Help Us Find Dave Allen, of the Gang of Four

Glenn Otis Brown, July 28th, 2003

A helpful reader spotted this great letter-to-the-editor in the Portland Mercury. It’s from a member of the influential punk & new wave band of the late 70s and early 80s, Gang of Four, but it could’ve been written by us.

Copyright is the issue! Our archaic copyright laws allow artists, musicians, and other creators to hang on to their rights for far too long before they enter the public domain. Today’s technology allows for any creator with a computer to manipulate any sound file available.

Mashing is one example, wherein a musician with a computer takes a song, pulls out the vocal melody, and literally mashes it onto another song. One great example is Madonna’s “Holiday” mashed with a Sex Pistols song. Technically it’s illegal but it’s also good fun and more interesting than a lot of schlock out there.

Today’s talented artists will always run afoul of current copyright laws because it’s an eternity before anything drops back into the public domain. So I say all you computer whiz musicians should go forth and grab a Gang of Four track and mash it onto a Christina Aguilera song just for the hell of it. I’d be pleased because it’s an inventive use of my copyrighted work. It’s the gatekeepers that are stifling creativity and innovation online.

Dave Allen

A call for help: Do any of you know how to get hold of Allen? And if so, could you please introduce him to us and our sampling license discussion? Thanks.


Pet Rock Star^s

Matt Haughey, July 25th, 2003

We’ve previously featured Scott Andrew, a musician and blogger, talking about his Creative Commons licensed songs.
Last year, he noticed a song by Shannon Campbell that he liked, which he began adding to, rearranging, and remxing. He emailed it to her, she liked it, and he posted it on his site (this was done before the Creative Commons started so he obtained permission before sharing the song).

Today Scott and Shannon are participating in a 24-hour charity event called Blogathon. The event asks weblog authors to pick a charity and post something regularly over a 24 hour period this weekend, while sponsors pledge money to the charity. Past blogathons have raised over $50,000 annually for hundreds of charities.

For their “Pet Rock Star^s” blogathon site, they’re accepting donations for Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, but they are planning to do something a little bit different with their blog. They’ve decided to collaborate on a new song, going from idea to finished product over the 24 hour period, posting every lyric idea, guitar riff, and communication between the two (Scott’s on the west coast, Shannon’s on the east coast — oh, and they’ve never met in person).

The coolest part? Every song chunk: the chorus, the drums, the guitar strums, will all be posted and released under a Creative Commons license, so you can play along too, adding your vocals, drums, or lyrics to create new versions. They’re already off and running, and it looks great so far.

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Common Content and Get Content launched

Matt Haughey, July 25th, 2003

The Common Content Registry of Creative Commons licensed works is now open and is filled with lots of great music, photos, educational materials, which are available for copying or re-use. If you’ve chosen a Creative Commons license for your work, you can register your work at Common Content so that others may easily find it.

In light of Common Content, and other projects working to facilitate re-use, Creative Commons has discontinued its Content Registry. All the records hosted here can now be found at Common Content.

To further facilitate re-use, Creative Commons also launched the new Get Content page, which lists various large portals that host Creative Commons licensed content, archived Featured Content of the Week records, and archived Featured Commoner interviews. Check it out, and start getting content for copying and re-use!


Creative Commons licensed site templates

Matt Haughey, July 24th, 2003

Neil Turner, a student designer and computer science student has released his great looking site’s template designs under an Attribution license. They’re downloadable and valid to XHTML 1.1 standards and look pretty easy to modify for your own use, as long as you give Neil credit.

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ItrainOnline’s Training Kit

Matt Haughey, July 24th, 2003

ItrainOnline provides online training materials to NGOs and describes their new Creative Commons-licensed training kit as follows:

The Multimedia Training Kit (MMTK) provides trainers in telecentres, community media organizations, and the development sector with a structured set of materials to help make that jump between new and traditional media or train in a new skill area.

The kit provides lesson plans, instructor materials, handouts and more, and covers technical training, content creation, and specific topics such as violence against women. They’re all available free and under licenses so they can be used, distributed, and enhanced by groups around the world.

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The League of Vaguely Familiar Gentlemen

Glenn Otis Brown, July 22nd, 2003

In a great article about the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Brad Stone of Newsweek makes the perfect case why a stronger public domain would be a good thing — for show business itself.

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Feedster now Creative Commons aware

Matt Haughey, July 20th, 2003

Feedster, the RSS search engine, now understands Creative Commons licenses found in feeds. This marks one of the first search engines of any sort to recognize our metadata and display information about it. They’ll start implementing them on search results and cache pages soon but are open to other suggestions for use.

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GET CREATIVE! Moving Image Contest — Win a G5!!!

Neeru Paharia, July 18th, 2003

With “Get Creative”, our Flash movie, we took a shot at explaining Creative Commons’ mission. We’re fond of it, but we think you could do an even better job. On August 1st Creative Commons is launching the GET CREATIVE! Moving Image Contest, a competition to create a 2-minute moving image that articulates the Creative Commons mission.

The 1st prize winner will receive an AppleĀ® Power MacĀ® G5 Personal Computer.
Contest runs August 1st, 2003 to September 30, 2003. Please return to this site for official rules and entry restrictions.

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Washington Post

Press Robot, July 18th, 2003

Reading between the lines of fan fiction” by Ariana Eunjung Cha

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Wired News

Press Robot, July 18th, 2003

Supreme Court vs. The Supremes” by Katie Dean

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