On April 1, Flat World Knowledge announced its partnerships with Barnes & Noble and NACS Media Solutions (an independent business subsidiary of the National Association of College Stores). The partnerships enable FWK’s open textbooks to be distributed in low-cost print form at up to 3,000 college bookstores across the U.S. for the 2010 fall semester. To make sure this wasn’t an April Fool’s joke, I followed up with some of the folks at FWK about this and other plans.
Basically, all FWK’s textbooks are open under the CC BY-NC-SA license. The web version is accessible by anyone—which means you can copy, adapt, and reproduce the content for free (as long as you do so non-commercially and share alike). If you want to adapt it via FWK’s platform and easily produce and obtain hard copies of professor or student-customized chapters, then you pay a low-cost fee to download the customized PDF or have the professionally bound textbook mailed to you (about $1.99 per chapter download or $29.99 for the hard textbook). You can also access the physical textbooks at some college bookstores.
This new agreement with B&N and NACS expands the number where the physical texts are available, up to 3,000—wherever local professors have decided to participate. (This includes 639 Barnes & Noble college bookstores.) In addition, a print-on-demand (POD) model is being piloted at a few bookstores in August, with the long term goal to have POD in all. From the press release,
“Flat World Knowledge will provide bookstores with digital files of its growing catalog of professionally-developed, peer-reviewed college textbooks. Since Flat World textbooks are openly-licensed, instructors can remix, reorder, add and remove content, and then the bookstore can print and bind high-quality paperback books, often within minutes or hours.
University Book Store, Inc. at the University of Washington in Seattle, and the San Diego State University Bookstore, among others, will be the first to pilot this new process. Students will have the convenience of same-day pick up. POD technology also allows professors to continue to customize and update a Flat World textbook within days instead of weeks of the fall semester starting.”
The license (CC BY-NC-SA) applies to their print textbooks as well as the print-on-demand versions. In addition, FWK’s platform is built on open source software and they have plans to eventually make their XML exportable at no cost, which would allow a user to remix FWK content on their own site.
For more information, see the full press release. You can also learn more about their open business model by watching this talk given by Eric Frank (Chief Marketing Officer) from the latest CC Salon NYC.Comments Off
HASTAC’s third annual Digital Media and Learning Competition launched yesterday, an initiative supported by the MacArthur Foundation. Last year‘s theme was participatory learning, and CC Learn was awarded a grant for Student Journalism 2.0—a pilot initiative “engaging high school students in understanding the legal and technical issues intrinsic to new and evolving journalistic practices.” The pilot, by the way, is in full swing, and we are entering our second semester after the holidays. Check out sj.creativecommons.org for updates.
This year’s DMLC theme is “Competition is Reimagining Learning and there are two types of awards: 21st Century Learning Lab Designers and Game Changers.” From the announcement,
“Aligned with National Lab Day as part of the White House’s Educate to Innovate Initiative, the 21st Century Learning Lab Designer awards will range from $30,000-$200,000. Awards will be made for learning environments and digital media-based experiences that allow young people to grapple with social challenges through activities based on the social nature, contexts, and ideas of science, technology, engineering and math.”
When we blogged about Radiohead releasing the data from their video for “House of Cards” last year, we weren’t really sure what fans were going to do with the 400 megabytes representing the visual data from the video. But now, thanks to Thinigiverse, we have an awesome example of what’s possible when CC licenses encourage people to share and build upon each others work.
User Serratiago has used Blender to convert the original data from the Radiohead video into a set of coordinates that can be printed into a real-life 3D sculpture of Thom Yorke’s head. Since the original data is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license, that means Serriago’s derivative is as well. What’s great about this story is that Serratiago didn’t need to ask Thom Yorke, Radiohead, or anyone for permission to make and distribute his work, as the Creative Commons license had already established it!1 Comment »
Creating a feature films is a massive undertaking, and it is for this reason that we’re always so impressed to hear of film makers using CC licenses. Two recent examples are Nasty Old People from Swedish director Hanna Sköld and Torno Subito from Italian Simone Damianiunder.
“Nasty Old People” was released under our Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license and Torno Subito is available under our Attribution-Noncommercial license. What’s great about these licenses is that they both allow and encourage legal sharing and remixing as methods for promotion and encouraging fan engagement. The results are already beginning to appear: fans of Nasty Old People have raised donations amounting to 10% of the film’s loaned budget, and they’ve also created a Portugese translation of the film’s subtitles.
Over the years, there have been a number of CC-licensed feature films released, and we do our best to keep up with them all on our film wiki page, but please add to the wiki if you come across something we’ve missed.3 Comments »
Paul Keller, one of our project leads for CC Netherlands just let us know about an exciting development from their public broadcaster, VPRO, who on Wednesday released 2 full length (and one more coming soon) documentaries under our CC-BY-NC-SA licenses. What’s great is that these documentaries are current pieces, not old selections from the back catalog or archives – they’ve all aired within the last 10 days. Additionally, VPRO is also offering DVDs of the films for sale.
Here’s an excerpt from the project’s press release:
According to Bregtje van der Haak, coordinator of the VPRO’s Century of the City project, releasing these documentaries under a Creative Commons license contributes to efforts to better serve the VPRO’s public:
“We are producing a lot of documentaries that are of interest to specialized communities. In the case of urbanization this includes architects, urban planners and students. From research we know that a growing segment of the VPRO’s audience is watching less and less television but continues to highly value this type of content. By offering content for download we are increasing the life cycle of these programs and enable a whole number of new forms of re-use of our productions. As a public broadcaster we have the obligation to make our productions available to the public in an as flexible manner as possible.”
Congratulations to VPRO!Comments Off
Jono Bacon’s book The Art of Community is now available for download.
We mentioned the beginning of this project back in January of this year. Just 8 months later the digital version of the book is available for everyone to download and share under a CC BY-NC-SA license. You can download it from the book’s webpage here.
The Art of Community isn’t just written for current or would-be community managers. It outlines and discusses all of the issues that are pertinent to simply working with a dispersed community of contributors. These issues are:
- Sustainable processes for management – how to create day to day processes that are simple, effective and always representative of your community and its members.
- Tools and infrastructure – give your community simple and friction-free tools that they need to do their work, complete with effective communication channels.
- Building buzz – think outside the box and excite and enthuse potential community members to join your crusade, build capacity and keep the train running.
- Measuring aspects of community success – understand, assess and measure your community, discover what can be measured and how to react to the results.
- Conflict management – manage strong personalities that clash, and untangle contentious situations in the open and transparent manner that your community expects.
- Handling live events – organize and schedule productive, fun and engaging live events that get things done and re-affirm social bonds between your community members.
- Scaling the community – as your community grows, things change and adjust to the size, scale and throughput of your membership: handle these changes with as little disruption as possible.
If you are at all interested in what it takes to run a successful community, this book written by the Ubuntu Community Manager will help shed some light on the complex, yet fun, aspects of community management.Comments Off
It recently came to our attention that Coca-Cola relaunched their Facebook Page (apparently one of the largest pages on the social network, with over 3.6 million fans), and included a policy that content shared by fans be available under our Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. The specific CC license badge appears in the sidebar on the Coke wall, but is also referenced in the Coca-Cola Facebook Terms of Service.
It appears that Coke is using a Facebook App called Static FBML that helps Page administrators include arbitrary HTML in Facebook pages. Since this is such a good idea, I’m going to work on a new version of our Official Unofficial CC License Facebook application that will enable all Page administrators to add CC license policies to their pages. More on that later this week.
Anyway, this is a great step forward for encouraging CC content and choices on Facebook, so kudos to Coke for thinking about user generated content in the right way!Comments Off
Waxy.org reports that Code Rush — the commercially-unavailable documentary from 2000 about the open-sourcing of the Netscape code base and the Mozilla project which gave birth to Firefox, is now available under our Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. This is a crucial part of the Internet’s history so we highly recommend you watch it and share it with your friends.
Thanks to everyone who made this wonderful gift to the commons possible!Comments Off
Beginning this past March, John Wood has written, recorded, mixed, and mastered an album a month. Distributed under the moniker Learning Music Monthly, the music arrives on the first of the month as CDs in subscribers’ mailboxes and MP3s in their digital lockers, all released under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license.
Offering a tiered subscription service (amenities include stickers, bonus albums, a song written for you on your birthday, and much more depending on price), Learning Music Monthly is a great case study in figuring out how independent artists and labels (LMM is released through CC-friendly label vosotros) are approaching distribution in today’s current music climate.
We were able to catch up with John and pick his brain about the project, including his thoughts on writing and producing an album a month, a subscription/donation-based distribution model, and his decision to release all the music, cover art, promotional text, mix-stems, sheet-music, and lyrics under a CC license.
Learning Music Monthly @ Machine Project – 01, cameronparkins | CC BY
Can you give our readers some background on yourself and the Learning Music Monthly project? What has your career as a musician been like? LMM monthly has existed previously – what is different this time around?
LMM really began in November 2006. I had spent the previous two years doing a fair amount of touring with other bands, and assisting on a film score, all of which was really fabulous and fortunate to experience. That month, I turned down a bunch of work and created the first Learning Music album. For me, it was something very much apart from my professional musical experiences. I get paid mostly to create what other people hear or see, which I’m very lucky to do. When I set out to complete that first album, there was a deep spiritual need inside me, which I had been aware of for a long time, to create something more personal. The payoff, instead of a check, was the pleasure of handing to friends this little secret disc, weirdly wrapped up in reclaimed cardboard. LMM is a little different from that now, in that we actually sell subscriptions. I think I’m still in the process of learning what that means creatively. It’s also much different now because of all the support from John G and Vosotros. The first year, my audience was mostly my friends. Now I’m making music for people I’ve never met. And they’re paying for it! Part of me of course wants to only create what I think these people want to hear. Hopefully I will eventually be able to give them something that they never expected, but that’s really good for them. Sometimes I feel like I lack the confidence to do that, but then ultimately there’s no time for doubt.
vosotros presents: the years is the latest release from CC-friendly label Vosotros. Described as a “a musical journey through time”, the CC BY-NC-SA licensed album is being released as a free download through out the month of July while simultaneously being sold through a variety of digital outlets.
The album, which is a collaboration between Vosotros and Sam Barsh, is generating some amazing buzz and digital sales. Most exciting for those in the CC-community is the following quote from Amazon-blog Chordstrike (the album peaked at #8 on Amazon’s Classic R&B download chart):
Assembled by a crew of some premier sidemen, this fluid set of thumping soul is the sort of album that as fun to listen to as it seems like it was to make. With one eye pointed towards the past and the other one winking, they show love for not only the funky greats of the past 30 years, but affection for kitsch, too. Vosotros takes their motto, “music for you-all,” seriously. They’ve made the album available as a free download for a limited time and licensed it under Creative Commons encourage sharing. Enjoy it, remix it, and tell your friends.