my own work under Creative
"I then decided to open up my Flickr stream. Now,
everything I put online I license under Creative Commons."
The comics on Jem's website, including 'An Opal Dream
Cave' and 'Sunshine', are all made available under a Creative
Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) licence. Many
more photos, illustrations, comics and sketches are made
available under the same licence on her Flickr stream.
As Jem explains, "I use Creative Commons for many
reasons, one of them being that I really do believe that
copyright is outdated, especially given the way we can share
things online. It becomes more of a burden than anything.
Instead of encouraging creativity, it begins to block it.
"By using an open licence, it actually gives me a lot more
freedom to say what I want done with my work. I don't have
to worry about people infringing my rights, as if s very clear
what can be done with my work."
Jem chose to use the ShareAlike licence so "everyone that
uses my work is also contributing to Creative Commons. It's
a way of increasing the pool of work and encouraging the
"The ShareAlike licence is a way for me to contribute to the
Creative Commons environment."
Unlike some artists, like Dylan Horrocks, Jem chose
not to apply a Noncommercial licence to her work. As she
explains, "People can make money off my work. I'm really
not too fussed about that; as long as it's got my name on it,
they can do whatever they like. I'd rather it be shared. The
ShareAlike aspect of the licence means anything that is made,
even commercially, also has to be ShareAlike. If a big company
wants to use my work, they're doing so while contributing to
"Being a part of a community also helps me to get a bit
more traction for my freelance work. This model doesn't take
money away from me. It engages and connects people even
more with what I do."
Jem is also a trustee of the Creative Freedom Foundation,
joining other Creative Commons supporters, including Dan
Untitled, Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Matthew Holloway and
Luke Rowell of Disasteradio.
Open Source and Creative Commons in
the Pine Arts
Bronwyn Holloway-Smith is an artist and arts advocate based
in Wellington, interested in "internet culture, 3-dimensional
printing, open source art and space colonisation".
In 2009 Bronwyn produced 'Ghosts in the Form of Gifts',
a permanent installation at Massey University Te Kunenga
Ki Purehuroa, which won the 2010 Award for Open Source
in the Arts. The installation presents replicas of artefacts
imagined as "lost, hidden or misregistered" from the Museum
of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The objects were made
using an Open Source 3-dimensional printer known as the
'RepRap'. The digital files were licensed as Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike (CC BY-SA), and were made available
for download on her website.
Bronwyn also uploaded the files to Thingiverse, an online
repository for digital design. Within a month, someone from
Chicago's What It Is gallery had been in touch. Without the
usual fuss of shipping and handling, the gallery had printed
an object for inclusion in their 2012 show, 'Improbable Objects'
- all without Bronwyn having to leave Wellington.
As she puts it, "Using Creative Commons licences has
opened up new opportunities for connecting with and
engaging audiences and getting my work seen around
the world ... Traditional copyright can be a brick wall that
discourages people from engaging." She points out that while
New Zealand is geographically isolated, Creative Commons
licences can link artists to international communities.
Bronwyn believes that more exciting uses of Creative
Commons in the arts have yet to be discovered. She says, "I'm
really interested in the new potential it represents. Its potential
in the arts hasn't been fully realised." Bronwyn points out
that Creative Commons licences are still relatively new. She
describes her projects as "experiments", with the licences
a way of "allowing others to discover new exciting uses for
creative works that I can't predict".
Her 2011 project 'Pioneer City', which imagines future real
estate opportunities on Mars, was re-imagined by tire kids in
Room 11 at Lyall Bay School, after reading an article on the
project in local newspaper the Wellingtonian.
For the exhibition 'The Obstinate Object: Contemporary
New Zealand Sculpture', at City Gallery Wellington, Bronwyn
returned to 3D printing, developing a new work titled
'Whisper Down The Lane'. For this piece, she collaborated
with designers Ant Pelosi and Nick Graham, using Autodesk
123D Catch and Xbox Kinect programme ReconstructMe to
make digital files of other works exhibited in the gallery,
releasing the files for free download on Thingiverse and
creating miniature 3D prints of the works with the RepRap.
For this project, she chose a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA) licence, as
using a non-commercial licence "helped keep the other artists
comfortable with the project".
In 2008, Bronwyn co-founded the Creative Freedom
Foundation (CFF), anon-profit organisation that represents over
10,000 New Zealand artists. The CFF works with government
officials and politicians to ensure that New Zealand artists
have a voice in discussions over New Zealand's intellectual
property legislation. Bronwyn says, "Many New Zealand
artists rely on the internet ... Any changes to legislation may
mean a huge deal to these artists."
While using Creative Commons licences primarily allows
her work to be reused and remixed, it also introduces issues of
copyright and digital technology to artists and arts audiences.
"Creative Commons starts a conversation about intellectual
property, which can be really useful." Referencing artists like
Marcel Duchamp, Bronwyn explains, "Art is not an island,
operating independently of what's been made in the past.
Remix, appropriation, parody: these techniques have been
used in art for centuries. We're always building on works
we've had access to."
Jon Lemmon: Creative Commons
Music in Aotearoa
Jon Lemmon is a songwriter and musician based in Wellington,
New Zealand. His album, Demos/Sketches, was released in 2011
under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC
Jon then used the same licence to release his other albums,
including Singles, Kindling EP and Steppenivolf, also available
for free download.
Jon says that he uses Creative Commons for "everything,
really. I'm a bedroom producer, and do all of it on my computer
- recording, writing songs, singing, all of that - and to me, it
didn't really ever seem like a question whether or not I'd use
Jon was encouraged to use Creative Commons licensing by
VBC radio host Kim Wheatley, host of 'Compulsory Ecstasy',
who was living with Jon at the time. Kim was reading Cory
Doctorow and saw open licensing as an interesting way for Jon
to release his music.
Jon points out that most bedroom artists don't spend much
time thinking about copyright. "If you're young enough, you
just assume everything's fair game, especially if you grew
up with bands like GirlTalk. In the underground scene, the
blogosphere and stuff like that, if it's not mainstream, it seems
like people don't really care about copyright.
"As an artist, I find copyright really obnoxious. I'm really
interested in the idea of people sharing their music, so that
people can do whatever they want with it, and what you end
up producing is a great mix of a whole bunch of work.
"There was no question there, I wanted to open the
album up for remix."
Opening up the album, however, required more than just a
Creative Commons licence. "You still only have a full song, and
you don't have the individual tracks and parts to sample. One
of the most recent songs - 'Exodus' - 1 released the individual
tracks for it as well, just in case anyone wanted to do anything
with any of it.
"No one ever commented on it, and I didn't even know if
anyone even saw it or used it at all, but then randomly I was
at a show, and some person came up to me and said, 'Hey, I
really like your music. It was so awesome that you released all
the tracks for that one song. I've been playing around with it.'"
Jon, however, is quick to point out that the purpose of
Creative Commons is to provide a legal framework for a culture
of sharing, remix and reuse that already exists. As Jon puts it,
"Cultural protection always works better than legal protection."
Other examples of reuse include Jon and New Zealand duo
Wet Wings remixing each other's openly licensed work.
In 2011 Jon found out that "someone had done an edit of
my song and put it on YouTube, which was cool."
"I agreed, so he said, 'We'll put your original on, my remix
on and then we'll do a version together and put that on, too.'
So that's what we did."
The record was released by Car Crash Set in 2011. "That's
the only one of my tracks that's available from a record label."
Jon found Creative Commons particularly useful in
specifying exactly what kinds of permissions he wanted to
allow. "I want to be able to make sure everyone can edit this.
But if someone tries to profit from my music, I want to be able
to set the terms. That was actually really nice - it meant that I
was safe, legally."
On the topic of whether the culture of remix among
bedroom producers included providing attribution, Jon says,
"You'd be stupid not to. It's about building relationships.
Creative Commons - that concept - is just sensible . . . It's the
sensible way to do things."
Dylan Horrocks: Creative Commons
Based in Auckland, Dylan Horrocks is best known as the
author of the award-winning Hicksville, a story of a small,
comics-obsessed town on New Zealand's East Coast. Hicksville
was named a 'book of the year' by Comics Journal and features
in Auckland University Press's Anthology of New Zealand
Literature, alongside canonical New Zealand writers James K
Baxter, Maurice Gee and Katherine Mansfield.
Dylan is also a long-time supporter of Creative Commons . In
fact, since 2009, Dylan has been releasing his work on his website
under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC
BY-NC) licence. Readers can find finished stories and ongoing
serials, including Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen.
Dylan first became interested in the relationship between
copyright and culture when, as a young comics reader, he
saw how many authors had lost the rights to their works -
including Siegel and Shuster, the creators of Superman, who
sold their work to National Periodicals (later, DC Comics).
Dylan relates, "When freelancers got paid in the early
comics industry, they had to sign the back of the cheque to
cash it. On the back of the cheque, though, was a printed
statement, which basically said, 'All rights to this story and the
characters contained therein are hereby handed in perpetuity
to the publisher.'
"The key lesson was: never sell your copyright to a company.
For a long time, my view of copyright was that it was very.
very important for the artist and that you must hold on to it, no
Dylan's view of copyright changed when, in the process
of researching a guest lecture for Auckland University, he
realised the potential effects of the internet on the production
and distribution of culture.
"I kind of had this revelation: the ease with which media
can be copied when it's digital, and the ease with which it can
be distributed through the internet, offers us an extraordinary
"Surely we've always dreamed of a civilisation in which
everyone has access to ideas, without the constraint of
shipping piles of paper around tire world. As an afterthought, I
considered how that would affect the economics of distribution.
Having thought about that, I concluded that it might mean the
end of royalties. I think it took me two minutes to decide that
I was fine with that."
Dylan realised that the internet had the potential to expand
public access to our rich cultural heritage, including comics.
"I've spent much of my life hearing rumours of a really
interesting comics project, or catching a glimpse of it in some
history book about comics, and thinking, I wish I could get my
hands on that, and then working so hard looking for ways to
Dylan talks about Finnish writer and cartoonist Tove
Jansson, best known as the inventor of the Moomins. For years,
Dylan was unaware that Jansson had drawn a comic strip, until
he came across a reference to her in a German history of comics.
After receiving a photocopy of the comic from historian Paul
Gravett, Dylan decided to run off 30 more copies and give them
away to other cartoonists around the world.
“Eventually, a few years later, my publisher, Drawn and
Quarterly, started republishing those comics. They're selling
really well and it's rewriting the history of comics."
With the internet, these practices of sharing and reuse are
becoming increasingly common. As Dylan puts it, "This is
a fantastic gift to the whole culture. I have access to a vastly
greater landscape of recorded culture than any previous
generation, and that's going to change the way artists work. I
already see it in the work of younger artists."
By using a Creative Commons licence on his own work,
Dylan hopes to encourage younger artists to remix and adapt
their own version of The American Dream or Sam Zabel and the
As Dylan puts it, "I don't object to people sharing my work
and I don't object to people using my work as an inspiration
for new work, because both for me are really gratifying. It
shows that people are engaging with my work and they're
excited by it.
"If people are sharing it around, more people are reading
it. The idea that it's inspiring other people to do new work is
gratifying, especially because my work in turn is inspired by
Creative Commons provides Dylan with an alternative
to what he sees as a narrow, but dominant, vision of culture
and art. "When I make a piece of art, it's me responding to a
whole lot of art and the world around me. When I finish it, I
want it to go back into that flow of art and ideas, and be shared
and responded to by people. Treating it as a single piece of
property seems wrong. Lots of people have a relationship to
that piece of art."
Dylan decided to apply a Noncommercial licence, to
ensure that commercial publishers wouldn't distribute his
work without his express permission.
"Part of what appeals to me about Creative Commons is that
the Creative Commons licence that I prefer - which tends to be
Attribution-NonCommercial - far more accurately reflects my
preference as an author about how my work is used. The idea
of some 14-year-old getting to read their work and not paying
them really doesn't bug most writers. We don't want to put
walls up around our work. We just don't want people getting
rich off it without us.
"Creative Commons doesn't actually take any of the rights
I care about as an author. If someone wants to make a big
Hollywood film or sell t-shirts, they can get in touch, just as
they can under all-rights-reserved copyright. And if there is
going to be money changing hands then some of that money
should be coming to me."
Currently, Dylan's printed comics are not released under
a Creative Commons licence. While acknowledging that open
licensing could actually increase sales, he notes that many
publishers continue to be cautious about copyright. "The fact
that I'm serialising stuff online while I'm working on it does
cause problems with publishers. It's an ongoing process. That's
something for the Creative Commons community to help with
- helping artists who want to use Creative Commons to find
ways to bring publishers and traditional distributors onboard."
Dylan hopes that his use of Creative Commons licences on
his website will encourage young artists to share and adapt his
work. "If my comic is photocopied or scanned by a teenager
and given to their friend - man, I love that. Or if someone
wants to make a t-shirt of my comic to give as a present for
Christmas, go for it. Creative Commons reflects my own
personal ethics about how my work is used."
Open Government Information and
Bata in New Zealand
By Keitha Booth, Director, New Zealand Open Government
Information and Data Programme
Open government, which holds that citizens have the right to
access the documents and proceedings of their government
to allow for effective public oversight, has three important
aspects: transparency, participation and collaboration. Many
countries, including New Zealand, now embrace these
through their international Open Government Partnership
The history of open government in New Zealand
Aotearoa began in the latter half of the twentieth century.
The Parliamentary Commissioner (Ombudsman) Act 1962 set
the scene by giving the Ombudsmen wide rights of access to
departmental files, and making failure by a state agency to
give reasons for any decision to refuse information one of the
grounds on which an Ombudsman could intervene. At that
time, the Official Secrets Act 1951, which made the release of
information held by Government agencies an offence, was still
During the 1970s many civil society groups argued for
more public debate on government business and better access
to government-held information. The Coalition for Open
Government played a leading role in the development of the
Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). 2
The OIA was foreshadowed by the 1980 report of the
Committee on Official Information, known as the Danks
Committee (named after its Chairman), Towards Open
Government. 3 The Act implemented most of its recommendations.
It repealed the Official Secrets Act 1951 and it promotes access to
information held by various government agencies. Its guiding
principle is that information should be made available unless a
good reason exists under the Act for withholding it.
The New Zealand Open Government Data and information
movement built on these foundations and has also paralleled
international activities, particularly in the US, UK and Australia.
Important international measures include President Obama's
Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government,
issued on 21 January 2009, and the development of the public
data directory data.gov. Australia and the United Kingdom
followed quickly with their own statements and also set up
websites listing their governments' public data.
In New Zealand there was pressure from civil society
groups who were watching international developments.
Active users of technology and the internet expected to
participate in public policy development and to have
government services reorganised around their needs. In
particular, they wanted to find and use government's public
information and data online - in the same way as they used
online content in their personal lives - and to use it to create
new apps, tools, services, research and knowledge. In other
words, these developers wanted to innovate using publicly
3 www.teara.govt. nz/en/freedom-of-official-information/page-i
funded data. To illustrate what they wanted, they created a
catalogue of government's public datasets.
Around the same time, OECD ministers set international
public sector information policy promoting wider use and
reuse of public sector information in 2008. 4 This provided the
catalyst for New Zealand to move ahead formally.
Government's first response in November 2009 was
the website data.govt.nz, developed by the Department of
Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua, which lists government's
public datasets. All data listed on this site is in an open format,
although much of it in 2015 has still to be released in fully
open data formats. Some is downloadable as Application
Programming Interfaces (APIs) or web services.
Between 2010 and 2011, Cabinet also approved three
information policies, with this work initially led by the State
Services Commission, then the Department of Internal Affairs
and more recently at Land Information New Zealand.
The Declaration on Open and Transparent Government, 2011,
states that: "Building on New Zealand's democratic tradition,
the government commits to actively releasing high value
public data" and that "the government holds data on behalf of
the New Zealand public. We release it to enable the private and
community sectors to use it to grow the economy, strengthen
our social and cultural fabric, and sustain our environment. We
release it to encourage business and community involvement in
government decision-making." 5 Government departments are
4 OECD. Recommendation of the Council for Enhanced Access and More Effective Use of Public
Sector Information. [C(2oo8)36]
directed to release high-value public data that their users wish
to reuse and all other government agencies are encouraged or
invited to do so.
The New Zealand Data and Information Management
Principles, 2011, state that "Government data and information
should be open, readily available, well managed, reasonably
priced and re-usable unless there are necessary reasons for its
protection. Personal and classified information will remain
protected. Government data and information should also be
trusted and authoritative. Whilst fully requiring personal and
classified information to be protected, remaining government-
held information and data must be open." 6
The New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing
framework (NZGOAL), 2010 7 is "guidance to assist government
agencies publishing information and data for legal reuse. It
was prepared to encourage full use and re-use of this material
for economic, environmental, creative or cultural purposes
and to encourage experts and others to contribute to improved
policy development and more efficient financial performance
NZGOAL recommends that agencies apply Creative
Commons licences to the copyright works they are releasing
for reuse, and a no known rights statement to non-copyright
works. The Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence is
the recommended default licence. Use of this internationally
adopted suite of Creative Commons licences allows agencies
to encourage widespread legal reuse of open government
information and data without any need to draw up their own
contracts. Agencies are guided through a review and release
process that helps them to assign the appropriate licence.
In 2013 the New Zealand government released its first
Open Government Partnership Action Plan 2014-2016, stating
that: "New Zealand works hard to maintain and build upon
the foundation stones that foster trust in government. We
continuously strive to: maintain high levels of integrity;
foster a culture of openness and freedom of information
and public accountability; and protect personal information
and confidential government information. We also require
a culture of service to the public and responsiveness to
the public's needs, concerns and complaints; merit-based
appointments; free and frank advice and unbiased action; and
ensure judicial independence. We expect public officials and
institutions to be free from corruption and conflicts of interest;
make ethically based decisions and provide leadership. This
continued vigilance contributes to New Zealand's reputation
for integrity, openness and a corruption-free government."
This first plan sets out a series of actions, and will be
updated regularly in collaboration with civil society.
who is using Open Government Bata?
Since the adoption of the Declaration on Open and Transparent
Government in August 2011, New Zealand's government
agencies have been releasing their high-value data for
innovative reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC
BY) licence. By June 2012, 75% of all government departments
had already released their data, and the majority had plans to
do so in the future.
And yet, as the open government folks like to say, you're
only as good as your last reuse. This is why Creative Commons
licences are so important: they allow members of the public
to share, remix and reuse public data, without having to ask
permission in advance. Going by download figures from
platforms like Koordinates, more people are viewing and
downloading publicly funded data. But what about reuse?
There are a few great examples coming to light, such as
the ANZ truckometer. Using traffic volume data released by
the New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA),
"ANZ selected key routes and applied statistical techniques
to smooth out anomalies and gaps. The result is a strong
correlation between traffic flows and predicting economic
growth or decline as measured by GDP data from Statistics
New Zealand. ANZ has found that, in general, light traffic
flows give a six month heads-up on the direction the economy
will take and heavy traffic flows give an even more accurate
picture six months later". 1
Another case study looked is the Charities Register, a
tool released by the Charities Commission in June 2011.
The Register offers information from over 25,000 registered
charities for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution
licence. Since this initial release, the Register has been used by:
- funding bodies like The Southern Trust;
- government bodies like the Ministry for Social
Development Te Manatu Whakahiato Ora and the
- media organisations;
- students and researchers;
- local government bodies, like the Manawatu District
- volunteer portals, such as that under construction by
Student Job Search.
More recently, the Open Government Data and Information
Programme published the following case study on Dumpark:
"When the Human Rights Commission wanted to track equality
at work and provide an evidential basis for monitoring fairness
in the workplace, it was no easy task. Instead of a manual and
time-consuming process, they engaged Dumpark to access
open data, open up other data, and build a web-based tool.
'"Tracking Equality at Work' brings together a suite of
employment data so that fairness and equality of outcomes at
work can be compared. Dumpark helped the Human Rights
Commission organise and open up relevant data to supply the
tool. Further indicators and datasets will be added over time.
"The disaggregated data uses four key aspects of work and
the interactive tool allows analysis of equality by sex, ethnicity,
age, disability, and over time. The web-tool makes it possible
to track the persistence of inequality over time, and whether
or not progress towards equality is being made. It also makes
it possible to track the outcomes of a particular group across
multiple indicators. The tool can also be used to disaggregate
groups across several demographic characteristics.
"Since Dumpark opened their doors in 2012, their
primary goal has been to provide tools that allow people
and organisations to understand and communicate data and
"Co-founder Timo Franz says 'Our primary focus has been
on opening up data and creating data visualisation tools as a
public service. We believe governments represent the citizens
of the world, and data can be used to drive transparency and
accountability, as well as inform the democracy we live in.'"
These are, of course, just a couple of examples of how
government data is being released and reused - there are
many, many more. Some of these are up at Open Data Stories.
Keep an eye on the New Zealand Open Government Data
and Information Programme website www.ict.govt.nz to
New Zealand Electronic Text
The New Zealand Electronic Text Collection (NZETC), a free
online archive of New Zealand and Pacific Islands texts and
heritage materials, was created in 2002 as part of the University
of Victoria Library Te Pataka Korero. Since then, its accessible
collection has grown to over 2,600 texts that feature in an
Their four main objectives are:
- to create a digital library providing open access to
significant New Zealand and Pacific Island texts and
materials, encompassing both digitised heritage material
and born-digital resources
- to effectively partner with other organisations, as
a collaborator and service provider, on a variety of
digitisation and digital content projects
- to build a wider community skilled in the use and
creation of digital materials through teaching and
training activities and by publishing and presenting the
results of research, and
- to work at the intersection of computing tools with
textual material and investigate how these tools may
be used to make new knowledge from our cultural
The NZETC works with many partners in the cultural
heritage and ePublishing sector, such as National Library of
New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, the Alexander
Turnbull Library, the Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki
Paenga Hira, and the State Library of Victoria. Projects have
also been developed within Victoria University of Wellington
Te Whare Wananga o te Upoko o te Ika a Maui with the
International Institute of Modem Letters Te Putahi Tuhi Auaha
o te Ao; the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies
Te Kura Tanga Korero Ingarihi, Kiriata, Whakaari, Papaho;
Va'aoman Pasifika; the School of Biological Sciences Te Kura
Matauranga Koiora; Victoria University Press; J C Beaglehole
Room; and Wai-te-ata Press. The NZETC is an active member
of the National Digital Forum, the Text Encoding Initiative
Consortium, and the Australia and New Zealand Digital
The NZETC provides free access to a range of materials in
multiple formats for download or online browsing. In situations
where the original text is out of copyright, the NZETC provides
a digitised version under a New Zealand Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) licence. This allows the
sharing and remixing of the digitised text, even for commercial
reasons, as long as the NZETC is credited and users license
their new creations under the Creative Commons Attribution-
ShareAlike Licence too.
“We hope this will encourage more use of the resources by
making it obvious to our users that, in many cases, they can
take the digital editions to share and transform as they like,"
says Alison Stevenson, NZETC director.
So far there are 433 titles available under the New Zealand
Creative Commons licence, including Walter Buller's A History
of the Birds of New Zealand, the 1914 edition of the Edmond's
Cookery Book, Katherine Mansfield's fiction, Elsdon Best's
monographs, and the many 19th-century New Zealand novels
in the archive.
Much of the material handled by the NZETC cannot
be released with Creative Commons licences because full
copyright is retained by others, although these parties will
have the option of choosing Creative Commons for their work
from now on. Alison says, "In terms of Creative Commons
licensing for original works which are in copyright, now that
we can demonstrate the licence in use on the site it will be
easier to offer it as an option and we'll certainly talk to authors
about this in future projects." The centre regularly received
requests from remix poets for permission to republish text, and
from journalists and exhibition organisers for permission to
reproduce NZETC images. By applying a Creative Commons
licence to some of the collection, users no longer have to contact
the centre for permission on this material.
LINZ Bata Service
In June 2011, Land Information New Zealand Toitu Te Whenua
(LINZ) launched the LINZ Data Service (LDS), a web-based
tool that allows users to map and download LINZ data. LDS
licenses most of its data under a Creative Commons Attribution
(CC BY) licence.
LDS was born, Manager Jeremy Palmer says, out of
the need to do two things: "First, to drive innovation in the
private sector to get better reuse of our data, and second, to
drive efficiencies within government agencies." One of the
operation's key requirements, Jeremy says, was the open
licensing of data.
Thanks to the New Zealand Government Open Access
and Licensing (NZGOAL) framework, deciding to license
with Creative Commons was a relatively simple process. "We
brought NZGOAL into the equation early on, which allowed
us to analyse our methods of licensing - previously, each
dataset had its own terms, conditions and restrictions based
on various levels of complex copyright.
"We concluded pretty quickly that we could relicense most
of our datasets under Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)
licences - bar a few which have legal restrictions on them."
Vicki Lindsay, Support Advisor, described the LDS
experience as a "bit of a test pilot" for the implementation of
the NZGOAL framework. "It was really good for us because
we didn't need to develop any licences, but could adopt a
licence recognised both nationally and internationally."
LINZ's Chief Executive at the time, Colin MacDonald, was
intimately involved in the cross-government programme for
data and information re-use. The adoption of the NZGOAL
framework was a strategic decision on LINZ's part - an
opportunity for LINZ to show leadership in tire open data
space. Jeremy says that stakeholders and partners that
contributed to the design of the service would also chip in with
advice: "We were working in partnership with Koordinates,
who provided the technology for LDS and who are heavily
involved in the open data movement."
Before the launch of the LDS, access to LINZ datasets was
primarily done through manual requests and provided on
DVDs - a labour-intensive and time-consuming process. While
some of these "legacy services" are rumring alongside the LDS
currently, Vicki notes they will be streamlined into the LDS in
the long term. As with any major change in service delivery,
the transition can take time to negotiate.
But Jeremy says the change has been for the best: "The
service is a professional service, enabling easy online access
to our data via a sophisticated set of tools and functionality.
In a typical week, LDS gets upwards of 500 file downloads of
our datasets - which is much, much more than when our data
distribution was manually administered."
Not only has opening the datasets increased usage in
numbers, it's also invited a more diverse user-base, says Vicki.
"Because it's much more accessible now, and free to access,
we are seeing our customer base grow to include smaller
organisations that may not have used LINZ data before.
whereas customers who used our previous services were
generally professional organisations who could consume that
complex data quite easily.
“It was generally very complex, so it was quite a shift in
philosophy for us to go from being a raw bulk data distributor
to taking that data and making it accessible to that wider range
of users," adds Jeremy.
Landscape architect Nigel Cowburn, of Growplan Ltd,
uses the LDS datasets to arrive at worksites to meet clients
“fully armed" with information about the property and
landscape as it currently exists. He says the LDS enables him to
prepare ahead of time. “It's free and reliable, and helps me ask
intelligent questions," Nigel says. "It makes the remote part of
my work possible, as I have a good idea of the landscape before
I go - the more information I can access online, the better."
LDS is frequently updated to meet the needs of its
customers. But as with any large operation, the project didn't
come without its obstacles. “The release and simplification of
large datasets were a big challenge for us to manage - from
the outset, however, by partnering with Koordinates, they had
already solved some of the issues."
Jeremy notes that the service is really showing results.
The number of registered users of the LINZ Data Service
continues to climb by several hundred users every month.
These customers, spanning government, geospatial, survey,
utility, contracting, and engineering sectors and beyond, are
using the LINZ Data Service to realise efficiencies, innovation
and improved decision-making.
The LDS's efforts haven't gone unrecognised. LINZ was the
recipient of the JK Barrie Award for Overall Excellence at the
Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards - the premier forum for
recognising the spatial information industry's top performers.
Of the award, LINZ Chief Executive Peter Mersi says, "It is
recognition of tire highest order of the value of developing and
implementing an easy-to-use geospatial data sharing service."
Mersi says LDS has played a part in "revolutionising the way
people can discover, use and share New Zealand public data".
Jeremy notes that Australians are "envious of the openness
of the whole ecosystem" that LDS uses. "In Australia, the
multiple levels of government have imposed a model where
they're trying to still do cost recovery for their assets. The fact
that we were able to remove barriers with Creative Commons
licences really made an impact and helped us win that award.
Over there, a lot of their data is still very locked up."
Quizzed about their advice to other government agencies
considering using open licensing, both Jeremy and Vicki are
supportive of the measures. "I'd definitely recommend opening
access to public, non-private information across government. If
there's a mandate to adopt open licensing, and you want to get
it done, NZGOAL and Creative Commons licences get really
good results and can reduce timeframes to actually just get the
data out there."
Statistics New Zealand
On his blog Econometrics Beat Canadian economist David E
Giles describes the open presentation of Statistics New Zealand
(SNZ) Tatauranga Aotearoa's data online: "This isn't just a
collection of boring spreadsheets. It's a valuable and serious
piece of data research."
He's right: SNZ have been pioneers in maximising
transparency through the open licensing of many of their
datasets, which they release online through web-based
applications NZ.Stat and Infoshare. While SNZ is best known
to the public for their management of the census, their remit
stretches beyond just this - and they use open licences on
much of their data to ensure it has maximum reach.
The logic for SNZ is simple. Releasing data in an open
framework helps for a range of reasons:
- it makes it easier for government agencies to work
- it reduces the cost of providing an existing government
service, with decreased paperwork and hoops to jump
- it maximises access and visibility to users, attracting new
- it reduces the cost of accessing and processing
information for existing users.
Census data is what most of the public know SNZ for.
Through their website, SNZ has released blocks of census
data from 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2013 under Creative Commons
Attribution (CC BY) licences. These datasets - which include
information on age, ethnicity, income, workplace, dwelling
size and geography - can be organised online and then
downloaded in a variety of formats for remix and reuse.
A dedicated team works to develop census datasets for
phased release. They are constantly looking for ways to
improve: for each new census recorded, changes and improve-
ments in the range of datasets available are made based on
SNZ also releases economic datasets, which detail
New Zealand's gross domestic product, consumer price index,
balance of payments and productivity - all on a quarterly basis.
This data is freely available for public and business through
web-based tools that aid in the preparation and formatting of
datasets for open use.
Opening economic indicator data has been a great step
for SNZ's visibility and usefulness to Aotearoa. Businesses,
government agencies, community organisations and research
institutions use the data to direct their research and develop-
ment and to inform their decision-making at all levels - making
New Zealand a more savvy, better-informed, and ultimately
more prosperous place to live.
These Tier 1 statistics, released online through SNZ's
web-based applications, describe New Zealand's economy,
environment, population, society, culture, international rela-
tions, and civil and political rights. Government, businesses and
members of the public use these statistics to make informed
decisions and monitor the state and progress of Aotearoa.
So, what makes them Tier 1? They are consistent, of high
quality, and have integrity. This is why they are the priority
for the government's statistical production. Tier 1 statistics
are optimal for public, wide use, which is why it's important
that they are published in a way that allows for equal and
open access. Like the other data services, Tier 1 statistics
are delivered through a broad range of formats, including
in reports, as aggregate data and (with some restrictions) as
In order to actually get data from their systems into
customers' hands, SNZ uses its online data tools Infoshare
and NZ.Stat, which were implemented through the Making
Information Freely Available programme in 2008-09. Infoshare,
designed in consultation with users to facilitate open databases,
was the successor to INFOS, a closed subscription system that
had only 90 consistent subscribers.
SNZ's decision to open up its data through web-based data
retrieval applications has seen user numbers increase from just
90 to over 100,000 in 2011-12. Not only are these web-based
applications user-friendly, they allow customers to organise
data to suit them - presenting information in different formats
to meet the needs of a diversity of users.
Ministry for the Environment
In July 2009 the Ministry for the Environment Manatu Mo
Te Taiao started to release its datasets under a Creative
Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence, becoming one of the
first New Zealand government agencies to do so.
The process started in 2007, when the Ministry found itself
with a range of expiring licence agreements for the distribution
of some of their datasets. These databases were distributed and
managed by a third party, who would charge a fee, register
users, then get people to sign a licence agreement before
receiving the data. It was, in the words of Karl Majorhazi,
Geographic Information Systems Professional Asia Pacific
(GISP-AP) Senior Analyst, simply “the way things were done".
“But it's not what we wanted," Karl explains, "because
when you invest in a database, the value of that is related to
the number of users and uses it's put to. So in the five years
that that distribution agreement had been running, there were
99 registered users. And when you are looking to fund an
update and you've only got 99 users it doesn't make the maths
At this time, the State Services Commission (SSC) was
beginning to look into the use of Creative Commons licences.
Karl sat in on SSC meeting with Creative Commons Australia
Project Lead Anne Fitzgerald, of the Queensland University of
Technology Faculty of Law.
Following this meeting, the decision to move to Creative
Commons licensing was rather straightforward. "We tested it
out, got some advice on what it is, what it could be used for,
what it couldn't, and eventually we came to the decision that
this was the way to go."
The second piece of the puzzle was an online data platform
Koordinates, launched only a few months earlier, which
provided an easy way to search, sort and share the datasets.
The Ministry's first release was on 1 July 2009, and it didn't
take long for the data to be used in unexpected ways.
"We had a request from a company in Germany who were
making a flight simulator app for the iPhone, who wanted to
know if they could use the Landcover database in their system
to give a more feature-rich environment for anyone that's
flying over the country." Of course, they didn't need to ask us,
unlike as with past arrangements, because "the licence terms
and conditions mean there's no reason why they can't".
The Landcover database quickly went from 99 registered
users to over 2,000 downloads, as researchers, students and
members of the public began to freely use the data.
Karl had a phone call from someone "who was looking
at the watershed data that we provide as part of the Marine
Environment Classification. He was using that for a search and
rescue project, using the watersheds to determine where people
get lost and found. That's one of these unintended reuses that
you don't plan for when you are developing this database."
Karl notes that one of the downsides of open data platforms
is that you are unable to track users. Nevertheless, there have
been several other exciting examples of high-value reuse of
Ministry for the Environment data.
As Karl explains, “I turned up at a seminar and a colleague
of mine came bounding over from the other side of the room
with a big smile on his face and said, 'I've got a good news
story for you!' He operates a small consultancy and he was
asked to turn around a quick analysis for parliament on how
much it would roughly cost to dig trenches alongside roads
and motorways to lay broadband cable.
“He couldn't get access to the soil information from
Land care at the time because it was under wraps commercially,
but he found a piece of research that tied to it the attributes in
the Land Environment dataset. He managed to download that
dataset, use it in his analysis and turn that job around.
“That is a case where people could do the job they needed
to do because the data was already there - it's an argument for
being proactive, not waiting until somebody requests it."
Figure. NZ (formerly Wiki New Zealand) wants New
Zealanders to make informed decisions. To this end, Lillian
Grace, Founder of Figure. NZ, and others have uploaded
graphs and thematic maps based on public data to Figure. NZ,
a collaborative website.
While some of the data is used with permission, all of the
content by Figure. NZ itself is made available under a Creative
Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.
Lillian had the idea for Figure. NZ in February 2012 while
working for the New Zealand Institute. While giving talks
to community and business groups, Lillian realised, “Every
single issue that we addressed would have been easier to deal
with if more people understood the basic facts.
“That's one of the driving forces for me behind Figure. NZ.
I'm concerned for New Zealand's future and I think that the
best chance we have of getting the best outcomes is if more
people are informed and can make informed decisions.
"I've seen the power of informed decisions. I've seen the
light go on in people when they learn something that they
To help more New Zealanders find out about their country,
Lillian decided to apply a Creative Commons Attribution (CC
BY) licence to all Figure. NZ content. This licence allows users
to share and adapt Figure. NZ content, as long as they provide
As Lillian puts it, "Creative Commons seemed like a
natural fit because it seems like its purposes are very aligned
with ours. I never actually considered not using it.
"I really believe in sharing data and information. I like
Creative Commons. Part of it is the language that it uses.
It seems like its purpose is very clear. It's a very sensible
structure. It's not scary to use. I felt very safe and responsible,
like I was doing the right thing. This is very important when it
comes to copyright, which can be quite daunting."
Figure.NZ has licensing statements for each graph, to
ensure that users know exactly what they can do with its
source data. While most content is sourced from New Zealand
government agencies using Creative Commons licences, some
of the content is made available under a more restrictive
licensing agreement. "Some of the sources are fully open, like
Statistics New Zealand, but some sources only let their data be
reproduced for free if it's not for commercial use.
"Imagine a scientist in the South Island collecting bacteria
samples in fresh water - that's great information. I'd be interested
in knowing about that. But there has not been any mechanism to
easily and regularly share such data with the public. Figure.NZ
enables them to submit their data in an online visual form that
can be viewed and valued by tire rest of the country.
"The process is audited for content accuracy and
impartiality, and the graphs are dynamically generated with
a consistent look and feel to make them as easy as possible to
make and digest."
Lillian is hoping for a wide range of innovative reuse.
"Anyone can do anything with the information Figure.NZ
provides, as long as they abide by the licensing of the original
sources. We're providing our graphs in a range of different
formats. Journalists can download the graphs and add their
own branding, as long as they attribute the sources and Figure.
NZ. They can repackage it how they like."
To help promote the site, Lillian has introduced a 'Know
Your Country' feature, which tests users' knowledge about
While the site will be extremely useful for teachers
and journalists, Lillian hopes that it will appeal to all New
Zealanders. "It's hard to pinpoint specific users, as it really is
"I want it to infiltrate the culture, to make it cool to know
your country, to make it normal to know your country."
GNS Science and GeoNet
In March 2001, GNS Science Te Pu Ao, in partnership with the
Earthquake Commission (EQC), launched GeoNet, a website
providing real-time information on a range of geological
hazards, including tsunami, volcanic activity and earthquakes.
Since 2009, all GeoNet's data has been made available under a
Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.
The idea for GeoNet came in the mid-1990s, as GNS started
a process to get funding to re-establish the old scientific
monitoring system. Several years into the process, EQC
suggested a partnership.
As Ken Gledhill, who manages the GeoNet project, points
out, EQC realised the intrinsic benefits of opening up public
earthquake data. In discussions with GNS, EQC insisted that all
aspects of the data be made publicly available. "The idea was
that the data would be available to all who wanted it, and that
wouldn't just be restricted to New Zealand. It was international.
It was intended to increase research and then lead to better
knowledge of our geological hazards."
At this early stage, EQC and GNS agreed on a user licence
that was similar in principle to what would become, several
years later, Creative Commons. As Ken puts it, "The essence
of Creative Commons was already there. The reasons EQC
got involved were the same reasons that underpin Creative
Commons today: if you hoard it, nothing happens. If you get it
out there, there are all sorts of benefits."
Peter Barker, General Counsel for GNS, agrees: "EQC
showed a lot of foresight in going in that direction."
In 2009, the GeoNet contract between GNS and EQC was
renewed, and at that stage it was decided to apply a Creative
Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to the data. "It was a
convenient means of doing what we were already doing, and
was consistent with government policy. "The whole intent of
the contract between GNS and EQC for GeoNet was public
good. It wasn't about any particular financial benefit to an
Peter points out that the cost of producing data and the need
for GNS to operate as a business will continue to complicate
the drive to make all scientific data accessible at no cost.
"We don't believe in hoarding the data, for any reason. We
believe in the economic benefit to the country of having the
data available and this is how science works. At the same time,
in a significant area that we work, the collection of data is quite
expensive. We need to see what's under the earth or seabed.
Drilling, for example, is very expensive, so the financial
ramifications have to be considered.
"Also, the Crown Research Institutes Act requires that we
run a viable business and profit is the way we pay for salary
increases and scientific equipment. Our model is therefore to
make data freely available but sometimes not for free. The cost
will reflect our expenses and should not be a barrier to access."
Ken adds that it is much easier for a consortium of
organisations to open up for free data produced by high-cost,
capital-intensive public good projects like GeoNet, where the
costs incurred by GNS are covered. An ongoing example of this
kind of collaboration is the effort by GNS and LINZ to measure
the gravitational field for science and survey purposes. The
raw data they produce from this project is made available
under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.
For other projects, including some involving an inventory
of extremophile biological material, GNS have used more
restrictive Creative Commons licences. GNS has also licensed
a number of the databases on its website under a Creative
Commons Attribution- ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) licence.
Peter explains that the organisation wanted to use
ShareAlike in order to "perpetuate the concept of Creative
Commons. A lot of the scientists here are very supportive,
as they use open source material in their own research. They
believe in it."
GeoNet remains their most successful example of open
data. The GeoNet site receives up to 16,000 visitors a second.
There have also been many examples of innovative reuse of
GeoNet data. Ken remembers in particular in the aftermath of
the Canterbury earthquakes: "A lot of what we saw in those
first few months was people grabbing the data we were making
available and presenting it in completely new ways. We didn't
like all of it, but that's tough. Some people did some neat
animations, others did 3D imaging. It was really very good.
"There are bright people out there, and if you make it
discoverable, they grab onto it really quickly."
Open Licensing and the Christchurch
This case study is reproduced from a 2011 post on the Open
Data Stories website.
The New Zealand Government's need for imagery, film
footage and data after tire recent Christchurch earthquake to
help in the various relief efforts and the need for it to be freely
available for reuse by individuals and organisations alike has
brought the utility of the New Zealand Government Open
Access and Licensing framework (NZGOAL) and Creative
Commons licensing into sharp focus. In "Post-quake imagery
of Christchurch carries Creative Commons licence", Creative
Commons Aotearoa New Zealand published a timely piece that
showcases some of the initiatives across government to apply
NZGOAL and licence material for reuse using open Creative
Commons licences, such as aerial photography published by
Koordinates and footage from Civil Defence.
Those assisting with such government initiatives have
learned a couple of things from the experience. On the one
hand, some agencies and officials within agencies are well
aware of NZGOAL and are both willing and able to apply
it to enable the legal re-use of government owned copyright
material. On the other hand, other agencies and officials have
limited awareness of it. That is no criticism. It's simply a
statement of fact.
What was most illuminating, in one case involving film
footage of the post-earthquake CBD, was that a request to assist
with licensing of certain material assumed (understandably)
that there might be legal documents to draft and sign as a
prerequisite to releasing the material for reuse. The official
concerned wasn't familiar with the detail of NZGOAL but, once
explained, he was most interested. He was after a quick and
efficient solution to enable the licensing of valuable material,
with tire express purpose of enabling others to reuse it in a
hassle-free way, and was pleased to learn that we could rapidly
apply a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to it,
and without requiring prospective users of the material to sign a
single document. Using NZGOAL's review and release process,
we were able to undertake tire requisite legal analysis quickly
and provide him with rapid turn-around of the copyright and
licensing statements he needed to apply to tire material. From
start to finish, the whole process took little more than an hour.
Shortly thereafter we saw the material springing up on multiple
websites around the country.
The purpose of this story, then, is that it shows that open
data - in this case open licensing of film footage - was helpful
for both the agency concerned and those who wished to re-use
the film footage for their own purposes (whether they were
the media or otherwise). Can we put a monetary figure on this
particular example of open data and open licensing? Not really,
no. Was it in the public interest in the wake of a major disaster
to make this film footage freely available? It certainly was.
Koordinates is a New Zealand-based company that provides
clever platforms for hosting and viewing geographic datasets.
Map layers are visualised online and can be downloaded as
professional data in a way that has been described as “Google
Earth for professionals". Koordinates often relies on, and indeed
encourages, providers of its geographic datasets to be published
under a Creative Commons licence to streamline reuse.
Koordinates currently provides datasets about all kinds of
things, from feral goat distribution to Wellington windy zones,
all sourced from outside parties like Government departments
and independent business listing services.
The Koordinates website offers the information as
"layers" which users can visually layer together over a map
as they choose. "When you add a map layer, the actual data
is converted into a simple Google Maps view and displayed
in your web browser," says Ed Corkery, co-founder and CEO
A piece of information that can be associated with a
geographic location comes alive when working with maps.
Property buyers, for example, can pull together layers
displaying high-resolution aerial photos, building footprints,
street locations, kerbs, school zone boundaries, parks and
electoral ward boundaries to learn more about the context of
their future house.
The sorts of datasets it would be useful to see layered on a
map are often collated and updated by Government agencies
and are subject to crown copyright. Although some datasets are
of a commercial nature and retain an "all rights reserved" status,
most are provided for public reuse via Koordinates under the
Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence. New Zealand
councils and Government agencies are embracing Creative
Commons for their datasets on Koordinates as encouraged
by the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing
framework and its strong endorsement of the CC BY licence
for non-personal copyright materials.
But it's not just policy that is driving early uptake of Creative
Commons licences in this area. Koordinates has actively
encouraged its providers to consider open access as part of their
According to Ed, a "lack of clearly understood licences
is a big road-block to reuse of public data. We recommend
the Creative Commons licensing system as an easy way for
councils and Government agencies to avoid that roadblock by
using an off-the-shelf licence system reaching critical mass."
If we're given enough layers and enough access, the uses
for this platform are endless.
It's not just hobbyists or researchers who can benefit from
this knowledge - industry and professional practitioners
gain value from readily available geographic datasets too.
Upfront information about a location's soil content, for
example, can streamline planning and decision making
processes for farmers, builders and civil engineers.
While Koordinates can host and make such information
available as layers, it is providing commercial opportunities
for third-party application developers to package up certain
information in user-friendly ways for many different types of
"A developer can combine datasets from Koordinates and
turn them into more useful services, such as iPhone apps,"
It's foreseeable that a Government agency's initial decision
to release geographic data under permissible licences is not
only benefiting nonprofit activities, but is also stimulating
healthy new business opportunities.
The datasets themselves need to be freed up from technical
and copyright restrictions so that people can fully utilise
the resources with fewer administrative burdens slowing it
all down. Off-the-shelf copyright licences, such as Creative
Commons, solve this problem.
New Zealand Transport Agency
The New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) is
one of New Zealand's largest producers of spatial data. Since
August 2012, the organisation has been uploading its aerial
imagery to Koordinates, a platform for geospatial datasets,
under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.
The spatial team has been considering how to open its data
since the release of the New Zealand Government Open Access
and Licensing (NZGOAL) framework, approved by Cabinet in
July 2010. According to Geospatial Specialist Chris Worts, "We
realised that this is something we should be doing more. There
was nothing stopping us."
NZTA produces a range of datasets, many of which were
available on request. For members of the public, though, this
wasn't necessarily obvious, nor was the process of disseminating
the data straightforward.
When NZTA received a request, someone in the spatial
team - often Chris himself - would have to manually extract
the data. "It would be a case of emailing data or copying the
data onto hard drives and sending it out, which can be labour
With hosting platforms like Koordinates - coupled with
free open licences like Creative Commons - it has become
much easier for the public to find and reuse publicly funded
datasets. Koordinates provides an ideal platform for NZTA to
start releasing their own spatial data, as it is both popular and
easy to use.
Before uploading the datasets to Koordinates, Chris had
received only a handful of enquiries. Since then, the datasets
have received tens of thousands of views and several thousand
downloads - an exponential rise in the reuse of NZTA's datasets.
Their experience supports a 2009 report from Land
Information New Zealand. As the report concludes, the financial
benefit of opening publicly funded spatial data is enormous:
“Had key barriers [to the reuse of publicly funded spatial
data] been removed, it is estimated that New Zealand could
have benefitted from an additional $481 million in productivity-
related benefits in 2008, generating at least $100 million in
While it's hard to argue with such a conclusion, the process
of actually releasing the datasets can be quite complex. Not all
datasets produced by NZTA are suitable for public reuse.
Some datasets, for example, might not be accurate in two or
three years' - or even two or three days' - time; also, many are
designed for a specific use, and are therefore not suitable for
wide release. For this reason, Chris highlights the importance of
“providing accurate metadata, so that users know the limitations
of a dataset and how, when and why the data was created".
While the spatial team has no concrete plans to release
more datasets, Chris says that the team will continue to release
datasets as appropriate in the future.
Other areas of NZTA have also started to embrace
Creative Commons licensing. Like many public agencies,
NZTA produces an enormous range of content, including
advertisements, reports, videos and images. NZTA's Education
Team ran a successful remix competition. The winners included
Tawa College's Drink Driving Website and Darfield High
School's "Shakespearean Warrant of Fitness" Advertisement.
"It is something different that's rumring through your
mind now, it's not just, what can I use it for? Instead we ask,
what are the potential wider benefits?"
By Matt McGregor, Public Lead, Creative Commons Aotearoa
Max Riley is a maths teacher at Nayland College in Nelson
whose departmental website, Nayland Mathematics, provides
high-quality resources that are reused by teachers all over
the country. As of August 2015, the website has received over
two million hits - a truly extraordinary number for a school
It's worth pausing to consider the amount of time and energy
that Max's website has saved maths teachers across Aotearoa.
The teachers using the resources on Nayland Mathematics -
unlike many of their colleagues in other subjects - no longer
need to reinvent the wheel. They can, instead, spend their
time adapting Max's resources to meet the needs of their own
There is, of course, only one Max Riley. But there are many
thousands of New Zealand educators who have spent their
careers developing a range of high-quality resources. And
there are many more thousands of teachers who would benefit
from being able to easily find, use and adapt these resources,
without having to worry about legal or technical restrictions.
With over 100,000 teachers in the compulsory education sector,
the potential savings in time and energy are enormous.
This is why so many New Zealand educators are starting
to make and use Open Educational Resources (OERs). OERs
are resources that have been made available free of technical.
price, and most legal restrictions on reuse, for the benefit of
every teacher in New Zealand (and the world). By removing
the barriers to accessing educational resources, we can allow
Kiwi teachers more time to do their jobs, and less time building
resources from scratch.
The Price of Education
OERs aren't only good for teachers. In the tertiary education
sector, we're seeing an enormous, prolonged increase in the cost
of textbooks. While we don't have figures for New Zealand,
those coming from the United States beggar belief. According
to the US Bureau of Statistics, the cost of textbooks has risen
1,500% since 1970 - that's three times the rate of inflation. The
cost of textbooks has risen faster than medical services and
property prices (even in Auckland).
Asa result The New Zealand Union of Students' Associations
has found itself lobbying for an increase in the borrowing limit
for course-related costs. And with textbook prices as high as
they are, it's not hard to see why. Take, for example, a common
undergraduate economics textbook. Principles of Economics:
Australia and New Zealand Edition (sixth edition) by N Gregory
Mankiw et al. According to the publisher's website, this book
goes for AU$152.95. 1 The equivalent for psychology students,
Psychology (8th edition) by Gleitman et al., has a list price of
Tertiary Education Institutions - and schools - also
pay a large amount for the right to copy closed educational
resources beyond the very limited rights granted under the
1994 Copyright Act. While these fees are often justified in
terms of supporting independent creators, they also go to
textbook publishers (and the publishers of academic research).
With greater use of open resources, and greater Open Access
mandates, institutions (and their students) could pay less in
copyright licensing fees.
It's not just a problem of cost. Textbooks are also notoriously
closed - that is, they are unable to be legally copied or
revised. Because New Zealand is a small country, many of
our textbooks are written and published overseas but cannot
be legally adapted by Kiwi educators for our own students
(without paying expensive licensing fees to tire publisher).
The solution to this problem is twofold. Firstly, we need
more educators and departments actively choosing to use
OERs for their courses and moving away from the closed and
(remarkably) expensive alternatives. Over the last decade, we
have seen the production of an increasingly large Commons
of educational resources in almost every nation on the planet,
ranging from small book-sprints to large funding projects,
including President Obama's US$2 billion open education
grant programme. 2 We need more New Zealand educators to
assign these open textbooks instead of their closed, expensive
Secondly, change needs to come from those who set policy
for the sector, which includes both the institutions themselves
2 The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant
Programme provides grants to community colleges to produce open educational resources for
training courses in high-demand, high-wage industries. For more information, see: www.doleta.gov/
and central government agencies. These policy-makers need
to ensure that all publicly funded educational resources are
made open by default. In addition, they need to provide strong
incentives to educators to adopt and reuse open textbooks that
have already been produced.
As the pieces in this chapter suggest, we are already seeing
the first signs of movement. The Open Educational Resources
universitas (OERu), based at Otago Polytechnic, is working with
dozens of institutions in New Zealand and around the world on
the development of courses using open educational resources.
Some forward-thinking educators, like Erika Pearson, Tim Bell
and all the folks who wrote Media Studies 101 and the Computer
Science Unplugged textbooks, are producing high-quality local
OERs. But these projects are still in the minority, and the
New Zealand tertiary education sector is still lagging behind its
international counterparts. As our student debt levels continue
to rise, New Zealand students are paying the price.
The move to OERs in schools is looking rosier. In fact, with
the increasing availability of digital technologies and tire rise
of centralised resource-sharing portals like Pond, tire Network
for Learning portal, there's no longer any technical reason why
every school in New Zealand can't replicate the success of
But here's the rub: under New Zealand copyright law,
employers have first ownership of copyright works produced
in the course of a teacher's employment. This means that
teachers who share copyright resources outside of the school
are legally infringing their school's intellectual property - even
resources they have themselves created. As more sharing takes
place online, copyright will become harder and harder to ignore
and is already causing teachers considerable uncertainty. No
teacher, after all, wishes to break the law.
To head off this uncertainty, schools have started to clearly
adopt policies in favour of open educational resources. At the
time of writing, over 100 New Zealand schools have adopted
a Creative Commons policy, openly licensing their copyright
works and thus enabling their teachers to legally share their
resources for adaptation and reuse. These schools, including
Taupaki School, Albany Senior High School and Hutt Valley
High School, passed their policies to address some of the
thorny legal and moral issues of sharing copyright works, and
to ensure that all works produced by their teachers are added
to the global Commons of OERs.
A Creative Commons policy provides a clear statement of a
school's position on copyright resources produced by teachers
employed at the school. Simply put, the policy allows teachers
to use Creative Commons licensing to share their work for
reuse. It ensures that when teachers leave, both the teacher and
the school retain access to all teaching resources.
With Creative Commons licensing and great online sharing
portals. New Zealand has the opportunity to ensure that all
teachers, no matter the subject or year level, have access to the
best resources produced by their colleagues in other schools
around the country without having to worry about any
technical or legal restrictions. As Max Riley puts it, "The more
we share, the more resources there will be for all."
Hungry for Knowledge
This is not just a New Zealand issue. The global demand for
education is skyrocketing, and OERs are the most efficient way
to meet this demand. According to estimates from UNESCO,
the world will need approximately 98 million extra places to
meet growing demand from qualified students. As Stamenka
Uvalic-Trumbic of UNESCO puts it, accommodating these
students "would require more than four major universities
(30,000 students) to open every week for the next 15 years". 3
This is the aim of projects like the OERu, discussed later in
this chapter: to find new, open ways to provide educational
opportunities to anyone who wants them. As Wayne
Mackintosh and the OERu team recognise, there's no longer
any technical reason why anyone in the world with an internet
connection shouldn't have access to education. And with
Creative Commons, we have the legal tools to provide these
resources free of legal and price restrictions on access, sharing
What we need are more of the projects outlined in this
chapter: educators, librarians and institutions actively working
to make, reuse and adopt open educational resources.
The Media Studies Text Hack
By Richard White, Copyright and Open Access Manager,
University of Otago Te Whare Wananga o Otago
On the weekend of 16-17November 2013, a group of academics
and librarians across Australia and New Zealand got together
virtually to collaboratively write (or hack) an open textbook
for the field of media studies.
The team was inspired by a group of Finnish mathematicians
who wrote an open mathematics textbook in a weekend,
and the ideals of Open Educational Resources (OER): high-
quality, free-to-access and free-to-reuse educational materials.
Given the specific terrain of the discipline of media studies,
alongside the small student populations, there is only a
limited range of texts available for students of media to use,
thus the area seemed ripe for a new approach, such as OER.
The project is, as far as we know, the only hacked textbook
where participants were so geographically dispersed and
connected only virtually.
An important part of the project has been to write up our
experiences so that others can learn from our mistakes. We've
developed a set of resources, which together form what we've
called the Hackpack. This comprises a Cookbook (which
describes how the project developed and was run, including
the tech platforms we used), a sample MOU for participants,
a project plan, reflections from the librarians involved, and
notes on the process - what worked and what we might do
differently next time. This information is provided to help
others plan their own hacks.
As is the way with open projects, it is the unintended
consequences that are often the most interesting. Almost
immediately upon release in February 2014, a message came
from the folks at BCampus, who said they'd love to host the
text on their site and they had a cool tool that could transform
our Wordpress version into mobile-friendly formats. Some
of the content and most of the Hackpack have also found a
receptive audience at University of British Columbia. We've
also seen, through stats from the Wordpress site, a good level
of access from some schools in New Zealand, which is an
unanticipated but most welcome form of engagement. Perhaps
most gratifying was an email from an academic in the School
of Journalism at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in
South Africa, who was grateful that his students - many of
whom struggle to buy textbooks - were able to use Media
Studies 101. Indeed, leaving aside the heavy use from students
at Otago, the text is being used all around the world, with
people from more than 200 countries having at least visited
the site (the main countries include: Australia, Canada, South
Africa, the US and a variety of places in Eastern Europe) - and
the text has been downloaded over 10,000 times!
The media studies text is now the core resource for the
Introduction to Communication Studies at the University of
Otago Te Whare Wananga o Otago, as well as supplementary
material for other first-year courses. Unsurprisingly the
students love the fact that it's free - "serious levels of
enthusiasm" says Erika Pearson, who runs the paper. And
there's no such thing as students being disadvantaged by
out-of-date editions anymore. Erika is doing some research
on the effects of using an open text in her class, the results of
which aren't in yet, but early data suggests that there has been
interesting side effects here too. While it was really intended
for first years, references are turning up in the bibliographies
of more senior students, who have never been assigned the
text but who have heard about it through word of mouth
and use it to help refresh themselves on key concepts in the
discipline. Another result that may lead to changes in future
versions is the fact that students have been raised on a diet
of highlighting-key-points-on-printed-documents: one of
the most common questions from students is still "How do
I print it?"
Erika has been experimenting with the EdX Open Source
learning management system (LMS) for this course and because
the text is in an open format, she can embed the Wordpress
textbook right inside the LMS. This means she can see which
chapters get the heaviest use at which times; she can even see how
long an individual student has spent on a page! 1:00 a.m. seems
to be tire optimum time for her students to access the text and
3:00 a.m. is not uncommon when an assignment is due. Given
the aims of the project, one of the most encouraging outcomes
has been a dramatic increase in local examples cited by students
in assignments; previously they tended to come up with US-
centric examples, since students tend to learn behaviours from
their textbooks. Now, through the use of the open platforms.
current, topical and local examples can be quickly shared with
the entire cohort.
The next step is to evaluate how the content is working
in practice with real, live students. Then the plan is to run a
second hack sometime in 2016 to improve the design, fill
gaps in the content and increase the local content, such as
developing some more content with a Pacific focus. The
experiment in open resources and hacking has proven not
only useful to students locally and globally, but also to the
staff that took part - links have formed between academics,
students, postgraduates, librarians and designers who might
otherwise have never encountered each other. The Media Text
Hack has become the seed of a wider community of scholars
pursuing interests in more open models of research, teaching
The Computer Science Held Guide
By Tim Bell, Department of Computer Science and Software
Engineering, University of Canterbury Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha
Imagine as a high school teacher needing to teach a subject
that you have barely heard of, has never been taught before
in schools and it counts towards a student's graduating
This happened to many teachers in 201 1, when New Zealand
became one of the first countries in the English-speaking world
to offer Computer Science as a formal topic in high school. As in
many other countries, prior to this computing had been taught
in a way that viewed students as users rather than developers.
However, due to New Zealand being an early adopter, there
were very few resources available for teachers, and those that
were available were disparate, generally being pitched at a
level that was too high (e.g. university courses) or too low (e.g.
the CS Unplugged activities for primary school children).
In response to this, the Computer Science Education
Research Group at the University of Canterbury (also known
as the 'Department of Fun Stuff') started work on the Computer
Science Field Guide, an online 'textbook' to serve as a resource
for high school students and a guide for teachers. The demand
for the resource was so high that it was already getting heavy
use while it was still being developed, to the point that we
now just call it a 'beta' release, and are constantly working to
The online book has been designed to be engaging and give
a quirky approach to the topics, making good use of genuinely
interactive activities to enable students to experience the
concepts first-hand. It generally uses a constructivist approach,
where we aim to lead students through experiences that
enable them to construct concepts in their own minds, rather
than us simply giving them information. We have developed
short videos for the start of each chapter to raise some of the
questions that the topic addresses, usually in a humorous
way, and presented by a Computer Science student so that the
material is authentic and approachable.
Following in the footsteps of its sister site Computer
Science Unplugged, which is intended for primary-aged
students, the CS Field Guide does not require the students
to do any programming. This is to prevent learning
programming being a barrier for students to engage with the
exciting and surprising ideas in Computer Science; in fact, for
some students, finding out what Computer Science is will be
a motivator to learn to program.
The guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) licence, so users
are welcome to take copies and modify them. The material is
produced using the Open Source Sphinx system, which was
originally designed for writing Python documentation, and
works from plain-text source files using the reStructuredText
format (although we are in tire process of changing to a
more manageable format). The interactives are written using
so that teachers can download them. All of these components
are released with the Creative Commons licence so that the
entire book can be reconstructed independently. Many people
have contributed to different parts of the guide with videos,
interactive activities, images and ideas, although most of the
writing has been done by just a few people, which has kept it
more consistent and coherent.
The guide is currently presented as a website, and the
various components are carefully configured to work on as
many systems as possible, especially bearing in mind that
some schools operate using very old computer labs or old
versions of software, while others may primarily use tablets,
which places a lot of restrictions on the technologies that can
be used effectively. Often if a teacher encounters something
that won't work, they need to apply for new software to be
installed, and even if it's approved it may take some time, so
our goal is to put in as few barriers as possible.
The system we're using can also generate pdf and ebook
(epub and mobi) versions of the text. Teachers appreciate
being able to print a copy (although this obviously loses the
video and interactive components). The ebook versions are
still under development as our priority has been to fill out the
online web version first.
There were several reasons for choosing to keep the
resource as open as possible:
- Open Source is natural for the Computer Science
community. Programming languages tend to be open
source, or at least available at no cost. From a teaching
point of view, this means that students can use the
resources on any computer and at home without
restriction. Teachers and students come to expect
Computer Science resources to be free, and any that
aren't may be overlooked. The approach we're taking is
modelled after (and in cooperation with) the Runestone
Interactive project, which offers several interactive open-
source Computer Science books.
- We have limited resources (both time and money), and
don't want the book to be limited by our capacity, yet we
needed to get something out quickly.
- It's important for the resource to be adaptable.
New Zealand has been leading the world in Computer
Science in high schools, and there is strong interest in our
resources, so by making it open it can be readily adapted
for overseas contexts where the curriculum may be similar
but not exactly the same. This also makes translation
simple - no special permission is required.
- We can use other open resources as part of the guide; for
example, some xkcd comics relate well to the topic, and
can be used in this context.
- Being open gives teachers security that the resource
won't go away or date, since someone else can pick it up
if we are unable to continue with it.
Teachers have reported copying sections of the guide
to their own local school pages, and making selected parts
available to students to help them focus; being open gives the
flexibility for them to customise it for their students, or simply
use it as it is.
Writing a school 'textbook' with shared authorship and
open content creates a number of challenges.
One of these is how to deal with 'secret' parts of the book.
Many textbooks have a teachers' version that includes answers
to questions. Teachers appreciate having these answers
available so they can be sure they've got tilings right and then
help stimulate discussion about the question. Openness brings
the concern that a student might download the teacher version
and subvert their own learning by simply reading off answers
instead of thinking through the questions. Our approach has
been that the teacher version contains a lot of material that
teachers value but students would find uninteresting, and the
hope is that students won't be interested in delving into it for the
wrong reasons. In the end, students need to realise that the goal
is for them to learn, rather than to look smart in class or annoy
The teacher version is generated from the same source file
as the student version, which makes editing and consistency
a lot easier than having two versions. The Sphinx system has
commands for the conditional use of sections of text; this can
be expanded in the future to accommodate other versions,
perhaps for slightly different curricula or year levels.
Another challenge is keeping the resource consistent.
Authors have a remarkably wide variety of styles, and we
have gone for a slightly quirky and constructivist style.
Another author might see the constructivism as not giving all
the information, and in an Open Source environment could
come in and 'fill in the gaps', inadvertently undermining the
pedagogy. Everyone has opinions on how education should be
done, and if the material ends up being done 'by committee',
then it's hard for it to be vibrant and have character. Also, the
author needs to understand the audience (in this case, Kiwi
teenagers and their teachers).
To date, diverse authorship hasn't been a major problem,
because all the writing has been done within a small close-knit
group, but it's possible that other versions may fork from ours.
Our hope is that if a new version is better it will flourish, and if
not, it will have been a useful experiment.
Translation of open books is also a challenge that we
have yet to tackle properly. An Open Source textbook can be
copied by others who want to add a fork in the content. If the
original guide is changed, the copy becomes out of date. The
same applies to translations of the guide, since each translation
is also a new version, and later updates may need to be re-
translated. This is a wide challenge in open publishing - for
example, until recently, Wikipedia simply allowed different
translations of articles to appear independently, so inevitably
they would get out of sync.
Another challenge is that the software behind a site needs
to be open to make the content truly open. In our case, the
main text processing is all done by open-source software, but
there are elements (such as the video production) that use
proprietary software. The sister site, CS Unplugged, has a
similar issue, where currently the source of the main book is
available in MS Word. The content is open, but users are forced
to use proprietary software to edit the document. They could
use OpenOffice, but the formatting gets badly messed up. Of
course, the document is available as a pdf as well, but that can't
be edited easily. Ultimately we may revert to a similar system
to the field guide, a plain-text markup language as the source,
and then many different formats generated from it.
Developing an open source 'textbook' has many challenges,
but the benefits of getting it to schools quickly and giving
teachers confidence that they can have some control over the
content (in principle at least) has been worthwhile.
The Waikato Independent
The Waikato Independent is an online newspaper produced by
journalism students at the Waikato Institute of Technology
(Wintec). All stories published on the site are made available
under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-
NoDerivatives Licence (CC BY-NC-ND).
The Waikato Independent is edited by Charles Riddle,
Lecturer in the School of Media Arts. Charles explains, “We
use the The Waikato Independent as a teaching tool. What we're
really interested in is getting our students' work published as
widely as possible.
“We put their work up under an open Creative Commons
licence so that any of the community newspapers or websites
that like the work can feel free to republish it, as long as they
acknowledge the student as the author.
“The idea was that other media would pick it up, because
the more widely a student can get published, the better it looks
on their CV."
Other media are paying attention. In February 2013, a
story about a local talent show contestant, written by Caitlin
Wallace, was picked up by Hamilton News Live; that story, in
turn, was picked up by The New Zealand Herald, New Zealand's
largest newspaper. “It can have that knock-on effect that we're
not even always aware of."
Another example of reuse was a story about a local
Motocross rider, written by Corey Rosser, which was
republished in SunLive.
Faculty at Wintec's School of Media Arts have introduced
Creative Commons licensing as part of their wider focus on
media law and copyright, specifically in their third-year Web
Most students, Charles says, are happy to give their work
an open licence. Occasionally a photographer will want to
maintain 'all rights reserved' copyright; otherwise, Charles
says, ''We keep everything open."
But what about when students graduate? Charles notes
that his students may not always have the choice to use open
licensing, especially if they work for more conventional news
organisations. "But if they're going to end up in Public Relations,
using Creative Commons makes a lot of sense, really. We have
quite a few that go into that. I would expect that they would
write under Creative Commons."
While noting that Creative Commons licensing is still a
new concept for many, Charles points out that the licences
have been a success for Wintec's journalism students. "It works
fantastically for us."
New Zealand’s Open Educational
Resource Foundation and Universitas
by Wayne Mackintosh, Founder, Open Educational
The Open Educational Resource universitas (OERu) provides
free learning opportunities for all students worldwide using
courses based solely on Open Educational Resources (OERs)
and Open Access materials with pathways for learners to
earn credible degrees. The OER Foundation, headquartered
in New Zealand, is leading an international innovation
partnership of accredited universities, polytechnics and
community colleges committed to providing more affordable
education for learners currently excluded from the formal
higher education sector.
OERs are materials used to support education that may
be freely accessed, reused, modified and shared by anyone . 1
Creative Commons licences are enabling an international
network of accredited universities and polytechnics to
widen access to more affordable degrees. The OER Tertiary
Education Network, the driving force behind the OER
universitas collaboration, have adopted the Free Cultural
Works approved licences (CC BY and CC BY-SA) as the
default for OERu courses.
With OER, the marginal cost of replicating digital learning
materials is near zero, and sharing development costs improves
cost efficiencies. Consequently, an international network of
accredited institutions can create significant savings in the
cost and time required for the assembly and maintenance of
OER courses, combined with significant efficiency gains when
operating at scale. Moreover, OER provides a viable solution
for educational institutions to respond to their educational
mission of social inclusion.
The scale is guaranteed because of the unsatisfied global
demand for higher education. Researchers at UNESCO and
the Commonwealth of Learning conservatively predict that
over the next 15 years the post-secondary education system
will need to provide for an additional 100 million places. The
conventional model of higher education provision is simply
not able to respond to this level of demand for education.
The confluence of these economic and digital technology
enablers provide fertile ground for designing a sustainable
open education ecosystem whereby institutions can provide
free access to learning opportunities. Building on Professor
Emeritus Jim Taylor's 2007 ideas to provide assessment on
demand, the OERu concept was conceived.
Individuals are free to learn from digital materials hosted
on the open web. The problem is that learners who access
digital OERs on the web and acquire knowledge and skills
either formally or informally, alone or in groups, cannot
readily have their learning assessed and subsequently receive
appropriate academic recognition for their efforts.
OERu learners gain free access to high-quality courses that
are designed for independent study using OER. OERu learners
receive student support through a global network of volunteers
and peer support using social software technologies. Students
can be assessed for a fee by participating institutions and earn a
credible credential. Using OER it is possible to build a parallel
learning universe to provide more affordable education for
learners currently excluded from the formal education sector.
With a healthy dose of our Kiwi "can do" attitude, which
favours pragmatism above pretence, in November 2011 the
OER Foundation convened an open meeting of founding
anchor partners to plan the practical implementation of the
OERu. With funding support from UNESCO, this landmark
meeting was streamed live on the internet, modelling open
participation and collaboration on a global scale. Five tertiary
education institutions in New Zealand have embraced their
responsibility to ensure more sustainable education futures
by joining the OERu network as founding anchor partners.
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology Te Whare
Wananga o Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka A Maui, NorthTec Tai
Tokerau Wananga, the Open Polytechnic Kuratini Tuwhera,
Otago Polytechnic Te Kura Matakini ki Otago, and the
University of Canterbury Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha are
the New Zealand institutions that are leading open education
futures in Aotearoa. The OERu network, now numbering 20
contributing institutions, can accredit OER learning on five
continents mapped to the credentialing frameworks of 20
The vision of the OERu collaboration became reality
in 2012 with the launch of the first OERu course, Regional
Relations in Asia and the Pacific (AST1000), developed by
the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). Professor
Jan Thomas, Vice Chancellor and President of USQ, noted
that: “USQ is proud to give students worldwide the ability
to access university-level courses and where cost has been
removed as a barrier to learning."
University leaders and administrators are concerned with
how to ensure sustainability of OER initiatives on campus.
Indeed, if OER projects are managed as an add-on to existing
operations, the sources of funding to sustain OER projects can
be a challenge. However, the strategic solution is to embed OER
development as an integral component of business as usual.
From an investment-decision perspective, participation
in the OERu does not require new money, but rather a
reallocation of existing staff time to releasing selected
development outputs under open content licences for the
OERu network as part of mainstream operations. The OERu
model anticipates that no more than 1% of existing budget time
would be required for release under open content licences.
The institutional costs of assessment and credentialisation
services are recouped on a cost-recovery basis from student
fees and/or other sources.
Consider for example that the average tuition fees for a
four-year bachelor degree at a public university in the United
States is US$26,312, excluding accommodation and textbook
costs. At Otago Polytechnic, the full tuition cost of a four-
year degree equivalent is approximately US$19,452. The
summative assessment and credentialing services for the first
OERu prototype course would equate to a four-year bachelor
degree costing US$6,759. As the OERu network grows and
begins to leverage economies of scale, it is feasible that further
cost reductions can be implemented.
The OERu network has succeeded in shifting the strategic
focus of open education from how to achieve sustainable OER
projects to how institutions will remain sustainable without
the mainstream adoption of OER.
The OERu model is inspired by the concept of "smart
philanthropy". While the OERu is primarily designed to
widen access to learning in higher education through the
social inclusion and community service agenda, our approach
encourages member institutions to reintegrate the lessons
learned into mainstream operations. Tacit knowledge and
capability gained through the OERu's open design and
development model can be reinvested back into the core
business operations to improve effectiveness of the higher
education sector and generate new business opportunities
now possible with the OERu model. The OERu network is an
exemplar for low-cost, low-risk, but high-impact innovation.
Otago Polytechnic Te Kura Matatini ki Otago is a publicly
subsidised vocational education and training organisation
located in Dunedin, in the South Island of New Zealand
Aotearoa. It provides a range of vocational courses, offering
certificates, diplomas, degrees and postgraduate studies in
everything from Travel and Tourism, through Automotive
Engineering, to Midwifery.
Taking an open view of teaching, learning and research,
Otago Polytechnic has reconsidered its stance on access to
educational resources, then governed by traditional views
of ownership and intellectual property. Stakeholders were
consulted in a 2008 review, the resulting feedback from which
said that the institution needed to be more open to support
creative thinking and the application of theory to practice.
This culminated in the announcement in March 2008 that
Otago Polytechnic was releasing its training materials under
Open Access terms on Wikieducator.
As stated in its current intellectual property policy: "Otago
Polytechnic wishes to foster research and development that
advances knowledge and scholarship; and to support projects
where that leads to marketable products or services. The
- has a preference for the open sharing of information,
knowledge and resources;
- recognises that intellectual property (IP) is owned by
the creator, unless there are specific agreements to the
ownership of IP by others; and
• wishes to foster the empowerment of individuals in
their endeavours in a protective and/or promotional
framework for individual creators associated with Otago
Otago Polytechnic now offers its Open Access courses
under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence,
with the application: "Creative Commons Attribution (Author
name) for Otago Polytechnic".
Individual lecturers own their own intellectual property.
Encouragement and support is given by the institution to use
CC BY for copyright statements. Where tire Polytechnic is
used to publish or promote work, a CC BY licence is applied
wherever possible. Exceptions are made for works where third-
party content is not or cannot be cleared. Other restrictions (if
any) are time-based and explained.
Encouraging open content licences at Otago Polytechnic
by way of its intellectual property policy has assured
employees and contractors that they are free to use and
develop open content, and that they are free to participate in
Open Educational Resource development initiatives. Many
staff have now developed independent skills in publishing
and managing their own content, as well as locating and
reusing third-party open content, and collaborating in content
development. The proliferation of open content and associated
practices has helped to promote the Polytech as well as the
expertise and services of the individuals in its employ. A more
independent and participatory culture within the organisation
is beginning to develop.
Free and open source software first inspired thinking
about free and open source educational content. The success
of Wikimedia Foundation projects proved the idea viable.
Support from many individuals and initiatives such as
Wikieducator has made it possible.
Otago Polytechnic decided to adopt the CC BY licence so
as to ensure a maximum amount of freedom and flexibility for
itself and for people and organisations sampling its content.
Restrictions like ShareAlike and Noncommercial were not an
option as they would have compromised or complicated this
Creative Commons in New Zealand Schools
Imagine if every teacher in New Zealand - all 100,000 of them
- could make, share and adapt open educational resources
and that all these resources were available in a single place.
We would no longer see teachers wasting time re-inventing
resources that have already been made. Instead, every teacher
would have easy access to the collective intelligence of the
entire teaching profession, waiting to be localised, adapted
Sounds good, doesn't it? The only problem for New Zealand
teachers is that their employers - usually, their Board of
Trustees - hold first ownership of copyright works produced
in the course of employment. As the Ministry of Education's
information portal, Te Kete Ipurangi, points out, this means
that, "unless agreed otherwise, the school will own the
copyright in any teaching materials that teachers (employees)
create during the course of their employment."
Simply put, this means that teachers who share resources
may be infringing their school's copyright.
To solve this problem - and to actively encourage the use
of open educational resources - some New Zealand schools
have chosen to implement Creative Commons policies. These
policies allow and encourage the use of Creative Commons
licensing for their school's teaching resources. In essence, they
make it legal for teachers to share.
As of mid-2015, over 100 New Zealand schools have
adopted a Creative Commons policy. This includes some of
our largest high schools, such as Hutt Valley High School and
Burnside High School.
Kiwi teachers have always shared, remixed and reused their
resources but they haven't always done so in a sustainable way.
With Creative Commons licensing, and online repositories
and sharing portals like Wikieducator and the Network for
Learning's Pond, the potential pool of legally reusable resources
is becoming much, much larger.
The Albany Story
One of the first schools to adopt a Creative Commons policy
was Albany Senior High School on Auckland's North Shore,
Former Deputy Principal of Albany Senior High School,
Mark Osborne, says that the policy allows, and even encourages,
teachers to, as Mark puts it, "share the family silver".
"Sharing resources," he notes, "is something teachers have
done since teaching started ... and most people don't realise
they're breaking the law by doing that."
The Albany Creative Commons policy ensures that
teachers "feel free to contribute to Open Educational Resources
projects without having written permission from our Board of
Trustees". The Board itself saw the advantages of students and
teachers joining the growing international OER community.
As Osborne says, "When we were putting our vision for
the school together, and our vision for our students, we knew
that there were real opportunities. We wanted collaboration,
sharing and community."
Mark Osborne hopes that other schools have a look at the
resources available online, and begin a conversation with
their Boards of Trustees about formulating their own Creative
Commons policies. As more schools participate, the OER
movement will enjoy what Mark calls a "network effect" -
the exponential benefit of having thousands of New Zealand
teachers building and sharing Creative Commons-licensed
"The big change taking place," Mark says, "is that teachers
are collaborating more, and they're also involving their
students in the development of those teaching and learning
resources. This is quite different from what happens in most
"Why Aren't You Doing This?"
Warrington School is a small primary school in Otago's
Blueskin Bay. With five teachers and around fifty students,
Warrington has embraced both open source software and
Creative Commons licences.
Warrington's former principal, Nathan Parker, came
to Creative Commons licences through open software like
Ubuntu, Linux and Open Office. Wayne Mackintosh, of
the Open Educational Resources Foundation, noticed what
Warrington was doing, and invited Nathan to start sharing
teaching resources on Wikieducator.
Hosted by Otago Polytechnic, Wikieducator is a platform
for teachers across the world to share, remix and reuse
educational materials. Dozens of schools around New Zealand
are using the wiki through New Zealand's Open Educational
However, as Nathan quickly discovered, the school's
Board of Trustees held the copyright to all resources produced
by Warrington's teachers. “We soon realised," Nathan says,
“that we couldn't put our resources on the wiki, because we
as teachers don't own it." By sharing their teaching resources
on Wikieducator, the teachers of Warrington School were
breaking the law.
In order to prevent copyright violation, the school “needed
to formalise the change through a Creative Commons policy".
As was the case with Albany Senior High School, Nathan
found that his Board of Trustees was "very happy" to give
advance permission for teachers to share their resources. The
board saw that “being able to share ideas and allowing other
teachers to improve or add to our teaching resources was a
smart move for education".
Warrington School also runs its own radio station, Blueskin
Bay FM . The station hosts student and community programmes,
and plays music with Creative Commons licences. As Nathan
explains, "If we play copyright music, we have to pay licensing
fees. Using Creative Commons music, we don't need to ask
permission, and we don't need to pay, and the radio station
just ticks along."
After moving to open source software and Creative
Commons licensing, Warrington has found a greater
awareness of copyright and open licensing in the students,
the teachers, and even the wider community.
"When I look outside at other schools, I think, why aren't
you doing this?"
Getting on Board with Open Education
Taupaki School's Board of Trustees (BoT) passed its Creative
Commons policy on 20 February 2013, giving permission to
Taupaki's teachers to share and collaborate, legally.
Paula Hogg has been the chair of the Taupaki BoT since
2012, and oversaw the passage of the Creative Commons
policy. As Paula explains, the idea for the policy was initially
introduced by the school's principal, Stephen Lethbridge.
While the BoT didn't have any specific expertise on copyright
or intellectual property, Stephen ensured that they had all the
"We got a great letter from Stephen outlining all the issues,
and, following that, we put it on the agenda for the next
meeting. Stephen provided a lot of information for us to read
prior to that meeting, so we felt quite well prepared."
Nevertheless, copyright and intellectual property were
new issues for the BoT. As Paula says, "Creative Commons
was something we'd never heard of - it wasn't even on the
periphery. While we were aware of copyright laws, we were
not as well informed around exactly what was Board- and
Stephen Lethbridge introduced the idea of the policy
after noticing that, as he put it in a blog post, "Teachers were
sharing more and more resources online and connecting with
a great many schools who were visiting us. It would have been
a nightmare to seek permission from the Board, more likely
the school principal, every time a teacher or student wanted to
As Paula points out, the policy is also strongly aligned
with the school's existing vision. "Our school's vision strongly
encourages collaboration, and we encourage sharing, so it was
a bit of a shock to learn that we needed to have a policy for
teachers to share legally."
"The Creative Commons policy was very aligned with our
thinking as a board. There was no dissonance in our discussion.
The main issue was that everyone was surprised to discover
that this isn't normal practice."
According to Paula, the Creative Commons policy
passed because it supported the fundamental mission of the
school - improving student outcomes. "We knew from the
documentation Stephen provided, and from other background
reading, that professional development is actually one of the
best ways to lift student outcomes . And a big part of professional
development is sharing best practice, including resources."
Paula also points out the importance of BoTs aligning
their schools with existing government policy. While the
New Zealand Government's Open Access and Licensing
framework encourages schools to use Creative Commons to
release copyright works, relatively few schools are aware that
the policy exists.
Given the number of policy and procedural issues
confronting schools, it's also unlikely that BoTs will seek out
additional policy changes that aren't brought to their attention.
"It's important that Boards don't just view this as a legal
obligation and stop there. It does encompass a lot more than
that, and if s important that Boards are aware of that."
Stephen says, "School leaders need to revisit their
intellectual property documentation. Creative Commons
in Schools isn't about abdicating responsibility and a 'copy
anything' approach. It is about acknowledgement, respect and
attribution where the licence is determined by the creators of
amazing information, resources and ideas within our schools."
WikiHouse New Zealand
WikiHouse is an ambitious global project that aims to
allow anyone to design, download and 'print' houses and
components from standard sheets of construction-grade ply,
using a computer-driven router. These components can be
assembled with minimal formal skill or training.
The philosophy behind WikiHouse is thousands of years
old: a community of people work together to build a house
that is affordable. They share labour, tools and food. Then they
work together to build the next one, and so on...
In Western countries, that's been made much more difficult
by increasingly complex building regulations, the high cost
of consents, labour and materials, and a drift away from
community to individualism. Against that, communications
technology has made it possible to collaborate across countries
and to share many phases of a project. Just as open source
software has become a major force in computing, so WikiHouse
- an open source construction system - is set to become a major
force in housing. Many designers across several countries are
collaborating to make it simple for everyone to design, print
and assemble beautiful, low-energy homes, customised to
WikiHouse had its beginnings in tire United Kingdom in
2011, when architect Alastair Parvin and design partner Nick
Ierodiaconou were invited to do an exhibition piece in South
Korea about open source design communities. Alastair had
been writing a book that looked at ways of scaling self-build as
a response to the UK housing crisis. Their immediate response
was that rather than talk about open design, they should just
try to do it with an experimental project. This open source
house ultimately generated great interest worldwide.
Prior to this, English engineer Martin Luff and Australian
architect Danny Squires - both now resident in Christchurch
- started chatting via Twitter about the lack of innovation and
poorly conceived temporary housing solutions being proposed
for Christchurch following the disastrous earthquakes that had
hit the city in 2010 and 2011.
As Martin puts it, "Danny and I were trying to find a
solution to a whole number of different issues in the build
environment. We spent about six months researching different
systems. During that process, a friend tipped us off to the
After the Canterbury earthquakes, over 6,100 businesses
were displaced from the central city. "Few of those have gone
back to their original location," Martin says. "The rest needed
to relocate somewhere else. We were looking for a system
whereby, in the worst-case scenario, within a few weeks you
could relocate your business and be back up and running."
Martin and Danny were also keen to empower the local
community. "A lot of people down here in Canterbury are stuck
in limbo because they are dependent on a whole hierarchy of
other agencies before they can get on with things like repairs
and replacement housing.
"One particular thing we were looking for was a system that
allowed people to be involved right from the get-go, through
the whole design process, right the way to implementation. One
of the really nice things about WikiHouse is that the people can
really assemble the things on the ground themselves, as well as
being involved in the whole design process along the way. One
of the main things we were looking at was empowerment."
They quickly realised the WikiHouse project had the
potential to meet all the needs they had identified, plus some.
They contacted Alastair and the UK team to propose forming a
New Zealand hub to develop a Tab' here, and from early 2012
began working intensively to develop the WikiHouse system,
gather support and put in place a scalable management and
supply system to support the level of scaling which they
Martin and Danny also wanted to ensure that what they
produced was healthier, stronger and more environmentally
friendly than the current housing stock. "We wanted it to
be world-class in terms of its ability to stand up to seismic
resistance. We also wanted it, longer-term, to go beyond
sustainability to something that could be restorative to our
Creative Commons licensing is a core part of WikiHouse.
Martin explains, "There are ten core principles, and principle
number one is be lazy like a fox. Don't reinvent the wheel.
Copy, adapt, give credit and share."
Creative Commons licensing enables WikiHouse teams
from around the world to collaborate and improve on each
other's designs. By way of example, Martin explains that the
initial WikiHouse design "had a lot of mechanical fixings in
it. A collective design effort quickly eliminated the need for
those. The system we've got at the moment can be put together
without power tools, by unskilled people in a very short length
of time. There are no mechanical fixings in it, no bolts or screws
By May 2012, the New Zealand team had presented at a
Sustainable Habitat Challenge workshop and picked up the
first award for WikiHouse for commercialisation of sustainable
buildings. Soon after, they were given a commendation
from New Zealand Institute of Architects regional
branch for a Canterbury Pavilion concept. In the UK, the
WikiHouseUK team were presented with the Royal Institute
of British Architects President's gold award for research. As a
consequence, WikiHouse received significant global exposure
and positive reviews in a variety of media channels, including
CNN, Wired, Forbes, The Guardian, Engadget, and Popular
Science. This led up to Alastair being invited to give a TED talk
in spring 2013 which gathered a million viewers worldwide.
A major step forward came when Martin and Danny, along
with other members of the WikiHouseNZ team, unveiled the
first full-sized proof of concept structure during Makertorium,
an event at Te Papa, Wellington, in May 2013 which was billed
as "a showcase of Kiwi ingenuity".
This was the first full-scale WikiHouse frame on the ground
in the Southern Hemisphere. The frame itself was cut on a router
at the Fab Lab at Massey University in Wellington and later
shipped to Christchurch. Primarily for the purposes of physical
testing and engineering assessment, it is also a showpiece
for various organisations and individuals and will provide
a platform for further work and development of applicable
cladding and lining systems, along with the other elements
required for a livable 21st-century dwelling.
The Te Papa event was capped by the Mayor of Wellington,
Celia Wade-Brown, making the capital city the first to write
WikiHouse into its official housing policy.
Further design development has been carried out in
Christchurch, and a large team of mostly volunteers is working
hard towards the next goal, a fully consented "BackYarder"
show home. WikiHouseNZ was granted funding of $300,000
from The Canterbury Community Trust to realise this project,
which it is hoped to have erected in the latter part of 2015.
While New Zealand is one of the two most active hubs
internationally, worldwide there is now a loose community
of approximately 500-600 people, 10 chapters and roughly 40
people working full- or part-time on WikiHouse projects.
Going forward, Martin sees WikiHouse taking off through
a series of local projects, “probably neighbourhood-based
manufacturing plants, where local people can drop in, not
just to build buildings, but all sorts of other things as well".
This global network of community-based organisations is
where Creative Commons licensing becomes important.
“We really see this as a social enterprise, and it's only going
to work if we can deliver on scale - very large scale. One of the
workshops we're setting up in the WikiHouse project is in Rio.
The global perspective on the project is that in the next 40 to
50 years, if the projections hold true, we've got to have built as
much urban development globally as currently is in existence.
This is mind-boggling. We can't do that with conventional
building techniques or without openly working together on
"As I see it, if you're shutting away that information, the
things that you learn, if s essentially a waste-stream. It seems
critical that, as far as possible, you're open. If you take the
bigger picture, it can seem a bit petty to fence that knowledge
away, and charge people to access it; especially since any new
idea only ever builds incrementally on all the knowledge and
wisdom that went before. Creative Commons seems like a
great way to acknowledge that."
Open source hardware, however, is still a new concept,
especially for highly-regulated industries like construction.
"It's much trickier to get the globally distributed network right,
especially when it's a mix of professionals and amateurs."
But despite the challenges - perhaps because of them - the
team are working hard to develop adaptable housing designs
that will empower people to create their own communities,
with the aim of giving people the ability to create their own
high-performance living environments, to suit their own
All books are the work of many people and this one is no
exception. Firstly we would like to thank Jax Goss, Megan
Kelly and Natalie Lyon, students of the Whitireia publishing
programme, for their tireless efforts in producing both the
print and ebook versions of A Quiet Revolution.
Huge thanks and a big shout-out to everyone in the Creative
Commons community in Aotearoa for all the wonderful work
you're doing, have done, and will hopefully continue to do in
the future. We really would be nowhere without you.
Grateful thanks to everyone who pledged to our
crowdfunding campaign to make this book a reality:
Amy Watling, Tim McSweeney, Keitha Booth, Ross Stevenson,
Paul Tobin, Mike Kay, Zeborah, Julian Carver, Allison Brown,
Melanie Wittwer, Anna Kirtlan, Peter Hewett, Robin Sheat,
Judith Carnaby, Jim Tittsler, Michaela Joy Hart, Stephanie
Morton, Candy Jill Elsmore, Helen Varley Jamieson, Jaya
Mangalam Gibson, Maggie, Siobhan Leachman, Bill Heritage,
Lincoln University Library Teaching & Learning, DG, Danyl
Strype, JSM, Sarah Powell, Kirsty Adam, Tim Bell, Danny
Adair, Barbara Hay, Eliot, Artne-Louise Robertson, Mark
Crookston, Miriam Ross, Bevan Shortridge, Sue Goodin,
Tracey Rudd, Heather McCorquodale, Garin College Library,
Chris Wilson, Martin Burley, Marion Dowd, Abigail Willemse,
Diane Friis, Saj Sivers, Stanley Frielick, WikiHouseNZ,
Melissa Laing, Adrian Kingston, Cam Findlay, Barry Polley,
Sarah Gallagher, Eloise Wallace, Mark McGuire, Karen Leahy,
Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Nigel Robertson, Lyn Granshaw,
Alex Collins, Clare Forrest, Nicole Nogoy, C L Gordon,
Deborah Rolland, Natasha, Wellington Girls College, Fiona
Fieldsend, Diane Baguley, Kurt Lenfesty, Dianne Smith,
Cathy Aronson, Louise Mary Saunders, Sharon, Maggie Dyer,
Harry Chapman, Kay Jones, Lee Rowe, Matt Turner, Hamish
MacEwan, David Powell, K Wehipeihana, Mark Caunter,
Margot Bowden, Anton Angelo, Norrie Mailer, Amanda
Curnow, Matt, LIANZA, Nicola Zaaiman, Fern Campbell,
Louise Mortland, Sienna Latham, Lhizz Browne, Floyd Wilde,
AKO Takayuki, Craig Young, Kat Jenkins, Jo Booth and Erin
In particular, thanks to those who pledged to donate a print
copy of this book to a New Zealand library:
Elisabeth Balderston, Penny Carnaby, Diane Baguley, Elisabeth
Vaneveld, Kristina Hoeppner, Sabine Weber-Beard, Kevin
Double, Helen Rickerby, Kathryn Parsons, Stephanie Soper,
Katerina Beu, David Nind, Bevan Rudge, Amber Carter, Bing
Turkby, Fiona Milburn, Reid Perkins, Wheelers Books, Chris
South, Lorraine Johnston, Dave Lane, Bonnie Mager and
R Stewart- Allen.
Thank you all so much for your support. We are also
grateful to our funders, InternetNZ and Land Information NZ.
Find out more about Creative Commons licensing:
Find over one billion Creative Commons licensed works:
Read more about NZGOAL: bit.ly/nzgovtoal
Download free resources to help you use Creative Commons
at work: resources. creativecommons.org.nz
Investigate the institutional research repositories of New
Zealand's tertiary institutions: nzresearch.org.nz
Search over 29 million New Zealand digital heritage
Join in the conversation about the Commons in Aotearoa:
Any questions? Get in touch with Creative Commons
Aotearoa New Zealand: email@example.com
Frequently Asked Questions
What is copyright?
Copyright is a form of intellectual property that is granted
by the law automatically upon creation of a work. It prevents
people other than the creator from making copies of (including
adapting, sharing or performing) that work without the
creator's express permission. Copyright applies online and
generally lasts for the life of the creator plus fifty years.
What is a Creative Commons licence?
It is a way of giving others permission in advance to copy and
reuse your works under certain specific conditions that you
Do I have to pay or register to use Creative Commons?
No, the licences are free to use and are unregistered.
What does 'Noncommercial’ mean?
CC's Noncommercial (NC) licences prohibit uses that are
primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage
or monetary compensation. This definition does not turn on the
type of user: if you are a non-profit or charitable organisation,
your use of an NC-licensed work could still run afoul of the NC
restriction, and if you are a for-profit entity, your use of an NC-
licensed work does not necessarily mean you have violated the
term. Whether a use is commercial will depend on the specifics
of the situation and the intentions of the user.
What does Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand
We are the kaitiaki of the New Zealand Creative Commons
licences that enable the voluntary sharing of copyright material
in Aotearoa. We're a Kiwi remix on an international movement
toward Open Access licensing and are here to support the use
of Creative Commons licences in New Zealand.
How do I get a licence?
Visit creativecommons.org.nz and click 'Get Your Licence'. It's
easy and completely free.
© © ©
Creative Commons Licence Elements
There are four Creative Commons licence elements: Attribution,
Noncommercial, NoDerivatives and ShareAlike.
This means that others must credit you as
the original creator of the work. All Creative
Commons licences require users to provide
This means that others may not share, adapt
or reuse use your work if their use is primarily
intended for commercial advantage or monetary
This means that others can share your work,
but they must not change it. Note that users still
have the range of Fair Dealing rights granted to
them under the Copyright Act 1994.
This means that those who adapt or remix your
work must use the same Creative Commons
licence on any derivative works.
These four licence elements combine to make six Creative
Commons copyright licences. They are free for anyone to use.
If you want to know how to license your work using a Creative
Commons licence, visit our website: creativecommons.org.nz.
This licence lets others distribute, remix,
tweak, and build upon your work, even
commercially, as long as they credit you for
the original creation.
This licence lets others remix, tweak, and
build upon your work non-commercially
with credit to you (their new works must also
This licence lets others remix, tweak, and
build upon your work even for commercial
purposes, as long as they credit you and
license new creations under identical terms.
This licence lets others remix, tweak, and
build upon your work non-commercially, as
long as they credit you and license their new
creations under the identical terms.
This licence allows for redistribution, both
commercial and non-commercial, as long as
your work is passed along unchanged and in
whole, with credit to you.
This licence is the most restrictive of our
six main licences, only allowing others to
download your works and share them with
others as long as they credit you, but they
can't change them in any way or use them