Public, Society Benefit

Creative Commons Corporation

  • Mountain View, CA
  • http://creativecommons.org

Mission Statement

Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.

Main Programs

  1. Culture
  2. Education
  3. Science
  4. Government
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

Creative Commons is used by individuals, groups, and organizations from around the world.

ruling year

2002

Principal Officer since 2014

Self-reported

Ryan Merkley

Keywords

Self-reported

copyright, intellectual property, ip, public domain, creative commons, scientific data, open access, oa, open education, open educational resources, oer, open data, open source, foss, glam

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EIN

04-3585301

 Number

0256403856

Also Known As

CC

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (W05)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (A05)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (B05)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Creative Commons licensing is the internationally recognized standard for open content sharing in the arts, education, science and data, academia, and more. As of 2014, there is nearly a billion works licensed under Creative Commons. CC licensing is built into over 250 media platforms like YouTube, Flickr, and Wikipedia.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Culture

Our goal at Creative Commons is to increase cultural creativity in “the commons” — the body of work freely available to the public for legal use, sharing, repurposing, and remixing. We realize there’s an inherent conflict between innovative digital culture and archaic copyright laws. Our licenses help bridge that conflict so that the Internet can reach its full potential.

We support the culture of the commons both on a user level and an institutional level.

Category

Public, Society Benefit

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

None

Budget

$223,637.00

Program 2

Education

With the internet, universal access to education is possible, but its potential is hindered by increasingly restrictive copyright laws and incompatible technologies. The Education program at Creative Commons works to minimize these barriers, supporting the CC mission through consulting, education, and outreach on using the right technologies and licenses to maximize the benefits of open educational resources (OER) and the return on investment in publicly funded education and research programs. Our work cuts across all levels of education (K-12 to postsecondary) and sectors of industry (nonprofit to corporate).

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

None

Budget

$2,234,800.00

Program 3

Science

The more we understand about science and its complexities, the more important it is for scientific data to be shared openly. It’s not useful to have ten different labs doing the same research and not sharing their results; likewise, we’re much more likely to be able to pinpoint diseases if we have genomic data from a large pool of individuals. Since 2004, we’ve been focusing our efforts to expand the use of Creative Commons licenses to scientific and technical research.

Category

None

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

None

None

Budget

$367,000.00

Program 4

Government

Not available

Category

None

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Creative Commons (CC) supports an open and accessible Internet, one enriched with freely accessible knowledge and creative resources for people around the world to use, share, and cultivate. People use CC licenses on some of the world's most popular platforms for user-generated content. When artists, educators, scientists, governments, and other creators share work with a CC license, they become contributors to a global Commons containing hundreds of millions of openly-licensed resources available for use by anyone, globally.

    Creative Commons supports the goal of facilitating the global spread of knowledge and increasing universal access to education. Our licenses are critical to the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement. New initiatives like our School of Open (http://schoolofopen.org) and Open Policy Network (http://openpolicynetwork.org/) are strengthening education about open licensing and offering resources to open policy advocates. Our science team has created a global advisory council to explore new opportunities in open science and open data. We continue creating relationships with large web-platforms where users post and share their own content.

    A global network of affiliates in more than 70 jurisdictions around the world supports this mission. We also leverage a dedicated community of supporters that use CC tools to encourage the use of open licenses and open policies, allowing Creative Commons to remain a small and efficient non-profit organization. As Creative Commons enters its second decade in 2013, we have a new strategic plan and priorities that guide our work at the intersection of technology and law.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Creative Commons acts as a steward of the open community. It has advanced its goal of reducing legal and regulatory impediments to open licensing by launching a new suite of licenses. Creative Commons Version 4.0 is more usable, less ambiguous, and more internationally applicable than ever before. We also launched the Open Policy Network to provide resources to those who advocate for the adoption and implementation of open policies.

    We are expanding and promoting the School of Open to educate prospective users about copyright law and open licensing, and work to communicate through case studies and other media the economic and social value of sharing knowledge, creative works, educational materials, research, and data. CC's new technology focus is on employing a user-centered design approach to product development in order to identify end-user needs and produce software solutions built on CC licenses and designed to make it easier for non-technical users and the public to create new works, share, reuse, and remix existing web content.

    Our affiliate network of supporters, volunteers, and experts around the world are a critical part of the CC community. We will continue to support and foster a culture of collaboration among affiliates. Creative Commons also intentionally creates relationships with content-sharing platforms, and by extension, their communities to reach a broader audience and user base. These relationships extend public awareness of the Creative Commons mission and offer great visibility for our tools.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Creative Commons has a small staff of talented people with deep expertise and diverse skills, established networks, and a passion for cultivating openness in practice, culture, and community. Our staff, Global Affiliate Network, and Board of Directors, comprised of notable leaders and openness advocates in the legal and technology sectors, possess the skills, relationships, and standing to contribute to all conversations about the future of openly-licensed content.

    The Creative Commons Board is highly engaged and provides strong organizational oversight. Members serve as public representatives, and offer diverse expertise, support, and access to far-reaching networks. The Global Affiliates Network similarly provides feedback and support to ensure that CC licenses and tools have applicability and credibility around the world.

    Creative Commons emphasizes strategic communications and transparency measures to increase awareness, associate brand with mission, and improve engagement with our various user groups and supporters. Our core assets -- a license suite and tools -- are well documented in an open environment that encourages collaboration and input from external contributors. The latest, license version 4.0, was developed in a multi-year collaborative process with contributors from across the globe.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Creative Commons completed a strategic planning process on the anniversary of its tenth year. This strategic plan, along with an online interactive annual report, is publicly available at: http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/38371

    Creative Commons has five overarching strategic priorities, which include:
    Steward the Global Commons; Develop Innovative Products; Strengthen the Affiliate Network; Increase Platform Use; and Ensure Sustainability. Following are these strategic objectives and the measures used to track progress against them.

    Priority One - Steward the Commons: The Internet is a place of sharing, innovation, and collaboration.
    - No deleterious regulations have been imposed on the Internet;
    - An increased understanding about open licensing options among the general population; and
    - An increase in open license adoptions by institutions and governments.

    Priority Two - Develop Innovative Products: Make it easy to create, find, and share openly licensed works.
    - Products attract a community that use them to increase the pool of CC-licensed content or make CC-licensed content more visible
    - Products created that expand the size and the quality of the Creative Commons pool.

    Priority Three - Strengthen the Affiliate Network: Increase the capacity and reach of the Affiliate Network
    - Engaged, effective affiliates in all regions of the world;
    - Launch the Science Affiliate Network.

    Priority Four - Increase the use of CC Licenses
    - Increased license adoption and use in domain specific communities, as shown by the increased number and significance of adoptions;
    - Public and philanthropic money is shifted to support openly licensed efforts;
    - Increased adoption of open licensing policies in government and philanthropy; and
    - Increased integration in social media platforms.

    Priority Five - Diversify and Increase Organizational Funding
    - Percent of total funds received from restricted grants decreases each year;
    - Number of corporate donors increases by a minimum of five each year;
    - Discovery period of revenue generation plan complete by February 2014 with final plan developed and approved by Board of Directors by February 2015.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    The name “Creative Commons" is synonymous with legal sharing and signals that an organization or creator is committed to openness and enriching the wealth of art, research, culture, and knowledge freely available to the world. The organization has followed a steep growth trajectory since it launched a decade ago as a small US-based non-profit. It is currently regarded as the global leader in open licensing. Creative Commons' tools are accepted as the gold standard for openly licensing content in many academic, public policy, cultural, and scientific arenas.

    Creative Commons has created game-changing licensing tools that have inspired and supported a movement of individual creators, advocates, institutions, and governments toward openness and full access to art, knowledge, and science. We have yet to achieve the level of public adoption of our licenses and awareness of available openly-licensed content that we desire. While an enormous quantity of educational resources are now available for free use by anyone, it remains difficult for potential beneficiaries (students and teachers) to discover the most useful. Resistance to leaving traditional publishing models has slowed adoption of open licensing of scientific research. The proliferation of non-standard licenses diminish the commons by creating vastly different terms for using different content. Walled gardens, or systems that restrict access to non-approved applications or content, are also a threat to the shared commons. Governments and grant makers continue to follow all-rights reserved models despite their mission of using their resources to benefit the public.
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

Creative Commons is used by individuals, groups, and organizations from around the world.

Social Media

Blog

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

CREATIVE COMMONS CORPORATION
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Creative Commons Corporation

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Ryan Merkley

BIO

Ryan Merkley is a national leader in public policy, open government, and digital communications. He is the incoming Chief Executive Officer of Creative Commons, the global nonprofit that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Ryan was Chief Operating Officer of the Mozilla Foundation, the nonprofit parent of the Mozilla Corporation, creator of the world's most recognizable open-source software project and internet browser, Firefox. At the Mozilla Foundation Ryan led development of programs like Webmaker and Lightbeam, and in 2012 he presented Mozilla's multimedia remixing platform Popcorn at TED Global. He also established Mozilla's successful individual fundraising program, raising over $1.8 million from 44,000 new donors.

Ryan previously worked as Director of Corporate Communications for the City of Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Games, and acted as a Senior Advisor to Mayor David Miller in Toronto, where he initiated Toronto's Open Data project. Most recently, Ryan was Managing Director and Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at Vision Critical, a Vancouver-based SaaS company and market research firm. He studied Political Science and Economics at Waterloo University.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Paul Brest

Former Dean and Professor Emeritus, Stanford Law School

Term: Dec 2012 -

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?