This Monday, we began a guest curation series at our Free Music Archive portal. Rather than attempt to distill the vast landscape of CC-licensed music on our own, we thought it better to reach out to those on the ground working to support and expose these type of artists in their given communities. What better way to start then with a selection of tracks from ccMixter admin/developer/mentor Victor Stone:
For all the activism in the Open Music movement, nothing pushes the ball forward like brilliant, evocative music. While there is plenty of underground music of all sub-genres at ccMixter, there is also a growing collection of mainstream, above-ground producers who understand the value of sharing as a means of boosting their own creativity along with their exposure.
You can listen and download Victor’s full playlist at the FMA and ccMixter – titled Above Ground Collection, it is brimming with excellent music from producers with “an ear for the popular without sacrificing artistry.”1 Comment »
Earlier this year, CC Learn launched CC Learn Productions, highlighting reports and three document series: CC Learn Recommendations, CC Learn Explanations, and CC Learn Step by Step Guides. Since April, we have greatly expanded our repertoire to about a dozen documents, touching on basic topics such as Why CC BY? to legally incompatible content in OER. We’ve verily become document-making machines, cranking out new publications every month.
In the course of production, we found there are certain topics that cannot be distilled to a general audience, mainly because these topics are too specialized, and impractical, for the majority of CC’s user base. We realized that another document series was necessary, one specifically dealing with advanced topics, topics which require additional expertise and address the concerns of a smaller cross section of the OER community. The CC Learn Advanced Topics series, which is not intended for general consumption or to serve as legal advice, aims for this.
The first CC Learn Advanced Topic is CC Licenses and Trademarks: A Guide for Organizational OER Creators and Distributors. This primer distinguishes between copyright and trademark as they pertain to OER, and clarifies some of the confusion surrounding CC licenses and trademarks. For OER organizations with a strong trademark, or with the plans and capacity to build and sustain one, this primer is a guide to understanding the relationship between your organization’s rights as a copyright owner using CC licenses (particularly CC BY) and your organization’s trademark rights within the context of open educational resources (OER). This primer is not relevant for OER creators generally, as trademark law only pertains to those entities with the capacity to build and sustain a brand.
Though CC and CC Learn are open to consulting around business models generally, we are not in a position to give advice around trademark law. This primer is simply an explanation of a separate set of rights you may have to protect your work – trademark rights – while still allowing for the downstream adaptation, translation, and localization of your work that are so central to the goals of OER. Additionally, this primer is an example of one way certain organizations may deal with their concerns, and we hope that it will become an important document in our ongoing work.
All CC Learn Productions are licensed CC BY.1 Comment »
Last week To Shoot An Elephant, a
CC Attribution-Share Alike CC Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike licensed documentary on life in the Gaza Strip, won the award for “Most Innovative Filmmaker” at Florence’s Festival dei Popoli. From the voting committee:
“After we watched this film we engaged in a long passionate discussion. This film never left us. We want to award the filmmakers for sharing with us an emotional, physical and stressful experience for being there and witnessing the horrors and destruction of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip earlier this year.”
It is wonderful to see open source cinema receive these types of accolades, solidifying its place in the larger film landscape. Congratulations to film-makers Alberto Arce and Mohammed Rujailah on their win! You can learn more about To Shoot An Elephant at their website.1 Comment »
In case you haven’t heard, WikiEducator‘s Wayne Mackintosh announced earlier this week that they were joining forces with Connexions “to provide educators with greater freedom of choice to mix and match the best of two OER worlds, namely “producer-consumer” models with more traditional work flow approaches and commons-based peer production.” WikiEducator and Connexions are two collaborative OER projects that use Creative Commons licenses. While WikiEducator, licensed CC BY-SA, focuses “on building capacity in the use of Mediawiki and related free software technologies for mass-collaboration in the authoring of free content,” Connexions, licensed CC BY, focuses on the collaborative development, sharing, and publishing of modular educational content that can be easily integrated into larger collections or courses. According to the announcement, the two projects will partner “to build import export capability between the Connexions and WikiEducator/Mediawiki platforms.”
It’s definitely exciting to see these two OER projects working together, especially since the collaboration is being generously funded by a grant from one of our own biggest supporters, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. There are various ways you can tune into its progress, including visiting the project planning node, subscribing to the Connexions mailing list, or helping them develop use case scenarios.No Comments »
Esther Wojcicki, Chair of the Creative Commons board of directors, has insightful comments on a recent New York Times story on teachers selling lessons online. Esther’s column in the Huffington Post closes with:
While it is an interesting alternative for teachers to have the option of selling their lesson plans, realistically the culture of teachers nationwide is one of sharing, not selling.
How true! Read the whole column, which also includes a good overview of available open educational resources.
Also, our entire board is making a public committment to raise funds for our campaign this year. We’re rolling out “personal campaign pages” for board members, where they explain why they are personally commited to CC and ask you to help them support us. Check out Esther’s campaign page and support Creative Commons today. Currently your contribution will be doubled by WhippleHill, a communications company that shares our values of openness and innovation on the web, with a particular focus on education.1 Comment »
Photo by Mr. Mayo CC BY-NC
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to talk to George Mayo, known as Mr. Mayo to his students, a middle school Language Arts teacher in Maryland. Mr. Mayo was brought to CC Learn’s attention by Lawrence Lessig, CC’s founder and current board member, who Skyped with Mr. Mayo’s class for thirty minutes, answering questions on copyright, YouTube’s take-down policy and downloading music. Mr. Mayo and his class have integrated CC licensed works into their daily activities, documenting it all at mrmayo.org. Instead of elaborating on the various innovative ways Mr. Mayo and his class uses CC, I’m going to let George speak for himself. The following is the interview I had with him via Skype. You can also listen to the audio here.No Comments »
Indaba Music just launched a fantastic new clip library of over 8,000 CC Attribution licensed sounds and loops. Already one of the premier destination for musicians to collaborate online, their new clip library adds to Indaba’s appeal by offering an easy and legal way for musicians to add sounds and loops to their work.
To celebrate, Indaba has teamed up with Filter Magazine on a remix contest, challenging Indaba’s community of over 300,000 (!) musicians to create an original track that includes a minimum of two clips. The contest winner, determined by Filter Magazine, will be profiled in an upcoming issue as well as have their winning track featured in the issue’s monthly digital sampler. The due date for entries is December 8th at 5PM EST.No Comments »
Our 2009 fundraising campaign continues, and to help us reach our goal of $500,000 by the end of the year, we’re delighted to announce a second corporate matching challenge, this time sponsored by WhippleHill Communications. WhippleHill will generously match every donation dollar for dollar for the next week – up to $5,000! Donate now to help us meet the challenge!
WhippleHill Communications was founded in 1998 and is based in Bedford, New Hampshire. This innovative company provides targeted communications solutions for independent schools seeking next-generation Web services. Like CC, WhippleHill values openness and innovation on the Web, with a particular focus on education, a realm CC is also heavily involved in through ccLearn.
Join WhippleHill in investing in the future of creativity and knowledge. Give what you can today!1 Comment »
The Google Book Settlement is probably the copyright story of the year — it’s complex, contentious, involves big players and big subjects — the future of books, perhaps good and evil — resulting in a vast amount of advocacy, punditry and academic analysis.
It’s also a difficult item for Creative Commons to comment on. Both “sides” are clearly mostly correct. Wide access to digital copies of most books ever published would be a tremendous benefit to society — it’s practically an imperative that will happen in some fashion. It’s also the case that any particular arrangement to achieve such access should be judged in terms of how it serves the public interest, which includes consumer privacy, open competition, and indeed, access to books, among many other things. Furthermore, Creative Commons considers both Google and many of the parties submitting objections to the settlement (the Electronic Frontier Foundation is an obvious example) great friends and supporters of the commons.
We hope that a socially beneficial conclusion is reached. However, it’s important to remember why getting there is so contentious. Copyright has not kept up with the digital age — to the contrary, it has fought a rearguard action against the digital age, resulting in zero growth in the public domain, a vast number of inaccessible and often decaying orphan works, and a diminution of fair use. If any or all of these were addressed, Google and any other party would have much greater freedom to scan and make books available to the public — providing access to digital books would be subject to open competition, not arrived at via a complex and contentious settlement with lots of side effects.
Creative Commons was designed to not play the high cost, risk, and stakes game of litigation and lobbying to fix a broken copyright system. Instead, following the example of the free software movement, we offer a voluntary opt-in to a more reasonable copyright that works in the digital age. There are a huge number of examples that this works — voluntary, legal, scalable sharing powers communities as diverse as music remix, scientific publishing, open educational resources, and of course Wikipedia.
It’s also heartening to see that voluntary sharing can be a useful component of even contentious settlements and to see recognition of Creative Commons as the standard for sharing. We see this in Google’s proposed amended settlement, filed last Friday. The amended version (PDF) includes the following:
Alternative License Terms. In lieu of the basic features of Consumer Purchase set forth in Section 4.2(a) (Basic Features of Consumer Purchase), a Rightsholder may direct the Registry to make its Books available at no charge pursuant to one of several standard licenses or similar contractual permissions for use authorized by the Registry under which owners of works make their works available (e.g., Creative Commons Licenses), in which case such Books may be made available without the restrictions of such Section.
This has not been the first mention of Creative Commons licenses in the context of the Google Book Settlement. The settlement FAQ has long included an answer indicating a Creative Commons option would be available. Creative Commons has also been mentioned (and in a positive light) by settlement critics, for example in Pamela Samuelson’s paper on the settlement and in the Free Software Foundation’s provocative objection centering on the tension between the intentions of public copyright licensors and the potential for settlements to result in less freedom than the licensor intended.
Independent of the settlement, we happily noted a few months ago that Google had added Creative Commons licensing options to its Google Book Search partner program. This, like any voluntary sharing, or mechanism to facilitate such, is a positive development.
However you feel about the settlement, you can make a non-contentious contribution to a better future by using works in the commons and adding your own, preventing future gridlock. You can also make a financial contribution to the Creative Commons annual campaign to support the work we do to build infrastructure for sharing.
If you want to follow the Google Book Settlement play-by-play, New York Law School’s James Grimmelmann has the go-to blog. We’re proud to note that James was a Creative Commons legal intern in 2004, but can’t take any credit for his current productivity!1 Comment »
On Friday, Creative Commons Japan and iPhone developer Appliya Studio released AudioVisual Mixer for Into Infinity, a free iPhone application specifically developed for the launch of the Into Infinity project in Japan (iTunes link). Into Infinity, which we have discussed numerous times, is a music and art project produced in collaboration between CC and non-profit web radio collective dublab.
When opened, the application connects to a server where the project’s resources are stored, automatically downloading sound loops (“EAR”) that are paired with visual circles (“EYE”). An Into Infinity logo serves as an anchor point to trigger sounds – users can drag and move circles with their finger and when brought into the logo’s orbit the sounds start mixing, creating new derivative works on the fly. Users can then share these mixes instantly by posting to Twitter or sharing via e-mail from within the application.
All mixes generated by the application’s users are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, keeping in line with the project as a whole. The release also coincides with the addition of 50 “ear” sound loops and 50 “eye” visual circles from Japanese sound and visual artists. If you have an iPhone, download it today!
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