The Food Geek: “Who owns that recipe?”

Eric Steuer, November 24th, 2008

Food writer and culinary culture aficionado Brian J. Geiger maintains a great site called The Food Geek, which features a blog, podcasts, recipes, and loads of helpful cooking tips. The site – which combines Gastronomica‘s thoughtful analysis and Alton Brown‘s geeky wisdom – is published under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Over the weekend, Geiger posted a column entitled “Who owns that recipe?,” which explains why recipes can’t be copyrighted (while the expression of recipes can) and encourages food knowledge sharing as a way to “make a better life for ideas.” Highly recommended for food fans and free cultural works proponents alike.

Ideas are better shared than they are stored. Ideas like company. Ideas like new environments. Ideas like to frolic in new brains with other ideas. It’s how baby ideas are made. Ideas can’t reproduce well alone, so everyone wins if ideas are allowed to be promiscuous. … How firmly do I believe in this? I have released all of my original work for this site under a Creative Commons License.

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REMINDER: CC’s Google Policy Fellowship Deadline is December 12th

Fred Benenson, November 24th, 2008

Just a quick reminder that applications for Creative Commons’ Google’s Policy Fellowship for this coming summer are due December 12th, so if you haven’t applied yet, don’t miss the deadline!

The Google Policy Fellow will receive a substantial grant to work at Creative Commons on the following issues (but this is certainly not an exhaustive list of the things we’ll have you thinking about):

  • Write case studies about projects and creators that have implemented Creative Commons licenses and analyze strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for each; paying particular consideration to cultural and genre differences.
  • Synthesize statistics garnered from recent studies focusing on international license adoption. Fellow will be expected to generate and investigate diverse theses relating to license choice, adoption, and use.
  • Coordinate with counsel to critically analyze the current state of public domain policy in US and abroad. Develop a framework to help Creative Commons’ deploy messaging regarding public domain policy in US and abroad.
  • Survey the current legal and non-legal opinions with respect to the ‘strong vs. weak’ copyleft debate and how it relates to differences between mediums (photography, music, etc.) in order to establish guidelines and uncover precedent for our ShareAlike licenses.
  • Research and analysis of how contemporary the discourse of copyright, sharing, reuse, and remix has been shaped over the last six years as a result of the Creative Commons project.
  • Investigate new opportunities for Creative Commons implementation in ‘uncontacted’ communities, institutions, artists, and mediums.

Check out more details and the application here.

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ESO CC-Licensed Photo and Video

Cameron Parkins, November 21st, 2008


The Carina nebula by ESO | CC BY

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) is a group that “builds and operates a suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes.” With those telescopes they produce some absolutely amazing photographs and videos, all of which are released under a CC BY license. Check out their visual of the week for some particularly stunning photographs.

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Digital Youth Research Report Released

Cameron Parkins, November 21st, 2008

Digital Youth Research, a cross-campus academic project that aims to understand the effects of digital media on young people, published their findings this past Wednesday after 3 years of work by 28 researches and research collaborators. The report claims some interesting findings, namely that “youth use online media to extend friendships and interests” and to “engage in peer-based, self-directed learning online” – findings that run counter to more wide-spread narratives on the subject.

The report, as well as all the other content available digitally from Digital Youth Research, is released under a CC BY-NC license, a decision that should encourage wider-spreading of the report and an increased dialogue on the subject. From the New York Times (via Joi):

Good news for worried parents: All those hours their teenagers spend socializing on the Internet are not a bad thing, according to a new study by the MacArthur Foundation.

“It may look as though kids are wasting a lot of time hanging out with new media, whether it’s on MySpace or sending instant messages,” said Mizuko Ito, lead researcher on the study, “Living and Learning With New Media.” “But their participation is giving them the technological skills and literacy they need to succeed in the contemporary world. They’re learning how to get along with others, how to manage a public identity, how to create a home page.”

As the NYT article notes, Digital Youth Research is funded by the MacArthur Foundation, which for years has also been one of CC’s biggest supporters.

Want to join them in supporting CC? Help Build the Commons by donating money, sharing your CC story, or by spreading the word to your friends. Every donation over $50 receives a CC Network profile and a limited-edition Jonathan Coulton USB Drive, with even more perks at higher donation levels.

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Kraftwerk Sampling Case Overturned

Cameron Parkins, November 21st, 2008


Kraftwerk by greenplastic875 | CC BY

German electronic-music pioneers Kraftwerk were told yesterday by a judge in Germany that a two-second sample used by a producer in Germany did not infringe on their copyright. From the BBC (emphasis added):

The ruling overturns an earlier decision against Moses Pelham’s use of a short sample from Metal on Metal.

Judges in Berlin said the two second extract did not infringe copyright, as his song was substantially different.

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Improbable Match: CC And Collecting Societies In Europe

Michelle Thorne, November 21st, 2008

When the French music group Petit Homme signed a special contract with Sacem, the French collecting society for music composers, some saw the contract’s exclusion of the group’s internet rights as a step towards compatibility between collecting societies and CC: authors could control of their internet rights while collecting societies would handle the remaining rights related to the work.

Yet despite the speculation, members of Sacem are still not able to license their work under a Creative Commons license. But there’s hope. As CC France‘s Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay explains in an article by IP Watch, some European collecting societies are looking for a solution.

The agreement Petit Homme reached with Sacem last June enables the musicians to post their work online by excluding internet protocol, wireless application protocol, and similar protocols from their contract. However, this model does not allow authors to use a CC license while simultaneously collecting royalties through Sacem.

“There was a lot of noise and incomprehension around Petit Homme’s contract,” says Dulong. “We have been trying to solve the problem for the last five years to no avail.”

Regarding CC, the catch of the specific Sacem deal is that it excludes internet rights, while CC licenses are intended to cover uses both on- and offline. Therefore, a solution might be that “commercial uses under a Creative Commons license could be managed collectively and non-commercial uses could be managed individually,” Dulong said.

Other European countries are also trying to achieve effective compatibility between CC and collective management, particularly through arrangements with collecting societies in the Netherlands (Buma Stemra) and in Denmark (Koda). In August, the Dutch pilot was extended for one year, and the Koda model has been running since January 2008.

More details about European collecting societies and their ongoing developments with free licenses can be found in Catherine Saez’s IP Watch article.

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The New York Times: Making Use of Public Domain

Eric Steuer, November 20th, 2008

In yesterday’s Personal Tech Q&A section of The New York Times, there was a useful item called Making Use of Public Domain (registration required, although I was able to see the page at first without logging in) that describes a bit about how images that are found online can be used. The article points to a few good sources of public domain images and also mentions Creative Commons-licensed works as a source of legal-to-use material.

Just because a photo or document is available online does not mean it is automatically in the public domain, so check for copyright notices or a Creative Commons license before grabbing something to reuse. (A Creative Commons license works alongside a copyright and allows writers and artists more flexibility in sharing their creations with the world …)

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That was quick – Restocking the Jump Drives

Fred Benenson, November 20th, 2008

Mega Green Flashdrive We sold our last “JoCo Looks Back” USB jump drive sometime this morning — they went at an incredible rate that surprised everyone including our supplier. But do not despair, more are on their way, and everyone who donates $50 or more before December 31st will receive one. Thanks for your continued support of CC!

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Digital Tipping Point

Cameron Parkins, November 19th, 2008

Digital Tipping Point, a documentary on the free software and free culture movements, recently posted over 80 digitized hours (350 hours have been shot in total) of CC BY-SA licensed footage of “leading politicians, CEOs, and software developers from all over the world.” The footage is available for free at their archive.org page:

The DTP crew describes their project as a Point-of-View (POV) documentary film about the rapidly growing global shift to open source software, and the effects that massive wave of technological change will have on literacy, art, and culture around the world.

The DTP crew says their project will be the first feature length documentary about free open source software to be built in an open source fashion out of video submitted to the Internet Archive.

[…]

The DTP crew invites you to take their video and rip, mix and burn it however you like, for whatever purpose you like. You can even use the footage for your own commercial film, as long as you release your final product under a Creative Commons Attribute-ShareAlike license.

Victor Stone, programmer and site admin at ccMixter, has a great post about the project up on his blog. We previously discussed Digital Tipping Point back in 2006.

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Bombardirovka

Cameron Parkins, November 19th, 2008

Last night I had the pleasure of attending Art Knows No Borders, an event that was both a fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders and a release party for Bombardirovka, a book written by Crystal Allen Cook in 2004 while she was in Armenia on a Fulbright Scholarship. The novel is a work of fiction that, in the words of Cook, functions “to observe, up close, how the past, not necessarily even our own personal past, lives on the actions and bodies of people living in the present.”

Bombardirovka is free to download and released under a CC BY-NC-SA license, meaning it can be re-used and adapted in any way as long as it is non-commercial in intent, shared under the same license as the original, and Crystal Cook is properly attributed. Check out the Share Novel page on Bombardirovka‘s website in the coming weeks to find more about interesting reuse opportunities ahead.

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