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ccMixter to the max Q&A; proposals due July 29

Mike Linksvayer, July 17th, 2008

May 29 we announced that we are accepting proposals for a new home for ccMixter, the innovative remix-oriented music community that Creative Commons has run since late 2004. The Request For Proposals was covered many places, including Advertising Age, Boing Boing, and WIRED as well as discussed on the ccMixter forums. Proposals are due July 29 and must be emailed to ccmixter-rfp@creativecommons.org. Questions are welcome at the same address.

We’ve received numerous questions since posting the RFP, which we’ve distilled into the Q&A below.

Before getting to the Q&A, check out (or come back to) some cool ccMixter and related developments over the last month: new site features galore, new developer features, a call for remixes from Shannon Hurley, a new weekly show featuring MC Jack in the Box’s ccMixter picks and of course lots of great new music.

ccMixter RFP Q&A

Why is CC doing this?

This is answered clearly (if dryly) in the RFP (emphasis added):

ccMixter.org was launched by CC in November 2004 to demonstrate legal mixing and reuse of music content, one area in which CC licenses have found firm footing and support. CC believes that ccMixter.org has fulfilled its initial mission of concretely demonstrating “legal reuse.” However, running a community music site is not one of CC’s core competencies, and accordingly, CC’s Board of Directors has decided that ccMixter should be transitioned to another person or entity with the necessary resources and expertise for ccMixter to continue to grow and reach its full potential.

In other words, we think ccMixter has the potential to “blow up” — in the right hands.

Does CC own all IP contained in proposals?

No. Section 3.2(c) of the RFP says, “All RFP responses, supporting materials, and other documentation submitted with responses will become the property of CC.” Our intent is not that CC become the owner or assignee of any intellectual property conceptualized or contained in a proposal response, only that CC needs to retain a record and copy of everything that’s submitted (for audit purposes, etc.).

What did Lessig really mean by “free”, “no ads”, “.org”, and “no variances”?

Appendix B to the RFP restates (verbatim) the criteria articulated by Larry Lessig for spinning out ccMixter to a new home.

“Free” means the entity does have to provide current ccMixter services at no charge, but does not prohibit it from providing “pro” services to users at another, related site. The related site can be linked to from the ccMixter website.

“No ads” means the free ccMixter site cannot have ads.

“.org” means the site will be served from a “.org” domain, but more importantly, have a “no ads” face, though the site content could be served from other domains as well, consistent with the license(s) the content falls under.

“No variances” will be considered from the spirit of the principles Larry articulated, but admittedly those principles leave some room for interpretation. We may need to refine those points in negotiation depending on the ideas contained in the proposals. But the over-arching and guiding intent is to ensure the ccMixter website remains a community environment where remixers can do their thing, legally, and not suffer abuse or feel that the essence of their community or the terms governing their participation have changed. We’re happy to review proposal ideas and drafts and provide feedback on whether the direction envisioned is tenable. This isn’t a matter of throwing one over the transom and hoping it isn’t immediately disqualified … if you’re interested in submitting a proposal, let’s talk.

What is the activity level of the site?

Probably the best window into how the site is used is on the ccMixter stats page.

Over the last 30 days, ccMixter has 333,871 pageviews in 58,158 visits from 39,234 visitors (according to Google Analytics).

Alexa, Compete.com, and Quantcast provide publicly available traffic indicators.

How much does it cost to run ccMixter?

The technical answer is that the site currently runs on one box, currently hosted at ServerBeach for $229/month, including bandwidth (2000GB/month). A <$10/month Dreamhost account is used to help with bandwidth. The other cost, much larger, has been its people. That basically means Victor (who has to date performed services at well below market rate) and a small amount of legal/finance/hr/management overhead from CC.

All this said, the question we encourage proposers to be thinking about is not “what does it cost CC, a non profit, to run ccMixter today?” The circumstances of our development and maintenance of the site in its current form should only inform, not drive or be relied upon in determining, costs going forward.

The question you really should be asking is “what would ccMixter cost [your name here] to run?”, which will be largely determined by your vision for its future.

The reason is simple. For almost every case, the current cost to CC does not translate to what ccMixter would cost somebody because the CC infrastructure of lawyers, accountants, tech staff, etc. would all need to replicated. And the “market value” of the very valuable work Victor performs at a cut rate for CC almost certainly will not translate to your real world scenario.

So the answer to this inquiry really depends in what kind of infrastructure you have at your organization, and even more importantly on your vision and plans for the site.

Remember, proposals are due July 29 to ccmixter-rfp@creativecommons.org! Please read the RFP carefully if you are considering submitting.

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