A report from Science Foo camp (SciFoo)

Kaitlin Thaney, August 9th, 2007

I recently attended the second annual Science Foo Camp, co-sponsored by O’Reilly and Nature. See my entry on the Science Commons blog for a more in depth look at the discussion surrounding Open Science.

And, once again, many thanks to those from O’Reilly and Nature for putting together such a spectacular event, and Google for hosting us.

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CC Salon SF on WED, Aug 8 from 7-9 PM: Bittorent, Fedora, Intern Presentations, and Free Drinks!

Cameron Parkins, August 8th, 2007

Tonight we are back at Shine with what has become an absolutely awesome CC Salon. Think of it not only as a way to see some fantastic presentations (Bittorent Pres. Ashwin Navin, Jack Aboutboul, community engineer for Fedora at Red Hat, + Interns) but also as a way to celebrate the release of our brand new LiveContent project.

There will be free drinks (courtesy of Fedora) and some great music delivered by Quibitsu (SECRET: he is an EFF-er). Be sure to check out the awesome flier below, hand crafted by our very own Rebecca Rojer.

Did we mention free drinks? Its going to be a party. We’ll see you there!

CC Salon Aug 8 2007 Flier

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Jamglue: Remix T. Pain, The Blue Scholars, and R. Kelly

Cameron Parkins, August 7th, 2007

Jamglue, an “online community for creating and personalizing audio,” has just launched an amazing remix contest featuring “southern soulster” T. Pain and his song “Bartender”.

“Bartender” is available as separate instrument tracks, all of which are released under a CC BY-NC-SA license. By utilizing CC licencing, Jamglue offers its community an open way to interact with the culture around them while allowsingartists flexibility over what rights they want their songs to carry. Users can  upload their final cuts for prizes and recognition, the outcome being another great example of a hybrid economy where sharing and commercial interests exist symbiotically.

Jamglue is holding a similar contest featuring Seattle hip-hop duo Blue Scholars‘ “Fire for The People” and also recently finished a contest around R. Kelly’s “I’m a Flirt”.  Go and get your remix on.

Jamglue + T. Pain Remix Contest

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CC at LinuxWorld

Cameron Parkins, August 7th, 2007

Just a reminder that we will be at the LinuxWorld Conference for the next three days (8/7 – 8/9) debuting the new LiveContent CD alongside Fedora in the “.org Pavilion“. Today, we will even be featuring a DJ set from the folks at Magnatune between 12:00 and 2:00.

Its all happening at the Moscone Center in Downtown San Francisco so make sure to drop by, check out LiveContent, and spend some time chatting with us about all things open source!

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Humans, computers, and CC

Mike Linksvayer, August 6th, 2007

Computerworld just published a short (and friendly, despite the “hot seat” title) interview with MIT professor and CC board member Hal Abelson. Much of the interview concerns Creative Commons and MIT OpenCourseWare, but is worth reading for some perspective even if you already know everything there is to know about CC and OCW. My favorite bit:

[I]n traditional CS departments, people think about human-computer interaction as one person interacting with a machine. But what’s it like when you think about whole societies interacting [with machines]? That’s also human-computer inter­action.

In this case the box to be thought outside of is both literal and figurative. For better and for worse copyright is one factor that shapes individual and societal interaction with machines. Is CC an improvement over “all rights reserved” copyright in terms of HCI? Think about that…

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Creative Commons and Fedora Release LiveContent CD

Cameron Parkins, August 6th, 2007

We are incredibly pleased to announce the release of LiveContent, a collaborative initiative to showcase Creative Commons-licensed media as well as free, open source software. LiveContent is a joint effort between Creative Commons and Fedora, Red Hat’s community-based open source platform.

The LiveContent CD features a variety of Creative Commons-licensed media including audio, video, image, text and educational resources. Users can explore this free and open content and learn more about CC-friendly orginizations like Jamendo, Blip.tv, and Flickr. Fedora 7 and open source applications (such as OpenOffice, The Gimp, Inkscape, Firefox) boot directly from the CD, allowing users the ability to view and remix content in various ways.

LiveContent is designed to be a window into the CC community by offering open content and encouraging the use of open source tools. As such, it is very much a community project, and input is necessary, be it as a developer, a content curator, or LiveContent user. This input can range from interface design to potential avenues for future distribution.

If you are interested in checking out the LiveContent CD, visit the Creative Commons/Fedora booth at LinuxWorld. We are also turning this week’s CC Salon into a bit of a kick-off party for LiveContent with CDs available and computers running LiveContent present.

Thanks to Worldlabel.com for providing support for the development and distribution for the LiveContent CD.

Read the press release here.

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Usage of Creative Commons by UK cultural heritage organisations

Mike Linksvayer, August 3rd, 2007

The Eduserv Foundation is funding an important study on the use of open licensing at cultural heritage institutions in the UK:

A study titled “The Common Information Environment and Creative Commons” was funded by Becta, the British Library, DfES, JISC and the MLA on behalf of the Common Information Environment. The work was carried out by Intrallect and the AHRC Research Centre for studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law and a report was produced in the Autumn of 2005. During the Common Information Environment study it was noted that there was considerable enthusiasm for the use of Creative Commons licences from both cultural heritage organisations and the educational and research community. In this study we aim to investigate if this enthusiasm is still strong and whether a significant number of cultural heritage organisations are publishing digital resources under open content licences.

If you know anyone working in the cultural heritage sector in the UK please encourage them to participate via an online survey.

We look forward to similar in-depth and ongoing research into the impact of CC in additional jurisdictions and subject areas.

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Wiki to books: Wikitravel Press launches

Mike Linksvayer, August 3rd, 2007

Wikitravel Press has launched to produce printed books based on the pioneering CC BY-SA licensed collaborative travel site Wikitravel. From the announcement:

Wikitravel Press is owned and operated by Jani Patokallio, a long-time Wikitravel community leader and travel writer, and Evan Prodromou and Michele Ann Jenkins, the site founders. Books will be sold at competitive prices (typically US$10-20 plus shipping and other fees), initially through the Web and later through other channels. The books will use the same Creative Commons license as Wikitravel Web pages, so they can be copied and reused freely.

Wikitravel Press will ship its first guidebooks in Fall 2007. The initial titles will be in English, with other Wikitravel languages launched soon after. Wikitravel Press will also provide “ad hoc” books, so travellers can roll their own from their choice of destinations.

Many small steps for travelers, one long-haul flight for peer production. Also check out Evan’s new wiki project–it would not be bold to predict wine-stained peer-produced CC-licensed paper wine guides in a couple years.

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Jon Evans – Beasts of New York

Cameron Parkins, August 2nd, 2007

Jon Evans, author of the Arthur Ellis Award winning novel Dark Places (Trail Of The Dead in the UK), is serializing his latest novel, Beasts of New York, online under a CC BY-NC-ND licence.

Described by Evans as a “children’s book for adults”, Beasts of New York represents a shift for Evans, who is known for international thrillers, in terms of content and style:

It’s an urban fantasy about the wildlife of New York City, starring a squirrel protagonist who has to find his way from exile in Staten Island back to his home in Central Park

Evans will be posting a chapter a day – he is currently on the 17th – ultimately publishing 60 chapters, or 2 months worth of content. In his FAQ (which is a must read), Evans gives ample insight into why he chose to use a CC-license for Beasts of New York, citing the success of authors such as Cory Doctorow and others who have successfully implemented CC-licensing for their online publishing while maintaining commercial viability in print-form.

Essentially, Evans wanted to write and release a novel his publishers found unmarketable. As he puts it, “try to imagine telling people with a financial interest in your writing success that you want to write a whole book about a squirrel”. Evans saw CC-licences and online publishing as a means to allow his work be read freely, while at the same time retaining potential commercial avenues for the book (Evans “cautiously expect[s] [Beasts of New York] to eventually find a publisher”). This is yet another phenomenal example of the power of CC-licences in a hybrid economy.

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Preliminary Thoughts on Copyright Reform

Mike Linksvayer, August 1st, 2007

Copyright scholar has published a very readable call to begin thinking about comprehensive copyright reform in the form of a model law. Those familiar with Creative Commons will recognize that rationale for and obstacles to reform at the government level demonstrate the critical role played by Creative Commons.

Samuelson on part of the rationale for reform:

The ’76 Act was also drafted in an era when it mainly regulated the copyright industries and left alone the acts of ordinary people and non-copyright industries who might interact with copyrighted works. The copyright industries had negotiated many of the fine details of the statute and knew what they meant, even if no one else did. Advances in digital technologies have, among other things, democratized the creation and dissemination of new works of authorship and brought ordinary persons into the copyright realm not only as creators but also as users of others’ works. One reason why a simpler more copyright law is needed is to provide a comprehensible normative framework for all of us who create, use, and disseminate works of authorship.

Again, on prospects for reform:

As enthusiastic as I am about copyright reform, I am not so naïve as to think that there is any realistic chance that a copyright reform effort will be undertaken in the next decade by the Copyright Office, the U.S. Congress, or any other organized group. There are many reasons why a copyright reform project is infeasible at the present time.

While few reading this blog would argue against the need for eventual reform at the government level (and few would not argue about what reform should look like…), it is clear that one does not need to wait decades for copyright more suited to this age of digital networks. By choosing a CC license for your works and using works so released by others you get reasonable copyright, now, and just possibly open more eyes to what copyright ought to look like in the future.

Samuelson does cite Creative Commons:

The Copyright Office has proposed legislation to limit remedies for reuse of works whose copyright owner cannot be located after a reasonably diligent effort. This “orphan works” legislation is a step in the right direction, but the problems of too many copyrights and not enough notice of copyright claims and ownership interests run far deeper than that. With the rise of amateur creators and the availability of digital networked environments as media for dissemination, the volume of works to which copyright law applies and the universe of authors of whom users must keep track have exploded. Creative Commons has done a useful service in providing a lightweight mechanism for allowing sharing and reuses of amateur creations, but copyright formalities may have a useful role in reshaping copyright norms and practices in the more complex world that has evolved in recent years.

Thanks, though the “amateur” qualifier is rapidly becoming anachronistic. :-)

The article does focus on U.S. reform, but notes that addressing differences in copyright across jurisdictions will be important and hard, realities strongly recognized by the efforts of many involved in Creative Commons projects worldwide.

Via The Patry Copyright Blog.

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