Castle Crashers Soundtrack Released Under CC License

Cameron Parkins, September 22nd, 2008

Castle Crashers, an action/RPG video game, was released a few weeks ago on the XBox Live Arcade service and has been receiving rave reviews for its gameplay, graphics, and sound design. Of note to the CC-community is that the soundtrack has been released online for free under a CC BY-NC-SA license, meaning that fans of the game can now freely enjoy the excellent soundtrack outside of their consoles.

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“Publishing Open Content”, Short Film On CC Business Models

Cameron Parkins, September 22nd, 2008

Publishing Open Content is a short documentary by Frances Pinter and David Percy that looks at how Creative Commons licenses can be utilized in a commercial setting. The film features interviews with Tom Reynolds, blogger behind Random Acts of Reality and author of Blood, Sweat, and Tea, Timo Hannay, Publishing Director at nature.com, and John Buckman, founder of netlabel Magnatune.

The interviews provide some key insights into how these three disparate individuals combined CC licenses with a successful business plan, a common thread being that by giving away something for free another commodity can be sold. Filmmaker Pinter also heads a CC-based publishing project in Africa titled Publishing and Alternative Licensing Model of Africa (PALM), of which the information discussed in the documentary has major interest (via Ad Astra).

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Wikis Take Manhattan!

Fred Benenson, September 22nd, 2008

After the fantastic success of Wikipedia Takes Manhattan, Wikipedia, The Open Planning Project, Free Culture @ Columbia, Free Culture @ NYU and Creative Commons have all teamed up to organize another free culture photo scavenger hunt hunt for this Saturday, September 27th!

This time we’ve really stepped up the awards. The grand prize for the team with the most photos is now a dinner with Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia and CC board member, at the fantastic Pure Food & Wine restaurant in downtown Manhattan.

The photos will go directly into Wikimedia Commons and the Livable Streets Streetswiki and all photos will be released under our Attribution-ShareAlike license to allow for easy remixing and reuse in any future projects.

The day starts at 1pm and ends with a party after sunset. Register now and we’ll see you on Saturday!

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Software Freedom Day 2008

Mike Linksvayer, September 20th, 2008

Today is Software Freedom Day, a worldwide celebration of free and open source software. See our post on SFD2007.

For context on Creative Commons and software freedom, see these slides on free culture and free software (pdf) (I’ll be giving an updated version of this talk at FSCONS next month), our recent post wishing happy birthday to the GNU project, or better yet, check out our software, all of which is free (as in freedom).

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World Council of Churches Release “Love to Share”

Cameron Parkins, September 19th, 2008

The World Council of Churches (WCC), an international Christian ecumenical organization, recently released a free PDF, Love To Share, that explores the role Christianity and the church play in relation to intellectual property. Love To Share is released under a CC BY-NC-ND license and contains some incredibly well-written text that explains our licenses and how they intersect with the goals of the WCC:

[T]he present copyright legal system tends to emphasize the protection of an author/creator’s work rather than promoting a “bridge” to let ideas flow [...] Creative Commons licences give you the ability to dictate how others may exercise your copyright rights, such as the right of others to copy your work, make derivative works or adaptations of your work, to distribute your work and/or make money from your work. They do not give you the ability to restrict anything that is otherwise permitted by exceptions or limitations to copyright—including, importantly, fair use or fair dealing—nor do they give you the ability to control anything that is not protected by copyright law, such as facts and ideas.

Creative Commons licences are attached to the work and authorize everyone who comes in contact with the work to use it consistent with the licence. This means that if Bob has a copy of your Creative Commons-licensed work, Bob can give a copy to Carol and Carol will be authorized to use the work consistent with the Creative Commons licence. You then have a licence agreement separately with both Bob and Carol.

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December Technology Summit, Call for Presentations

Nathan Yergler, September 19th, 2008

Following the success of our first technology summit in June we knew we would do another one soon.  Today we’re announcing the next, which will be held in Cambridge, MA on December 12.  We’re also changing the format slightly, trying to add more talks and reduce the number of panels.  To support that we’re also announcing a Call for Presentations

The Technology Summits are about connecting the larger developer and technical community that’s sprung up around Creative Commons licenses and technology, so we want to provide a venue where people doing interesting work can share it. We’ve identified some areas we think are interesting and ripe for exploration but those are mostly just a guideline. The summit will once again be a single-day event, so we have about five 45-minute slots available. Proposals/abstracts are due October 24, so get to it! Full details are available in the wiki.

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Steve Trash Gets “Kids Making Better Choices” to Alabama Primary Schools

Cameron Parkins, September 19th, 2008

Steve Trash is a kids entertainer, environmentalist, and acclaimed magician who recently released a collection of video shorts, Kids Making Better Choices, that helps teach young children about recycling, exercise, and how to “make better choices.”

Steve releases his videos online under a CC BY-NC-ND license, allowing the videos to be shared and used widely. Most recently, in conjunction with Alabama’s State Legislature, Steve sent 1200 CC-licensed DVDs containing his videos to Alabama primary schools for classroom use. He also released supplemental material online to assist in the teaching of his works.

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Ordering an Espresso at the U of Michigan Library

Jane Park, September 18th, 2008

is now an entirely different process. The University of Michigan is the first university to have installed the Espresso Book Machine, also termed “the ATM of books,” in one of its libraries. The wait time is about the same, but you’re ordering books now instead of Italian coffee, and the product price is a bit higher—averaging at 10 bucks a pop. But 10 bucks for a printed and bound book that is made in seven minutes is a pretty good deal, especially when you’ve got almost 2 million books to choose from. How is this possible? Or even legal?

The University of Michigan libraries have nearly 2 million books digitized for on demand printing, in addition to thousands of more books from the Open Content Alliance and other sources. But trust me when I say that these books are all very legal; in fact, they have been out of copyright for 85 years, or more. As a result, they are in the public domain, available for anyone to print, read, and repurpose—for free. The espresso version is simply covering printing costs. Compared to the average price of books these days, especially textbooks, ten bucks is pocket change. Online sites like Lulu.com already offer print versions of CC licensed works for cheap—remember the OER Handbook for Educators? It’s only 19.99 for 284 pages. Of course, ordering online is a bit slower than ordering from the EBM. 

Once the machine is installed, it is capable of being connected to other digital collections not limited to the U of M’s. Props to the University of Michigan for yet again leading the way on copyright issues.

While we’re on the topic, the Open Content Alliance has the similar goal of “building a digital archive of global content for universal access”. The Open Content Alliance is “a group of cultural, technology, nonprofit, and governmental organizations from around the world that [helps to] build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia content. [It] was conceived by the Internet Archive and Yahoo! in early 2005 as a way to offer broad, public access to a rich panorama of world culture.”

ccLearn is very excited to attend this year’s Internet Archive conference in San Francisco where an OCA meeting will take place in October. The theme for this year’s conference is “Using Digital Collections.”

Thanks to Peter Suber and The Wired Campus for alerting us to the EBM. You can even watch a video of how the machine works.

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Creative Commons Launches Study of “Noncommercial Use”

Eric Steuer, September 18th, 2008

Today, Creative Commons announced the launch of a research study that will explore differences between commercial and noncommercial uses of content. The study will explore how the definitions of “commercial use” and “noncommercial use” are understood among various communities and in connection with a wide variety of content.

“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 read more about this news in the press release CC issued this morning.

Thank you to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its generous support of this study.

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“Opening Up Education”

Jane Park, September 18th, 2008

is the new publication by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and MIT Press exploring “the potential of open education to transform the economics and ecology of education.” Opening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge is a collection of thirty essays written by leaders in the open education movement. From the press release:

[They] reflect on current and past open education initiatives, offer critical analyses, share the strategic underpinnings of their own work, and delve into open education’s implications in three areas: technology, content, and knowledge. Together, they address the central question of how open education can improve the quality of education.

Co-editor M. S. Vijay Kumar is also quoted:

A look at the landscape tells us that efforts with open education so far have been largely confined to attempts at improving what we already do. While this is certainly valid, we encourage consideration of approaches that transcend traditional practices, organizations, disciplines and audiences.” 

John Seely Brown agrees in his Foreword, “We need to reconceptualize twentieth-century education models, and at the same time reinforce learning outside of formal schooling. This book provides real leverage for open education, and is a major step toward creating a culture of learning for this century.”

The book is also edited by Toru Iiyoshi and is available for download at MIT Press under CC BY-NC-ND.

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