ACIA: International Workshop on Asia and Commons in the Information Age

Michelle Thorne, November 15th, 2007

For those of you interested in the vibrant commons of the Asia Pacific region, mark January 19, 2008 on your calendars for the International Workshop on Asia and Commons in the Information Age (ACIA), hosted in Taipei, Taiwan.

The ACIA workshop (like ASIA, with a “C”), is the highly-anticipated, self-sponsored event organized by Creative Commons jurisdiction project teams and other commons-based initiatives, and they are inviting all interested parties to attend the workshop with a focus on the following objectives:

  1. Strengthening the “Asia Commons” by bringing in more members and improving links to related organizations within the Asia Pacific region;
  2. Promoting the commons in the region, and providing a forum to develop practical strategies for this promotion;
  3. Providing a forum for industry engagement, and in particular identifying and presenting successful commercial uses of open content licensing within the region;
  4. Providing a forum for discussion of topics of importance to the Asia Commons (e.g., the meaning of ‘open’ in our age, and the history and role of the commons in Asia).

Please visit the ACIA wiki to learn more and to enrich the event with your input and participation. For more background information, check out the original proposal and the iCommons’ article “What is Asia Commons?”

Thank you to Tyng-Ruey Chuang (CC in Taiwan), Jessica Coates (CC in Australia), and the other Asia Commoners for their dedication to this great initiative!

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Integrated Licensing in OpenOffice.org

Nathan Yergler, November 14th, 2007

Over the summer Creative Commons had the good fortune to participate in the Google Summer of Code. One of our students, Cassio Melo, worked on developing an add-in for OpenOffice.org, similar to the one that existed for Microsoft Office.

Today I’m pleased to announce the fruits of Cassio’s efforts. We’re releasing a beta release of the add-in which allows you to select and embed a license in Writer, Calc and Impress documents (press release). You can find download information as well as a screencast of the add-in in action on the wiki.

Thanks to Cassio for his hard work, as well as Google for supporting open source development.

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Panda Punk Lab: Inauguration in Chile

Michelle Thorne, November 14th, 2007

Claudio Ruiz from Creative Commons in Chile reports the inauguration of the Panda Punk Lab, a multimedia lab in Chillán City offering educational software running on an Ubuntu Linux operating system:

” Because the indemnification received by the violation of a Creative Commons license – the first case in Chile and Latin America – the “Panda Punk Lab” was inaugurated yesterday (Monday), which will benefit more than 200 students of the E-120 “María Saavedra” School, Chillán.

During the ceremony, the Director of Studies of NGO Derechos Digitales, Alberto Cerda, emphasized how this donation ratifies the validity of the CC licenses to share and spread intellectual works, and protect them from non-authorized uses.

The case was born in April of 2007 when designer Armando Torrealba realized one of his works – a panda bear drawing with pink punk hair – was used by a retail store for publicity without his authorization. After NGO Derechos Digitales’ intervention, the enterprise indemnified the professional with a non-specified amount, part of which was destined to the implementation of this laboratory.”

Image: Inauguración Laboratorio PPunk, photo by Derechos Digitales licensed under CC BY-SA. More photos.

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Peter Gabriel, WITNESS, and The Hub

Cameron Parkins, November 13th, 2007

WITNESS, an international human rights organization founded by pop musician Peter Gabriel, announced yesterday the launch of The Hub (Beta), a place for users to view and contribute human rights-related media – a potential “YouTube for Human Rights”.

Of note to the CC-community is that The Hub’s users are “advised to publish contents under a Creative Commons license”, which would allow others to freely redistribute Hub videos without fear of legal ramification. Using a flexible license that allows for the free flow and sharing of information enables The Hub users to publicize human rights atrocities as far and wide as possible, increasing awareness to the issues without any legal hurdles.

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Let the 2nd annual CC swag photo contest begin!

Melissa Reeder, November 13th, 2007

Photo By Franz Patzig  CC-BY v. 3.0
Photo © Franz PatzigCC BY Photo © yamaboboboCC BY

Last year we launched the inaugural annual CC swag photo contest as a way to promote support for CC. There were over 50 entries to last year’s competition, including this one by Franz Patzig, which I’m sure you’ve seen somewhere by now. Franz was one of the two overall winners from last year (the other was Yamabobobo) and has received a ton of attention since. Here’s what he had to say about his participation:

“I have been publishing all my photos under Creative Commons licenses since CC’s beginning. I joined the contest for fun; I never expected my photo to be chosen as one of the winners. Since then, many people have used it to illustrate blog postings about the commons, which has brought a lot of attention to my Flickr pages. I’ve even sold some photographs. I love sharing my work.”

The rules of the contest are simple (official rules here):

1) Creatively photograph your CC swag. If you don’t have any or you would like to update what you have check out the 2007 annual campaign donate page, our store, or our Facebook Challenge, where you have the chance to get a limited edition Warhol inspired t-shirt.

2) Upload your photos to Flickr and then join the group CCswagphotocontest2007 and post your pics there. Remember – your photos must be CC-BY licensed.

3) A weekly winner will be announced every Monday starting on November 19, 2007 – December 17, 2007. The two overall winners will be announced on January 2, 2008.

The weekly winner will be blogged on our main page and posted on our website for that entire week. The two main winners will be awarded 100 postcards of their winning photo. CC will continue to use postcards featuring the two overall winning photos as promotional material for the next year.

This contest is an easy and creative way to promote and support CC! For other interesting ways to help us here at CC spread the good word and raise some good funds check out our new Spread the Word page. Good luck and start shootin’!

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Alex Miroshnichenko and the Santiago Fires

Cameron Parkins, November 12th, 2007

In looking at CC success stories, we tend to focus on how CC licences have allowed new business models to grow or have helped facilitate new forms of artistic expression. While these are both incredibly important and, in their increasing abundance, popular implementations of what CC can provide, what sometimes gets lost in the shuffle are the more personal stories of how CC can affect lives on an every day basis.

Alex Miroshnichenko, a “full-time e-commerce professional and part-time freelance photographer,” recently penned such a story for Poynter Online in which he describes his decision to license his photographs of the recent Santiago/Foothill Ranch fires on Flickr under a CC BY license:

I realized, that, like me, these people also were emotionally involved. These images and this story were important to them on a very deep level.

Flickr was the obvious choice to distribute these fire images to family and friends. Little did I know that images of the Southern Calif. wildfires were starting to have a big impact on Flickr. I soon realized how important and compelling this story was to the online community, and around the world.

Still thinking with my heart, I changed the license for all my wildfire photos to Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic, rather than a standard “all rights reserved” copyright notice. This authorizes anyone to share these images or create derivative works as long as attribution to me is provided.

Even though I sell news photos to media organizations, this time my intent was to share my experience and feelings; to share what it’s like to have tragedy hit your hometown. Making a profit on these pictures would be cheating my own heart.

It is instances like this that show what CC licenses provide beyond traditional copyright. Alex captured history in the making with his camera, and CC licenses allowed him to share this history in a more distinctly open way (Flickr photoset here). It was digital sharing in a very true sense. What arose out of this series of events highlights another dynamic that CC licenses address – that obscurity is the biggest threat to any content creator in the digital age:

Now (thinking with my head), I also see that through this effort my images and work have gained tremendous exposure. When an image receives nearly 12,000 views in 24 hours, that is a strong message — including powerful marketing for my photography work. Now, it’s up to me to leverage the exposure and contacts I obtained through my Santiago Fire images, for times and stories not so close to my home and heart.

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River Rat Records

Cameron Parkins, November 12th, 2007

River Rat Records, an independent record company based in North London, has adopted CC-licenses for all their releases based on the assumption that sharing of music should be allowed without fear of legal ramifications (as long as it stays non-commercial):

Music has never been a purely personal experience (more often it’s a shared one), but the nightmare of having to digitally and uniquely identify ourselves for permission to hear something is fast becoming reality.

Whatever happened to sharing what we enjoy? How confused children must be these days – encouraged to share sweets but incarcerated for sharing music.

Historically, rats have always been good at sharing things. Let’s face it, more people have heard of the plague than the Pogues. The casual sharing of music is a brilliantly infectious method of free marketing, and we think it’s important to spread that message, for the benefit of artists and music lovers alike.

River Rat joins an increasingly large pool of record labels that, in some part, base their business plans around CC-licensing. River Rat just celebrated their first release, Ruth Theodre’s Worm Food, which you can pick up at their website.

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TED Talks: Lawrence Lessig

Cameron Parkins, November 12th, 2007

If interested, check out this great video of a talk CC CEO Lawrence Lessig gave back in March 2007 at The Annual TED Conference entitled “How Creativity is Being Strangled by the Law”. There are some sections that are bound to be familiar to those in the CC-community while there are others that are entirely new – as he himself points out, “Somethings old, somethings new, lots that’s borrowed, none that’s blue”.

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Robots want to be free

Mike Linksvayer, November 12th, 2007

The Hardyman, a short story (6,500 words) by Susannah Breslin, published under the CC Attribution license. Story inspired by Hardiman, the first attempt to build a powered exoskeleton in 1965, licensing inspired by Cory Doctorow’s recent HOWTO use CC licenses. Breslin writes:

It’s the longest story I ever wrote. I thought about further restricting its use, but then I thought […] Robots want to be free.

Via Boing Boing.

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“Bloodspell: The Rise of Machinima” Viewing and Panel

Cameron Parkins, November 12th, 2007

On the 22nd November Bloodspell, the first feature length machinima production, will be screened in conjunction with a panel on machinima at the London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre. The evening will start with Hugh Hancock, of Strange Company, introducing the concept of machinima and the film, to be followed by a viewing of Bloodspell. After the viewing a panel will address the issues raised by the film then open the floor for discussion.

We’ve talked about Bloodspell before, as it not only represents an excellent example of a new form of film creation, but also because it is released under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. More info on the screening/panel below:

When: Nov. 22, 2007 5.15PM – 8.30PM
Where: London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre, 166-220 Holloway Road, London, N7 8DB
Panelists: Professor Lilian Edwards, Director of the Institute for Law and the Web at Southampton (ILAWS) of Southampton University
Holly Ayllet, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at London Metropolitan University and Managing Editor of Vertigo Magazine.
Ian Brown, Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute of Oxford University
Andres Guadamuz, Co-Director of SCRIPT, the Centre for Research in IP and Technology Law at The University of Edinburgh.

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