2008 February

Loops: Solo Dance, CC-Licensed

Cameron Parkins, February 22nd, 2008


Loops is an amazing new project, created collaboratively between the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and The OpenEnded Group, to release Merce Cunningham’s choreography for his solo dance Loops under a CC BY-NC-SA license.

By releasing Loops under a CC-license, anyone is able to perform, reproduce, and adapt it for non-commercial purposes. Simultaneously, the digital artists of The OpenEnded Group (Marc Downie, Shelley Eshkar, and Paul Kaiser) will release a digital portrait of Cunningham, also entitled Loops, as open source software. This artwork derives from a high-resolution 3D recording of Cunningham performing the solo with his hands and promises to provide ample substance for derivative works.

The public release of the Loops project will take place this Tuesday, February 26 at 6:30 PM in the Merce Cunningham Studio. The event is co-hosted by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center and will include a presentation of the choreography and digital artwork, remarks from Merce Cunningham as well as Paul Kaiser and Marc Downie of The OpenEnded Group, and a reception. The choreography and code will be released simultaneously online the same day.

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Nebraska Library Commission adds CC-licensed books to collection

Timothy Vollmer, February 22nd, 2008

Congratulations to the Nebraska Library Commission for spearheading an initiative to add Creative Commons-licensed book editions to the library collection. Michael Sauers, Technology Innovation Librarian for the Commission, was asked, “Why don’t libraries start cataloging and offering CC-licensed works?”

The NLC staff went to work cataloging and then posting electronic versions of CC-licensed works like Cory Doctorow’s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and Steven Poole’s Trigger Happy to the library’s web server. Patrons can now access these and other CC-licensed books from the online library catalog. Sauers adds that some of the CC-licensed titles were also printed as spiral-bound books so they could be added to the library’s physical collection.

The Nebraska Library Commission now offers nine CC-licensed electronic titles, and hopes to add more. This is fantastic news, and we encourage other libraries to follow their lead. It’d be great for Michael and the NLC to document and share the specifics of the cataloging process so other libraries can try it too!

Check out some photos from the NLC.

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License drafts from Ecuador & Norway enter public discussion

Michelle Thorne, February 21st, 2008

We are very pleased to announce that the public discussion of localized license drafts has begun in Ecuador and in Norway:


It is a great pleasure to invite all interested parties to join the teams in Ecuador and Norway in discussing these drafts adapted to their respective jurisdictional law.

For their progress and dedication thus far, we would like to thank the CC Ecuador team, lead by Dr. Juan José Puertas Ortega and Carlos Correa Loyola, and team members Dra. Patricia Pacheco Montoya and Abg. Verónica Granda González, with support from the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja.

Our warmest congratulations extend as well to CC Norway, whose Legal Lead Peter Lenda and Public Lead Gisle Hannemyr, along with their Legal Advisory Board and affiliate institution Oslo University College, have demonstrated extreme thoughtfulness and commitment in producing the first draft of the CC license ported to Norwegian law.

We welcome your participation in the discussion of these two license drafts!

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SciVee Television

Jane Park, February 21st, 2008

Since Science Commons blogged about SciVee last August, the “YouTube for science research” has expanded. If you haven’t already, check out this science television for adults. It’s not your typical science programming–you won’t see Bill Nye the Science Guy here–but you could definitely learn a thing or two on this site promoting open science research.

SciVee Television fosters networking between science professionals, or anyone that wants to share their research. You can create “pubcasts” by presenting your published scientific article in a video. The goal is to improve your research by sharing your research–a novel concept?

All uploaded content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (CC BY).

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Puerto Rico Launches Localized Creative Commons Licenses

Michelle Thorne, February 21st, 2008

On Feb. 22 in San Juan, the University of Puerto Rico Cyberlaw Clinic will host the launch of Puerto Rico’s localized Creative Commons licenses, marking the forty-fourth jurisdiction worldwide to port the Creative Commons licensing suite. The event will be held at 7:00pm at U.P.R.’s School of Law, featuring an exhibition by Puerto Rican artists, a promotional CD release, and keynote by Creative Commons Chairman Joichi Ito.

The Creative Commons Puerto Rico team is lead by Hiram A. Meléndez-Juarbe, Carlos González-Yanes, and Chloé Georas, who coordinated the porting process and public consultation with local and international legal experts. In preparation for the public discussion, a memorandum was prepared by the 2006-2007 class of the University of Puerto Cyberlaw Clinic to analyze the role of moral rights in Puerto Rico’s mixed legal tradition. The memorandum is available for download.

Congratulations CC Puerto Rico!

Press Release

Event on upcoming


Image Left: Untitled, by Chloé Georas licensed under CC BY-NC-ND. Image Right: Untitled, by Maribel Garrastazu licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

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Approved for Free Cultural Works

Mike Linksvayer, February 20th, 2008

Approved for Free Cultural WorksWe’ve just added the seal you see at right to Creative Commons licenses that qualify as Free Culture Licenses according to the Definition of Free Cultural WorksAttribution and Attribution-ShareAlike. Public domain is not a license, but is an acceptable copyright status for free cultural works according to the Definition.

One obvious way to think of the definition is as an application of the principles of free software to content. These demand the freedom to modify without any discrimination against uses or users, which means that Creative Commons licenses containing the NonCommercial or NoDerivatives terms do not qualify. Of course you don’t have to agree with the definition of freedom used by the free software movement and the Definition of Free Cultural Works, and even if you do agree, there may be reasons for using a more restrictive license in some cases. However, this seal and approval signals an important delineation between less and more restrictive licenses, one that creators and users of content should be aware of.

A very practical reason users should be aware of these distinctions is that some important projects accept only freely (as defined) licensed or public domain content, in particular Wikipedia and Wikimedia sites, which use the Definition of Free Cultural Works in their licensing guidelines. Indeed, clear marking of qualifying CC licenses as free is one of the issues to be addressed for a potential migration of Wikipedia to CC Attribution-ShareAlike.

This added signaling is part of an ongoing effort to distinguish among the range of Creative Commons licenses — never say the Creative Commons license, as there is no such thing. Our license deeds have always communicated the distinct properties of each license with icons and brief descriptions. In December of 2006 we added a more subtle free/less free signal — green and yellow background graphics (compare Attribution to Attribution-NonCommercial) — and began suggesting license buttons that include license property icons, so that one has an immediate visual cue as to the specific license being used without clicking through to the deed.

We hope to address further suggestions from the community and roll out further improvements in CC license deeds and the license chooser in the near future — stay tuned!


3-D Internet for Learning Summit: What’s Missing?

Jane Park, February 20th, 2008

3D Conference Screen Shot

Image: Screenshot of IBM Learning Summit, Active Worlds Browser 4.1

© 1995-2007 Active Worlds, Inc.

ccLearn was a participant in the just-concluded 3-D Internet for Learning Summit, which took place over a period of two days in three separate sessions: the Kick-Off Event, What’s New Here Forum?, and What’s the Big Challenge? It was hosted by IBM, ASU SkySong, The Federation of American Scientists and the Kauffman Foundation. The conference occurred in a customized 3-D space, IBM’s Active Worlds Center for Innovation specifically designed for the event. The virtual experience was enhanced with main and side chats, a conference call linking 60+ callers from around the globe, and a Powerpoint presentation, which could be viewed off-line or in the Center. For those accelerated multi-taskers, there were additional screens bordering the outer edges of the conference area where you could link to even more info about 3-D internet and education.

Aside from the fun of making your avatar fly or do karate, you could ask questions via phone or chat that would be answered directly by the panel, a group of business professionals who had a lot to say about the emerging 3-D space. Most opted to join in on the collaborative chat, though, demonstrating the importance of “self and anonymity”, a concept of the second session–What’s New Here Forum? Anonymity allows people to ask questions and be more forward than they usually might be. At the same time, self still plays an important factor as people usually choose and modify avatars to look as much like them as possible. In total, 300 or so avatars were present, all representing real people behind real computers around the world.

There is obviously a lot of excitement about the potential of virtual environments to enhance or improve access to learning, and ccLearn expects to be active in conversations and considerations of interoperability issues and barriers to those possibilities.

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CC0 beta/discussion draft feedback and next step

Mike Linksvayer, February 16th, 2008

On January 15 we launched discussion of two new tools in a beta US version, both branded “CC0” — a Waiver of all copyrights in a work, and an Assertion that there are no copyrights in a work. After taking account of your feedback (thank you!), a lot of internal discussion has led us to plan some changes. We are now planning to have the next iteration of the beta ready for discussion by March 31, but will describe the overall changes below for early feedback as we work toward that iteration.

  • Many found the use of “CC0” for both the Waiver and Assertion tools to be confusing. Going forward, we plan to separate the tools more clearly. As a legal tool, the CC0 Waiver can be thought of as the “no rights reserved” option within the CC licensing suite. The Assertion is something different — not a legal tool, but a method of enabling statements of fact about the public domain.
  • Thinking of the CC0 Waiver as part of the licensing suite is also in keeping with the legal reality that in some situations the tool will probably function as a license rather than a waiver. So we want to begin with a “Universal” (not “Unported”) version of the tool. We do not want to give US legal code a special status here. This means we need to address now some additional legal issues, such as moral rights and the question of rights in databases. Much discussion of the moral rights issue has already taken place within the CC community, and we will make use of that input. Open Data Commons has provided an example of how database rights might be addressed. We would like to use this opportunity to engage at the beginning of our process with CC international jurisdiction projects and other experts to make sure CC0 is the most universal waiver/maximally thin license possible.
  • Avoiding confusion between the Waiver and the Assertion will also help with efforts to educate about the existence of the “public domain” in every jurisdiction, whether called by that name or not. The Assertion tool should now include the ability to indicate reasons why a work would be in the public domain under the law of jurisdictions other than the US.
  • We also want to be clear that there is no need to buy into CC0 branding in order to use CC-built metadata to communicate the rights associated with any particular work. Our goal is interoperability — it’s the “Rights Expression Language” part of ccREL, not the “cc”, that we care about the most.

We hope these changes will help clarify messaging and make it easier for us to build — with your help — the simplest and most effective tools for global usage. Primary discussion of this work will continue on the cc-licenses list. Please join in!

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Cameron Parkins, February 15th, 2008

Songza, a beautifully designed music search engine and jukebox, recentlly launched with a chorus of praise concerning its design, implementation, and simplicity (read about the project here). Of particularly interest to the CC community is Songza’s commitment to CC-licensed music and artists, with Songza actively looking to promote and feature CC-licensed music through their Self-Promotion Beta Program. This is a killer opportunity for musicians in the CC community which carries the potential for enormous exposure. From Songza:

Songza allows users to search for any song or band and listen immediately using a simple, elegant interface. It is rapidly becoming the central place on the Web to find and listen to music.

Artists can benefit from the visibility of music on Songza by participating in our Self-Promotion Beta Program. Your song will be featured in the Recommended list on the Songza homepage (where tens of thousands of listeners will see it and can listen); you also get to define the links that appear next to your song while it’s playing so that people can buy the song or visit your band’s website.

No matter what type of CC license applies to your work, you can benefit from the Songza Self-Promotion Beta Program. Creative Commons license information will be displayed when the song is playing, and Songza doesn’t allow users to download material, so the more restrictive licenses will not be infringed upon.

Sign up now, and Songza will send an e-mail to the first round of participants with simple instructions on how to get their work featured in the Recommended list.



Cameron Parkins, February 15th, 2008

Today seems to be the day that unique, experimental, CC-licensed record labels show up on our radar. 8bitpeoples, “a collective of artists sharing a common love for classic videogames”, specializes in retro video game goodness, creating music that reflects a clear obsession with old NES soundtracks and the wonderfully brittle noises of the Commodore 64.

Less record label than musical co-op (think Elephant 6 in an arcade) 8bitpeoples release their various works under a CC BY-NC-ND license, allowing their musical creations to be legally shared freely across the web. Check out their back catalog here, complete with aesthetically similar cover art.

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