2008 June

CC Talks With: Modiba Productions

Cameron Parkins, June 3rd, 2008

Modiba Productions is an international music production/publishing company and record label that aims to combine a love for music and a fervor for activism. Focusing primarily on ‘afrocentric’ music, Modiba has been the source for two great CC-based contests over the past year and a half, one with Malian artist Vieux Farka Touré and the other with Brazilian band Nation Beat. We recently caught up with Modiba co-founder Eric Herman and were able to get some background on Modiba, what they aim to accomplish, and how CC-licenses have helped facilitate their goals in combining their passion for music and zeal for social activism.

Can you provide us with a bit of background on what Modiba Productions does? How did it get started? Who is involved?

Modiba Productions is a social activist music production company, record label, and publishing company focusing on international – primarily what we dub “afrocentric” – music. Our mission is to use the best in international music as a vehicle for the empowerment of Africa and its Diaspora. Jesse Brenner and I founded Modiba while we were seniors at Wesleyan University as a means of combining our passions for music and activism. We have grown into a working family that includes an operations manager, a graphic designer, a lawyer, and a staff of interns.
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Wikimedia Commons Valued Images, curation and discovery

Mike Linksvayer, June 2nd, 2008

I’m fond of pointing out that discovery is perhaps the biggest challenge and opportunity faced by the cultural commons — however you want to define “commons” — public domain, Free, everything CC licensed, all of “Web 2.0”, or something else.

However you define it, the commons includes at least many thousands to many millions of cultural works in every obvious medium — too much for any individual to make sense of. So it’s always exciting to see major hubs develop and refine methods for curating and exposing the best of the commons.

In this vein Wikimedia Commons just rolled out a procedure for highlighting Most Valued Images. Wikimedia Commons already does a great job of highlighting quality images (see our post on their pictures of the year), but the usefulness of an image in the context of a digital encyclopedia is different than an image’s overall quality:

The quality images project aims to identify and encourage users who provide images of high technical quality to Commons. Featured pictures are the cream of the crop at Commons and is reserved for images of both extraordinary value and technical quality.

Valued images, on the other hand, are those that are the most valuable of their kind for use in an online context, within other Wikimedia projects. The technical requirements for valued images are typically much lower, as there is no concern about suitability for print usage. A built-in camera in a modern mobile phone should be sufficient if the subject is of high value and the photo illustrates it well at a viewing size of 480×360 pixels or equivalent. Valued images are less about technical quality and more about your ingenuity in finding good and valuable subjects which matter, and about the usability of the information on the image page.

It’s easy to see the usefulness of similar breakdowns in other projects. For example, on a music remix site such as ccMixter, the best fully mixed tracks are most enjoyable to listen to, but the best a cappellas and samples are probably the most valuable content in the sense that the former build upon and require the latter.

So this is a challenge to think about and implement improved curation and discovery in multiple dimensions throughout the commons.

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LibriVox: 1500 public domain audio books

Mike Linksvayer, June 2nd, 2008

Seven months ago we noted that LibriVox released their 1,000th public domain audio book. Now they’ve reached 1,500. That’s over 70 audio books released each month, and things are picking up — they released 115 in May.

Check out LibriVox, perhaps the most interesting collaborative culture project this side of Wikipedia — and everything on LibriVox is in the public domain, free for any use, without restriction.

LibriVox founder Hugh McGuire recently posted an explanation of why LibriVox audio books are dedicated to the public domain rather than released under a CC license:

So LibriVox is a small beacon of light in this policy question, slowly adding to the public domain while all around the public domain is shrinking. this is important in some broad sense beyond anything particular we do at librivox. at least I think it is.

The whole essay is well worth reading.

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Creative Commons Salon: Brisbane

Michelle Thorne, June 2nd, 2008

CC Australia recently announced that their second ccSalon will be held on June 24, 2008 in Brisbane:

After Building an Australasian Commons conference, stay on to experience Creative Commons in action at the second Australian ccSalon. Grab a drink and watch the CC Film and Video showcase, or peruse Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum’s Photo of the Day exhibition. Then get into the groove with music by Sydney performer Yunyu and Andrew Garton’s Terminal Quartet. The full program for the ccSalon can be downloaded here. The conference and the ccSalon are both free events, but please register beforehand with this form.

Interested in having a ccSalon in your neck of the woods? Learn more about what cities are upcoming and how to start your own!

Image: “ccSalonprogram © 2008. Creative Commons Australia. Some Rights Reserved. Except when otherwise noted, this work is licensed under CC BY 3.0 Unported. This was built upon the work of erin MC hammer (balladist). “inverted light.” CC BY 2.0 Generic.

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