CC BY-NC-SA

Remix My Lit: Through The Clock Workings

Cameron Parkins, June 18th, 2009

through-the-clocks-workingsRemix My Lit – a Brisbane based, international remixable literature project – just released their first publication, Through the Clock’s Workings. Billed as the world’s first remixed and remixable anthology of literature, the whole project is released under a CC BY-NC-SA license and is available as a free digital download (PDF) or as a hardcopy purchase through the Sydney University Press e-store. More from CCau:

Those who have been following our blog will remember the beautifully simplistic premise of the Australia Council funded Remix My Lit project – take stories from 9 prominent Australian authors, release them for remixing under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial ShareAlike licence, and see what happens.

Through the Clock’s Workings gives us a taste of the result. Published by the Sydney University Press, this anthology brings together the original 9 stories – from authors such as James Phelan, Cate Kennedy and Kim Wilkins – with 13 of the best remixes [...] the diversity is great – there are poems, abridgements, gender switches, complete re-imaginings. Even the cover of the the book you can see above is a remix of the stories by the excellent artist Ali J.

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Nature’s H1N1 Paper under BY-NC-SA

Fred Benenson, June 15th, 2009

H1N1 Graph from Nature
Nature, the international weekly journal of science just released an advanced version of a paper entitled ‘Origins and evolutionary genomics of the 2009 swine-origin H1N1 influenza A epidemic‘ under our Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike license.

While this is indeed great news in and of itself, you might have noticed that the license notification didn’t quite make it to the early PDF version of the paper. We’re willing to chalk it up to the fact that the paper isn’t in its final version, but we’ll be looking for the CC license badge when that one comes out.

If you’re a publisher releasing CC licensed works, check out high resolution and vector formats of our badges on our downloads page here.

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Tony Shawcross Explains CC Licensing

Cameron Parkins, June 10th, 2009

Former interviewee and Executive Director at Deproduction Tony Shawcross points us towards a recent video he produced to educate the Deproduction community on how CC licenses work. Focusing primarily on our CC BY-NC-SA license, the video is informative and to the point, acting as a great primer for those who have never heard of CC or need extra help understanding what our licenses do.

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BYU Launches OCW Pilot

Jane Park, June 10th, 2009

It appears that David Wiley’s move to Brigham Young University has already resulted in progress towards opening the university’s content. Long-time pioneer and academic of open education, Wiley reports that BYU’s Independent Study has launched its Open CourseWare (OCW) pilot with six Creative Commons licensed courses under CC BY NC-SA.

“The pilot includes three university-level courses and three high school-level courses (BYU IS offers 250 university-level courses online for credit and another 250 high school-level courses online for credit). The courses in BYU IS OCW are content-complete – that is, they are the full courses as delivered online without the need of additional textbooks or other materials (only graded assessments have been removed).”

The most interesting thing about this pilot is that it “is part of a dissertation study to measure the impact of OCW courses on paying enrollments.” So far, “the results are very positive – 85 of the 3500 people who visited the OCW site last month registered for for-credit courses… if this pattern remains stable, then BYU IS OCW will be financially self-sustainable with the ability to add and update a number of new courses to the collection each year, indefinitely, should they so choose.” Echoing Wiley, that is an exciting prospect. We look forward to seeing these results develop, in addition to other inquiries into the sustainability of general OER initiatives in the future…

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Learning Music Monthly: Issue #4 Update

Cameron Parkins, June 3rd, 2009

lmm24_hi

Learning Music Monthly, the subscription-based, album-a-month music series from L.A.-based John Wood continues to grow from its initial launch four months ago. Produced in conjunction with CC-friendly label Vosotros, the latest installment of LMM is a video album, with Wood producing music to videos from ten different LA filmmakers after their creation – an inversion of the traditional approach to music videos.

You can download (ZIP) silent versions of the films from the LMM website, stream the videos at a variety of destinations, or become a subscriber to access downloads of the videos (as well as the rest of the LMM music archive) in hi-quality formats. Subscriptions are tiered from a donation-based digital option to a $60 deluxe package and all the material is released under CC BY-NC-SA, allowing you to build upon and share the bevy of work created by LMM.

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“Here. My Explosion..”: CC-Licensed Feature-Length Film and Soundtrack

Cameron Parkins, May 18th, 2009

Here. My Explosion… is a new feature-length film from Reid Gershbein. Released under a CC BY-NC-SA license
(the film’s soundtrack is released under a CC BY-SA license), and is available for free download here.

The film is shot using a tilt-shift photography technique and clocks in at around 75 minutes. If you like the film, you can support it through donation at Gershbein’s website. Thanks to Boing Boing for the heads up.

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CC Talks With: MCM

Cameron Parkins, May 15th, 2009

As CC continues to grow and expand, one of the best ways we’ve found to communicate our mission and what our licenses can provide to new members of our community is by letting the rest of the community do the talking. We highlight stories on our blog and twitter, work with groups to flesh out pages in our case studies project, and regularly do interviews with specific community members whose work is illuminating of what CC does and what we are constantly trying to accomplish. In the past we called these interviews Featured Commoner pieces, but in an effort to increase clarity these will now be called CC Talks With.

To re-boot our efforts we have a reached out to a number of individuals working on great projects and have a number interviews waiting in the wings for the coming weeks. Our first is with MCM, an author, TV producer, and creative mind who recently began work on his new project, TorrentBoy, a CC-licensed experiment in fan fiction. MCM has been utilizing CC licenses almost as long as we’ve been around, so it is fitting to re-launch this series with someone whose perspective has evolved as much as we have in our short history. Read on to learn more about MCM’s work and his thoughts on how CC licenses can be used to help promote sharing and unintended reuse.

Can you give our readers a bit of background on yourself and the TorrentBoy project? What is your own personal history leading you to this point in your career? How did TorrentBoy begin and what is it’s current status? More importantly, what is the book about?

mcm_photoMy history is a long and complicated subject that can make grown men cry, so I’ll skip it and get right to the fun part. In 2001, I created a web-based animated show called Dustrunners, which, when it died, became the first Creative Commons-licensed series (it used CC SA before the licenses had reached 1.0). I’d always had a passion for the open sharing of ideas and culture, and when I heard the goals that Creative Commons had set out, I was hooked. Since Dustrunners, I have made sure that every single product I’ve made (and own the rights to) has been CC-licensed, and I irritate random people on the street with my evangelism. Investment bankers are generally hostile to the idea, but everyone else at least smiles at me.

Since then, I’ve written a bunch of other “free culture” books, most (in)famously The Pig and the Box, which teaches kids about the evils of Digital Rights Management. The fact that the book was translated into 15 languages and downloaded and shared well over 1.5 million times (that I could count) really cemented in my mind the fact that Creative Commons enables creators to do fantastic things.

Four years ago, I created this idea for a show called RollBots, which now airs on YTV in Canada and will be launching on the CW4Kids in the US, with toys by Mattel. Not to sound ungrateful, but there’s just something about the “closed” nature of major TV productions that irked me. The show is great, and the people that work on it are excellent, but it always felt like there was some potential that had been left untapped. Something we couldn’t see from inside out little castle that would have made it better.

TorrentBoy is my answer to that nagging doubt. It’s an entirely “open source” franchise, where anybody can come in and build upon the first book I wrote and make it their own. There are no boundaries to it, no limits to what can be done… TorrentBoy can go on adventures I could never dream of, in languages I will never speak, and take on an entirely new life that traditional media like RollBots can never achieve (at least not until I’ve been dead for a few decades). It’s parallel, but different. Probably the best thing I’ve ever done.

The first book in the series, Zombie World! is cheekily about a kid named Wesley who has a talking watch that turns him into the super-powered TorrentBoy, so he can fight enemies like proton leeches and an army of zombies, and save the world. He’s got a teddy bear named Crash, and Crash has a “waser bwaster”, and the two of them get into all kinds of trouble as they battle the evil Lord Thorax. There are certainly a lot of bittorrent analogies to it, but at its heart, it’s just a good, fun adventure book for kids. In its first month of publication, it sold 463 copies (physical and eBooks), and was downloaded another 120,000 times. A good start, but that’s just the start.

TorrentBoy is released under CC BY-NC-SA license and is designed to be shared, remixed, and expanded upon. Why did you choose to go this route? What obstacles and benefits have you encountered by using a CC license?

The logistics of the license were a big concern for me. I wanted to ensure that people could feel free to do what they wanted to do, but I was also concerned that as a franchise, the collective work could suffer if sub-standard works could be sold alongside the really great stuff. So while everyone is free to participate, only select participants can actually “cash in” on their work. It’s an imperfect system, but it’s as close as I think we can get.

The biggest obstacle with the CC license thus far is, interestingly, my unintended role as the “benevolent dictator” (not my term). Despite the fact that, really, anyone can do anything they like, I am still asked for insights into various issues on a regular basis. There’s one really nice guy who sends me daily emails for feedback on ideas he has about a book he’s writing. I love answering his questions, but in my mind it’s more like brainstorming than informing… but I know the freedom of CC licenses is sometimes hard for people to understand. I still get emails from people asking of they can print a copy of “The Pig and the Box” for their friend, no matter how hard I work to explain the significance of the license.

On the other hand, the benefits are evident already. Just the fact that there IS someone writing a book about TorrentBoy is amazing. Another amazingly supportive contributor has made a bunch of t-shirts and designs for the project, and others are working on a comic book. With RollBots, I had a select few people taking my ideas and making them live… but with CC, I’ve got the same effect on a massive scale, with ideas you just can’t get without the genius of the commons.

You state that it is a conscious experiment in Fan Fiction – how does the CC license enable that?

Fanfic is a tricky thing, isn’t it? You have an established concept that people love so much they want to expand upon it… but even if they do the most amazing things, it’s still second-class to the world. There are some really great fanfic writers out there; artists as well. What TorrentBoy hopes to demonstrate is that legitimizing those fans is an excellent way to grow your universe and make it richer. You can either do that by blessing “unauthorized” derivative works, or you can give blanket permission to the world to do as they please, and see what happens. I hate the idea of people creating things they love under the shadow of illegality.

What kind of derivative works have begun appearing? As a creator, how do you feel about these derivative works? How are you aggregating them and keeping track of what is created?

There’s at least one book being written that I know of, as well as a comic (or two, I’m not sure). There are some posters in the works, and I have heard there’s a video game of some kind too. Someone is apparently planning a kind of Alternate Reality Game, and I myself am working on both a standard novel and a collaborative one, where we map out the structure and tag-team our way through a first draft. I keep track of the derivative works as much as I can, but I know that, to a certain extent, people will be creating in isolation for the first while, so I probably don’t know about half of the stuff that’s going on.

One of the great ideas I saw floated a few weeks ago was to branch the main TorrentBoy story off into a steampunk variant, set in the late 1800s, with one of TorrentBoy‘s predecessors and his battles to save the world. I don’t know if anyone is running with that idea, but I think it’s an amazing concept, and I’d love to see it happen.

I think creating a show for TV somewhat prepared me for this role, in a lot of ways. When you make something on that scale, you have to give up fine control of how things unfold… great ideas come from unexpected places, and you need to be confident enough in the idea to let it go where it wants. TorrentBoy is the same way, but on a larger scale. It’s not hard for me to fall in love with crazy new ideas spawned from my initial effort… the hard part is waiting to see how they all unfold!

Lastly, how can our readers participate in the TorrentBoy project? Any last words you’d like them to know?

torrentboy_im_2There are lots of ways to participate, and the possibilities are evolving constantly. There’s an effort to document the world of TorrentBoy via our wiki, where you can go and theorize about everything from the finer functions of the Tracker Watch to the motives behind the Rhino-rilla villains. That’s one of my favourite aspects, because anyone can try it out, whether or not they feel they can write long-form prose.

Also on the site are discussion forums where you can suggest ideas or actually deliver new creations based on TorrentBoy… t-shirt designs or doodles or ideas for stories (that maybe you can’t write, but would like to see written). The atmosphere is really friendly and collaborative, which is great for everyone involved.

And finally, there’s a lot to be said for expanding the pool of contributors to the project, which is easily done by pointing people to the first book, Zombie World!, available here. It’s free (or you can pay for it, your choice), and it gives a crash course in the TorrentBoy world. If you know any kids in the 7-11 range that might like a good action novel, it’s a great place to start the adventure.

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Advice for Authors on Negotiating With a Publisher About CC Licenses

Cameron Parkins, March 30th, 2009

Cory Doctorow points us towards an excellent essay from the team behind Digital Foundations on ten key steps to negotiating a CC-licensed release with a large scale publisher:

4. Pitch it with facts

Use case studies to argue with facts. It also helps for them to see that other reputable publishers have licensed books Creative Commons. O’Reilly has some a study on an Asterisk book that we used very effectively.

http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/06/free_downloads.html

The Asterisk book sold 19k copies over two years (about what comparable books from O’Reilly were selling), but was downloaded 180,000 times from *one* of the 5 sites that mirrored it.

Also consider google as arbiter:

Results from google search breakdown of references to the two books in the oreilly case study (at the time of negotiation, early 2008):
asterisk: 139,000 references in 2 years (2005-2007), or 70,000 per year

understanding the linux kernel, 42,000 references in 7 years (2000-2007), 6,000 per year

So there was 10x the press/blog/reference/hits for the CC licensed book.

Treading the sometimes delicate waters of negotiating a CC license with those immediately apprehensive to the idea is difficult at the very least – this type of information, from those who have gone through the process, is invaluable. While the Digital Foundations piece focuses on print publishing, the information therein is applicable across media formats, especially when combined with our ever growing case study database.

We would be remiss not to mention James Boyle’s thoughts on the matter, particularly regarding his experience in licensing The Public Domain: Enclosing The Commons of the Mind under a CC BY-NC-SA license.

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Beatpick Launches New Website

Cameron Parkins, March 11th, 2009

logo1Former Featured Commoner Beatpick have launched a new website that aims to make it easier to explore their diverse catalog, showcasing improved search features and an easy way to find music to be used in commercial contexts. Of course, their entire catalog remains released broadly under a CC BY-NC-SA license, making it shareable and remixable as long as the artists are credited, any derivative works are released under the same license, and any sharing or reuse is noncommercial in intent.

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CASH Music and 50FOOTWAVE Release Power+Light, 1.5GB of CC-Licensed Music

Cameron Parkins, March 6th, 2009

plcover
CASH Music, the CC-friendly non-profit we can’t seem to stop talking about, has teamed up with 50FOOTWAVE to release the band’s entire back-catalog – including a brand new EP Power+Light, prior releases, and various rarities – under a CC BY-NC-SA license.

Fronted by songwriter Kristin Hersh, 50FOOTWAVE’s back-catalog is a massive amount of material, now available for free in both FLAC and MP3 formats making it one of CASH’s most impressive releases to date. The focus of the release is clearly on Power+Light, which can be purchased as a vinyl pressing in addition to free download.

You can hear 50FOOTWAVE’s new EP here and download the tracks here.

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