Commoner Sightings — This Weekend

Glenn Otis Brown, July 9th, 2004

  • Creative Commons board member Joi Ito will address the Flash Forward 2004 conference at the New Yorker Hotel in New York City — tomorrow, Friday July 9th, at 9:00am.
  • Assistant director Neeru Paharia will appear on a panel, “Open Source and Social Action,” at the Awe to Action conference — this Saturday, July 10th, at 4:15pm at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin Street @ Geary, in San Francisco.
  • I’m looking forward to being in Boston this weekend, where I’ll be doing a presentation on Creative Commons at the American Association of Law Libraries — Sunday, July 11, at 1:30pm at the Hynes Convention Center.
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Share Your Politics, Whatever Their Color

James Grimmelmann, July 9th, 2004

ActBlue is a web site that bills itself as an “online clearinghouse for grassroots action.” As the name suggests, it’s a site designed to help Democratic partisans find candidates to support, both with money and with time. But it also supplies tools to help users band together with like-minded souls — creating customized lists of important races and spreading them around.



What makes the site so cool is that it — and all of the lists and other content users upload — is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 license. That means that other organizations can pick up and work off the grassroots energy of ActBlue, whether those other groups are the Democrats for a Democratic Midwest or the Red State Republicans. ActBlue may be Democrat-themed, but as online grassroots organizing and Internet-sparked individual involvement in politics spreads across the political spectrum — from ActGreen to ActRed — everyone wins, and so does democracy itself. Kudos to ActBlue for sharing the love.

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Flickr adds CC moblogging for any weblog

Matt Haughey, July 8th, 2004

A couple weeks ago, we mentioned Flickr added support for Creative Commons licenses to their photo uploading and hosting service. This week, they’ve announced a pretty amibitious new feature: mobile phone blogging for almost any blog service.

It works like this: you setup an account at Flickr, enable moble blogging features by inputing details about your blog, choose a CC license, and you’ll be able to post photos from your phone to any Blogger, LiveJournal, Movable Type, and/or Typepad powered weblog. Here’s a great example blog of CC-licensed photos being posted through Flickr.

I’m really impressed with this new feature. I’ve built my own similar system and it required a weekend of hacking and data spread across three servers. Now anyone can have a similar setup by simply using the free Flickr service in just a few minutes.

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The Building Blocks of Culture

James Grimmelmann, July 7th, 2004

As a tie-in to Spider-Man 2, Spite Your Face created a short movie of Spidey battling Doc Ock, done entirely with Legos. It’s a cracking good little romp, and it made me think of some of the other great Lego remixes I’ve seen, such as 2001: A Lego Odyssey and Monty Python Lego. Legos have become one of the great physical media for animation, from Michel Gonrdy’s innovative music video for the White Stripes’ “Fell in Love with a Girl” to entire communities of Lego animators.



Why is that? Perhaps because Lego is the original remix toy. A Lego set isn’t some finished plaything: it comes in pieces, and you get to build it yourself. And then, once you’ve built the model, you can unbuild it and put it back together in your own way. You can make mash-ups in which Harry Potter Lego characters meet Star Wars Lego characters at a car wash.



Think of Creative Commons as Lego for culture, helping the building blocks of creativity snap together in neat new ways.

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“A combination of innovation and infringement”

Matt Haughey, July 7th, 2004

Annalee Newitz has a great article in Alternet about Mash-ups, going over the copyright laws involved and how the laws are viewed in the mash-up scene. It’s an interested clash, where restrictive laws loom over digital musicians armed with low-cost computers and software that makes mixing easy. In this realm, Newitz sees mash-ups as a form of protest, where DJs knowingly violate laws in order to spread their art in the world.

As a masher on [Get Your Bootleg On] recently posted, “Everything is illegal.” Under an I.P. regime where artists feel like nothing goes, it seems that everything could. The infringement generation aims to mash up copyright law in pursuit of better music. But it also has a chance to challenge social divisions more profound than the distinctions between hip-hop, rock and electroclash.

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New books under CC licenses

Roland, July 7th, 2004

The German Heise-Verlag, a publishing house specializing in books and magazines on the IT industry, has adopted the CC licensing model. Two books are currently being offered as free downloads under the CC licenses. The first book, Mix, Burn & RIP by Janko Roettgers, looks into the future of the recording industry. The second book, Freie Netze: Geschichte, Politik und Kultur offener WLAN-Netze by Armin Medosch, deals with the rise of free community wifi networks in Europe and elsewhere.

The two books serve as a good example of how the Creative Commons model is gradually conquering non-English speaking countries. The German licenses were launched on June 10 and have since been extensively discussed in a variety of different forums, the most important of which was an academic workshop at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin on June 24 (a summary of the workshop’s discussion with future lines of research will be posted soon).

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Miscegenation Remixed

Mike Linksvayer, July 6th, 2004

J. LeRoy noticed two hours of audio arguments from Loving v. Virginia (a 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned an anti-interracial marriage law in Virginia) at Oyez, available under a CC license.

A couple days ago LeRoy released a remix of the arguments. The real-life contemporary remixreplay of the same arguments is readily apparent.

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Do the Recombo. In Brazil. Now.

Glenn Otis Brown, July 6th, 2004

mombojo

Ronaldo Lemos, project lead extraordinaire of Creative Commons Brazil, reports:

Mombojó is one of the most interesting new bands in Brazil. They mix traditional Brazilian music like samba and bossa nova with electronic beats and rock. Their album, “Nadadenovo” (meaning: “nothing new”), is available online at www.mombojo.com.br. Even if they say there is “nothing new” about their music, that is not true. They are responsible for indicating new bold directions to Brazilian music.

Mombojó is an enthusiast of the Creative Commons. They have just announced that one of their tracks, “Nem Parece,” is now under the Recombo Plus license. They will be releasing three other tracks under the Recombo Plus, one each month. They have also licensed their first video, “Cabidela,” under Recombo. And everything can be found online.

Last, but not least, Mombojó works closely with Re:Combo, the pioneer Brazilian collective that inspired Creative Commons to rename its “sampling” license “Recombo.”

Radical. Now everyone get out there and do the Recombo.

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Michael Moore: pirate my film, please

Matt Haughey, July 4th, 2004

Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has recently gone on record stating that downloading and watching his films was fine as long as people didn’t try to make money off them. In a way, it’s a classic struggle between a filmmaker creating works he wants the world to see, while the studio that produced it would rather everyone pay to see it instead of downloading. Other directors have backed up his position and the current distributor is allowing the downloading to take place.

Here are Moore’s full quotes on the subject of 9/11 downloads:

I don’t agree with the copyright laws and I don’t have a problem with people downloading the movie and sharing it with people as long as they’re not trying to make a profit off my labour. I would oppose that. I do well enough already and I made this film because I want the world, to change. The more people who see it the better, so I’m happy this is happening. Is it wrong for someone who’s bought a film on DVD to let a friend watch it for free? Of course it’s not. It never has been and never will be. I think information, art and ideas should be shared.

Is this guy a movie director or one of our board members?

The increased exposure to his films, protection from commercial exploits, and general disagreement with current copyright sounds a lot like the reasons why Creative Commons was formed and why we have our licenses in the first place. Perhaps the next Moore film will be licensed, making the downloading legal from the start.

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A Wikipedia of Free Culture?

Mike Linksvayer, July 2nd, 2004

Q: How to plan a wiki?

A: Hash out ideas on a wiki.

So we set up a wiki and we’re holding a barn raising there. You’re invited.

Our objective is to plan a “Get Content” wiki, a scalable catalog of “some rights reserved” and “no rights reserved” works.

A truly international catalog of CC and PD works. A Wikipedia of Free Culture, democratically maintained and curated.

Can this work? We have a hunch that it can, but we’ve doubtless missed many solutions and innumerable problems.

What we have thought of is of course on the wiki, where you should go without further adieu and add your ideas.

Note for anyone excited about the idea: we’re planning at this stage. The wiki we’re using for the planning may not be the one we use to implement the “Get Content” wiki (do help us figure that one out) — so you may wish to curb your enthusiasm for raw cataloging just right now.

Now dive in!

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