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Creative Commons

Global Network Strategy

June, 2017. (last reviewed 26.09.2017)

-- Here you will find the consolidated PDF version for external reference.

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Table of Contents

Context and background information

A community-led process to revitalize and grow the CC network

Creative Commons was established in 2001 as a US-based charity. It developed a set of licences built upon the copyright system, to allow both content creators and users a standardized, easy, and free legal way of sharing and using creative content in the digital context.

Shortly after the organization’s inception, founder Lawrence Lessig, CC staff and community members created a global network made up of a group of affiliates, most of whom had the legal expertise to translate and adapt ("port") the licenses and make them legally applicable in all jurisdictions. Formal projects were launched in countries with an expressed interest in contributing, framed as collaborations between the CC organization (CC HQ), and a local institutional partner (affiliate). The legal porting of the licenses required lawyers with expertise in local laws and policy, so the affiliate model was built upon direct relationships between these people and their organizations and CC HQ, including a formal signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). These experts were dubbed Legal Leads. Additionally, some MoUs were granted to those engaging in other activities, but without any organized program goals or structures with HQ or the network. These individuals were not lawyers, and were called public leads. With this structure, CC was able to go global, and reach billions of new users in their own legal contexts and local languages.

Over the years the CC community grew and changed, driven by two important factors: first, the affiliate network started to draw interest and contributions from other communities and professional sectors that didn't have any legal expertise, who were going beyond the adoption of the ported licenses, but were interested in free culture, open content, policy-making, open data, and more. And second, in December of 2011, an internationalization process for the license suite was launched as part of the 4.0 versioning. As a result of internationalization — establishing one version of the licenses for the entire world — legal porting of the licenses was no longer necessary. Now adaptation of the 4.0 license suite requires only a translation and basic legal review. This fundamentally changed the role that the local organizations were originally meant to play.

In addition, the institutional structure that was developed for porting licences constrained the growth of the network because there was no clear way to expand and add new members to the affiliates. Only occasionally, and with the consent of an existing affiliate, were new members added to a country team. Around the world, country teams were generally made up of a public and legal lead, with no way to empower additional new members or clear way to officially join the CC community. Unfortunately, that meant that some enthusiastic contributors fell by the wayside, or were turned away. Within the network, the CC movement had few discussions on common mission and strategy, or management and cooperation issues. Today, the legal porting of the licenses — the glue that bound an important part of the community together — is absent. Meanwhile, teams in the network started working on other issues, like copyright reform, that went beyond the original scope of the MoU agreements.

As the network expanded its focus beyond porting, CC HQ expanded and changed its focus as well. Among other things, it started working in areas of open education and open policy. Despite the restrictive agreement and structures, CC HQ frequently interacted with affiliate teams on these projects, but the work being done was developed independently. So even if both CC HQ and the network were working on overlapping areas, efforts were often not coordinated. In 2015, CC HQ articulated a new strategy that identified collaboration, advocacy and strengthening community as a new focus of its work, in addition to stewardship of the licenses. This was done in response to calls from community members, and has helped pave the way for a new relationship. This creates an important opportunity for the network.

All of these changes now need to be addressed. The 2015 CC Summit in Seoul, South Korea, was a turning point in this direction. A group of affiliates organized the "Day Zero" workshop to take place immediately prior to the Summit to discuss the state of our network and its future. This was the first time the network had such a discussion and the consensus from both affiliates and CC HQ was that the current network model was hindering growth and restricting the CC movement from achieving its collective aspirations.

As a result of the workshop in Seoul, participants planned a strategic process to address the network’s transformation and created a Network Strategy Steering Committee to lead it. Participation in the Committee was open to all current affiliates of the network, and approximately 20 people (from all continents) volunteered to join. The Committee is co-chaired by a member of the network (Alek Tarkowski, Poland), and CC HQ’s CEO (Ryan Merkley, Canada). The committee was responsible for identifying issues and opportunities, defining areas of inquiry and further research, developing insights and proposing models for discussion. They met in person twice in 2016, and worked online over shared documents and in online chat. They worked together to collectively write this proposal.

This process is an opportunity to shape the CC network in a way that’s most beneficial to our community and movement. We are committed to making it as inclusive as possible, and hope that everyone feels encouraged and excited about participating in the process by sharing opinions, suggestions and concerns about what we believe we can and should develop for our common future: the Creative Commons Global Network.

The Global Network Strategy Steering Committee

Members of the Global Network Strategy Steering Committee include Carolina Botero (Colombia), Claudia Cristiani (El Salvador), Claudio Ruiz (Chile, RC), Delia Browne (Australia), Kelsey Wiens (Canada, South Africa), Muid Latif (Malaysia), Naeema Zarif (Turkey, Lebanon, RC - member of the Committee until November 14th), Nic Suzor (Australia), Paul Keller (Netherlands, CC Board), Evelin Heidel (Argentina), Simeon Oriko (Kenya), Soohyun Pae (South Korea, RC), and the Committee’s co-chairs Alek Tarkowski (Poland) and Ryan Merkley (Canada, HQ).

Facilitation was provided for in-person meetings in Berlin and Washington, DC by Kamil Śliwowski (Poland) and Paul Stacey (Canada, HQ). Jono Bacon (US) provided advice regarding networks and collaboration in open source movements, and Anna Mazgal (Poland) coordinated the "Faces of the Commons" global research.

Process, inputs and outcomes

The goal of the Steering Committee (SC) for this stage of the process was to review the current state of the network and to propose a new model for it. The intention is to create a strong proposal that will engender discussion and lead to a final recommended proposal that the community will support. It still requires input, insights, and advice from more stakeholders.

The committee members worked virtually through calls and collaborative documents and met together in person twice — in Washington DC in May and in Berlin in November 2016.

To review the current state of the network, the committee commissioned independent research dubbed the Faces of the Commons to obtain evidence-based information. This research took place in six different regions where CC has presence (Africa, Arab World, South America, Central America, Asia-Pacific and Europe). The global and regional reports can be found here. The regional and global reports were used as input and the insights were influential for the Steering Committee, and they are worth investing the time to read for background. Some of the recommendations regarding translation and support for the network have already been considered and implemented by CC HQ.

In developing and proposing the new model, several activities were carried out, including reviewing strategies and structures that work (and don’t) for other organizations that operate globally, and receiving input from experts specially commissioned to help with the process.

The outcome of these activities is this Global Network Strategy proposal designed by the network, for the network.

A new network designed by the network

While defining the Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN), we have considered four major ideas or issues that provide what we believe are the necessary elements that will make the CCGN successful and the CC movement a stronger and more empowered community.

Shared ideals. The CCGN defines a vision, mission, values, and guiding principles that will enable us to build our future as a community and work together based on common ground.

A new affiliation mechanism. The CCGN is built on individual membership rather than teams that depend on a local organization or institution that assumes a formal relationship with CC HQ. Members connect and organize as jurisdictional teams but also work internationally. We envision a community of peers – people, organizations, and institutions – who share values, work towards common goals and are responsible, as individual members of the community, for the CCGN’s maintenance and development, with the support and participation of CC HQ.

A new structure to working together. The platform framework we propose will hopefully allow more successful, direct, and stronger relationships and collaboration among members within the formal CCGN structure and across the broader CC movement, based on our interests, goals, and needs.

Empowering diverse participation. The CCGN provides a framework and governance structure that fundamentally seeks to enable and ensure participation of everyone in the network, regardless of where we live, what language we speak, what our particular capacities are, or what local circumstances we need to work with.

Finally, it is important to note this process constitutes a substantial investment of time and energy on behalf of CC HQ, and many community members, to clarify and define key issues related to the network’s relationship to CC HQ, including channels of communication and governance structures that will better serve the network and acknowledge the value of CC as a global community.

Consultation and revisions

Before finalizing the strategy, it was shared with the broad CC community, including CC affiliates, current partners, funders, supporters, and many who have expressed interest in contributing more actively to CC’s work. A consultation process was run from January to the end of March, 2017. The consultation was conducted online, in public webinars and meetings, and in one-on-one sessions. The strategy was translated into Spanish, Arabic, and French. A consultation website was set up, allowing anyone to submit comments, questions, or criticisms. Members of the steering committee hosted online sessions and webinars, group meetings, and one-on-one consultations. The steering committee members hosted 22 in-person meetings and webinars, received over 230 specific comments via the consultation website, and 89 percent of all active affiliate teams provided responses to the proposal.

Throughout the consultation, there was broad support for the insights, ideas, and direction to help build a strong and growing network, and to share leadership and decision-making on a global scale. But some important areas for improvement also emerged, particularly around processes and administration supporting strong country teams, managing public positions, and fundraising. Many community members submitted helpful suggestions and ideas. Many of those suggestions have been incorporated into this document, following a full-day session with some members of the steering committee, who reviewed every suggestion, and recommended changes and additions.

This document is the final guiding strategy document, which will be used to design the transition to the new network model. It is not meant to be a legal text, and we discourage community members from reading it through this lens. There will be many details to work through with opportunities for feedback and evaluation along the way, but this is an important step towards our community goals.

Global Network Strategy Proposal

Vision, Mission, Values and Guiding Principles

Vision

We propose that the Creative Commons Global Network shares the vision defined by Creative Commons:

"Our vision for the Creative Commons Global Network is nothing less than realizing the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research and education, full participation in culture — to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity.**"

Mission

We propose a different, but complementary, mission statement for the Creative Commons Global Network. Eventually, CC’s movement and organization may decide to align these two missions through a community and board process. The board has acknowledge the need for an update to the existing mission, but that is beyond the scope of this process. For now, these two missions are complimentary, and allow each to focus on their core activities:

"The mission of the Creative Commons Global Network is to build a global commons of creativity and knowledge, and grow a movement that advocates, promotes and enables openness and sharing around the world."

Values and Guiding Principles

This section outlines a set of values that CC’s movement believes in, and the principles that we seek to follow. These should not be understood as specific requirements or rules that need to be precisely obeyed. Instead, they serve as guidelines for our work together, and will support the community development of the charter, which all members will agree to support.

The Creative Commons Global Network shares a culture of appreciation that embraces diversity and is bound by the goal of increasing access to knowledge and culture worldwide.

We value:

Openness

We value and recognize the right to share, modify and improve our shared culture and knowledge as a key element of our work together. We support the CC tools and the public domain. The core goal of the Creative Commons Global Network is to advocate for laws and policies, as well as norms and practices, that promote and support openness and sharing as key societal values.

The Digital Commons

We believe in the power of the digital commons to create and nurture common pools of resources that are shared by all.

We understand the digital commons broadly — nearly every shared work exists in a digital form, and we rely on the collaborative power of the internet to expand our reach and impact. We provide the legal infrastructure to enable sharing and collaboration, and we advocate to reform copyright legislation around the world to better reflect the needs of the digital commons. More broadly, we also work to support viable and sustainable collaborative sharing in a digital society, and defend the digital commons from enclosure.

We are committed to stewarding and developing a healthy digital commons. We support the sharing of knowledge and culture by individuals and organizations, and believe in collaboration and growth that is built based upon it.

We believe that a strong digital commons requires universal access to basic digital infrastructure and the necessary competencies and skills to use it.

Diversity

We believe in fostering an international, diverse, global movement and network.

We value our diversity, actively promote equality, and oppose discrimination. We are especially aware of the differences that exist among members of our network in relation to culture and language, and the disparities in relation to access in the use of technology. We are committed to adapting our practices and internationalizing our tools to make them available and accessible around the world.

Transparency and Accountability

We believe in transparency and accountability to each other, to our communities and partners, to our supporters, and to the public. Transparency requires honest and systematic sharing of information on the work we develop, the processes we use to develop it, and those who contributed to it, both within the network and to the public.

Building on these values, we have outlined the following guiding principles for our work and collaboration:

We collaborate

As activists, supporters and contributors to the Creative Commons Global Network, we work together to reach our goals in a special partnership with Creative Commons HQ. We share a common vision across the movement, and we collaborate with each other, across our teams, the network and other organizations that share our values.

We work openly

Openness provides an important framework towards a more transparent community and society, one that can improve decision making processes, be accountable to all, and be better prepared to deal with diversity. We work in the open wherever possible and practical, with clear processes for participation, decision-making, and collaboration. We share strategies, content, and code openly to encourage contribution and engagement. We strive to use open formats, open source software and open tools.

We use free and open licensing and support the public domain

We use free and open licensing for all the content we create as the network. We support and maintain the Creative Commons licenses and tools. We value a strong public domain as essential for the digital commons to grow and thrive.

We respect each other

We are a community that embraces disagreement and discussion and we strive to always make decisions by consensus. We respect each other and our differences, so it is essential to our work and our capacity to listen to each other’s views and ideas. As a global community, we recognize and respect cultural, linguistic, ethnic, and religious differences among members. We do not tolerate harassment or discrimination in our communities, or as part of our work. We actively embrace opportunities for global collaboration and work to ensure translation of our work for effective collaboration.

We participate and contribute

Our network actively seeks inclusivity and broadening opportunities for participation. We believe the success of our work depends on inviting new people who share our values to join the movement and participate meaningfully in our work. We are an engaged community. We participate in those areas that are of interest to us and we contribute to the processes and activities that serve to strengthen and sustain a healthy network.

Creative Commons Global Network Model

General concept

The Global Network is network based on a membership model, shared principles and values, and with newly-established areas of shared decision-making. It is supported by CC HQ as part of its ongoing operations, and is not a separate legal entity.

There are three key elements of the Global Network: Chapters, Platforms, and Governance (through the Global Network Council).

In the future, CC and its board may consider a more formal legal structure for the network and its Chapters, but such a formal structure is not required at this time to enable the shared decision-making and collaboration that are the core goals of growing the network.

The Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN) is the overarching structure to help co-ordinate and provide leadership in the global Creative Commons movement. The CCGN serves to:

  • Provide a structure of representation for CC Chapters globally

  • Provide guidance to the movement by collaboratively defining strategy and providing stewardship for the CC licenses

  • Steward and support Platforms — defined areas of activity or work programs among members

  • Grow, evaluate and improve the network

  • Advise and build consensus on global CC positions and strategy

  • Provide advice to improve and enhance staff support for the network

  • Facilitate dispute resolution among members

  • Advise and build consensus on resource allocation

  • Participate in global fundraising efforts

The CCGN uses a membership model. It is composed of Network Members (individuals) and Institutional Members (organisations). Individuals working in Partner organisations can join the network as individual Members as well. The Global Network Council (GNC) comprised of elected Network Members and CC HQ representatives is the governing and decision-making body for Individual and Institutional Members.

Both Members and Institutional Members largely have the same rights and responsibilities. Network Members can represent their Chapters in the GNC and have voting rights. However, as staff at Institutional Members can change at any time, voting is restricted to individual members (who, notably, can also be employees of Network Partner organizations).

Individual and Institutional Members may be empowered to speak on behalf of their Chapters as CC (e.g., a statement of support for Freedom of Panorama, as CC Poland) in relation to issues covered in any of the activity Platforms defined by the CCGN. Chapters may establish spokespeople or subject matter leads for various issues, as needed, and teams will work collaboratively to determine the best structure to enable the work in their country.

Membership

To become a Member or a Institutional Member, individuals and organizations must:

  1. Provide a brief summary of why they want to be a member

  2. Provide a vouching statement from two Network Members highlighting their track record as an active contributor to the CC movement,

  3. Sign the Network Charter

In principle, any contributor to the movement with a track record of contribution who commits to the CCGN’s values and guiding principles and is willing to actively contribute to its activities and sustainability can be approved as a formal CCGN Member (if it concerns an individual) or Institutional Member (if it concerns an organisation).

Note: CCGN Members would not be "members" in formal legal sense under state, federal or other applicable laws governing CC HQ that would grant members rights thereunder. And CCGN Institutional Members would not be “partners” in the formal sense under state, federal or other applicable laws governing legal “partnerships” for liability or any other legal purpose.

The CCGN is designed to encourage broader membership beyond the current affiliate teams and organizations. We expect current affiliate team members and affiliate institutions to form the initial membership of the CCGN, but we recognize that not all people and organisations currently in the affiliate network may want to participate in governance and leadership roles as Members or Institutional Members of the CCGN. The majority of the activities of the movement will take place in platforms — defined areas of work with established goals, objectives, and activities — for which no membership is required. We also do not expect every person contributing to the CC movement to join the CCGN structure to participate in governance. Regardless, everyone is welcome to contribute to activities as part of the movement without approval or formal membership.

Becoming a CCGN Member or Partner

Network membership is open to any individual that has a demonstrated record of activities that are advancing the goals of the CCGN. Institutional Membership is open to any organisation that has a demonstrated record of activities that are advancing the goals of the CCGN.

To become a Network Member or Partner, the individual or organisation needs to be recommended by at least two existing members of the CCGN, who will describe the candidate’s activities in support of CC’s goals and objectives, and then approved by the Global Network Council (organisations that want to become Institutional Members cannot be vouched for by their employees or people directly affiliated with the organisation).

Existing Network Members can request, on stated grounds, that a membership application be referred to the GNC’s Dispute Resolution Committee, which may decline the application.

Individual and Institutional Members need to sign the Global Network Charter, to be developed by the CCGN in consultation with the global community, which defines the rights and responsibilities of Individual and Institutional Members. The current MoU structure will be eliminated, and the Charter, combined with a trademark agreement for use of the CC name, will replace it for Individual and Institutional Members. The formal process and final Charter will be defined at a later date. This will be the new agreement between both the individual or organization and the network, and the individual or organization with CC HQ. Individual and Institutional Members will have to renew their membership periodically every 2 years.

Chapters

A Chapter is constituted by all Network Members, Institutional Members and other contributing people and organizations working in a particular country. Contributors who are not Members may also participate in Chapters. How Chapters organize themselves should be determined locally, and will depend on local characteristics, preferences, needs, resources, and priorities. Nothing in this section is intended to limit the ability of Chapters to develop and maintain an organizational structure that could include management and coordination, governance processes, designated spokespeople, or designated subject matter leads who speak on key issues. Chapters may also define limits and offer guidance to members in their team as to how they can operate and speak on behalf of CC in that country.

There may be limited circumstances where there is good reason to have more than one team within a given jurisdiction. The GNC will review these on a case-by-case basis.

The CCGN establishes four basic rules that need to be adhered to by every CC Chapter:

  • Chapters must be open to all Individual and Institutional Members that are working in that country. (A Network Member or Partner may only be affiliated with one CC Chapter at a time. However, this does not preclude them from doing projects or contributing in other countries).

  • Each CC Chapter will send one representative to the Global Network Council. Representatives are elected for a period, likely 1 or 2 years, to be determined at a later date.

  • Each CC Chapter will select an individual to be responsible for coordinating and communicating on behalf of CC Chapter activities. They will serve as a point of contact for CC HQ when forwarding or responding to inquiries regarding activities in that country. This is analogous to the "public lead" in the current model, but each community may select their own appropriate title for the position. This person may be the representative to the Global Network Council but is not required to be.

  • Chapters agree to work by consensus. This does not mean that all members must make every decision together, or that structures of authority and decision-making cannot be established using a consensus model; it requires that teams work openly, and voices must be heard and considered before making a final decision. In situations of conflict, Chapters can appeal to the Global Network Council’s Dispute Resolution Committee.

The responsibilities of the CC Chapter are:

  • Run activities and provide support to local projects.
  • Serve as a contact and information point for questions about CC.
  • Represent the CCGN in interactions with governments and organisations.
  • Maintain and update a country-specific website on cc.org (xx.creativecommons.org)
  • Establish jurisdictional consensus on positions related to the CCGN.
  • Report on accomplishments to the Global Network Council.
  • Elect a representative for the Global Network Council and ensure their role and responsibilities are actively fulfilled.
  • Ensure jurisdictional positions align with global positions of platforms, where they exist.

Currently, some affiliate teams receive and manage resources via another organization or institution, which hosts a grant or funds that are applied to the work of the local team. In this model, that kind of support should be allowed to continue. In the new model, the organization should become a Network Partner, and their official participation as part of the Chapter would allow them to host the funding as they do currently. That Network Partner will also have to have a signed trademark agreement with CC HQ.

-- See why we are now using Chapters instead of Country Teams

The Broader CC Movement

It is important to underscore that the Creative Commons movement goes well beyond the CCGN governance structure outlined in this proposal. It includes a multitude of contributors, professionals and activists working to further the goals of Creative Commons in their daily work and personal pursuits, and through organizations, governments, and institutions. All who contribute do so in projects and/or as part of their everyday professional activities or personal passions.

We use the general term "Contributor" to describe people and organizations active in the CC movement who are not part of the CCGN structure, to distinguish them from formal Individual and Institutional Members. As a Contributor, any person or organisation still can participate and engage in the movement in areas including Platforms, CC Chapters, or collaborating in another capacity.

Governance: Global Network Council

The Global Network Council (GNC) is the governing and decision-making body of the CCGN. It consists of elected representatives of all CC Chapters and representatives from CC HQ. It meets multiple times annually, and at least once a year in person (ideally at the Global Summit) and carries out its work through subcommittees. The working language of the CCGN will be English, but major documents will be translated into Spanish, Arabic, and French.

The work of the GNC is supported by a Secretariat, employed at CC HQ, that provides administrative and organizational support.

The GNC has an Executive Committee that consists of 9 members. 6 members represent the CCGN, elected by the GNC, and 3 members represent CC HQ, 2 appointed by CC HQ and CC’s CEO, who will be an ex-officio voting member. Elections for the CCGN representatives will be held annually and they will serve for 2 years (3 members elected in odd-number years and 4 members elected in even-number years). There will be no reelection in consecutive terms, but representatives can be reappointed after a leave of one year.

The Global Network Council has the following responsibilities:

  • It develops and monitors the strategy of the CCGN and provides input for the CC HQ strategy

  • It approves Platforms (defined areas of activity, based on a shared set of objectives that Individual and Institutional Members engage in) and resources at their disposal, including a budget

  • It approves (or denies) new Individual and Institutional Members and their renewals.

  • It is tasked with growing the overall CC Global Network and the broader movement, and evaluating the CCGN

  • Provides conflict resolution (via the Dispute Resolution Committee)

  • Contributes to the license stewardship (via the License Stewardship Committee)

  • Provide advice to improve and enhance staff support for the network

  • It raises funds for the CCGN

The detailed decision-making procedures of the CCGN, including the GNC and its subcommittees, will need to be defined, and should be based on consensus where possible.

Platform Framework

A Platform is an "area of work" that can have goals, objectives, policy positions, individual and collaborative activities, and possibly also specific programs. It is a way of organizing and coordinating collaboration across the network, rather than simply an area of interest.

Platforms are enabling structures for activities carried out by Members and Institutional Members of the Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN). Platforms are approved by the Global Network Council (GNC). Platforms enable diverse and widespread participation while ensuring that activities of Individual and Institutional Members are strategically consistent. At a minimum, a Platform frames what a Network Member or Partner can say and do under the Creative Commons banner.

Platforms can be issue based (e.g., copyright reform, open education, GLAM, etc), region based or function based (e.g., mentoring). All platforms are based on a shared set of objectives defined in a document (relation to mission / scope of engagement / ways of working / resources).

A Platform is based upon:

  • A position document that describes the shared set of objectives on a specific category of interest (global issue, network function, or regional coordination of work). The document sets out the Platform’s relationship to the CCGN’s mission, its scope of engagement, and the channels and ways through which Network Members, Institutional Members, and contributors can participate in its work

  • A plan of work (including strategy, measures for success, methods for evaluation and reporting)

  • A set of resources that are available to support work, including at a minimum a Platform Coordinator

A platform can be proposed by anyone in the broader movement. Each platform needs to be approved by the Global Network Council. Once a platform is approved, the Council will recommend a coordinator and resources to support its operations.

While decision-making is limited to Network Members, participation in platform activities is open to anyone. Network Members, Institutional Members, and contributors may join any platform and are expected to work together to achieve its goals. Platforms must provide clear, inclusive pathways for contribution, including a strategy for enhancing the diversity of participants.

Platforms will develop their own consensus-based systems for organising participation, delegating responsibilities, and collaborating.

Platforms need to report on their activities to the GNC on an annual basis. Reporting falls within the responsibility of the Platform Coordinator. Based on the reports, the GNC can renew a Platform for another year. The Platform Coordinator is also responsible for providing light-weight monthly updates on ongoing activities to the GNC. The Coordinator is an administrative role, and is not a member of the Global Network Council.

Role of CC HQ within the Global Network

The global charity Creative Commons Corporation (CC HQ) is a US-based 501(c)(3) (NOTE: See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/501(c)_organization). CC HQ directly participates in the GNC’s Executive Committee and is thus a key member and partner of the CCGN. CC HQ has legal obligations as a US 501(c)(3) and requirements within its mission, bylaws, and funder agreements that may, in some circumstances, require it to prohibit certain activities, expenditures, or partnerships under the CC name. It also has several additional responsibilities, including: providing core support for the Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN) and broader CC movement, stewarding legal and technical infrastructure, including the CC licenses, and managing the brand and trademark. CC HQ has an organization strategy and mission that is complimentary and supportive of the CCGN’s mission.

CC HQ is an active member of the movement, participates in the CCGN, and supports and facilitates the CCGN. CC HQ’s responsibilities in support of the CCGN and the movement will include:

  • It supports the Secretariat of the Global Network Council (GNC). The Secretariat provides administrative and organisational support for the GNC and its subcommittees and organizes its annual meeting

  • It supports Platform Coordinators for CCGN’s Platforms

  • It co-organizes Global Summits with the GNC

  • It consults further development of the (existing) legal tools with the GNC (via the License Stewardship Committee)

  • It provides communication tools for internal (i.e., mailing lists, slack channels) and external (i.e., CC Chapter websites, slack channels) communication

  • It consults the GNC as part of its own strategic planning

  • It manages the global trademark and brand

  • It fundraises to support CC HQ and CCGN initiatives in collaboration with the CCGN

HQ support and funding

CC is made up of several interconnected elements: the global network of Network Members, Institutional Members, and contributors, and the charity based in the United States (CC HQ). Fundraising is led globally by CC HQ, and the organization has set a strategic priority of growing and supporting the network. This section outlines where and how CC HQ will provide support; how the CCGN will participate in fundraising activities (together and for CC Chapter projects); and how we will fund Platform activities. CC HQ will provide direct financial investment and management in the following areas, to support the activities of the CCGN:

Staff

CC will hire and manage staff dedicated to supporting the CCGN. Currently, those positions include three full-time positions: a Network Manager (Simeon Oriko, Kenya), who provides daily support, communications, and administration for Individual and Institutional Members; an Events Coordinator (Alison Pearce), who leads event planning and support, particularly for the Global Summit; and a Director of Ecosystem Strategy (Claudio Ruiz, Chile), who is responsible for supporting the CCGN design process, implementation, and organizational transformation to work in an open, collaborative environment. Other positions may be required in the future. Staff dedicated to supporting the CCGN, who are managed by HQ, will have accountability to the CCGN by sharing reports on their activities, and receiving feedback and advice regarding the support they provide.

Further, CC staff are all engaged and committed to changing the way we work with the CCGN, and transforming CC programs to operate in a global, diverse, open culture of collaboration. The GNC will advise regularly on the supports provided and recommend improvements and changes.

Secretariat

The Global Network Council and its subcommittees will require administrative support to manage agendas, facilitate applications and renewals for Individual and Institutional Members, manage processes (e.g., dispute resolution, fund allocation), and support decision-making. CC HQ will support this with its staff subject to available budget that will be established with advice from with the CCGN and as approved by the Board of Directors.

Global Summit

The Creative Commons Global Summit is an event that traditionally brings affiliates together with partners to learn and plan for future work. As part of its support for the CCGN, the Global Summit will become an annual event, and will include the annual in-person meeting of the Global Network Council. CC HQ will develop the event in collaboration with Individual and Institutional Members, and will lead on fundraising and sponsorship to support the event and travel subsidies.

Activities Fund

CC HQ will establish a small fund to provide small amounts of resources for everyday activities that support Platform projects (e.g., printing, food for small events and bookings for gatherings). These funds will be administered by CC HQ with a simple but legally compliant, real time process for application and reimbursement.

Platform Coordinators

The Global Network Council will establish a set of "Platforms" — these are areas of work and collaboration within the CC movement. For example, "open education" could be a Platform. It would have defined areas of interest, goals, projects, and even policy positions. A more extensive description appears later in this proposal. Each Platform will have a Coordinator with a defined set of responsibilities. CC HQ will support this role either with staff, with external contracts, or with partner organizations who fulfill the role. Platform Coordinators are accountable both to CC HQ and to the CCGN through regular reporting.

Global Initiative Fund for Platform Activities

To support the activities, projects, and initiatives of the CCGN, CC HQ will lead the development of a Global Initiative Fund in collaboration with the CCGN. CC HQ will provide development staff support to design fundraising appeals, including outreach campaigns, donor solicitation, and grant proposals. CC HQ will also provide administrative support to issue grants and awards from the fund.

The size of the fund will be determined annually by two factors: the amount of funds raised by CC HQ and the CCGN that are dedicated for use as part of the Fund; and funds CC HQ contributes directly from its annual budget.

Allocation of resources from the Fund will be done based on recommendations from a subcommittee of the Global Network Council, acting as a grant review board. CC HQ will act as the administrator and supporter of the fund, providing development leadership, financial management, administration for contract/grant awards, and auditing, and will draw a reasonable annual overhead from it to support these activities. It will report annually to the Global Network Council on the status and activities of the Fund.

The grant review subcommittee will be comprised of 7 people, including 2 representatives from CC HQ. It will make recommendations to CC HQ as the administrator of the fund, who will issue the awards. Funds will be allocated to projects within an established Platform (as defined by the Global Network Council). The subcommittee will also define annual priorities (e.g., focus on a particular Platform), maximum grant sizes and allocations within Platforms, solicit applications, review proposals, and recommend grantees and allocations. It will review grantee reports as required.

Fundraising

There are two issues pertaining to fundraising: how CC HQ and the CCGN collaborate to support the CCGN’s activities, including the Global Initiative Fund, and how teams may fundraise using the CC brand.

Fundraising for the CCGN

As the Global Network Strategy is intended to establish a new level of cooperation and collaboration across the movement, it is important that Individual and Institutional Members also participate in activities that help to raise funds for the CCGN’s activities. CC HQ and the Global Network Council will collaborate in the design and implementation of initiatives to raise funds dedicated to network activities, including, but not limited to: the Global Summit, the Global Initiatives Fund, major donor outreach, public fundraising campaigns, and grants that could be applied to provide support. CC HQ development and communications staff will lead these initiatives in collaboration with Individual and Institutional Members.

Fundraising for CC Chapters and projects

Many CC network teams (country or project based) will need to solicit funds for specific projects they wish to undertake. The goal is to enable effective project work with positive outcomes in the name of Creative Commons. In some cases, it will be appropriate to do so as a CC Member. This section outlines the ways that this will be permitted, and the necessary accountability required from network teams, and CC HQ.

It is in the interest of the CC network that we co-ordinate appeals to international funders to ensure they do not receive concurrent (or even overlapping) requests from multiple network teams. CC HQ manages a global fundraising pipeline of funders and needs to be able to set priorities for funding and manage relationships. In addition, multiple and sometimes conflicting appeals will reduce our success in raising funds. Sharing information regarding funders and funds received also helps build a more resilient network, and ensure we are maximizing our fundraising potential through co-ordination. Finally, CC HQ has an obligation to meet specific requirements to maintain its tax status in the US, to adhere to grant reporting and other obligations imposed by funders when funding is secured in the name of, or as endorsed or supported by, CC, and to protect the integrity of the brand and reputation of the organization.

Network teams may seek funding for local in-country projects under the name of their CC Chapter (e.g., CC El Salvador). A set of detailed processes will be developed, but in general, the following rules will apply:

  • Individual and Institutional Members must have the express support of their CC Chapter to solicit funding for their project as a CC country initiative

  • Teams, Network Members, and Institutional Members must report annually on funds raised under the CC country name to their CC Chapter and to CC HQ. This information will be shared with the Global Network

  • When fundraising with international funders (those who fund beyond the jurisdiction of the CC Chapter), Teams, Network Members, and Institutional Members must notify CC HQ in advance of their project and their intended funder list, and receive approval from CC HQ to appeal for funds using their CC affiliation. Solicitations may not identify CC HQ as a project supporter, partner, or participant without express permission from CC HQ. CC HQ may provide advice and support, including grant or proposal review, and strategic advice. CC HQ reserves the right to lead or co-ordinate the approach with the funder

  • CC HQ may, at any time, cancel or withdraw support for a project if it contravenes its policies, endangers its tax statutes, violates agreements with CC funders, or otherwise is considered harmful or damaging to CC

  • Teams, Network Members, and Institutional Members may not establish independent legal organizations using "Creative Commons" or “CC” in its name, or with organizing documents that suggest any affiliation, support, partnership or other relationship with CC that might reasonably be interpreted as being legally-related to CC

  • Teams, Individual Members, and Institutional Members may not solicit general individual (often known as "small dollar") donations for their Chapters using the CC country name (e.g., Donate to CC El Salvador) without CC HQ permission.

CC HQ and network teams may also collaborate directly to raise funds for a specific project (e.g., a grant to CC HQ and sub-grants to a network team for a specific initiative). Those allocations are governed by the participating network teams, not by the CCGN governance structure.

Glossary / List of Entities

  • Creative Commons Global Network: The core structure for the global Creative Commons movement that is composed of formal Network Members and Institutional Members

  • Creative Commons movement: A broader community that includes not only formal Members and Institutional Members of CCGN but also individual and organization contributors

  • Network Member: An individual who has been approved as a formal member of the CCGN. Needs to have a demonstrated commitment to the objectives of the CCGN and must have signed the Global Network Charter

  • Network Partner: An institution or organisation that has been approved as a formal member of the CCGN. Needs to have a demonstrated commitment to the objectives of the CCGN and must have signed the Global Network Charter

  • Contributor: An individual or an organization who actively participates in the CC movement, but is not a formal member of the CCGN. Contributors can, in particular, participate in Platforms

  • CC Chapter: A group consisting of all Individual and Institutional Members based in a particular country. CC Chapter members may also work internationally with other teams

  • Global Network Council: Consists of 1 representative from each CC Chapter, plus 3 representatives from CC HQ, including CC’s CEO, who is ex-officio member. Convenes once a year

  • Dispute Resolution Committee of the GNC: Consists of 5 elected members of the GNC. Meets as needed

  • Executive Committee of the GNC: Consists of 7 elected members of the GNC plus 3 representatives from CC HQ, including CC’s CEO, who is ex-officio member

  • License Stewardship Committee of the GNC: Consists of elected Network Members (not necessarily members of the GNC). Serves as an advisory board to CC HQ on the maintenance, versioning, and other issues relating to the license suite

  • Development Committee of the GNC: Consists of elected Network Members (not necessarily members of the GNC). Tasked with providing leadership and advice to collaborative fundraising with CC HQ for the CC network

  • Platform: A defined area of activity that the CCGN engages in. Supported by a Platform Coordinator