2008 June

Adam Gnade Releases Hymn

Cameron Parkins, June 30th, 2008

Adam Gnade, a musician based in Portland, OR, recently published his first book, Hymn California, through CC-friendly distribution group CASH Music (blogged earlier here and here). Released under a CC BY-NC-ND license, the book is being serialized online in PDF form, one chapter a month over the next year along with a piece of music by Gnade.

Hymn California’s characters witness a strange wide-sweeping, panoramic America unfolding before them, while its 200 pages examine having an abusive relationship with a place (California) rather than a person. It shows displaced characters scattered across the continent, burdened by fear and homesickness while fighting to live unencumbered by bourgeois ideology. Death stalks at every intersection and on every riverbank. Lives sway in the delirium of wartime. Says Gnade, ‘A friend of mine asked me if I was trying to write ‘American magic realism’ with the book and I didn’t really have an answer for him. If it is, it was an accident’.

You can get more info on ordering the book in primary physical form here – one recently found its way into the CC offices and we are comfortable attesting to its stunning nature. Outside of purchasing the book itself, CASH suggest you support Gnade by seeing him live or by leaving a small donation at his CASH music page. Similarly, you can read an excerpt from the novel at Drowned in Sound.


Severed Fifth

Cameron Parkins, June 27th, 2008

Severed Fifth is a new project from Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon in which he plans to document the process of becoming a musician in the ‘new music economy’, something he hopes to accomplish largely through using CC licensing. Two goals of the project, from Severed Fifth:

One. Severed Fifth is the name of my new musical project. For the last four months I have been writing a full solo metal album, which is nearly complete in the writing stages. In addition to writing the album, I will record and mix it in my studio, while also performing all of the instruments and vocals on the album. I will then release all of the final pieces from this new album online at www.severedfifth.com under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license. This will allow anyone to download, listen to, share and re-mix the songs freely, with the only condition that suitable attribution and credit is placed.

Two. To test the new economy of the recording industry, I will be starting an extensive campaign to see just how far I can take this new album while ensuring my project is fair to my listeners, and that the music is free. I will be exploring different approaches to promoting it in different mediums, and to different demographics, different methods of fund-raising to support other elements such as CDs, DVDs, tours etc, trying to build a strong community of regular listeners as well as free-culture fans around the project and more. Throughout this entire process I will be reporting, writing and speaking about the things I learn, which can be read at www.severedfifth.com. Even if this project nets so measurable success, one of my core aims is to be able to answer some of the questions that bands and artists in coming years will consider when evaluating how they approach their own musical ambitions. Importantly, this project is not designed to be primarily of interest to free culture fans – if it were, the results and expectations would be inaccurate; Severed Fifth is targeting real music fans, people who have probably never heard of free culture, and to really see if the economy works in a realistic setting.

You can hear or read the whole announcement at the Severed Fifth website as well as read a great write-up of the project at Ars Technica. In lieu of our recentlly launched Global Case Studies Project, in-depth documentation of how CC licences work for a relatively unknown artist will be illuminating to say the least. We can’t wait to see how things progress for Bacon and Severed Fifth!

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Google Book Search Adds Copyright Renewal Data

Cameron Parkins, June 27th, 2008

Google Book Search recently did a great service for those interested in the public domain by digitizing a huge amount of copyright renewal data for books dating as far back as 1923. From Inside Google Book Search:

How do you find out whether a book was renewed? You have to check the U.S. Copyright Office records. Records from 1978 onward are online (see http://www.copyright.gov/records) but not downloadable in bulk. The Copyright Office hasn’t digitized their earlier records, but Carnegie Mellon scanned them as part of their Universal Library Project, and the tireless folks at Project Gutenberg and the Distributed Proofreaders painstakingly corrected the OCR.

Thanks to the efforts of Google software engineer Jarkko Hietaniemi, we’ve gathered the records from both sources, massaged them a bit for easier parsing, and combined them into a single XML file available for download here.

This allows for a much clearer (although still somewhat problematic) understanding of which books have maintained their copyright status and which have gone in to the PD. Jakob Kramer-Duffield speaks well to the implications of Google’s efforts in pointing out “there’s a danger […] that our great knowledge resources from the past are ignored or left to molder, and the difficulty of determining copyright status has been something of a hurdle to digitization efforts thusfar.” Peter Suber more succinctly states, “I love the way we can now use free information to free information.”

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CcTeamspace: a collaborative project management software

Steren Giannini, June 26th, 2008

The CC staff has been developing and using their internal project management tool for too long, now has come the time for a release!

To sum up, CcTeamspace is nothing more than a clever combination of different open source tools with a solid data structure. It’s mainly powered by Semantic MediaWiki, an extension which adds semantic abilities to the well known MediaWiki software (the engine behind Wikipedia).

I recently developed an extension to add e-mail notifications and reminders to the system. I really think this tool can be useful for many organizations, that’s why I handled its public release.

CcTeamspace is free software, you can freely download and install it. It has been developed for internal needs, you’re welcomed to add and share your own features.

Visit this page to learn more.

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50 Millionth View of TEDTalks

Jane Park, June 26th, 2008

Today TED announced the 50 millionth view of a TED talk, marking its success since it first launched online two years ago in June of 2006.  TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design—and it features talks by various speakers from Bill Clinton to Bono. However, the most viewed talks are actually given by persons previously unknown. They are ideas “flying on [their] own merit[s]”, says the executive producer of TED media according to TEDBlog. Almost half of TED’s audience comes from outside the U.S., establishing TEDTalks as a global presence. TED Curator Chris Anderson says,

“TED’s mission is to spread ideas, and we’re now doing that on a scale that was unimaginable two years ago. It’s clear there’s an appetite out there for big ideas and meaningful stories.”

Check out the Top 10 TEDTalks of all time; you’ll be surprised by the speakers and their subjects, with number one titled, “My stroke of insight,” by neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor. And while you’re at it, check out Richard Baraniuk’s “Goodbye, textbooks; hello, open-source learning,” a talk by the founder of Connexions, a leading educational platform in the OER movement.

All TED talks are licensed under the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND.


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REMINDER: CC Salon LA Tonight @ FOUND LA/7:30PM Curt Smith and Monk Turner Discuss CC/Music

Cameron Parkins, June 26th, 2008

Just a reminder that the CC Salon LA is back TONIGHT with Curt Smith, solo-artist and co-founder of Tears for Fears, discussing his decision to release Halfway, Pleased under a CC license and Monk Turner, an LA-based multi-instrumentalist (and former Featured Commoner) discussing how he has used CC licences and archive.org to release numerous concept albums that are unique not only in distribution but music style/aesthetic.

Per usual, the Salon will be taking place at the amazing FOUND LA Gallery (Google map) from 7:30PM – 9:30PM. As always there will be free drinks to round out the evening – don’t miss what is bound to be a great conversation on how CC licensees work on a practical level for musicians in particular but content creators in general.

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WikiHow Promotes Universal Edit Button

Tim Hwang, June 26th, 2008

Big news recently that our friends at Wikihow (and a growing list of other wiki projects large and small) are teaming up to promote and enable the Universal Edit Button (UEB), an extension for Firefox that automatically notifies users with an icon when a page is editable — like an RSS.

It’s a simple and great idea: at a quickly growing project like Wikihow, the UEB helps old contributors to more easily discover new places for collaboration and openly invites new users to take part in editing with a wiki community. We’re hoping here at CC HQ that the project takes off (and becomes standard!) to promote UEB’s ambition of “accelerati[ng] the editable web, and…society’s trend towards building valued common resources.”

As Mike was blogging about earlier this week — we’ve also enabled your Creative Commons site experience with the UEB, so you’ll be able to use the extension to easily find places to collaborate and contribute (including our recently launched Case Studies wiki project to collect notable CC projects and stories).

You can snag the extension here.

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Gilberto Gil on Democracy Now

Cameron Parkins, June 25th, 2008

Gilberto Gil by Joi Ito

Today’s Democracy Now! episode features an extensive interview with CC advocate and Brazilian Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil in which he speaks at length his experiences with CC licensing in regards to culture, medicine, and the process of “democratizing the distribution of intellectual property rights”. You can read or watch the interview here:

Yeah. The author laws, the author rights, I mean, they belong to—the way they are set and the laws are written and applied and everything, that all belongs to a previous period, you know, previous time, an analog, so to speak, an analog time. Now, the digital area, the digital era enable us to extend and expand cultural products and cultural goods and cultural possibilities to a level that we—we have to also rewrite and reshape the legal framework and the regulatory framework, so that it can adjust to the new possibilities. That’s what Creative Commons is about, bringing possibilities to manage their own work, you know, to the creators, so that the songwriters, the theater play writers, the book writers, and so and so, can have the possibilities to manage their own work and say—and determine what their work will serve for.

Gil goes on to discuss his decision to CC licenses his music, the experience of bringing CC to Brazil with the help of CC founder Lawrence Lessig, and his opinions in general about culture and creativity in a digital age. A great interview that is free to share through Democracy Now!’s decision to release all their original content under a CC BY-NC-ND license.

UPDATE: Gil is also currently on tour, with upcoming dates across the United States and Europe.

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Improbable Research Collections

Cameron Parkins, June 25th, 2008

Improbable Research, a collective of scientists who are less Enrico Fermi than they are Eric Idle, recently launched Improbable TV, a series of weekly episodes on eclectic topics (ranging from a guide to folding a drawing of a flea to become “a working replica of James Watts’ steam engine” to an invention designed to prevent bank robberies) that are injected with just enough humor and quirkiness to appeal to PHDs and well-intentioned amateurs alike.

All the episodes are released under a CC BY-NC-ND license allowing for the videos to be posted wherever as long as it is in a noncommercial setting. Improbable takes care of putting the videos on YouTube but encourages the public to put the videos where the see fit otherwise. This, according to Improbable, carries specific advantages to potential re-posters:

1. These three-minute videos introduce people to topics that seem bizarre or unlikely. Some of those people, having become suddenly curious, will be keen to see YOUR seriously good introduction to any subject that’s even vaguely related.

2. People who enjoy finding the unexpected (including, now and then, unexpected re-appearances of a few favorite characters) just might keep coming back to your site to see the next episodes of Improbable Research.

You can read more about their licensing choice here, including the ability to modify episodes through “a special (and simple) arrangement” if Improbable are contacted directly (via NewTeeVee).

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OpenMusicContest: submit your entry by July 15th!

Michelle Thorne, June 25th, 2008

The doors are now open for submissions to the fourth OpenMusicContest (OMC), one of the largest live concerts for CC-licensed music. Participants may submit tracks of any musical genre by July 15, 2008. Stylistic diversity is desired, and all entries must be licensed under one of the six Creative Commons licenses.

The organizers of the event, the AStA student organization from Philipps University in Marburg, explain that the OMC offers an attractive prize for its participants: artists score a large performance alongside a noteworthy headliner plus space on a sampler featuring the best tracks of the contest. A gratis promotional CD will also be published in the magazine LinuxUser.

The OMC concert will take place in Marburg, Germany on October 17, 2008.


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