2004 October

Mashing is so easy

Matt Haughey, October 7th, 2004

This week in San Francisco, there’s an interesting conference being held called Web 2.0. In a week of panel discussions, the future of the internet is being charted among technology and industry leaders. Jeff Veen recalls a discussion of copyright among music industry folks including famous mash-up artist DJ Dangermouse. After a lot of hand-wringing by the record execs, DJ Dangermouse dropped some obvious knowledge:

Mashing is so easy. It takes years to learn how to play the guitar and write your own songs. It takes a few weeks of practice with turntable to make people dance and smile. It takes a few hours to crank out something good with some software. So with such a low barrier to entry, everyone jumps in and starts immediately being creative. I don’t understand why that is illegal.

Jason Calacanis has recorded audio of the talk on his site (and just for kicks, someone should probably mash it over some beats :).

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Barcelona in Creative Commons mode

Roland, October 6th, 2004

The University of Barcelona hosted a great conference last Friday in their beautiful Aula Magna to celebrate the launch of the Spanish CC licenses – also available in a Catalan version.

Spanish project lead Ignasi Labastida i Juan had arranged for authorities from the regional government as well as from academia to present their take on the CC project. There was a wonderful presentation – Carta a Hipatia – given by Mr Carlos Sanchez Almeida, a Spanish abogado, asking whether we are truly ready to rebuild the ancient library of Alessandria by digital means. He included a great quotation from Cervantes, pointing out that in the 17th century Cervantes’s writings were circulated widely in Europe because they were effectively pirated! We’ll blog his talk as soon as it is available in English (the Spanish team is currently translating it).

Furthermore, there was a panel in the afternoon, featuring speakers from publishing, research and the arts, outlining their thoughts on intellectual property law and open access policies. During the break, we had a lively discussion – sparked by CC friend Javier de la Cueva, abogado – about whether in Russia (because of their terms of acceding to the Berne Convention) all works created before the year 1973 are actually in the public domain; clearly this is an issue which needs to be explored by us.

In the evening, we all got together again at the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona. Barcelonas Centre for Contemporary Culture (CCCB) is one of the best, newest venues for the arts in Barcelona. The CCCB normally hosts activities such as exhibitions, music, dance, courses, debates, lectures, and more. On this occasion, the Spanish CC team had organized a rather cool event – our CC video clip was shown, superbly translated into Spanish, followed by a short presentation on how to use the licences (the audience being mainly artists), and concluded by remarks from the panel and a rather lively questions and answers session in Castellano, Catalan and English.

The Spanish CC team, the panelists, some fifteen people from the audience and the iCommons representative then headed off to tame Barcelona’s night life and to celebrate the creativity of this ancient capital of Catalunya. Many thanks to all involved – check this blog for photographs and the above mentioned article soon.

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Now Human-Readable in Many Languages

Glenn Otis Brown, October 6th, 2004

Due to overwhelming demand, and thanks to the work of our international project leads and tech crew, the summaries of our licenses are now available in nine different languages. Note how this is different from the iCommons process, which involves translating and adapting the licenses themselves (the lawyer-readable part of things) to various languages and legal systems. Just scroll down to the bottom of any Commons Deed and pick the language you prefer.


We’ve also flipped the switch for this feature on the license chooser. Previously we depended on the default language of your browser, but due to requests, we have offered a way to switch to other languages. Eventually, you may very well see our entire website available in a host of languages as this project continues to spread around the globe.

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Creative Commons South Africa Flourishing

Glenn Otis Brown, October 6th, 2004

Creative Commons South Africa has an amazing new animation that describes the practical aspects of using our copyright licenses better than any piece of media we’ve had until now, and with unusual charm. We’ll host the animation from this site soon, but until we do, it’s available for viewing at the South African site, which is worth bookmarking, generally. It’s got a blog and right now features an interview with WIRED magazine‘s Thomas Goetz, about the forthcoming CD. Hats off to Heather Ford and the rest of the South African crew.

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Spanish and Canadian Creative Commons licenses now available

Glenn Otis Brown, October 6th, 2004

Two more sets of International Commons are available: from Spain and Canada. One cool feature these licenses have in common is that both are bilingual. The Spanish licenses are available in Castilian Spanish and Catalan, and the Canadian in English and French.

Accounts of the launch events, by those Commoners who attended them, are coming soon.

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The WIRED Concert and CD: Newsweek/MSNBC

Glenn Otis Brown, October 5th, 2004

Another great article on the WIRED CD and Concert, this one from Newsweek/MSNBC.

The piece features great quotes from the bands Spoon and Matmos, who happen to be two of my favorites, two of the WIRED CD contributors, and nice fellows to boot.

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Copyright and the US Federal Gov’t

Matt Haughey, October 5th, 2004

While I watch the news in Portland about Mt. St. Helens and its possible upcoming eruption, I’m seeing plenty of links to the volcano webcam on blogs. One of the blogs that stood out for different reasons is the Berkeley Intellectual Property blog’s post about the Terms of Service, copyright status, and law around Federal work entering the public domain. In the end, the author can’t prove that the webcam images are in the public domain, but draws the conclusion they likely should.

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Glenn Otis Brown, October 4th, 2004

“It has an influence far out of proportion to its size, and some think it could be a guidepost for a record industry in desperate need of direction.”

There is a great article on Nonesuch Records in today’s New York Times magazine. Nonesuch is the label that brings us the recordings of David Byrne, Wilco, Laurie Anderson, Steve Reich, and many other weirdly wonderful sounds. Oh, and they make plenty of money doing it.

“The remarkable thing about [chief Bob Hurwitz’s] approach to his business is that it’s pretty much the polar opposite of what the music industry at large does.”

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Press Robot, October 2nd, 2004

BBC planning to open source its archives” by Fergus Cassidy

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Rolling Stone

Press Robot, October 2nd, 2004

In Brief: Wu-Tang, Elton

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