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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Political Expression and Copyright

Glenn Otis Brown, September 15th, 2004

Today Robert Greenwald announced the release of footage from his controversial film Outfoxed under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus license. The release of his earlier film, Uncovered, will follow soon.

Says Greenwald:

In making Outfoxed and Uncovered, I learned how cumbersome and expensive it can be to license footage from news organizations. Creative Commons licenses allow me as a filmmaker to know immediately how I can use a piece of content in my films. I could think of no better way to walk the talk myself than by releasing the interviews from Outfoxed and Uncovered under a license that allows other filmmakers to use my material in new and creative ways. I look forward to seeing what others do with these interviews.

As you know (or at least I hope you do), Creative Commons is a nonpartisan organization. What excites us about this announcement is not Greenwald’s content or viewpoint, but rather the fact that a prominent political speaker has realized that “all rights reserved” copyright might not serve his goals. Like pretty much all expression, political speech is automatically copyrighted when fixed in a medium. And yet political speech’s reason-for-being is to be heard far and wide. Whether in the form of campaign pamphlet, polemical movie, or protest song, core expression is perfectly suited to online distribution. It’s also perfect for interaction: You’ve got to be able to use an adversary’s speech to rebut it. In the digital age, that often means copying and re-framing a piece of media. Fair use provides some cover for this kind of thing, but political debate should be settled on its merits, not by copyright litigation prodecure.

We’d be thrilled, especially in the middle of this campaign season, if people across the political spectrum — conservative or liberal, pro- or anti-Fox — followed Greenwald’s lead, or took him up on his offer to interact with and even try to rebut his film.

Get the footage. Check out the torrent, via Torrentocracy.

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