CC TechSummit 2008

Greg Grossmeier, June 18th, 2008

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Today is the Creative Commons TechSummit in Mountain View, CA.

The wonderful group of interns will be live blogging the event on the CC Techblog, be sure to watch.

Schedule of speakers and more can be found on the wiki page.

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Upgrade to Firefox 3 today!

Mike Linksvayer, June 17th, 2008

Firefox 3 launches today. If you’ve been using the program’s betas and release candidates, you know it is awesome — awesomely fast, awesome user interface, AwesomeBar. If not, you’re in for a treat. In either case, upgrade your browsing today and help set a world download record.

Among Firefox’s awesome features is integrated CC search.

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The Spirit of Sharing in Jordan

Cameron Parkins, June 16th, 2008

Jordan has long been a geographical area where Creative Commons has looked to expand (you can read about our Jordan-specific jurisdiction work here) – as such, recent news about the promotion of CC, the public domain, and an increased spirit of sharing in Jordan is inspiring.

Two UK artists, Eileen Simpson and Ben White of the Open Music Archive, have been traveling throughout Jordan for the past 6 months, advocating for the establishment of a ‘CC Jordan’ as a means for local artists to “freely collaborate without harsh licensing restrictions”. To Simpson and White, CC licences would act as a means to promote authors, artists, filmmakers, and musicians across the country with Simpson stating, “if we weren’t allowed to refer back to previous works, to walk down the path of others, we would just be lost, and the creative community will be stifled.” From TechNewsWorld:

In an effort to highlight the importance of a diverse and vibrant public domain, Simpson and White spent the last six months attempting to sample old Jordanian films and musical works whose copyrights have expired, an experiment to work within restrictions imposed by international and local trademark and copyright laws.

[...]

Unable to find archived material that is now completely accessible in the public domain, they turned to the Jordan Academy of Music, which collected folk songs from the Kingdom for the 2002 celebration of Amman as Arab Cultural Capital. As the recordings are from the shared community and have no accredited author, the folk songs are a part of the public domain and therefore are not owned or controlled by anyone and are considered as “public property.”

Simpson and White plan on taking the songs and remixing them with local artists, updating the ballads and encouraging artists to explore the music further. “We all build on the creativity of others, and we should be able to build on others’ work in a fair manner,” Simpson told The Jordan Times [...] “The whole concept passes on the spirit of sharing, which in a creative community is important to do,” she said, adding that legally allowing creative collaboration would curb intellectual property rights violations.

The article also touches on the amazing work of Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property who we have been working with in an effort to port CC licences to Jordan and the rest of the Arab world.

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Ten Volumes of Diesel Sweeties Released

Cameron Parkins, June 16th, 2008

About 3 months ago we blogged about the great webcomic Diesel Sweeties and the decision of its creator, rstevens, to release a 10 volume set of DS archives under a CC BY-NC license. Over the weekend, rstevens got the last of the ebooks up, totaling at 2,000 freely licensed webcomics! You can download them directly from the Diesel Sweeties website or ‘many popular bittorrent trackers‘ (via Boing Boing).

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Big Buck Bunny: Beautiful CC-Licensed 3D Short

Cameron Parkins, June 13th, 2008

Big Buck Bunny, a short 3D animated film produced by the Amsterdam-based ‘Blender Institute‘ (who we have praised previously), was recentlly posted for download online. Debuted publicly back in March (our own Jon Phillips spoke before the premier), the film is being released online under the non-restrictive CC BY license as a means to widely demonstrate the open-source 3D animation software Blender.

To say BBB looks good would be an understatement – it is absolutely jaw-dropping! You can see it in beautiful HD over at vimeo or download it in a bevy of formats at the BBB website. Similarly, reuse stories are already popping up with one local TV station in Worcester, MA broadcasting the short in prime time. Be sure to check out the movie in some form and read more about the license use and motivation behind the film here.

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Copyfighting Superhero Brian Rowe Invades CC

Brian Rowe, June 12th, 2008

Brian Rowe Between twittering, blogging, founding copyfighting organizations, starting free culture chapters, and attending law school, frothing open source advocate Brian Rowe has moved his headquarters to CC’s San Francisco office to hone his legal research skillz. He will spend the summer crawling through the muck of works with multiple licenses for different resolutions, slicing through commercial vs. noncommercial classifications, and pontificating on the differences between linking and embedding.

Brian likes food, specifically cheese(the moldier the better), sushi, and bourbon. He plans to spend his unpaid internship (thx PILF Grant ^_^) crashing various tech parties to steal food and impersonate Robert Scoble. His hobbies include competitive chess, reading, Japanese Tea Ceremonies, and explaining to Microsoft employees the value of open access (he hails from Seattle, you see).

Brian’s aspirations are to finish law school, pass the bar, and then stick out his tongue at multi-million dollar Patent-Troll-defending job offers in favor of an ethical, and indeed saintly career defending freedom for information worldwide.

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The Onion’s AV Club talks CC Publishing with Cory Doctorow

Fred Benenson, June 12th, 2008

In a provocative interview with Cory Doctorow about his new book Little Brother, the non-satirical Onion A.V. club investigates the blogger cum sci-fi author’s motivations and strategies for convincing his publisher to simultaneously release his young adult book under CC and hardcover:

AVC: Was the Creative Commons release strategy a hard sell with Tor that first time out?

CD: No, it was totally trivial, in fact. I lucked out in two respects. My editor at Tor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, is super-geeky. We met on a BBS in the ’80s, and he runs his own Linux boxes; it just made a lot of sense for him. Furthermore, he’s also the senior editor at Tor, he runs the science-fiction and fantasy line at Tor, so he kind of doesn’t have to ask anyone when he wants to do this stuff.

Tom Doherty and Patrick both looked at this and said, “You know, electronic books represent the worst ratio of hours spent in meetings to dollars generated in income of anything we’ve ever tried at this press. Here’s something that’s relatively free—all we need to do is give it away, and we can see what people want to do with it. And if it works, great. And if it doesn’t work, well, we’ve learned. And if it’s inconclusive, we can try more, because we’re a big press, we’ve got lots and lots of books, and we can try lots of different things.” [emphasis added] And if it’s going to work for anyone, it’s going to work for me, because I’ve got such a good online presence. And you can see that they’re now trying this with writers who have a less prominent online presence, and they’re finding that by and large, it’s working pretty well for them.

Click here to read full interview.

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C-Shirt: T-Shirts, But Way Cooler With CC

Tim Hwang, June 12th, 2008

Came across this awesome business that’s been building up traction in Japan called C-shirt — powered by media-wiki company Nota that leverages Creative Commons licensing in a pretty unconventional way. At first glance, it might seem like one of the innumerable t-shirt vendor sites out there — but it is, in fact, way, way cooler.

First, the conventional idea: users submit t-shirt designs which can be viewed online and ordered for printing. However, the twist is that since all the designs are placed under CC, Nota provides an interface with which to edit and reproduce these designs accordingly. Once you’ve remixed it to your liking, C-shirt will print and ship your unique version right to your door. Depending on the license, you can even repost your new design to the site.

Even better, the service is outfitted to work with some enabled mobile devices, so if you see a shirt you like on the street, you can scan the Quick Response (QR) code included on each design with your phone, which will capture a unique address where you can load and edit the t-shirt before getting it yourself.

Very slick. It’s mostly been active in Japan, but I’m hoping they start to make the crossover into the States. Thinking it’d be easy to expand this into a whole range of products — hats, lunchboxes, computers…

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Announcing the Health Commons

Kaitlin Thaney, June 12th, 2008

Over on the Science Commons blog, Donna Wentworth writes:

People make chairs more productively, hamburgers more productively, cars more productively, everything else in the world except medicines. — Aled Edwards, Director and CEO of the Structural Genomics Consortium (via CBC News Canada)

The drug discovery process is badly broken. Despite the scientific and technological advances that make genetic decoding commonplace, the time it takes to go from gene target to cure still stands at 17 years.

Science Commons’ mission is to speed the translation of basic research to useful discoveries, and we believe that a new approach is necessary to find more cures, faster. Today, we’re opening up the Health Commons, a project aimed at bringing the same efficiencies to human health that the network brought to commerce and culture.

The project, founded by Science Commons in collaboration with CommerceNet, CollabRX and the Public Library of Science (PLoS), is introduced in a 6-minute video presentation and white paper posted on the Science Commons website. The paper, Health Commons: Therapy Development in a Networked World [PDF], is co-authored by John Wilbanks, Vice President of Science at Creative Commons, and Marty Tenenbaum, an Internet commerce pioneer and founder of CommerceNet and CollabRX. [...]

More after the jump …

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From Open Software to Open Music

Greg Grossmeier, June 11th, 2008

Jono Bacon, the Community Manager for Ubuntu and full-time metal head, recently announced a new musical project he is undertaking, SeveredFifth.

SeveredFifth is Jono’s new music project with the aims of seeing how far one musician can take the concept of Free (as in Freedom) music. Jono:

“Severed Fifth is really here to ask questions – both musically, and in terms of the new music economy.”

To accomplish this goal he is releasing his first album under the name SeveredFifth using a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license.  This license is easy to understand to any member of the Open Source Software persuasion (the group with which Jono is most active in currently); you are free to make copies, redistribute, or modify it as long as you cite correct attribution and keep it under the same license. Jono:

“I chose that license because I wanted to secure some key rights for listeners of my music – rights that I feel are important as a listener. I think the choice of license is key to the aims of the project.”

Because Jono is empowering his fan base with the use of the CC Licenses, the community of listeners which form around the music are the ones who will improve the project the most.  The initial work of creating publicity materials such as the website and photography has been done by some of Jono’s friends, but without the contributions of community members the project can not succeed.

“I think the key ingredient here is assembling a group of people who have a shared ethos – this is what we do in Free Software, and this is what I am doing with Severed Fifth – its incredible what is possible when the right minds come together.”

I encourage everyone who has a musical taste which leans towards metal to head on over to SeveredFifth and sign up for the newsletter and join the discussion; great things are sure to happen.

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