Commons News

Notable recent CC licensors

Matt Haughey, February 20th, 2003

In the world of weblogs, we’ve noticed a couple notable recent adopters of Creative Commons licenses. Jon Johansen, the teenage hacker that famously cracked DVD encryption so he could watch a movie he purchased on his computer, started a blog called “So Sue Me.” He was recently acquitted of charges he did anything wrong.

A great looking blog centered around the design of books, called Foreword, is another interesting new site carrying a Creative Commons license.

Also of note is, a site aimed at helping webmasters build websites that are accessible to everyone (which is also under a Creative Commons license). They offer articles and tools to help you attain Bobby and Section 508 compliance with your sites.

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Movie Mashin’ Mike Meyers

Matt Haughey, February 14th, 2003

Mike Meyers, star of the popular Austin Powers series, has just scored an unusual movie deal with Dreamworks that will allow him to make films from sampling earlier movies. DreamWorks will acquire the necessary rights so the actor can be digitally inserted in the old flicks.

Today, people practicing in music and movie “mash-ups” are usually operating in a muddy area of legality (or they do it illegally). How cool would it be if those of us without the backing of Dreamworks’ lawyers could do this sort of thing? Or, as we say in our demo movie, “Shouldn’t it be easier still?”

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Movable Type 2.6 released

Matt Haughey, February 14th, 2003

As we reported last month when it was first announced, the new version of Movable Type, a popular application for managing weblogs, was released today with full support for adding a Creative Commons license to your website. If you have a weblog, or are thinking about starting one, you might want to check out the lastest MT software.

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Scientific American

Press Robot, February 13th, 2003

Some Rights Reserved,” by Gary Stix

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Duct and Cover

Glenn Otis Brown, February 13th, 2003

In a story about the U.S. Homeland Security office’s recent suggestion that American citizens apply plastic sheeting and duct tape to doors and windows in case of terrorist attack, CNNfn last night aired several scenes from “Duck and Cover,” a public domain film from 1951 that famously advised American school children to take shelter beneath their desks or under blankets in case of nuclear warfare.

As a product of the U.S. government, “Duck and Cover” was uncopyrightable and immediately entered the public domain. It is available for viewing online at the Prelinger Archives.

(Film archivist Rick Prelinger, you may recall, was our first featured commoner.)

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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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