2005 April

FROM the Campus to the Commons

Press Robot, April 21st, 2005

… Culture issues and building a bigger core of activists, the next step
for FreeCulture.org is to encourage students to contribute to the creative
from AlterNet – San Francisco,CA,USA

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UNLIMITED song hosting offered for Mac musicians

Press Robot, April 21st, 2005

Songs uploaded to the service must meet specific terms and conditions,
and the content is made available using a Creative Commons license, which
from MacWorld – San Francisco,CA,USA

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WINKSITE: Creative Commons Licensed Library Launches – Delivering …

Press Robot, April 21st, 2005

Library Launches – Delivering Mobile Editions Of Books To Phones Posted
from Return to Wireless Ink Blog Menu | print 12 Nov 2004 Creative Commons Licensed

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BRINGING the past to life

Press Robot, April 21st, 2005

… The licence will be similar to that developed by the highly successful
Creative Commons initiative founded by Stanford law professor Lawrence
from Spiked – London,UK

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MetaBrainz Launched

Mike Linksvayer, April 19th, 2005

After years of toil the free music encyclopedia MusicBrainz is now backed by a nonprofit foundation with a fantastic best-of-the-usual-suspects board.

MusicBrainz has taken an innovative approach to open data: core factual information (artist, album, track) is appropriately dedicated to the public domain, while community generated information is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.

Also check out MetaBrainz’s exemplary practice of keeping transparent finances.

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Over in Spain – Creating an Online Collaborative Database of Sounds

Mia Garlick, April 12th, 2005

In preparation for the International Computer Music Conference to be held in Barcelona in September 2005, the Music Technology Group and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, have created the freesoundproject. The freesound project is a collaborative database of sounds – not songs or compositions – but sounds: audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps. All sounds uploaded to the site must be licensed under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus license. The site has already collected a range of diverse sounds – from instrumental pieces to balloon sounds – and offers sample packs, remixes and groovy waveform images of the sounds. The database is going to continue to exist, collect sounds and make them available after the conference – the conference is just the impetus for getting the project started. It’s a great example of building out the creative commons!

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CC at Notacon

Nathan Yergler, April 12th, 2005

I spent the past weekend at Notacon in Cleveland, OH. While there was one talk devoted to a brief history of copyright in the US, the most exciting talk, for me, was completely unexpected.

Jerry Rockwell presented a talk called “Evolution of a Tune: My process of arranging and composing in a Home Studio.” I went because I have a MIDI keyboard hooked up to my iMac that doesn’t get nearly the use it should. Jerry’s talk was absolutely amazing, and it was done without the use of any props more advanced than a CD player. While I expected him to talk about the software and hardware he uses in his home studio, he instead focused on how he starts with a basic tune or melody, and builds layers and tracks on top of that. Coming from a folk and jazz guitar background, Jerry plays guitar, dulcimer and synth tracks (“my evolved click track”) to create amazing compositions. Did I mention he hand crafts his dulcimers without the aid of power tools?

So what’s the CC connection? Jerry demonstrated taking the traditional tune “Skip to my Lou”, and building completely transformative, derivative works from it. The final product was a Latin 8-8 beat dulcimer/guitar number that sounded nothing like the original work it was built on. You could still hear the chord structures underneath it all, but there was no denying that Jerry had created an original composition, drawing from culture in the public domain. Talking to Jerry afterwards, I commented on how the final composition sounded nothing like “Skip to my Lou”, but how it could not have existed without “Skip to my Lou” to build upon.

“Exactly! I chose Skip to my Lou because I hate that song, and wanted to appropriate it for something better,” Jerry enthusiastically responded. It was something of an epiphany for me: here was the reason CC is important, in the flesh. If “Skip to my Lou” wasn’t a public domain, traditional number, there’s no way Jerry would have come up with his composition. Or if he had, he would not have been allowed to contribute his work to our culture. CC is important in this respect because the Jerry’s of the future may have nothing to build on if copyright protections continue to grow unfettered. And that would be criminal.


Creative Commons up for a Webby Award

Matt Haughey, April 12th, 2005

We were quite happy to hear that today the Webby Award nominations came out, and Creative Commons is up for “Best Home/Welcome Page.”

We couldn’t have done it without the crew at Adaptive Path leading the user research, prototyping, and testing, while Doug Bowman helped with the illustrations, and Ryan Junell with the logos. I completed the design and build out and we’ve gotten a lot of good feedback as a result. I look forward to seeing the results in June, but my money’s on one of the wiz-bang flash sites winning the webby. :)

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Ryan Junell

Glenn Otis Brown, April 10th, 2005

Ryan Junell and I first met at the University of Texas, where we both took a class about the Internet (Ryan designed UT’s first web site; I caught on more slowly) and saw each other at a lot of rock shows. It wasn’t until Creative Commons started up and needed a graphic designer that Ryan and I reunited and became friends. Ryan is responsible for, among other things, our tasteful and fetching logo, the amazing animations in Get Creative and Reticulum Rex (and the latter’s anagrammed title), our DVD, many of our t-shirt designs and printed materials, and CC’s close connections with the Bay Area electronic music scene (where Ryan is a sort of freelance video artist). Along with Matt, it’s Ryan we have to thank for Creative Commons’ bold visual identity.

If you haven’t checked out Ryan’s handiwork outside of Creative Commons, you ought to. His See the Elephant! video installation toured the country late last year, and his music videos for Spoon and The Natural History nail the aesthetics of those bands. (Ryan’s hilarious and sharp video for The Soft Pink Truth was, along with Anime, South Park, Hello Kitty, and Schoolhouse Rock, the inspiration for the look and feel of “Get Creative”.)

Ryan is pursuing more solo projects now, but I hope one day to team up with him again on some sort of media project. It’s extremely rare to find someone whose taste jibes so well with your own — or better put, who is able to read your mind, and then do you one better.

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Roland Honekamp

Glenn Otis Brown, April 10th, 2005

One of the many great decisions Christiane has made during her tenure at iCommons was to bring Roland Honekamp on to lend a helping hand in Berlin. Roland, a former Net entrepreneur, quickly made himself an indispensable utility player, attending iCommons launches on short notice, helping out with press relations and myriad internal iCommons matters, and developing, along with Christiane, Heather Ford, and Mary Rundle, tons of iCommons training and reference materials for the dozens of iCommons project leads. He’s also been a great source of ideas on the strategy and future shape of CC’s international efforts. The exponential growth of iCommons over the last year has been in no small part due to Roland’s joining the team.

Like Christiane, Roland has an infectious laugh and an easy way with just about everyone. I didn’t get the chance to meet Roland face-to-face until this September, when we were roommates in New York for the WIRED benefit concert, and again last month at the iCommons Europe summit, where I learned a lot about Roland’s long-standing interest in (and skill at) international relations and diplomacy.

I’m sad that I won’t get the chance to work more with Roland, on CC stuff anyway, but I look forward to keeping in touch with him. Here’s to Herr Honekamp and the passion and formidable business acumen he’s infused CC with.

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