2008 June

Two Bits

Cameron Parkins, June 9th, 2008

Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software is a new book by Christopher Kelty that explores the “history and cultural significance of Free Software”, narrating a time line about “the people and practices that have transformed not only software, but also music, film, science, and education” in contemporary society. Released in print by Duke University Press, Two Bits is also licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA license, making the text remixable, reusable, and in general more fluid.

Kelty goes a step further in promoting this exchange of ideas in the Two Bits’ associated website, recursivepublic.net. In an introductory post, Kelty lays the groundwork for his argument, looking at how the Free Software movement has incited ‘modulations’ or how “the practices of Free Software have been used as templates and taken up in areas close to and far from Free Software”. He cites CC as a ‘modulation’ of the Free Software ethos for “music, film and culture” and encourages people to contribute their thoughts and ideas on the matter online in the form of new essays, articles, and opinions, not only remixing his ideas, but riffing off them to create entirely new ones. It will be very interesting to see how this develops, especially in regards to new methods of scholarly engagement. From RP:

But it isn’t all about me: I’m looking for stuff in our collective conceptual space. Articles, published or not, and ideas for projects that come from any of the fields we play in: science studies, anthropology, media studies, history, sociology, legal studies, information studies, philosophy etc. I have a few works lined up that I will try to highlight over the next few months, and hopefully that will give people some ideas about where to take it.

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CC Talks With: Lingro

Cameron Parkins, June 9th, 2008

Lingro is a project that aims to create an online environment that will allow anyone, in reading a foreign language website, a quick and easy means to translate words they don’t understand. Simple in concept, yet profound in implication, Lingro (which we have blogged about twice before) uses open dictionaries and user-submitted, CC BY-SA licensed, definitions to expand its ever-growing database. We recentlly caught up with co-founder Paul Kastner and were able to discuss in-depth the philosophies behind Lingro, how it accomplishes what it does, how it uses CC licenses, and what its future holds.

What is Lingro’s history? How did it get started? Who is involved?

The idea to create a new kind of on-line dictionary which would help people learn languages was conceived by my co-founder, Artur Janc. A few years ago, Artur was practicing his Spanish by reading Harry Potter y la piedra filosofál. He had taken all the advanced Spanish courses at the university where he was studying, and like most students, had a good grasp on the grammar and core vocabulary of the language. When he started reading, he found that while he could understand the structure of the writing, there were so many words he hadn’t come across before that he was spending more time looking up words in a dictionary than actually reading!
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Theory and Practice of Online Learning, Second Edition

Jane Park, June 9th, 2008

Back in 2004, Athabasca University released the e-version of the Theory and Practice of Online Learning for free online. Now the second edition of the book is out, also available in eBook form under the same license, CC BY-NC-ND. All chapters of the book have been updated with an addition of four new chapters on stuff like “connectivism and social software innovations”. The book is also available for sale in softcover.

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Digital Research Tools (DiRT) Wiki Launched

Jane Park, June 6th, 2008

Thanks to The Wired Campus, I recently stumbled across this new wiki whilst looking for a visualization tool for a ccLearn research project. The new wiki is called Digital Research Tools, also known as DiRT. DiRT is edited by a team of librarians from Rice University’s Digital Media Center and Sam Houston State University’s Newton Gresham library. Basically, DiRT reviews the myriad research tools available for free (and some for profit) on the internet in a human-readable way, so that “professors, students, think-tankers, corporate intelligence gatherers, and other inquisitive folks [can] do their work better.” These “snapshot reviews” are immensely helpful for even seasoned researchers, since the web is always popping up with new open source tools. To see a list of tools in DiRT’s queue and to add your own, check out their del.icio.us page.

So far, the reviews cover tools that allow you to analyze texts, author interactive works, collect and visualize data, conduct linguistic research, and more. All current and future reviews are licensed CC BY.

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CC in The Art Newspaper

Cameron Parkins, June 6th, 2008

CC got a nice plug in a recent article in The Art Newspaper, highlighted in regards to the 36th Annual Conference on Legal Issues in Museum Administration that took place in early April:

Sharon Farb, associate university librarian at UCLA Library in Los Angeles, said that as museums put more images and content online, more users will ask to use it; she advises that museums not require licences for everything. Instead, they should make clear on their websites which content can be reproduced without permission, and should post all licence forms for those objects which require them. Virginia Rutledge, Vice President and General Counsel of the non-profit Creative Commons, San Francisco (CC), described the CC licence which piggybacks on existing copyright law to let copyright holders “signal when it is just fine” for a user to copy, or even alter, a work. The New Museum in New York, for example, uses CC licences to permit copying. The CC website posts six different licence forms to choose from, and tells you how to mark your content so users will know what copyright rules apply (http://creativecommons.org).

We are always looking to expand into diverse areas and having CC mentioned in a publication as widely read and as highly regarded as The Art Newspaper is amazing news for our efforts to engage with museums and the art world as a whole.

Similarly, Rebeca Tushnet has a thorough and thought provoking recap on her blog of the CC co-sponsored event “Who Owns This Image?: Art, Access, and the Public Domain after Bridgeman v. Corel” that took place at the end of April. The whole post is worth a read – it is great to CC being mentioned more and more in connection with mainstream cultural institutions.

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Cameron Parkins, June 6th, 2008

Musiquetes is a new collection of CC-licensed children’s songs by cultura lliure, the same group that published the amazing Música lliure and Música lliure II. The songs are released under a CC BY-NC license, ported for both France and Spain as the project is aimed at groups in both countries.

Supported by La Bressola, an association of Catalan schools in the south of France (where Catalan is spoken) who strive to keep the Catlan language alive, Musiquetes is being distrusted both online and through former Featured Commoner the Enderrock Group (who has placed the CD in their magazines). By freely licensing Musiquetes, cultura lliure are able to reach a wider audience, furthering their ideological goal through legally sound methods of distribution.

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Space still available for CC Technology Summit

Nathan Yergler, June 5th, 2008

Just a reminder that the first Creative Commons Technology Summit is coming up in less than two weeks. There’s still space to register if you’re interested in attending.

The list of panelists has grown; the full schedule is available in the wiki. We’re looking forward to great discussions around digital asset management, digital copyright registries and how CC technologies integrate with and enable them. And for those of you who aren’t in the Bay Area, we’re planning to make video from the day available online.

Hope to see you there.

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Experts in Norway adapt CC licenses to national law

Michelle Thorne, June 5th, 2008

Today the Nordic jurisdictions Denmark, Finland, and Sweden are joined by CC Norway in offering Creative Commons licenses legally and linguistically adapted to national law.

The CC Norway team is headed by Project Leads Gisle Hannemyr and Peter Lenda, who with Haakon Flage Bratsberg, Thomas Gramstad, Tore Hoel, and Vebjørn Søndersrød, coordinated the license porting process with Creative Commons International and conducted public discussion with local and international legal experts.

The Norwegian licenses, available at Version 3.0, constitute the forty-sixth localized Creative Commons licensing suite.

The launch of the licenses will be celebrated on Friday, June 6th at 10:00am during a press conference at Oslo University College. For more information, please read our press release in English and Norwegian.

Takk, thank you, and congratulations to CC Norway!

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Pamoyo: CC-Licensed Fashion

Cameron Parkins, June 3rd, 2008

The fashion industry has always been an interesting topic for those interested in copyright and creativity – appropriation, reusue, sampling, etc. are approached in a sometimes similar, yet often starkly different, manner than in other content industries. Styles thrive off of building on pre-existing trends, sometimes directly imitating an established look, and the market decides whether or not this reconceptualization is of worth. It is a debate that has unexpected depth and raises numerous interesting questions – TechDirt has a bevy of great articles that discus the issues more thoroughly.

Seemingly noting this debate, Berlin-based fashion label Pamoyo have decided to release the designs for their clothes under a CC BY-NC-SA license, allowing people to recreate Pamoyo’s styles at home as long as they don’t sell their creations. Similarly, someone can build upon one of Pamoyo’s existing designs – if they release the new design publicly they must do so under the same license, continuing the process of reuse and creativity.

Unrelated to CC but interesting nonetheless is Pamoyo’s decision to use either recycled clothing or organic cotton for the clothing, with a portion of all profits donated to German Environmental group Grass Routes. The designs haven’t been posted yet, but keep your eyes on this space as they should pop up soon (via SmartPlanet).


The future music label is…

Mike Linksvayer, June 3rd, 2008

Lucas Gonze, engaged in a blogversation about what music labels really are and what they can be in the future, doesn’t know, but has a suggestion for how a label might figure it out (emphasis added):

Mo bettah, Mr. Hands

Clustering is something labels are already doing. Blue Note is for jazz. Warp is for a particular kind of electronica. Matador, Sub Pop, Metal Blade…

Which brings me back to Ian’s proposal to Guy Hands: reconfigure your labels to be based around affinities and focused narrowly enough to serve roughly the same audiences from release to release. I’ll buy that this is an important thing to do, and the need is not going away. But I’m still skeptical that record companies can cannibalize their current business to do the right thing in this new niche, and in the meantime YouTube, Myspace, CC Mixter, and GYBO are doing fine without them.

So here’s my proposal to Guy Hands as to what he should do with EMI’s new music business.

Creative Commons has posted a Request for Proposals (RFP) regarding the future of the ccMixter.org site, and Victor has posted detailed comments on this. If I were EMI I would step in to operate CC Mixter. It’s a fully functional cluster of music makers with a strong hold on its niche. I don’t know how to monetize it at the scale EMI would need, but I do know that at least EMI would be in the game. Take over and learn how it works. Use the time to gain the institutional skills in managing community. This will take a while, but in a few years the Mixter community will have started to reverse colonize your company. And that’s EMI needs — to absorb the values and skills needed to manage clusters.

Also check out Lucas’ music blog, a very cool mix of the old and new — fresh guitar recordings of sheet music in the public domain (recordings under CC BY-SA) and an experiment in digital music packaging and of control of a musician’s identity on the web.

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