2004 September

Political Expression and Copyright

Glenn Otis Brown, September 15th, 2004

Today Robert Greenwald announced the release of footage from his controversial film Outfoxed under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus license. The release of his earlier film, Uncovered, will follow soon.

Says Greenwald:

In making Outfoxed and Uncovered, I learned how cumbersome and expensive it can be to license footage from news organizations. Creative Commons licenses allow me as a filmmaker to know immediately how I can use a piece of content in my films. I could think of no better way to walk the talk myself than by releasing the interviews from Outfoxed and Uncovered under a license that allows other filmmakers to use my material in new and creative ways. I look forward to seeing what others do with these interviews.

As you know (or at least I hope you do), Creative Commons is a nonpartisan organization. What excites us about this announcement is not Greenwald’s content or viewpoint, but rather the fact that a prominent political speaker has realized that “all rights reserved” copyright might not serve his goals. Like pretty much all expression, political speech is automatically copyrighted when fixed in a medium. And yet political speech’s reason-for-being is to be heard far and wide. Whether in the form of campaign pamphlet, polemical movie, or protest song, core expression is perfectly suited to online distribution. It’s also perfect for interaction: You’ve got to be able to use an adversary’s speech to rebut it. In the digital age, that often means copying and re-framing a piece of media. Fair use provides some cover for this kind of thing, but political debate should be settled on its merits, not by copyright litigation prodecure.

We’d be thrilled, especially in the middle of this campaign season, if people across the political spectrum — conservative or liberal, pro- or anti-Fox — followed Greenwald’s lead, or took him up on his offer to interact with and even try to rebut his film.

Get the footage. Check out the torrent, via Torrentocracy.

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iRATE discoveries: William Brooks and Magnatune

Mike Linksvayer, September 14th, 2004

We’ve written about iRATE radio and Magnatune several times in the past, including together.

Now Erik Möller writes a nice article about discovering Magnatune artist William Brooks via iRATE.

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Developing Nations license launched

Matt Haughey, September 13th, 2004

Today the Creative Commons launched a new standalone license, dubbed Developing Nations. The deed lays it out simply: it’s an attribution-only license that applies within developing nations. The legal code defines developing nations as “any nation that is not classified as a ‘high-income economy’ by the World Bank.” which according to the World Bank’s site means it does not apply in these countries.

This license can be used in a few ways. It can be combined with something currently licensed under a more restrictive license, so that your photographs could be protected from commercial use in the United States, but if it also carried a Developing Nations license, those same photos could be used commerically in say, Brazil. You might also be a musician or photographer that wants to maintain full copyright in North America and Western Europe, but welcome use by others in the countries of Southeast Asia. More information can be found in today’s press release.

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In Arizona

Glenn Otis Brown, September 13th, 2004

I’m in Scottsdale, Arizona today and tomorrow for the Open Source, Open Standards conference. Unfortunately I couldn’t make Larry Rosen‘s talk this morning, but I hope to catch Bruce Perens‘s this afternoon. I’m speaking tomorrow, but as with Foo Camp, this is the sort of crowd and event where I do a lot more listening than talking.

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A Weekend Trip Where I Don’t Have to Explain My Job

Glenn Otis Brown, September 11th, 2004

I’m at O’Reilly Media‘s Foo Camp this week, a weekend tech-folk retreat at O’Reilly’s Sebastopol offices. Lots of old friends from EFF, iBiblio, MusicBrainz, Mozilla, OSAF, BBC and more, plus plenty of new acquaintances. I’m a bit awed by the crowd and just doing a lot of listening and learning.

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Free Culture live

Matt Haughey, September 10th, 2004

Colin Mutchler, featured in our second Creative Commons movie “Reticulum Rex“, is giving a live performance of his audio/visual work called “Free CultureSeptember 15th in Brooklyn, NY.

“Sourced by Larry Lessig and his new book of the same name, Free Culture is multimedia performance by Brooklyn based artist Colin Mutchler that mixes music, image, video and spoken word to speak his personal journey, both physically and digitally, through the last four years. ”

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Gnomoradio on Slashdot

Mike Linksvayer, September 10th, 2004

Last October we wrote about Gnomoradio, software that helps people share CC-licensed music.

Gnomoradio has made good progress since then. Check out the new screenshots.

One Gnomoradio screenshot. Click for more.

Now Slashdot has taken notice, with ensuing discussion.

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Jesus Rocks

Roland, September 8th, 2004

Three Taiwan Golden Melody Award winners, including a famous singer and composer, Yue-hsin Chu, and a group of enthusiastic young Christian musicians have come up with what they call their first native gospel album — JESUS ROCKS.

JESUS ROCKS is the first Asian album using a Creative Commons license (Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike Taiwan).

The cover text reads: “JESUS ROCKS represents the sprit of reciprocal sharing. It also conveys the charity of Jesus Christ in English, Mandarin and dialects of Mandarin. JESUS ROCKS covers diverse styles, such as rock’n’roll, folk, blues and funk. So it is suitable for different generations to listen.”

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Imminent: Launch Events in Taiwan and Austria

Roland, September 3rd, 2004

Our project’s international roll-out continues. Two more countries have now come up with their local licenses.

First, on Saturday, Sep 4, Lawrence Lessig will be speaking in Taipei, where the Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica, as the Taiwan project lead, has completed the porting process and is now presenting the licenses to the island’s public. Special thanks to Yih-Suan from the Acadamia Sinica, who put most of the finishing touches on the Taiwanese licenses.

Second, in the Alps, the transposed Austrian licenses will be celebrated and discussed during the week-long Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria. Lawrence Lessig will participate in a symposium on ‘Commons & Communities – Social Life in the Digital Age’ at the Brucknerhaus on Sep 6, 10.30am, while Roland will say a few words on the launch event proper at the Brucknerhaus on Sep 7, 3pm. Much work on the Austrian licenses was done by Julia Kueng and Georg Pleger, our local project leads.

As an important signal for all open source projects and free software initiatives, Creative Commons also won the Golden Nica in the 2004 Prix Ars Electronica’s Net Vision category. Christiane will receive the prize on behalf of CC on Friday, Sep 3, at the Prix Art gala event in Linz.

Anybody interested in attending one of the talks above and thus getting in touch with us is welcome.

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Our updated Search

Matt Haughey, September 3rd, 2004

We’ve had our own beta search engine for the past six months, but it was mostly a proof of concept, to see if we could build a search engine that recorded the semantics of web page metadata. Like any proof of concept launched to the public, it was slow, frequently returned zero results, and was difficult to keep up to date. A few months back, the guys behind the open source search engine project Nutch contacted us and they helped us develop a new search engine based on Nutch, with support for Creative Commons metadata thrown in.

We flipped the switch last week and have been testing it ever since. Compared to the last version of our search engine, this one is blazingly fast to return results, the results are much more specific to what you’re looking for, and it is constantly keeping up to date on over 1 million pages with Creative Commons license info in them.

Here are some sample searches I came up with while playing with the format and options:

Show me all photos of Paris that I can make derivative works from and sell afterwards

I’d like to find songs about Love that I can remix

Find me some CC licensed music videos

Has anyone ever written about the Statue of Liberty?

Overall, a drastic improvement. If you find any bugs or come up with any other specific searches that the search engine performed well, be sure to drop a comment and let us know.

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