Commons News

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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Ars Technica

Press Robot, May 15th, 2003

O’Reilly adopts Founding Fathers’ copyright terms,” by Jon Stokes

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Extreme Tech

Press Robot, May 15th, 2003

Spreading the Digital Word,” by Radhika Kaushik

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San Jose Mercury News

Press Robot, May 15th, 2003

Grants promoting unfettered innovation,” by Dan Gillmor

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