FYI.  Way to go, Gautam!

Yours sincerely,

Anirudh Bhati

00 91 9328712208
Skype: anirudhsbh

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Allison Domicone <>
Date: Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 12:31 AM
Subject: Letter from Gautam John, Creative Commons Superhero
To: "" <>

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Dear Creative Commons supporter and friend,

I'm pleased to introduce Gautam John, one of our exceptional CC Superheroes,
who will tell you in his own words why he supports Creative Commons and why you
Gautam John is Manager of New Projects at Pratham Books, a children's book
publisher in India that truly embodies a spirit of openness and innovation
on the web. They've now released 105 children's
English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi and Gujarati) as well
loads of delightful
a CC-BY license so they can easily be shared and even remixed to
create new 
to other languages and cultures. Here is Pratham's story. Join
Gautam in supporting Creative Commons with a donation


Melissa Reeder
Development Manager, Creative Commons

[image: [ Gautam John ]]

*"As a children's book publisher, we have always struggled to be as
inclusive as we can. However, as a small non-profit, we do function under
severe constraints of time, money and ability to live up to this ideal and
it was the Creative Commons model of licensing that allowed us one of our
biggest moments of joy* — when our books were made available as Braille and
Audio Books for print impaired children across the world. Without the
Creative Commons licensing model and philosophy, we would not have been able
to engage with multiple organizations to help build inclusion and scale.

At Pratham Books, we have a very simple mission - “A Book in Every Child's
Hand” and this drives all of our work and we constantly test what we do
against this goal. The mission has two parts, one is to create more reading
matter such that there is more available for children to read and the second
really is a corollary – that we need to be able to get books to where
children need it the most and that the books need to be culturally and
linguistically relevant as well.

This is where our challenge lies – to massively scale the production of high
quality, low-cost children's books for a massively multi-lingual and
multi-cultural market. Looking at this challenge it is fairly obvious that
this is not a problem that any one organization can solve. The solution has
to be scalable, flexible and catalyse our fundamental mission as well.

At this point, we realised that there were several internal questions to
answer and some of them painfully introspective. Questions as to whether the
books we create and distribute have to be a Pratham Book, whether it implied
that every book must be paid for by either the reader or an intermediary
and, from being a publisher, questions as to whether we are gatekeepers of
content or content curators, how we could create infinite good with finite
time and resources and most importantly, how we can create more value than
we capture?

Having answered most of these questions using “openness” (whereby, we asked
ourselves whether allowing unrestricted access to use and re-use our content
furthered our mission) as a test and finding that it did fit our mission,
the second set of questions to answer was more technical – how, as a small
non-profit, do we do this and not find ourselves overwhelmed. It was at this
point that we had a moment of realization – that reading is an extremely
social activity and that there are communities and organizations who were
more than ready to help us achieve our goals.

It was at this juncture that we hit upon the Creative Commons licensing
model as one that would help us achieve many of our aims of flexibility,
scalability and being able to help catalyse our mission of a book in every
child's hands. In particular, three things stood out – a shared value system
of sharing and openness, a community that was deeply embedded in these
ideals and, from our perspective, it was scalable because it allowed us to
license content to multiple organizations and individuals, both known and
unknown, with a one time effort of releasing them under a Creative Commons
license as opposed to the traditional model which involves time consuming
negotiations and discussions with each known organization or individual who
wants to use our content.

As an organization, we did spend some time choosing a license and, from our
perspective, a choice between openness and sharing which reduced to a choice
between the 
We have decided that the Attribution license will be our default
license with a fall-back to the Attribution-Share-Alike license in cases
where needed. It is best said by
emerged that our choice lay between two licences: Creative Commons
Attribution and Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike ...chose to use
Creative Commons licences because Creative Commons have become a global
standard and are supported by a large international community. Both licences
are Free Culture licences and are more permissive than any of the other
Creative Commons licences. In other words, the choice was not between two
extremes but between two open licences at the same end of the licence
spectrum.” Given that our goal was being as open as possible, it followed
that our license choices were essentially around licenses that allowed for
the greatest possible use and re-use because our initial hypothesis was, and
continues to be, that being open allows us to fulfill our mission better
than a traditional copyright model allows.

We now use Creative Commons licenses everywhere! We license entire books
under CC-BY and CC-BY-SA licenses, we license our illustrations similarly
and even photographs and other publicity material too. Over the last year we
have been building the foundations for a social publishing model – where we
curate communities that are passionate about reading and help us create
content. Such a model rests on the idea of a participatory culture and an
essential ingredient is a permissive licensing strategy – Creative Commons
licenses offers us this, a large community with shared values and an
ecosystem to tap in to.

While this licensing and publishing model works well in theory, it has been
extremely heartening for us to see it come to life – our communities have
created multiple derivative works ranging from iPad and iPhone
to porting our works to OLPC
to creating entirely new
existing illustrations and, my personal favourite, creating versions
our books for the print impaired – from DAISY and
to rich
that our mission truly does encompass every single child.

I firmly believe that we would not have been able to achieve what success we
have had without the help of Creative Commons licensing. These licenses and
the values that they stand for are vital to building and strengthening a
digital commons from which we all benefit. I hope you will consider supporting
licensing content that you own or control such that we all benefit
the growth of the commons."
 *Follow Gautam on
Special thanks to Maya Hemant from Pratham Books for getting all content
(books, images) up online and for managing the Pratham community.

*[image: Support
rely on our supporters to continue our work enabling stories like
above. *

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Creative Commons was built with and is sustained by the generous support of
organizations including the Center for the Public Domain, Google, LuLu, the
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla Corporation, The
Omidyar Network, Red Hat, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, as
well as members of the public (you!).
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