CC0 beta/discussion draft feedback and next step

Mike Linksvayer, February 16th, 2008

On January 15 we launched discussion of two new tools in a beta US version, both branded “CC0” — a Waiver of all copyrights in a work, and an Assertion that there are no copyrights in a work. After taking account of your feedback (thank you!), a lot of internal discussion has led us to plan some changes. We are now planning to have the next iteration of the beta ready for discussion by March 31, but will describe the overall changes below for early feedback as we work toward that iteration.

  • Many found the use of “CC0” for both the Waiver and Assertion tools to be confusing. Going forward, we plan to separate the tools more clearly. As a legal tool, the CC0 Waiver can be thought of as the “no rights reserved” option within the CC licensing suite. The Assertion is something different — not a legal tool, but a method of enabling statements of fact about the public domain.
  • Thinking of the CC0 Waiver as part of the licensing suite is also in keeping with the legal reality that in some situations the tool will probably function as a license rather than a waiver. So we want to begin with a “Universal” (not “Unported”) version of the tool. We do not want to give US legal code a special status here. This means we need to address now some additional legal issues, such as moral rights and the question of rights in databases. Much discussion of the moral rights issue has already taken place within the CC community, and we will make use of that input. Open Data Commons has provided an example of how database rights might be addressed. We would like to use this opportunity to engage at the beginning of our process with CC international jurisdiction projects and other experts to make sure CC0 is the most universal waiver/maximally thin license possible.
  • Avoiding confusion between the Waiver and the Assertion will also help with efforts to educate about the existence of the “public domain” in every jurisdiction, whether called by that name or not. The Assertion tool should now include the ability to indicate reasons why a work would be in the public domain under the law of jurisdictions other than the US.
  • We also want to be clear that there is no need to buy into CC0 branding in order to use CC-built metadata to communicate the rights associated with any particular work. Our goal is interoperability — it’s the “Rights Expression Language” part of ccREL, not the “cc”, that we care about the most.

We hope these changes will help clarify messaging and make it easier for us to build — with your help — the simplest and most effective tools for global usage. Primary discussion of this work will continue on the cc-licenses list. Please join in!

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Cameron Parkins, February 15th, 2008

Songza, a beautifully designed music search engine and jukebox, recentlly launched with a chorus of praise concerning its design, implementation, and simplicity (read about the project here). Of particularly interest to the CC community is Songza’s commitment to CC-licensed music and artists, with Songza actively looking to promote and feature CC-licensed music through their Self-Promotion Beta Program. This is a killer opportunity for musicians in the CC community which carries the potential for enormous exposure. From Songza:

Songza allows users to search for any song or band and listen immediately using a simple, elegant interface. It is rapidly becoming the central place on the Web to find and listen to music.

Artists can benefit from the visibility of music on Songza by participating in our Self-Promotion Beta Program. Your song will be featured in the Recommended list on the Songza homepage (where tens of thousands of listeners will see it and can listen); you also get to define the links that appear next to your song while it’s playing so that people can buy the song or visit your band’s website.

No matter what type of CC license applies to your work, you can benefit from the Songza Self-Promotion Beta Program. Creative Commons license information will be displayed when the song is playing, and Songza doesn’t allow users to download material, so the more restrictive licenses will not be infringed upon.

Sign up now, and Songza will send an e-mail to the first round of participants with simple instructions on how to get their work featured in the Recommended list.



Cameron Parkins, February 15th, 2008

Today seems to be the day that unique, experimental, CC-licensed record labels show up on our radar. 8bitpeoples, “a collective of artists sharing a common love for classic videogames”, specializes in retro video game goodness, creating music that reflects a clear obsession with old NES soundtracks and the wonderfully brittle noises of the Commodore 64.

Less record label than musical co-op (think Elephant 6 in an arcade) 8bitpeoples release their various works under a CC BY-NC-ND license, allowing their musical creations to be legally shared freely across the web. Check out their back catalog here, complete with aesthetically similar cover art.

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Cameron Parkins, February 15th, 2008

Jahtari is a German dub/reggae web label that releases the majority of their music under a CC BY-NC-ND license. Specializing in what they call Digital Laptop Reggae, Jahtari focus on the collision between the free form aesthetics and rhythm of dub/reggae music and the inelastic nature of computer based electronica. Both stylistic movements focus heavily on experimental production techniques, providing a unique starting point for Jahtari’s artists to begin genre bending. Make sure to check out their vast catalog – the music is as interesting as it sounds.

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Lessig Library

Cameron Parkins, February 15th, 2008

Exact Editions, a company that “makes magazines, books and other printed documents accessible, searchable and usable on the web”, recentlly added CC CEO and founder Lawrence Lessig’s Future of Ideas, Code 2.0, and Free Culture to their database. This means you can now power-peruse Lessig-ology to your heart’s content. From Exact Editions:

The books carry the Creative Commons license and what our service adds to the readily available PDF file versions are some features that will matter to close students of Lessig: (1) the books can be searched quickly, severally or individually (2) each page can be cited or linked as a separate url (3) the Tables of Contents and the Indices provide clickable navigation (4) the works should be accessible from any web-enabled device with no special software required (eg from an iPhone as well as ordinary computers).

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Introducing the new ccLearn website

Ahrash Bissell, February 14th, 2008

ccLearn, the educational division of Creative Commons, was launched in Fall, 2007. Since then, we have been very busy setting priorities and managing a few key projects, such as the (Open) Education Search project and helping with the Cape Town Open Education Declaration. In the meantime, we have been putting together plans and materials for a number of other initiatives, many of which are already listed on our Projects page. In addition, we have been drafting materials to help educators and learners understand the ideas that lie behind open education, and in particular the ways that Creative Commons licenses interface with that movement.

The site is under heavy construction, but expect to see it fill in quickly. You can sign up for a feed if you want to stay abreast of changes, and you can sign up for the ccLearn listserv if you want news and events related to ccLearn sent to you via email. And of course, you should always feel free to contact us with comments, suggestions, and anything else that you would like to share.

The staff at ccLearn are looking forward to a busy and exciting year. Welcome!

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OLPC + CC Hackathon

Timothy Vollmer, February 14th, 2008

Check out the OLPC book & music drive and XO hackathon going on this weekend. From SJ:

Share the love with One Laptop per Child, the Creative Commons, Textbook Revolution, and the entire world!

We are collecting all the free books, movies, music, and other content that we can in the next five days! Then, on Tuesday (2/19) the Creative Commons will be burning a LiveDVD as part of LiveContent 2.0 with big selection of CC licensed materials that we are gathering—this DVD will be distributed to events like South by Southwest and elsewhere. The bundle of books and educational resources we collect will be used by One Laptop per Child to send all over the world for children, families, and schools! And will compiling and reviewing the best college-level resources they can find for the coming re-launch of their new, community driven site!

On Saturday, there will be a hackathon/jam at Olin college. We hope others will create jams and barcamps and jams, and we will be adding them to the list above as they do!

Digg it up.

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Community Testing for LiveContent 2.0 beta LiveDVD

Timothy Vollmer, February 14th, 2008

LiveContent 2.0 cover

A beta of LiveContent 2.0 is available for testing! We’ve got it up at the CC labs site (direct download) and the Fedora Spins site (torrent). Burn the DVD image to a disc and boot it up. The Creative Commons tech team has been working on an interesting content “autocuration” process for LiveContent 2.0, which automatically pulls down CC-licensed media for inclusion on the LiveDVD. Our test run is with Flickr, so check out the autocurated images from the popular photo sharing site right on the LiveContent desktop. A focus of LiveContent 2.0 is to foster the standardization of content APIs, thus allowing LiveContent (and other media projects!) to draw from CC-licensed feeds straight from the Content Directories. Check out the tech specs on Flickr’s API and look for more documentation soon about CC’s process.

This test build also contains some amazing photos from Wikimedia Commons’ Pictures of the Year. You can have your CC-licensed project featured on the disc too. We’re moving quickly with this, so hit us up with ideas for content you feel could be included. Check out the wiki page to add specific content ideas.

If you’re able to help test the LiveDVD functionality, please help us report bugs, file feature requests and submit patches at the CC SourceForge tracking page. Please provide as much information as you can, including the build number and the type of machine you’re running it on.

Once again, we thank the generous folks over at for supporting this project and helping to push for better standardization, making LiveContent an interesting tool and providing a necessary nudge toward easier content sharing. Thanks also to Fedora Project for the testing and hosting space.

LiveContent boots into Fedora 8 and runs directly from the LiveDVD. The multimedia content can also be viewed without booting into the LiveDVD. Here’s more information on burning an ISO and running a LiveDVD.

Wikipedia: List of ISO image software
wikiHow: How to Burn ISO Files to DVD

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Freeing America’s Operating System

Mike Linksvayer, February 11th, 2008

Last November Carl Malamud’s Public.Resource.Org announced an initiative to free 1.8 million pages of U.S. case law, publishing them online with no restrictions on reuse.

Today the results of this initiative are available at

From the press release (pdf):

Today’s release covers all U.S. Supreme Court decisions and all Courts of Appeals decisions from 1950 on. The release is equivalent to 1,858 volumes of case law in book form, a stack of books 348 feet tall.

The files have all been converted to the XHTML standard and make extensive use of CSS style sheets to allow developers to build new search engines and user interfaces. Since the U.S. Courts do not yet digitally sign their documents, a SHA1 hash is provided on their behalf.

The source of this case law is a transaction previously announced with Fastcase, Inc., a leading provider of American legal research tools. Public.Resource.Org and Creative Commons were represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in this transaction.

Purchase of this valuable data was made possible by generous donations from a group that includes the Omidyar Network and several individuals including David Boies, the Elbaz Family Foundation, and John Gilmore.

Quotes, also from the release — David Boies:

Practical access for all Americans to legal cases and material is essential to the rule of law. The Legal Commons is an important step in reducing the barriers to effective representation of average citizens and public interest advocates.

Lawrence Lessig:

Just as markets are premised on the free flow of information, so is our democratic system of government. Creative Commons is proud to be working with Public.Resource.Org to deliver this important governmental and judicial material back into the public domain.

Carl Malamud (emphasis added):

Developers and interested members of the public are invited to join our open discussion group which will evaluate the format of this public domain data. These cases and codes are America’s operating system and for the first time Americans can use them with freedom.

Read whole release, get the data.

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commons-research list

Mike Linksvayer, February 11th, 2008

There’s a new mailing list spearheaded by Giorgos Cheliotis (see past posts concerning his research) has been set up for researchers critiquing, investigating, quantifying, or otherwise researching Creative Commons and the commons more broadly. Researchers from all fields are welcome.

Visit commons-research to join (thanks again to ibiblio for hosting this and many other CC-related resources over the years).

There’s also a research stub article on the CC wiki for gathering additional resources, including a potential research track at our upcoming annual summit.

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