Canonical Wants to Double Your Donation!

Allison Domicone, November 4th, 2009

Almost a month ago we launched the 2009 fundraising campaign, with the goal of raising $500,000 by the end of the year. Despite the daunting economic climate, we’ve set our goal high, and we’ll need everyone who cares about CC to pitch in whatever they can. So, in order to make your dollar go a little farther when you give a gift to CC, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Canonical, who’ll generously match every donation dollar for dollar for the next week – up to $3,000! Donate now to help us meet the challenge!

Canonical, the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu project, was founded in 2004. The headquarters are in Europe, with over 200 employees working in 23 countries. Their mission is “to realize the potential of free software in the lives of individuals and organisations,” which they do by delivering the world’s best software platform and ensuring its availability to everyone.

From Jono Bacon, Canonical’s Ubuntu Community Manager: “Canonical are really happy to support the Creative Commons, an organization at the corner-stone of an ethos that we share in the Ubuntu world and that we are proud to support.” Likewise, we feel that Canonical’s mission could not be better aligned with our own, and as such we’re thrilled to partner with them on on this matching challenge.

Join Canonical in investing in the future of creativity and knowledge and give what you can today!

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Polish Ministry Creates Incentives for Sharing

Michelle Thorne, November 3rd, 2009

The Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (MKiDN) just announced a range of grant programs for the year 2010, including the program “Cultural Education”. Thanks to the efforts of the Coalition for Open Education (KOED) and the cooperation of Ministry officials, the program includes for the first time incentives to release educational content under free licenses. Grant proposals will receive up to 10% of all possible points for making project results publicly available, with additional points given to projects “publishing works online with a right to re-use, for instance through one of the free licenses.”

The Ministry’s Cultural Education program is the first of its kind in Poland to encourage grant recipients to freely and publicly share educational content. The program, with a budget of 11,5 million Polish zloty (about 4 million Euro), will fund educational projects that promote creativity and self-expression, as well as provide children and youth with extra-curricular artistic education.

KOED is coalition formed by one of CC Poland’s affiliate institutions, the Interdisciplinary Center for Modelling at University of Warsaw, and colleagues Wikimedia Polska Association, Foundation Modern Poland, and the Polish Librarians Association. We blogged about its inception in January 2009.

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Printing Thom Yorke’s Head

Fred Benenson, November 2nd, 2009

tom_yorke_headWhen we blogged about Radiohead releasing the data from their video for “House of Cards” last year, we weren’t really sure what fans were going to do with the 400 megabytes representing the visual data from the video. But now, thanks to Thinigiverse, we have an awesome example of what’s possible when CC licenses encourage people to share and build upon each others work.

User Serratiago has used Blender to convert the original data from the Radiohead video into a set of coordinates that can be printed into a real-life 3D sculpture of Thom Yorke’s head. Since the original data is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license, that means Serriago’s derivative is as well. What’s great about this story is that Serratiago didn’t need to ask Thom Yorke, Radiohead, or anyone for permission to make and distribute his work, as the Creative Commons license had already established it!

So if you own a 3D printer, you can download the data and get started. If you need a 3D printer, you should check out MakerBot, an open source project brought to you by the guys behind Thingiverse.

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Jamendo PRO Partners with International Hotel & Restaurant Association

Cameron Parkins, November 2nd, 2009

jamendoLast month, Jamendo PRO and the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) announced a new partnership that will bring Jamendo PRO’s vast catalog of CC-licensed music to IH&RA members for use as background music.

IH&RA members comprise around 300,000 hotels and 8 million restaurants, making this an incredible case study for how CC-licensed content can be monetized on a large scale. Artists that distribute their music through Jamendo PRO will receive half of the revenue generated from the licensing – these are the same artists who use Jamendo, the open music sharing site, to distribute CC-licensed recordings for free to the public under CC-licenses of their choosing.


Commoner Letter #3: Jay Yoon of CC Korea

Allison Domicone, November 2nd, 2009

Creative Commons owes much of its success to the hundreds of dedicated volunteers who have helped port, translate, and propagate CC licenses in over 50 jurisdictions worldwide. CC Korea, under the leadership of Project Lead Jay Yoon, has achieved some incredible things since its inception, and continues to be a beacon of participatory culture in Asia and across the globe. We are honored to have Jay Yoon, who has already given so much of his time and talent to CC, show his support in the third letter of the Commoner Letter series for this year’s fundraising campaign.

Subscribe to receive future Commoner Letters by email.

Dear Creative Commoner,

I am Jay Yoon and the first Creative Commons volunteer in Korea. Officially, I am the project lead of CC Korea, but I’d more like to introduce myself as the first CC Korea volunteer than its lead as I am writing this letter, hoping you join with me in volunteering to help Creative Commons. Why? Because the powerful engine of sharing and open culture has already taken Creative Commons far beyond what I had initially expected. None of this would have been possible if not for the help of so many “Commoners.”

At the very beginning, I didn’t expect to see so many people come together to get Creative Commons values rooted in Korea in such a short time period. Over the past four years since the introduction to Korea, the suite of CC licenses has been growing from a mere foreign concept to become one of the most-sought public license tools among Korean users. And Creative Commons Korea in itself, once a small project led by selective members in the legal circle, has transformed into an open community for anyone sharing CC values and vision. To my great joy, I can say that every moment I’ve had with CC is a small miracle.

On top of that, this year will leave a meaningful footprint in the history of Creative Commons Korea, since it has registered as an independent legal entity, called Creative Commons Korea Association. As a not-for-profit incorporated association, it is expected to more actively engage in lowering barriers to collaboration and building infrastructure for the future of creativity.

Despite its belated start, Korean users have shown dynamic growth in adopting CC licenses. In an aim to create more CC-licensed content-friendly environments, CC Korea is leading national projects with the Korean government. One of them is a CC repository system, which would act as a hub for CC-licensed content archiving and searching for domestic users as well as Commoners around the world. CC Korea hopes to achieve our own technological understandings and customized experiences into localities. The repository system will consist of several sections, such as a search interface provided by a few big portal sites that have already introduced CC licenses into their blog or community sections, CC content metadata database provided by public sectors and OSPs, and CC content information collected by users. Taking this chance to promote open content, the Korean government is now looking for a way to open its content to the public under a CC license and is working on a comprehensive roadmap for CC services and technical projects.

But the most amazing thing is that the driving force behind all the advances so far has come from each and every voluntary contributor. Various sized projects in art, academy and education are ongoing thanks to those contributors. From an office worker to a teenage student, from the project lead to a brochure sponsor company, at the heart of CC Korea is those individuals’ great passion. This is what I really want to share with you.

From my daily life with Creative Commons, not only do I feel myself grow as I take part in laying a layer for a more open society, but I also experience how the power of “we” can really do something. That’s why I’m so thankful I could be a part of Creative Commons.

I hope you will join me in supporting Creative Commons.

Thank you.
Jay Yoon
CC Korea Project Lead

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CC Taiwan Launches Version 3.0

Michelle Thorne, October 31st, 2009

Creative Commons Taiwan unveiled today Version 3.0 of its jurisdiction-specific licenses. The six standard Creative Commons licenses are legally and linguistically adapted to Taiwanese law, making it easier for local creators to clearly signal the rights they wish their works to carry.

Visitors (high school students) taking a quiz after CC Taiwan team member, Polley (in green), explaining to them the licenses

Visitors (high school students) taking a quiz after CC Taiwan team member Polley (in green) explained the licenses.

The launch was celebrated at the 2009 Open House of the Academia Sinica, the host institution of CC Taiwan. The team’s Project Manager, Wen-Yin Chou, presented on “Brief Introduction of Creative Commons Licenses”, while visitors to the information booth could watch CC videos, take quizzes about the licenses, and talk with the CC Taiwan team throughout the day.

Also, keep your eye on for a soon-to-be released video from CC Taiwan, TIPO, and the Public Television Service. The video will be aired later this year on Taiwanese public serivce channels.

CC Taiwan is led by Dr. Tyng-Ruey Chuang with Yi-Husan Lin, a legal counsel at Creative Commons Taiwan, as coordinator the license porting. For their contribution to the new version, CC Taiwan would like to acknowledge Prof. Ming-Yan Shieh at the National Taiwan University and Prof. Hsiao-Hui Chen at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.

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ccMixter→ArtisTech Media

Mike Linksvayer, October 29th, 2009

ccMixter Only 5 years ago the benefits of CC-enabled remix — fully legal, easy, and respectful of both original artists, remixers, and fans (but not necessarily of those less and less useful strict divisions) — was mostly a vision, unrealized potential. ccMixter played a big part in changing that, beginning with its launch featuring tracks from the WIRED CD — the Gilberto Gil, David Byrne, the Beastie Boys, et al.

Since then, ccMixter has hosted remix contests and challenges from many top artists (check out DJ Vadim Remixes You, wrapping up next week). Many other music remix sites supporting CC licensing and garnering cool contests have also sprung up — seeing the potential of web-mediated, fully legal remix requires no imagination at this point — though there’s still a long way to go to realize its potential to change culture. However, the real strength of ccMixter (and a far leading indicator of cultural change on the horizon) is the ccMixter community and the many years of distributed yet very friendly collaboration embodied in that community. If reading is your thing, check out site admin/developer/mentor Victor Stone’s ccMixter memoir for a deep account of ccMixter’s nature, contributions, and lessons.

For some time CC has been thinking about how to take ccMixter to the next level and looking for just the right entity to do that.

Now, we’re very happy to announce that ccMixter will henceforth be run by ArtisTech Media. For details, see the transfer FAQ, Victor Stone’s take, and letter from Emily Richards, the CEO of ArtisTech Media:

I love ccMixter – exactly as it is. In all my years in music and tech, I’ve found ccMixter’s community to be the most positive, cohesive, and collaborative I’ve been a part of. The music collectively created at ccMixter is uniquely powerful, because of this amazing community of talented, visionary artists. Our goal at ArtisTech is to continue to help foster this talent and community as it grows. And for those seeking even more opportunity for their art, well, our aim is to help you find ways to share your music with the world, without disturbing the balance of this beautiful musical jewel we all love (

As the old saying goes ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’ so we see no need to change things. We may add capacity to allow for larger file uploads and perhaps other improvements of a similar nature, but ccMixter belongs to all of us and it works so magically right now, as it is.

I first uploaded tracks to ccMixter in October 2006, based on the recommendation of ArtisTech co-founder, Jason Brock (spinningmerkaba). When I listened to my first group of remixes (by norelpref, Hundred Schools of Thought, Briareus and PorchCat) I knew I’d been lucky enough to stumble upon something extraordinary. More than three years later, I am more amazed by ccMixter than ever before.

The longstanding participation of Emily (known as Snowflake on ccMixter) and others in the ArtisTech team in the community was a huge plus — adding to the team’s great mix of business, music, and technology experience, and their great spirit and respectfulness.

So CC is really excited about this transition. We believe that in ArtisTech Media we’ve found just the right entity to take ccMixter to the next level, but only with maximum respect for the community and adherence to the forms of openness that have enabled the site and community so far.

If you’re already involved in the ccMixter community, we hope that after reading the FAQ and posts from Victor and Emily you’ll be convinced the long search was worthwhile and that you’re very excited to participate in ccMixter’s next step. If you’re not involved yet — check out the site!

p.s. A huge THANK YOU to all who have helped make this transition possible over the past year, in particular Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati for pro bono legal help, and CC’s General Counsel, Diane Peters.

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Free Software Award nominations due October 31

Mike Linksvayer, October 28th, 2009

Creative Commons was deeply honored to receive 2008’s Free Software Foundation Award for Project of Social Benefit, presented “to a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society by applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life.”

The FSF is currently accepting nominations for the 2009 Award for Project of Social Benefit, as well as the Award for the Advancement of Free Software, presented “to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software.”

Free software and in particular the FSF’s pioneering use of public copyright licenses to protect the freedom of computer users inspired and made possible the free culture movement and in particular Creative Commons — and the use of free software girds the freedom of the network and application layers needed for free culture to thrive.

If you already know free software well, please reflect and make a nomination for one or both awards. We’re particularly eager to see what great project wins the social benefit award!

If you’re not familiar with free software, some good places to start are our post on the movement’s 25th anniversary, the FSF home page, and Wikipedia’s Free Software Portal.

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Students for Free Culture’s Open University Campaign

Fred Benenson, October 28th, 2009

Open University

Students for Free Culture plays a big part of the CC community and we frequently look to them for new hires and volunteers. That’s why we’re always excited to highlight the projects they’re working on. Kevin Donovan just posted on the SFC blog about their ongoing Open University Campaign, which is seeking to evaluate universities based on their openness in the following ways:

An open university is one in which:

  1. The research produced is open access;
  2. The course materials are open educational resources;
  3. The university embraces free software and open standards;
  4. The university’s patents are readily licensed for free software, essential medicine, and the public good;
  5. The university’s network reflects the open nature of the Internet,

where “university” includes all parts of the community: students, faculty and administration.”

The ultimate goal is to generate a report card for universities in order to help prospective students make informed decisions about the university’s copyright, patent, and technology policies.

SFC needs you to get involved if you fit into any of the following categories:

  • Are you a student who can research official university open access policies?
  • Are you passionate about FOSS and can develop a questionnaire for IT administrators about FOSS policy?
  • Are you statistically-inclined and can handle data on universities?
  • Are you a web developer who could create a public website for the Open University Report Cards?
  • Are you a graphic designer who could create posters to raise awareness on campuses?

You can join up by participating on the wiki, signing up for the Open University mailing list, or emailing board (at) freeculture (dot) org with suggestions or questions!


PicScout Looking for Creative Professionals to Beta Test ImageExchange

Fred Benenson, October 27th, 2009

Are you a creative professional who frequently finds yourself using Google Image search or the Flickr commons portal to discover new images? PicScout, a company specializing in image recognition software, is working on a Firefox extension called ImageExchange that they want your help to beta test. Right now the program is in closed beta, but they’ve already implemented support for recognizing images licensed with our Attibution Non-Commercial license.

What does this mean in practice? If you come across a CC BY-NC licensed photo anywhere on the web, PicScout’s ImageExchange extension will recognize it and give you what it believes is the source URL on Flickr. Here’s a screenshot to give you the idea of the results from a search for “flowers” on Google Images:

PicScout Image Exchange Screenshot

The important part to understand is that PicScout’s extension can recognize photos anywhere on the web — from Google Image Search results to a blog you stumble across. When you click the round information button at the top right of the thumbnails that it recognizes, you’ll get a dialog box with more information. If PicScout believes the photo is CC BY-NC licensed and from Flickr, it will point you to the photo’s original page on Flickr. PicScout also recognizes rights-managed and micro-stock images from various industry databases as well. This allows image re-users to get in touch directly with the owner of the photo and secure commercial rights to use it.

Recognizing commons content and identifying its original source is an important part of our community and it’s something we’ve been thinking a lot about. Take for example, the vigilant editors and administrators of Wikimedia Commons, which serves as the multimedia backend for all of the Wikipedia projects. A good portion of their time is spent weeding out copyright violations from the newly uploaded content to the project. If they had an easy way to determine whether an incoming photo was freely CC licensed, public domain, or All Rights Reserved, their jobs could be a lot easier. While PicScout’s ImageExchange is only indexing CC BY-NC licensed photos (which Wikipedia doesn’t accept anyway), we’re looking forward to seeing the database expand its reach into other domains in order to serve more and more communities.

For now, if you’re a creative professional searching the web for new images to use in your day-to-day work, sign up with Pic Scout’s ImageExchange beta program today!


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