Mahalo Integrates CC Licensing

Cameron Parkins, December 13th, 2007

Mahalo, the “human powered search engine”, announced this week that they will be integrating CC BY-NC licensing into their search index, making the content reusable for noncommercial purposes.

While APIs have often allowed developers access to a website’s back end, Mahalo utilizes more than algorithms to generate their index. Users sift through and moderate search results, in the words of Mahalo “curating” what search engines like Google spit out. Mahalo pay users for this task, “$15 each to write a search page result and another $5 to $10 for someone else to edit it in a self-correcting quality control system”, and have exceeded their original goal of 10,000 results for this year by 15,000, putting them a year ahead of schedule.

It are these “human curated” results that Mahalo is licensing, which bring with them added value and investment from Mahalo’s standpoint. By using a CC license that retains their commercial rights to this content, but similarly allows interesting and creative reuses of it for non-commercial purposes, Mahalo contributes a valuable resource to the online community as a whole. It will be interesting to see how Mahalo develops over the coming months, especially in the way their search index will be reused by the Mahalo community.

In related news, Mahalo Daily, Mahalo’s video blog, recently interviewed CC’s Creative Director Eric Steuer, in which he gives a general introduction of CC and drops an on the fly remix of a CC licensed music (T. Pain included).

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CC Five Years at Found LA

Cameron Parkins, December 12th, 2007

Great news for those in Southern California who can’t make it all the way up to SF for CC’s 5 Year Birthday Bash – our friends at Found LA have decided to get together and throw us a party at their amazing gallery in Silverlake (Google Map here), with free drinks and a cake to boot. It goes from 8PM – 10PM this Saturday (12/15) and is bound to be a blast – there are some CC shenanigans in store and it will be great opportunity to meet up with those engaged in the CC-community in the LA area.

More info is available on our wiki, as are the details for the other parties happening around the world in Beijing, Berlin, Seoul, Belgrade, Brisbane, Pasay City, and New York. I’ll be at the LA bash and am super excited to meet people in the area who are doing interesting things with CC and/or looking to learn more about what we do. For those unable to attend in person, please feel free to celebrate CC in Second Life as well.

As Melissa said previously, no matter where you are in the world, we invite you to celebrate CC’s five years of helping to keep culture free and celebrate the future of participatory culture.

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Semantic Dogfood

Nathan Yergler, December 12th, 2007

Since the beginning we’ve provided our licenses for three separate, distinct audiences: humans, lawyers and machines. The machine audience has been served by metadata versions of the licenses. This metadata is encoded with the HTML you get from the license chooser, as well as for each individual license. For example, you can find the metadata for the Attribution 3.0 Unported license by appending /rdf to the URL.

While we’ve always provided this machine readable version of the licenses, we’re finally taking steps to begin eating our own semantic web dogfood. We’re doing several things to accomplish this. First, the RDF/XML we serve for each license is now considerably more informative. It includes:

  • an explicit pointer to the license legalcode
  • information on when the license was deprecated (for example, the Developing Nations 2.0 metadata)
  • information about what license replaces this one (for example, the Attribution 1.0 Generic metadata)
  • an explicit assertion about the license’s jurisidiction; this was previously encoded only by convention

In addition to the RDF/XML, we’re starting to encode license information as RDFa on the license deeds. Try using the GetN3 bookmarklet on the Attribution 3.0 Unported deed for an example.

We’re also starting to use this metadata to power our own applications. The OpenOffice.org Addin ships with a copy of the RDF and uses SPARQL to determine the license you’ve selected. As we continue to build out the tools around CC licenses we’ll be moving in a similar direction, looking for ways we can leverage this resource we already have.

You can build on it, too; everything we do goes into source control. You can find the RDF files in the license.rdf module. A description of the namespace is also available.

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CASH Music

Cameron Parkins, December 12th, 2007

CASH Music, an acronym for Coalition of Artists & Stake Holders, recently launched with great promise. Focusing on the ability for “read-write” culture to foster a better artistic community, their mission statement lays out some big ideas with equally large potential:

The community we hope to foster at CASH Music is participatory, supportive, and beneficial to listeners and artists alike. It may help to think of CASH Music as a battery, two poles sending energy back and forth. The artistic creator stands at one pole with the community at the other — creative energy flowing between these two points creates value. The artist makes that initial investment; their money, their resources, their time and their ideas. But that’s only the beginning. Via CASH Music you’re asked to interact with this output, assess it, be inspired by it, enhancing it’s value. Once that value is perceived you are asked to contribute accordingly — your money, your ideas, your effort, or all of the above.

Equally as promising is CASH’s commitment to Creative Commons licensing:

Creative Commons plays a large part in what we’re building at CASH, because the licenses they’ve developed will allow for the read-write community we hope to nurture.

Creative Commons licenses are often misunderstood as being anti-copyright. In fact, they are proper copyright licenses developed by top lawyers who aim to find a reasonable balance between ensuring that creators retain rights to their work, and that consumers can enjoy it as intended. That may sound a little commercial, but copyright — even Creative Commons and the copyleft movement — is rooted in the commercial use of creative content. These new ideas are simply legal avenues through which such content can find sustainable life without shunning new social technologies.

In other words, by embracing Creative Commons we can help artists release music in the way that’s best for them and help listeners connect to and support those artists in new ways.

CASH seems to truly understand how the flow of content works in the digital age (they have a cool business plan, which Wired covered last week). Take a look at CASH co-founder (and genune rock star) Kristin Hersh’s artist page, where she discusses her vision for the company and also features a new song, “Slippershell” (CC BY-NC-SA), which you can download in a variety of formats (including Pro Tools Stems), with an option for monetary donation.

CASH looks to be a vibrant and formidable player in the changing landscape of artistic creation and collaboration. This is the sort of project that CC-licenses were conceived for – one that gives content creators and  consumers a chance to blur the lines between themselves in a fruitful, mutually beneficial, and legally sound environment.

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“Open Yale Courses” Debuts Online

Timothy Vollmer, December 11th, 2007

Today Yale College announced Open Yale Courses, thereby making a collection of Yale courses freely available online. Along with MIT’s recent announcement, this is fantastic news for the open education movement.

“Open Yale Courses,” presents unique access to the full content of a selection of college-level courses and makes them available in various formats, including downloadable and streaming video, audio only and searchable transcripts of each lecture. Syllabi, reading assignments, problem sets and other materials accompany the courses.”

Over the coming years, Yale will work in expanding the open curriculum to include another 30 courses, and will also reach out to music and the arts. With Open Yale Courses, the school has embarked on an international open education campaign, working to build ties with curricula in China, India, Argentina and other countries.

Most of the content on Open Yale Courses is released under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license, enabling users to download, redistribute and remix course materials for noncommercial purposes. Users are encouraged to build upon the content to produce new lectures or other educational tools.

Read the full press release here.

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Lingro: Open Translation

Cameron Parkins, December 10th, 2007

Lingro, a project that aims “to create an on-line environment that allows anyone learning a language to quickly look up and learn the vocabulary most important to them”, is beginning to look seriously cool. Give it a web page in any language, and it spits the same page back at you with the ability to cross-reference word translations on the fly (see an example of our site with a English-Spanish translation).

Lingro pools the open-content community (Wikitionary and The Shtooka Project to name two prominent sources), as well as user-contributed CC BY-SA licensed definitions, in order to gather a translation repository that is rich in both breadth and depth. By utilizing open-content and allowing a means to contribute open-content back to the community, Lingro fosters a vibrant cycle of information sharing, creating a resource that has immense potential in terms of education and cross-cultural communication.

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Free Holiday Music From Magnatune

Timothy Vollmer, December 10th, 2007

Magnatune Christmas MusicOur good friends over at Magnatune are offering a sweet holiday deal–free music!

Create an elegantly merry mood with the Magnatune Christmas Compilation, featuring over 60 minutes of the most timeless and classic carols of the season, by ten of Magnatune’s best-selling artists.

When you download this album, you’ll be able to choose from one of five different audio formats including MP3s and CD quality WAV files. Our music downloads are 100 percent safe and free of DRM (Digital Rights Management) or any other intrusive contents.

Magnatune is a forward-thinking record label and online music store that offers music for sale in every genre. Magnatune is leading the fair trade music movement, so we split profits equally with artists and artists retain the copyright to their own work.

Get the free holiday music here.

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MIT OpenCourseWare Publishes 1,800th Course

Timothy Vollmer, December 8th, 2007

MIT OCW progress chart

Image courtesy Steve Carson | CC BY-NC-SA

Congratulations to MIT’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative, which has recently passed the 1,800-course mark. First announced in 2001, MIT OCW has grown from a 50-course pilot to a site that includes virtually the entire MIT undergraduate and graduate curriculum.

Like many OCW projects, MIT uses the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license, giving educators, students and self learners from around the world the ability to copy, remix and share the materials, as long as they do so for non-commercial purposes.

MIT has been a visionary leader for the growing OCW movement. Creative Commons will continue to work hard to support clear, flexible licensing options for various Open Educational Resource (OER) projects. If you have your own open content success story, alert us! We encourage other organizations to add their projects to our Content Directories. This useful resource helps spread the word about a wealth of great open content ventures.

Watch for the video of MIT’s celebratory event (which featured New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and a diverse panel of key educators and scholars) to appear soon over at MITWorld.

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Wikipedia and Creative Commons next steps

Lawrence Lessig, December 6th, 2007

Last week the Wikimedia Foundation board took an important step toward giving Wikipedia the right to choose to migrate to a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. Credit goes to the Wikimedia Foundation and Free Software Foundation for having the wisdom and foresight to enable this progress. However, the real work has just begun. As Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales put it:

Now, community, we have a lot to talk about. :)

For Creative Commons, this means continuing a discussion concerning how the CC Attribution-ShareAlike license can be improved so as to not only be the best available license for a massively collaborative content project, but the best such license feasible.

To start with, Wikimedia board member Erik Möller has posted a list of issues that we want to address — with input from across the CC community.

One of these issues holds particular interest: Should the ShareAlike requirement be more precisely defined for “embedded” media, and if so, how? For example, if an image licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike is used to illustrate an article, must the article be similarly licensed? This has previously been discussed on the cc-licenses list, and we welcome the opportunity to drive that discussion to a happy conclusion.

Tentatively the eventual outcome of these discussions will be a new version of the CC licenses. We’ll say version 3.5 for now — a significant improvement, but still within the framework of version 3.0 and folding in the work done so far on proposed version 3.01, thanks again to the Wikipedia community.

The primary venue for this discussion focused on improving CC licenses is the cc-licenses list. We encourage you to subscribe and participate. Of course related discussion will and should continue on Wikimedia and other lists.

Thanks again to the WMF and FSF, and thanks in advance to you, the community, for the work that is ongoing and about to begin!

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NPG introduces a CC license for genome research

Kaitlin Thaney, December 6th, 2007

From the Science Commons blog

In a move to make genome research more accessible, Nature Publishing Group (NPG) has introduced a new editorial policy that will put genome research published by Nature under a CC-BY-NC-SA license. The license grants readers the ability to share and remix the material under the following conditions: the work must be attributed to the author as specified by the author of licensor, cannot be used for commercial purposes, and that any derivative works be licensed under the same or a similar license. NPG’s editorial policy can be read in full here.

An editorial posted today discusses some of the reasoning behind enacting this new author license policy.

From the Nature editorial, “Shared genomes” (December 6, 2007):

“In the continuing drive to make papers as accessible as possible, NPG is now introducing a ‘creative commons’ licence for the reuse of such genome papers. The licence allows non-commercial publishers, however they might be defined, to reuse the pdf and html versions of the paper. In particular, users are free to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the contribution, provided this is for non-commercial purposes, subject to the same or similar licence conditions and due attribution. [...]“

More after the jump

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