Weblog

2009 October

Commoner Letter #2: Carl Malamud

Allison Domicone, October 19th, 2009

Carl Malamud is a technologist, author and public domain advocate, as well as a great friend and outstanding supporter of Creative Commons. Malamud founded and runs the nonprofit Public.Resource.Org, which works for the publication of public domain information from local, state, and federal government agencies. We’re honored to have such a fervent champion for the Commons writing the second letter in the Commoner Letter series of this year’s fundraising campaign.

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Photo of Carl Malamud by Joi / CC BY 2.0

My Fellow Commoners!

It isn’t that I don’t want to hear from you, I just want us to spend some quality time together instead of pushing paper.

Copyright laws solved one problem for a prior era, a way of marking a piece of content to indicate who the creator (or publisher) is. But, if you want to actually USE that content, under standard copyright law you or your lawyer send a letter, you get back a license agreement, you agree to terms, and you get rights to reuse the content. Every single use requires a new agreement. As they say, that doesn’t scale.

The genius of Creative Commons is a simple, universal way to let people know what they can do with your content without having to bother you each time. With the Internet, we’ve found that a whole class of uses of creative material makes sense, and with a Creative Commons license you can clearly tell people what it is they can do. Don’t care if people use your work as long as they’re not making money? Then use an Attribution-Non Commercial license from Creative Commons. Don’t care what people do as long as they give you credit? Commercial Use Allowed, Attribution Required is for you.

What is impressive about Creative Commons is that it scales. Public.Resource.Org, the non-profit I run, has published a boatload of content we get from the U.S. government: 90 million pages of documents, 1,000 videos, and a few handfuls of photographs. With the Creative Commons CC Zero and Public Domain tools, we have an easy way of telling people that they don’t have to ask permission to use this information.

So, while I’d love to hear from people, I just don’t want to have to deal with a stream of requests asking what they can do with the content we publish. With Creative Commons, that lawyerly, bureaucratic task has been taken care of, so when you do call, we can talk about something much more interesting. That’s why I’m a strong Creative Commons supporter, and that’s why I hope you’ll join me in supporting the Creative Commons 2009 Annual Campaign.

Carl Malamud
Public.Resource.Org

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IssueLab Launches Research Remix Video Contest

Jane Park, October 19th, 2009

IssueLab, “an open source archive of research produced by nonprofit organizations, university-based research centers, and foundations,” launches their Research Remix Video Contest this week. The contest “aims to engage working artists and digital media students with social issues while encouraging nonprofits to make their research more broadly available and usable through open licensing.” If you recall my interview with co-founder Lisa Brooks earlier this year, a good chunk of IssueLab’s research is licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses. From the press release,

“Contestants will be asked to remix facts or data from one of over 300 openly licensed research
reports on IssueLab into a video or animation under three minutes in length. Winners will be selected
after the December 31, 2009 deadline, and nonprofits will be able to use all submitted videos freely to
support their causes.

The launch of “Research Remix” coincides with Open Access Week, an international movement that
pushes for broad and free access to research findings and publicly funded studies. IssueLab’s official
participation is marked by its continued commitment to bringing open access and licensing to the
social and policy research fields. “It is especially important that nonprofits consider openly licensing
their research and resources. By giving people the ability to re-use, remix, and share research on
social issues we can much better inform and engage public debate and public policy.”

We encourage you to remix and submit your videos by the year’s end, especially because all finalists receive a free CC t-shirt and buttons (not to mention first prize is a netbook). I’m also one of the judges, so I look forward to your submissions!

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Jeeran Launches a Dedicated Creative Commons Channel

Fred Benenson, October 16th, 2009

Jeeran Logo 300Jeeran, the largest Arabic online community with 1.5 million registered users and more than 7 million visitors per month, has just launched a dedicated Creative Commons space to inform the developing CC Arab community with articles, news and updates about CC activities in the region. While a large commons culture is still developing in the Arab world, the new Jeeran channel should help provide valuable information to Arab users how to license and share their work online.

The ultimate goal of the channel is to foster new CC content creation and dissemination of content in the Arabic language. This is really a fantastic opportunity for the budding CC community in the Middle East because Jeeran has done so much work in the domain of Arabic content creation and language preservation on the Internet. For an example, check out their their innovative project called as Seejal which is transferring an old Arab tradition of poetry onto the web.

The CC channel on Jeeran will feature blog posts, videos, caricatures and music, as well as successful case studies on how Creative Commons is being used in the Arab Region (e.g., the Creative Commons Al Jazeera repository). The channel will also contain a section on news and updates on Creative Commons events, meetings and happenings in the Arab Region like the upcoming Jordan launch and CC Salon.

We’d like to thank Laith and Omar, founders of Jeeran, their team, Rami Olwan and Bassel Safadi from our CC Arab community for making this happen!

- Donatella Della Ratta (donatella@creativecommons.org)

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Student Journalism 2.0 takes off at The Paly Voice

Jane Park, October 16th, 2009

Article CC BY-NC by Sydney Rock and Rachel Harrus

Article CC BY-NC by Sydney Rock and Rachel Harrus

Remember back in April when I first mentioned Student Journalism 2.0, ccLearn’s pilot project to bring Creative Commons and the power of new media into high school journalism classes? Well since then ccLearn and two SF Bay Area high school journalism classes have been busy getting the ball rolling.

Yesterday, The Paly Voice, the student-run newspaper at Palo Alto High School, announced the integration of CC licenses, allowing its writers to choose to share their articles and op-ed pieces with the world. Already, Sydney Rock and Rachel Harrus’s article announcing the collaboration has gone viral via the CC BY-NC license, as the CC Google Alert picked it up and placed it squarely inside my morning radar. From the article,

“Starting today, readers of The Paly Voice may notice a new graphic — a Creative Commons licensing logo — tagged at the bottom of some stories.

The addition is due to a new collaboration with Creative Commons, a nonprofit corporation that allows published work to be available to the public for fair and legal sharing.

As a part of the Student Journalism 2.0 Project, The Paly Voice, along with the staff of El Estoque, the student news publication of Monta Vista High School, and the staff of The Broadview at Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, is the first high school in the nation to use Creative Commons licensing, which could potentially revolutionize the way creative works are available online.

Campanile adviser Esther Wojcicki, who is the chair of the board of directors for Creative Commons, believes that the collaboration will positively influence student journalism at Paly.

“It gives people the legal right to share their story,” Wojcicki said. “It’s like your own PR firm.”

Click to read the full article. For more about Student Journalism 2.0, visit our website, fan our Facebook page, or follow our Twitter.

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UNESCO OER Toolkit

Jane Park, October 15th, 2009

Last October, I mentioned that the UNESCO OER Community was developing an OER Toolkit “aimed at individual academics and decision-makers in higher education institutions interested in becoming active participants in the OER world, as publishers and users of OER.” Today, the draft version (1.1) has been released with an announcement by Philipp Schmidt of the University of the Western Cape, South Africa:

“15 October 2009 — Today the UNESCO OER Toolkit (with support from the UNESCO Communications and Information Sector) was released as a resource for academics and institutions — with a special focus on developing countries — who are interested in participating in open education projects.

OVERVIEW — Most of the Toolkit is designed for academics who are interested in finding and using OER in the courses they teach, or who wish to publish OER that they have developed. Some sections are aimed at institutional decision-makers and academics that [are] interested in setting up a more formal OER project. These projects may start with just a few interested academics but, as they grow, institutional policies, funding and legal constraints become more relevant. Individuals who are not aiming to set up a institutional project may nonetheless be interested to read the whole document. Likewise, institutional planners, IT staff or librarians who are interested in setting up an OER project would benefit from understanding the academic’s perspective.”

The toolkit, like the all content on the UNESCO OER Community site, is available via CC BY-SA.

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Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare

Jane Park, October 15th, 2009

The Center for Social Media at AU has released a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare. From the press release,

“OpenCourseWare, the Web-based publication of academic course content launched in 2002 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been lauded for making college-level courses available to anyone anywhere in the world for free. The movement has expanded to include offerings from some of the nation’s most selective universities including the University of Notre Dame and Yale University…

Now, educational organizations have a guide that simplifies the legalities of using copyrighted materials in open courseware—The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare. The code was developed by experts in media and fair use at American University and a committee of practitioners of open courseware from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, MIT, Tufts University, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, and Yale University…

The code aims to help OCW designers at U.S. educational organizations recognize situations to which fair use applies and situations that require they get permission from third-party rights holders.”

The complete code is available via CC BY.

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CASH Music Launch Fundraiser Raffle

Cameron Parkins, October 14th, 2009

cashlogoCASH Music, a nonprofit organization that builds “open tools and services to benefit artists and music organizations”, recently launched its first fundraiser in conjunction with a number of amazing artists and labels. An online raffle is at the core of their efforts with some incredible prizes available ranging from signed sheet music to vinyl test pressings to to an in-studio performance for 10 people.

Participating artists include Kristin Hersh, Deerhoof, Mission of Burma, MGMT, Xiu Xiu, Mayer Hawthorne, and Portugal The Man to name a few. Additional ways to donate come in the form of limited edition prints, a fundraiser t-shirt, and of course by donating directly to CASH.

We have talked about CASH numerous times before (including an interview with Executive Director Jesse Von Doom) about how they use CC to create openness and facilitate sharing within their projects. Be sure to check out their Creative Commons Portal and learn more about the organization at their website.

Also, speaking of fundraisers, don’t forget that CC is in the midst of our own. Help us reach our $500,000 goal – any and all support is appreciated. And if you donate over $75, you’ll be a proud owner of a very cool Shepard Fairey designed CC t-shirt!

(Full disclosure: CC’s Creative Director Eric Steuer is a CASH Music Board Member).

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New CC-Licensed Feature Length Films from Sweden & Italy

Cameron Parkins, October 14th, 2009

nopCreating a feature films is a massive undertaking, and it is for this reason that we’re always so impressed to hear of film makers using CC licenses. Two recent examples are Nasty Old People from Swedish director Hanna Sköld and Torno Subito from Italian Simone Damianiunder.

“Nasty Old People” was released under our Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license and Torno Subito is available under our Attribution-Noncommercial license. What’s great about these licenses is that they both allow and encourage legal sharing and remixing as methods for promotion and encouraging fan engagement. The results are already beginning to appear: fans of Nasty Old People have raised donations amounting to 10% of the film’s loaned budget, and they’ve also created a Portugese translation of the film’s subtitles.

Over the years, there have been a number of CC-licensed feature films released, and we do our best to keep up with them all on our film wiki page, but please add to the wiki if you come across something we’ve missed.

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Film Annex Helps You Make Money on Your CC Content

Fred Benenson, October 14th, 2009

Film Annex LogoFilm Annex is an online film distribution platform and and Web Television Network with million of viewers and thousands of filmmakers. Recently, the site launched CC license support (complete with ccREL expression via RDFa). This is fantastic news in and of itself, as it means there’s now more choice for creators looking for platforms that support CC licensing options. But Film Annex isn’t just another video hosting site. They’re helping filmmakers finance their productions through a unique blend of advertising and revenue sharing:

Film Annex Web TVs come with interactive players that are syndication-friendly. Web TV owners can maximize their income by syndicating their Web TV players with their content and ads (pre-rolls) on other websites. While these content providers receive 50% of the advertising revenues generated on their Web TVs, they earn another 33% upon syndication. Publishers also benefit from this revenue share as they receive 33% of the revenues upon syndication. Publishers are also given the option to become financiers or executive producers on a project if they choose to donate a percentage of their share to the content provider.

Since August 2009, twenty content providers benefited from the Film Annex Network and its ad revenue share. The amount generated on each Web TV per month has approximately been 350-1000 dollars. Film Annex’s short-term goal is to raise this number to 5000. In addition to promoting each Web TV individually, Film Annex mentions the new projects of the content providers on their respective Web TVs in order to raise awareness about them and receive audience support.

So if you’re a filmmaker looking for some return on your CC video, sign up for account and get uploading!

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Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band Goes CC!

Fred Benenson, October 14th, 2009

YOPOB

Photo via yopob.com, All Rights Reserved

Yoko Ono wants you to remix her track “The Sun Is Down!” whose stems are released under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial license. You can download the sample pack which includes the track’s vocal effects, loops of bass, drums, sound effects, and Tenorion files.

But Yoko’s also running a contest to find the 10 best remixes. Here are the details:

Create your own remix of “The Sun Is Down!” by Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band, using as many or few of the samples from the pack and any original audio you wish to add.

When you have finished your mix, make an MP3 copy that’s as high quality as possible, but still under 10MB in size.

Email the MP3 of your mix, along with its name and your name, address, email and phone number to remix@YOPOB.com before 12 December 2009.

The Top Ten mixes will be decided by Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band.

The winners will receive special signed Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band prizes and will be featured on this site over the Xmas and New Year period.

Head over to Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band for the full contest details and to download the sample pack.

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