Commons News

Free Culture Forum is October 29th – November 1st in Barcelona!

Fred Benenson, October 26th, 2009

FC Forum
If you’re anywhere near Barcelona this coming weekend, you should seriously consider attending the Free Culture Forum:

Across the planet, people are recognizing the need for an international space to build and coordinate a global framework and common agenda for issues surrounding free culture and access to knowledge. The Free Culture Forum of Barcelona aims to create such a space. Bringing together under the same roof the key organizations and active voices in the free culture and knowledge space, the Forum will be a meeting point to sit and put together the answers to the pressing questions behind the present paradigm shift.

Representatives from Creative Commons Spain, Students for Free Culture and Wikimedia will be in attendance (among many others), so it’ll be a great opportunity to meet plenty of people in our community. Registration is free and open to the public, but there are more details on how to get involved here.

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Brooklyn Museum & Blondie’s Chris Stein launch CC-licensed remix project

Cameron Parkins, October 22nd, 2009

4On October 30th, Brooklyn Museum will open Who Shot Rock & Roll, an exhibition commemorating photographers and their creative role in rock & roll history. To celebrate, the museum has teamed up with Chris Stein – co-founder of the legendary new wave band Blondie (and one of the photographers featured in the exhibit) – for a companion musical project called Who Shot Drums and Bass.

Drums and Bass is made up of eight original songs composed by Stein in DrumCore and released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. Brooklyn Museum is asking remixers to download the tracks from its Soundcloud page and remix them for the Who Shot Rock & Roll: Remix! contest. Remixes are due December 1st, and will be judged by Stein and Matthew Yokobosky – Brooklyn Museum’s Chief Designer. The creator of the winning remix will receive a copy of the Who Shot Rock & Roll companion book signed by author Gail Buckland and have their remix featured during the Target First Saturday party in January.

More info, including contest rules and registration, is available Brooklyn Museum’s website.

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Al Jazeera Blogs Go CC

Fred Benenson, October 19th, 2009

Al Jazeera Blogs #2

Al Jazeera has just launched the latest of its online project called Al Jazeera Blogs.

The website features blog posts written by prominent journalists and correspondents from the global Al Jazeera television network. It also hosts several sub-blogs sections divided by geographical areas, such as the Africa, Asia, Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. In addition, Al Jazeera has a blog focused on international business and the ongoing financial crisis.

The project also features interesting tech extras such as integration with OpenCalais’ semantic tagging system.

Credit once again goes to Al Jazeera English’s Head of Online, Mohamed Nanabhay. Mohamed also happens to be the author of the first commoner letter for this year’s annual campaign, and was one of the key players who made Al Jazeera’s amazing CC repository a reality.

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Commoner Letter #2: Carl Malamud

Allison Domicone, October 19th, 2009

Carl Malamud is a technologist, author and public domain advocate, as well as a great friend and outstanding supporter of Creative Commons. Malamud founded and runs the nonprofit Public.Resource.Org, which works for the publication of public domain information from local, state, and federal government agencies. We’re honored to have such a fervent champion for the Commons writing the second letter in the Commoner Letter series of this year’s fundraising campaign.

Subscribe to receive future Commoner Letters by email.



Photo of Carl Malamud by Joi / CC BY 2.0

My Fellow Commoners!

It isn’t that I don’t want to hear from you, I just want us to spend some quality time together instead of pushing paper.

Copyright laws solved one problem for a prior era, a way of marking a piece of content to indicate who the creator (or publisher) is. But, if you want to actually USE that content, under standard copyright law you or your lawyer send a letter, you get back a license agreement, you agree to terms, and you get rights to reuse the content. Every single use requires a new agreement. As they say, that doesn’t scale.

The genius of Creative Commons is a simple, universal way to let people know what they can do with your content without having to bother you each time. With the Internet, we’ve found that a whole class of uses of creative material makes sense, and with a Creative Commons license you can clearly tell people what it is they can do. Don’t care if people use your work as long as they’re not making money? Then use an Attribution-Non Commercial license from Creative Commons. Don’t care what people do as long as they give you credit? Commercial Use Allowed, Attribution Required is for you.

What is impressive about Creative Commons is that it scales. Public.Resource.Org, the non-profit I run, has published a boatload of content we get from the U.S. government: 90 million pages of documents, 1,000 videos, and a few handfuls of photographs. With the Creative Commons CC Zero and Public Domain tools, we have an easy way of telling people that they don’t have to ask permission to use this information.

So, while I’d love to hear from people, I just don’t want to have to deal with a stream of requests asking what they can do with the content we publish. With Creative Commons, that lawyerly, bureaucratic task has been taken care of, so when you do call, we can talk about something much more interesting. That’s why I’m a strong Creative Commons supporter, and that’s why I hope you’ll join me in supporting the Creative Commons 2009 Annual Campaign.

Carl Malamud
Public.Resource.Org

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IssueLab Launches Research Remix Video Contest

Jane Park, October 19th, 2009

IssueLab, “an open source archive of research produced by nonprofit organizations, university-based research centers, and foundations,” launches their Research Remix Video Contest this week. The contest “aims to engage working artists and digital media students with social issues while encouraging nonprofits to make their research more broadly available and usable through open licensing.” If you recall my interview with co-founder Lisa Brooks earlier this year, a good chunk of IssueLab’s research is licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses. From the press release,

“Contestants will be asked to remix facts or data from one of over 300 openly licensed research
reports on IssueLab into a video or animation under three minutes in length. Winners will be selected
after the December 31, 2009 deadline, and nonprofits will be able to use all submitted videos freely to
support their causes.

The launch of “Research Remix” coincides with Open Access Week, an international movement that
pushes for broad and free access to research findings and publicly funded studies. IssueLab’s official
participation is marked by its continued commitment to bringing open access and licensing to the
social and policy research fields. “It is especially important that nonprofits consider openly licensing
their research and resources. By giving people the ability to re-use, remix, and share research on
social issues we can much better inform and engage public debate and public policy.”

We encourage you to remix and submit your videos by the year’s end, especially because all finalists receive a free CC t-shirt and buttons (not to mention first prize is a netbook). I’m also one of the judges, so I look forward to your submissions!

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Jeeran Launches a Dedicated Creative Commons Channel

Fred Benenson, October 16th, 2009

Jeeran Logo 300Jeeran, the largest Arabic online community with 1.5 million registered users and more than 7 million visitors per month, has just launched a dedicated Creative Commons space to inform the developing CC Arab community with articles, news and updates about CC activities in the region. While a large commons culture is still developing in the Arab world, the new Jeeran channel should help provide valuable information to Arab users how to license and share their work online.

The ultimate goal of the channel is to foster new CC content creation and dissemination of content in the Arabic language. This is really a fantastic opportunity for the budding CC community in the Middle East because Jeeran has done so much work in the domain of Arabic content creation and language preservation on the Internet. For an example, check out their their innovative project called as Seejal which is transferring an old Arab tradition of poetry onto the web.

The CC channel on Jeeran will feature blog posts, videos, caricatures and music, as well as successful case studies on how Creative Commons is being used in the Arab Region (e.g., the Creative Commons Al Jazeera repository). The channel will also contain a section on news and updates on Creative Commons events, meetings and happenings in the Arab Region like the upcoming Jordan launch and CC Salon.

We’d like to thank Laith and Omar, founders of Jeeran, their team, Rami Olwan and Bassel Safadi from our CC Arab community for making this happen!

– Donatella Della Ratta (donatella@creativecommons.org)

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Student Journalism 2.0 takes off at The Paly Voice

Jane Park, October 16th, 2009

Article CC BY-NC by Sydney Rock and Rachel Harrus

Article CC BY-NC by Sydney Rock and Rachel Harrus

Remember back in April when I first mentioned Student Journalism 2.0, ccLearn’s pilot project to bring Creative Commons and the power of new media into high school journalism classes? Well since then ccLearn and two SF Bay Area high school journalism classes have been busy getting the ball rolling.

Yesterday, The Paly Voice, the student-run newspaper at Palo Alto High School, announced the integration of CC licenses, allowing its writers to choose to share their articles and op-ed pieces with the world. Already, Sydney Rock and Rachel Harrus’s article announcing the collaboration has gone viral via the CC BY-NC license, as the CC Google Alert picked it up and placed it squarely inside my morning radar. From the article,

“Starting today, readers of The Paly Voice may notice a new graphic — a Creative Commons licensing logo — tagged at the bottom of some stories.

The addition is due to a new collaboration with Creative Commons, a nonprofit corporation that allows published work to be available to the public for fair and legal sharing.

As a part of the Student Journalism 2.0 Project, The Paly Voice, along with the staff of El Estoque, the student news publication of Monta Vista High School, and the staff of The Broadview at Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, is the first high school in the nation to use Creative Commons licensing, which could potentially revolutionize the way creative works are available online.

Campanile adviser Esther Wojcicki, who is the chair of the board of directors for Creative Commons, believes that the collaboration will positively influence student journalism at Paly.

“It gives people the legal right to share their story,” Wojcicki said. “It’s like your own PR firm.”

Click to read the full article. For more about Student Journalism 2.0, visit our website, fan our Facebook page, or follow our Twitter.

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UNESCO OER Toolkit

Jane Park, October 15th, 2009

Last October, I mentioned that the UNESCO OER Community was developing an OER Toolkit “aimed at individual academics and decision-makers in higher education institutions interested in becoming active participants in the OER world, as publishers and users of OER.” Today, the draft version (1.1) has been released with an announcement by Philipp Schmidt of the University of the Western Cape, South Africa:

“15 October 2009 — Today the UNESCO OER Toolkit (with support from the UNESCO Communications and Information Sector) was released as a resource for academics and institutions — with a special focus on developing countries — who are interested in participating in open education projects.

OVERVIEW — Most of the Toolkit is designed for academics who are interested in finding and using OER in the courses they teach, or who wish to publish OER that they have developed. Some sections are aimed at institutional decision-makers and academics that [are] interested in setting up a more formal OER project. These projects may start with just a few interested academics but, as they grow, institutional policies, funding and legal constraints become more relevant. Individuals who are not aiming to set up a institutional project may nonetheless be interested to read the whole document. Likewise, institutional planners, IT staff or librarians who are interested in setting up an OER project would benefit from understanding the academic’s perspective.”

The toolkit, like the all content on the UNESCO OER Community site, is available via CC BY-SA.

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Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare

Jane Park, October 15th, 2009

The Center for Social Media at AU has released a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare. From the press release,

“OpenCourseWare, the Web-based publication of academic course content launched in 2002 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been lauded for making college-level courses available to anyone anywhere in the world for free. The movement has expanded to include offerings from some of the nation’s most selective universities including the University of Notre Dame and Yale University…

Now, educational organizations have a guide that simplifies the legalities of using copyrighted materials in open courseware—The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare. The code was developed by experts in media and fair use at American University and a committee of practitioners of open courseware from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, MIT, Tufts University, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, and Yale University…

The code aims to help OCW designers at U.S. educational organizations recognize situations to which fair use applies and situations that require they get permission from third-party rights holders.”

The complete code is available via CC BY.

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CASH Music Launch Fundraiser Raffle

Cameron Parkins, October 14th, 2009

cashlogoCASH Music, a nonprofit organization that builds “open tools and services to benefit artists and music organizations”, recently launched its first fundraiser in conjunction with a number of amazing artists and labels. An online raffle is at the core of their efforts with some incredible prizes available ranging from signed sheet music to vinyl test pressings to to an in-studio performance for 10 people.

Participating artists include Kristin Hersh, Deerhoof, Mission of Burma, MGMT, Xiu Xiu, Mayer Hawthorne, and Portugal The Man to name a few. Additional ways to donate come in the form of limited edition prints, a fundraiser t-shirt, and of course by donating directly to CASH.

We have talked about CASH numerous times before (including an interview with Executive Director Jesse Von Doom) about how they use CC to create openness and facilitate sharing within their projects. Be sure to check out their Creative Commons Portal and learn more about the organization at their website.

Also, speaking of fundraisers, don’t forget that CC is in the midst of our own. Help us reach our $500,000 goal – any and all support is appreciated. And if you donate over $75, you’ll be a proud owner of a very cool Shepard Fairey designed CC t-shirt!

(Full disclosure: CC’s Creative Director Eric Steuer is a CASH Music Board Member).

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