Creative Commons RSS in Manila

Matt Haughey, April 14th, 2003

While there have been a couple generic (1, 2) RSS implementations of Creative Commons licensing in the past, Dave Winer today added support in the Manila software package.

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Downward Facing Blog

Glenn Otis Brown, April 7th, 2003

Bikram Choudhury, “creator” of a popular type of yoga, is now
claiming a copyright
in the style and demanding royalties.

No word yet whether the estates of the authors of the Upanishads — or for that matter, the entire subcontinent — will counter-sue.

See a lively and amusing discussion on Metafilter.

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New Featured Commoner: Opsound

Matt Haughey, April 3rd, 2003

Sal Randolph of Opsound recently sat down for an interview with us. She talks about her new project, Opsound, and how Creative Commons licenses will be worked into it.

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Lots of music

Matt Haughey, April 3rd, 2003

We have made several recent musical additions to the Creative Commons Featured Works registry, and noticed more musicians online using the licenses. Here’s a random sampling of licensed music that has caught our eyes (and ears): Christine McCarthy, Horton’s Choice, Joshua Ellis, The Phoenix Trap, Clyde Federal, brokensoundcard, The Walkingbirds’ recent songs, and some war protest songs.

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Creative Commons article in Syllabus Magazine

Matt Haughey, April 2nd, 2003

Our very own Executive Director, Glenn Otis Brown, penned an article introducing the Creative Commons to the readers of Syllabus Magazine, which covers technology issues in higher education.

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CSS Examples and Commentary

Glenn Otis Brown, April 1st, 2003

Tantek Celik has recently released some useful CSS examples (with accompanying commentary) under a Creative Commons attribution license.

Check out Tantek’s reasoning for the move.

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Harvard Blogs and Creative Commons

Matt Haughey, March 28th, 2003

Dave Winer, author of popular blogging software systems and various technical specifications, is currently a Berkman fellow at the Harvard Law School. He has spearheaded a project to bring weblogs to everyone on campus, and has chosen to include Creative Commons licenses in the default templates.

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New Global Vision

Matt Haughey, March 19th, 2003

New Global Vision is an interesting video project out of Italy. They are aiming to archive videos from around the world to ease the burden of bandwidth on any single download source. They’ve assembled a database of 130 videos so far — all under the Attribution, Noncommerical, Share Alike Creative Commons licenses.

New Global Vision is also powered by free software technology.

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Financial Times

Press Robot, March 17th, 2003

Why copyright need not be an issue” by Richard Poynder

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Franz Liszt, Mixmaster, and J.S. Bach, Klepto

Glenn Otis Brown, March 16th, 2003

“Time was when the art of arrangement” — the creative reinterpretation of songs — “occupied an honored place in musical composition.”

“Bach, Mozart, Liszt and Ravel,” writes Liszt biographer Alan Walker in the New York Times, “were among the many composers who lavished their talents on this important activity, fitting out their own works or those of others for different forces, usually larger or smaller.”

Walker’s article is an elegant reminder that rip-mix-burn art long preceded the Net, transcends pop culture, and reflects good taste as well as sound policy. Best of all is how Walker (unwittingly?) echoes a Jeffersonian wisdom about creative “property.”

Here are a few of the more striking passages (though you really should read the whole piece, even if, like me, you’re largely ignorant of classical music):

. . . The most familiar criticism of arrangements is that they harm the originals. An analogy is sometimes drawn with painting. If you put a mustache on the “Mona Lisa,” it is argued, a masterpiece has been destroyed. Likewise with music. Tamper with the original, and something has been lost forever. But this analogy is surely false. If you deface a canvas, something has indeed been destroyed. But a musical arrangement destroys nothing; it merely creates an alternative. The original is still there, unharmed, waiting to be played. . . .

. . . So complete was Liszt’s mastery of the art of transferring music from one medium to another that his arrangements have often eclipsed the models that gave them life. Consider his piano arrangements of six of Chopin’s “Polish Songs,” especially “The Maiden’s Wish” and “My Joys,” which are still in the standard repertory. Liszt elevates these pieces to a new level and makes them sound as if they were born on the keyboard. In fact, they have made their way around the world as piano pieces, while Chopin’s songs are known and appreciated only by aficionados. This is more than transcription: it is translation. . . .

. . . But what of the moral argument? Isn’t a composer’s music his or her personal property? And isn’t it a form of theft to appropriate it? If that were the case, many of the greatest composers in history would be guilty of grand larceny. And as for those artful dodgers Bach and Handel, we would have to dismiss them as musical kleptomaniacs. They and others never took the slightest interest in the “moral” point of view. Music, for them, was there to be recycled, time and again if necessary. For the rest, since all good arrangers put in more than they take out, and since nothing is destroyed, the whole of music benefits. What kind of kleptomaniac gives more than he takes? . . .

. . . In an arrangement, music talks about music; music communicates with music; the language turns in on itself and, in the greatest examples, produces a critical commentary on the original, a closed world par excellence. What a wonderful phenomenon that is. . . .

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