Weblog

2008 November

UNU Media Studio Launches Our World 2.0 VideoBriefs

Jane Park, November 6th, 2008

Some of you might remember Cameron’s post back in June regarding the United Nations University (UNU) Media Studio‘s decision to license their Media Studio and Online Learning sites under CC BY-NC-SA. Well one month later they launched “Our World 2.0“, the English version, also licensed under the same (with the Japanese version taking off just this past month), which is a webzine dedicated to exploring environmental issues and what can be done about them, specifically dealing with the “complex, inter-connected and pressing problems like climate change, oil depletion and food security.” Taking its name from Web 2.0, a sweeping trend in the use of the Internet for “community and social network based approaches to content development that take advantage of new technologies,” Our World 2.0’s central tenet is “that we can use our collective knowledge, technology and design to facilitate creativity, innovation, and, most notably, collaboration amongst people.”

Today, they announced the launch of their new video documentary series on the web, “short high-definition documentaries which examine key issues relating to climate change, energy, and food security, the subjects at the heart of [their] Our World 2.0 webmagazine.” The first video is titled “The Electric Sunflower” which focuses on electric vehicles—their current use and future. It’s pretty exciting stuff. The video, along with the rest of the content on their website, is open for use via CC BY-NC-SA.

The UNU Media Studio is dedicated to the sharing and creation of Open Educational Resources (OER), which they believe will ultimately improve education. They write that “[Their] main goal is to try to help academics in the developing world and [they] are fully engaged with a number of exciting innovative movements that could help better share knowledge and improve education. These include efforts to share content (opencourseware and open educational resources). This movement is supported by new approaches to copyright licensing and intellectual property rights that promote sharing and collaboration, specifically through Creative Commons.”

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Music Blogs, Sharing, and CC Licenses

Cameron Parkins, November 5th, 2008

A recent post on music blogs and MP3 distribution at UK webzine Drowned In Sound raised some interesting questions about the legality of sharing online and caught our attention as a result. The posting focused on the case of blog Berkeley Place Indie (now Berkeley Place) that, like many music blogs, posted free MP3s of artists and songs that they liked. Beyond the legal questions involved in this practice, BPI’s owner claims that it was done under the assumption that they had both artist and record label blessing to do so.

When BPI found that a number of their posts had been either removed or made private by their hosts, a messy and complex ownership battle emerged. DiS summed up the details nicely, and provided some unique insight as well:

Rumblings suggest that this blogger is not alone, and that a whole host of posts are being taken down.

[…]

It’s all quite crazy and confusing, like most copyright laws in this highly globalised, anything-goes-until-a-precedent-is-set mad world in which we live. Unless there are sensible solutions, such as bandwidth taxes for data transfer or for owning an internet connection and/or a computer, this confusion will continue, embracing technology that can do things will be a minefield and technological creativity will be stifled or more likely forced further underground. It’s such a muddle, even people doing legitimate things will be thrown in with every album leaker.”

The CC answer to this problem is relatively simple – even our most restrictive license (CC BY-NC-ND) allows for the sharing of content. Record labels and artists can indicate, in advance, which songs they wish blogs to distribute – not just in a passing manner, but with a legally sound license that works to protect all parties involved. Music blogs, in turn, gain the insurance that these sort of takedowns won’t take place – legally speaking, our licenses are irrevocable, making a commitment to sharing legally and technically binding.

The issue is of course isn’t as simple as it sounds. From a legal perspective, international copyright law remains a point of confusion (as it was with BPI), a haze we are adding clarity to by offering jurisdiction specificity for our licenses. A similar complication arises in from the murky question of what commercial use is and what it isn’t – another issue we are attempting to tackle through our noncommercial use study.

Regardless of these questions, for artists and record labels looking to distribute songs to music blogs under terms that allow sharing, CC licenses are a great option for all parties. They are legally tested, easy to understand, and free.

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EVENT: “Rip, Mix & Burn: Is Creative Commons a Viable Business Model?” London, 11/6

Cameron Parkins, November 5th, 2008

For those in the CC community based in London, take note of upcoming event Rip, Mix & Burn: Is Creative Commons a Viable Business Model? Featuring a keynote from CC Board Chair James Boyle, the event will take place tomorrow (11/6) and will give those in London a chance to meet up and discuss CC as a commercially viable form of licensing.

DETAILS:

When: Thursday, 6th November, 2008
Time: Registration from 5.30pm with presentations to start promptly at 6.00pm, a networking reception will follow until 7.30pm
Where: NESTA, 1 Plough Place, London, EC4A 1DE

Register in advance here.

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Free Culture Swimming Upstream

Fred Benenson, November 5th, 2008

It is one thing for the relatively nascent Wikipedia to embrace free culture as a way to create and share new cultural works, but it is another thing for established media players constrained by traditional markets and economic forces to embrace free culture.

Despite this, it is becoming less difficult to convince incumbent mainstream press and media to fully embrace the inevitability and ubiquity of free culture and there are a few key strategies that are emerging. Perhaps the most obvious lies in the the numerous cases of journalists using Creative Commons licensed photography to illustrate their articles. Faced with the complexities and cost of securing private digital licenses from stock agencies like Getty or Corbis, journalists and bloggers have discovered that eliminating those transaction costs (fiscal and otherwise) through the use of CC licensed photos can substantially increase the quality of their posts.

Some recent exciting examples include two New Yorker posts, one onliterary Halloween costumes and another on Obama’s victory; the LA Times featuring a flickr user’s photo of ex-Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin; and the New York Times’ Polling Place Photo Project which we’ve blogged about several times.

If you’re not already using CC licensed material in your posts and digital media, these examples should give you another reason to consider the choice.

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SSRC awards grant for CC license research

Melissa Reeder, November 5th, 2008

We’re thrilled to announce that the Social Science Research Center (SSRC) has awarded CC with a grant for the project Assessing the Commons: Social Metrics for the New Media Landscape.

Thanks to the SSRC, George Cheliotis of CC Singapore and the National University of Singapore and CC will be researching the “global patterns of CC license use, as well as developing metrics showing penetration and impact of open licensing, per jurisdiction and globally.” Developing a solid metrics system for CC license use is vital to sustaining CC and to the growth of the Commons. By knowing how and where our licenses are used, Creative Commons can develop more effective tools, which is important to all parts of the open movement.

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Etsy Podcast: Henry Jenkins

Cameron Parkins, November 5th, 2008

Henry Jenkins
Photo by Joi Ito

Etsy, the ever-wonderful “online marketplace for buying & selling all things handmade”, just posted a great podcast featuring new media theorist Henry Jenkins on their blip.tv channel and their wonderful blog The Storque. Jenkins discusses fan art, a topic that is not only dear to his heart but also essential to a organization like Etsy which thrives off the ingenuity of their community. All of Etsy’s podcasts are released under a CC BY-NC-SA license, making them easily shareable and reusable.

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CC Live on ISGOODMUSIC, dublab Today (12PM/2PM)

Cameron Parkins, November 5th, 2008

Today Eric Steuer, CC’s Creative Director, and I will be appearing on two web-radio shows to talk about CC, our current fundraising efforts, and play some music. We will be appearing on ISGOODMUSIC.COM at 12PM PST and on dublab between 2PM-4PM PST. Be sure to tune in (IGM / dublab) and listen. More info on dublab available here, and a bit of background on ISGOODMUSIC below:

ISGOODMUSIC.COM started with an internet radio show called “…IS GOOD” w/ Jon Hershfield, which aired on non-profit killradio.org 2005-2008. The show has featured interviews and live performances with over 200 hand-selected SoCal bands. These bands are highlighted and promoted in an online independent music network where artists and audiophiles can utilize free profiles, message centers, gig calendars, and other resources connected to the scene. Isgoodmusic.com regularly sponsors live events throughout the LA area. The website also features its own internet radio stream, isgoodradio.com, which broadcasts “…IS GOOD” as well as other DIY programming relevant to the indie community.

UPDATE: If you missed it the first time, you can now listen to the ISGOODMUSIC stream here.

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CC Technology Summit Program and Registration available

Nathan Yergler, November 4th, 2008

Two months ago we announced the second CC Technology Summit, taking place December 12, 2008 in Cambridge, MA at MIT. The response to the call for presentations was good, and the initial program is now available. I’m excited about the mix of topics we have on the program. The day will include reports from our community, including a presentation on copyright registry interoperability by Safe Creative and Registered Commons and a report from the Queensland Treasury on their use of licensing and metadata. We’ll also have presentations from within CC — a report on open source knowledge management from Science Commons and an update on what’s next for RDFa.

Registration is also now open for the event. While the first Technology Summit was free thanks to Google’s generous support, we do have costs associated with the December Technology Summit. To offset those costs, there is a registration fee: $50 for CC Network members or $75 for non-members. If you’d like to sign up for CC Network membership at the same time as you register, we’ve enabled that as well (no discount, though; $100 total).

It’s been a busy year at CC and I’m looking forward to the Technology Summit as an opportunity to review what we’ve done and look ahead to 2009.

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EVENT: “Takeovers & Makeovers: Artistic Appropriation, Fair Use, and Copyright in the Digital Age”, Berkeley 11/7-8

Cameron Parkins, November 3rd, 2008

Those in the Bay Area take note – on Nov 7 and 8 (this Fri/Sat) a great event is happening at UC Berkeley titled Takeovers & Makeovers: Artistic Appropriation, Fair Use, and Copyright in the Digital Age. Focusing on “appropriation rights in the digital era”, the event will feature “artists, lawyers, art historians, and representatives from the information technology community to discuss the changing field of appropriation art in the wake of the emergence of new digital media technologies that have radically altered access to and manipulation of information.” Our own Virginia Rutledge will be speaking, along with a slew of preeminent thinkers in the world of copyright including Fred von Lohmann, Rick Prelinger, and Jason Schultz.

DETAILS:

Where: Berkeley Art Museum Theater
When: 11/7 (10AM – 4:30PM), 11/8 (10AM – 4PM)
Price: FREE and Open to The Public (No Registration Required)

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Wikipedia/CC news: FSF releases FDL 1.3

Mike Linksvayer, November 3rd, 2008

The Free Software Foundation has just released version 1.3 of its Free Documentation License containing language which allows FDL-licensed wikis to republish FDL content under the CC Attribution-ShareAlike license until August 1, 2009. Excepted from this are FDL documents originating elsewhere unless they have been incorporated into the wiki prior to November 1, 2008.

This is a crucial step toward de-fracturing the free (culture) as in (software) freedom world, which should have the impact of greatly accelerating the growth of that world. Last December the Wikimedia Foundation requested that the FSF make this step.

Thanks and congratulations to the WMF and FSF (if you haven’t wished the latter a hearty 25th anniversary yet, please do so) and to the free world.

The next step is for the Wikipedia/Wikimedia community (and other FDL-licensed wikis) to decide to offer wiki content under CC BY-SA 3.0.

We hope that these communities find CC the best steward for free culture licenses to be relied upon for massively collaborative works. See our Statement of Intent for Attribution-ShareAlike Licenses and Approved for Free Cultural Works branding rolled out in February and April of this year respectively for some background on this.

In the longer term (i.e., in a future version of the CC BY-SA license, which as the FSF does their licenses, we version very carefully and deliberately) we will address other issues of particular interest to communities creating massively collaborative works, in particular attribution for such situations (our version 2.5 licenses begin to do this) and how strongly copyleft (ShareAlike in CC parlance) attaches to the context in which CC BY-SA licensed images are used (as we did for video synced to music in version 2.0).

Thanks again to the FSF and WMF, which as CC does, build critical infrastructure for a free world. All of these organizations are nonprofits deserving of your support. CC is running its annual fundraising campaign right now. :)

Also see Lawrence Lessig’s post on Enormously important news from the Free Software Foundation.

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