Carpool Conversations is a newly launched video series from LA-based Pink Cloud Events. Produced in collaboration with Honda, the 3-part series aims to capture intimate and unexpected conversations between strangers sharing a ride in a Honda Insight. While the topics vary from episode to episode, a common thread through out is the importance of sharing experiences – a concept that resonates strongly with CC’s mission.
The first episode finds members of LA-based fruit finding collaborative Fallen Fruit and Damien Somerset of green video site Zaproot discussing the merits of hybrid cars, free fruit, and a variety of other topics. This sharing of information extends beyond the car ride as Carpool Conversations is released under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative license, allowing the video to be legally and openly shared across the web.
Thankfully, this is just the first in a delightful series – the next episode of Carpool Conversations features Top Chef Master contestant, Elizabeth Falkner of Orson/Citizen Cake, community manager Michelle Broderick of yelp.com, and tech-chocolate maker Timothy Childs of tcho.com.1 Comment »
Used in connection with Creative Commons the word “hybrid” has typically denoted an “economy” or “models” involving both sharing and commerce. Over half of CC founder Lawrence Lessig’s most recent book is devoted to exploring this sort of hybrid — see Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. CC licenses are a vital tool for enabling such hybrids in an environment where the default is hostile to the “sharing” side of the equation.
In a series of thought provoking blog posts Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, has introduced a different but entirely complementary “hybrid” — hybrid organizations. What is a hybrid organization? Mark asks and tentatively answers that question in the first post of the series:
So, what is a hybrid org? In the case of Mozilla — and an increasing number of other orgs — it’s a mix of social mission, disruptive market strategies and web-like scale and collaboration. Or, at least, that’s the definition I see emerging.
Another intriguing description, from the same post:
All of these organizations are trying to ‘move the market’ on the web in a way that both engages and benefits a broad public. As they do so, they are charting new territory.
Many of the comments and blogged replies are well worth reading, offering refinements and alternative descriptions. Frank Hecker, also of the Mozilla Foundation, provides some critical grounding in the theory of disruptive innovation. Commenter Stephan provides an alternative and also compelling description:
I find it easier to think about these organizations as a hybrid between a classical (hierarchical) organization and a social movement (or network).
It is the mix of the two that requires both a market perspective (the classic organization needs to make money to function) and a social mission (need that to create passion for the product or service among your the movement or network).
Much has been said about the interaction of movements and organizations — see Epistemic Communities and Social Movements : Transnational Dynamics in the Case of Creative Commons for a paper looking at the CC case — and how digital networks are changing the boundaries and interactions of movements and organizations. Nearly all of the organizations Mark mentions in his series have a strong “movement” aspect. One open question I have about hybrid organizations is their relationship to movements, or more broadly, non-organizational actors. Are hybrid organizations better able to leverage (and be leveraged by) the non-organizational sector, itself abetted by digital networks? Or even have hybrid organizations arisen in order for non-organizational actors and movements to achieve things in the world that require just-enough-organization and market savvy?
Stephen DeBerry provides an astutely skeptical comment on hybrid organizations:
One can approach this hybrid space with varying intent. In your/my case public benefit is central and necessary. In other cases the claim of public benefit is great marketing, but the actual public benefit is secondary or worse.
If that’s the case then there’s an interesting question for those seeking to drive public benefit: how do you ensure the public benefit remains core to the hybrid model?
This is a place where CC plays a vital role as a tool for hybrids. Just as CC licenses enable healthy hybrid economies and models, use of CC licenses by a hybrid organization help signal that such an organization takes its public benefit side seriously, and help ensure that it continues to do so. With so much of hybrid organizations’ output being digital media, offering that media under CC licenses, in particular free as in freedom ones, serve as a continual check-up on the organization’s public benefit intent, and an assurance against lock-in if that intent wavers. There may be useful parallels to be drawn between unhealthy “sharecropping” hybrid models (typically where a web company retains all of the rights to media created by users, making users unfree to use their own creations) and the hybrid organization as “great marketing” or worse described by Stephen. It should also be noted that free and open source software licenses provide a similar and complementary check on hybrid organizations that produce software — and nearly all do, at least in the form of customization of web site software.
What about CC as a hybrid organization? We’re very carefully exploring the most obvious incarnation of hybrid in the form of the CC Network. However, the addition of a non-donation revenue stream to a nonprofit isn’t necessary or sufficient to qualify it as a hybrid organization (see Frank Hecker’s post). Mark Surman’s initial descriptions of hybrid organizations (see above) don’t even mention business or revenue. These are worth quoting again, as the top of this post is far away:
[A] mix of social mission, disruptive market strategies and web-like scale and collaboration … trying to ‘move the market’ on the web in a way that both engages and benefits a broad public.
This of course describes just what Creative Commons does. Through free (as in freedom as well as gratis — and yes zero price is a market strategy as is freedom) and carefully branded legal and technical tools deployed on a web scale in collaboration with businesses, affiliates, supportive movements, and individuals, Creative Commons is “moving the market” consensus and practice away from default lockdown and toward more hack-remix-opportunity-generative-ness (to quote another and not explicitly related Mark Surman post) or more conventionally, more sharing, freedom, openness, autonomy and lower transaction costs and barriers to collaboration and innovation.
Creative Commons will be watching this discussion closely, and participating. Do you find the “hybrid organization” construct useful? What insights can be gained from the construct and experiences of other hybrids to make CC a more effective organization (hybrid or not) and enabler of healthy hybrids — organizations, models, and economies?Comments Off
Runes of Gallidon is a “user-generated online fantasy world of swords, magic, adventure and mystery” that just launched in public beta. Distinguishing Runes of Gallidon from other virtual worlds is the decision to license all the content in the ROG universe under a CC BY-NC-SA license. Any work that the community creates is kept free and open for the rest of the community to use and build upon, a choice that allows the plot lines and characters of Runes of Gallidon to evolve naturally and legally.
While the ROG universe evolves through user-submitted content, Brain Candy, LLC (the group behind Runes of Gallidon)
will be doing legwork to turn Rules of Gallidon into a source of potential revenue, namely in film/TV and merchandise will be marketing the website to help audiences find the creative community’s Gallidon works (content creators have the ability to shop their ideas to interested parties as well). The monetary gains from these endeavors will be split between community and Brain Candy in two distinct ways:
If Brain Candy, LLC, prints your story in a book, prints a poster, a T-shirt, etc. and makes any money directly from your Work, you receive 50% of the money. If you sell your Work set in Runes of Gallidon (a published book, album cover art, posters, etc.), we ask that you contribute to Brain Candy, LLC 10% of the money you receive.
That is the basic formula: each Artisan owns the Work they create, but the world of Runes of Gallidon and everything in it is shared by the entire Gallidon creative community.
This is a unique implementation to our CC+ protocol and a fresh approach to crafting an online fantasy world. By using CC licenses, the group behind Runes of Gallidon have created a hybrid-economy where the sharing of content (enabled by CC licenses) is monetized based on an additional set of legal guidelines, in turn encouraging growth through legal protection and an opportunity for monetary gain.2 Comments »
A great article in the most recent WIRED, Clive Thompson on How T-Shirts Keep Online Content Free, discusses the growing hybrid economy developed by purveyors of free content looking for a stable source of income. Their answer? Schwag in general, t-shirts in particular:
Increasingly, creative types are harnessing what I’ve begun to call “the T-shirt economy”—paying for bits by selling atoms. Charging for content online is hard, often impossible. Even 10 cents for a download of something like Red vs. Blue might drive away the fans. So instead of fighting this dynamic, today’s smart artists are simply adapting to it.
Their algorithm is simple: First, don’t limit your audience by insisting they pay to see your work. Instead, let your content roam freely online, so it generates as large an audience as possible. Then cash in on your fans’ desire to sport merchandise that declares their allegiance to you.
While Thompson doesn’t mention CC directly (he does mention Jonathan Coulton, a CC-staff favorite and current partner in our fundraising drive), he hints at the mentality behind our CC+ initiative and generally argues that openness is an important component of functional business models going forward.Comments Off
Over a year and a half ago the ccMixter community decided to stop having formal remix contests in part because in a CC context, the traditional format seemed outdated. In a typical remix contest an artist would post the stems to one song, retaining all the rights to the samples as well as the remixes produced by the entrants. After the contest deadline, the samples are typically taken off the web site in order to take them out of official circulation.
By contrast, on ccMixter, we’ve turned to a ‘call for remixes’ model where we get the artist to put the stems for an entire album into the Commons and keep it there. Therefore the concept of a ‘deadline’ seems mute. The best part is that the rights to the remixes are retained by the artist. This has proven to be much more amenable to the community and it has responded with 1,000s of remixes to calls by DJ Vadim, Bucky Jonson, Trifonic,Calendar Girl, Brad Sucks and Shannon Hurley.
Shannon exemplifies the new hybrid sharing+business model because when we she was ready to put together an album of remixes she licensed, for a fee, the remixes from the producers for the album “Second Light: The Ready to Wake Up Remixes” (AMIE Street, CD Baby and iTunes).
She will be performing the remixes with Ben Eisen on bass, Sam Cunningham on drums, and “my apple notebook” in Los Angeles on December 10th. This gig will be quite the party as ccMixter producer DJ Doughy will be flying from Kansas City, Mo. and I’ll be making a special trip to LA for this event as well. (There is a $12 charge at the door.)
Our latest call has special significance because we’ve been trying to get indie star State Shirt for a while and he’s come through in a big way. Not only did he put his entire “This is Old” album, stems, a cappellas and all, into the Commons but his plan is to use the remixes themselves as source material for a new album of original music. State is a master songwriter who writes and performs in an “energetic and ridiculously catchy” way according to DoKashiteru who should know: his DnB smasher remix was an Editor Pick minutes after upload.
The State Shirt call is: “Remix Me So I Can Remix You”
He says: “Creative Commons is the perfect antidote for a collapsing landscape still clinging to traditional copyright. I hope more artists discover that freedom, flexibility, collaboration and community are now an option. I also hope that my fellow ccMixters would want to get involved with me, in both the creation and re-creation of music.”Comments Off
One of the things we’ve become very interested in finding more examples of are creators who are using our licenses in combination with traditional business models. For example, many musicians (including our recent Commoner Letter author Jonathan Coulton) sell copies of their CC-licensed music. This may seem cognitively dissonant but in practice it makes perfect sense, as a CC-licensed piece of music simply announces what you can do once you get your hands on it, and it certainly doesn’t restrict the original creator from selling it to you.
Some of the most robust instances of this behavior are musicians who have released CC-licensed material on iTunes, Amazon, and Magnatune. Ambient Electronic artist Kirsty Hawkshaw has done this with her album The Ice Castle, which has a presence in all three stores, but also indicates that is under CC’s Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. In the cases of iTunes and Amazon, the stores themselves are not using the CC license, but are selling the work via the rights they have under their direct agreement with the copyright holders – Hawkshaw and her label, Magnatune. For more about how CC licenses can work in tandem with other agreements, visit our page that describes CC+.
We’d love to hear and see more examples of this kind of hybrid business thinking utilizing our licenses. Do you know of any others? If so, just drop a comment on this post, or contact us any other way. Thanks!Comments Off