wikiHow to support the CC fundraising campaign? wikiHow matching challenge!

Melissa Reeder, November 7th, 2008

Following Safe Creative’s lead, wikiHow has decided to help rally the community around supporting Creative Commons by issuing their own giving challenge. For the next two weeks, wikiHow will be matching every donation dollar for dollar, up to $3,000.

wikiHow is a collaborative writing project aiming to create the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. It is similar to Wikipedia in that thousands of volunteer editors from all over the world write, edit and maintain the articles.

As I stated in this month’s edition of the ccNewsletter, we need increased innovation and creative problem solving on a global level, now more than ever. wikiHow is one project working to help provide creative solutions to everyday problems. And the reason it works so well is because it was designed as an open system. Contributors are able to contribute and users are able to use and remix freely and legally because wikiHow is licensed with Creative Commons licenses.

We’re thrilled that wikiHow has decided to support CC in this way. There’s less than two months left in the campaign and we still have $434,495 to raise. Please take advantage of their generous offer and double the value of your gift.

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Curt Smith Discusses CC Licensing

Cameron Parkins, November 7th, 2008

Curt Smith – solo-artist, co-founder of Tears for Fears, and former Featured Commoner – recently spoke on Retro Rewind, specifically discussing his decision to use CC licenses on his latest album halfway, pleased. The interview is clear, concise, informative, and can be found on his blog.

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President Elect Barack Obama CC-Licensed Behind the Scenes Photos on Flickr

Cameron Parkins, November 7th, 2008

President-Elect Barack Obama and his staff have been posting photographs to his Flickr photostream since early 2007. Their most recent set from election night offers an amazing behind the scenes look at a historic point in American history.


20081104_Chicago_IL_ElectionNight1032, Barack Obama | CC BY-NC-SA

All of the photos are released under a CC BY-NC-SA license, making them easily shareable and reusable. You can see more photos from the campaign trail here.

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C&RL News on introducing CC to college communities

Eric Steuer, November 7th, 2008

The current issue of College & Research Libraries News includes a great article entitled “The beauty of “Some Rights Reserved”: Introducing Creative Commons to librarians, faculty, and students.” It’s a clear and insightful round-up of the challenges that college campuses face when it comes to copyright, followed by an examination of the benefits of Creative Commons licensing in academic settings. The article also offers practical steps for people looking to teach faculty, researchers, students, staff, and librarians about CC’s tools and projects. The written piece is complemented by a podcast interview with the article’s author, University of Michigan copyright specialist Molly Kleinman, who has recently posted a series of very useful “CC HowTo” tips on her own site.

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Into Infinity Audio Mega-Mixer launches

Eric Steuer, November 6th, 2008

Into Infinity (see previous post) – the CC-licensed art and music exhibition produced by dublab in collaboration with Creative Commons – is going strong. Visit the project’s online home for regular additions by artists and musicians from all over the world. Everything on the site is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license that allows legal sharing and reuse – we’ve already seen some great remixes of the works, which we’re looking forward to presenting publicly soon.

For now, we’re pleased to announce the debut of the Into Infinity Audio Mega-Mixer, a soundboard that lets you create in-the-moment sound collages from all of Into Infinity’s 8-second audio loops. We’ll be adding more functionality and updates to the mixer soon – so stay tuned. In the meantime, have fun creating sound combinations!

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Designers Accord Web Community launches under CC BY

Eric Steuer, November 6th, 2008

Some very cool news from the design world: The Designers Accord, a community of more than 100,000 designers who are committed to environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible design practices (read more the project in GOOD Magazine’s interview with founder Valerie Casey) has launched an online platform for sharing design ideas. The Designers Accord Web Community is a collection of case studies, resources, methodologies, and best practices that have been created by designers and are intended for public use. All submissions and materials on the site are available under a Creative Commons Attribution license. This approach will enable the development of a body of freely-licensed design resources that can be used by people around the world, even for commercial purposes. A big bravo to the people behind this incredible effort!

If the Designers Accord community site was a traditional website, it might behave like a catalog or encyclopedia of best practices, cases studies, and references. Most likely, it would present a single voice to an audience of listeners.

It would be hugely helpful to all of us if that universal resource existed. But it doesn’t. Yet.

We can create this resource through our coalition. The reason we have the Designers Accord is that the creative community has yet to create a definitive set of instructions, or a clearly defined roadmap for fully integrating the principles of sustainability into our work. We are struggling through these difficult challenges together, and this site is a repository for content related to this journey.

Thanks very much to Katy Frankel for introducing us to the people at the Designers Accord and for her help in making this happen.

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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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