CC Talks With: Strayform

Cameron Parkins, October 15th, 2007

Continuing with our Featured Commoner revival, we are pleased to present an interview with Brandt Cannici, founder of Strayform, a “creation network” that uniquely helps artists fund their works by utilizing Creative Commons licensing.


What’s Strayform all about? What’s its history? How did it come about? Who’s involved?

Strayform is a new model for digital content. With the internet, distribution of digital goods is practically free; the true value is in their creation. Strayform allows people to pay for creation and lets distribution happen naturally and without restriction. Furthermore when you cut out middlemen who act as distributors, something amazing happens. Creators and consumers can now interact naturally as partners. No longer are you a passive recipient of a CD or film. With Strayform, you helped fund it, you watched it grow, you worked with the creator, you had input and could affect the final product. I believe because of this interaction the future will be full of all sorts of creative media projects that are not even imagined today.

I am the founder and I got the idea while working in Japan. My sister and I used to argue about piracy. She claimed that it hurts the artists while I said every dollar you pay to the big distributors is used to force artists into unfair contracts. About that time my friend’s band signed a multi-million dollar deal with EMI. But EMI sat on the contract and my friend went bankrupt. So I came up with an idea that cuts out the distributor, lets artists get paid more, and lets consumer use and file-share freely. I moved back to Texas and made the product, afterward moving to San Francisco to launch. In comparison to our competitors we are a tiny, boot-strapped team – a couple of guys in a coffee shop eating ramen to stay afloat. However, the site is quite sophisticated in what it does.
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Commoner Letter #1 – Evan Prodromou

Melissa Reeder, October 15th, 2007

Hello, everyone! My name is Evan Prodromou. I’m excited and honoured to be able to talk to all of you through this email newsletter. When Creative Commons asked me to write for their fundraising drive, I simply couldn’t refuse.

In 2003, with my wife Maj, I started a project called Wikitravel – an effort to create a Free, complete, up-to-date and reliable world-wide travel guide. Inspired in part by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Wikitravel’s text, maps, and photos are all collaboratively developed by Internet users from around the world. Together, we’re making travel guides that are as good or better than those made by traditional, proprietary travel publishers.

Collectively, Wikitravellers have donated hundreds of thousands of person-hours to realize our shared dream. But they didn’t put in that time to make great travel guides just for me personally. They did that work for a common goal: so that every traveler in the world could have high-quality, practical travel information in their own language.

Because of Wikitravel’s liberal Creative Commons license (Attribution-ShareAlike), our contributors know that their work is free today and will remain available to all. The Creative Commons name and badge on every Wikitravel page lets our users know that they are free to use, share, and re-distribute our guides in whatever way their imagination takes them.

I think that travel guides and encyclopedias are just the beginning for collaboratively-created Free Content. For that reason, I’ve started two new projects this year: Keiki, a collaborative parenting manual, and Vinismo, a collaborative guide to the world’s wines. I’ve also launched an Open Content guidebook publisher, Wikitravel Press, to compete head-to-head with proprietary publishers. There are opportunities to create Free Cultural works in so many areas it’s mind-boggling.

We are on the cusp of an explosive revolution in human knowledge and culture. We now have the tools and the global infrastructure to let the billions of humans on Earth collaboratively create their own entertainment and reference works: films, textbooks, images, and music. Regular people, working together, are smashing apart the short-sighted, curmudgeonly cultural framework of micropayments, IP portfolios, walled gardens, and dot-com data silos to free up information for everyone to enjoy, use, and share. I truly believe that within a generation we can open the world’s knowledge to all of its inhabitants and reduce or eliminate the misery caused by lack of access to information.

And Creative Commons is a crucial part of the cultural compact that makes that revolution possible. Free Culture licenses, like those from Creative Commons, are a promise between global collaborators that indeed we are working for the good of all. Creative Commons licenses tell readers and listeners that they, too, can be participants in a global community of creators.

As Creative Commons passes its five-year anniversary, the “first generation” of CC-related projects, like Flickr, Magnatune, and yes, Wikitravel, are showing the world the advantage of Open Content and massive intercollaboration. But there are literally thousands of other Open Content projects in hundreds of countries that are just getting off the ground. They’ll have new challenges, new opportunities, and with your help they’ll have the tools and infrastructure of Creative Commons to lean on as they grow.

I hope that, as a friend to Free Culture, you’ll continue to support Creative Commons in all the ways you do: with your time, with your attention, and with your advocacy. But I also ask that you make an investment in the future by donating to Creative Commons in this, their annual fall fundraising drive. Like a wiki, each contribution by people like you and me builds into a powerful fund for advancing our collective goal.

Thanks for your time,

Evan Prodromou

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MIT Library Releases Scholarly Publishing Rights Tutorial

Timothy Vollmer, October 15th, 2007

MIT has been a leader in supporting ways in which educators can retain rights to their academic writings and open up those creations to the world. MIT Libraries has produced a series of videocasts entitled Scholarly Publication and Copyright: Retaining Rights & Increasing the Impact of Research.

Part 1 focuses on how copyright law intersects with the publication process.

Part 2 reviews why academic writers might want to retain rights when publishing, and how they can do so.

Part 3 provides information on increasing the impact of research by making it available through open access channels.

If faculty are able to retain rights, the tutorial explains how Creative Commons can be a useful tool to share scholarly work more widely. Creative Commons’ goals align well with the mission of most academic authors — share and reuse. MIT Scholarly Publishing Consultant Ellen Duranceau says the idea underpinning the tutorial is this: “we need to maximize the potential of research to be shared in the digital age by finding publishing models that realize the potential of the Internet to publish quickly, broadly and inexpensively.”

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Luxembourg 40th Jurisdiction to Offer Ported Creative Commons Licenses

Michelle Thorne, October 14th, 2007

The launch of the Creative Commons licensing suite in Luxembourg marks the 40th jurisdiction worldwide to offer Creative Commons licenses adapted to national law.

An event to commemorate the launch will be held on October 15th at the Public Research Center Henri Tudor (CRP) in Luxembourg, featuring speeches by John Buckman, founder and CEO of and Board Member of Creative Commons; Paul Keller, Project Lead for Creative Commons Netherlands; Laurent Kratz, founder Luxembourg’s Jamendo, one of the largest music portals offering Creative Commons-licensed works; and Lionel Maurel, scientific coordinator from the National Library of France.

Press Release

Event on Yahoo! Upcoming

Luxembourg City, photo by nanand81 licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.

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Students for Free Culture in the news

Timothy Vollmer, October 12th, 2007

This week the New York Times ran an article about Students for Free Culture, a national student organization that promotes engagement and activism in various areas of digital technology: creativity and innovation, communication and free expression, public access to knowledge and citizens’ civil liberties.

Many active Creative Commons affiliates appeared in the article, including students Cameron Parkins and Fred Benenson. Former CC intern and Liblicense lead Scott Shawcroft contributed thoughts in an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. In the Times piece, Harvard Law student Elizabeth Stark said that while file-sharing has thrust copyright into the public consciousness, Students for Free Culture work on a diverse range of issues related to freeing creativity and culture.

In a follow-up letter to the editor (licensed CC-BY), Stark disassociates the organization from portrayals of it as a group that champions piracy:

We deeply believe that authors and creators should be compensated for their work, and we are eager to promote ways to do so in an environment where the world can build upon their creations. . .We stand for a culture where everyone has the right to participate and where works are made available for all to legitimately access, share and remix. This is a culture that is “free as in speech” — not necessarily one that is free of charge.

While technology continues to evolve faster than the law, it’s important to support student activism that pushes back against restrictive copyright regulation that smothers innovation, expression and learning. At the same time, organizations like Creative Commons continue to offer viable alternatives for content sharing that enable others to use creative works that support a more free culture.

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WIRED NextFest/Spoon/CC Benefit Concert

Cameron Parkins, October 12th, 2007

A little over a month ago, WIRED Magazine held a concert to benefit Creative Commons in Los Angeles with Spoon, the Austin, TX based rock-quartet, headlining. The show was absolutely phenomenal – opener Kool Keith rocked the party hard and Spoon failed to disappoint with a killer set that spanned their varied discography. Oh, and need we forget Keepon, the lovable dancing robot, was in attendance?

It was really an amazing way to kick off both WIRED NextFest and to foster sustainability for CC in the longterm. A big thanks to WIRED Magazine for making it happen – there constant support is a huge help to CC and the CC community. Don’t forget to check out some amazing pictures by Dave Bullock (eecue) on flickr as well:



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5 Ways to Grow the Commons

Melissa Reeder, October 12th, 2007

Sarah Davies acknowledged her appreciation of our fundraising approach on her blog today, and I would like to take this opportunity to build upon what she said and to also say thank you.

In order to sustain Creative Commons, fundraising is vital – but raising awareness and educating the larger community is more so. We exist because of you and as the community grows – we have to grow. In order to meet your digital needs, means we have to ask for your help. We cannot raise the kind of global awareness and support needed on our own. We are a lean, grassroots operation and are honored to have such a supportive community.

As you all know (hopefully) we launched our 3rd annual fundraising campaign on Oct. 1st. But what probably most of you don’t know is that on the same day we sent out 2,500 letters to people that have given to CC before, asking them to re-invest in the future of CC. And now I’m asking the world.

Please help us celebrate the past 5 years of Creative Commons, and plant the seeds for another 5, by helping us grow the commons in 5 ways:

1. Use CC

2. Grow CC

3. Spread CC

  • Feature this online campaign on your blog or podcast to help us reach new audiences.
  • Send CC Staff your story of why you support CC so we can compile and share them with the world (CC licensed of course).

4. Connect CC

  • Introduce 5 new people to Creative Commons.

5. Sustain CC

  • By giving 50% more than your previous gift to this campaign, you will help us sustain CC’s core functioning for the next year.

Final sorting of campaign letters in CC’s San Francisco office; photo by Elaine Adolfo licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.

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Screening of Good Copy Bad Copy in NYC (w/ Co-Director + MPAA Q&A Session)

Cameron Parkins, October 12th, 2007

This Tuesday, October 16th, Free Culture @ NYU will be hosting a screening of Good Copy Bad Copy, a fantastic documentary about copyright and culture, at the NYU Courant Institute, followed by a a question and answer session with the film’s award-winning Danish co-director, Henrik Moltke, and Fritz Attaway, the MPAA’s Executive VP and Special Policy Advisor.

This is an amazing opportunity to not only see a phenomenal film, but also to participate in a Q&A session that is bound to be both informative and provocative. If you are in the area make sure to check it out. Details below:

Good Copy Bad Copy Screening
Followed by Q&A with Co-Director Henrik Moltke and Fritz Attaway, MPAA

Tuesday, October 16th 2007
9:15pm – 11:15pm
NYU’s Courant Institute
251 Mercer Street b/w Bleecker and W. 4th
Room #109
Free and Open to the Public (bring ID if non-NYU)

Addendum: Check out Collage Clearinghouse’s recently posted review of the film:

If you have any interest in the future of our culture…If you are an artist who appropriates and who is working sometimes in fear…If you are a citizen who is forward thinking about our personal rights…this is a movie you must watch! And besides, it’s online and showing for free. Do yourself a favor and learn something.

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Support CC by Choosing Good

Melissa Reeder, October 12th, 2007

To all of you CC supporters in Los Angeles — there’s a happening party tonight that you should check out. Good Magazine is throwing a party at the Natural History Museum (details: Good comes back to LA) complete with an open bar and some awesome DJs.

The cover is the cost of a subscription ($20), which you can have donated to Creative Commons. This is the final week in which Creative Commons will be an official Choose Good Partner. Over the past year 1430 people have subscribed to Good Magazine and chose CC as the the organization they would like their subscription fee to benefit. So if your in the LA area and are looking for something to do tonight, I urge you to take advantage of this final opportunity to support Creative Commons through Good Magazine’s Choose Good Campaign.

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Fair Use Salon at LA Art Crawl X This Sunday (10/14)

Cameron Parkins, October 12th, 2007

This Sunday, October 12th 14th, I will be joining Jack Learner, Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor of Law and Acting Director at the USC Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic, for a discussion of fair use and the arts as part of Art Crawl X.

It will be taking place at the FoundLA Gallery in Silverlake (1903 Hyperion Ave., 90027) at 4PM. The ArtWalk in general promises to be quite the cultural explosion (look at the events page to find out more) and if you are in the area and interested in CC or Fair Use and the arts, you should definitely swing by.

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