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2009 May

Flickr Uses CC Zero for their Shapefiles

Fred Benenson, May 22nd, 2009

Flickr Shapefile
Rounding out the week of some exciting CC announcements, we wanted to pass along news of Flickr’s use of our CC Zero waiver for their shapefile dataset.

“What is a shapefile?” you may ask. Its a file containing shapes mathematically generated by the thousands of Flickr geotagged photos of particular neighborhoods, countries, and continents. The data can also be seen as reverse-engineered fuzzy maps created by user generated longitude and latitude coordinates that are then demarcated by Where-On-Earth IDs.

Still confused? Its 549mb of uncompressed XML public domain geo-glory. Aaron from the Flickr Development team explains their rationale for using CC Zero:

  • We want people (developers, researchers and anyone else who wants to play) to find new and interesting ways to use the shapefiles and we recognize that, in many cases, this means having access to the entire dataset.
  • We want people to feel both comfortable and confident using this data in their projects and so we opted for a public domain [waiver] so no one would have to spend their time wondering about the issue of licensing. We also think the work that the Creative Commons crew is doing is valuable and important and so we chose to release the shapefiles under the CC0 waiver as a show of support.
  • We want people to create their own shapefiles and to share them so that other people (including us!) can find interesting ways to use them. We’re pretty sure there’s something to this “shapefile stuff” even if we can’t always put our finger on it so if publishing the dataset will encourage others to do the same then we’re happy to do so.

Thanks to the Flickr team for the show of support! Download the compressed XML shapefile here, or read more about the release here.

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ProPublica Wants You to Steal Their Stories

Fred Benenson, May 22nd, 2009

Pro Publica LogoA couple of weeks ago ProPublica posted a note on their site asking their users to “steal” their stories:

You can republish our articles and graphics for free, so long as you credit us, link to us, and don’t edit our material or sell it separately.

Put in CC terms, the public-interest journalism non-profit has chosen our Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license. Since the announcement, The Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, USA Today, Salon, Politico, and Huffington Post have published ProPublica’s work and they’re encouraging other newsrooms to do so as well.

Check out the original announcement or ProPublica’s policy on advertising and commercial use.

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Wikimedia Foundation board approves license migration

Mike Linksvayer, May 21st, 2009

The Wikimedia Foundation board has approved the licensing changes voted on by the community of Wikipedia and its sister sites. The accompanying press release includes this quote from Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig:

“Richard Stallman’s commitment to the cause of free culture has been an inspiration to us all. Assuring the interoperability of free culture is a critical step towards making this freedom work. The Wikipedia community is to be congratulated for its decision, and the Free Software Foundation thanked for its help. I am enormously happy about this decision.”

Hear, hear!

Earlier today we blogged that results of the Wikipedia community vote on adding the CC BY-SA license. Over 75% of votes were cast in approval of the change, but as has been pointed out by Wikimedia Foundation Deputy Director Erik Moeller and board member Kat Walsh, this number understates the level of support for the change. 14% voted “no opinion”, while only 10% opposed.

In any case we are deeply gratified that such an overwhelming majority (88% of those who voted with an opinion) approved this change worked on over several years by the Free Software Foundation, Wikimedia Foundation, and Creative Commons, are proud to stand with such trusted organizations, and will live up to that trust!

The addition of the CC BY-SA license to Wikimedia sites should occur over the next month. Now is a good time to start thinking about whether your works and projects ought to interoperate with Wikipedia. If you’re using (or switch to) CC BY-SA, content can flow in both directions (your work could be incorporated into Wikipedia, and you can incorporate Wikipedia content into your work). If you use CC BY or CC0, your work could be incorporated into Wikipedia, but not vice versa. If your work isn’t licensed, or is under a CC license with a non-commercial or no derivatives (NC or ND) term, nothing can flow in either direction, except by fair use or other copyright exception or limitation.

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Wikipedia community votes 75% in favor of CC BY-SA

Mike Linksvayer, May 21st, 2009

Results of the WIkipedia community vote on licensing are now in:

The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) has proposed that the copyright licensing terms on the wikis operated by the WMF — including Wikipedia — be changed to include the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) license in addition to the current GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). This will affect all text and rich media (images, sound, video, etc.) currently licensed under “GFDL 1.2 or later versions”. This change is meant to advance the WMF’s mission by increasing the compatibility and availability of free content. Further details and motivation for this change are explained in the licensing update proposal and the associated FAQ.

To gauge community support for adopting this change, a Wikimedia-wide vote was conducted between April 12 and May 3, 2009. The vote was managed by volunteers associated with the licensing update committee and conducted on servers controlled by the independent non-profit SPI.

Licensing Update Poll Result
“Yes, I am in favor of this change” 13242 75.8%
“No, I am opposed to this change” 1829 10.5%
“I do not have an opinion on this change” 2391 13.7%
Total votes cast and certified 17462

If “no opinion” votes are not included, the Yes/No percentage becomes 87.9%/12.1% (15071 votes).

For lots of background on why this is a great thing, see our post on the community vote and the previous posts it links to. CC Denmark public project lead Henrik Moltke’s immediate microblogged reaction is a good summary:

Wikimedia/pedia adopting CC a giant leap; will unite & focus strengths, facilitate participation + convey strengths of free licensing

Thanks for voting for licensing sanity!

As the results page says, the Wikimedia Foundation board must still approve any licensing change.

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Sorry, Mark Helprin, We Don’t Write “Free Ware”

Fred Benenson, May 21st, 2009

Digital Barbarism,And we’d like to not think of ourselves as blockheads, either. If you came across Mark Helprin’s bizarre Op-Ed from a couple of weeks ago, you might have caught the legendary novelist playing the guilt-by-association-game by arguing that we’re “antagonistic to the authorial right.” In fact its the “authorial right” that makes CC work — without it, authors wouldn’t have the ability to choose which rights to reserve and which rights to give away using CC licenses.

Lawrence Lessig, CC’s founder penned a lengthy review of Helprin‘s recent book “Digital Barbarism” (buying a copy through Amazon will donate the referral fee to our organization). Of particular interest is Lessig’s analysis of how Helprin misconceives what we do:

Helprin’s errors are not limited to the stuff he should have learned from books. He even messes up his Internet research. The organization that I helped found, Creative Commons, is named by Helprin as the leading anti-copyright organization. Here is how he explains to his readers what Creative Commons is:

Creative Commons is the self-congratulatory name of a self-congratulatory movement. Somewhat like kibbutz on the internet, the idea is to write programs–”free ware”–and distribute them without charge. While presumably striking a blow at corporate giants like Microsoft, this demonstrates the generosity and selflessness of the programmer, musician, writer, or scholar who donates his work to the common weal. And it becomes in turn a premise that is promiscuously extended to those works the authors of which do not want to give them away, of whom the presumption, becomes that they are not generous. Therefore, they are selfish. Therefore, they should be brought around, one way or another, to the ideal–for the public good and to save their souls. (51)

The reader of Digital Barbarism might then be surprised to read (as is stated directly on the Creative Commons site): “Creative Commons licenses should not be used for software.” She might be puzzled as well to read an op-ed by Helprin in the Wall Street Journal, where he explains that Creative Commons is “richly financed by … Microsoft….” Those silly people at Microsoft, “richly financ[ing]” a movement aimed at “striking a blow at … Microsoft.”

Lessig calls his review “insanely long” but in this blogger’s opinion, its also “insanely great”, so be sure to pass it along to anyone who tries to raise any of Helprin’s demented arguments.

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CC Talks With: DJ Vadim

Cameron Parkins, May 20th, 2009

Having played over 1600 gigs in over 60 countries, DJ Vadim is no stranger to the concept of ‘fan interaction’. Beyond his live shows, Vadim pushes experiments with interaction further, having held a remix contest at ccMixter a little under two years ago to promote his album The Sound Catcher. The contest was a great success, and as a result Vadim, active as both a DJ and producer, is back at ccMixter doing the same thing with his latest album U Can’t Lurn Imaginashun.

The contest is in full swing, with winners receiving inclusion in Imaginashun – Power to the people, an album filled “with remixes from pro’s and bedroom producers from around the world” slated for release this autumn. We caught up with DJ Vadim to learn a bit more about his creative process and how he views the changing nature of interaction and communication in music. Read on to see what he had to say.

mosdefvadim
DJ Vadim supporting Mos Def at The Islington Academy, James Bradley

Can you give our readers some background on yourself as an artist? You’ve worked with a wide variety of musicians, from The Pharcyde to Kraftwerk, and released countless albums, singles, and remixes. Your career is long in scope and prolific in production but perhaps you are able to distill it all into a manageable chunk.

I started my music journey in the late 80′s, first with DJing, and in 1992 I started getting involved with production. It was very simple back then, just an Atari and a sampler. There weren’t the possibilities people have now. In ’94 , I set up my own label and the rest is history.

In that journey i met and have worked and performed with lots of people, although rocking Glastonbury in 1999 and performing at Sonar in 2006 with DJ Krush and DJ Shadow stand out as highlights.

Have technological shifts changed how you approach music production? What kind of production tools do you do use?

Yes. I have so many more possibilities now that didn’t exist 15 years ago. I have so much more equipment, software, and toys for creating music now that didn’t exist or was not affordable. It is a bit like riding a push bike and going on a top of the range Yamaha super bike – they both get you to where your going but you have so much more options with the super bike, right?

I use Cubase, an MPC, my Apple computer and Ableton Live.

The environment leading up to your new album U Can’t Lurn Imaginashun was one of personal turmoil and growth. What was the process you went through on the way to releasing this album? How did the aesthetic of the album come into fruition as a result?

Well, when you go through turmoil and tragedy you can come out of it either being overwhelmed, pensive, and quite depressed or come out fighting and positive. I did the later. I felt that if cancer couldn’t hold me back, nothing would. It was hard – personal turmoil with my family, personal relationships and my own health. It was like being stripped back to nothing. But now I feel good about life and that is the most important.

What is your motivation behind the U Can’t Lurn Imaginashun remix contest? You’ve already done one successful contest on ccMixter – what was your experience like previously?

Well I think one of the most important things with releasing music is communication. Nowadays, that means participation and that is what ccMixter offers. It is a combination of the two, letting fans and music people participate and communicate together, with you, with me and create new music and ideas. This sort of interaction wasn’t possible 10 years ago.

Music is about communication. Without it you either have a huge MTV campaign or you get lucky – the music that people like is one that communicates with them, music that they (the fans) feel part of.

Both remix contests are using CC-licenses as their mechanism to enable this kind of reuse. As an artist who uses sampling as one of their core techniques, how do you view this sort of licensing? What are the major differences to you between working with live musicians and sampling material?

I think its a great marketing and promotional tool plus it is fun for the fans and producers. In regards to sampling and live musicians, you have more opportunities with live musicians because you can break any piece of music down to its basic elements – bass keys, drums etc. and hence be able to manipulate and control what you do much more

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know? Any plans for the future?

Well touring, releasing more music and making new music. I am up to so much its hard to remember it all. Best thing is to keep up with it via my homepage and MySpace profile!

cover
U Can’t Lurn Imaginashun Artwork, SMALL Studio

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FSCONS 2009: Call for Participation

Michelle Thorne, May 20th, 2009

fscons09

Free Culture, Free Software, and Free Content will again join forces under the banner of “Free Society” at FSCONS 2009 in Gothenburg, Sweden, 13-15th November.  The organizers, Creative Commons Sweden, Free Software Foundation Europe, and Wikimedia Sverige, have just announced the conference’s Call for Participation.

Last year’s conference featured a host of workshops and speakers, including CC’s Mike Linksvayer on “How far is free culture behind free software?” and Victor Stone on ccMixter‘s solution to online attribution via Sample Pool API.

We’re looking forward to what this year’s FSCONS has in store. Submissions close on June 21, so send in your proposal soon!

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“Here. My Explosion..”: CC-Licensed Feature-Length Film and Soundtrack

Cameron Parkins, May 18th, 2009

Here. My Explosion… is a new feature-length film from Reid Gershbein. Released under a CC BY-NC-SA license
(the film’s soundtrack is released under a CC BY-SA license), and is available for free download here.

The film is shot using a tilt-shift photography technique and clocks in at around 75 minutes. If you like the film, you can support it through donation at Gershbein’s website. Thanks to Boing Boing for the heads up.

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CC Technology Summit Registration Open

Nathan Yergler, May 18th, 2009

The program for the third CC Technology Summit is coming together and registration is now open.

Once again we’re offering a special deal for CC Network members (25€ off the regular price). The Technology Summit is being organized in collaboration with NEXA Center for Internet & Society and the timing makes it possible to attend two great Commons events in the same place — the 2009 COMMUNIA Conference is taking place two days after the Technology Summit. If you’re already attending COMMUNIA there’s a special registration deal for you, too.

If you have any questions, just email techsummit@creativecommons.org.

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Remix Culture: Fair Use Is Your Friend

Cameron Parkins, May 18th, 2009

The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video is a stellar resource for online video creators looking to better understand their fair use rights. Previously released as a PDF-download by American University’s Center for Social Media, the document now has a fitting video counterpart titled Remix Culture: Fair Use Is Your Friend. Via Boing Boing:

“This video lets people know about the code, an essential creative tool, in the natural language of online video. The code protects this emerging zone from censorship and self-censorship,” said Aufderheide, director of the Center for Social Media and a professor in AU’s School of Communication. “Creators, online video providers, and copyright holders will be able to know when copying is stealing and when it’s legal.”

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