Weblog

2008 June

The Smithsonian Joins Flickr: The Commons

Cameron Parkins, June 20th, 2008

The Smithsonian has joined the Library of Congress, the Powerhouse Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum in releasing numerous (over 850 from the Smithsonian alone) photos from their archives online – free of copyright restrictions – to The Commons on Flickr. There are some absolutely stunning photographs available in high-resolution, ranging from portraits of artists, scientists, and inventors to photos of everyday people and places. Some info on The Commons below:

The key goals of The Commons are to firstly give you a taste of the hidden treasures in the world’s public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer. You’re invited to help describe the photographs you discover in The Commons on Flickr, either by adding tags or leaving comments

In similar news, a wonderful new group, Free Use Photos, has been created as a means for Flickr users to posts copyright-free photos. In lieu of a formal way for users to indicate public domain status for their photos, the creators of the group have decided to post information regarding CC0 in conjunction with clear language waving copyright to make clear that all photos posted to the group “are available for use by anyone” with “no need to give credit or to fear rights infringement.”

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Agrega, the New Educational Digital Object Platform

Jane Park, June 19th, 2008

Agrega, a new educational initiative promoting internet in the classroom, is a collaborative effort on the part  of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Social Politics and Sports, Red.es, the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce, and the Autonomous Communities and Autonomous Cities of Spain (CC.AA). Agrega is Spain’s new educational digital object platform, “which consists of a central repository and other autonomous repositories which have educational content for non-university level centres.” Its emphasis is on content creation and development for primary and secondary educators by providing a space where various digital content of Spain’s Civil Service and the private sector are joined. One way of “commonizing” the content is to catalogue it under common criteria and thereafter to share these cataloguing efforts in Agrega. This will serve to expand the pool of online educational content available to Spanish educators and students, particularly in the fields of finance education and teacher training. The website offers engaging tutorials on how to search for, download and view content on Agrega, in addition to a content catalog.

The digital educational materials in Agrega can be used and adapted according to CC-BY-NC-SA.

And also in Spanish, thanks to ccLearn intern Grace Armstrong:

Agrega, el nombre de la nuevo iniciativa española que busca promover el internet en el aula, es un esfuerzo colaborativo por parte de red.es, el Ministerio de Educación, Política Social y Deporte español, el Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio y las Comunidades y Ciudades Autonomas. Agrega es la nueva plataforma de objetos digitales educativos de España y consiste en “un repositorio central y otros de carácter autonómico de contenidos educativos para centros de nivel no universitario”. Su énfasis está en la creación y desarrollo de contenidos curriculares para profesores de la enseñanza reglada no universitaria y pretende proporcionar un espacio para juntar los varios contenidos del Servicio Civil de España y el sector privado. Una manera de “comunizar” el contenido es de catalogarlo bajo criterios comunes y después de compartir eses trabajos de organización en Agrega. Así servirá de aumentar el fondo común de contenidos educativos disponibles a profesores y alumnos, especialmente en las áreas de la educación financiera y la formación pedagógica de profesores. El sitio brinda tutoriales que muestran como buscar, bajar y ver el contenido de Agrega, ademas de un catálogo de contenidos.

Se puede usar y adaptar los materiales educativos digitales de Agrega segun los terminos de la licencia CC-BY-NC-SA.

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CC Salon LA (6/26/08): Curt Smith and Monk Turner Discuss CC/Music

Cameron Parkins, June 19th, 2008

CC Salon LA is back NEXT WEEK (6/26/08) with an awesome lineup to get your summer CC brain cells churning at warp speed!

Joining us will be Curt Smith, solo-artist and co-founder of Tears for Fears, who will be discussing the decision to release his most recent album Halfway, Pleased under a CC license. Also presenting will be Monk Turner, an LA-based multi-instrumentalist (and former Featured Commoner) who has been using a combination of CC licences and archive.org to release numerous concept albums that are unique not only in distribution but music style and aesthetic. Both will talk about musicians in general, their personal decision to use CC licences, and how using CC licences can have promotional, ethical, and artistic impact beyond traditional copyright.

The Salon will be taking place at the wonderful FOUND LA Gallery (Google map) from 7:30PM – 9:30PM. Follow the event on Upcoming, mark attending on Facebook, but most importantly don’t miss out on 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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Australian Version 3.0 drafts in public discussion

Michelle Thorne, June 18th, 2008

ccau v3.0In preparation for the Building an Australasian Commons conference next week, the CC Australia team has released two ported Version 3.0 license drafts for public discussion: Attribution (BY) and Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (BY-NC-SA).

CC Australia is focusing the discussion on these two particular licenses because they are 1) the simplest license (BY) and 2) the most complex (BY-NC-SA). These two licenses also contain almost all the relevant legal language from the remaining four licenses (BY-SA, BY-NC, BY-ND, BY-NC-ND).

CC Australia has done a magnificent job in explaining their approach to Version 3.0 and highlighting some key revisions (see also):

Rather than writing the licences as a straight translation from the Unported (ie non-country specific) licences provided by Creative Commons International, we’ve instead decided to base them on the excellent licences produced last year by our friends in New Zealand, which they in turn based on the England and Wales licences. The great thing about these licences is that they’re written in plain English rather than legalese – which means they’re much easier for non-lawyers to understand.

There have also been some modifications to improve the readability of the licenses:

We’re also adding some clarifying language on the licensing of derivative works to the BY and BY-NC (Attribution-Noncommercial) licences which isn’t in either the Unported licences or the New Zealand licences – so we wanted to see what people thought about this.

Like the New Zealand and UK licences we are basing the new Australian licences on, our v3.0 licences are very simply drafted. A lot of the language is drawn directly from the Unported licences, however it has been simplified and rearranged to make it easier to understand and follow.

This includes another neat idea:

The main feature is a series of lists that set out clearly what users can do, what they can’t do, and what they must do. Other than that, they contain the same basic statements as to disclaimers, warranties and introductory materials that are included in all the CC licences.

As did the other jurisdictions who have implemented Version 3.0, CC Australia is working hard to ensure that their ported licenses align with the Unported licenses. One notable exception affects the strict requirement to include a URL link to the respective CC license every time a work is used. CC Australia explains the change:

We’ve followed the UK and NZ example by loosening this up a bit, to allow you to provide this reference to the licence in any manner reasonable to the medium you are working in. This ensures, for example, that someone playing a song on their radio station can attribute the CC licence just by mentioning it, and perhaps providing a link on the station’s website, without breaching the licence. You could arguably do this under the Unported licence too, but we wanted to make it clear.

The community is discussing these issues and more on CC Australia’s mailing list. Come join the conversation!

Image: “ccauv3.0-feedback” © 2008. Creative Commons Australia. Some Rights Reserved. This work is licensed under CC BY 2.5 Australia License.

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CC TechSummit 2008

Greg Grossmeier, June 18th, 2008

begins

Today is the Creative Commons TechSummit in Mountain View, CA.

The wonderful group of interns will be live blogging the event on the CC Techblog, be sure to watch.

Schedule of speakers and more can be found on the wiki page.

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Upgrade to Firefox 3 today!

Mike Linksvayer, June 17th, 2008

Firefox 3 launches today. If you’ve been using the program’s betas and release candidates, you know it is awesome — awesomely fast, awesome user interface, AwesomeBar. If not, you’re in for a treat. In either case, upgrade your browsing today and help set a world download record.

Among Firefox’s awesome features is integrated CC search.

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The Spirit of Sharing in Jordan

Cameron Parkins, June 16th, 2008

Jordan has long been a geographical area where Creative Commons has looked to expand (you can read about our Jordan-specific jurisdiction work here) – as such, recent news about the promotion of CC, the public domain, and an increased spirit of sharing in Jordan is inspiring.

Two UK artists, Eileen Simpson and Ben White of the Open Music Archive, have been traveling throughout Jordan for the past 6 months, advocating for the establishment of a ‘CC Jordan’ as a means for local artists to “freely collaborate without harsh licensing restrictions”. To Simpson and White, CC licences would act as a means to promote authors, artists, filmmakers, and musicians across the country with Simpson stating, “if we weren’t allowed to refer back to previous works, to walk down the path of others, we would just be lost, and the creative community will be stifled.” From TechNewsWorld:

In an effort to highlight the importance of a diverse and vibrant public domain, Simpson and White spent the last six months attempting to sample old Jordanian films and musical works whose copyrights have expired, an experiment to work within restrictions imposed by international and local trademark and copyright laws.

[...]

Unable to find archived material that is now completely accessible in the public domain, they turned to the Jordan Academy of Music, which collected folk songs from the Kingdom for the 2002 celebration of Amman as Arab Cultural Capital. As the recordings are from the shared community and have no accredited author, the folk songs are a part of the public domain and therefore are not owned or controlled by anyone and are considered as “public property.”

Simpson and White plan on taking the songs and remixing them with local artists, updating the ballads and encouraging artists to explore the music further. “We all build on the creativity of others, and we should be able to build on others’ work in a fair manner,” Simpson told The Jordan Times [...] “The whole concept passes on the spirit of sharing, which in a creative community is important to do,” she said, adding that legally allowing creative collaboration would curb intellectual property rights violations.

The article also touches on the amazing work of Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property who we have been working with in an effort to port CC licences to Jordan and the rest of the Arab world.

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Ten Volumes of Diesel Sweeties Released

Cameron Parkins, June 16th, 2008

About 3 months ago we blogged about the great webcomic Diesel Sweeties and the decision of its creator, rstevens, to release a 10 volume set of DS archives under a CC BY-NC license. Over the weekend, rstevens got the last of the ebooks up, totaling at 2,000 freely licensed webcomics! You can download them directly from the Diesel Sweeties website or ‘many popular bittorrent trackers‘ (via Boing Boing).

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Big Buck Bunny: Beautiful CC-Licensed 3D Short

Cameron Parkins, June 13th, 2008

Big Buck Bunny, a short 3D animated film produced by the Amsterdam-based ‘Blender Institute‘ (who we have praised previously), was recentlly posted for download online. Debuted publicly back in March (our own Jon Phillips spoke before the premier), the film is being released online under the non-restrictive CC BY license as a means to widely demonstrate the open-source 3D animation software Blender.

To say BBB looks good would be an understatement – it is absolutely jaw-dropping! You can see it in beautiful HD over at vimeo or download it in a bevy of formats at the BBB website. Similarly, reuse stories are already popping up with one local TV station in Worcester, MA broadcasting the short in prime time. Be sure to check out the movie in some form and read more about the license use and motivation behind the film here.

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Copyfighting Superhero Brian Rowe Invades CC

Brian Rowe, June 12th, 2008

Brian Rowe Between twittering, blogging, founding copyfighting organizations, starting free culture chapters, and attending law school, frothing open source advocate Brian Rowe has moved his headquarters to CC’s San Francisco office to hone his legal research skillz. He will spend the summer crawling through the muck of works with multiple licenses for different resolutions, slicing through commercial vs. noncommercial classifications, and pontificating on the differences between linking and embedding.

Brian likes food, specifically cheese(the moldier the better), sushi, and bourbon. He plans to spend his unpaid internship (thx PILF Grant ^_^) crashing various tech parties to steal food and impersonate Robert Scoble. His hobbies include competitive chess, reading, Japanese Tea Ceremonies, and explaining to Microsoft employees the value of open access (he hails from Seattle, you see).

Brian’s aspirations are to finish law school, pass the bar, and then stick out his tongue at multi-million dollar Patent-Troll-defending job offers in favor of an ethical, and indeed saintly career defending freedom for information worldwide.

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