The Wall Street Journal on “Sita Sings The Blues” and Profit Numbers

Cameron Parkins, December 1st, 2009


RamSitaGods, Nina Paley | CC BY-SA

Last week, The Wall Street Journal posted a fascinating article on the profits made by Nina Paley for her film Sita Sings The Blues. Widely available for free online under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license, Sita has garnered $55,000 to date, an impressive amount for a film that has spent nothing on promotion or adverting.

While this amount only conveys part of the story – the article leaves out the cost to make the film as well as Paley’s cost-of-living – it is inspiring to see such fiscal success from a work of open-cinema. Aurelia Schultz, current CC legal research volunteer, digs deeper with the numbers on her blog, making the following observation:

A better tally of how [Paley] has done would include how the Sita copyright issue and subsequent CC licensing have increased Nina’s income from her other works by increasing her visibility; how much she makes from speaking engagements (which she say are her most lucrative work); and how much more she would have paid out under her settlement agreement had she released the film in a more traditional manner. Since all of these things only add to what she has already made, it’s clear that releasing Sita under a Creative Commons license was a good choice for Nina.

For more information on Sita Sings the Blues be sure to read our interview with Nina Paley as well as check out our case study on the film itself.

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Deproduction and Civic Pixel combine to form Open Media Foundation

Cameron Parkins, November 25th, 2009

omf_logoDeproduction, a Denver-based video production company, and Civic Pixel, an open-source web development group, have joined forces to become the Open Media Foundation. The two groups were previously affiliated through Denver Open Media where they taught local communities media production tools, producing unique and engaging content in the process.

The Open Media Foundation picks up where these two groups left off, focusing upon services (video production, website creation, and graphic packages), education, and accessible tools. One of OMF’s most engaging aspects is the scalability of their mission. Nearly all of the content they produce is either CC-licensed or open-source, allowing it to be adopted easily and legally elsewhere. In January, Access San Francisco will become the 8th station to adopt the open source tools OMF developed as part of the Knight NewsChallenge. Similarly, through support from the Google Summer of Code program, the OMF made major improvements to CC support in Drupal.

To learn more about Open Media Foundation, check out this introductory video at their site – we interviewed Tony Shawcross, then Executive Director at Deproduction, back in January.

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ccMixter Curation at the Free Music Archive

Cameron Parkins, November 25th, 2009

ccmixterThis Monday, we began a guest curation series at our Free Music Archive portal. Rather than attempt to distill the vast landscape of CC-licensed music on our own, we thought it better to reach out to those on the ground working to support and expose these type of artists in their given communities. What better way to start then with a selection of tracks from ccMixter admin/developer/mentor Victor Stone:

For all the activism in the Open Music movement, nothing pushes the ball forward like brilliant, evocative music. While there is plenty of underground music of all sub-genres at ccMixter, there is also a growing collection of mainstream, above-ground producers who understand the value of sharing as a means of boosting their own creativity along with their exposure.

You can listen and download Victor’s full playlist at the FMA and ccMixter – titled Above Ground Collection, it is brimming with excellent music from producers with “an ear for the popular without sacrificing artistry.”

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CC Learn Advanced Topics

Jane Park, November 24th, 2009

Earlier this year, CC Learn launched CC Learn Productions, highlighting reports and three document series: CC Learn Recommendations, CC Learn Explanations, and CC Learn Step by Step Guides. Since April, we have greatly expanded our repertoire to about a dozen documents, touching on basic topics such as Why CC BY? to legally incompatible content in OER. We’ve verily become document-making machines, cranking out new publications every month.

In the course of production, we found there are certain topics that cannot be distilled to a general audience, mainly because these topics are too specialized, and impractical, for the majority of CC’s user base. We realized that another document series was necessary, one specifically dealing with advanced topics, topics which require additional expertise and address the concerns of a smaller cross section of the OER community. The CC Learn Advanced Topics series, which is not intended for general consumption or to serve as legal advice, aims for this.

The first CC Learn Advanced Topic is CC Licenses and Trademarks: A Guide for Organizational OER Creators and Distributors. This primer distinguishes between copyright and trademark as they pertain to OER, and clarifies some of the confusion surrounding CC licenses and trademarks. For OER organizations with a strong trademark, or with the plans and capacity to build and sustain one, this primer is a guide to understanding the relationship between your organization’s rights as a copyright owner using CC licenses (particularly CC BY) and your organization’s trademark rights within the context of open educational resources (OER). This primer is not relevant for OER creators generally, as trademark law only pertains to those entities with the capacity to build and sustain a brand.

Though CC and CC Learn are open to consulting around business models generally, we are not in a position to give advice around trademark law. This primer is simply an explanation of a separate set of rights you may have to protect your work – trademark rights – while still allowing for the downstream adaptation, translation, and localization of your work that are so central to the goals of OER. Additionally, this primer is an example of one way certain organizations may deal with their concerns, and we hope that it will become an important document in our ongoing work.

All CC Learn Productions are licensed CC BY.

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To Shoot An Elephant, CC BY-NC-SA Documentary, Wins Award at Festival dei Popoli

Cameron Parkins, November 20th, 2009

genesis_DARK_logoLast week To Shoot An Elephant, a CC Attribution-Share Alike CC Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike licensed documentary on life in the Gaza Strip, won the award for “Most Innovative Filmmaker” at Florence’s Festival dei Popoli. From the voting committee:

“After we watched this film we engaged in a long passionate discussion. This film never left us. We want to award the filmmakers for sharing with us an emotional, physical and stressful experience for being there and witnessing the horrors and destruction of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip earlier this year.”

It is wonderful to see open source cinema receive these types of accolades, solidifying its place in the larger film landscape. Congratulations to film-makers Alberto Arce and Mohammed Rujailah on their win! You can learn more about To Shoot An Elephant at their website.

UPDATE: The film To Shoot An Elephant is licensed under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike license – the film’s website is licensed under a CC Attribution-Share Alike license.

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WikiEducator, Connexions, and MediaWiki join forces in OER Remix Project

Jane Park, November 20th, 2009

In case you haven’t heard, WikiEducator‘s Wayne Mackintosh announced earlier this week that they were joining forces with Connexions “to provide educators with greater freedom of choice to mix and match the best of two OER worlds, namely “producer-consumer” models with more traditional work flow approaches and commons-based peer production.” WikiEducator and Connexions are two collaborative OER projects that use Creative Commons licenses. While WikiEducator, licensed CC BY-SA, focuses “on building capacity in the use of Mediawiki and related free software technologies for mass-collaboration in the authoring of free content,” Connexions, licensed CC BY, focuses on the collaborative development, sharing, and publishing of modular educational content that can be easily integrated into larger collections or courses. According to the announcement, the two projects will partner “to build import export capability between the Connexions and WikiEducator/Mediawiki platforms.”

It’s definitely exciting to see these two OER projects working together, especially since the collaboration is being generously funded by a grant from one of our own biggest supporters, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. There are various ways you can tune into its progress, including visiting the project planning node, subscribing to the Connexions mailing list, or helping them develop use case scenarios.

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CC board chair Esther Wojcicki on teachers sharing … and supporting CC

Mike Linksvayer, November 19th, 2009

Esther Wojcicki, Chair of the Creative Commons board of directors, has insightful comments on a recent New York Times story on teachers selling lessons online. Esther’s column in the Huffington Post closes with:

While it is an interesting alternative for teachers to have the option of selling their lesson plans, realistically the culture of teachers nationwide is one of sharing, not selling.

How true! Read the whole column, which also includes a good overview of available open educational resources.

Also, our entire board is making a public committment to raise funds for our campaign this year. We’re rolling out “personal campaign pages” for board members, where they explain why they are personally commited to CC and ask you to help them support us. Check out Esther’s campaign page and support Creative Commons today. Currently your contribution will be doubled by WhippleHill, a communications company that shares our values of openness and innovation on the web, with a particular focus on education.

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CC Talks With: Mr. Mayo’s Class Integrates CC, Skypes with Lawrence Lessig

Jane Park, November 19th, 2009

mr mayo
Photo by Mr. Mayo CC BY-NC

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to talk to George Mayo, known as Mr. Mayo to his students, a middle school Language Arts teacher in Maryland. Mr. Mayo was brought to CC Learn’s attention by Lawrence Lessig, CC’s founder and current board member, who Skyped with Mr. Mayo’s class for thirty minutes, answering questions on copyright, YouTube’s take-down policy and downloading music. Mr. Mayo and his class have integrated CC licensed works into their daily activities, documenting it all at mrmayo.org. Instead of elaborating on the various innovative ways Mr. Mayo and his class uses CC, I’m going to let George speak for himself. The following is the interview I had with him via Skype. You can also listen to the audio here.

Read More…

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Indaba Launch CC BY Loop Library, Contest With Filter Magazine

Cameron Parkins, November 19th, 2009

Filter929x240FINALIndaba Music just launched a fantastic new clip library of over 8,000 CC Attribution licensed sounds and loops. Already one of the premier destination for musicians to collaborate online, their new clip library adds to Indaba’s appeal by offering an easy and legal way for musicians to add sounds and loops to their work.

To celebrate, Indaba has teamed up with Filter Magazine on a remix contest, challenging Indaba’s community of over 300,000 (!) musicians to create an original track that includes a minimum of two clips. The contest winner, determined by Filter Magazine, will be profiled in an upcoming issue as well as have their winning track featured in the issue’s monthly digital sampler. The due date for entries is December 8th at 5PM EST.

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Donate Today to Have Your Donation Doubled by WhippleHill!

Allison Domicone, November 17th, 2009

whipplehill-logo
Our 2009 fundraising campaign continues, and to help us reach our goal of $500,000 by the end of the year, we’re delighted to announce a second corporate matching challenge, this time sponsored by WhippleHill Communications. WhippleHill will generously match every donation dollar for dollar for the next week – up to $5,000! Donate now to help us meet the challenge!

WhippleHill Communications was founded in 1998 and is based in Bedford, New Hampshire. This innovative company provides targeted communications solutions for independent schools seeking next-generation Web services. Like CC, WhippleHill values openness and innovation on the Web, with a particular focus on education, a realm CC is also heavily involved in through ccLearn.

Join WhippleHill in investing in the future of creativity and knowledge. Give what you can today!

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