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2008 December

Urgent: Your input needed for “NonCommercial” questionnaire

Mike Linksvayer, December 2nd, 2008

As previously announced, we’re running a questionnaire on understanding “NonCommercial” use. The questionnaire runs through December 714. It takes 15-25 minutes to complete.

Click here to start the questionnaire.

Your input is greatly appreciated. CC CEO Joi Ito explains:

“The study has direct relevance to Creative Commons’ mission of providing free, flexible copyright licenses that are easy to understand and simple to use,” said Creative Commons CEO Joi Ito. “The NC term is a popular option for creators choosing a Creative Commons license, and that tells us the term meets a need. However, as exponentially increasing numbers of works are made available under CC licenses, we want to provide additional information for creators about the contexts in which the NC term may further or impede their intentions with respect to the works they choose to share, and we want to make sure that users clearly understand those intentions. We expect the study findings will help us do a better job of explaining the licenses and to improve them, where possible. We also hope the findings, which will be made publicly available, will contribute to better understanding of some of the complexities of digital distribution of content.”

You can also help by sending your friends and colleagues to the questionnaire.


If you don’t have time to help CC in this way, remember that we’re in the midst of our annual fundraising campaign.

Contributing in both ways would be ideal. :-)

CC licenses are an important* part of the digital infrastructure and debate. Your financial contributions and your feedback are both crucial to the ongoing development of this infrastructure.

Click here to start the questionnaire.

* The ‘important’ link above points out a recent extraordinarily important and visible use of the CC BY license, which does not include the NC term. As Joi points out in the quote above, we also want to provide information about contexts in which NC is not appropriate. So please take the questionnaire if you care about public copyright licenses, even if you don’t like or don’t use ones with the NonCommercial term. Thanks!

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Clive Thompson on the Hybrid T-Shirt Economy

Cameron Parkins, December 2nd, 2008

A great article in the most recent WIRED, Clive Thompson on How T-Shirts Keep Online Content Free, discusses the growing hybrid economy developed by purveyors of free content looking for a stable source of income. Their answer? Schwag in general, t-shirts in particular:

Increasingly, creative types are harnessing what I’ve begun to call “the T-shirt economy”—paying for bits by selling atoms. Charging for content online is hard, often impossible. Even 10 cents for a download of something like Red vs. Blue might drive away the fans. So instead of fighting this dynamic, today’s smart artists are simply adapting to it.

Their algorithm is simple: First, don’t limit your audience by insisting they pay to see your work. Instead, let your content roam freely online, so it generates as large an audience as possible. Then cash in on your fans’ desire to sport merchandise that declares their allegiance to you.

While Thompson doesn’t mention CC directly (he does mention Jonathan Coulton, a CC-staff favorite and current partner in our fundraising drive), he hints at the mentality behind our CC+ initiative and generally argues that openness is an important component of functional business models going forward.

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CC is Turning 6! SF Birthday Party Announced!

Allison Domicone, December 1st, 2008

To celebrate six exceptional years for CC and the December 31st wrap-up of our 2008 fundraising campaign, CC headquarters is hosting a birthday bash in San Francisco! The San Francisco party joins the ranks of other global birthday parties in Berlin, Brisbane, Guatemala, Seoul, and New York. The San Francisco event will be held on Thursday, December 18th, 2008, from 9pm – 2am at 111 Minna Gallery (Map and Directions).

We’re thrilled to announce that Into Infinity, the remixable art and music exhibition produced by dublab and Creative Commons, will make one of its first “real world” appearances as a physical installation at the party. Digital renderings of the show’s visual works will be run through a software program that melds random pieces together to create new combinations. The resulting feed will be delivered to a projector and displayed against a wall to provide ever-changing visual stimuli to our partygoers. Additionally, there will be a live performance by several dublab producers and DJs, who will use Into Infinity’s sound loops as the basis for an improvisational electronic music show.

And, of course, there will be dancing! Music will be provided by DJs Ripley and Kid Kameleon, both regulars at Surya Dub in San Francisco.

Tickets will be sold at the door, but please RSVP to rsvp[at]creativecommons.org so we know you’re coming.
From 9-11pm: $15 for CC Network members and $20 for non-members. Hosted bar: beer, wine, and well-drinks (cash bar otherwise). Join the CC Network today to secure your discount!
After 11pm: $5 for CC Network members and $10 for non-members. Cash bar.

We hope you’ll join us for a fun and festive night of celebrating free culture and the future of Creative Commons! Everyone is welcome, but space is limited – so bring friends and arrive early!

Can’t make it to San Francisco or one of the other birthday party locales? No problem! We’re encouraging members of our community around the world to come up with fun and creative ways to celebrate CC’s six years: be part of the CC Video Project and make a 90-second video about why you love CC, screen a CC-licensed film, host a Salon, make a CC re-mix, design a birthday card or poster, or consider CC’s birthday an excellent occasion to eat cake! This is a time to celebrate participatory culture, creativity, and innovation – and whatever you decide to do, make sure to document it and share it with us and the world by uploading your pictures or video to flickr and tagging them “CC6.” Head over to the Birthday Party 2008 wiki page for details on the planned parties and find out how to add your own!

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Latam Commons 2008 is a Success

Jane Park, December 1st, 2008

Latam Commons 2008: The Public Domain, Creative Commons, and Open Education in Latin America, held Nov 19-21 in Santiago, Chile, was a great success. The event was co-hosted and excellently managed by NGO Derechos Digitales, and representatives from all over Latin America were present and actively participated in the meeting. Project Leads of Creative Commons jurisdictions first held a one-day meeting to discuss their projects, possible strategic initiatives and collaborations across the region, and shared challenges. These conversations are just the beginning of what is planned to become a regular regional gathering to leverage the expertise and resources that are distributed throughout the region. The next day was devoted to a highly interactive “unconference” on open education which brought together leading international advocates for open education with key figures in libraries and ministries of education in Chile and beyond. The goal of the meeting was to gather information regarding top concerns and key projects involved in the growth of the open education movement, to be synthesized and then leveraged for collaborative opportunities both within and beyond the region. Look for a report on this event in the coming months. Finally, Derechos Digitales orchestrated a seminar on the public domain which included cutting-edge research reports and discussions regarding the legal and practical elements of both defining and utilizing the public domain in Latin America. The philosophical and legal issues pertinent to consideration of the public domain is clearly of broad interest in the region, and we are hopeful that these ideas will continue to serve as organizing themes for ongoing conversation and action to enhance access to knowledge and improved scholarship in the future.

Additional details will be forthcoming from ccLearn, CCi, and Derechos Digitales.

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Dopplr Launches Autogenerated City Profiles

Fred Benenson, December 1st, 2008

The team at the travel community Dopplr has launched an autogenerative tool that magically creates city profiles utilizinginteresting” Flickr photos licensed under our free licenses.

Dopplr has aggregated thousands of travelers data and photos to create compelling pages that have autogenerated content. These pages expose fascinating trends of travelers visiting different cities. Take a look at Black Rock City’s profile:

The spike is from the famous Burning Man festival that happens at the end of the summer, and the photo is from brainsik’s flickr.

By utilizing our Attribution and Attribution-ShareAlike licenses, Dopplr has effectively avoided the transaction costs typically associated with negotiating rights to use a photo in a derivative work.

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Obama-Biden transition site Change.gov now under a Creative Commons license

Eric Steuer, December 1st, 2008

Change.gov, the website of US president-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, has undergone some important and exciting changes over the past few days. Among them is the site’s new copyright notice, which expresses that the bulk of Change.gov is published under the most permissive of Creative Commons copyright licenses – CC BY.

Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Content includes all materials posted by the Obama-Biden Transition project. Visitors to this website agree to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the rest of the world for their submissions to Change.gov under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

This is great news and a encouraging sign that the new administration has a clear sense of the importance of openness in government and on the web (there’s a bit more on this over at Lessig’s blog). The embrace of Creative Commons licensing on Change.gov is consistent with earlier support by both Obama and McCain for the idea of “open debates.” (It’s also in line with Obama’s decision to publish the pictures in his Flickr Photostream under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license – pretty cool!)

Tim O’Reilly has written a smart post (which has elicited some very thoughtful reader comments) recommending that Change.gov use revision control as a way to further improve transparency and make it possible for the public to review any changes that occur on the site. Of course, licensing is just one component of openness, but getting licensing right is necessary for enabling people to truly take advantage of technologies that facilitate collaboration.

Update: Several people have pointed out that “works created by an agency of the United States government are public domain at the moment of creation” (see Wikipedia for more on this). Change.gov is not currently the project of a government agency, but a 501(c)(4) that has been set up to manage the Obama-Biden transition. Also, the public is being invited to contribute their own comments and works to the site, and it is important to have a clear marking of the permissions that other people have to this material.


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