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2008 November

Restiform Bodies remix contest – winning submissions to be released on vinyl

Eric Steuer, November 24th, 2008

My friends in the hip-hop/electronic trio Restiform Bodies recently announced a remix contest to celebrate the release of their new album, TV Loves You Back, on anticon records. All of the acapella tracks from the album are offered under a Creative Commons BY-NC license, so you can sample them, remix them, and mash them up. The contest is open until January 1, 2009, and the group will choose two submissions from the contest to include on an upcoming RB vinyl remix album.

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Tribe Of Noise Launches One Billion Fans Project

Cameron Parkins, November 24th, 2008

Tribe Of Noise, a community driven music site that uses a CC BY-SA license for all uploads, recently launched a new project, One Billion Fans, to help promote their growing pool of artists. Musicians, fans, and companies can all log in to support their favorite artist over the coming months with the winner being featured on the digital billboard at Times Square. Voting ends on February 28 – be sure to head to the One Billion Fans website to sign up and help promote!

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Microplanet Creative Commons

Mike Linksvayer, November 24th, 2008

Last week we mentioned that you can follow short updates from Creative Commons on the microblogging services twitter and identi.ca.

Identi.ca has a feature allowing you to view (or subscribe via a feed) all microbloggers a particular account subscribes to. So we’ve made the CC identi.ca account subscribe to the microblogs of CC jurisdiction project leads, staff, board members, and interns, creating a microblog version of the Planet Creative Commons blog aggregator.

Visit http://identi.ca/creativecommons/all to see.

We’ve also used Kent Brewster’s identi.ca badge to embed the feed in the sidebar of Planet Creative Commons.

Also see our post from July, when identi.ca launched, on how the service is pushing comprehensive openness — free software and free culture.


Pluto-Charon system / European Southern Observatory / CC BY

(Pluto and Charon are dwarf planets. See our recent post on freely licensed images from ESO for more.)

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The Growing Hybrid Business of Music Sharing

Fred Benenson, November 24th, 2008

One of the things we’ve become very interested in finding more examples of are creators who are using our licenses in combination with traditional business models. For example, many musicians (including our recent Commoner Letter author Jonathan Coulton) sell copies of their CC-licensed music. This may seem cognitively dissonant but in practice it makes perfect sense, as a CC-licensed piece of music simply announces what you can do once you get your hands on it, and it certainly doesn’t restrict the original creator from selling it to you.

Some of the most robust instances of this behavior are musicians who have released CC-licensed material on iTunes, Amazon, and Magnatune. Ambient Electronic artist Kirsty Hawkshaw has done this with her album The Ice Castle, which has a presence in all three stores, but also indicates that is under CC’s Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. In the cases of iTunes and Amazon, the stores themselves are not using the CC license, but are selling the work via the rights they have under their direct agreement with the copyright holders – Hawkshaw and her label, Magnatune. For more about how CC licenses can work in tandem with other agreements, visit our page that describes CC+.

We’d love to hear and see more examples of this kind of hybrid business thinking utilizing our licenses. Do you know of any others? If so, just drop a comment on this post, or contact us any other way. Thanks!

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The Food Geek: “Who owns that recipe?”

Eric Steuer, November 24th, 2008

Food writer and culinary culture aficionado Brian J. Geiger maintains a great site called The Food Geek, which features a blog, podcasts, recipes, and loads of helpful cooking tips. The site – which combines Gastronomica‘s thoughtful analysis and Alton Brown‘s geeky wisdom – is published under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Over the weekend, Geiger posted a column entitled “Who owns that recipe?,” which explains why recipes can’t be copyrighted (while the expression of recipes can) and encourages food knowledge sharing as a way to “make a better life for ideas.” Highly recommended for food fans and free cultural works proponents alike.

Ideas are better shared than they are stored. Ideas like company. Ideas like new environments. Ideas like to frolic in new brains with other ideas. It’s how baby ideas are made. Ideas can’t reproduce well alone, so everyone wins if ideas are allowed to be promiscuous. … How firmly do I believe in this? I have released all of my original work for this site under a Creative Commons License.

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REMINDER: CC’s Google Policy Fellowship Deadline is December 12th

Fred Benenson, November 24th, 2008

Just a quick reminder that applications for Creative Commons’ Google’s Policy Fellowship for this coming summer are due December 12th, so if you haven’t applied yet, don’t miss the deadline!

The Google Policy Fellow will receive a substantial grant to work at Creative Commons on the following issues (but this is certainly not an exhaustive list of the things we’ll have you thinking about):

  • Write case studies about projects and creators that have implemented Creative Commons licenses and analyze strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for each; paying particular consideration to cultural and genre differences.
  • Synthesize statistics garnered from recent studies focusing on international license adoption. Fellow will be expected to generate and investigate diverse theses relating to license choice, adoption, and use.
  • Coordinate with counsel to critically analyze the current state of public domain policy in US and abroad. Develop a framework to help Creative Commons’ deploy messaging regarding public domain policy in US and abroad.
  • Survey the current legal and non-legal opinions with respect to the ‘strong vs. weak’ copyleft debate and how it relates to differences between mediums (photography, music, etc.) in order to establish guidelines and uncover precedent for our ShareAlike licenses.
  • Research and analysis of how contemporary the discourse of copyright, sharing, reuse, and remix has been shaped over the last six years as a result of the Creative Commons project.
  • Investigate new opportunities for Creative Commons implementation in ‘uncontacted’ communities, institutions, artists, and mediums.

Check out more details and the application here.

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ESO CC-Licensed Photo and Video

Cameron Parkins, November 21st, 2008


The Carina nebula by ESO | CC BY

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) is a group that “builds and operates a suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes.” With those telescopes they produce some absolutely amazing photographs and videos, all of which are released under a CC BY license. Check out their visual of the week for some particularly stunning photographs.

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Digital Youth Research Report Released

Cameron Parkins, November 21st, 2008

Digital Youth Research, a cross-campus academic project that aims to understand the effects of digital media on young people, published their findings this past Wednesday after 3 years of work by 28 researches and research collaborators. The report claims some interesting findings, namely that “youth use online media to extend friendships and interests” and to “engage in peer-based, self-directed learning online” – findings that run counter to more wide-spread narratives on the subject.

The report, as well as all the other content available digitally from Digital Youth Research, is released under a CC BY-NC license, a decision that should encourage wider-spreading of the report and an increased dialogue on the subject. From the New York Times (via Joi):

Good news for worried parents: All those hours their teenagers spend socializing on the Internet are not a bad thing, according to a new study by the MacArthur Foundation.

“It may look as though kids are wasting a lot of time hanging out with new media, whether it’s on MySpace or sending instant messages,” said Mizuko Ito, lead researcher on the study, “Living and Learning With New Media.” “But their participation is giving them the technological skills and literacy they need to succeed in the contemporary world. They’re learning how to get along with others, how to manage a public identity, how to create a home page.”

As the NYT article notes, Digital Youth Research is funded by the MacArthur Foundation, which for years has also been one of CC’s biggest supporters.

Want to join them in supporting CC? Help Build the Commons by donating money, sharing your CC story, or by spreading the word to your friends. Every donation over $50 receives a CC Network profile and a limited-edition Jonathan Coulton USB Drive, with even more perks at higher donation levels.

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Kraftwerk Sampling Case Overturned

Cameron Parkins, November 21st, 2008


Kraftwerk by greenplastic875 | CC BY

German electronic-music pioneers Kraftwerk were told yesterday by a judge in Germany that a two-second sample used by a producer in Germany did not infringe on their copyright. From the BBC (emphasis added):

The ruling overturns an earlier decision against Moses Pelham’s use of a short sample from Metal on Metal.

Judges in Berlin said the two second extract did not infringe copyright, as his song was substantially different.

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Improbable Match: CC And Collecting Societies In Europe

Michelle Thorne, November 21st, 2008

When the French music group Petit Homme signed a special contract with Sacem, the French collecting society for music composers, some saw the contract’s exclusion of the group’s internet rights as a step towards compatibility between collecting societies and CC: authors could control of their internet rights while collecting societies would handle the remaining rights related to the work.

Yet despite the speculation, members of Sacem are still not able to license their work under a Creative Commons license. But there’s hope. As CC France‘s Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay explains in an article by IP Watch, some European collecting societies are looking for a solution.

The agreement Petit Homme reached with Sacem last June enables the musicians to post their work online by excluding internet protocol, wireless application protocol, and similar protocols from their contract. However, this model does not allow authors to use a CC license while simultaneously collecting royalties through Sacem.

“There was a lot of noise and incomprehension around Petit Homme’s contract,” says Dulong. “We have been trying to solve the problem for the last five years to no avail.”

Regarding CC, the catch of the specific Sacem deal is that it excludes internet rights, while CC licenses are intended to cover uses both on- and offline. Therefore, a solution might be that “commercial uses under a Creative Commons license could be managed collectively and non-commercial uses could be managed individually,” Dulong said.

Other European countries are also trying to achieve effective compatibility between CC and collective management, particularly through arrangements with collecting societies in the Netherlands (Buma Stemra) and in Denmark (Koda). In August, the Dutch pilot was extended for one year, and the Koda model has been running since January 2008.

More details about European collecting societies and their ongoing developments with free licenses can be found in Catherine Saez’s IP Watch article.

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