REMINDER: CC Salon NYC is Tomorrow Night

Fred Benenson, September 29th, 2008

CC Salon NYC Logo

Just a quick reminder that the CC Salon NYC is happening tomorrow night!

The Open Planning Project has once again generously allowed us to use their loft space in the West Village for the salon and a reception afterward.

September’s Salon will feature presentations from Rachel Sterne from GroundReport.com, and a special screening / premier of two new shorts from the Meerkat Arts Media Collective, and other special surprises.

Here are the details:

Tuesday, September 30th, from 7-10pm
The Open Planing Project
349 W. 12th St., 1st Floor

We’ll also have free (as in beer) beer for the reception afterward. If you didn’t make it to July’s salon, don’t miss this one, and if you did, you’ll know to come early as space is limited.

Follow the event via Upcoming.org and RSVP via the Facebook event or e-mailing me – fred [at] creativecommons.org

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Jordan

Mike Linksvayer, September 29th, 2008

Creative Commons is working with Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property (AGIP) to create Jordan jurisdiction-specific licenses from the generic Creative Commons licenses.

CCi Jordan List

Project Leads: Ziad Maraqa (Legal Cases & Court Decisions Manager, AGIP) and Rami Olwan (Researcher at CCI ARC Center for Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation).

Archives:

More about Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property (AGIP)

When Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property (AGIP) was established, as TMP Agents in 1972 in Kuwait, we knew that we were facing a considerable challenge. Intellectual property protection in the region was still in its early stages of development. However, since then we at Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property have devoted our efforts to promoting the importance of IP protection throughout the Arab countries.

We have encouraged the introduction of IP laws and an efficient IP system that has introduced two significant changes to the region. Firstly, with the new legislation the major multinational corporations have been given the confidence to expand to the region because they are now assured of protection for their products. Secondly, the creative individuals of the Arab world such as Arab architects, artists, designers, computer scientists, musicians and writers, now have the protection for their products that ensures their hard work is properly rewarded.

As the years have passed we have been hugely successful in achieving the goals we initially set ourselves, and today we look around the region and are proud at the comprehensive developments that we have helped achieve in the field of IP.

One of our contributions, of which we take pride at AGIP, is our assistance and continued support provided to governmental committees and officials charged with revising and drafting new laws and regulations for the enforcement of intellectual property rights. Our participation in this field aims to ensure adequate methods of protection for intellectual property rights.

More info: http://www.agip.com

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The Transaction Costs of All Rights Reserved

Fred Benenson, September 26th, 2008

I’ve been thinking a lot about transaction costs lately, and how they’re at the core of what Creative Commons tries help the world with. By giving permission in advance by using a CC license and metadata, creators can lower the transaction costs of distributing their work. Aliza Sherman relates a story over at WebWorkerDaily that clearly demonstrates the benefits of switching to CC licensed work for blogging:

I recently had an email exchange with a photographer. He was unhappy that I used an image from his web site on one of my blogs without a proper credit or link back to his site. I took a look at the blog page in question – from 2005 – and noted that indeed, I did not credit him or link back to his site. So I removed the image immediately and replaced it with a Wikipedia Creative Commons image.

Aliza also posts some legal perspectives from lawyer Deena B. Burgess, regarding the legality of hosting, embedding, and linking to images found online. If you’re not already using CC licensed imagery for your blog posts, her answers may give you some reasons to reconsider.

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The Free Culture Game

Cameron Parkins, September 26th, 2008

The Free Culture Game, created by Molleindustria, is a flashed based abstract art piece that attempts to articulate the interplay between the commons and culture at large. Released under a CC BY-NC-SA license, we heard about it first on our community lists, but it has since been getting some nice traction elsewhere on the blogosphere. From Rhizome:

Italian artists Molleindustria promise “radical games against the dictatorship of entertainment,” and their latest effort may be their most direct statement against the pleasure industry to date. Touted as “playable theory,” the Free Culture Game offers a ludic metaphor for the battle between copyright encroachments and the free exchange of knowledge, ideas and art.

A circular field represents The Common, where knowledge can be freely shared and created; your job is to maintain a healthy ecology of yellow idea-bubbles bouncing from person to person before they can be sucked into the dark outer ring representing the forces of The Market. Your cursor, shaped like the Creative Commons logo, pushes the ideas around with a sort of reverse-magnetic repulsion field (a clever alternative to the typical shooting, eating or jumping-on-top-of-and-smooshing actions of many other 2-D games). People who absorb free, round ideas stay green and happy, while those who only consume square market-produced ones become grey and inverted.

The game never really ends: you can only do better or worse, suggesting by analogy that the fight for free culture will be an ongoing struggle without end.

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FSCONS: Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit

Michelle Thorne, September 26th, 2008

fscons banner

Free Culture, Free Software, and Free Content will join forces under the banner of “Free Society” at FSCONS on October 24-26 at the IT University of Götheborg, Sweden. The orgnaizing trinity, Creative Commons Sweden, Free Software Foundation Europe, and Wikimedia Sverige, see FSCONS as a chance to reach out with their respective communities and build joint projects with like-minded activists and organizations.

A strong speakers lineup provides the rhetorical food-for-thought in the Free Culture track. Mike Linksvayer (Creative Commons) asks, “How far is free culture behind free software?” as he charts key indicators and historical factors in the progress of each. Eva Hemmungs Wirten argues that the digital commons extends back to nineteenth-century London, while Oscar Swartz keynotes the events with the warning that Sweden’s controversial “Lex Orwell” may usher in “The End of Free Communication”.

Nikolaj Hald Nielsen spotlights Amarok 2, the intuitive music player for Linux and Unix, demonstrating a viable intersection of Free Culture and Free Software. Meanwhile, other landscapes are being analyzed by Inga Walling (Open Street Map), who recounts the project’s efforts to create and provide free geographic data.

John Buckman (Magnatune) riffs on “Squeezing the Evil out of the Music Industry” by using CC licensing to rethink record labels. And since online attribution persists as a thorny issues for many music content sites, Victor Stone (ccMixter) reports on how some platforms are solving the problem with the Sample Pool API.

The blend of timely topics and kindred communities makes FSCONS an exciting event to follow this autumn. Thanks a lot to the organizing teams for their efforts — we’re looking forward to this!

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The Websters’ Dictionary

Cameron Parkins, September 24th, 2008

The Websters’ Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World is a newly released book on “how to create communities of thousands [...] and channel their energy to effect political, social and cultural transformation.” Written by tech-advocate and political theorist Ralph Benko, The Websters’ Dictionary aims to educate on the web’s potential to motivate groups and enact change on broader issues, all while keeping in mind the complexities inherent in organizing movements online.

While the book is aimed at those with mid-level web experience, The Websters’ Dictionary has salient points that should resonate across technical prowess and familiarity. The Websters’ Dictionary is available for free PDF download – after taking the “Websters’ Oath” – and is being released under a CC BY-NC license, meaning that it can be reused in any number of ways, as long as future works credit Ralph Benko and are noncommercial in intent. Hardcover and paperbacks versions of the book should be available in October.

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CC Talks With: The Indie Band Survival Guide

Cameron Parkins, September 24th, 2008

Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan are true polymaths – founders of the pop band Beatnik Turtle, authors of The Indie Band Survival Guide, and a computer engineer and attorney respectively, they continuously have their hands in a bevy of different projects. Their most recent project, the wide publication of The Indie Band Survival Guide – originally and still available as a CC-licensed PDF – is a tome of knowledge that any independent musician, well-known or budding, would do well to have. We caught up with Chertkow and Feehan recentlly to find out more about the Indie Band Survival Guide, their experience as CC-license advocates, and how they manage to juggle their various roles with seeming ease.


(IndieBandSurvivalGuide.com logo (c) IndieBandSurvivalGuide.com, LLC, All Rights Reserved)

Can you give our readers a bit of background on yourselves? You are both active musicians, have jobs outside of music making, and are now published authors. How did you get to where you are today?

Jason Feehan: We’re both indie musicians who are in an active Chicago band called Beatnik Turtle. We’ve been writing, recording, and playing live for over 11 years. But beyond that, professionally, I’m an attorney and Randy has a Master’s in Computer Science: Data communications.

Randy Chertkow: Our fields really influenced how we ran the band, and, later, what we wrote about in the book. There was an advantage that neither of us were in the same field. So I was able to help put the legal stuff into human-readable form, and Jason was able to tame my technical jargon and into friendly explanations. Regarding music, I’ve got a formal music education, starting in grade school. I am a reeds player (primarily sax, but I double on flute and clarinet, which is very common for sax players.) I had a lot of training in music and jazz theory, and improvisation. Jason didn’t learn formally at all, yet is an incredibly prolific songwriter and natural talent. He’s written over 1000 songs.
Read More…

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COMMUNIA: A growing European network

Michelle Thorne, September 24th, 2008

Earlier this month, Mike gave us a sneak preview of several not-to-be-missed conferences in Europe this October. COMMUNIA kicks off the list with its 3rd Workshop, this time held in Amsterdam on October 20-21. The Amsterdam workshop will tackle Marking the public domain: relinquishment & certification, and the CC0 beta/discussion draft 3 will be one of the main items on the agenda.

The workshop follows the successful COMMUNIA Conference 2008, held at the University of Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium on June 30 and July 1. The conference furthered COMMUNIA’s mission to enrich and inform the debate about various (and often under-represented) issues related to today’s copyright. In particular, the COMMUNIA network continues to improve understanding about the true value of the public domain and open licensing.

All materials produced by the COMMUNIA network can be downloaded from the COMMUNIA website, which is in itself a great resource for the latest news in intellecutal property, copyright and public domain issues around the world.

Image from COMMUNIA Conference 2008 by Politecnico di Torino, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

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Report on the First Interdisciplinary Research Workshop on Free Culture

Mike Linksvayer, September 22nd, 2008

Giorgos Cheliotis has written a report on Free Culture 2008, last mentioned here when the program was announced. Here’s an excerpt describing the final session, A Research and Action Agenda for Free Culture:

This was the most important session for the future of research on free culture. The aim of the session was to (a) identify future directions that would be ripe with research challenges but also promising to yield insight that would be useful to the practice of free culture advocacy, and (b) make an assessment of the workshop and decide whether to repeat it and in what format.

The session started with a discussion of potential areas of research, where the collection of more data and the visualization of this data for intuitive exploration and communication of findings was proposed as one potential area of focus. Action research was also mentioned as a methodology that would be relevant in the context of practice-inspired and practice-informed research. Global-scope studies and comparative studies across multiple jurisdictions were also favored by some participants as areas needing much more development. But the discussion quickly turned to practical issues, such as how to organize a network for continuous communication and collaboration among interested researchers and whether we should plan a journal special issue, or a special track in an existing research conference.

Participants tried to propose solutions to the perennial problem of engaging in interdisciplinary collaborations while at the same time being respected in one’s own scientific community. There was some consensus that we should not attempt to create a new discipline, but that we nevertheless need venues and opportunities to engage in cross-disciplinary dialogue and do research across disciplinary boundaries, as the phenomena that interest us the most tend to cut across multiple dimensions of the Internet, including law, IT, economics, communications, media studies and policy (just to name a few).

The most concrete and positive outcome of the entire workshop was the unanimous agreement of all participants to the idea of repeating this gathering on an annual basis. Epitomizing the positive assessment of this year’s proceedings was Lawrence Lessig’s proposal to help find a venue for the workshop next year and also to help turn it into a larger and more substantive academic conference, a proposal that was greeted with enthusiasm by the rest of the participants in the session.

The rest of the discussion focused on what the envisioned conference should look like, in light of the lessons we learned from Free Culture 2008. It was tentatively agreed to raise the bar for participation at the conference next year by requiring that presenters submit a full paper at some stage in the process (this year it was optional and selection was based solely on extended abstracts). This, along with having more time dedicated to research presentations and research-focused discussion will help ensure that next year’s event will be more focused and session participation will be more consistent, which will be essential to building rapport and promoting genuine dialogue among participants.

Some participants also voiced concerns with respect to the conference potentially attaining too much of a traditional academic character and losing the relative spontaneity and participatory nature of the iSummit. It was therefore suggested that we maintain some slots for open discussion and seek to synthesize perspectives and findings in the form of panels or by any other means, instead of focusing only on single-person presentations. Finally, several potential publishing venues were brought up but it was agreed that it is somewhat premature to be concerned with this at the moment and we should rather focus our energies in planning Free Culture 2009.

Read the whole report and look forward to Free Culture 2009!

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Seeking a ccLearn Counsel

Jane Park, September 22nd, 2008

ccLearn has re-opened the search for a ccLearn counsel. Note that the job title has been changed from the previous search to better reflect our high priority for someone with relevant and reasonably deep experience in intellectual property and copyright law. Though we had many superlative candidates for our initial round, we found that no one person could be expected to have all of the qualifications we needed on all fronts; hence, we have decided to re-issue the call for applicants. If you or someone you know is interested, we strongly encourage you to apply!

The primary duties for the presumptive ccLearn counsel will be to help us in minimizing the legal barriers that stand in the way of open education. Knowledge and interest in many aspects of intellectual property law, including an understanding of the international dimensions of open licensing agreements and protocols, is crucial. However, it is important to note that this position will primarily be seeking solutions within the existing constraints of the law, rather than actively seeking to change the laws to better reflect our needs. In this vein, the new ccLearn counsel will not only work on the legal side of things, but will also work on substantial communications (written and verbal, formal and informal), networking and engagement with a diverse communities of interest, strategic planning regarding pursuits of greatest impact for ccLearn, and close collaboration on a variety of related initiatives with the ccLearn and CC staff. In addition, we have access to great intellectual and legal resources associated with our organization which can be leveraged as necessary. It is expected that the candidate for this position will play a significant role in helping ccLearn to achieve its global mission, and will serve as a primary spokesperson for ccLearn and the open education movement generally.

To learn more or apply, see our Opportunities page!

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