libLicense 0.8 now available!

Greg Grossmeier, August 7th, 2008

Thanks to the great work of Asheesh Laroia, Software Engineer here at Creative Commons, the libLicense software package is now available for software developers. The new package can now be found in both Debian and Ubuntu (development versions) and will be in Fedora soon.

That is all well and good, but what does it mean for you and what can you do (as a developer)?

  • First, try it! Tell us what you think of its functionality and interface.
  • Secondly, integrate it into your application. There is interest in getting it into Inkscape, the Open Source vector graphics editor.
  • Finally, you can help us improve our test cases. Read more about this in Asheesh’s email.

This is a great time to add Creative Commons licensing awareness to your applications.

Watch the interview with Asheesh Laroia about liblicense on

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The Indie Band Survival Guide

Cameron Parkins, August 7th, 2008

The Indie Band Survival Guide, originally released as a CC-licensed PDF, has gone professional with a recent pressing in physical form. Written by Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan (otherwise known as Chicago-based band Beatnik Turtle), the book explores the ability for indie bands to be successful on their own, without the help of a major recording deal, in the current music industry.

The book and ideas therein are wrapped in a variety of CC layers. Chertkow and Feehan, both in the original PDF and in the book, recommend using CC licences as a means for musicians to spread their works far and wide, referencing the oft-cited Tim O’Reilly quote, “Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.” To Chertkow and Feehan, CC licensing music makes sense as a promotional tool, increasing the ability for an artist to gain exposure and fans.

Recommendation aside, The Indie Band Survival Guide garnered popularity and traction through the initial decision to license the text under a CC BY-NC-SA license. Through this exposure, Chertkow and Feehan were able to hookup with St. Martin’s Press and work out a publishing deal, eventually producing a major rewrite that includes a variety of information not available online. Although the book itself is not CC-licensed (it is often hard for first time authors to leverage such agreements from their publishing companies) the PDF remains free and available online and isn’t lacking in information, coming in at over 50,000 words.

Check out the PDF and if you are a DIY musician, seriously consider picking up the print version – beyond its endorsement of CC it is full of useful knowledge on the intricacies of the music industry.

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An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube

Jane Park, August 7th, 2008

Michael Wesch, creator of the strikingly insightful videos “A Vision of Students Today” and “The Machine is Us/ing Us”, gave a presentation at the Library of Congress back in May on the anthropology of YouTube. The presentation was the third in a series called “Digital Natives,” natives being basically my and probably your generation if you’re reading this. It’s about the net and the people who grew up with a computer humming by their bed stands. Wesch delves into this phenomenon that is us—how we think and how we perceive and connect with the world differently due to the internet and new media like YouTube. 

“An anthropological introduction to YouTube” is where “traditional” academic research and the new media landscape intersect. It is the anthropological perspective and study of our generation’s fascination with YouTube, and is itself viewable on Wesch’s YouTube page. Check it out; I started watching it and couldn’t stop. The fifty-five minutes flew by like a lunch break. The video itself is licensed CC BY-NC-SA.

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Kids Open Dictionary Builder

Jane Park, August 6th, 2008

When I was a kid, the only dictionary around the house was a monumental hardcover my little brother used as a stool to reach the cookie jar. We hardly ever looked inside of it, and when we did, we couldn’t find any words used in the real world. It was the super duper collegiate university fifth edition, or something like that. Later, my brother might’ve used it as a substitute for weight class…

Point being, a new project speaking to this situation was recently launched by Karen Fasimpaur and Brad Emerson, along with a host of collaborators. The Kids Open Dictionary Builder is a new wiki-style dictionary intended especially for kids who want to be able to read simple definitions of real world terms. Of course, the dictionary can be used by anyone: students of all ages, teachers, publishers and more. All content will be contributions to the public domain, free for anyone to use, modify and repurpose. From their FAQ page:

“We want this resource to be as sharable as possible, and while we think sharing is good, we don’t feel compelled to force others to share. The more learners around the world who benefit from this, the better. We want people to to mix and mash up this content without the burden of thinking about license compatibility or even crediting a source. Glossaries are one of the most basic building blocks of many educational materials, and there are currently no sources (that we were able to find, after extensive research) that allow for low-burden reuse. Teachers have asked for this again and again, and in its absence, most are just inappropriately borrowing copyrighted content. That’s why we decided to build this open dictionary.”

The ultimate goal is to have a comprehensive and complete edited version, free of inaccuracies and spam. Of course, since it is a wiki (and a dictionary at that), the project can only keep growing. So feel free to contribute! Remember those words that stumped us as kids? You can take a stab at defining them now.

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Installfest for Schools @ LinuxWorld

Frank Tobia, August 5th, 2008

The Alameda County Computer Resource Center, a Bay Area non-profit whose motto is “Obsolescence is Just a Lack of Imagination”, is organizing an Installfest for Schools at LinuxWorld August 4-7th. The Center will be refurbishing recycled computers and donating them to Bay Area schools that can put them to good use.  And as CC has blogged previously, this isn’t their first time around.

In addition to Linux, the computers are loaded with Creative Commons-licensed photos and music from Flickr and Jamendo. The photos and music were selected as part of our LiveContent project. If you’re interested in helping out, you can volunteer, donate, or join the mailing list.

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Creative Commons at LinuxWorld this week

Nathan Yergler, August 5th, 2008

If you’re in the Bay Area for the Linux World Expo, stop by the Exhibit Hall today through Thursday and say “hi”. If you’d like to support CC, we’ll have t-shirts for people donating more than $10. We’ll also be giving away stickers and other random CC paraphernalia. Hope to see you there!

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EFF Scores Another Victory for CC and Fair Use

Fred Benenson, August 5th, 2008

YouTube has become quite the battleground for copyright claims and our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have found some great opportunities to defend fair use and put our licenses to work. Just yesterday they settled a deal between Brian Sapient and Explorologist Ltd. over the fair use of clips critiquing performer Uri Geller’s claims to mental powers. What’s really fantastic (and what motivated us to post) is that the EFF has leveraged the power of our licenses in the settlement itself:

The agreement should allow the healthy debate about the existence of ‘supernatural powers’ to continue without interference. As part of the legal settlement, Explorologist has agreed to license the disputed footage under a non-commercial Creative Commons license, preempting future legal battles over the fair use of the material.

This case follows in a tradition the EFF established when they settled another case in May 2007 with Rick Silver, the creator of the “Electric Slide” dance where Silver was ordered to put the dance itself under our Attribution-NonCommercial license so that derivatives could be made for non-commercial purposes.

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Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase

Greg Grossmeier, August 4th, 2008

Coming to a Linux distribution near you: The Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase.

Ubuntu Logo

The Community Manager for Ubuntu, Jono Bacon, just announced a contest to have your song or video distributed with the next Ubuntu release in October! What this means is that Ubuntu is giving free culture musicians and movie creators the opportunity to get their work out to millions of users.

The contest is pretty simple:

The limitation on size is due to the fact that material will be on every Ubuntu CD and as such size is a key limitation.

Get your music or video sample out there onto the computers of millions of people by the end of October. Not many contests can give you such provocative rewards.

Full Disclosure: I am a member of the Ubuntu Community as the Leader of the Michigan LoCo Team.

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Reminder! CC Salon SF

Allison Domicone, August 4th, 2008

Join us next Wednesday, August 13, for a memorable CC Salon as we hear more about Creative Commons in the realm of film and media. Check out the presentation lineup:

* Jolene Pinder, Associate Producer at Arts Engine, Inc. in NYC will screen a short CC-licensed film and talk about the various ways in which Arts Engine uses CC licenses.
* CC’s Creative Director, Eric Steuer, will talk about the soon to be launched film maker’s toolkit.
* Robin Sloan, Product Strategist from Current TV, will wrap up the evening by talking about Current, Creative Commons, and Collaborative Storytelling: What does massively-multiplayer online TV production look like? And does CC fit in to the process?

* When: Wednesday, August 13, 7-9pm
* Where: Shine Bar in San Francisco.

We hope to see you there!

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CC Talks With: Epic Fu

Cameron Parkins, August 4th, 2008

Epic Fu is a web-based show that focuses on “the coolest art, tech, and music from the online and offline world”. Formerly known as JETSET, Epic Fu is the brainchild of Zadi Diaz and Steve Woolf – they post new episodes every Tuesday and Thursday released under a CC BY-NC-SA license. We recently caught up with both to learn more about Epic FU as an entity, the importance of their user community, and why they chose to use CC.

Can you give our readers a bit of a background on Epic Fu? How did it begin? What kind of topics do you focus on?

EPIC FU began as Jet Set Show on June 1, 2006. When we first launched the show was targeted for much younger viewers, and it was more of a variety show with sketches, interviews, and mashups. One of our main goals was to have the audience interacting with us and contributing to the show as much as possible, and as time went on we realized that the people who were making media on the web were older. Over a couple of months we changed the content of the show to appeal to an older audience, and in the Fall of 2006 we tweaked our name to JETSET. At that time we started shooting Zadi at her desk, and we started making direct calls to action to the audience which resulted in several successful collaborations with viewers.

In the Fall of 2007 we changed the name of the show from JETSET to EPIC FU because we needed a name that we could fully own, in every sense of the word. That change really helped solidify our identity and the perspective we were trying to bring the the news and artists we talk about.

The topics we are most interested in involve individuals, artists, and groups who are using technology and the web to define a new idea of what it means to collaborate with each other and distribute their ideas globally. Especially if it’s something that flies in the face of old ways of thinking. That’s what the web is: the new underground culture. EPIC FU, after all, is about the EPIC “Eff You” (even though we pronounce it FOO).
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