United States

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Affiliated Institution
[ American University Washington College of Law] ()

Michael Carroll

North America
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Affiliate Team Roadmap

Jurisdiction: United States of America

Complete list of all members of the Affiliate Team, their roles, and field(s) of expertise

Michael Carroll – Legal, Policy

Peter Jaszi – Legal, Policy

Sean Flynn – Legal, Policy

Meredith Jacob – Legal, Policy

Michael Palmedo – Web


Creative Commons in the United States

Creative Commons is already an important part of the copyright/users rights/creative rights dialog in the United States. Creative Commons, Inc. is incorporated in the United States, and the large majority of the organization’s funding currently comes from U.S. sources. For these reasons, CC Headquarters has often engaged with US-specific issues and partners on behalf of the organization.

However, as CC Headquarters is increasingly embracing its role as leading a global network, it would be beneficial for the jurisdiction and for the affiliate network to have a distinct, active affiliate presence in the United States to focus on US-specific issues and activities. When US-specific copyright issues are the subject of political debate and online advocacy, a Creative Commons US affiliate would provide a voice for CC user questions and interests that aren’t identical to the global focus of CC HQ.

In addition, the jurisdiction would benefit from some sustained attention to issues such as the interaction of the CC license suite with doctrines in US law, such as fair use. US-specific policy and legal developments, such as state government support for the development of open educational resources (OERs), also deserve the attention of a US affiliate.

Jurisdiction-specific content and outreach to specific user groups will make CC-US a successful jurisdiction project. While CC provides the content, a successful jurisdiction project would provide outreach, education, and support to local organizations and communities that use or could use CC licenses and public domain tools.

Additionally, a jurisdiction project would provide a home for monitoring, organization and advocacy of policy proposals that affect the function and thriving of the CC license within this jurisdiction.

A dedicated US affiliate would allow tailored focus on US-specific user issues and user communities, and would allow for better parity with international affiliates. The US affiliate would participate actively in the affiliate listserv and would seek to work with other affiliates on subject-specific areas, such as open education or galleries, museums, libraries, and archives. The US affiliate also would seek to participate in regional activities both in the North American region, but also in the hemisphere with the CC Latam network.


Current communities active in the CC project in the United States include

  • Current CC partners with a strong US focus
  • Wikipedia
  • Flickr
  • Open Journals
  • Intellectual property and internet-focused centers and clinics at US law schools
  • Harvard University - Berkman Center for Internet and Society
  • Stanford Law School - Center for Internet and Society
  • UC Berkeley - Center for Law & Technology
  • Educause
  • Open courseware (OCW) and open educational resources (OER) initiatives

Efforts to continue to engage these communities will include:

  • Creation of a US policy and advocacy network
  • Shared reporting/blogging responsibilities
  • Regional meet-ups and CC-US salons

Initial outreach efforts will focus on the open educational resources community, including meeting with Washington, D.C.-based policymakers and groups such as the Council of Chief State School Officers and other education-related professional associations. CC US will provide basic copyright education and explanations of considerations for use of CC licenses in OER projects.



A dedicated CC-US website would provide a central place for US-specific news: policy and legal developments, local and national events with CC relevance, central network of CC-US advocates. We see four initial areas of content on the website:

  • Creates a hub for networks of related programs to share information about local developments, new projects using CC licenses, and developing opportunities for CC.
  • Provides a place to promote CC and the US-ported 3.0 CC licenses. CC US, expects, however to support the general 4.0 license suite and to deprecate the ported 3.0 licenses once 4.0 has been released.
  • Provides a repository for CC-US project materials about
    • OER in the US
    • Fair Use and CC
  • Which communities will benefit?
    • US CC-advocates, CC-licensors looking for local communities.
    • Other CC-US project users


Currently, standardization of US curriculum requirements (Common Core State Standards) are pushing revision of state curricula and textbooks. There is an opportunity for new textbooks to be created under a CC license so that states can build on the collective efforts of their peers in building open resources for the K-12 educational community. If funding is used by one state to create CC licensed open textbooks, efforts can be coordinated with educators and policymakers in other states to build communities where collective effort benefits multiple states and reduces demands on education budgets.

Further, open textbooks allow schools with different levels of in-school technology to adapt textbooks and other digital content to their local situation. Education and support of CC in the OER community will help students, teachers, and policymakers make the most of education budgets, and provide teachers with tools to take part in the textbook creation process.


CC licenses pick up where the limitations and exceptions in copyright law leave off. Because fair use is a US-specific form of limitation and exception, promoting education about which uses are permitted by law and which are subject to license will improve user groups’ understanding of both fair use and CC licenses. Moreover, we already have done extensive work on elaborating the meaning of fair use for specific user communities, including the Open Courseware community.

Some creators are willing to license their own work under a CC license while also incorporating third party material under fair use. These user communities would benefit from more attention to how and when fair use can be relied upon for these purposes.



  1. Project Output - website
  2. Expected start date – August 2013
  3. Team Member(s) Responsible – Mike Palmedo, Meredith Jacob, Michael Carroll
  4. How will this output help achieve your goals? – The website will serve as an educational and informational resource to licensors and users in the jurisdiction and will increase the visibility of the CC brand in the jurisdiction.


  1. Project Output – meeting(s)
  2. Expected start date - Expected date of completion - Fall 2013
  3. Team Member(s) Responsible – Michael Carroll, Meredith Jacob
  4. How will this output help achieve your goals? Publicity, network building


  1. Project Output – OER education and Advocacy
  2. Expected start date – Fall 2013
  3. Team Member(s) Responsible – Michael Carroll, Meredith Jacob
  4. How will this output help achieve your goals? – There is a moment of large opportunity in the United States to shift the role of the government from procuring printed objects that contain educational information to procuring the services of authors to produce, update, and extend openly-licensed materials to better serve the educational needs of students from pre-school through tertiary education.



We are currently staffed to meet the priority goals. The team members are embedded in the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, at American University Washington College of Law. This allows us to leverage PIJIP connections in DC, as well as engage law students and undergraduate students

  • We’ve received funding from the law school for a 20 hour per week student assistant. This person can work with Meredith Jacob to answer routine emails and to broadcast CC-US work on social media and the CC-US website
  • Mike Palmedo is the lead on design and upkeep for the CC-US website, with assistance from the student assistant mentioned above.
  • Michael Carroll will be the lead person attending meetings and conferences with a policy focused, supplemented by Peter Jaszi, Sean Flynn, and Meredith Jacob when appropriate.
  • Student volunteers will be recruited in Spring 2013 to attend CC related events in Washington DC and write short reports/blog posts. These students will also work to monitor and report on CC-US related developments online.


Currently, we are supported by the technology staff at the law school and the technology capability of the staff members working on the project

  • No additional physical technology resources would be required to achieve the priority goals.
  • We are developing a page for the October launch, to be completed in August.
  • We will request us.creativecommons.org from CC-HQ


Currently, most material resources required for the initial project are available through the support of American University, Washington College of Law’s institutional resources. Additional resources would be required for meetings if food/drink or off –campus rental space was required.

These resources will be obtained through either outside grant funding, or in-kind support by AUWCL.


The institutional home at WCL provides stability for the US project. The ability to recruit student workers within the model allows for expanded capacity if time demands are greater than anticipated.

We plan on creating and maintaining a CC-US allies email list for announcements, news, and events. Within the CC Affiliate Network, we would use the existing email list.



  • We would be interested in collaborating on a CC project for common law countries with Australia, NZ, Canada, and the UK
  • We would also like to strengthen the connections in CC North America – US, Canada, Mexico
  • We would support a partnership with CC Latin America on open education and open access.


There will be no translations needs for the project in the first year, as we will use the standards English-language licenses.