Commons News

Washington Post

Press Robot, April 19th, 2004

Copyright in the Digital Age ” by Lawrence Lessig

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9 beet stretch

Matt Haughey, April 15th, 2004

Here’s an interesting use of music in the public domain. 9 beet stretch is the act of using digital tools to slow down Beethoven’s 9th symphony to the point where the piece takes 24 hours to complete. Next week, a 9 beet stretch will be taking place in San Francisco, at 964 Natoma, from Friday April 23rd to Saturday April 24.

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Mainstream mashups!

Matt Haughey, April 14th, 2004

Cool: David Bowie has just launched a new mashup contest. There’s a new ad campaign for Audi cars that features two of Bowie’s songs mashed up. They’ve decided to throw a mashup contest to capitalize on this, awarding a new car to the best song that uses samples from his new album and any older Bowie song. Voting on entries starts this weekend and the contest ends next month so get your turntables cranking.

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New blog: Sellout Central

Matt Haughey, April 14th, 2004

From Magnatune musician Brad Sucks, comes his new music industry blog Sellout Central, which he is co-authoring. They’re exploring a variety of legal and artist issues in the industry and their first slew of posts gives any musician plenty to chew on. We’ll be watching this new blog closely.

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Dutch National Archives

Matt Haughey, April 14th, 2004

500,000 pictures taken between 1880 and 1990 are now in a searchable Dutch National Archive Image Bank. If you speak enough Dutch to navigate the site, there’s quite a lot of history here. It looks like current Dutch copyright laws are similar to the US, lasting until a creator’s death + 70 years, so it’s tough to tell how much of the archive is free for reuse. Still, it’s cool to see another country take their archives online for everyone to see. [thanks prolific]

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Stockstock film festival

Matt Haughey, April 14th, 2004

Wired News has a great story about a Seattle film festival that uses public domain clips from the Prelinger Archives. Participants need only have a computer with video editing software and $20 for the entry fee. The entry deadline is June 15th and the festival is August 1st at the Seattle Art Museum.

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The Globe and Mail

Press Robot, April 13th, 2004

Righting Copywrongs,” by David Akin.

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School of Rock

Glenn Otis Brown, April 13th, 2004

Today I had one of the best experiences of my time at Creative Commons, which is saying a lot. I had the pleasure of visiting the Chandler School in Pasadena, CA, USA, to talk about copyright and Creative Commons. Some 200 sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders and I talked about the ins and outs and dos and don’ts of file-sharing, mash-ups, and music copyrights generally.

Glenn at Chandler School

The students’ questions were amazingly insightful and smart, and many of them went straight to some of the most complex and interesting issues in copyright law. I knew when I was setting up my computer and a seventh-grader asked me if Creative Commons “does royalty-free music” that this would be a sophisticated crowd. Here’s a taste of some other comments and questions:

When the Dixie Chicks did that song by Fleetwood Mac, is that considered a remix? Did they have to pay for that?

What about Weird Al Yankovic?

What about those people on American Idol? Do they pay to sing those songs?

So if a copyright lasts for my life and then another 70 years, does that mean if I live a really long time, the copyright is longer?

What if the person who wrote the song has kids, and they want the copyright to last longer?

What about a company? What happens when it dies?

Does a copyright last that long even if the work isn’t that famous?

If I buy a CD, can I remix the songs on it?

At the end of the session I showed them Justin Cone’s contest-winning Building on the Past, to give them an idea what could be made and accomplished without having to pay anyone or worry their parents over possible legal woes. (Yes, such is our world that kids online now have to look out for their parents‘ interests.) The students gave it a rousing round of applause; there were a few audible “wows,” and a couple of students asked when the next contest might happen.

I left the visit inspired to see Laura‘s and Neeru‘s ideas about Creative Commons and education come to life in a big way. (More on that soon.) In the meantime, I hope that the visit isn’t CC’s last to Chandler — and that it’s our first to a number of schools across the world.

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Great copyright article at Mindjack

Matt Haughey, April 13th, 2004

J.D. Lasica has a new feature in the online magazine Mindjack entitled “The Killing Fields: Copyright Law and its Challengers.” It’s an overview of Jed Horowitz’ struggles with Disney and his film about overreaching copyright, Willful Infringement. An snippet from the article:

At various points, the iconoclastic Horowitz appears on camera, appearing dumbfounded at the tales of a preschool director who said she received letters warning that the school could not show videos to her young charges without a license or hang protected cartoon characters on the walls without permission. He also interviews members of a Rolling Stones tribute band who perform under a legal cloud and husband-and-wife party clowns in Anaheim, California, who were warned not to create balloon animals for kids that looked too much like Tigger, Barney, or the Aladdin genie.

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Short Notice Music Metadata Summit

Mike Linksvayer, April 12th, 2004

We’re hosting a very short notice music metadata summit tomorrow 3-6PM (Pacific) on the Stanford campus and online (IRC).

We hope to come to decisions on several concrete issues, including metadata for tipjars, license buyouts, purchasing, and “remix ready” content as well as discuss how various music metadata-related projects can better collaborate and encourage adoption by others.

Thanks to Christopher Allen and Magnatune for the idea, and a visit by Rob Kaye of MusicBrainz for a reason to do it now.

See you there, or in the ether.

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