2004 August

Announcing the commonwealth

Matt Haughey, August 16th, 2004

A few weeks back, we unveiled a new list for discussing the intersection of Creative Commons licenses and business, dubbed Commonwealth. It’s headed by Marshall Van Alstyne, an Associate Professor of Information Economics at Boston University. The welcome message to the list details the goals for the list and plans for exploring hybrid licensing systems. If you’d like to sign up, the list’s homepage is the place to start.

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Dan Gillmor interview up

Matt Haughey, August 13th, 2004

We caught up with Dan Gillmor this week and conducted a short interview about the future of journalism and his new book, We The Media.

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Live Modern

Matt Haughey, August 12th, 2004

Live Modern is a new community site that describes themselves as “a free and open community for modern home buyers, architects, builders, developers, lenders, realtors–anyone interested in modernist housing.” They’ve got a Creative Commons license on all their own content, a section devoted to a new, affordable, custom modern home called The Glide House, a blog started by someone purchasing a Glide home of their own, as well as an architect’s blog covering the real-time development of a new home design. If you’re into sleek, modern homes, this site is a real treat.

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Open Audiobooks Project

Matt Haughey, August 12th, 2004

We’ve seen a couple audiobook projects popup around Creative Commons licensed books recently (Lessig’s audiobook and Doctorow’s audiobook), but this new Open Audiobooks Project aims to collect recordings of public domain books. They’re kicking off the project by recording Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. If you’re a fan of the book, have a good voice, and want to contribute to the project, sign on their site.

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30,000 songs licensed on Soundclick in one month

Neeru Paharia, August 12th, 2004

Soundclick, one of the Internet’s biggest music community sites, prominently integrated our license engine just one month ago. In that time, over 30,000 tracks have been licensed under Creative Commons licenses. Genres vary, and many of the tracks allow derivatives, so break out your music editing software and mix away.

More details from the press release.

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Collage Mania

Matt Haughey, August 10th, 2004

While it doesn’t carry a Creative Commons license or promote licensed work exclusively, the new website Collage Mania is worthy of mention here because it’s the first time I’ve seen a blog focused solely on great collage work found online.

Most Creative Commons licensed photographs (the ones that don’t carry the No Derivatives clause) are open to collage, and this site showcases a lot of great work and may give you ideas for your next collage project.

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Creative Commons and The Plains

Mike Linksvayer, August 6th, 2004

There’s a been good discussion about music and Creative Commons licenses happening on the pho list the last day or so. The most novel post comes from Jim Griffin:

Here’s an example from my new reality: In our neighborhood (The Plains, VA,
population 266) and in our region there are many people who adopt for their
land a conservation easement, essentially signing away (sometimes with
certain modifications) their right and any future owner’s right to develop
the land outside some fairly restrictive parameters.

On a strictly financial basis, it makes little sense. The dramatic reduction
in the land’s value does bring lower property taxes, but this pales by
comparison to the lost right to develop the land. And make no mistake about
it: The Washington area sprawls, especially so with the restriction on the
height of buildings in the city. Northern Virginia is a hotbed of real
estate development, and plots of land of 30 or more acres go for a massive
premium to builders ready to sell about 40 houses per acre. It is the OBS,
the One Big Score, rivaling a hit album, or a string of them, in the
financial payday it delivers.

Put simply, you’d be an irresponsible fiduciary to adopt a conservation
easement on your land.

On the other hand, it is not uncommon for an owner to choose to do so.


They have a long-term perspective on their role in the community. They know
they at most use the land during their lifetime, and they want to preserve
its place in the “commons” that surround us.

The move to The Plains has been a journey from ME to WE, from the ego-sphere
of Hollywood to the community grain silo, the volunteer fire department and
a wave of the hand to and from the neighbors who share this valley. I can’t
remember my neighbors in Los Angeles; already I cannot forget those who
share this place between the mountains.

So I guess I get the Creative Commons. Or I hope to. Or there is hope that I
might, and that some of it may rub off on our son. And as I write this, as
the fading twilight of The Plains reflects off the pond, Creative Commons
makes sense. These songs, like this land, are ours for a time, and there
comes a time we should pass them on to the community.

The Creative Commons story has many altruistic and pragmatic readings. Jim’s story above adds one of the former. In the same thread Lucas Gonze adds an insightful rendition of the latter:

My own perspective on CC is that it doesn’t matter whether licenses declare that files are redistributable or anything else in particular. What matters is that there is legal metadata.

A big part of the current impasse is caused by the need to automate clearances. We need to be able to write programs which look up rights, or at the least have a computer assisted method for looking them up by hand.

About the plains, conservationism and altruism, I personally don’t see open media (or code) that way. Making your media more open gives you certain practical benefits, and if it isn’t the selfish thing to do then you shouldn’t do it.

Either, or, neither? Make up your own story. Keep those ideas around for the next contest. (None planned at the moment!)

Text by Jim Griffin and Lucas Gonze above copied from pho-list postings with permission.

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Musicians on the INDUCE act

Matt Haughey, August 6th, 2004

There’s a bill currently being debated in the US Senate, called the INDUCE act (here’s a good background on it), that aims to criminalize P2P networks, programmers, software compnaies, and anyone else that can be shown to help “induce copyright infringement.”

Many law observers have criticized the act’s broad language, but the Future of Music Coalition surveyed musicians to get their opinions on the target of the act, P2P networks. The final product of the survey is a letter to the senate committee debating the bill. The key points are illuminating and worth restating here: artists don’t feature in discussions of the bill (just large music labels and technology companies), the bill assumes all copyright owners do not want their works shared on P2P networks (35% of musicians they surveyed saw value in P2P sharing for them), and the bill doesn’t allow market-based (like licensing) solutions to occur. Former Creative Commons featured commoner Scott Andrew highlights the survey, the letter, and his problems with the bill in this post.

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Interview with Wikipedia founder

Matt Haughey, August 6th, 2004

Slashdot is carrying a great interview with the founder of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is only about three and a half years old, but in that time it has already grown well beyond the size of most standard printed encyclopedias. In the interview, Jim Wales talks about how they manage all that content, how they collect and spend donations to keep it running, and what the future holds for Wikipedia. While Wikipedia isn’t Creative Commons licensed content, it is licensed in a similar open fashion and this interview provides insight into what it takes to run a massive open and free content project.

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Copyright suffers in trade agreement

Matt Haughey, August 5th, 2004

A recent trade agreement between Australia and the US included a provision that extended Australia’s copyright from 50 years after author death to 70 years, to match US Law. There was speculation that Project Gutenberg Australia would suffer, and it looks like it officially has. Take a look at this list of authors that were once available for public domain download in Australia, but no longer are. There are some amazing works in that list of authors, now locked up for two more decades.

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