Weblog

2009 May

Scratch.mit.edu now at 400,000+ projects

Jane Park, May 7th, 2009

A couple years ago, the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab developed a Web 2.0 programming platform for kids called Scratch. Scratch allows kids, and virtually anyone else, to create and remix rich media of all kinds—video, video games, even simple photo animations. The programming behind Scratch focuses on building blocks, like Legos, to get kids not only friendly, but adept at the technology that dominates our world. Each user can create a project, whether it be a video or a video game, and upload it to share on the Scratch website. Scratch currently exceeds more than 400,000 projects, all licensed CC BY-SA, allowing any youth to flex her creative muscles and enhance a peer’s project by remixing it with her own.

The School Library Journal wrote up an excellent article about them last week, emphasizing that “Literacy in the 21st century encompasses the full range of skills needed to engage in our global society—computer, information technology, media, and information literacy skills.” The SLJ reports that Scratch is now being tested in libraries in the Minneapolis area, “to determine if the workshops and classes for young people are replicable and sustainable for a range of libraries.” Unsurprisingly, library staff are finding that kids quickly learn the program on their own, and are guided more by their own intuitions than an “expert’s” instruction.

I decided to try out Scratch myself, and found some cool projects along the way. One project by “cougars” is a photo animation of a human skateboard. Another is a video game simulation of the Buggers war from Ender’s Game by PetertheGeek. (How cool is that?)

What’s more, the Scratch program is global, available in more than 40 languages, and the code itself is free for anyone to copy, publish, or distribute.

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Kutiman Talks to CBC; Interview Audio on ccMixter

Cameron Parkins, May 6th, 2009

thruyouIf you’re interested in online culture, you’ve probably come across the amazing THRU YOU project from Israeli producer Kutiman (see this WIRED profile for some background). Kutiman mashed together various YouTube clips of people playing instruments (many of them instructional videos) to create something totally new and unique. The result was a collection of seven songs and videos that artfully demonstrate the potential of digital collaboration.

Last month, CBC Radio’s Spark talked to Kutiman about the project and posted the interview audio posted to ccMixter under a Creative Commons BY-NC license for producers to chop up and use in their own tracks. Check it out!

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CC Case Studies: Share your Story

Michelle Thorne, May 5th, 2009

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Creative Commons kicks off its global case studies effort. Share your story. Discover new works and new models.

With upwards of 150 million CC-licensed works published from every corner of the world, no single use case can tell the whole story. Creators and users come to CC for different reasons, and for many, CC solves different problems. We’re trying to capture the diversity of CC creators and content by building a resource that inspires new works and informs free culture.

Creative Commons Case Studies 2009 kicks off today – and we want to hear your story! We’re collecting cases big and small on our re-launched Case Studies wiki, an online portal to upload and discover documentation about CC-licensed projects.

The top community curated stories will be featured on our website and in the next printed volume of Creative Commons Case Studies. You’ll also collaborate with our CEO, Joi Ito, whose doctoral work focuses on select case studies about CC and the sharing economy.

How to get involved

  • Visit the Case Studies wiki and learn about how people are using CC licenses around the world. Browse existing studies and download Building an Australasian Commons: Creative Commons Case Studies Volume I, a stunning publication edited by Rachel Cobcroft and supported by CC Australia. The book highlights 60 exemplary CC-licensed users in Australasia and worldwide. Source files and PDFs are available for the entire book and easily digestible booklets covering particular fields.
  • Curate a collection of case studies with PediaPress, a service that builds an OpenOffice document, PDF, or printed book from selected wiki pages. Publish your collection on a site that supports CC licenses such as Scribd. Tailor the material to meet your needs and add your entry to list of case study collections.
  • Teach with real-life examples. We’re encouraging educators to follow CC Australia’s lead and integrate the CC Case Studies into their curricula. Teaching with case studies is compelling and instructive. Have your students analyze existing studies or write their own.
  • Most importantly, add your CC story, or one you’re familiar with. Improve, categorize, and assess existing case studies. We’re particularly interested in the addition of data relevant to the cases.

Not sure what a good case study looks like? Check out these featured submissions: Blender Foundation, SomeRightsReserved, and the African Sleeping Sickness Test.

Whether you’re looking for inspiration, business models, or precedents, the CC Case Studies are a perfect place to start. Help us expand this resource by sharing your work and telling your story.

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Rhizome Interviews Free Music Archive

Cameron Parkins, May 1st, 2009

fma-logoRhizome, the digital art and media outlet of the New Museum in New York (and CC supporter), posted a fantastic interview today with Jason Sigal of the Free Music Archive. The whole interview is worth a read, but Sigal’s discussion of how CC licensed music can help U.S. radio stations is of particular note (Rhizome question in bold, Sigal’s answer follows):

Was the move to bring together an international group of curators intentional? I ask this only because I feel the model of FMA is not only informed by the direction presented by web 2.0 technologies but it is also a response to outdated US copyright law and its impact on American radio stations. The reason why so many American broadcast stations are now turning to talk radio is because they are also trying to podcast their content online, and talk radio allows them to side step restrictions regarding music licensing and podcasts.

Exactly. (I just snapped my fingers in agree-ance!) Of course it’s going to be international, that’s the nature of the web. And that’s one reason we offer Creative Commons licenses — they adapt out-dated copyright law to fit the world wide web.

The FMA has already become a fantastic resource for curated CC-licensed music and is a database that looks to continue to grow in quality and quantity over time – see featured curators dublab and CASH Music for two prime examples. Also, be sure to check out our initial coverage of their launch for more information.

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Noncommercial study interim report; “user” questionnaire closes May 5!

Mike Linksvayer, May 1st, 2009

Recently we launched the second round of a questionnaire on noncommercial use, this one focusing on users. Read that post for details, or hop directly to the questionnaire, which takes 15-25 minutes to complete. The questionnaire will be open through May 5.

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We’ll be publishing preliminary data (note: free text answers will be removed for privacy) and reports from the first round after this second questionnaire is closed — as well as some thoughts from CC on noncommercial licensing that won’t be any news to anyone who has followed really closely this blog, the initiatives of our science and education programs, and our CEO Joi Ito’s speeches. Many thanks to everyone who has asked about study results so far. We’re getting information out as quickly as possible, given how busy we are, and not wanting to interfere with this round of data collection. Of course as mentioned previously a full report on the entire study will be available in July.

To whet your appetite (and hopefully encourage your participation in the current questionnaire), we’re releasing preliminary slides (.pdf) reporting on interesting data gathered in the first round that won’t influence the current round — on the profiles and activities of a random panel of U.S. content creators and those of “CC Friends & Familiy”, i.e., people who took the first questionnaire as publicized from the CC website — a self-explanatory slide from that set is to the right, as well as a list of questions asked in the first round (.ods), as some of you have requested.

Please contribute to this research — take the questionnaire on noncommercial use for users — and spread the word. You have through May 5!

Update: The questionnaire closes 6PM Pacific on May 5. That’s 01:00 GMT on May 6.

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Lessig’s REMIX Released Under CC License; Remix Contest Launched By Bloomsbury Academic

Cameron Parkins, May 1st, 2009

remix_cover_lLawrence Lessig‘s latest book Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy is getting the CC treatment from Bloomsbury Academic (CC coverage here and here). Starting today, the entire book is available for free download under a CC BY-NC license from Bloomsbury Academic’s website.

We are incredibly excited that a text devoted to the art and value of remixing is being released under a license that allows free and open sharing and reuse – it turns out we aren’t the only ones. To celebrate the launch, Bloomsburry is holding a contest titled Remix the Remixer:

To celebrate the Creative Commons release of Lawrence Lessig’s latest book, Remix, Bloomsbury Academic are hosting a competition you have the chance to win an original remixed item created by Cory Doctorow on the 1st of May (with a video of the event), £200 (about 300 USD) worth of Bloomsbury books and a copy of Remix signed by Lessig himself.

The competition is called Remix the Remixer. Just remix any of Lawrence Lessig’s existing work and create something that is new, unique and creative.

Here’s how it works: Find any video, interview, or written work of Lessig’s, mash it up with another piece of Lessig’s work and create something new. It can be a video (3 min max), photo (nothing offensive, please) or text.

Be sure to upload your remixes between now (May 1) and May 31 to be considered for the prize drawings.

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