Our friends at Free Music Archive have just announced a contest to dethrone one of the most notoriously copyrighted songs of all time. From FMA’s blog:
The Free Music Archive wants to wish Creative Commons a Happy 10th Birthday with a song. But there’s a problem. Although “Happy Birthday To You” is the most recognized song in the English language and its origins can be traced back to 1893, it remains under copyright protection in the United States until 2030. It can cost independent filmmakers $10,000 to clear the song for their films, and this is a major stumbling block hindering the creation of new works of art. The 1987 PBS Civil Rights documentary, Eyes on the Prize is but one notable example.
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While this has made for many inspiring creative alternatives in film and restaurant chains alike, it’s time to dethrone that old ditty and create a new national repository of alternate Birthday song compositions. All submissions will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license so that they may be freely incorporated into new works of art as long as the artist and the Free Music Archive are properly attributed.
In celebration of Creative Commons’ tenth anniversary, we asked various friends of CC to write about their favorite CC-licensed works. Today, Jason Sigal tells the story of how Chris Zabriskie started licensing his music under CC BY and, in the process, opened new professional doors in his music career.
Happy 10th, CC! From the Free Music Archive
By Jason Sigal
The Free Music Archive is a curated library of music that wants to be shared, and Creative Commons makes it all possible. Our project was born out of a simple idea from the freeform noncommercial radio station WFMU: radio has always offered free access to quality music, and we all stand to benefit when others are encouraged to spread the word. We joined forces with a coalition of likeminded curators who specialize in everything from contemporary Indonesian netaudio to early cylinder recordings to Western classical, and we provide a platform for artists who utilize the full range of Creative Commons licenses.
Each element of the CC licensing suite is a powerful tool for musicians to leverage copyright in ways they find beneficial. For some, like Roger McGuinn of The Byrds, Creative Commons ensures that his re-recordings of public domain folk songs can be shared in a manner befitting the folk tradition. For the mythical 80s cassette underground duo Smersh, CC BY-NC-ND serves an archival purpose, as every digital copy ensures the preservation of sounds once confined to small batches of decaying analog tape. For the Russian duo Monokle & Galun and the Japanese netlabel Bunkai-Kei, CC BY-NC-SA encourages remixes like Creative Commons Compilation Data, where artists were challenged to make new songs by remixing other netlabel releases.
Creative Commons helps creators find each other, and we’re always inspired to hear about collaborations sparked by CC. Creative Commons also makes it possible to bypass what Lessig has termed the “permission culture,” and this is where things get really interesting. For example, we’re seeing a lot of innovative models from artists under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. Attribution is not part of traditional copyright, but since hyperlinks function as a form of online currency, it is a wonderful added protection afforded by the Creative Commons licensing suite.
Last year, Chris Zabriskie — an FMA artist who specializes in cinematic soundscapes, ambient piano compositions and minimal synth music — found the Attribution requirement so powerful that he decided to drop the NonCommercial clause from his work. In a post entitled Why I Went CC BY, he explained his reasoning: “There are 48 hours of new video being uploaded just to YouTube every minute. Somebody, somewhere, always needs music for their project. Let people do what they want with your music, and they’ll promote you.” His inbox was flooded with requests from fellow creators: “People with Etsy stores making videos to advertise their new, handmade products. Filmmakers who, while the goal of making their short film isn’t monetary, one day might press up some DVDs. And if that dude’s free Flash game gets really popular, he’ll want to sell it in the App Store.” He included some examples of work by “people I’m not going to sue,” and he keeps a list that now includes big names like the Cartoon Network, New York Public Library, Gizmodo, and Mashable alongside independent feature films and shorts. “Malleable Objects,” a short documentary on the artist Margaret Craig, is embedded below.
Zabriskie emailed the FMA earlier this year to describe how his decision paid off in ways he never expected: “I’ve scored several feature films, a number of shorts, and am doing a bunch of other contract work for people and projects all around the world.” Along with the new commissions, “a shocking number of folks from filmmakers to ad agencies to churches have been paying to license some of my existing stuff” either as a means to bypass the Creative Commons Attribution requirement, or simply because they have the means to support the music that helped make their work possible. Though he says he has no plans to leave his dream job, (which happens to include both music composition and video editing), Chris Zabriskie has allowed his music to spread freely to the point where he could afford to focus on music full time.
These are just a few of the many models made possible by Creative Commons licensing. Thanks to Creative Commons, creators have choices beyond traditional copyright. Over the course of the past decade, these choices have facilitated collaborations and spawned the creation of countless new works. Happy birthday, CC. We look forward to what the next ten years will bring!Comments Off
On Saturday, we toasted to 10 years of the Creative Commons licenses, which has enabled the sharing and reuse of roughly half a billion creative, educational, and scientific works.
Many others joined in to celebrate at events around the world, and are still celebrating through December 16 (the actual birthday of the CC license suite). You can see all of the pictures from these events at the CC10 Flickr pool.
With 350 people registered for the event, the celebration in San Francisco spanned three floors of the SF Planning and Urban Research Association downtown. Each floor featured different CC projects, including a video installation by the Global Lives project (consisting of ten videos – each following one person for 24 hours) and Dublab’s custom cc10 remix of CC licensed music and multimedia.
— dublab (@dublab) December 9, 2012
In addition, the food and drink was CC themed, starting with the CC cupcakes on the ground floor and ending with signature CC cocktails in the Remix Lounge on the top floor.
Longtime CC musician Colin Mutchler, one of CC’s original success stories, introduced Creative Commons co-founder Larry Lessig, who gave an unscripted speech expressing his appreciation for the past 10 years, followed by CC CEO Cathy Casserly who expressed excitement for the next ten. Cathy, Larry, and all other CC Board members were present for the festivities.
— Open Science Fedn (@openscience) December 9, 2012
Creative Commons continues to make a difference in all sectors of society. Please join in celebrating our 10th anniversary, and consider donating to help us celebrate many more years to come!Comments Off
Welcome to day 5 of CC10! Today, CC communities are celebrating in Stockholm and Haifa. And here on the Creative Commons blog, we’re discussing governmental and institutional adoption of CC licenses and public domain tools.
CC’s Timothy Vollmer acknowledges several achievements around the world in governmental CC adoption, and we revisit one of the biggest announcements of the year, Europeana’s decision to release its record data under the CC0 public domain waiver. Finally, browse the Open Data Handbook, the definitive legal and technological guide to open data from our friends at the Open Knowledge Foundation.Comments Off
Throughout the #cc10 celebrations, we’re highlighting different CC-enabled media platforms, to show the breadth and diversity of the CC world. Today, as we’re talking about governmental and institutional adoption of CC tools, it seemed appropriate to discuss Europeana, the massive digital library of European history and culture.
For people who get excited about open cultural data, one of the most exciting moments of 2012 came in September, when Europeana announced that it was releasing its metadata to the public domain under the CC0 waiver. This release of 20 million records represents one of the largest one-time dedications of cultural data to the public domain.
While the data was previously available through the Europeana website, dedicating it to the public domain multiplies its usability. From the press release:
This release, which is by far the largest one-time dedication of cultural data to the public domain using CC0 offers a new boost to the digital economy, providing electronic entrepreneurs with opportunities to create innovative apps and games for tablets and smartphones and to create new web services and portals.
Europeana’s move to CC0 is a step change in open data access. Releasing data from across the memory organisations of every EU country sets an important new international precedent, a decisive move away from the world of closed and controlled data.
On this 10th anniversary of CC, there’s much to celebrate: Creative Commons licenses and tools have been embraced by millions of photographers, musicians, videographers, bloggers, and others sharing countless numbers of creative works freely online. One area of growth in use of CC licenses and public domain tools is for government works. Government adoption of Creative Commons may prove to be one of the most significant movements looking into the future. Said well by David Bollier, “Governments are coming to realize that they are one of the primary stewards of intellectual property, and that the wide dissemination of their work—statistics, research, reports, legislation, judicial decisions—can stimulate economic innovation, scientiﬁc progress, education, and cultural development.” If governments around the world are going to unleash the power of hundreds of billions of dollars of publicly funded education, research and scientific resources, we need broad adoption of open policies aligned with the belief that the public should have access to the resources they paid for. At a fundamental level, “all publicly funded resources [should be] openly licensed resources.”
CC licenses and tools have been implemented by government entities and public sector bodies around the world. And over the last few years, there’s been an increasing focus in governments aligning to the principle that the public should have access to the materials that it pays for. These funding mandates, which require that grantees release content produced with grant funds under an open license, has been a increasingly commons way for governments to support openness. Legislation involving the open licensing of publicly funded educational materials has been passed in Brazil, Poland, the United States, and Canada. The UK has championed an open access policy for publicly funded research under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. Governments in Australia and New Zealand have opted for comprehensive open licensing policies for all government-produced works, by default releasing public information and data under CC BY. The Dutch government has taken this one step further, opting to release government information directly into the public domain using the CC0 Public Domain Dedication.
In addition to governments, other publicly-minded institutions like philanthropic foundations and intergovermental organizations are supporting open licensing. Several foundations have already implemented or are considering requiring open licensing on the outputs of their grant funds, including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation , the Open Society Foundations, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation already require their grantees to release content they build with grant money under open licenses. And CC continues to explore how to evaluate current copyright policies within the foundation world and suggest how foundations (and their grantees) can benefit from open licensing for their grant funded materials. Intergovernmental organizations like the Commonwealth of Learning and the World Bank have adopted open licensing policies to share their publications too.
Open advocates – whether it be in support of open sharing of publicly funded educational materials, open access to scientific research articles, access to a huge trove of cultural heritage resources from libraries and museums, or open licensing for public sector information and government datasets – have been increasingly active over the last few years, particularly in working to educate policymakers about the importance and benefits of open licensing. These efforts include the development of declarations such as the Budapest Open Access Initiative, Cape Town and Paris Declarations on Open Educational Resources, the Washington Declaration on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, the Panton Principles, and many others. Advocates have been key in communicating the need for governments to consider open licensing, whether it be for federal agencies, governing bodies like the European Commission, or through multilateral negotiations such as WIPO. And the grassroots open community has been extremely active in raising awareness of open licensing, whether it be through the tireless work of CC Affiliates, the broad network of open data activists from the Open Knowledge Foundation, legal experts championing Open Government Data Principles, and persons participating in events from Open Access Week to Open Education Week to Public Domain Day. All of these actions have rallied around the common theme that governments and public bodies should release content they create or fund under open licenses, for the benefit of all.
Since the beginning of Creative Commons, governments and public sector bodies have leveraged CC licenses and public domain tools to share their data, publicly funded research, educational and cultural content, and other digital materials. Governments are increasingly leveraging CC licenses as part of their strategy to proactively share resources, promote effective spending, and champion innovation. A massive amount of work is ahead, and with a committed community of advocates, interested governmental departments, and open minded policymakers, we can together work toward a close integration of open licensing inside the public sector. If we do so, governments can better support their populations with the information they need, increase the effectiveness of the public’s investment, and contribute to a true global commons.Comments Off
In celebration of the tenth anniversary of Creative Commons, our good friends at Dublab created an awesome #cc10 music mix. The continuous blend includes 22 tracks by esteemed artists like Bradford Cox, Lucky Dragons, Nite Jewel, Dntel, and Matthewdavid. The mix is available for free download and is available to the world under CC’s BY-NC license.
Creative Commons and Dublab have a long history of working together, and Dublab is behind a wide variety of amazing and inspiring CC-licensed music and visual art. Learn more by visiting Dublab’s website and reading about some of the projects Dublab and CC have collaborated on.
Below are the track listing and a SoundCloud widget for Dublab’s #cc10 mix. Download and share it!
 Carlos Niño & Miguel Atwood Ferguson – “8 Moons Blue”
 Nobukazu Takemura – (Unknown Title)
 Lucky Dragons – “13”
 Nite Jewel & Julia Holter – “What We See”
 Yoko K – “Into Infinity ‘Ear’ Loop #1″
 Golden Hits – “Pillowillow”
 Tujiko Go – “Into Infinity ‘Ear’ Loop #1″
 Yuk. & Teebs – “Estara”
 asonic garcia – “Endless Realm (Bun/Fumitake Tamura remix)”
 Dntel – “Guardian”
 Wake – “Duckbag”
 Javelin – “dublab decade jamz”
 DJ Lengua – “Waterbeat”
 Derrick Winston – “Jawhar”
 James Pants – “Tonight, By The Moonlight”
 Matthewdavid – “Jingle 3″
 Kentaro Iwaki – “Into Infinity ‘Ear’ Loop #5″
 Lucky Dragons – “Real Fire”
 High Places – (Unknown Title)
 Bradford Cox aka Atlas Sound – (Unknown Title)
 Feathers – “Eldritch”
 The Long Lost – “You Own Backyard”
On day 3 of our CC10 celebrations we focus on film.
David Evan Harris tells us about Global Lives, a collective of filmmakers worldwide building an open source video library of human experience.Comments Off
Video artist and activist David Evan Harris sees sharing as a key component of his work. “The fact that we use Creative Commons licenses to guarantee that our work is in the commons is an essential ingredient in the production itself,” he told me. “It communicates something to our volunteers and people who work with us. It communicates that it isn’t about enriching one person, and it’s not about producing a proprietary work that only a few people will see.”
David is the founder and executive director of the Global Lives project, an organization that produces videos documenting the lives of people around the world. The project’s first undertaking consists of ten videos – each following one person for 24 hours, with no cuts. Global Lives presents the videos in the form of gallery exhibitions, with the ten videos playing simultaneously. In essence, the visitor is creating her own remix of all ten videos by choosing what to watch as she wanders through the exhibition (if you were at the CC10 celebration in San Francisco, you got a taste of the exhibition on the fourth floor).
But Global Lives isn’t just a gallery exhibition: the videos are available online as complete, uncompressed downloads. Nor is it just art. Lately, in fact, David’s been most interested in its potential in the education world.
Part of what’s striking about Global Lives is the possibilities for use that go far beyond its original context. Global Lives videos have been used by educators all around the world, some of whom have even gone so far as to create their own cuts of Global Lives videos to demonstrate certain ideas to their students – a video of all ten subjects eating breakfast, for example, or coming home from work. Peace Corps volunteers have used Global Lives videos as training before leaving on assignments. “One of our translators is a Malawian who lives in the UK, and she shows the Malawi video to her daughter as a bedtime story, so her daughter can get an idea of what it would be like to grow up in Malawi.”
Talking with David, his excitement about these uses is contagious. He showed me a mock up of a site redesign that he and his team are working on. In the new Global Lives site, users will be able to watch multiple videos at once, leave timestamped comments, and even create and share their own mixes of Global Lives content. It’s amazing to see so many possibilities for sharing and reuse grow out of a simple idea – that watching how people live helps you understand them.
Global Lives is now gearing up for a second set of videos – this one called Lives in Transit and focusing on the lives of people who work in transportation – and asking for donations through Kickstarter.Comments Off
In honor of Creative Commons’ tenth anniversary, we’re profiling several media platforms with CC integration. Vimeo has supported CC licensing since 2010, and has accumulated over two million CC-licensed videos. When I spoke with VP of creative development Blake Whitman, he told me that Vimeo’s staff and community had been talking about CC for years prior. “We knew that this would be perfect for the type of community that Vimeo has. There’s a lot of remixing going on, and it made a lot of sense for us to incorporate it. We thought it was a great web standard that needed to be solidified in our space.”
I also asked Blake to recommend some of his favorite CC-licensed videos on Vimeo. Two of those are embedded in this interview; the rest are listed below.
Tell me more about how CC licensing fits into the Vimeo community.
The beginnings of Vimeo were really about sharing and collaboration, doing projects together, and sharing life’s moments. It’s evolved over time – as we added HD and other featured that attract higher-end creators – but that ethos has always stayed the same. We’ve always given users the option to make their vidoes available for download. It’s important that when people make their content available for download, there’s a clear way for the creator to indicate how they’d like that content to be used.
For a long time, we didn’t have that. You could make it explicit in the description that there was a CC license on it, but since it wasn’t built into Vimeo, it wasn’t being used consistently. When people download videos, they should know what the rights are that the creators are intending.
How much did you publicize the CC implementation? Were there any hiccups or pushback from the community?
There’s always a period of learning for anything new, but we work very hard to make it clear. It’s crucial that people understand how the licenses work – and not just for videos. I want users to understand CC licensing on a deeper level, as a part of sharing on the Internet at large.
Do you think that Creative Commons has changed the Vimeo community’s attitudes about sharing?
It’s always changing and evolving, as smaller communities within Vimeo expand and contract and branch out.
People are open willing to share, and CC is a model that makes sense. Look how many people are allowing their content to be used for commercial purposes. And that’s pretty amazing, that people are that open to allow for people to make money from the stuff that they create, as long as they’re cited. That’s great, and I think it’s really important.
Blake’s favorite CC-licensed videos on Vimeo:
- The Mountain
- Marcel The Shell With Shoes On
- Jellyfish Lake
- Sense of Flying
- A Story for Tomorrow
- Grand Finale
- Everything is a Remix
- I Look I Move
- Right Here All Over (Occupy Wall St)
- Phoenix – A Take Away Show