Science Commons News: Nguyen on our Materials Transfer work

Kaitlin Thaney, October 22nd, 2007

From the Science Commons blog

Looking for a better understanding of our Biological Materials Transfer Agreement project? Look no further.

The latest edition of Innovations features an in-depth analysis of our Materials Transfer work, one of our three main areas of focus at Science Commons. The analysis was written by Science Commons counsel Thinh Nguyen, who also leads our efforts in this area.

In the article, Nguyen provides the necessary background information about the current system of transferring biological materials between research institutions, and the contractual framework associated.

From the article:

“Access to unique research resources, such as biological materials and reagents, is vital to the success and advancement of science. Many research protocols require assembling a large and diverse set of materials from many sources. Yet, often the process of finding and negotiating the transfer of such materials can be difficult and time- consuming. […]

[…] Science Commons’s Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) Project seeks to reduce unnecessary barriers to the transfer and reuse of basic research materials and reagents, for both United States and international scientific collaboration, by proposing a scalable and flexible infrastructure for searching, negotiation and tracking.”

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Library Open Information R/evolution

Mike Linksvayer, October 22nd, 2007

Two recent shorts worth watching: Information R/evolution, a less frenetic followup to The Machine is Us/ing Us, and Libraries Going Open! from the Open Content Alliance.

The first is more “meta” and the second more “data”, though there’s lots of overlap. They’re available under CC Attribution-NonCommercial and Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike respectively.

Via Boing Boing.

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Wake Up and Save the Music!

Michelle Thorne, October 18th, 2007

netaudio flyer

The netlabel music scene is booming. These ultra-wired record labels focus on the online distribution of digital audio files, which in most cases, are released under Creative Commons licenses. This means that, in the netaudio world, artists often retain their copyright, producers can offer free downloads for promotion, and fans can hear the music when and how they want — for free.

To raise awareness of the burgeoning netlabel scene, harddisk-jockeys and audiophiles from around Europe gathered this October at the netaudio.festival.berlin.2007 in RAW-tempel, where they packed the weekend with workshops on licensing models, collecting societies, audio techniques, music production, and Creative Commons. Evenings were filled with GEMA-free tracks played by netaudio greats such as J-Lab from London’s netlabel after-dinner , Disrupt and Monomatik from ID.EOLOGY, Berlin’s Q-Man from mixotic, and teamore, aka Timor Kodal, the event’s organizer and representative of his own netlabel Pulsar Records.

The festival succeeded in demonstrating to party-goers the variety and sound quality of netaudio. It was a perfect platform to encourage alternative licensing, get feedback from the community, and just listen to some great music!

Disrupt03, photo by simsullen licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.

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Freedom of Expression®, the World Premier

Mike Linksvayer, October 18th, 2007

Freedom of Expression®, the movie (we’ve written about the book previously) has its world premier tonight in San Francisco at the CounterCorp Film Festival. CC’s Jennifer Yip will be on hand for an after-film discussion.

Thanks to CounterCorp for keeping copyright issues in the fore. I participated in last year’s discussion following a showing of Alternative Freedom. That was good, this (year’s) should be even better!

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Happy birthday Public Library of Science

Mike Linksvayer, October 17th, 2007

October 13 was the 4th anniversary of the first issue of PLoS Biology, the first journal from the groudbreaking Public Library of Science.

We’re incredibly honored that PLoS was a very early adopter of Creative Commons — we’ll only turn five in two months. See then CC Executive Director Glenn Otis Brown’s editorial in PLoS Biology‘s first issue: Out of the Way: How the next copyright revolution can launch the next scientific revolution.

PLoS (and CC) have made good of these promising beginnings, but expect much greater things in the next half decade. This movement, or rather these intertwined movements, are just getting rolling.

On this note, pay close attention to Science Commons and PLoS ONE. The latter recently published its 1000th research article. I’m particularly fond of #994, Ant Species Differences Determined by Epistasis between Brood and Worker Genomes (disclaimer: the author is my brother).

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Luxembourg launch presentations

Mike Linksvayer, October 17th, 2007

Luxcommons has videos, pictures, and presentations of Monday’s CC Luxembourg launch, as well as news of the first CC Luxembourg ported license user.

Congratulations to the 40th jurisdiction to launch ported CC licenses!


Sylvain Zimmer (Jamendo CTO) at CC Luxembourg launch, photo by Paul Keller licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial.

Also congratulations to Jamendo, the CC music site headquartered in Luxembourg, for reaching 5000 albums on the same day. As John Buckman of Magnatune also presented at the launch, Luxembourg was indisputably the capital of CC music entrepreneurialism, for at least that day.

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CC at the Frankfurt Book Fair

Michelle Thorne, October 17th, 2007

One of the largest book fairs in the world, the Frankfurt Book Fair, was held this year on October 10-14th in Frankfurt am Main. The city’s fair is the annual host of 300,000 visitors to over 7,000 exhibitions celebrating literature and cultures from around the world. The event also functions as a global meet-up for authors, publishers, and other members of the book industry to chat over coffee and negotiate deals for publishing rights, licensing fees, and translation.

This year, Creative Commons was an active participant at the Frankfurt Book Fair and helped raise awareness about alternative licensing and literature online. Catharina Maracke joined a panel about licensing on the internet, in which she discussed possibilities for fostering a hybrid economy with literary texts and existing content curators.

CC Chairman Joi Ito presented his vision of an open internet and shared culture in a discussion with the Foreign Minister of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at an event to promote the book “German Dream – Träumen für Deutschland,” a collection of essays about diverse wishes and expectations for Germany. Also on the panel was Hunter Lovins, co-founder of Rocky Mountain Institute; Hafsat Abiola, Nigerian human rights activist; and Dr. Monika Henzinger, Director of Research at Google.

Podcasts for the interviews are available in German.


On an Open Internet and Germany’s Future, photo by creativecommons licensed under CC BY.

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Thanks and congratulations to Wikimedia Commons

Mike Linksvayer, October 15th, 2007

Last week Wikimedia Commons reached two million media files (images, audio, video), many of which are available under liberal CC licenses.

Wikimedia Commons is “a central repository for freely licensed photographs, diagrams, animations, music, spoken text, video clips, and media of all sorts that are useful for any Wikimedia project.”

While Wikimedia Commons is surely one of the premier repositories of free cultural works on the web, it does live in the shadow of Wikipedia, which it (mainly) serves. In the words of Commons editor Brianna Laugher:

We live with being identified via Wikipedia, it’s like being Albert Einstein’s sister.

We slightly furthered this over-identification in the recent announcement of public discussion of version 3.01 of CC licenses in which we thanked the Wikipedia community for raising concerns about version 3.0’s treatment of moral rights. The concern was actually raised on Wikimedia Commons. Our characterization was not inaccurate, but lacked precision necessary to give full credit where deserved.

So thanks (and congratulations) to Wikimedia Commons!

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“creative commons” percentage by top level domain

Mike Linksvayer, October 15th, 2007

At the CC Greece launch Diomidis Spinellis presented a very interesting (but crude, with many caveats) look at CC adoption worldwide:

To compile the metrics I used the Internet Systems Consortium July 2007 list of top-level domain names by host count distribution. From that I selected the 71 domains with more than 100,000 hosts. I then run a Google search for all pages in each domain (for instance .edu) and a search for the pages in that domain containing the string “creative commons”. The results, ordered by the percentage of pages containing the consecutive words “creative commons”, (most of which are presumably licensed by a corresponding license) are striking.

Go check out the entire list, but a few tidbits:

  • Yugoslavia (.yu) has the highest percentage of pages containing the string “creative commons”, an amazing 16.56%. There is no CC Yugloslavia, though CC Serbia is an upcoming jurisdiction.
  • Greece (which only got jurisdiction licenses on Saturday) is at #11.
  • Luxembourg, which gets jurisdiction licenses today, follows at #12.
  • Of course “unported” licenses are available for use anywhere, and apparently are being used heavily in places without jurisdiction licenses. The next ranking top level domain without corresponding launched CC jurisdiction ported licenses is Morocco, at #15. CC Morocco, anyone?
  • Spain (at #5) and Latin American domains rank high, corresponding nicely with Giorgos Cheliotis’ research, which found (using completely different methods, and looking only at jurisdiction ported licenses) that Spainish licenses stand out in terms of CC adoption.
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Bob Ostertag: w00t (!)

Mike Linksvayer, October 15th, 2007

Last year influential avant garde musician and activist Bob Ostertag made all of his recordings that he has the rights to available as digital downloads under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.

Now he’s released a new recording under the even more liberal CC Attribution license. Ostertag writes about the new release, w00t:

In March of 2006, I put all my recordings to which I owned the rights (14 CDs) up for free download from this site. w00t is my first release to skip the CD-for-sale stage and go directly to free Internet download, under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Please download, copy, send to your friends, remix, mutilate, and mash-up. And please support this attempt to build free culture by sending a link for w00t to your friends. w00t consists of a 50-minute sound collage, a 4.5 minute sound “trailer,” and associated cover art. There is, however, no cover. w00t is a free, internet-only release.

As with most of Ostertag’s work, the art has a political purpose, which one can choose to hear, or not:

The w00t music began as the sound for Special Forces, a live cinematic performance by Living Cinema (Pierre Hébert and Bob Ostertag), which addressed the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006.

And for radical politics relevant to the copyright debate, check out Ostertag’s The Professional Suicide of a Recording Musician, an essay published one year after the release of his oeuvre. From the closing of that essay:

But that is just the beginning of the story, for the accelerating rate of technological change continues to push digital technology further and further into our lives in just about any direction you might look. To pick just one example, boundaries between our bodies and minds and our technology are blurring. Cochlear implants, for example, now allow deaf people to hear via computer chips loaded with copyrighted software which are implanted in their skulls and in response to which their brains reconfigure, growing new synapses while unused synapses fade. Cochlear implants are wirelessly networked to hardware worn outside the body which usually connects to a mic, thus allowing the deaf to hear the sound environment around them. But the external hardware can just as easily be plugged into a laptop’s audio output for a direct audio tap into the Web.

When the Web extends into chips in our skulls, where is the boundary between language that is carved up into words that are corporately owned and language that is free for the thinking?

I don’t wish to be sensationalist. We are not all about to turn into corporately-owned cyborgs. But I do wish to point out that the issues around turning culture into property are urgent, and far-reaching. Society is not well-served if we treat specific matters like downloading music on the Web as isolated problems instead of one manifestation of a vastly bigger struggle in which much more is at stake.

w00t home page; w00t trailer (4 min 14 sec mp3)

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