Ubuntu FreeCulture Showcase Winners Announced

Greg Grossmeier, October 7th, 2008

The Ubuntu FreeCulture Showcase, which was announced back in August, has now come to an end and the winners revealed.

Congratulations to both Andrés Vidau and Andrew Higginson! Their winning submissions will be on over a million Ubuntu users’ desktops!

Andrés won the audio division with the song “Patas de Trapo” which you can download here. From the Ubuntu Fridge News Announcement, “Patas de Trapo is a track that was born in a one-track side project, and in collaboration with guitar player Mauricio Barron, current member of indie rock band A Colores.”

Andrew Higginson won the video division with “Stop Motion Ubuntu” that you can download here. This winning submission is Andrew’s first use of motion video as medium instead of still images.

Go check out all the submissions at the FreeCulture Showcase website. And remember, Ubuntu will be doing this again for the next release so start thinking of what your entry will be.

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CC Talks With: Colin Mutchler

Cameron Parkins, October 6th, 2008

Colin Mutchler is one of the original CC success stories. Back in 2003, he posted his song, My Life, to Opsound under a CC BY-SA license. A month later a violinist name Nora Beth added a violin track, calling the new work My Life Changed. It was one of the first instances of CC facilitating unsolicited collaboration, laying the ground work for the amazing remix culture we have seen develop over the past 5 years. Mutchler has since expanded his resume, working on photography and media production as well as his music. We caught up with him recently to find more about what he has been up to since we last checked in – needless to say, it has been a while.


Colin at work… circa 2008 | activefree CC BY

Can you give us some background on yourself and your music? How did you get started as a musician? What are your major influences?

My first 7 years in Bellingham WA were filled with my parents’ sounds from the Grateful Dead and George Winston. But it wasn’t until I first started playing guitar in college that I began to write lyrics, initially inspired by people like Ben Harper, Ani Difranco, and Bob Dylan. Silvio Rodriguez was also an influence ever since I lived in Bolivia in 1998. Then when I saw Saul Williams in the movie Slam in 1999, it became clear that the most powerful voices of our generation would come through Hip Hop and spoken word. Other influential voices for me were Sarah Jones and Alix Olson. For a while I imagined myself becoming a kind of folk-hop version Mos Def and Talib Kweli (still do), but with a full time job in digital marketing and a vision for a crowdfunding media tool for social entrepreneurs, I’m still fighting that daily choice to actually be an artist and musician.
Read More…

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Latam Commons 2008

Jane Park, October 6th, 2008

Santiago, Chile: ccLearn is hosting a three day conference on “open licensing, open technologies, and the future of education in Latin America” from November 19th to the 21st. The conference is split up into three meetings over the three days. 

Nov 19 is for Creative Commons International, where CC affiliates will meet to discuss the latest developments in licensing and other CC-related issues. Though this day of the conference is only CC, the latter two days are open to all. From the Latam Commons 2008 invitation:

“We are writing to invite you to join us in Santiago, Chile, on Nov 20-21, for a ground-breaking meeting about open licensing, open technologies, and the future of education in Latin America. The meeting on Nov 20 is called Latam Commons 2008: Creative Commons, Open Education, and the Public Domain. It is being co-hosted by ccLearn, the education division of Creative Commons, and Derechos Digitales.”

You can register for the Nov 20 meeting on Open Education here. Registration is free and open to anyone until we reach our capacity of 60. So register now to reserve your spot.

Derechos Digitales is also hosting a seminar on the public domain on Nov 21, to which everyone is welcome.” There is no attendance limit on this day.

“Latam Commons 2008 is expected to include representatives of different organizations and projects in open education from throughout the Latin American region. The meeting will be a participatory gathering in which all attendees will be able to discuss a range of issues relevant to open education in Latin America, with the goal of developing a broad understanding of major education issues in the region and a focused vision of how open education and widely available educational resources can address these needs. As the workshop will be dynamic and discussion-based, we are inviting anyone interested in these issues to attend and contribute.

Please visit the registration page at: http://accesoalacultura.cl/registros-cclearn/ You can sign up for one or both of the meeting days at this site. Registration is free, and some meals will be provided for all registered participants. Visit the meeting wiki (http://derechosdigitales.org/wiki/Creative_Commons_Learn) for additional information about travel, lodging, and the meeting agenda.

This meeting is intended to catalyze conversations and projects that will continue after the meeting is over, and to build relationships among people and organizations so that we can bring our collective energies and resources to bear on common challenges for open education. Future meetings are already planned, and we look forward to seeing the progress on this global effort that grows out of Latam Commons 2008.

Please direct any questions or concerns to Ahrash Bissell, Grace Armstrong, or Claudio Ruiz. We hope to see you in Santiago.”

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Zemanta

Cameron Parkins, October 6th, 2008

Zemanta is an online platform for finding and adding “relevant images, smart links, keywords and text” to blog postings. Available in numerous incarnations (Firefox add-on, WordPress Plugin, etc.), Zemanta queries the text of a blog post against their own “proprietary natural language processing and semantic algorithms” to formulate media recommendations.

Images are pooled from Wikimedia Commons, Flickr and various stock photo providers – as a result, a large number of the photos are CC-licensed. The Zemanta interface displays what license a photo is released under before it is added to the post, making it clear to bloggers what permissions are allowed. You can read more about what Zemanta does here – it is a simple and efficient way to add rich media to blog posts and best of all, its free.

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Presidential candidates show support for “open debates”

Eric Steuer, October 6th, 2008

Two recent posts on Lessig’s blog show that both of the major party US presidential candidates support the idea of debate footage being available to the public for free and legal use.

Last Thursday, Lessig posted a letter of reply he’d received from Trevor Potter, the general counsel of the McCain-Palin campaign. The letter says that the campaign “supports [the] suggestion that those who may own rights in the debate video dedicate those rights to the public domain.” Potter continues: “Barring that, copyright holders should at the very least give utmost respect to principles of fair use by allowing non-commercial use of debate excerpts, thus ensuring that spurious copyright claims do not chill vigorous public discourse.”

Then, on Saturday, Lessig blogged that Barack Obama had reaffirmed his support for open debates, which he’d earlier established during the primaries via a letter to DNC Chairman Howard Dean. Obama’s letter asks that debate footage “be available freely after the debate, by either placing the video in the public domain, or licensing it under a Creative Commons (Attribution) license.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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Bill Enabling Community Colleges to Establish OER Pilot Program is signed into law

Jane Park, October 6th, 2008

Last week, a bill enabling the California Community Colleges to integrate open educational resources (OER) into its core curriculum was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger. AB 2261 authorizes the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges “to establish a pilot program to provide faculty and staff from community college districts around the state with the information, methods, and instructional materials to establish open education resources centers.” The program would provide a structure by which community college faculty and staff could vet and repurpose OER in order to create high quality course materials and textbooks for college students. The resulting materials would themselves be openly licensed or available in the public domain so that they could be further adapted and repurposed for future and individual contexts. High quality OER would also set a new and much needed economic standard for publishers, who currently charge exorbitant prices for college textbooks. According to the LA times, textbook prices accounted for almost 60% of a community college student’s educational costs last year.

This legislation is spearheaded by Assemblyman Ira Ruskin and Hal Plotkin, President of the Foothill and De Anza Community College District’s Governing Board of Trustees. Hal writes,

This is the first legislation that puts the state of California squarely behind those of us who are working to create free, high-quality, vetted public domain — or “open” — educational resources for community college students, who stand to save literally hundreds of millions of dollars over the coming decade as a result.

The scholar David Wiley has observed that introducing Open Educational Resources into the public education system is the most significant development since the establishment of Land Grant colleges and universities in the mid 1800′s.

What’s also wonderful is the knowledge that, even in these difficult days when our system seems so very broken, an ordinary citizen like me can still offer up a useful idea and see it enacted into law.

See the news article on this here, and the latest version of the bill here. The Foothill-De Anza Community College District in Silicon Valley is a leading institution in the open education movement; they established the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) last year, which exists “to identify, create and/or repurpose existing OER as Open Textbooks and make them available for use by community college students and faculty.”

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Phlow Magazine Releases “Nivel del Mar”, Free CC-Licensed Netlabel Compilation

Cameron Parkins, October 3rd, 2008

Phlow Magazine, a weblog about netlabel music culture, recently celebrated their one year anniversary by releasing Nivel del Mar, a free compilation of CC BY-NC-ND licensed tracks from various netlabels. Clocking in at one hour, 22 minutes, and 55 seconds (epic), Nivel del Mar is described as a ‘chill out compilation’ that aims to feature the the best sounds of netlabel culture. You can download it here for free.

Outside of reporting on netlabel culture, Phlow Magazine produces a podcast and has a huge archive of CC-licensed tunes available on their site.

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CC Salon NYC Followup

Fred Benenson, October 2nd, 2008

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Dean Jansen of the Miro Project

Thanks to everyone who came out to September’s CC Salon NYC, and to the wonderful TOPP for hosting us again. We had an even bigger turn out this time (perhaps because Time Out New York wrote us up), but just as much fun. Keep an eye out for December’s event!

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International OER Community Update

Jane Park, October 1st, 2008

The Open Educational Resources (OER) movement is a global movement. Education is an issue that crosses borders and spans continents; open education—the creation and distribution of OER—empowers people in a global dialogue. However, the mere promotion of OER is not sufficient for the success of this international effort, as many issues and barriers to open education are country- and culture-specific. In this sense, the international OER community has some significant differences to bridge, and we must somehow synthesize the diverse range of projects and perspectives into clear and tangible objectives.

The UNESCO OER Community exemplifies progress made on this front, with currently 700+ members from 105 countries. Although North America and Western Europe account for about half of the participants, the community is still represented by 72 developing countries. One of the most compelling components of the community is its case studies project, “stories – of how institutions and individuals have developed or used OER,” based in various countries. These case studies—including those from Canada, Rwanda, Italy, South Africa, New Zealand, the Netherlands and more—explore OER against the background of their heterogeneous contexts. What works? What doesn’t work? What did the organization or persons involved do or must they now do in order to overcome obstacles—either due to institutional bureaucracy, lack of resources, or otherwise? These stories are windows of insight into different ways of progressing globally.

In addition to case studies, the international community is developing an OER toolkit, templates for ease of sharing more stories (from community members, academics creating and using OER, and learners using OER), and discussion surrounding such issues as access to technology, copyright, best practices, learning psychology of OER, and more. The OER toolkit will prove especially useful in addressing the issues raised by case studies, as it targets any persons interested in becoming involved with OER, either as creators or users, and those wishing to integrate OER into their institutions or organizations.

eLearning Papers, a journal that “promotes the use of ICT for lifelong learning in Europe,” recently examined similar issues surrounding OER and the international community in its September installment, “Open Educational Resources.” From the editorial,

This issue of eLearning Papers is dedicated to the thriving work around Open Educational Resources (OER) by committed individuals, institutions and user communities. Five selected papers by the guest editors investigate the organisational, social, cultural, pedagogical and technical aspects of implementing OER…

We have two papers that investigate how higher education institutions work OER into their policies and practices. “Open Educational Resources for Management Education: Lessons from experience” elaborates on a French faculty which created a digital distribution place to share and disseminate university courses. The initial resistance of the faculty members evaporated as they started receiving positive feedback on their courses, as well as international interest in their French content. On the other hand, “Reflections on sustaining Open Educational Resources: an institutional case study” shows how first gaining high level policy support within the institution for the initiative of OER was turned into a sustainable institutional practice.

The journal is licensed CC BY-NC-ND, while the UNESCO OER Community site is open for re-use and adaptation under CC BY-SA. It is also hosted on a wiki which means anyone is free to contribute to the OER case studies and OER toolkit. The UNESCO OER Community has been funded by one of our avid supporters, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, since its inception in 2005.

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9th Annual Media That Matters Film Festival: Call For Entries

Cameron Parkins, October 1st, 2008

Arts Engine, a non-profit that creates social-issue documentaries, just released a call for entries for their 9th Annual Media That Matters Film Festival. The films produced for the MTMFF are short form, focus on social issues, and made mostly by young filmmakers.

Following a New York City Premiere, Awards Ceremony and industry networking event in June 2009, films submitted will take part in the Media That Matters international, multi-platform campaign with “DVD distribution, broadcasts, streaming and hundreds of screenings across the globe.” After the festival has been completed, the films will be released under a CC BY-NC-ND license. From MTMFF:

The Media That Matters Film Festival is the premier showcase for short films on the most important topics of the day. Local and global, online and in communities around the world, Media That Matters engages diverse audiences and inspires them to take action.

From gay rights to global warming, the jury-selected collection represents the work of a diverse group of independent filmmakers, many of whom are under 21. The films are equally diverse in style and content, with documentaries, music videos, animations, experimental work and everything else in between. What all the films have in common is that they spark debate and action in 12 minutes or less.

You can check out entries from previous MTMFF here, here, and here. Details on how to enter below:

Short Films: Keep it short! Under 12 minutes is good, but under 8 is even better.

All Genres: Documentary, animation, PSA, narrative, music videos – be creative!

Social Issues: Any and all. This year we are looking for films on Media Literacy, Human Rights, Elections & Democracy, Sustainability, Sexual Identity—but all social issues are accepted. Youth produced projects are encouraged.

Cash Prize: $1,000 per film.

Submission Fee: $25 for general submissions; $10 for students over 18 (with valid student ID); free for youth 18 and under (with valid ID).

Deadline: All submission materials must be postmarked by January 9th, 2009.

Check website for more details: submit.

Arts Engine also sells region-free unencrypted CC licensed DVDs of all the films that can be shown in any non-commercial setting.

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