Commons News

VentureBlog and Bag and Baggage

Matt Haughey, June 5th, 2003

We’ve have been enjoying the content on VentureBlog and Bag and Baggage for some time, but recently both of these Creative Commons licensed blogs did a great job covering The Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital Conference.

Thanks to some restrictions on the conference, professional journalists were not allowed to cover the event, but audience members could. VentureBlog had some great insights to take away from the conference and Bag and Baggage did a great job taking live notes from the Steve Jobs interview and the dinner with Bill Gates, and also posted photos from the event.

In addition to the recent reporting, each blog has content worthy of merit. VentureBlog is run by venture capital firm investors and their series of posts on Presenting Your Company offers many useful insider tips. We’ve pointed to Denise at Bag and Baggage before on this weblog, but her posts on what Creative Commons licenses mean for weblog authors were instructive for the community.

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iCommons Finland Begins

Glenn Otis Brown, June 3rd, 2003

Finland is the first country to take part in iCommons, our project to port the lawyer-readable versions of our licenses for use across the world. The Helsinki Institute for Information Technology has produced a first draft of the Finnish licenses and will lead the process from a public discussion list hosted on our site. The process will be much like our other community-based developments, such as the sampling license.

Up next: Japan.

Read the press release.

Join the discussion.

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Sampling license: highlights from week 1

Glenn Otis Brown, May 30th, 2003

The highlight reel from the first week of the Sampling License discussion:

Sarah Brown raised concerns that the draft language wasn’t clear enough about the copyrightability of sample-derived works and what other rights the sampler enjoys in them. She suggested we address these issues more explicitly.

Cathy Kirkman, however, explained why the license itself need not spell these points out, and that a thorough FAQ entry or Commons Deed provision was a better place for the explanation.

Chris Kelty and Negativland debated the sampling license’s proposed “anti-advertising” clause. Kelty reasoned that there may be ways to achieve the same end without using anti-advertising language, and expressed other worries about the provision. Negativland stood by the clause.

Finally, I submitted three humble requests to the list participants (1, 2, 3).

To sum up: No changes to the lawyer-readable language so far, though we should be clearer in our human-readable version of the license (e.g., FAQ, license summary) about what rights the sampler enjoys in the new, sample-derived work.

Discussion is still young — join us. Three weeks left until redraft.

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Birdman Lives

Glenn Otis Brown, May 30th, 2003

Salon has a fun piece, “Pillaging the Cartoon Universe,” about the Cartoon Network’s “Birdman: Attorney at Law,” a show saturated with cameos by characters from classic cartoons and other pop culture artifacts. Two disappointing aspects to this piece: 1) the bulk of it is available only to Salon “premium” subscribers, and 2) author Scott Thill makes no mention of how the Birdman creators go about clearing rights for the re-use of copyrighted characters (ironic, given that the show centers around Birdman’s life as a litigator).

Anyone out there know the answer? Do the Birdman people enjoy a Mike Meyers-like licensing deal, are they asserting fair use, or is it a combination of the two?

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Updated O’Reilly list

Matt Haughey, May 29th, 2003

We’ve updated our list of O’Reilly book titles, adding 33 more titles that are set to be released under the Founders’ Copyright.

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Erik Ostrom

Matt Haughey, May 28th, 2003

Today we’re starting a new feature on the Creative Commons weblog: the Featured Content of the Week. Each week, we’ll link to some interesting licensed content that we’ve found on the web. These can be single photographs, songs, movies, e-books, or even new weblogs. If you’ve got some interesting material you’d like to be considered for Featured Content, feel free to send the URL to your work to this address.

This week we’re enjoying the folk music (complete with mandolin!) of Erik Ostrom.

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Directory of Open Access Journals under Creative Commons

Matt Haughey, May 24th, 2003

Lund University in Sweden has recently launched the Directory of Open Access Journals featuring hundreds of peer-reviewed, scholarly journals from scientific and cultural communities. Their principal aim is to secure the right of “users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles.” Along with the searchable directory, they also provide metadata records in XML and license all their XML under an Attribution-Sharealike license.

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Negativland and you build the sampling license; Creative Commons facilitates

Matt Haughey, May 23rd, 2003

We’ve just flipped the switch on a discussion area for public participation as part of our new project development process (image). We’re using mailing lists to facilitate the discussion of new license options, our International Commons project, and metadata strategies.

We kicked off the new model today with development of a sampling license, with discussion driven by Negativland, masters of the cultural remix and veteran dwellers of the fault lines between law and art. Join the effort.

We’ll roll out several other lists in the coming weeks.

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On Warranties: Part III

Glenn Otis Brown, May 20th, 2003

The keen eye of Professor Karl-Friedrich Lenz found what appears to be a discrepancy between the warranty provision of Creative Commons’ licenses and our own policies page, which reads in part:

This website provides general information about legal topics but it does not provide individual legal advice. Creative Commons Corporation is not a law firm and does not provide legal services. Using this website or sending us email does not create an attorney-client relationship. Creative Commons provides this information on an ‘as-is’ basis. Creative Commons makes no warranties regarding the information provided on this website, and disclaims liability for damages resulting from its use.

Lenz is right that this language is unduly confusing. We meant this language not to exempt Creative Commons from the copyright warranties in the license that governs our site. Rather, this disclaiming language was meant to apply back to the sentences immediately preceding it — the text warning that we do not provide legal advice — and not to copyright status of information on the site, generally. New language on our policies page makes this distinction clearer:

This website provides general information about legal topics but it does not provide individual legal advice. Creative Commons Corporation is not a law firm and does not provide legal services. Using this website or sending us email does not create an attorney-client relationship. Creative Commons provides this general legal information on an ‘as-is’ basis. Creative Commons makes no warranties regarding the general legal information provided on this website, and disclaims liability for damages resulting from its use.

To recap:

(1) Yes, our copyright licenses’ warranty provision applies to Creative Commons, just as it does anyone else using our licenses.

(2) The disclaimer on our policies page is intended to refer only to the “general legal information” provided on our site, and now more clearly does so. (Thanks to Prof. Lenz.)

(3) It’s worth noting that the licenses’ copyright warranty, on the one hand, and our disclaimer regarding general legal information, on the other, serve the same goal: to remind every licensor that the decision to use or not to use a license is a serious matter, and ultimately a decision for the licensor alone.

(4) As I said in my last post, we’re reconsidering the warranty issue. Until we take a decision, the warranties apply. To us, too.

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Publishers Weekly

Press Robot, May 15th, 2003

O’Reilly Marks 25 Years, Looks to Tech Future,” by Calvin Reid

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