Michael Mandiberg

Collaborative² Futures

Mike Linksvayer, March 25th, 2010

FLOSS Manuals, true to its name, produces manuals for free software applications. The manuals themselves are freely licensed and often written in book sprints. This January, as part of the Transmediale festival in Berlin, FLOSS Manuals attempted its first non-manual booksprint — a considerably harder task, as no structure is implied. Only the book title, Collaborative Futures, was given — a collaborative experiment about the future of collaboration.

The initial collaborators each had considerable experience with free software or free culture collaborations — Michael Mandiberg, Marta Peirano, Alan Toner, Mushon Zer-Aviv, me, and FLOSS Manuals’ honcho Adam Hyde and programmer Aleksandar Erkalovic.

Initially we thought we’d write much about licenses and other topics much debated by those in the free software and free culture community. After a day of intense discussion of book content and structure, those debates were left in the background as we tackled explaining what kinds of collaboration we intended to write about and speculating about what the future of collaboration holds. As appropriate, we did use licenses — the book is released under the CC Attribution-ShareAlike license and incorporates a fair amount of previously existing material under the same or compatible licenses (surprisingly enough, none from Wikipedia).

A one minute video was made for the book’s New York launch, available at the Internet Archive and Vimeo.

There’s also a licensing (and collaboration?) story behind the video. Producer Bennett Williamson wanted to use “Rolands Vegners” by Ergo Phizmiz & Margita Zalite as the soundtrack. Bennett writes on his Free Music Archive blog:

This was a problem, because Collaborative Futures (and all its related materials) already had a different type of CC license than Ergo’s track; Attribution-ShareAlike and Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike respectively.

I really liked the song and wanted to keep it in the video, so I contacted Ergo and asked him if he’d be willing to change the license type of his track… and he agreed! Score one for copyright alternatives!

So remember kids, when syncing up these jams to your sweet vids, make sure that your derivitive has a license that jives with that of the original work. And sometimes all you have to do is ask.

With that, here’s ten more instrumentals from the Archives ready for you to slap into your timeline. Thanks to those of you who made suggestions of tracks to include; please keep them coming!

All well worth keeping in mind for future collaborations. Check out the book, and more importantly, FLOSS Manuals and the Free Music Archive, excellent free culture projects covering a broad range of tastes.

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Working With Publishers and Creative Commons

Fred Benenson, January 13th, 2009

Books in a Stack by austinevan

Books in a Stack by austinevan

Artist, programmer, and now author Michael Mandiberg, has a fantastic post offering advice to authors interested in using CC licenses (and CC licensed work) for their books. Mandiberg’s recent book, Digital Foundations: an Intro to Media Design with the Adobe Creative Suite, is both licensed under Creative Commons and utilizes CC licensed media, so he speaks with authority on the subject. His first nugget of advice really demonstrates how progress authors have made while asking for the right to use CC:

1. Figure out what you want and ask for it
Every contract is negotiable. Choose what you want and ask for it. Do not be afraid to ask for it. In our case, we focused on getting Creative Commons licensing into the contract, but we also asked for and received other modifications, including a higher percentage of royalties after a certain number of books sold, a stipend to design the book and ownership of the book layout and design (which we licensed CC).

This is essential reading if you’re talking with your publisher about using CC, so don’t miss the 9 other suggestions.

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Digital Foundations, CC-Licensed Media Design Instruction

Cameron Parkins, December 22nd, 2008

Digital Foundations: Intro to Media Design with the Adobe Creative Suite is a new book that aims to teach the principles of Bauhaus design and its relation to modern software, Adobe’s Creative Suite in particular:

Digital Foundations uses formal exercises of the Bauhaus to teach the Adobe Creative Suite. All students of digital design and production—whether learning in a classroom or on their own—need to understand the basic principles of design in order to implement them using current software. Far too often design is left out of books that teach software for the trade and academic markets. Consequently, the design software training exercise is often a lost opportunity for visual learning. Digital Foundations reinvigorates software training by integrating Bauhaus formal design exercises inspired by the history of art and design into tutorials fusing design fundamentals and core Adobe Creative Suite methodologies. The result is a cohesive learning experience.

The book is being released under a CC BY-NC-SA license and is available for free in wiki format (also available for purchase here). This license choice not only keeps the content open and shareable, but is also a “first for AIGA Design Press, New Riders, and Peachpit, and the result of 9 months of negotiation” (via Boing Boing).

Digital Foundations‘ authors, xtine burrough and Michael Mandiberg, have posted their musings on copyright, the public domain, and Creative Commons on the Digital Founation’s blog through out the book’s creation. Similarly, we would be remiss if we failed to mention that while the book focuses on Adobe’s Creative Suite, the design principles taught therein are equally applicable to open-source design tools such as GIMP and Inkscape.

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