Some very exciting news for authors, publishers, and readers: Today, Google launched a program to enable rightsholders to make their Creative Commons-licensed books available for the public to download, use, remix, and share via Google Books.
The new initiative makes it easy for participants in Google Books’ Partner Program to mark their books with one of the six Creative Commons licenses (or the CC0 waiver). This gives authors and publishers a simple way to articulate the permissions they have granted to the public through a CC license, while giving people a clear indication of the legal rights they have to CC-licensed works found through Google Books.
The Inside Google Books post announcing the initiative talks a bit about what this all means:
We’ve marked books that rightsholders have made available under a CC license with a matching logo on the book’s left hand navigation bar. People can download these books in their entirety and pass them along: to friends, classmates, teachers, and so on. And if the rightsholder has chosen to allow people to modify their work, readers can even create a mashup–say, translating the book into Esperanto, donning a black beret, and performing the whole thing to music on YouTube.
The project launched with a terrific starter collection of CC-licensed books that includes: 55 Ways to Have Fun with Google by Philipp Lenssen; Blown to Bits by Harold Abelson, Ken Ledeen, Harry R. Lewis; Bound by Law? by Keith Aoki, James Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins; Code: Version 2 by Lawrence Lessig; Democratizing Innovation by Eric von Hippel; Federal Budget Deficits: America’s great consumption binge by Paul Courant; The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain; Little Brother by Cory Doctorow; and A World’s Fair for the Global Village by Carl Malamud.
Stay tuned for further announcements – as the project expands to include more authors and publishers, Google Books plans to add the ability for people to restrict searches to books they can share, use, and remix.6 Comments »
It has been just over four months since the Free Music Archive launched as a destination for high-quality, freely licensed music. Since that time, the site has developed an avid community and grown to include a number of fantastic curators all while expanding upon the site’s initial catalog to host over 11,000 tracks. All told, the FMA has, in a very short time frame, become an indispensable destination for music lovers looking for freely-licensed music to download, share, and reuse.
The FMA has always offered and promoted CC licenses as a means to share the majority of music uploaded to the site. Today we are ecstatic to announce that CC has joined the FMA’s curatorial ranks! We’re celebrating with 50 great tracks that will be both familiar to the CC community while hopefully offering some new names as well. The launch is split into two mixes – our FMA Inaugural Mix and The WIRED CD: Rip. Sample. Mash. Share.
We’ll be doing regular updates to our collection over the coming months and our next featured mix will highlight some of the great community-driven artists and collaborations found at sites like ccMixter, Jamendo, Beatpick, Sutros, and more. We are on continuous lookout for great CC-licensed music to add to our page and would love to hear your suggestions on tracks and artists in the comments.1 Comment »
For the past year, Creative Commons has been working on tools to help increase access to works in the public domain. Often, it is not clear whether a work has entered the public domain or is still covered by copyright protection. This lack of clarity can cause a lot of problems, and Creative Commons is not the only one concerned about the issue.
For example, WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organization) has begun research on tools for increasing access to the public domain, which relates to what we do at CC in several ways. Part of the WIPO research includes a comparative Scoping Study that will look at different countries’ legislation to see how how the public domain is defined and how public domain works are located. Encouragingly, Severine Dusollier, head of Intellectual Property Rights at Centre de Recherches Informatique et Droit and Creative Commons’ Belgium project lead, is in charge of this study. CC conducted a similar study last year and we’re paying close attention to how our results relate to WIPO’s. (Please note: the CC study is closed; no new input from the form will be accepted.) Part of WIPO’s study reviews private copyright documentation systems, including Creative Commons. Other samples in the study will include traditional collective rights management organizations.
Also of interest to our work at CC is WIPO’s expansion of a previous survey that takes an in-depth look at how deposits work as counterparts to a copyright registration system. One effect of registration, especially with a deposit requirement, is that it helps accrue a central collection location of works. These collections then contain copies of the works as well as relevant information necessary to make a determination of whether or not a work is in the public domain. WIPO’s work with registration and deposit systems is an important step in the quest to identify the contours of the public domain; however, not all copyright-protected work is registered or deposited.
Furthermore, finding information about non-registered or non-deposited works can be very difficult. For this reason, Creative Commons has begun building tools to identify, tag, and increase access to public domain works. Two of these tools, CC0 and the Public Domain Certification Tool, are already in existence and available for your use. A third, the Public Domain Assertion Tool, is on its way.
CC0 allows a copyright owner to waive rights in a work, effectively placing it as close as possible to being in the public domain. Finding works placed in the public domain through the CC0 waiver is easy, because CC0 is machine-readable just like the CC licenses. Our Public Domain Certification Tool can currently be used to indicate that a particular work is already in the public domain. But we are also working on a more robust version of this tool called the Public Domain Assertion tool. This tool will allow anyone to indicate facts about a particular digital instance of a work, giving individuals and institutions a way to participate in making our cultural heritage more user-friendly.
The tool’s output will link to relevant facts and a human-readable deed to assist users in deciding whether a work is in the public domain, and thus available for use without copyright restriction in one or more jurisdictions. For example, U.S. works may be in the pubic domain for any number of reasons but may not be in the public domain world-wide. Diane Peters, CC’s General Counsel, noted that the new tool will “increas[e] the effective size [of the public domain], even if due to copyright extensions works are not naturally added to the public domain.”
So stay tuned for the updates from the future of the public domain!
Aurelia J. Schultz, Google Policy Fellow and Joe Merante, Legal Intern
Chris Messina on OpenID: the unseen branded revenue opportunity:
What better way to both support Creative Commons and show off your patronage than by identifying yourself across the web with your very own unique, secure, privacy-protecting creativecommons.net OpenID (just like Zach Beauvais)?
For a mere $50 minimum donation ($25 for students), you can own a limited edition URL and profile from Creative Commons that identifies you to the world and provides a compelling revenue opportunity for the non-profit foundation.
While companies like SAP become OpenID providers for pedestrian reasons like simplifying authentication across their many different distributed web properties, Creative Commons is redistributing the brand equity and social capital their members have accrued over the last several years by letting people show and verify their affiliation to the organization.
With this simple example, we can start to see the symbiosis of making an intentional choice about identity: Creative Commons finds a new revenue opportunity and members of the community have a way to express their affiliation and promote the brand.
Perfectly explained. Do read the whole post, including the part where Messina calls CC Network “a truly inspirational approach”. Thanks Chris!
Also see Read Write Web’s take on CC Network, following up on Messina’s post.
CC Network also has other features that complement its identity and affiliation stories — see our posts from last fall launching the service, explaining our technical approach to CC Network’s OpenID security, and CC Network and web-centric copyright registries. On the last, see our CTO Nathan Yergler’s recent update from the third CC technology summit.5 Comments »
CC friends and fans in the Bay Area: we hope you can join us next week at our ccSalon, when, in the spirit of Open Source World, we’ll hear about CC and open source technology from our three presenters for the evening:
When: Wednesday, August 12, 7-9pm
Location: PariSoMa, 1436 Howard St. (map and directions). Plenty of street parking available. (Please note, the space is located up two steep flights of stairs, and unfortunately does not currently have elevator access.)
Light refreshments will be provided.No Comments »
Waxy.org reports that Code Rush — the commercially-unavailable documentary from 2000 about the open-sourcing of the Netscape code base and the Mozilla project which gave birth to Firefox, is now available under our Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. This is a crucial part of the Internet’s history so we highly recommend you watch it and share it with your friends.
Thanks to everyone who made this wonderful gift to the commons possible!No Comments »
Carpool Conversations is a newly launched video series from LA-based Pink Cloud Events. Produced in collaboration with Honda, the 3-part series aims to capture intimate and unexpected conversations between strangers sharing a ride in a Honda Insight. While the topics vary from episode to episode, a common thread through out is the importance of sharing experiences – a concept that resonates strongly with CC’s mission.
The first episode finds members of LA-based fruit finding collaborative Fallen Fruit and Damien Somerset of green video site Zaproot discussing the merits of hybrid cars, free fruit, and a variety of other topics. This sharing of information extends beyond the car ride as Carpool Conversations is released under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative license, allowing the video to be legally and openly shared across the web.
Thankfully, this is just the first in a delightful series – the next episode of Carpool Conversations features Top Chef Master contestant, Elizabeth Falkner of Orson/Citizen Cake, community manager Michelle Broderick of yelp.com, and tech-chocolate maker Timothy Childs of tcho.com.1 Comment »
On Thursday, Michael Edson of the Smithsonian posted on the Smithsonian 2.0 blog that they had released their “Web and New Media Strategy” with the purpose of laying a groundwork for a Smithsonian Commons:
The strategy talks about an updated digital experience, a new learning model that helps people with their “lifelong learning journeys,” and the creation of a Smithsonian Commons—a new part of our digital presence dedicated to stimulating learning, creation, and innovation through open access to Smithsonian research, collections and communities.
Of particular interest to our community is that the report PDF itself (and its draft wiki) are both licensed under our permissive, Attribution license. More substantially is the report’s section on the proposed content usage policy of the Smithsonian Commons:
Content Usage: Establish a pan-Institutional policy for sharing and using the Smithsonian’s digital content, with particular focus on Copyright and Public Domain policies that encourage the appropriate re-use and sharing of Smithsonian resources.
Congratulations to the Smithsonian for thinking about the future lives of their content in such a sustainable fashion. We’re very excited to see the future developments that the Smithsonian Commons brings to free culture on an institutional scale.2 Comments »
The Associated Press wants to track reuse of their content through a “news registry.” This registry “will employ a microformat for news developed by AP”:
The microformat will essentially encapsulate AP and member content in an informational “wrapper” that includes a digital permissions framework that lets publishers specify how their content is to be used online and which also supplies the critical information needed to track and monitor its usage.
While Creative Commons is very sympathetic to the difficulty of explaining technical concepts in a short press release, we’re worried that the AP’s explanation, and in particular their reference to the Creative Commons’ Rights Expression Language (ccREL), might well be confusing.
The reference to Creative Commons appears in the AP’s microformat, hNews, which introduces hRights, a supposed “generalization” of ccREL. hRights is presumably the “digital permissions framework” that the AP diagrams as a box/wrapper around news content in order to “track and monitor usage.” Unfortunately, as Ed Felten points out, this claim doesn’t add up. Microformats and other web-based structured data, including ccREL, cannot track, monitor, or generally enforce anything. They’re labels, i.e. Post-It notes attached to a document, not locked boxes blocking access to the content.
When Creative Commons launched in 2002, we were often asked “is Creative Commons a form of DRM?” Our answer: no, we help publishers express their rights, but we don’t dabble in enforcement, because enforcement technologies are unable to respect important, complex, and often subjective concepts like fair use. Thus, ccREL is about expression and notification of rights, not about enforcement.
And when you think about it, there’s really no other realistic way. If the AP actually wants a “beacon” that reports usage information back to the mothership, then every endpoint must be programmed to perform this beacon functionality. Before it delivers content, every server must check that the client will promise to become a beacon. Which means the AP wants an architecture where every cell phone, computer, or other networked device is locked down centrally, able to run only software that is verified to comply with this policy. That’s another reason why we don’t dabble in enforcement: the costs of Digital Rights Enforcement (or its politically correct equivalent, Digital Rights Management) to publishers, users, to our culture and to our ability to innovate are astronomically high.
Then there’s the issue of “RSS syndication” compatibility. We simply don’t see how the AP’s proposed system would allow both widespread beacon enforcement and compatibility with existing formats like RSS. Compatibility means that current RSS tools remain usable. Obviously, these tools do not currently perform the AP’s rights enforcement, so how could they magically be made to start phoning home now?
That said, there is an interesting nugget in the AP’s proposal, one which we encourage them to pursue: tagging content with rights, origin, and means of attribution is a good proposal. When Creative Commons began the work that led to ccREL, there were no established or open standards for expressing this type of structured information on the web, so we had to lay down some new infrastructure. When we published ccREL, we made it easy for others to innovate on top of ccREL: we included “independence and extensibility” as the first principle for expressing license information in a machine readable format. We based ccREL on RDF and RDFa to enable this standards-based extensibility.
The AP could, rather than reinvent a subset of ccREL using an incompatible and news-specific syntax, simply use ccREL and add their own news-specific fields. By doing this, they would immediately plug into the growing set of tools that parse and interpret rights expressed via ccREL. We would be happy to help, but we built ccREL in such a way that we don’t need to be involved if the AP would prefer to go it alone. And, of course, the AP can use ccREL with copyright licenses more restrictive than those we offer, if they prefer.3 Comments »
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.
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.