Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s “The Concert” Podcast Reaches Over 1 Million Downloads

Cameron Parkins, October 1st, 2008

“The Concert” is a classical music podcast produced by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum which is released under our Music Sharing license. Here is what we had to say back in 2006 when the podcast first launched:

The podcast features unreleased live performances by master musicians and talented young artists recorded from the museum’s Sunday Concert Series. “The Concert” includes music by Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, and Chopin for solo piano, orchestra, string quartet, and voice. A new podcast will be posted on the 1st and 15th of every month; users can subscribe to receive free, automatic updates delivered directly to their computers or mp3 players. With “The Concert,” the Gardner Museum becomes the first art museum to encourage sharing and free distribution of its online programming by using a Creative Commons license.

“The Concert” is now on episode 54 and has reached over 1 million downloads, bringing classical chamber music to people across the globe in an unprecedented fashion. While the content of the podcast – lush arrangements of beautiful compositions recorded by experts – is at the heart of why “The Concert” has done so well, the Music Sharing license employed by ISGM has made that content more immediately sharable, stripping away legal hurdles that might inhibit casual listeners while protecting ISGM’s commercial rights.

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Eric Steuer, CC’s Creative Director, Interviewed on Epic FU

Cameron Parkins, October 1st, 2008

Epic FU, the web-based art/tech/music/culture show we recentlly profiled as a Featured Commoner, just posted a great episode that includes an interview with CC’s Creative Director Eric Steuer. For those who are familiar with CC there isn’t a ton of new information on what we do but for those who are new to CC, the interview acts as an awesome primer. The episode is released under a CC BY-NC-SA license and Steve Woolf, one of Epic FU’s founders, posted a related entry about CC on the Epic FU blog to complement the piece.

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Calling Software Engineers

Jennifer Yip, October 1st, 2008

Creative Commons needs to expand our tech team! Please check out our new contractor posting. If you have the skills and interest in joining the CC team, please submit your resume and cover letter asap!

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CC Salon Paris on October 15

Michelle Thorne, October 1st, 2008

CC France is organizing the first CC Salon in Paris on October 15, 2008, in partnership with La Cantine by Silicon Sentier.

At a moment where copyright laws are becoming always more restrictive, in particular in France with the HADOPI initiative, this event will give the opportunity to the Creative Commons community to reaffirm its commitment to openness, sharing and freedom.

A round-table will open the discussions with pioneers and old-time users of the CC licenses in France: music platforms Dogmazik and Jamendo, book publisher In Libro Veritas, the local government of Brest and public TV/radio Arte Radio.

The CC Salon Paris will feature a debate on “Creative Commons licenses today and after” followed drinks, music, project, and file sharing. More information is available on the CC France website. You can also register for the Salon on Facebook.

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CC Jordan: First Arabic Version 3.0 License Draft in Public Discussion

Michelle Thorne, October 1st, 2008

Jordanian legal experts are making major strides in the Creative Commons license porting process by producing the first Version 3.0 CC license draft in Arabic. Adapted to Jordanian law, the license draft is being discussed on CC Jordan’s mailing list, along with the license’s English re-translation and an explanation of its substantial legal changes.

With the support of the reputable Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property (AGIP), CC Jordan Project Leads Ziad Maraqa and Rami Olwan have committed much time and expertise in developing the Jordanian license draft. Hala Essalmawi (CC Egypt) and Anas Tawileh (initiator of Arab Commons) contribute to CC Jordan’s efforts as well as conduct local outreach to further Creative Commons’ mission. Individuals and organizations interested in beginning a local Creative Commons project in their jurisdiction or in helping raise awareness about Creative Commons in the Arab World, please contact Creative Commons International and CC Arab Media Consultant Donnatella della Ratta.

On behalf of CC Jordan, we warmly welcome you to join in the public discussion of the license draft. Congratulations to CC Jordan and the Arab Commons team, and we are looking forward to your feedback!

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ccLearn’s COSL Open Ed ’08 download

Jane Park, September 30th, 2008

Although we’ve already had a weekend plus a Monday to digest COSL’s Open Ed ’08, the events from the conference and general good feeling inspired by speakers and individual conversations still drives us forward into the week and the beginning of next month. This year’s conference featured several notable speakers; the keynotes themselves were given by WikiEducator‘s Wayne Mackintosh, Magnatune‘s Teresa Malango, and MITE’s (Monterey Institute for Technology and Education) Gary Lopez . Personally, I attended all three keynotes plus a few other sessions from which I extracted some thought-provoking facts and ideas.

WikiEducator, Commonwealth of Learning: Wayne broke the news that WikiEducator will be moving to the awe-inspiring Dunedin, New Zealand, home to not only breathtaking landscapes but also Otago Polytechnic, the first ever university to have a default CC BY licensing policy. See my interview with Leigh Blackall in April. He also shed light on why many educators use WikiEducator. Surprisingly (or not, depending on your presumptions), the number one reason people go to the site is “to explore new ideas and trends”. I found this encouraging; educators are seeking to innovate, to learn in order to innovate. Case in point: the second reason was “to learn wiki skills”. Now we’ve just got to help them do it. Wayne also mentioned catering to different knowledge levels when it came to open source and sharing. He described what he called “capability phases”. The phases go something like this: personal teaching resources → WikiEducator featured resource → WikiEducator featured collaboration → peer-reviewed resource. Teachers begin by sharing their personal educational resources developed primarily for their own classroom; then they realize they can create resources on WikiEducator; furthermore, in collaboration with other educators!; finally, they ensure quality by reviewing each other’s work and constantly making changes to better place the work in context.

Magnatune – a history: Teresa’s presentation provided an outside viewpoint regarding possible business and sustainability models for openly licensed resources. She described how Magnatune was founded with a few core principles around which the business models had to be developed. The principles included respect and fair compensation for the artists, engagement with the consumers, and transparency in all that they do. Much of the conference focused on issues of sustainability and mechanisms for leveraging the value of OER, so her presentation served as a useful lesson regarding such issues from a different domain. Many of the key tools and technologies developed by Creative Commons, such as the CC Plus protocol, are core elements of the Magnatune site. What possibilties lie ahead for OER?

MITE on How to Build a Financially Self-sustaining OER: Practical Considerations: Gary launched an interesting study of how OER could financially sustain itself, based on MITE’s own policy regarding individuals and institutions. Basically, the premise is that individuals shouldn’t have to pay, but someone’s got to―that leaves institutions who are usually more than happy to pay for a service that would be free for their members. The value I took away from this was this off-shoot idea; that in the age of the internet, we are now living in a service-economy where content is free (either legally or illegally on the internet), but the services required to aggregate, make cohesive, and analyze that content is still needed. In the words of David Wiley, “If my students can Google it, I don’t need to teach it.” Open education is not just about freeing up content; it’s about making that content accessible in ways that are smart, novel, and interesting.

Financial sustainability is still an issue, but if we go back to Wayne’s presentation: what about commercial activities that would support OER? There are distribution channels; for example, we’ve already got sites like Lulu.com, and Flat World Knowledge is another big open textbook initiative set to launch next year. We’ve also got to think about incentive systems to get educators, researchers, and commercially employed persons to contribute beyond their full-time jobs. And finally, the most important statement that, I think, reiterates David’s sentiment: in the development of OER, quality is more about the process than it is about the product. Quality is a very different thing in one country’s context than it is in the next. But the process of producing OER, of gaining those critical thinking and analytic skills (remember why some of us went to college?) yields a quality process that can be integrated universally.

Demos: I was busy demo-ing ODEPO while Nathan was just as busy demo-ing the Universal Education Search, but I did get to check out one other tool―the University of Michigan’s dScribe. This technology was definitely built around the idea of sustainability. The basic question as I saw it: How do you make the materials (slides, handouts, images, video, etc.) that an educator uses in the classroom legal so that it can be shared online as OER? Further, how do you do so without draining the school of huge amounts of dollars and other resources? Answer: You build a tool that trains and allows students to gauge and evaluate the course materials for copyright information, and then to search for creative replacements (licensed under a CC or other open license) for those materials that are fully restricted. Ingenious! Props to the U of Michigan; we look forward to seeing progress on this initiative.

Various other sessions I attended were equally inspiring, but the basic sentiment I gathered from everyone was that this year’s conference marked great progress in all the projects initiated the year previous. ccLearn is excited about its own projects and looking forward to more dizzying collaboration within the Open Ed community.

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SomeRightsReserved, CC Licensed Design

Cameron Parkins, September 29th, 2008

SomeRightsReserved is a download-only design firm that produces “blueprints to a range of different products and objects”, connecting “designer straight to consumer, empowering all parties.” SRR uses different CC licences on different products, enabling customers to take the ideas therein and use them in a variety of different ways. From SSR:

Imagine being able to buy the digital blueprints to any object, being able to take it to a skilled professional and have it produced directly. Imagine instant access to quality design ideas and the means to manufacture products on demand. Imagine completely removing the middleman.

Some Rights Reserved lets designers get ideas out directly to the public, on their terms. Designers have greater creative freedom, flexibility, spontaneity, and control over licensing. Consumers are given the chance to purchase design instantly, either printing it out on their own printer or taking the file to a listed supplier for production.

SSR has some absolutely amazing projects, some for sale and some for free – be sure to explore what they have available.

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CC Talks With: Brad Sucks

Cameron Parkins, September 29th, 2008

Brad Sucks, a CC license using pop/rock musician, recently released his latest album Out Of It for free online and under a CC BY-SA license. Brad is one of the most remixed artists over at ccMixter, runs an active blog, interacts with fans directly, and was recently interview by the Featured Commoners behind The Indie Band Survival Guide. Needless to say we needed to catch up with Brad and ask some questions of our own – read on to learn about Brad’s influences, why he uses CC licenses, and how he feels about his work being remixed and reused.

Can you give our reader’s a bit of background on you and your music? How long have you been creating music? What are your influences?

I started taking classical guitar lessons when I was 10 years old. I hated practicing and was never very good and quit because it was boring. Then when I was 14 or so I got into MOD/S3M trackers (Scream Tracker and then later Impulse Tracker) and was really into industrial/electronic music. I got an electric guitar a few years later and started trying to fit it all together as digital recording matured.

My influences were mostly classic rock as a kid. Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, etc, the stuff my dad listened to. As a teenager I was into more aggressive stuff: Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, etc. Besides being a lot harder, it had a real DIY ethic to it. There usually wasn’t much of a “band”, just one or two guys working on recordings. That was a huge inspiration because it seemed normal to me to think of doing everything myself. After that I mellowed out and de-gothed a bit but I secretly wish I could take myself seriously enough to rock like Ministry.
Read More…

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Freesound.org Update: Name Change, Radio, CC Licensed PHD, and more

Cameron Parkins, September 29th, 2008

Freesound, a venerable repository of CC-licensed samples, has been up to a bevy of good work since we last checked in with them. This includes developing a beautiful successor to wav2png, changing their name to freesound.org, teaming up with Happy New Ears to develop an interactive sample machine aimed at children, and launching Freesound Radio, an “experimental web-based system around collaboration and social interaction in sample based music creations.”

What many people don’t realize about Freesound.org is that it is an initiative of the Music Technology Group at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. This means that outside of Freesound there are a collection of amazing students and professors working on understanding how music technology is changing at a rapid pace. One of these student, Jordi Janer, recentlly released his PHD singing-driven interfaces for sound synthesizers as a CC BY-NC-SA licensed PDF download.

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H-Net Reviews

Jane Park, September 29th, 2008

H-Net is “an international consortium of scholars and teachers…[creating] and [coordinating] Internet networks with the common objective of advancing teaching and research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. H-Net is committed to pioneering the use of new communication technology to facilitate the free exchange of academic ideas and scholarly resources.” Recently, H-Net took a step towards facilitating this free exchange by licensing their online scholarly reviews of various books in the humanities and social sciences CC BY-NC-ND. Normally, scholarly reviews take a while to come out in print journals, so the online reviewing system of H-Net is effective in not only providing timely access to these reviews but also in stimulating response and discussion via their discussion networks, where each review is also published. 

ccLearn supports this step towards increasing openness and hopes for greater progress from H-Net in the future. MIT Press also recently licensed their publication, “Opening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge,” CC BY-NC-ND—but unfortunately the No Derivatives term prevents remixing and adaptation for different contexts and needs. The ability to change and build on educational resources is a freedom that educators, students and researchers find not only incredibly useful but integral to the nature of their work. We hope to see more in this vein from both H-Net and MIT Press in the future!

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