Call for Soundtrack: RIP A Remixer’s Manifesto

Victor Stone, September 9th, 2008

Creative Commons and the makers of the independent film currently in production RIP: A Remixer’s Manifesto a co-production between Montreal-based production house Eye Steel Film and the National Film Board of Canada are making a Call for Soundtracks. The film itself is released under a CC license and has been produced collaboratively through hundreds of submissions and remixes at Open Source Cinema.

A mashup in its own right, RIP tackles the issue of Fair Use ─ broadly defined as the limited use of copyrighted material without requiring the permission of the rights holders ─ on its own uncertain ground. Pulling footage from a range of sources, filmmaker Brett Gaylor looks at cultural appropriation throughout history, from Muddy Waters to the Rolling Stones to the king of the remix, Walt Disney. With legal advice from Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig, Brett negotiates the tricky world of fair-use filmmaking.

Now the producers and CC are using ccMixter to host a Call for Soundtracks hoping to finish the music soundtrack for the film using remixes made from CC Attribution licensed source material. Instructions and details can be found at ccMixter.

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Boyle on Jacobsen v. Katzer in the FT

Mike Linksvayer, September 8th, 2008

James Boyle, Chair of the Creative Commons board, has a column in the Financial Times that is always worth checking out. His most recent, on the recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision to uphold the theory on which open copyright licenses (including CC’s) are based, is a fun read, and gets right to the core of the importance of open licensing (and thus the case). In the column titled A creative coup for the trainspotters, Boyle writes:

Mr Jacobsen and his collaborators did not need to go out and make contracts individually with every person around a global network who might download their software, or create a contractual web reaching into the far future and touching everyone who might one day modify their work. The licence allowed them, at low legal cost, to set up the terms of a global collaborative exercise. It allowed to share their work under generous terms, to create a “commons” of shared material on the basis of which all could innovate, and yet still to insist on requirements that would preserve that commons in the future.

The court agreed, as Boyle explains:

In a remarkable sentence, the court made clear that it understood the stakes of its decision. “Open source licensing has become a widely used method of creative collaboration that serves to advance the arts and sciences in a manner and at a pace that few could have imagined just a few decades ago.” Advancing the arts and sciences is what intellectual property law is supposed to be about. And in a case about model railway enthusiasts, that is just what the court did. Our hats (or propellor-bearing beanie caps) should go off to it.

If you’ve followed the case, or read the full column (go do that now), you know that the openly licensed code in question is for controlling model railroads. How wonderful that this case upholding modern tools for building collaborative culture involves an age old (well, at least a century old) tinkering culture.

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Support CC by using eBay!

Allison Domicone, September 8th, 2008

Check out this cool new way to support CC by using eBay:

Thanks to eBay Giving Works, powered by the nonprofit MissionFish, you can now sell items on eBay and donate up to 100% of the final sale price to Creative Commons. All you have to do is select Creative Commons as the benefitting nonprofit organization for your item, and the listing will appear on eBay with a special logo indicating it’s for sale to benefit a good cause. When the item sells, MissionFish will collect the selected donation amount, send it to CC, and provide you with a tax receipt.

To find out more or to get started, visit the eBay Giving Works Web site. You can also visit the UK version, eBay for Charity.

As always, we are grateful to have such an enthusiastic and dedicated community of supporters working with us to build a global digital commons. Thank you for making our work possible!

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Late October in Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Gothenburg

Mike Linksvayer, September 8th, 2008

Three excellent commons themed events will occur in northern Europe October 20-26 with no days between them! Each has a significantly different focus. All are highly recommended and will feature participants, speakers, and organizers from Creative Commons’ network throughout Europe and the U.S.

First comes the 3rd COMMUNIA Workshop, October 20-21 in Amsterdam. A workshop, this is probably the most specialized of the three events, titled Marking the public domain: relinquishment & certification. For an update on one part of CC’s work related to this, see the announcement of CC0 beta/discussion draft 3.

Next is the Nordic Cultural Commons Conference 2008, held October 22-23 at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Bringing together all Nordic Creative Commons scholars and practitioners, the conference explores open content licensing and its implications for law and policy, business, culture, and the public sector. This may be the event of the year to learn about open content licensing. Early bird registration ends September 21.

Wrapping up the week is the Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit 2008, held October 24-26 in Gothenburg. Co-organized by Creative Commons Sweden, Free Software Foundation Europe and Wikimedia Sverige, FSCONS aims to be a landmark event in bringing the different movements working for digital freedom together, including free culture, free software, and developments that further both. Early bird registration ends September 15.

See you at one, two, or all three!

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Free Culture Conference 2008

Fred Benenson, September 8th, 2008

Just after I graduated from NYU, I went to work as the ‘free culture’ intern at Creative Commons during the summer of 2005. I had started the Free Culture @ NYU chapter that year and CC felt like a great fit, and still does. But one of the things that puzzled me that summer was that there weren’t more free culture student activists in the bay area at the time. Clearly, things have changed.

Through the help of Berkeley’s budding Free Culture chapter, Students for Free Culture been able to organize a great conference for Fall break.

We’ll have keynotes by CC founder Lawrence Lessig, copyright legend Pam Samuelson, and John Lilly of Mozilla.

Day 1 will be open to the public and consist of panels and presentations in conjunction with the keynotes, and Day 2 will be workshops, team building, and learning about effective activism.

We’re doing a pay-what-you-feel system reminiscent of the one made famous by Radiohead and Girl Talk, but with one extra twist: ours also shows publicly what the average amount paid is, and right now it is around $27.

Finally, we have raised money in order to fly students in active chapters out to Berkeley for the conference, so if you’re interested in attending and have registered your chapter with Students for Free Culture, please book your flights now and visit our Travel page for more information.

If you’re looking to get involved in the Free Culture movement, I couldn’t suggest a better way of getting involved in our community.

And for what its worth — when considering interns CC has been known to look favorably upon candidates who have demonstrated involvement in Free Culture chapters.

Registration opens today, so sign up now!

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RDFa goes to W3C Proposed Recommendation

Mike Linksvayer, September 5th, 2008

Yesterday RDFa reached Proposed Recommendation status at the World Wide Web Consortium, the final stage before becoming a W3C Recommendation.

Using RDFa, one can make data in web pages rendered for humans also readable in a meaningful way by computers. This is important to Creative Commons, as we have always seen the promise of the Semantic Web to describe licenses and make works more findable and reusable, ironically it has always been difficult to bring the Semantic Web to the World Wide Web we’re all used to using and loving. RDFa is a crucial bridge to bring these worlds together.

Creative Commons, primarily through the efforts of Ben Adida, our W3C Representative (see a recent interview with him at the Yahoo! Search Blog), has been a major contributor to the development of RDFa since 2004. I strongly suspect the standard would have taken more than four years without CC’s contributions.

You can read an in-depth description of some of the early CC use cases for RDFa in a paper we released earlier this year, including machine-readable attribution and description of images and other resources included in web pages.

CC’s technology team, led by Nathan Yergler, is also a leading implementer of RDFa, which is now used throughout our open source projects, including our license chooser and license deeds.

Check out the RDFa wiki for tutorials, examples, and code.

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Ben Rosenbaum’s “The Ant King: and Other Stories” Released Under CC License

Cameron Parkins, September 5th, 2008

Ben Rosenbaum
, an American science fiction writer and computer programmer, recently released his latest collection of sci-fi shorts, The Ant King: and Other Stories, as both a print collection through Small Beer Press and a free download under a CC BY-NC-SA license.

The Ant King gets a seal of approval from CC evangelist/writer Cory Doctorow and the excerpts from the collection I have been able to read are magnificent. Rosenbaum is encouraging his readers to send in any derivative works they make so that he can post them online. He is simultaneously holding a contest for his three favorite derivative works, whose authors will receive a signed and “extensively doodled-upon” hardcover copy of The Ant King.

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Bloomsbury Academic Launches Creative Commons Only Publishing Imprint

Fred Benenson, September 5th, 2008

Bloomsbury Publishing, one of Europe’s leading independent publishing houses (you may have heard of their fiction series Harry Potter, among other fantastic fiction and non-fiction titles) announced today that it is launching an CC-exclusive publishing imprint called Bloomsbury Academic:

All books will be made available free of charge online, with free downloads, for non-commercial purposes immediately upon publication, using Creative Commons licences. The works will also be sold as books, using the latest short-run technologies or Print on Demand (POD).

The imprint will initially publish in the Social Sciences and Humanities building thematic lists on pressing global issues, with approximately fifty new titles online and in print by the end of 2009.

Congratulations and thanks go to Bloomsbury for continuing the tradition of open access in Europe by choosing our licenses for their new imprint.

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Idée Multicolr Search Now Includes 10 Million CC-Licensed Flickr Images

Cameron Parkins, September 4th, 2008

Idée Labs, the “technolgy playground” for image identification and visual search software company Idée, updated their Multicolr Search today to include 10 million CC-licensed images pulled from Flickr’s interesting images pool. The simple interface allows you to search Flickr according to a specific color palette (up to 10 colors total), shooting back 50 image sets that are aesthetically stunning.

Below are two purple/yellow palette sets taken from Idée’s announcement – the first image has a greater presence of yellows while the second emphasizes purples:

Check out Idée’s post about Multicolr Search to learn more about the tool or, better yet, experiment with it yourself. It is a ton of fun and a great way to find some really beautiful CC-licensed images.

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NYTimes Recommends CC for Free Music Downloads

Cameron Parkins, September 4th, 2008

Yesterday, the New York Times published an article titled “Free Music Downloads Without the Legal Peril ” in which they gave CC a nice plug:

Creative Commons is a site that helps copyright holders decide which rights they want to share — for instance making songs free for personal use and distribution, but not for sampling or commercial use. The five-year-old organization said it had licensed about 1 million songs, and lists them at One user of Creative Commons, the eclectic radio station WFMU-FM, posts legal in-studio performances at

The article mentions some other free music alternatives (such as promos on iTunes and Amazon MP3) and although it doesn’t exactly nail what we do – we haven’t licensed any songs ourselves, that is all thanks to YOU in the CC community – it is great to be featured regardless.

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