Commons News

Creative Commons on the Hustings

Glenn Otis Brown, June 19th, 2003

Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is using a Creative Commons license on his campaign blog.

Some Rights Reserved is a big-tent party. When it comes to IP, we’re the only true party of Jefferson. So who’s next to walk in TJ’s footsteps?

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The Flipside of iTunes?

Glenn Otis Brown, June 19th, 2003

“[B]ecause of the discrete selling and buying of music, digital single by digital single, that iTunes and its kin will foster, we can expect a decline in music bundling, and thus in risk-taking and its shy companion, innovation.”

A thought-provoking piece by Sahar Akhtar in Salon today. Akhtar predicts that iTunes-like services will lead to a shallow, ear-candy music economy.

Questions for the author, and Creative Commons blog readers:

(1) Isn’t Akhtar really advocating music-snob paternalism? Listen to the songs as I package them for you, because I know better than you how your tastes should run. This attitude might be fine for a DJ spinning a set, but not for an entire market. To a savvy consumer, or an antitrust lawyer, “music bundling” sounds like a euphemism for tying listeners’ hands.

(2) To avert the death of the art-rock album format, couldn’t artists simply begin producing CDs without indexed tracks? If you really want someone to listen to a whole album, let the technology push them that way.

(3) How often do musicians (real ones, not A&R puppets) really consider the format of distribution when writing a hook? When you’ve stumbled upon an edgy arrangement or harmony, are you really going to scrap it because of that pesky new iTunes?

(4) I like b-sides, too. But before Net-based music, the only way to find obscure b-sides and outtakes was to buy a boxed set, or an EP single — which without exception included the hit songs that die-hard fans had already paid for on albums. (I must have bought four copies of the Pixies‘ “This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven” just to hear a few rare b-sides it was bundled with.) Why force cult fans to doubly subsidize hit singles?

(5) “‘B sides’ and the noncommercially oriented tracks that fill out a given album have always been the artistic payoff.” Sure, sometimes, but always? Ever listen to a Police album all the way through? I’m pretty sure the U.S. military used those b-sides for psychological warfare in Iraq.

Your thoughts?


New Featured Commoner: Mark Watson

Glenn Otis Brown, June 19th, 2003

Check out an interview with our latest Featured Commoner, writer and coder Mark Watson, by new Creative Commons intern Derek Slater.

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Harry Potter: Fan Fiction Friendly?

Glenn Otis Brown, June 19th, 2003

The Washington Post ran a piece today on Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling’s views on fan fiction.

Quoted in the piece are our own Hal Abelson, a Creative Commons board member and chief technical advisor, and the EFF‘s Wendy Seltzer.

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Avianto’s photolog

Matt Haughey, June 18th, 2003

This week’s featured content is Boy Avianto of Jakarta, Indonesia’s fantastic photolog. It features all sorts of shots from daily life in Jakarta, including interesting views of the area, macro photos of plants, and pets.

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A Call for Translated Commons Deeds

Glenn Otis Brown, June 17th, 2003

While we’re talking translations:

As our iCommons project begins to port the lawyer-readable licenses to various countries’ laws and languages, we’d like to start translating the human-readable portion of our licenses as well. (Here’s an example of one in English.)

Just as humans are less formal than lawyers, so will this process be less formal than iCommons, so send us what you’ve got when you’ve got it . . .


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And . . . Japanese Comics

Glenn Otis Brown, June 17th, 2003

And here’s a translation of our comics from our other current iCommons country, Japan. Thanks to Hiroshi Yuki. These are beautiful.

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Finnish Comics

Glenn Otis Brown, June 17th, 2003

Our friends over at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, who are porting the licenses to Finland, have also translated our comic strips explaining the licenses. Very nice.

Under the comics’ license, anyone can make a translation as long as they Share Alike, give us credit, and don’t resell.

What language is next?

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iCommons Japan

Glenn Otis Brown, June 16th, 2003

The porting of the Creative Commons licenses to Japan recently got underway.

Leading the effort is the top-notch Japanese IT research institute Glocom.

Join or follow the discussion.

Read more about iCommons and watch for more countries soon.

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Paul Ford on the Public Domain

Matt Haughey, June 16th, 2003

Paul Ford, the author, designer, and programmer of the wonderful Ftrain website recently discovered his site’s logo image was also being featured on a new singer-songwriter’s CD. His response for readers is an amusing lesson in the wonders of the public domain.

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