Building on the past

Neeru Paharia, October 14th, 2004

The ultimate: Carhenge. The image is under a Creative Commons license.

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Finding Licensed Content

Nathan Yergler, October 12th, 2004

If you can’t be bothered to open up your web browser and head over to our search engine, but still have a hankering for licensed content, there’s good news. Well, good news if you run Mac OS X. We now have a Creative Commons Search channel for Sherlock

You can connect to the channel at sherlock:// It still has some rough edges, and there’s definitely room for improvement. If you’re interested in helping, the code is available at the CC Tools SourceForge project. Give it a try, and let me know what you think.

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Art, not law — a new radio program

Glenn Otis Brown, October 11th, 2004

The Creative Remix, with host Benjamen Walker, is an hour-long “lawyer free” examination of the art, culture, and history of the remix. The hour kicks off with a musical analysis of DJ Dangermouse’s infamous remix of the Beatles and Jay-Z. Then we go back in time to check out the ancient Roman art of the poetry mash-up, or the Cento. Then we rewind to the 18th century to check out the birth of copyright and how it affected writers like Alexander Pope; and the early 20th century when the visual artist Marcel Duchamp used the remix to reinvent everything. We also take a field trip to the Mass Mocca museum of modern art to check out the exhibit “Yankee Remix.” Walker brings along a few grad students and a pair of curmudgeonly New England antique collectors to investigate different attitudes towards remixing.

In the second part of the program Walker speaks with three unique remix artists: The historical novelist Matthew Pearl, Gideon D’arcangelo (“The Walkman Buster”), and Cory Arcangel, a Nintendo hacker — and one of the youngest representatives at this year’s Whitney Biennial.

Benjamen Walker did the original music and sound design for our two animations. His weekly radio program “The Theory of Everything” can be heard on WZBC in Boston and, beginning Oct 31st, in San Francisco and on the Internet.

Listen to the show — it will enlighten even the confirmed appropriationist afficionado. If you like it, contact your local public radio station and tell them about this opportunity to provide their audience with a “lawyer free” look at the art form of the remix.

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Associated Press on Creative Commons

Glenn Otis Brown, October 10th, 2004

The AP has a very nice article on recent developments at Creative Commons.

Getting rights OK’d can be frustrating for artists, be they authors seeking to quote an essay or documentary filmmakers who’ve got snippets of pop songs playing in the background of key scenes. Artists and scholars who believe the current copyright system unduly stifles creativity are pushing a less restrictive alternative that they call the Creative Commons.

Driving the movement is the belief that we all benefit when creative minds are free to expand upon others’ work – that public discourse is hurt when too much of it is weighed down by the baggage of commerce.

Adherents of Creative Commons are a varied lot. They include MIT, the Beastie Boys, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, newspaper columnist Dan Gillmor and the British Broadcasting Corp.

I would take issue with that “baggage of commerce” bit, and re-write it like this: “Public discourse and commerce are hurt when too much is weighed down by the baggage of needless legal friction.” But otherwise it’s a gem.

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The WIRED CD: Future Tense

Glenn Otis Brown, October 9th, 2004

Future Tense with Jon Gordon has a nice radio story about the WIRED CD. Give it a listen.

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Creative Commons, eh!

Diane Cabell, October 7th, 2004

Bodies packed Bar 56 in Ottawa’s Byward Market last week for the launch of the first Canadian version of a Creative Commons license. Hosted by the University of Ottawa’s Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) and the Law & Technology Program, the event unfurled the CC banner to a jubilant crowd eager to support the cause.

Canadians let you know that they’re having a really good time at their parties. Greetings ranged from the hearty violence of a lumberjack’s bear hug to the sophisticated cheek-pecking of a Quebecoise. Unlike the hip reserve of the Wired concert event, or the casual certainty of CC San Francisco events, this crowd showed the honest pride of hardy mountaineers who have finally reached the crest. Perhaps this is because Ottawans are still close enough to the frontier to reflect the pioneer spirit. Satisfaction was rampant and celebration well-deserved.

Michael Geist and Pippa Lawson deserve credit for supporting the CC effort in Canada. CA project lead Marcus Bornfreund and his team of researchers are doing more than merely crafting a CC license that is truly Canadian. The next goal is to develop a license template that is less US-centric using terms that are more common internationally. I’m looking forward to hearing more from this energetic group of outstanding scholars.

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Mashing is so easy

Matt Haughey, October 7th, 2004

This week in San Francisco, there’s an interesting conference being held called Web 2.0. In a week of panel discussions, the future of the internet is being charted among technology and industry leaders. Jeff Veen recalls a discussion of copyright among music industry folks including famous mash-up artist DJ Dangermouse. After a lot of hand-wringing by the record execs, DJ Dangermouse dropped some obvious knowledge:

Mashing is so easy. It takes years to learn how to play the guitar and write your own songs. It takes a few weeks of practice with turntable to make people dance and smile. It takes a few hours to crank out something good with some software. So with such a low barrier to entry, everyone jumps in and starts immediately being creative. I don’t understand why that is illegal.

Jason Calacanis has recorded audio of the talk on his site (and just for kicks, someone should probably mash it over some beats :).

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Barcelona in Creative Commons mode

Roland, October 6th, 2004

The University of Barcelona hosted a great conference last Friday in their beautiful Aula Magna to celebrate the launch of the Spanish CC licenses – also available in a Catalan version.

Spanish project lead Ignasi Labastida i Juan had arranged for authorities from the regional government as well as from academia to present their take on the CC project. There was a wonderful presentation – Carta a Hipatia – given by Mr Carlos Sanchez Almeida, a Spanish abogado, asking whether we are truly ready to rebuild the ancient library of Alessandria by digital means. He included a great quotation from Cervantes, pointing out that in the 17th century Cervantes’s writings were circulated widely in Europe because they were effectively pirated! We’ll blog his talk as soon as it is available in English (the Spanish team is currently translating it).

Furthermore, there was a panel in the afternoon, featuring speakers from publishing, research and the arts, outlining their thoughts on intellectual property law and open access policies. During the break, we had a lively discussion – sparked by CC friend Javier de la Cueva, abogado – about whether in Russia (because of their terms of acceding to the Berne Convention) all works created before the year 1973 are actually in the public domain; clearly this is an issue which needs to be explored by us.

In the evening, we all got together again at the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona. Barcelonas Centre for Contemporary Culture (CCCB) is one of the best, newest venues for the arts in Barcelona. The CCCB normally hosts activities such as exhibitions, music, dance, courses, debates, lectures, and more. On this occasion, the Spanish CC team had organized a rather cool event – our CC video clip was shown, superbly translated into Spanish, followed by a short presentation on how to use the licences (the audience being mainly artists), and concluded by remarks from the panel and a rather lively questions and answers session in Castellano, Catalan and English.

The Spanish CC team, the panelists, some fifteen people from the audience and the iCommons representative then headed off to tame Barcelona’s night life and to celebrate the creativity of this ancient capital of Catalunya. Many thanks to all involved – check this blog for photographs and the above mentioned article soon.

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Now Human-Readable in Many Languages

Glenn Otis Brown, October 6th, 2004

Due to overwhelming demand, and thanks to the work of our international project leads and tech crew, the summaries of our licenses are now available in nine different languages. Note how this is different from the iCommons process, which involves translating and adapting the licenses themselves (the lawyer-readable part of things) to various languages and legal systems. Just scroll down to the bottom of any Commons Deed and pick the language you prefer.


We’ve also flipped the switch for this feature on the license chooser. Previously we depended on the default language of your browser, but due to requests, we have offered a way to switch to other languages. Eventually, you may very well see our entire website available in a host of languages as this project continues to spread around the globe.

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Creative Commons South Africa Flourishing

Glenn Otis Brown, October 6th, 2004

Creative Commons South Africa has an amazing new animation that describes the practical aspects of using our copyright licenses better than any piece of media we’ve had until now, and with unusual charm. We’ll host the animation from this site soon, but until we do, it’s available for viewing at the South African site, which is worth bookmarking, generally. It’s got a blog and right now features an interview with WIRED magazine‘s Thomas Goetz, about the forthcoming CD. Hats off to Heather Ford and the rest of the South African crew.

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