Case Studies/Ruffus The Dog

From Creative Commons
Jump to: navigation, search

Image, Sound, Text, MovingImage
Ruffus, Ruffus The Dog, children, kids, television, TV, video, music, fairy tales, education, entertainment, puppets, puppetry,


Evaluation Information.png
Page Importance: B-Class
Page Quality: High
Ruffus The Dog,an award-winning children's television series is being revived online with all the original video & music and all new content created for release on the web being CC licensed.

Releasing the original shows under a CC license and producing new shows in a similar way is exposing a larger audience to our characters and stories than traditional broadcast markets. Seeing new works created using our shows as source material is awesome! — Rob Mills


Originally produced in 1998 for broadcast television the award-winning children's series Ruffus The Dog is a charming and whimsical introduction for young audiences into the world of fairy tales and classic stories. Although only two season were produced for broadcast the show continued to find audiences around the world. Robert Mills (creator, writer, producer, director and puppeteer) regained the rights to the series and decided to re-release the original episodes online under a CC license.

Mills, who performs the title role of Ruffus, also served as director, producer and story editor for the series. He wrote most of the episodes and received a Writers Guild Award for his script "Tom Thumb". The series was nominated for numerous Gemini Awards in a variety of categories including Best Children's Series, Best Children's Performer, and Best Writing for Children's Series.

The songs from the shows - all original compositions by JP Houston - have also been released (via Bandcamp) under a CC license.

Illustrated storybooks and other new works based on the original shows, along with entirely new episodes for release online, are also in production.

Original funding for the television series came from a variety of sources including Telefilm Canada, YTV Canada, the Shaw Children's Television Fund, the Independent Production Fund, tax credits and private investors.

License Usage

The Creative Commons License used for Ruffus The Dog is an Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike license: BY-NC-SA 2.5 Canada.

The full episodes of the video series are being posted online and are free to view and download in a variety of formats. A DVD release is planned with extra materials not available online. The songs are also free to listen to and can be purchased individually or as a complete album through the music service Bandcamp. Illustrated storybooks based on the shows will be released for free e-book download with print-to-order purchases available. Audio books will also be created and released in a similar fashion.

New episodes are being planned for production and release directly to the web. The first of these, an adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is being funded through the IndieGoGo site:

The video files are being distributed online via and as video podcasts through iTunes.

Users are encouraged to download and share the content of the Ruffus The Dog web site, to re-mix and re-release the video and music files and to distribute all the work freely throughout the internet.

It's too early at this writing to provide statistics or anecdotal evidence of any benefits or lessons.


The producer, Robert Mills, was aware of Creative Commons through the writings and talks from such CC supporters as Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow. It seemed a logical step to take with his plans to re-release the show to do it in a way that would not rely on the traditional broadcast or distribution models of the television industry and instead embrace the reach of the internet and give freely of the works in an effort to garner a community of followers who would support further creative works.


The full Ruffus The Dog web site is being updated regularly with new episodes and contains links to all the songs and new materials being created. The main link to the site is:

The producers are using IndieGoGo, a crowdfunding web site, to raise financing for more episodes. The first of these, their own version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", will be released under a Creative Commons license. Their IndieGoGo pitch page can be found here: