2008 February

Download Sharing Creative Works

Rebecca Rojer, February 26th, 2008

A PDF of Sharing Creative Works, the latest CC comic book, is now available for download. This new format is easier to read and share than the wiki version we published a couple months ago, and is ready to print. Sharing Creative Works is a colorful, easy-to-understand introduction to some of the abstract concepts behind Creative Commons.

Sharing Creative Works p. 12

In keeping with its theme, Sharing Creative Works is in the public domain. To encourage remixes and translations, all of the original SVG files, the text of the script, high quality PNG files, and the Scribus document used to generate the PDF are also available. Changes to the official version can still be made on its wiki page; thanks to everyone who already contributed edits and feedback!

Created by Alex Roberts, Rebecca Rojer, and Jon Phillips, Sharing Creative Works features a new visual style from our previous comics. We hope you find it a helpful resource for explaining the basics of copyright and CC licensing to kids and adults alike. A customized version will also serve as documentation for the OLPC Licensing Activity, keep an eye out for more info in the near future.

Please download, share, and remix Sharing Creative Works!

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CC Talks With: vosotros

Cameron Parkins, February 26th, 2008

vosotros is an LA-based record label that, over the past year, has been exploring unique and new ways of promoting music in the digital age. Ranging from their regularly updated podcast to their monthly residency in downtown Los Angeles, vosotros has acted as somewhat of a musical petri dish, experimenting with a variety of different ideas in getting the music they love to people who want it. We recently caught up with John Gillilan, Vosotros’ co-founder, and asked him a few questions in anticipation of their 1-year anniversary this Thursday:

What’s vosotros all about? What’s its history? How did it come about? Who’s involved?

vosotros is a new music initiative and label founded by Chicago natives John Gillilan and Gabe Noel. Our latest project, The Lazy Susan, will be released this February. We first met in Professora White’s 7th grade Spanish class, which is where we got our name. Vosotros is a Spanish verb conjugation roughly meaning “you-all.” But since it is only used in Spain, it was always ignored. Vosotros is music for you-all.

The Lazy Susan was born in February 2007, when we assembled a band to record one song and launch our year-long residency in downtown Los Angeles. Each month during the next year, we assembled a new band to record another song and play another month of the residency. Twelve months later, vosotros presents: the lazy susan – an album featuring thirty-two musicians on twelve songs written by bassist Gabe Noel.

The Lazy Susan introduces music by “Noelsson Schmoelsson”, “Someone’s Piano”, “First Good Feeling”, “PB&J…and g”, “masunday”, “Saltar”, “My Moon Boots”, “The Carrot and Stick”, “Touhy”, “ump-off Pause Tape”, “How Long It Takes To Know”, and “Our Song”.

February 28 marks the one-year anniversary of our residency at LAND (details here) – and the release of our third album as a label. You can listen to the lazy susan at last.fm and iMeem. Also, be sure to check out this promo video crafted by our friend Dave McCary using only public domain footage.
Read More…

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ACLU Embraces CC Licensing

Cameron Parkins, February 26th, 2008

The ACLU has begun its first foray into CC licensing, releasing all the content from their new website, marijuanaconversation.org, under a CC BY-NC-ND license. By releasing this information under a CC license (and with plans to utilize CC licenses more in the future), the ACLU is actively committing itself to the notion of “conversation,” allowing for the legal and encouraged sharing of information.

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“Steal This Film” at Other Cinema, SF

Cameron Parkins, February 25th, 2008

Those is the SF-Bay area take note – this Saturday, March 1, Other Cinema will be screening Steal This Film II (discussed earlier here) with an introductory talk by Rick Prelinger. If that wasn’t enough, the night looks to be filled with a variety of copyright-related goodness (see description below). From Other Cinema:

OC inaugurates its 24th year with a festive celebration of the Open-Source spirit! Headlining is the West Coast premiere of Jamie King’s half-hr. Steal This Film (2), a spot-on primer on strategies of access and appropriation in today’s Info Age. Initiating the evening is local hero Rick Prelinger, in person, with a provocative performative lecture on motion picture archives. ALSO: The “Pranks” section of Kembrew McLeod’s Freedom of Expression (a phrase that he copywrited, by the way), narrated by Naomi Klein, plus a heavy mix of media interventions, capped by David Cox’ pop-cult mash-up—get this—in 3-D! And in keeping with the sharewareethic, bring in your unwanted books for potlatch at 8pm with DJ Onanist and FREE-flowin’ bubbly!

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Illustrated Blogging with Flickr and CC

Nathan Yergler, February 25th, 2008

It’s no secret that Flickr has a great archive of Creative Commons-licensed photos — over 50 million as I write this. Last week I ran across a plugin for WordPress that makes finding and using these images even easier.

Photo Dropper allows you to search for images, optionally filtering for whether or not photos allow commercial use, and insert them into your blog post along with the appropriate photo credit. Their site has screenshots and installation instructions.

Great job, guys!

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Wireless Networking in the Developing World

Mike Linksvayer, February 25th, 2008

Wireless Networking in the Developing World is a free book about designing, implementing, and maintaining low-cost wireless networks. The second edition has just been released under a CC Attribution-ShareAlike license with versions in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, and soon Portuguese.

For a bit on why a book on wireless networking in the developing world may be particularly interesting, see last November’s post on Building a Rural Wireless Mesh Network, which very conveniently also happens to be available under an Attribution-ShareAlike license.

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Science Commons News: A commons-sense approach to winning the drug discovery lottery

Kaitlin Thaney, February 24th, 2008

From the Science Commons blog …  

In a new piece [free reg. req.] this week from GenomeWeb Daily News, Aled Edwards — director and CEO of the Structural Genomics Consortium — describes the drug discovery process as a “lottery,” and argues that increasing the chances for discovery will require that people in “academia, industry, and funding bodies collaborate and keep new structural data accessible to all researchers who might be interested in using it.”

The sentiment echoes those of Science Commons’ own John Wilbanks, who earlier this year wrote a post on the Nature Network comparing drug discovery to a game of roulette. It’s a game, says Wilbanks, that people win by “betting on every square, then patenting the one that wins and extracting high rents from it.” The biggest problem in this scenario, he argues, isn’t the existence of patents, but the sheer complexity of the human body, and how much we still have to learn about it:

Human bodies make microprocessors look like children’s toys in terms of complexity. …Complexity is the problem both in terms of our understanding of bodies and drugs and in terms of reworking the models around discovery. This system regularly and utterly defeats the best efforts of many entrepreneurs and policy reformers to change things for the better. 

So what’s the solution? According to Wilbanks, it’s a “commons approach,” which entails precisely the kind of collaboration that Edwards advocates […]

More after the jump …  

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LugRadio Live USA 2008 and LugRadio licensing

Mike Linksvayer, February 23rd, 2008

LugRadio (LUG stands for Linux User Group) brings their “rock-conference” to San Francisco April 12-13. Registration is only $10:

LugRadio Live USA 2008 brings together over 30 speakers across three stages, 30+ exhibitors, a range of BOF sessions, debate panels, lightbulb talk sessions, demos and much more, all wrapped up in the unique event that the UK incarnation has become known for, combining an incredibly loose, social, inclusive, and amusing atmosphere — if you are new to LugRadio Live, it is nothing you will have seen before.

The show will also see a large number of exhibitors, which will be announced in the coming weeks, with plenty to see and do. In addition to this, the LugRadio team will be recording a live performance of their cult-hit podcast, which has over 20,000 listeners, in front of the LugRadio Live USA 2008 audience – like the UK event, this is always quite a spectacle, and excellent fun for all involved.

Here’s the abstract of the talk I’m slated to give:

Free culture: how many years behind free software?
Where is free culture/open content c.2008 in its development relative to free software/open source? 1983, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2004? Do users of culture require the same freedoms as users of software? How free software people can aid and abet free culture and vice versa.

Incidentally, the LugRadio podcast has been working to effect a switch from the most restrictive CC license (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives) to one of the most liberal (Attribution-ShareAlike) and this month made the announcement in the form of an essay, well worth reading. Excerpt:

After four years of glorious LugRadio goodness, it become apparent that this occasionally caused complications. People have asked us: can I chop out just the bit where you read my email out and put that on my website? or, can I cut out this interview and show that to people involved with the project I was talking about without them having to listen to the rest of the show? Can I put an episode on the cover CD for my computer magazine? We’ve always said yes to requests like these — we’ve never refused a request to do something different with the show — but after some chatting away in the orbiting LugRadio Command Satellite, it became apparent that this process would be rather easier if people who wanted to do creative things with the show could do so without asking for permission first.

Jono Bacon, one of the people behind LugRadio and LugRadio Live, has made previous appearances on this blog.

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RetarDEAD Theme Song CC-Licensed

Cameron Parkins, February 22nd, 2008

Go here now to listen to the wonderfully absurd theme song to RetarDEAD, a soon-to-be released low budget indie monster film (mp3 located near page bottom). The theme song is released under a CC BY-NC license, allowing for remixing pleasure. Via BoingBoing:

Evil has come to the Butte County Institute of Special Education, and its students will never be the same. Armed with a fatal hyper-intelligence serum, the mad Dr. Stern single-handedly transforms a quiet community into an army of flesh-eating zombies. It’s a showdown of limb-chopping, head-bursting proportions as Stern’s nemesis, F.B.I. agent Susan Hannigan, and the local sheriff’s department take on the zombie plague in the ultimate battle royale. In short, it’s sort of like “Flowers for Algernon” meets “Night of the Living Dead.”

Jello Biafra, former lead singer of the Dead Kennedy’s plays the town’s mayor. I also sing the theme song duet with Girl Trouble lead singer Kurt “KP” Kendall – and as a backup singer in the “Retardettes.” The song has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License, so it is free and available for remixing.

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Copyright Panel in NYC: “Is Intellectual Property Dead?”

Cameron Parkins, February 22nd, 2008

This Tuesday, Feb 26th, the New York City Bar Association will be hosting a panel discussion titled, “Is Intellectual Property Dead? The Revolt of Students for New Directions”. The speaker list is phenomenal (including CC alumni Fred Benenson) and the panel promises to illuminate the issues a new generation of content creators/consumers face in relation to copyright law. From NYCBar:

Students for Free Culture has chapters in at least 35 universities across the country. Many of the groups are branching out beyond access to music copyright. The issues are far more than piracy. Can the students lead us, in terms of public policy, to a new copyright direction in which copyright law will not make some users criminal?

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