2004 September

WIRED Concert and CD: A Study in Collaboration

Glenn Otis Brown, September 28th, 2004

My favorite part of the WIRED concert last week were the two songs Gilberto Gil and David Byrne performed together.

The first was called “Asa Branca,” a 1947 song penned by Luiz Gonzaga and Humberto Teixeira and based on a traditional Brazilian tune. Gil and Bryne traded verses in Portuguese and English as their percussionists rumbled like a mad river behind them.

The second was a Brazilian arrangement of Cole Porter’s commons-minded cowboy song, “Don’t Fence Me In”:

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,

Don’t fence me in.

Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,

Don’t fence me in.


Photo by Yoon Son.

Both songs had the 1500-person crowd dancing, thanks to the tasty rhythms, yes, but also to the gesture: Musical superstars from North and South, jamming together, building earlier works into new creations, in real time. Lawyers on the sidelines and in the audience, where they belong. The big Creative Commons logo smiling overhead.

To me the two songs stand for the entire WIRED concert and its forthcoming CD. It has all been an exercise in joint authorship, a study in collaboration. Here’s a grossly oversimplified list of players (there are too many to list here):

The best part: the main collaboration is yet to come. That’s between you and the artists. Come October 26, you can jam with Gil and Byrne, and many more.

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Creative Commons in New York

Glenn Otis Brown, September 28th, 2004

Last week was a little like The Muppets Take Manhattan, only with cameos by Gilberto Gil and David Byrne instead of Liza Manelli and Ed Koch. Converging from as far as Berlin, Portland, San Francisco, and Tokyo, the Creative Commons team ran wild in the streets of New York, leaving us little time to explain our exploits on our site. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but in any case we’d like to share some of our experiences with you here soon. Stay tuned . . .

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Wall Street Journal Article

Neeru Paharia, September 27th, 2004

Here’s a free link to the Wall Street Journal article on the WIRED CD that we mentioned a few days ago.

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Open Access Culture

Mike Linksvayer, September 27th, 2004

The traditional academic journal publishing model has readers pay very steep fees for access. Open access publishers are challenging this model with a new one that allows free public access, with costs paid by submission fees. The sustainability of the open access has been the subject of much debate. We’ve linked to a Nature forum on the topic twice. (Public Library of Science and BioMed Central, two standard-bearers for open access publishing, each use Creative Commons licenses.)

Whether the “creator pays” model is sustainable for academic publishing or not, it is clear to me that is how much culture gets created. A few days ago an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Venture capitalist rewrites the starving-author story, illustrates with an extreme case and in passing mentions that the venerable (and entirely subscription-funded) Kirkus Reviews is launching pay-to-be-reviewed ($350) service available to self publishers.

The only thing atypical about the wealthy author in the aforementioned article is that he’s spending lots of money to promote his novel. In the typical case the creator doesn’t have money for promotion but does bear the cost of creation — think self-published (and many “published”) authors, bands without commercial appeal, and artists with a day job of all sorts. They pay the costs of creation (and obtain its beneifts), perhaps as a labor of love, but it’s “creator pays” nonetheless.

Advocates of open access to academic journals were clever to call their model “open access” rather than “creator pays”. Artists who bear the costs of creation anyway ought to think about taking a bit of this cleverness and making their works explicitly “open access”. Could it be that there’s a way to do that? Surely anticlimactic for readers of this blog — get a Creative Commons license.

Dare I mention that with a Creative Commons license people can find your work and you can use the Internet Archive’s free service for hosting and bandwidth?

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Byrne + Gil + WIRED + Creative Commons: Liberation France

Glenn Otis Brown, September 26th, 2004

More coverage of the forthcoming WIRED CD from Liberation, in France. (Rough translation of the headline: “Gil and Byrne release a CD that begs to be copied.”) The piece mentions the concert, a few of the artists from the CD, and other prominent Creative Commons licensors like Roger McGuinn and Robert Greenwald.

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Gilberto Gil and David Byrne Concert: Wall Street Journal and New York Times

Glenn Otis Brown, September 26th, 2004

Fuller re-caps of the New York WIRED + Creative Commons concert with Gilberto Gil and David Byrne are on the way. (We’ve all just arrived back home after a very hectic and great week in the Big Apple.) For now, check out a couple of choice press accounts from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times (reg. required).

As soon as we have reprint rights to these stories, you’ll find them here.

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We can work it out

Mike Linksvayer, September 24th, 2004

BBC commentator Bill Thompson, riffing on the ongoing dispute between Apple Computer and Apple Corps (the Beatles), has a suggestion:

In the days they set up Apple Corps they were radical hippies who challenged the establishment in many ways.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they did the same thing now, and made the music available without rights management systems, under a non-commercial Creative Commons license that let others reuse their songs?

It would be a wonderful gesture to the future, recognising that the Fab Four only succeeded because they were inspired by those who came before, taking riffs and musical forms from others.

Maybe it’ll never happen with the Beatles. However, today’s radical musicians may wish to consider the message that wraps up Justin Cone’s Building on the Past before selling out:

Creativity always builds on the past.

And you’re building the past right now.

Share now.

Shape tomorrow.

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Great concert, and news of updates

Matt Haughey, September 23rd, 2004

photo of the concert, by Kathryn Yu

(photo by Kathryn Yu)

If you attended or heard the webcast of the Creative Commons Benefit Concert that was presented by WIRED last night, I’m sure you’ll agree it was a fantastic show. Gilberto Gil and David Byrne played for almost two hours each, and even sang a couple songs together. We want to thank everyone that came out and everyone that helped setup the show.

We’ve updated the WIRED page with new information, featuring a short snippet from our second movie explaining the Sampling licenses. We’ve also created a one-page comic explaining how the license works in practice.

In other news, we’ve also launched a new way to support the work of our non-profit. Our support page carries several ways to give to the organization: you can become a Commoner and obtain varying levels of merchandise for your donation, you can donate directly, and you can buy t-shirts from us or cafepress.

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Creative Commons Benefit Concert Webcast

Matt Haughey, September 20th, 2004

Thanks to the Ken and the team at Smartley-Dunn, we’re pleased to announce that our upcoming concert this Tuesday night in New York City will be webcast live from this page (requires Apple’s Quicktime player). Ticketmaster says the show is now sold out, and we won’t be archiving the audio, but the concert will be streamed September 21st, live starting at 8PM EST. We want to thank Ken for putting it together, Wired, David Byrne, and Gilberto Gil for letting it happen, and Apple for hosting it all.

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Searching for Creative Commons on Yahoo!

Neeru Paharia, September 17th, 2004

In addition to using our new search engine to find great content to build upon and share, you can also do interesting searches using Yahoo!, who currently indexes ~ 4.7 million Creative Commons licensed pages. Yahoo! allows you to constrain searches to pages that link to specific Creative Commons licenses using the “link:URL” function. For example, these are all the Yahoo! results for pages that link to the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. The linkback feature, coupled with a regular text search, can yield some interesting results:

Here are all the Yahoo! indexed pages that have the word “sunset” on them, and link to the Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license.

Versus the Creative Commons search: Here are all the Creative Commons indexed pages that have images on them, the word “sunset,” and I can modify and alter.

The Creative Commons search engine works differently, in that it’s able to add another layer of granularity to the search, by reading code embedded into the web page. By reading this code (that comes with every Creative Commons license) it understands what kind of content it’s finding (image, video, audio, text, etc.) and searches across different license attributes. It’s almost like a huge distributed database across the Web.

Our search engine is one of the first of its kind to demonstrate the Semantic Web, a vision led by Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web.

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