Commons News

Free Culture released

Matt Haughey, March 25th, 2004

Creative Commons chairman Lawrence Lessig has just released his new book, Free Culture today, both online as a licensed downloadable PDF and in stores. The book covers the current state of copyright law and what it means to our culture and society. Give it a look, and if you like what you see, ordering online will contribute a small percentage of this organization.

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Full-Time Intimacy

Glenn Otis Brown, March 25th, 2004

The Berkman Center’s Mary Bridges and Benjamen Walker — the sound designer behind Creative Commons’ animations — recently produced an audio postcard for NPR on the SXSW Interactive conference. It’s subtly funny, and a nice self-exemplifying piece of, and about, instant bricolage media. (Listen closely for the voices of Creative Commons board member Joi Ito and Mediarights.org tech chief and Fourth Wall Films panelist David Jacobs.)

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Liberation (France)

Press Robot, March 24th, 2004

Trois Questions a Glenn Otis Brown,” by Marie Lechner.

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SoundShelf.com offers CC for music

Neeru Paharia, March 24th, 2004

SoundShelf.com hosts free music of various genres and makes it all available under the EFF Open Audio License, or a Creative Commons license. This was taken directly from their FAQ:

2. When is free music legal?

Free music is legal when the artists want it to be. Until recently it was near impossible to know the artist’s feelings and intentions as all works were automatically copyrighted. Today with the emergence of the Creative Commons License and the EFF Open Audio License the artist’s desired intentions are expressed by the license that they choose to publish their works under.

I particulary liked this track No More by Neoismo, a group based out of Italy. It’s under an Attribution-ShareAlike license so you can even remix it!

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Biomed Central using Creative Commons

Matt Haughey, March 23rd, 2004

Biomed Central, a publishing house offering free access to over 100 journals of peer-reviewed biomedical research, has recently adopted the Attribution license on all their submissions.

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Pay to license working with Creative Commons

Matt Haughey, March 23rd, 2004

One-man band Brad Sucks recently signed with Magnatune and licensed all his tracks under Creative Commons (and began selling them on a sliding scale on Magnatune’s site).

We were delighted to hear that Brad’s song “Making Me Nervous” was recently licensed for use in radio ads and TV ads that played in Canada. Thanks in part to Magnatune’s tiered licensing system, record-at-home musicians like Brad have found other ways to make a living from their music by selling commercial licenses. It’s a great example of the common sense approach Magnatune takes to commercial licensing that also allows for free sharing and listening by fans. Congrats, Brad and Magnatune!

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Roger McGuinn of the Byrds uses Music Sharing License

Neeru Paharia, March 23rd, 2004

Legendary musician Roger McGuinn of the Byrds is using the new Creative Commons Music Sharing License for all the songs in his Folkden project. You can see the Share Music tag at the bottom of each song’s page, as it’s displayed here for the song Delia’s Gone. Roger builds upon a rich heritage of public domain songs even further by opening up his own sound recordings for sharing. On the site, Roger discusses how folk music lives through the process of sharing.

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CC Remix Music — Jammin on the Net, and Holland Hopson

Neeru Paharia, March 23rd, 2004

Last featured on CC Remix Music was Funktifyno, a great fusion jam band based in Oregon. Chris Morris, based in Texas, read our blog and turned their song Funkberry Jam into Funkberrymo Jam by adding a keyboard track– how’s that for jamming on the Net?

Today we are featuring Holland Hopson’s song Cuckoo, a peaceful and melodic flow on the saxophone. Though thorougly beautiful in its current state, it lends itself to the potential of an added drum beat, possibly changing the spirit of the song entirely — care to remix?

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Science Commons

Glenn Otis Brown, March 23rd, 2004

As we announced in our short film “Reticulum Rex” and on this
blog in January
, one of Creative Commons’ New Year’s Resolutions
was to explore a Science Commons — a new, parallel branch of our
organization dedicated to investigating how our “some rights reserved”
model can be applied to pressing problems in science and the field of biomedical research.

Thanks to the hard work of our Board of Directors and many friends of
Creative Commons, that process is now underway.

We are very excited to announce the launch of the Science Commons
exploratory phase, for which we recently secured funding.

The process will build upon Creative Commons’ work in the sciences (e.g., our licensing of Public Library of Science publications). But, crucially, Science Commons will delve
into both legal areas (patents, data) and subject matter (biomedicine) outside the scope of our current organization.

We are now seeking a energetic and committed manager to join us long-term and full-time to drive the Science Commons exploratory process — someone expert in these areas and prepared for the challenge of rearing what may well grow up to be CC’s sibling organization. It’s a very exciting development.

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Call and Response

Glenn Otis Brown, March 23rd, 2004

My most vivid memory from South by Southwest:

Thursday night in Austin, TX, USA, MSN threw a party across the street from the convention center. It was in a spare warehouse space, like a rave or fly-by-night underground party, but the fancy lighting, free drinks, and imported-looking crowd (L.A.) all said Big Bucks. The women checking the guest list looked as if they might moonlight on The Price is Right. The event was planned, from what I could gather, as a buzz-builder for MSN’s big move into the iTunes-style content business.

When I came in, the crowd — around two hundred, I’d guess — had gathered around
the stage where legendary DJ Grandmaster Flash was in the middle of a set. Rumor had it that DJ Dangermouse would be playing, but that a last-minute nastygram from EMI scuppered the plan. That rumor seemed dubious for a number of reasons — what’s that cause of action, exactly? And in any event, it was hard to imagine finding anyone better to preside over the birth of Microsoft’s cool than Grandmaster Flash, by most accounts the pioneer of turntable performance: the sample, the scratch, the fader-toggle, the break, the real-time remix. If this event was meant to kick-off Microsoft’s entry into Apple’s rip-mix-burn marketing niche, they could not have chosen an entertainer with better creds to preside over it.

That was clear within just a few seconds of watching Grandmaster Flash, whom I’d never seen perform live before, stand over the turntables and mixer. I wish I could have brought with me every single person I’ve met who have said they don’t believe DJ’ing or sound manipulation to be an art form in and of itself. This guy could make a vinyl LP do anything,
make any sound, scratch it like a percussion instrument over a completely
different track before putting the needle back to precisely the place he’d left a split-second before. And this was all analog: no digital tricks, no ProTools. If you’ve ever wondered how a trombonist or the player of a fretless instrument knows where and when to find a particular note, to pull it
out of nowhere with no orientation, all while maintaining the overall
energy of the tune, you could appreciate what Grandmaster Flash was doing. The crowd was eating it up. The only thing slightly off about the show was the DJ’s sidekick, who goofily bounced around the stage pantomiming the lyrics, like a sign-language interpreter for the hip-hop impaired. But even he was entertaining in his own way.

Then, after a compelling tweak of the bassline in
Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” Grandmaster Flash cut the music and prepared the crowd for some call-and-response. It was old-school audience participation time. He’d play a hook, then cut the music, and the crowd would shout an answer in time with the song.

The call?

The chorus of “Good Times,” a 1979 disco classic whose
bassline Grandmaster’s labelmates, the Sugarhill Gang, lifted for
their single “Rapper’s Delight” — probably one of the
top few most famous hip-hop songs ever, and one of the
very first.

The response?

When I do this, said Grandmaster Flash, playing the
vocal “Good Times,” then dropping the volume, everyone yell “MSN.”

People in the audience looked at each other.

Got it? he said into the microphone, Good times — MSN! Good times — MSN! Got it? Here we go.

A few people booed. The DJ played a few rounds of the vocal, then cut the volume.

Grandmaster Flash, and about a dozen audience members, shouted “MSN!”

A few scattered boos followed. Flash tried to rally the crowd. He played the call again: Good Times . . . Good Times . . . And the music cut out again — the audience’s turn.

This time they responded. But they didn’t say “MSN.”

What did they say? I asked the couple in front of me.

They said, ‘Bulls–t,’ the couple said, laughing. I asked my friends. They heard the same thing.

After a couple more such calls and responses, Grandmaster Flash went back to the regular show, and right away the crowd threw its hands in the air and danced again as if none of it had ever happened.

I don’t really blame Grandmaster Flash. Or MSN for that matter. It’s all just business.

Whether it’s smart business is another story. And whether the stunt’s layer upon layer of irony were intended or accidental is simply a mystery.

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