Commons News

Scientific American & Creative Commons

Glenn Otis Brown, February 12th, 2003

There’s a great piece about Creative Commons in the March issue of Scientific American.

You may remember that Scientific American recently named our chairman Lawrence Lessig one of the 50 top innovators of 2002.

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MusicBrainz launches with CC licensed metadata

Matt Haughey, February 11th, 2003

MusicBrainz, one of our collaborators, has announced they’re releasing their database of music metadata under a CC license. MusicBrainz metadata lets you take all your assorted music files and organize them with consistent title, author, and album information.

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New Featured Commoner profile up

Matt Haughey, February 8th, 2003

Free trading of our music has genuine, verifiable returns. Community. Exchanges of artistic thought and aesthetic commodity. . . The RIAA argument that artists won’t particpate in the marketplace of ideas without financial compensation for CDs seems pretty short-sighted from where we sit.

– Chris Wetherell, Dealership

We recently sat down for an interview with members of Dealership and The Walkingbirds. These independent, unsigned musicians with a small following of fans shared their thoughts and concerns about music online.

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Technorati using Creative Commons

Matt Haughey, February 8th, 2003

Technorati is an interesting weblog data mining tool that tracks links among and between sites. During its recent overhaul, creator Dave Sifry added a Creative Commons license to the resulting indexes and feeds. This allows others to reprint and produce modified versions of the indexes, as long as they are not used for commercial purposes (and properly attributed).

It’s a refreshing approach by a toolmaker aimed at sharing his community-oriented tools.

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Blogging in the Public Domain

Matt Haughey, February 5th, 2003

There’s been a lot of recent talk among weblogs regarding Creative Commons licenses. After a little healthy back-and-froth, Copyfight cleared up some confusion over its use of a Creative Commons license. Doc (whom we profiled on this site) recently changed his blog to devote the contents to the public domain, sparking a discussion among a few webloggers questioning the rush to license, in turn prompting others to explain their reasons for doing so. Meanwhile, the ever dutiful and thorough Bag and Baggage asks for more opinions from lawyers with weblogs.

For our part, we’re glad to see discussion of the licenses, the hows and whys of using them in certain circumstances, and so on. We’re a community-based project, and we’re of the school that the more speech, the better. That said, if you’re confused about a Creative Commons tool, please remember to visit our FAQ, or email us. We can’t provide legal advice specific to your situation, but we can provide general information that you can use to help yourself.

And that’s a point that bears emphasizing. Anyone considering using a Creative Commons license should always think through all the issues involved and adopt the license with careful attention to detail. Our tools are just that — tools. Our model intentionally depends on copyright holders to take responsibility for how they use those tools. Or how they don’t use them: If you’re unsure and want to keep your full copyright, fine. If you choose to allow others to re-use your work, great.

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German Legal books, Swedish open source site under CC

Matt Haughey, February 3rd, 2003

Interesting to see more worldwide uptake: Karl-Friedrich Lenz is publishing several legal books (in German) under a Creative Commons License, while Swedish open source community site Gnuheter does the same.

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Gamelan Music using Creative Commons

Matt Haughey, February 1st, 2003

Gamelan Nyai Saraswati, a group of Gamelan musicians from central Java playing in North Carolina, offer recordings from their performances under a Creative Commons license. More about the ensemble and their music is available on their site.

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Co-evolution of Japanese CC-like licenses

Matt Haughey, January 31st, 2003

In Japan, a project called the “Intellectual Property Outline” started in July 2002 and includes some provisions that seek to accomplish many of the same goals as the Creative Commons. While it is clear they were not influenced by us directly, it’s interesting to watch the convergence of alternate forms of copyright come from governments world-wide. From section 3.(3) 3):

3) Protection of creative activities and promotion of distribution of media contents

The GOJ will take the following actions in this regard.

1. For promotion of smooth distribution of media contents, in FY 2002 the GOJ will start to support efforts to establish a new distribution system that combines new technology and the copyright contract system and to develop and disseminate various systems such as the contact system for copyright licenses on computer networks (to be implemented by FY 2004) and the system for right holders’ declaration of intention concerning the scope of contents to be available (e.g. “free use mark”). (The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology)

They even mention a “free use mark” that sounds a lot like the CC icons.

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CC Licenses in China at Shanghai Photos

Matt Haughey, January 30th, 2003

Shanghaiphotos.com is a site devoted to the city of Shanghai run by an avid hobbyist photographer. It also happens to be the first website based in China (that we know of) to use Creative Commons licenses for its content.

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Stanford’s Spectrum Policy Conference

Matt Haughey, January 29th, 2003

Stanford University will host a Spectrum Policy Conference March 1st and 2nd. The topic: the importance of the airwaves, and the ever-increasing number of wireless devices relying on them, to a healthy communications policy. The central question: Spectrum, property or commons? With FCC Chairman Powell and many other noteworthies in attendance, it promises to be an enlightening weekend. Registration is now open.

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