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2008 February

Jahtari

Cameron Parkins, February 15th, 2008

Jahtari is a German dub/reggae web label that releases the majority of their music under a CC BY-NC-ND license. Specializing in what they call Digital Laptop Reggae, Jahtari focus on the collision between the free form aesthetics and rhythm of dub/reggae music and the inelastic nature of computer based electronica. Both stylistic movements focus heavily on experimental production techniques, providing a unique starting point for Jahtari’s artists to begin genre bending. Make sure to check out their vast catalog – the music is as interesting as it sounds.

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Lessig Library

Cameron Parkins, February 15th, 2008

Exact Editions, a company that “makes magazines, books and other printed documents accessible, searchable and usable on the web”, recentlly added CC CEO and founder Lawrence Lessig’s Future of Ideas, Code 2.0, and Free Culture to their database. This means you can now power-peruse Lessig-ology to your heart’s content. From Exact Editions:

The books carry the Creative Commons license and what our service adds to the readily available PDF file versions are some features that will matter to close students of Lessig: (1) the books can be searched quickly, severally or individually (2) each page can be cited or linked as a separate url (3) the Tables of Contents and the Indices provide clickable navigation (4) the works should be accessible from any web-enabled device with no special software required (eg from an iPhone as well as ordinary computers).

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Introducing the new ccLearn website

Ahrash Bissell, February 14th, 2008

ccLearn, the educational division of Creative Commons, was launched in Fall, 2007. Since then, we have been very busy setting priorities and managing a few key projects, such as the (Open) Education Search project and helping with the Cape Town Open Education Declaration. In the meantime, we have been putting together plans and materials for a number of other initiatives, many of which are already listed on our Projects page. In addition, we have been drafting materials to help educators and learners understand the ideas that lie behind open education, and in particular the ways that Creative Commons licenses interface with that movement.

The site is under heavy construction, but expect to see it fill in quickly. You can sign up for a feed if you want to stay abreast of changes, and you can sign up for the ccLearn listserv if you want news and events related to ccLearn sent to you via email. And of course, you should always feel free to contact us with comments, suggestions, and anything else that you would like to share.

The staff at ccLearn are looking forward to a busy and exciting year. Welcome!

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OLPC + CC Hackathon

Timothy Vollmer, February 14th, 2008

Check out the OLPC book & music drive and XO hackathon going on this weekend. From SJ:

Share the love with One Laptop per Child, the Creative Commons, Textbook Revolution, and the entire world!

We are collecting all the free books, movies, music, and other content that we can in the next five days! Then, on Tuesday (2/19) the Creative Commons will be burning a LiveDVD as part of LiveContent 2.0 with big selection of CC licensed materials that we are gathering—this DVD will be distributed to events like South by Southwest and elsewhere. The bundle of books and educational resources we collect will be used by One Laptop per Child to send all over the world for children, families, and schools! And will compiling and reviewing the best college-level resources they can find for the coming re-launch of their new, community driven site!

On Saturday, there will be a hackathon/jam at Olin college. We hope others will create jams and barcamps and jams, and we will be adding them to the list above as they do!

Digg it up.

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Community Testing for LiveContent 2.0 beta LiveDVD

Timothy Vollmer, February 14th, 2008

LiveContent 2.0 cover

A beta of LiveContent 2.0 is available for testing! We’ve got it up at the CC labs site (direct download) and the Fedora Spins site (torrent). Burn the DVD image to a disc and boot it up. The Creative Commons tech team has been working on an interesting content “autocuration” process for LiveContent 2.0, which automatically pulls down CC-licensed media for inclusion on the LiveDVD. Our test run is with Flickr, so check out the autocurated images from the popular photo sharing site right on the LiveContent desktop. A focus of LiveContent 2.0 is to foster the standardization of content APIs, thus allowing LiveContent (and other media projects!) to draw from CC-licensed feeds straight from the Content Directories. Check out the tech specs on Flickr’s API and look for more documentation soon about CC’s process.

This test build also contains some amazing photos from Wikimedia Commons’ Pictures of the Year. You can have your CC-licensed project featured on the disc too. We’re moving quickly with this, so hit us up with ideas for content you feel could be included. Check out the wiki page to add specific content ideas.

If you’re able to help test the LiveDVD functionality, please help us report bugs, file feature requests and submit patches at the CC SourceForge tracking page. Please provide as much information as you can, including the build number and the type of machine you’re running it on.

Once again, we thank the generous folks over at Worldlabel.com for supporting this project and helping to push for better standardization, making LiveContent an interesting tool and providing a necessary nudge toward easier content sharing. Thanks also to Fedora Project for the testing and hosting space.

LiveContent boots into Fedora 8 and runs directly from the LiveDVD. The multimedia content can also be viewed without booting into the LiveDVD. Here’s more information on burning an ISO and running a LiveDVD.

Wikipedia: List of ISO image software
wikiHow: How to Burn ISO Files to DVD

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Freeing America’s Operating System

Mike Linksvayer, February 11th, 2008

Last November Carl Malamud’s Public.Resource.Org announced an initiative to free 1.8 million pages of U.S. case law, publishing them online with no restrictions on reuse.

Today the results of this initiative are available at http://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/.

From the press release (pdf):

Today’s release covers all U.S. Supreme Court decisions and all Courts of Appeals decisions from 1950 on. The release is equivalent to 1,858 volumes of case law in book form, a stack of books 348 feet tall.

The files have all been converted to the XHTML standard and make extensive use of CSS style sheets to allow developers to build new search engines and user interfaces. Since the U.S. Courts do not yet digitally sign their documents, a SHA1 hash is provided on their behalf.

The source of this case law is a transaction previously announced with Fastcase, Inc., a leading provider of American legal research tools. Public.Resource.Org and Creative Commons were represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in this transaction.

Purchase of this valuable data was made possible by generous donations from a group that includes the Omidyar Network and several individuals including David Boies, the Elbaz Family Foundation, and John Gilmore.

Quotes, also from the release — David Boies:

Practical access for all Americans to legal cases and material is essential to the rule of law. The Legal Commons is an important step in reducing the barriers to effective representation of average citizens and public interest advocates.

Lawrence Lessig:

Just as markets are premised on the free flow of information, so is our democratic system of government. Creative Commons is proud to be working with Public.Resource.Org to deliver this important governmental and judicial material back into the public domain.

Carl Malamud (emphasis added):

Developers and interested members of the public are invited to join our open discussion group which will evaluate the format of this public domain data. These cases and codes are America’s operating system and for the first time Americans can use them with freedom.

Read whole release, get the data.

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commons-research list

Mike Linksvayer, February 11th, 2008

There’s a new mailing list spearheaded by Giorgos Cheliotis (see past posts concerning his research) has been set up for researchers critiquing, investigating, quantifying, or otherwise researching Creative Commons and the commons more broadly. Researchers from all fields are welcome.

Visit commons-research to join (thanks again to ibiblio for hosting this and many other CC-related resources over the years).

There’s also a research stub article on the CC wiki for gathering additional resources, including a potential research track at our upcoming annual summit.

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2008 Summer Internships

Jennifer Yip, February 8th, 2008

For all the students who have been patiently waiting, Creative Commons has posted summer internship positions. Please spread the word to interested college or graduate students. We are currently looking for a Community Development, a Business Development, a Technology, and a Development intern. Three full-time and one part-time (Development) positions are available in total.

Applicants may submit a cover letter, resume, and references for the position(s) of interest through March 3.

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OpenCourseWare Launched at United Nations University

Jane Park, February 6th, 2008

The United Nations University, an official member of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, has just launched their web learning portal. Joining more than 100 other institutions of higher education, UNU is providing open access to an initial dozen training courses, spanning from subjects like Integrated Water Resources Management to the Social Construction of Technology in Development.  The courses are aimed towards educators, students, and individuals–pretty much anyone who’s interested.

Rather than replacing for-credit courses, the United Nations University recognizes the significance of different approaches to education in the 21st century.  As a result, the courses are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.5 (CC BY).

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Bayanihan Books, an Open Textbook Initiative

Jane Park, February 6th, 2008

Bayanihan is a Tagalog term originating from the root word Bayani, or hero.  Today, Bayanihan represents an heroic effort on the part of the community, or the actions of a group of people that result in a common good.  Greg Moreno’s new initiative, Bayanihan Books, is aptly named.   

With 17.5 million public school students in the Philippines, affordable access to textbooks is not a simple matter.  Textbook companies can monopolize the market, upping prices for students and schools that can’t always afford them.  Moreno’s plan is to compete with these companies by shifting the control of textbook content from a few to many—the community.  Textbook making will be a collaborative project, a sort of wiki-style peer editing and review consisting of volunteers.  The content will be published under a Creative Commons license specific to the Philippines that allows it to be shared. But the ultimate goal is to have the content be in print and distributed widely to public schools. That’s where the publishing companies come in.   

The publishing companies will bid on the content, and because they don’t have to deal with doling out royalty fees to a community of volunteers, they will only have to shoulder the costs of the actual printing.  Then they can distribute the books at minimal cost to schools around the country, while still making quite a profit for themselves.  Everyone wins.  

Currently, they are working on these two books. 

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