Scobleizing the public domain

Mike Linksvayer, February 4th, 2008

Superblogger Rober Scoble recently took a ton of photos of famous people at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and released the photos into the public domain, along with all of his other photos posted on Flickr. (Note that Flickr’s most liberal license option is CC Attribution, so that’s what he’s chosen there.)

Of course the photos immediately started being used in Wikipedia articles.

Here’s a recent Scoble photo, not from Davos, but another recent event (coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle):

Lawrence Lessig at Stanford’s Memorial Auditorium / photo by Robert Scoble / Public Domain

Via Brianna Laugher.

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Open documentary proposal: then you win

Mike Linksvayer, February 4th, 2008

A proposal to create three documentaries related to the movement Ekta Parishad.

One interesting thing about the proposal is the funding and licensing model, which the image below explains well. This model has been discussed many times but little tried.

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Wikitravel Press launches first printed titles

Mike Linksvayer, February 3rd, 2008

Wikitravel Press announced its first printed guidebooks, Wikitravel Chicago and Wikitravel Singapore. Like the Wikitravel site, the books are licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike, allowing sharing and adaption, including commercial uses.

Taking collaboratively created material to print is another landmark for the Wikitravel community, and another commercial success for Wikitravel’s founders, who sold the site to Internet Brands in 2006 and subsequently launched Wikitravel Press (they have an agreement with Internet Brands to use the Wikitravel name in this independent business).

Wikitravel Press titles look like normal guidebooks rather than printouts of related wiki articles, but they aren’t stale tomes either — they’re updated every month and printed to order. So while the businesses-built-on-liberal-licenses angle is cool, I think currency is another area in which Wikitravel Press will lead the travel guide pack. As someone who has printed out articles from Wikitravel and other online resources in lieu of buying travel books for a couple years (in spite of always ending up with a disorganized mess of papers by the end of a trip), I wouldn’t go back to the convenient packaging of a book unless it were nearly as up to date as the web.

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Creative Commons licensing for public sector information

Mike Linksvayer, January 31st, 2008

Paul Keller from CC Netherlands on a tremendously informative new report:

As part of the activities of Creative Commons Netherlands the Institute for information Law has been undertaking research into an number of issues connected to the use of the Creative Commons Licenses. In 2007 much of this research has focused on the use of Creative Commons licenses for the distribution of public sector information by government bodies. This research has been carried out by Mireille van Eechoud (whom a number of you will have met at last years iSummit where she gave a preliminary presentation on this topic) and Brenda van der Wal.

This research has resulted in a Report titled Creative commons licensing for public sector information: Opportunities and pitfalls (pdf).

While the report focusses on the situation in the Netherlands it should be of intrest to Creative Commons projects in other countries as well. Primarily because the Dutch regulatory framework for public sector information is derived from the European PSI directive and should thus be fairly similar to the regulatory framework in the rest of the EU countries.

This report is well worth reading because it makes a very well structured argument (by comparing th elicense characteristics of the individual CC licenses to the objectives of both the Public Sector Information legislation and the Freedom of Information legislation in the Netherlands) for the use of the least restrictive licenses (CC-BY) and the Public Domain dedication (the report was written before the CC0 announcement) for public sector information. Given this the report underlines the need for adopting CC0 (at least the CC0 assert component) to the specificities (database rights, moral rights) of the European context.

All the best from Amsterdam,
Paul Keller

Creative commons licensing for public sector information: Opportunities and pitfalls, M.M.M. van Eechoud & B. van der Wal, Institute for Information Law, 2007:

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Danish Collecting Society KODA teams up with CC Denmark

Michelle Thorne, January 31st, 2008

Creative Commons Denmark has just announced that KODA, the Danish Authors’ Society, is now offering noncommercial Creative Commons licensing to its members – making it the second country worldwide to do so. A similar pilot project was initiated in 2007 by Buma/Stemra in the Netherlands. Both show that collective rights management and Creative Commons licenses can be combined to the benefit of creators. As Paul Keller of Creative Commons Netherlands notes, “Creators can rely on the strength of collective rights management for commercial uses of their works, while taking noncommercial online distribution into their own hands by using Creative Commons licenses.”

KODA’s adoption of Creative Commons licensing marks a breakthrough for Danish composers and lyricists wanting to explore new ways of making their work available online while at the same time collecting commercial royalties through KODA.

Members must sign an agreement with the KODA in which they indicate which works they wish to license, and for the purpose of this arrangement, only Creative Commons licenses with the “noncommercial” condition can be used.

For more information about this exciting initiative and other Danish projects, please visit CC Denmark’s website (Danish). And for those of you who missed it, last week we posted about the first album in Denmark to be released under a CC license in cooperation with KODA: Tone‘s “Small Arm of the Sea” (download).

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Lawrence Lessig to Give Final Presentation on Free Culture and Copyright

Eric Steuer, January 29th, 2008

Creative Commons founder and Stanford professor Lawrence Lessig will give his final presentation on free culture, copyright, and the future of ideas at Stanford’s Memorial Auditorium on January 31st, 2008 at 1pm.

The presentation is being recorded for the upcoming feature film Basement Tapes: The Making of a Pirate Movie, a documentary about copyright in the digital age.

For more information about the event, please visit Events at Stanford and/or see our press release.

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Open Educational Resources Aid Florida Reading Teachers

Timothy Vollmer, January 28th, 2008

eSchools News reports that the state of Florida has recently added the open content reading website to its list of approved curriculum resources. Officials said is the first open instructional program granted bona fide state approval, and OER supporters see momentum building in the idea that a “public, collaborative, continuously modified online curriculum can be used in the classroom.” From the website:

Free-Reading is an ongoing, collaborative, teacher-based, curriculum-sharing project. We’re looking to provide a reliable forum where teachers can openly and freely share their successful and effective methods for teaching reading in grades K-1 and for at-risk students in later grades. allows teachers to download, copy and share lessons with colleagues. The site strives “to make quality, research-based, explicit and systematic instruction for early reading widely available and free.” All the resources are free as in free beer as well as free as in free speech. The content is openly offered so as to be “used, reused, mashed-up, and shared again.”

All of the content is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. This license grants users the right to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the resource provided the original author receives credit. Users who alter, transform, or build upon the work must distribute their remixes under the same license.

Last week, we wrote about the “Make Textbooks Affordable” campaign. This initiative “encourage[s] faculty to adopt open educational resources in their classrooms, which will provide significant benefit to students in making college education more affordable.” It’s inspiring to see primary education communities supporting open educational resources as well.

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CC Talks With: James Patrick Kelly

Cameron Parkins, January 28th, 2008

Over the holidays, we caught up with acclaimed writer (and podcaster) James Patrick Kelly and asked him some questions regarding the interesting and unique ways he has embraced CC licenses for his work. Read on to find out what positives Kelly has seen in using CC as well as which CC evangelist (hint: he also is known for writing science fiction) tipped him off to the whole concept in the first place.


What is your background? Can you catch up our readers on the various projects you are involved in, from your writing to your podcast?

I am primarily known as a science fiction writer but I write in many genres, including mainstream or literary fiction, slipstream, fantasy and mystery. I’ve written five novels, about eighty short stories as well as poems, plays, essays and even a planetarium show. I’ve had some gratifying recognition for my work: two Hugos, a Nebula and a Locus Award. I’ve been churning out a column about science fiction and the internet at Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine for more than ten years now. Back in 2004 I had a chance to be there pretty near the birth of podcasting. I was being interviewed by Dave Slusher and he tried to explain what it was and why it was so cool. But I was too dense to wrap my mind around podcasting just then, so it wasn’t until the fall of 2005 that I started Free Reads, which is my CC podcast. That led to James Patrick Kelly’s StoryPod on, which is a for-pay podcast. But enough about me — if for some reason you lust for more Jim Kelly propaganda, check out my website
Read More…

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Ground Report Launches News Widget

Cameron Parkins, January 28th, 2008

Ground Report, the excellent citizen journalism site we have talked about before, recently released their very own news widget. All stories are released under CC licenses and the widget works on iGoogle, Apple Dashboard, Netvibes, and Vista (as well as a variety of other widget applications). Check it out for a tiny, widget-ized, window into the compelling world of citizen-fueled media.

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I wouldn’t steal <video>

Mike Linksvayer, January 26th, 2008

I wouldn’t steal is a new and cute one minute video making the case that sharing is fair and people who would never steal a handbag, car, or television nevertheless download film and music. Whatever you think of that, there’s no ambiguity around downloading and remixing I wouldn’t steal — it is licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial.

Here’s a still of the video bumper. Is the car in a circle-slash an inside joke for CC fans (in the style of CC license icons, which are also used in the bumper), Greens (skeptical of the automobile), merely a literal iconic representation of the video’s content, or some combination thereof?

If you’re really cutting edge (running an experimental build of Firefox 3 or Opera), you can watch an encoding of the video inline below via the <video> tag:

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