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2009 July

CC Talks With: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Cameron Parkins, July 29th, 2009

Opened to the public in 1903, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a world-class museum that houses more than 5,000 art objects, including works by Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Raphael, Degas, and Sargent. It is also known for its phenomenal music program, lectures, and symposia, as well as the museum’s nationally recognized Artist-in-Residence and educational programs.

Online, it is well-known as the producer and distributor of The Concert, a classical music podcast that features unreleased live performances by master musicians and talented young artists, recorded at the museum’s Sunday Concert Series. The podcast is free, distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license (Music Sharing), and widely popular. The Concert was one of the first classical music collections to be shared under a CC license, and the ISGM was one of the first art museums to actively distribute digital content under a CC license.

We’ve talked about The Concert before, but wanted to learn more about the series and the decision to use CC licenses for the project. We recently caught up with Director Anne Hawley and Curator of Music Scott Nickrenz, who were able to provide a lot of great information about the series and how CC licenses have played a role in its success.


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Those in the CC community best know of the ISGM as a result of your highly successful The Concert podcast. What was the inspiration for the podcast series? Why did you choose to release it under a CC license?

Anne Hawley: We launched The Concert – the museum’s first podcast – in September 2006, as a way to continue the museum’s long history of supporting artists and creative artistic thinking. During Isabella Gardner’s lifetime, the museum flowed with artistic activity: John Singer Sargent painted, Nellie Melba sang, and Ruth St. Denis performed the cobra dance within these walls. Isabella Gardner was a committed patron of artists and musicians and the museum has always followed her lead. The podcast is the latest example of this; it’s a modern way to bring the museum’s wealth of programming to a wider audience, promote the exceptional work of the musicians who perform here, and ultimately expand the reach of classical music.

Music has always been an important part of the Gardner. When the museum opened on New Years Night 1903, attendees enjoyed a performance of Bach, Mozart, Chausson, and Schumann by members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra—“a concert of rare enjoyment” according to one guest. During Gardner’s lifetime, the museum hosted visits and performances by well-known musicians and rising stars including composers Gustav Mahler and Vincent d’Indy, pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski, and cellist Pablo Casals, and memorable concerts including the 1903 premiere of Loeffler’s Pagan Poem, composed and performed in honor of Isabella Gardner’s birthday. Four years later, the work had its “official” premiere at the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Today, the Gardner’s music series is the oldest of its kind in the country, with weekly concerts and special programs that enrich and draw musical connections to the museum’s special exhibitions and permanent collection, while continuing Isabella Gardner’s legacy as a music lover and patron of the arts.
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Copyright tools

Jane Park, July 29th, 2009

Last year, I blogged about the Copyright Advisory Network‘s nifty digital copyright slider, a tool that helps you tell whether a work is still copyrighted or whether it’s in the public domain.

Since then, the OITP at ALA (Office for Information Technology Policy of the American Library Association) has developed and published two new tools: the Fair Use Evaluator and the Exceptions for Instructors eTool. From the announcement,

“The Fair Use Evaluator is an online tool that can help users understand how to determine if the use of a protected work is a “fair use.” It helps users collect, organize, and document the information they may need to support a fair use claim, and provides a time-stamped PDF document for the users’ records.”

“The Exceptions for Instructors eTool guides users through the educational exceptions in U.S. copyright law, helping to explain and clarify rights and responsibilities for the performance and display of copyrighted content in traditional, distance and blended educational models.”

In addition to these two new tools, check out the existing Section 108 Spinner, which “help[s] you determine whether or not a particular reproduction is covered by [Section 108] exemption” that “allows libraries & archives, under certain circumstances, to make reproductions of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder.”

All three tools are licensed CC BY NC-SA.

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Data supplement to “What status for ‘open’?”

Alex Kozak, July 28th, 2009

ccLearn has published the first data supplement to our report “What status for ‘open’? An examination of the licensing policies of open educational organizations and projects,” entitled “Data Supplement to ‘What status for ‘open’?’ A graphical view of the licensing policies of open educational organizations and projects.” (PDF warning)

This supplement provides a graphical view of the licensing landscape within online education, drawing data from ODEPO, a database on our recently launched OpenEd. We find that a large proportion of educational sites are protected by “All Rights Reserved” copyright, including many sites that self-describe as “open,” which indicates a misconception of what it means to be an open resource.

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ODEPO was compiled in MediaWiki, the platform that powers Wikipedia. And just like Wikipedia, anyone with an account on OpenEd can contribute to the database by adding organizations or editing current data. Future data supplements will include the most up-to-date data from ODEPO, so the more you contribute, the more research opportunities there are!

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OpenEd—the new Open Education Community site

Jane Park, July 28th, 2009

Some of you may already be familiar with the term open ed, short for open education—which represents the fantastic movement around opening up educational resources so that anyone, anywhere, can access, use, and derive existing educational materials in new, creative ways or to simply adapt them to their unique individual needs and local contexts. There are so many great educational materials out there—some already openly licensed and a great deal more in the public domain—and the problem is that a lot of people still don’t know about them or how to use them. Similarly, the open education movement has produced some really exciting projects and programs in recent years, but there is no global landing space for these inspiring movers and shakers to really connect as a coherent community.

Open Ed, the new Open Education Community site, is the result of brainstorming with other initiatives in the movement on how to provide such a space. We designed the site for open education community members, but also for teachers, learners, and those who just want to get involved. We were able to build it thanks to the strong support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Open Ed is hosted by ccLearn, but we are merely providing the web space. We’ve done some initial work on it, but the site is yours—be you an OER advocate, a teacher wanting to connect with other teachers, or a learner who would love to do the same. And you can contribute in any way you like, because Open Ed runs on MediaWiki, the same software that powers Wikipedia. Additionally, Open Ed utilizes the Semantic MediaWiki extension to enable data querying and analysis. For added functionality, we have installed various other useful extensions.

Wait… hasn’t this site been up for a while?

You’re right; it’s been public on the web for a couple of months now. Some of you may already have accounts. Others have even blogged about it previously. But we haven’t made the official announcement launch until now because we wanted to get some initial feedback from existing community members. So we need your help! Please spread the word, via your personal and professional channels—and most of all, use the space for what you need to do! It’s a wiki. That means you can create a page for your own project, add your project to ODEPO (the Open Database of Educational Projects and Organizations) for others to find, run your own data query for research purposes, or do virtually anything else you deem necessary to strengthen and promote open education, including translating the entire site into other languages. Not to mention that content is a little lacking right now, and it’s up to us to make it a great landing place for newbies to open education.

Give us feedback!

Please let us know what you think. Anyone can add to or improve the space by simply clicking “edit”, but as the hosts of this space, we would love to help with the process. You can also share your thoughts on Twitter with an #opened hashtag.

Lastly, thanks to White Whale, an Oakland-based consulting, design, and development company, who designed Open Ed and helped us with some of our messaging points.

Happy exploring!

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Tonight at the Commonwealth Club (SF)

Kaitlin Thaney, July 28th, 2009

From the Science Commons blog

Commoners and digerati alike will come together tonight at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco for a vibrant discussion on the intersection of science and the Web. The event, “Making the Web Work for Science”, will be moderated by Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media, joined by panelists Stephen Friend (Sage), Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), and our own John Wilbanks (Science Commons).

The night will be dedicated to the idea of bringing Web efficiencies to scientific research – a core theme seen in our work and thinking here at Science Commons. We now have the tools and understanding to bring together open research and data on a global scale, embedded with the freedoms necessary to be able to fully utilize it. Come help us further discuss this concept with some of the top names in the Bay area tech community as well as open science advocates.

The event (currently sold out, but stay tuned) kicks off at 6 p.m. with a networking reception; the main event beginning at 6:30. A private reception will follow. Tickets are $8 for Commonwealth Club members, $15 for non-members, and $7 for students with valid ID.

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Glenn Otis Brown Returns to Creative Commons as Board Member

Eric Steuer, July 24th, 2009

We are thrilled to announce that Glenn Otis Brown has joined the Creative Commons board of directors.

Brown was CC’s executive director from 2002-2005; as one of the core members of the CC team in our early days, he was critical in developing projects that provide the groundwork for the work we do today. Brown is currently YouTube’s music business development manager and works with major and independent labels, publishers, and artists to build new business opportunities. In the press release we issued today to publicize this news, Creative Commons CEO Joi Ito says this of Brown:

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Glenn join the board. As Executive Director of the organization in its early days, Glenn established many of the critical ideas and relationships that CC is built upon today. That background, combined with his experience in developing creative projects and partnerships at YouTube, gives him particularly valuable insight into the opportunities for Creative Commons in the worlds of business, media, and culture at large.”

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Who is Copying and Pasting Your CC Content? Discover More With Tynt’s Tracer Tool

Fred Benenson, July 24th, 2009

Tynt Logo If you’re one of the couple dozen people who copied text off our blog yesterday, you may have noticed some more text accompany your clipboard when you pasted it — a link to our site and the license (Attribution) we’ve offered our content under. This is because we’ve installed Tynt’s Tracer tool on our blog which uses a bit of javascript wizardry to concatenate attribution and, as of now, particular CC license information to content copied from our site.

If you’re curious about how this works, try selecting some text from anywhere on our blog and pasting it somewhere. Rich text editors (such as most WYSIWYG HTML editors, or Gmail) will preserve the hyperlink but the text will also show up in standard plain text editors as well.

As a creator and contributor to the commons, you have the right to attribution (all six of our licenses require it), so why not make it easy for your audience to automatically provide it?

Setting up and installing Tracer on your own site is easy, just head over to the site, create an account for your domain, select the CC license you’ve released your work under, and add the javascript tags to the footer of your pages. You’ll then be able to see on your Tracer dashboard precisely which text and images are being copied and pasted from your site, and where they are going.

And don’t worry, the extra markup is just text. Nothing about Tynt’s tool forces reusers to do anything, its merely useful additional information providing proper attribution and license notification.

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The Reality of Professional Photography on Wikipedia

Fred Benenson, July 23rd, 2009

Noam Cohen’s piece in the New York Times over the weekend highlighted some of the issues surrounding photography on Wikipedia:

At a time when celebrities typically employ a team of professionals to control their images, Wikipedia is a place where chaos rules. Few high-quality photographs, particularly of celebrities, make it onto this site. This is because the site runs only pictures with the most permissive Creative Commons license, which allows anyone to use an image, for commercial purposes or not, as long as the photographer is credited.

But what Cohen somehow misses is the staggering amount of high quality professional photography (of celebrities and otherwise) that does make it on to Wikipedia. Take for example, the Davos World Economic Forum’s choice to release its entire Flickr stream, over 2,600 professional shot photos, under our Attribution-ShareAlike license. The result is a professional, high quality, and informative entry on the conference and organization filled with photos of celebrities that was entirely curated by volunteers. WEF didn’t even have to upload the photos themselves, they just made them available under the right license:

World Economic Forum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Obviously, the WEF is in the business of running a meeting and not licensing celebrity photos, but there is no doubt about the value in the works they’ve contributed to the commons; value that could have been, but wasn’t, exploited using standard all-rights-reserved copyright licenses and stock photo agencies.

In other words, the WEF realized the obvious advantages of being the provider of a certain set of free photos that would otherwise be difficult to capture professionally. As Wikipedia continues its ascent toward being a cultural necessity (if not the nth wonder of the world), these advantages will only accumulate, thus further cementing the argument for free culture.

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Poland’s Version 3.0 Licenses Now Online

Michelle Thorne, July 23rd, 2009

Flag_of_PolandInternationalization is an essential aspect and major strength of Creative Commons. Our global efforts focus not only on establishing new jurisdiction projects, but also on working closely with long-standing national projects to upgrade localized licenses and to strengthen the commons worldwide. CC Poland, one of the earliest jurisdictions to found a national Creative Commons project, releases today its set of Poland-specific CC licenses at Version 3.0, Creative Commons’ most current license version.

The upgrade is significant for several reasons, one being that Version 3.0 encompasses our long-held vision of establishing a compatibility structure to allow interoperability between different flexible content copyright licenses. This structure has opened doors for important adopters, such as the Wikipedia community and Wikimedia Foundation, who recently approved the adoption the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 (CC BY-SA) license as the main content license for Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites.

The Polish upgrade to Version 3.0 was led by Alek Tarkowski, Justyna Hofmokl, and Krzysztof Siewicz and hosted at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling at Warsaw University (ICM UW) and the Grynhoff, Woźny and Maliński Law Firm. Through these efforts and more, CC Poland continues to build the local Creative Commons community and promote free culture.

An enormous thank you to CC Poland, to Alek, Justyna, and Krzysztof, for their invaluable efforts to support Polish creators and to improve Creative Commons’ ever-growing international pool of free legal tools.

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Tomorrow in SF: “RiP: A Remix Manifesto” screening + Eclectic Method dance party

Eric Steuer, July 22nd, 2009

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If you’ll be in the San Francisco Bay Area tomorrow night (Thursday, July 23), please join us for a screening of RiP: A Remix Manifesto, the acclaimed new documentary about remix culture, copyright, Girl Talk, Lawrence Lessig, Gilberto Gil, Cory Doctorow, and others. The film (released under a Creative Commons BY-NC license) is being presented by the San Francisco Film Society at Mezzanine (444 Jessie St.); doors open at 7pm and the screening begins at 7:30. RiP‘s director, Brett Gaylor, will be in attendance to discuss the film and take questions. Members of the CC staff will be there too – please come by and say hi.

After the screening, DJs Adrian and the Mysterious D from Bootie SF will get the second part of the night – a dance party! – started with a live set of their awesome remixes and mash-ups. They’ll be followed by the incredible VJ crew Eclectic Method, who will rock the house with a live video remix set incorporating samples from movies, television, video games, found footage, and all kinds of visual randomness.

The event is open to people 21 years of age and older. Tickets (available here) are $12 for SFFS members and $17 for non-members. More information is available on the San Francisco Film Society’s website.

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