Commons News

Copyright and the death of Public Enemy’s sound

Matt Haughey, June 6th, 2004

Stay Free Magazine has a great interview with Chuck D and Hank Shocklee from Public Enemy. In it, they discuss how lax copyright laws of the late 1980s allowed them to produce thickly sampled songs for their first two major label releases. “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” and “Fear of a Black Planet” were revolutionary albums that changed the landscape of hip-hop, but due to groups sampling larger portions of songs, record companies came back against their own rap artists, demanding higher and higher license fees for each and every sample.

As Chuck D and Hank Shocklee attest, this change in licensing and law changed the sound of Public Enemy forever as license fees for samples became prohibitively high. They describe their more recent releases as sounding “soft” because they’ve resorted to recreating samples in the studio using live instruments, to get around master sampling license fees.

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Recombo Brazil

Glenn Otis Brown, June 4th, 2004

In about an hour the official launch celebration of Creative Commons Brazil will begin. Neeru and I are here at the 5th Annual Software Livre conference in Porto Alegre with the iCommons Brazil team from Rio’s FGV Law School, as well as William Fisher, faculty director of Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center. Our chairman, Lawrence Lessig, arrives shortly. The event will feature addresses by Lessig, Fisher, Jon Maddog Hall, FGV dean Joaquim Arruda Falcao, and many more, plus the debut of FGV’s Portuguese translations of the Creative Commons animations. (Watch them now. They’re totally amazing.) And for the grand finale, Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil will officially release a few of his songs under the License Formerly Known as Sampling, which, from this moment forward, will be called Recombo, a name inspired by the Brazilian art collective re:combo. Minister Gil was in Lisbon last week, playing with Paul McCartney and others, and just earlier this week he inaugurated the Brazil v. Argentina futebol match with song on national television. Needless to say we are humbled and thrilled beyond belief to have him preside over this important day. And as if that weren’t enough, Mr. Gil is playing a live show later tonight. Recombo-licensed songs will be featured.

Brazil offers two gifts to the world today: Recombo creativity, and the music of Gilberto Gil.

More soon. Stay tuned.

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Panorama Ephemera

Matt Haughey, June 3rd, 2004

This week’s featured content is Rick Prelinger‘s new film Panorama Ephemera, produced entirely with short government clips from the 1940s-1970s. For those in the Bay Area, it will be shown at the San Francisco Cinematheque on Sunday, June 13 at 7:30 pm. The clips range from the everyday normal to the absolutely bizarre and together form an amusing collage of how life used to be.

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CC-Brazil!

Mike Linksvayer, June 2nd, 2004

Legal ports to Brazilian law of Creative Commons 2.0 licenses are now live.

Commoners
Glenn Otis Brown and
Neeru Paharia are at Software Livre 2004 in Porto Alegre for the launch celebration. Chairman Lawrence Lessig will arrive later this week for the official announcement, which will be led by Brazilian Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil.

Thanks to iCommons partner institution Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Law School in Rio de Janeiro and project lead Ronaldo Lemos da Silva Júnior for making CC-Brazil a reality.

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BBC opens up to CC

Matt Haughey, June 2nd, 2004

The BBC recently announced they’ll be opening up their archive and applying Creative Commons licenses to the works. A group of interested folks have started a list to talk about the release and produced a petition to support the decision.

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CC Featured at Ibiblio

Mike Linksvayer, June 2nd, 2004

Creative Commons is one of this month’s features on the Ibiblio home page.

Ibiblio hosts Creative Commons’ movies and mailing lists, among many other resources. “The public’s library and digital archive” lives up to its tagline. Browse their virtual stacks.

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Metadata Tune Up

Mike Linksvayer, May 28th, 2004

Upgrading to one of our version 2.0 licenses or selecting one for the first time? Consider providing optional metadata about your work via the choose license process.

Specifying a format will help people find your work via format-specific searches (e.g., a picture of the Eiffel Tower).

If your work is derived from another, you might provide a URL for the source work. There aren’t yet any tools to take advantage of this metadata, though one can easily imagine using it to navigate a trail of works that build upon each other.

In the future we’ll probably add metadata support for location, tipjar, and other work, creator, and copyright holder information. Suggestions welcome on the cc-metadata mailing list.

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Remixing creativity

Matt Haughey, May 27th, 2004

CC staff favorite and Magnatune artist, Brad Sucks recently started releasing the source to his most popular song, Making Me Nervous, and asking folks to contribute remixes. Like the Jim’s Big Ego remix project we’re got going on here (which can get your remix onto national radio), Brad’s now got six remixes (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and someone making a video for the original.

It’s pretty cool when artists open up the process to their fans, and let creativity flourish. Heck, even a commercial success like Jay-Z can see there’s money to be made in providing remixes that provide eventual benefit to both remixers and the original artists.

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This Week in Amateur Radio

Victor Stone, May 27th, 2004

People from all around the world get together via a technology medium that allows them to form relationships through a global, far-flung community even though they have never met face to face. It may not be the first thing that comes to your mind, but amateur radio is alive and well thank you very much.

Just ask any one at “This Week in Amateur Radio” which produces a weekly show devoted to nothing else. A 100% volunteer effort, a typical show will be at least 80 minutes. “You wouldn’t think there is that much information week in and week out about a hobby,” says George Bowen, Executive Producer of TWIAR “but other than Christmas and Thanksgiving week it’s there.” There are plenty of stories about government regulations in broadcasting but you are just as likely to hear stories like the one this week about the military radio broadcasting that is jamming garage door openers all over Florida.

Segment producers will record their own stories and then upload to one of the mirrored ftp sites which George then downloads and compiles for the show. The result is broadcast on bandwidth made available by commercial satellite feeds but according to George more and more listeners are simply picking up the MP3 version from TWIAR’s website.

These MP3s and all the material on the site used to be marked with an “All Rights Reserved” copyright because “that’s what everybody else was doing. Then I saw this piece on Creative Common on TechTV and I thought ‘Hey, that’s what we’re doing!'”

Indeed, segments are regularly shared with one of the other six such shows produced around the world from New Zealand to Europe. They are now free to do so legitimately thanks to George having put all the shows on the web under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

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Finnish CC Licence

Roland, May 27th, 2004

Finland is the third country after the US and Japan to go ahead with their fully-fledged CC licences. After several months of legal deliberation the Finnish project lead Herkko Hietanen felt able to clear the licence draft and present it to the Finnish public last Monday, thus marking a major milestone in the development of iCommons. The Finns are widely seen as one of the technologically most advanced countries in Europe.

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