Book recommendation: “Ourspace” by Christine Harold

Eric Steuer, June 5th, 2007

Ourspace cover

Professor Christine Harold of the University of Georgia has a great new book out entitled Ourspace: Resisting the Corporate Control of Culture that focuses on participatory culture and the movement to subvert mainstream media supremacy.

Harold examines the deployment and limitations of “culture jamming” by activists. These techniques defy repressive corporate culture through parodies, hoaxes, and pranks. … While these strategies are appealing, Harold argues that they are severely limited in their ability to challenge capitalism. Indeed, many of these tactics have already been appropriated by corporate marketers to create an aura of authenticity and to sell even more products. For Harold, it is a different type of opposition that offers a genuine alternative to corporate consumerism. Exploring the revolutionary Creative Commons movement, copyleft, and open source technology, she advocates a more inclusive approach to intellectual property that invites innovation and wider participation in the creative process.

There’s a nice write-up of the book on Media Bistro, which points out a wiki Harold has set up to invite readers to offer their ideas about the book and related concepts. The write-up also mentions McKenzie Wark’s Gamer Theory, which we wrote about previously.

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Worldwide Wanna Work Together? (in your language)

Jon Phillips, June 4th, 2007

Dominick Chen, from CC Japan, uploaded the latest Creative Commons video, Wanna Work Together? in order to develop translations for his others in Japan. Check out the video and also contribute translations for the languages you know. Also, as a challenge, blog about and let the community know if you have found other CC media and videos. Ryan Junell sent me this link of an old Creative Commons video, Reticulum Rex, with dubbed in Japanese language. This links to a Japanese video sharing site Nifty, which supports all six primary Creative Commons licenses in Japan…its spreading!

If you don’t believe me about the CC spread in Japan, check out CC Chairman of the Board, Joi Ito’s blog post about further CC licensing support at Sony:

Saw Masaki and Takeshi from Sony yesterday. They are responsible for Eyevio, Sony’s video sharing site. Eyevio uses CC licenses as a default allowing users to select their license when they upload. As Kirai reports, you can sync to the PSP and the Video Walkman. They also have it working with the Video iPod. They use H.264 with no DRM and only allow you to sync CC licensed content. My favorite part of the demo Takeshi did or me with his Video Walkman was when Eyevio popped up a dialog box when you were about to sync the videos that said, “Do you agree to abide by this CC license?” Awesome. Really.

There are great things happening in all the CC jurisdictions. Check out our worldwide page, track down your jurisdiction project leads, and jump into your local scene. If you are in a country that doesn’t have a jurisdiction, help instigate your jurisdiction to have a CC affiliation.

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Download “Good Copy Bad Copy”

Eric Steuer, June 4th, 2007

Good Copy Bad Copy is a terrific new documentary about copyright and culture, directed by Andreas Johnsen, Ralf Christensen, and Henrik Moltke. It features interviews with Danger Mouse, Girl Talk, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Lawrence Lessig, and many others with various perspectives on copyright.

Check out the film’s trailer below (via and download the torrent for the XviD version of the whole movie at

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SXSW podcasts now online

Kaitlin Thaney, June 4th, 2007

From the Science Commons blog

Podcasts from this year’s Interactive component of SXSW are now available. Science Commons’ John Wilbanks moderated one of these very panels, exploring the social and legal ramifications of “Semantic Web” and “Web 2.0” as it applies to scientific publishing. Joining Wilbanks for this panel was Matthew Cockerill (BioMed Central), Melissa Hagemann (Open Society Institute), Timo Hannay (Nature Publishing Group), and Amit Kapoor (Topaz).

The podcast can be found on the SXSW Web site. We encourage you to visit SXSW 2007’s site for access to all of their telecasts from the event.

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Retiring standalone DevNations and one Sampling license

Lawrence Lessig, June 4th, 2007

Today we are retiring two of the Creative Commons licenses — the stand alone Developing Nations license, as well as one of the three Sampling licenses we offer. The reasons for these retirements are both practical and principled.

The practical reason is simple lack of interest: From the start, Creative Commons has promised to keep our family of licenses as simple as possible. Actual demand has been one of the key indicators of how simple things can be. We estimate just 0.01% of our existing licenses are Developing Nations licenses, and 0.01% are the version of the Sampling license that we are retiring. Those numbers say that these licenses are not in demand.

The principled reasons are different with each license. The Developing Nations license is in conflict with the growing “Open Access Publishing” movement. While the license frees creative work in the developing nations, it does not free work in any way elsewhere. This means these licenses do not meet the minimum standards of the Open Access Movement. Because this movement is so important to the spread of science and knowledge, we no longer believe it correct to promote a stand alone version of this license. Later this month, we will begin a discussion about adding the terms of the Developing Nations license to 5 of the other CC licenses, and giving users the option to include those terms in their license. (So, for example, you could select a BY-NC license for the developed world, but offer a BY license for creators within Developing Nations.) Because such an option would be attached to a standard CC license, it would not conflict with the principle we are announcing here. Based upon the feedback we get to that idea, we will decide whether to implement it.

The Sampling License presents a similar concern. Until today, we have offered three versions of the Sampling license. Two of those versions permit noncommercial sharing of the licensed work (SamplingPlus, and Noncommercial SamplingPlus). One (the Sampling License) only permits the remix of the licensed work, not the freedom to share it. There is a strong movement to convince Creative Commons that our core licenses at least permit the freedom to share a work noncommercially.

Creative Commons supports that movement. We will not adopt as a Creative Commons license any license that does not assure at least this minimal freedom — at least not without substantial public discussion. We are grateful for the feedback, and for the understanding of those who helped us craft the sampling licenses, both of which got us here.

This change does not affect any existing licensed work. The links to these licenses, and every Creative Commons license, will always remain valid. The only change we’re making today is that we will no longer offer these licenses on our licensing page.

To read more about these retirements, please visit our retired licenses page.

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Congratulations to Overmundo and Miro/Democracy/Participatory Culture Foundation

Mike Linksvayer, June 2nd, 2007

Two important CC friendly organizations have received major kudos and support recently.

Brazilian free culture site Overmundo won the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica 2007 Golden Nica for Best Digital Community. CC won the 2004 Golden Nica for Net Vision and we’ve highlighted Overmundo before, including here.

The Democracy media player (soon to be known as Miro), a project of the Participatory Culture Foundation, won second prize at Netsquared out of 21 participants and hundreds of submissions, as recommended here.

PCF also recently received a $100,000 grant from the Mozilla Foundation. The announcement also has some nice words about a previous recipient…

[W]e have been able to provide resources to both individuals and projects whose efforts represent what we’re hoping to support. For example, we gave a grant to Creative Commons last quarter because CC is an organization that very much pursues the same ideas and principles set forth in Mozilla’s mission and the Mozilla Manifesto. (Just to restate it, the Mozilla mission is to provide choice and innovation on the Internet.)

In our last board meeting, it was decided that Mozilla would give a $100,000 grant to the Participatory Culture Foundation, the makers of the Democracy Player. PCF, like CC, aligns well with Mozilla and its manifesto. Additionally, PCF has projects that are built partly on Mozilla’s technology.

Congratulations to Overmundo and PCF and thanks to Prix Ars Electronica and Mozilla!

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O’Reilly on free downloads vs sales

Mike Linksvayer, June 2nd, 2007

Book publisher Tim O’Reilly writes:

As part of our continued effort to understand the impact on book sales of the availability of free downloads, I wanted to share some data on downloads versus sales of the book Asterisk: The Future of Telephony, by Leif Madsen, Jared Smith, and Jim Van Meggelen, which was released for free download under a Creative Commons license.

Jeremy McNamara of, which operates one of the mirrors, provided us with download stats, which we were then able to compare with book sales. Our goal of course, is to help publishers understand whether free downloads help or hurt sales. The quick answer from this experiment is that we saw no definitive correlation, but there is little sign that the free downloads hurt sales. More than 180,000 copies were downloaded from Jeremy’s mirror (which is one of five!), yet the book has still been quite successful, selling almost 19,000 copies in a year and a half. This is quite good for a technical book these days — the book comes in at #23 on our lifetime-to-date sales list for the “class of 2005” (books published in 2005) despite being released at the end of September. You might argue that the book would have done even better without the downloads, especially given the success of asterisk and the importance of VoIP. But it’s also the case that the book is far and away the bestseller in the category, far outperforming books on the same subject from other publishers.

Read the whole post with graphs.

Also see one O’Reilly author’s perspective blogged here in January: Linux Kernel in a Nutshell: The Secret Goal.

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((c)urve)music Remix Contest

Victor Stone, May 30th, 2007

(©urve)music™* is a very cool UK label which specializes in chilly Latin jazz and collects brilliant vocalists like nobody’s business. They have agreed to throw several a cappellas and instrumental tracks into the Commons looking to gather enough material for a pair of all CC music remix albums later this year.

ccMixter is only happy to oblige by hosting the source material as of this morning under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license. We’ll be running the call for remixes as the (©urve)music™ Remix Contest. Check out the contest home page for the details.

*Don’t get nervous, the ‘tm’ is for Talent Management.

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Jon Phillips, May 29th, 2007


Photo by mecredis (FRED!) licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

For all that did and did not attend the fabulous National Conference this year, there is a great blog post that gives a birds eye view of the event last weekend. John Wilbanks from Science Commons presented as well as many others from various projects in the commons. is a movement to get more people into Free Culture starting by getting more student chapters charged globally. The Wikipedia entry defines the Free Culture Movement as:

…a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify creative works, using the Internet as well as other media, and objects to overly restrictive copyright laws, which many members of the movement also argue hinder creativity. Closely associated with the free culture movement are organizations in the free software movement, such as the Free Software Foundation.

Another organization commonly associated with free culture is Creative Commons (CC), founded by Lawrence Lessig. Lessig is a law professor at Stanford University and a prominent figure in the free software movement. He wrote a book called Free Culture, which provides many arguments in favor of the free culture movement.

This is a great thing, and we at CC try to support the Free Culture movement however we can. If you don’t have a chapter at your school, then please start one and let us know! Free Culture.

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CC Salon London and Post-CC Salon Seoul

Jon Phillips, May 29th, 2007

After a brilliant CC Salon in Seoul at the beginning of May, Judge Jongsoo (Jay) Yoon, sent me a URL with the most media I’ve seen captured from one salon. I wish I could have been there to eat some good bibimbap or other dish and talk CC Korea (1 of the 36 CC Project Jurisdictions) :)

And, like I’ve said many times, anyone can start a CC Salon where they’d like: Help CC Spread!
This is what Tim Cowlishaw is doing in London. He is organizing the first CC Salon London:

Creative Commons, the Open Rights Group and Free Culture UK are pleased to
announce the first London CC-Salon event, to be held in Shoreditch on
Thursday 28th June 2007.

The CC Salon is a monthly event focused on building a community of artists
and developers around Creative Commons licenses, standards, and technology,
and have been running with great success in cities around the world,
including San Francisco, Berlin and Johannesberg. All are welcome,
especially anyone interested in Creative Commons, copyright, Free Culture,
Open Source, art, media, and music.

CC-Salon will held on the last Thursday of every month, at Juno, 135
Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JE, from 6.30pm until midnight. The June
event will feature contributions from:

Tom Reynolds (Random Acts of Reality –

Elizabeth Stark (Free Culture USA –

Jonathan Roberts (FreeMeDVD –

and DJs

In addition, we’ve got 100 free <> gift
vouchers to give away, courtesy of John Buckman. Each voucher is worth $8,
or one album from Magnatune’s large and eclectic catalogue of DRM-free,
CC-licenced music.

There’s plenty more planned for future events, and we’d love to hear from
anyone interested in participating, whether by performing, exhibiting work,
or giving a talk or presentation. Please email tim at if
this sounds like you!

Let us know if you start a salon in your locale! We like to send out schwag to help get things going!

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