2008 February

Ro(cc)k music wanted

Mike Linksvayer, February 29th, 2008

LugRadio Live 2008 USA (previously mentioned; register here) is looking to feature CC-licensed music at the conference:

At LugRadio Live in the UK, we traditionally play a lot of rock music in-between talks – it keeps the atmosphere loose and fun. With LugRadio Live USA 2008 on the horizon, and well aware of the dictatorship that is the RIAA, I am keen to find a collection of good rock and metal that is suitable for legal public performance at LugRadio Live USA 2008.

Add a comment at Jono Bacon’s blog with your suggestions.

Some places to look. I’d recommend some sexy French punk rock.

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Cameron Parkins, February 29th, 2008

Zhura is a new screenwriting and community website that utilizes CC licenses to enable unparalleled avenues for online collaboration between screenwriters. Although CC licensing works is optional (you have the ability to write and share works privately), the “public” area of Zhura allows screenwriters to collaborate on projects they would have never been a part of otherwise. The possibilities are vast and unprecedented, ranging from an independent filmmaker making a noncommercial adaptation of someone else’s treatment to community fueled script collaborations. From Zhura:

“Zhura provides the most advanced online screenwriting tool in the industry, plus the ability to connect with the global writing community. On Zhura, you can work privately on your own projects, collaborate in private with your friends, or collaborate with the global public community.”

Membership is free and members may choose to work in any or all three of the ways listed above. However, it is in the “Public” area of the site which Zhura has adopted Creative Commons. When members create a “Script”, they are required to answer two questions: 1) Allow commercial use of your work? and 2) Allow modifications of your work? And based on their answers to these questions a Creative Commons License is assigned. From this “Create Script” page, as well as from within any Public Script that has been created, members can jump directly to your Creative Commons site for more information.

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CC Licensed Document Sharing

Cameron Parkins, February 29th, 2008

For those of you looking to share documents, templates, and other digital documentation online, make sure to check out both Scribd and DocStoc. Both sites have CC license implementation built in and make sharing your documents with co-workers, friends, family, and the general public a breeze. There is an immense amount of options available for both Scribd and Docstoc (read their respective FAQs here and here) and while they are both fairly flexible, Scribd is more focused on personal documents (creative, individual, etc.) while Docstoc is oriented towards a professional (legal, business, technology, etc.) audience.

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Wireless Networking in the Developing World

Cameron Parkins, February 29th, 2008

This past Monday, the Arabic edition of Wireless Networking in the Developing World was released for free online. Wireless Networking… provides an introduction to the theoretical concepts required to understand the behavior of wireless networks as well as practical guidance on how to apply these concepts to design/build low cost wireless networks. Aimed at those in the majority world, both the English and Arabic versions are released under a CC BY-SA license, meaning that the bevy of information therein can be freely shared, redistributed, and built upon. From WNDW:

This book is the corner stone for an ambitious project to bring wireless networks, along with its promises and potential, to the Arab region, to overcome the language barrier and reach out to everyone who would like to learn or contribute to the use of these technologies in building an equitable knowledge society. As of today, this project contains:

“Wireless Networking: A Primer”: a short guide for the essential concepts in wireless networking and how they could be applied in
designing and building wireless networks Multi Media Training Kit – Wireless Networking in Arabic: an excellent supplement to the book for educational, training and capacity building purposes The Arabic Wireless Networking in the Developing World website: the meeting point for wireless enthusiasts in the Arab world. The website includes a discussion forum and references to several real world projects


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Free as in “FREE BEER” Brewing in Berlin

Michelle Thorne, February 29th, 2008


FREE BEER” is always something to get excited about — especially when it’s being brewed in your own backyard. If you’re in Berlin this Saturday, March 1st, come stop by “Free as in ‘FREE BEER’ – Brau-Aktion.” We’ll be in the brewery “Hops & Barley Berlin” starting at 12:30pm to witness 100 liters of FREE BEER being brewed and learn some tricks from Braumeister Philipp.

The bubbly beverage’s recipe is based on classic ale brewing traditions and employs a Creative Commons license (Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5) to encourage anyone to brew their own batch or create derivative recipes. With support from zeitgeisty and newthinking, this round of FREE BEER is being prepared for consumption at re:publica’08, Berlin’s incredibly successful annual blogger conference, to be held this year April 2-4th.


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Recycled Computers, Remixable Content for schools

Asheesh Laroia, February 29th, 2008

The Alameda County Computer Resource Center is a Bay Area non-profit whose motto is “Obsolescence is Just a Lack of Imagination.” James Burgett, the Director of the ACCRC, writes on their website that they have distributed 16,000 computers as of 2006. Most of the computers they receive would otherwise end in the trash, which means they are saving landfills from computers’ toxic waste. Instead:

[They] give free refurbished computers to schools, non-profit organizations, and economically and/or physically disadvantaged individuals. . . . Our refurbished systems all run a Free software GNU/Linux operating system.

With Andrew Fife from Untangle, they are organizing a Linux installfest in the Bay Area this weekend to get the Bay Area community to help set up those systems. The computers being installed will go to schools in the Bay Area. In addition, they are going to pre-install Creative Commons-licensed photos and music from Flickr and Jamendo. The photos and music were selected as part of our LiveContent project. What better complement to (little-f) free computers than Free Software and Free Content?

With the number of computers they’ll be working on, the installfest has four locations. It all takes place on this Saturday, March 1. If you’re near Berkeley, San Francisco, San Mateo, or Marin County, check out their wiki and sign up!

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University of Auckland embeds CC licensing

Michelle Thorne, February 28th, 2008

The University of Auckland has just announced that they have embedded Creative Commons licensing for all new submissions by PhD students into the university’s digital repository, ResearchSpace.

From the repository’s librarian Leonie Hayes:

“At the moment the showcase collection is PhD theses, there are nearly 800 in the PhD collection, most are open access. There are another 900 awaiting signoff from authors. When new graduates submit online they have a choice of adding a CC licence along with their consent for a digital copy.

We are also investigating application of Creative Commons licenses to our other digital collections.”

For the purposes of the repository, students are using a localized Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license, legally ported to jurisdictional law by the CC team in New Zealand.

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Is it possible to design non-defective DRM?

Mike Linksvayer, February 28th, 2008

DRM (Digital Rights Management, pejoratively known as Digital Restrictions Management) is said to be defective by design — making digital devices and content more annoying, less secure, less compatible, and generally less useful, and especially where protected by recent legislation, in conflict with free speech. If this dysfunction is not included by design, it is at least a direct side effect of a largely futile attempt to make computers worse at copying.

In light of these problems, Creative Commons licenses stipulate the following:

When You Distribute or Publicly Perform the Work, You may not impose any effective technological measures on the Work that restrict the ability of a recipient of the Work from You to exercise the rights granted to that recipient under the terms of the License.

This is not an outright prohibition of DRM on works distributed under terms of any CC license, but it does rule out existing DRM schemes that would clearly restrict the ability to exercise the rights granted in any CC license.

However, use of Digital Rights Expression, also variously known as Digital Rights Description and Rights Management Information, has always been a core part of Creative Commons’ strategy. The point of DRE and other information describing creative works is to describe works, not to facilitate restrictions imposed by your own computer. Computers should help users find and manage content, not help content owners manage and expose users.

We’ve only begun to exploit the ability of machine-readable code describing works and licenses to make media more valuable rather than less. Look for a paper on what we’re now calling ccREL — CC Rights Expression Language — coming soon.

ccREL has nothing to do with DRM, but this hasn’t stopped many people with DRM implementations or schemes from approaching us about making CC licenses work with their DRM. Nearly all of these conversations have been very brief as they were clearly futile.

The only exception to that certain futility rule has been Sun’s Project DReaM team. While it is far from clear that they have succeeded, theirs is perhaps the first honest attempt (at least outside academia) to specify a DRM system that supports CC licensed content and fair use — which we consider a requirement for supporting CC licenses.

The project has produced two white papers outlining potential support for CC licensed work and fair use, which are now open for comments: DReaM-MMI Profile for Creative Commons Licenses (pdf) and Support for Fair Use with Project DReaM (pdf). A forum has been set up to collect comments.

An introductory post from Susan Landau sets forth the challenge:

This is just to say that we welcome comments on the DReaM-MMI fair use document and the DReaM-MMI specification for implementing Creative Commons licenses. We’re not unaware of the inherent contradiction of a DRM’s support for fair use and Creative Commons licenses. What we are seeking to do in DReaM is develop an open-source DRM system, and include in it the things that ought to be part of any DRM system: support for fair use — and Creative Commons licenses.

We are very happy that Project DReaM has taken this step to encourage open discussion, which is certain to generate intense criticism, as anyone familiar with the DRM debates will immediately recognize. However, open criticism by many legal and computer security experts is the only way to properly evaluate a DRM system that aspires to support public licenses and fair use.

There is some existing literature on DRM and fair use. One starting point is a 2003 special issue of the Communications of the ACM on the theme “Digital Rights Management and Fair Use by Design.” Unfortunately these papers are not open access, but abstracts and exceprts are available at Cover Pages. Another is the DRM page of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, which features several downloadable papers on DRM and fair use. In brief, there are two extremely difficult problems to overcome for a DRM system to support fair use: determining what constitutes fair use or trusting users and privacy.

Even if Project DReaM has successfully specified support for CC licensed works and fair use with DRM, there would probably be other hurdles to deploying truly non-defective DRM. The good news is that in the last year many more people have realized that DRM is not good for business or consumers, particularly in the music industry. However, attempts to make DRM work will probably be with us for some time. If it can be shown that it is possible to design a DRM system that supports fair use, consumers and advocates can demand that all DRM systems meet that standard. If not (and admittedly, we suspect this is the case), all the more reason to hasten the abandonment of DRM and the hindrance it poses to innovation, and to embrace technologies that make content more useful and empower users.

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1st CC Korea International Conference

Michelle Thorne, February 28th, 2008

“Open Culture in CC” is the theme of the first CC Korea International Conference, a day-long event to be held on Friday, March 14th at the National Museum of Korea (map).


The CC Korea team, lead by Chief Project Lead Jongsoo Yoon, have organized the conference not only to celebrate the 3rd birthday of CC Korea and its localized CC licenses, but as a platform to promote Open Culture in Korea, both qualitatively and quantitatively, by discussing case studies and coordinating future projects.

The program is divided into four tracks, covering topics such as open access and peer review, case studies in public sector content usage, Government Information Licensing Framework (GILF) in Australia, and media tools for CC in businesses.

Speakers at the conference include Creative Commons’ own Lawrence Lessig and Jon Phillips, John Wilbanks from Science Commons, Project Lead Brian Fitzgerald from CC Australia, and many representatives from Korean institutions including SuMyoung Lee (Ministry of Culture and Tourism), SeungHoon Chun (Samsung), iSuk Woo (Korea National University), KyoungHee Jung (Hansung University), JungWook Seo (Korea National University), SungWook Moon (KDI School of Public Policy and Management), JongMin Ham (NHN), and ChangShin Park (Newsbank).




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CC and Net Neutrality

Jane Park, February 26th, 2008

OpenEducation.net tracks the changing climate of education–more specifically, the movement towards the growing availability of Open Educational Resources on the web. In a recent post entitled, The Digital Commons — Left Unregulated, Are We Destined for Tragedy? , they explore the potential of the open digital commons, concluding that open access is the key to avoiding, not creating, tragedy.

They also recognize ccLearn as a part of this movement. ccLearn’s Executive Director, Ahrash Bissell, recently spoke with OpenEducation.net about ccLearn’s and, in general, Creative Commons’ relationship to net neutrality. Check out the interview here.

Both articles are licensed CC BY.

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