Commons News

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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Rick Prelinger in the NYT

Matt Haughey, April 12th, 2004

Rick Prelinger, of the Prelinger Archives, got his letter to the editor published in today’s New York Times. In it he points to the positive free distribution aspects of digitizing and sharing his works under the public domain:

Our experience may seem counterintuitive, but it has been overwhelmingly positive: the more we give away, the more we actually sell.

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The Bots Are All Right

Glenn Otis Brown, April 11th, 2004

Some Creative Commons-licensed, political-mash music from “the Internet’s first virtual band.”

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Books on MP3: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Victor Stone, April 11th, 2004

I watch the Internet Archive’s Open Source Audio area for material that could be used for legal remixes including spoken word audio.

In wonderful news, this morning’s postings include Andrew Levine’s audio reading of the first chapter to Cory Doctorow’s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. The book had been available online under a somewhat restrictive CC in text format for a while but Cory recently loosened the reins and the artistic community seems to be responding.

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How hard is it to put a book online, legally?

Matt Haughey, April 9th, 2004

Sometimes people ask us why we created the Creative Commons, and we often say that we wanted there to be an easy way for you to share your creations and also to build a large pool of creative work that is easy to redistribute, print, (and if the license allows) collage, remix, or even sell to others.

If you’re wondering what the world without Creative Commons is like, check out this helpful primer on the question “How Can I Tell Whether a Book Can Go Online?” The answer, as you can see, is quite complicated, including the various laws around the world. The page doesn’t mention CC, but if it did, one of the top bullets would be “look for a Creative Commons mark” and the permission and legal questions that take up the rest of the page would be solved.

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Tell Tale Weekly’s audiobooks

Matt Haughey, April 9th, 2004

A New York Times article recently pointed to Tell Tale Weekly, an audio book site selling MP3s as cheap as $0.25 each. They’ve also committed to licensing the books under a Creative Commons license after 5 years or 100k downloads, whichever comes first.

It’s not easy to find good, cheap, DRM-free audiobooks and Tell Tale Weekly looks like a pretty cool new provider of such work.

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Digital Media Europe

Press Robot, April 9th, 2004

New ‘some-rights-reserved’ music licence from Creative Commons” by Leigh Phillips

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New York Times

Press Robot, April 9th, 2004

Lottery Numbers and Books With a Voice” by Pamela LiCalzi O’Connell

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