2007 July

Amarok developer hired by Magnatune

Mike Linksvayer, July 31st, 2007

Magnatune, a record label that uses a CC BY-NC-SA license for all releases (Magnatune founder John Buckman is also on the CC board), has just hired free software developer Nikolaj Hald Nielsen to work on Amarok, a free software media player.

While software and services companies for years have hired many free software developers to continue to work on their free software projects and employees of open content companies have contributed to free software projects, this may be the first time an open content company has hired a free software developer to work on the developer’s free software project.

I suspect this will be the first of many such hires. Open content companies are growing and often are highly dependent on free software for infrastructure and end user services.

Congratulations to Magnatune and Nikolaj! There’s a placeholder article on the CC Wiki concerning .

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Introducing Desktop Licensing

Scott Shawcroft, July 31st, 2007

Hi, I’m Scott Shawcroft a Creative Commons technical intern and a student at the University of Washington. I’d like to tell you about my project but will start with a bit of a preface. Sorry its long, I’m excited. I’ve been a fan of Creative Commons for a few years now. I watched the original Get Creative video in awe. A few months earlier I discovered GNU/Linux. Having a free (in both senses in my mind) operating system at my disposal felt immensely empowering. The collaboration of people around the world enabled by the Internet. Wow. I was introduced to a new world by broadband internet. (CD isos are huge in dial-up times.) To top my discovery of free software I discovered Free Culture. People collaborating across borders in hopes of expressing ideas in an endless variety of ways. Audio, video, photography, poetry and scientific research all released with ‘some rights reserved’. Again, wow. The web was blossoming with license data, the GNU GPL and others on Sourceforge and Creative Commons licenses on Flickr. The web was going somewhere. The desktop was going… nowhere.

While the web had a way of denoting and acknowledging an author’s intention, the desktop had no such thing. No easy way to say, “This file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.” There was no easy way to ask, “How can I use this file? What does the creator allow me to do?” Once off of the web, the files were on their own. Away from all of the comforts of the creator’s website in the big mess of files we call a desktop computer. When would this all change? When will a license be as ubiquitous as a last modified date?

Both the original Get Creative video and in the newer Wanna Work Together video emphasize the fact that upon the fixation of an idea in a tangible form its author gains a bundle of exclusive rights formally known as copyright. Each and every file on each and every computer created by someone has rights associated with it. Upon creation of those files, the user has a copyright for each one. To counter this automatic copyright, a desktop-centric fundamental way to release those given rights is needed.

I’m happy to announce that this is about to change. With great thanks to Jason Kivlighn, Jon Phillips, Nathan Yergler and every license author I’d like to point you to liblicense, the first small and shaky step towards universal license tracking on the desktop. What we’ve created is a library to assist in tracking and tagging file’s licenses. Our intention is not to create the means for rights restriction but to ease the process of informing users about the rights granted by the author of a particular file. We’re not in the restriction business. We’re in the information business.

However, this is a very small step and there are many more steps to go. Liblicense is in need of much love. Kind of like the teenage years; it still has some things to get sorted out before it matures. Also, its a bit lonely. There are many cool companions to it which have yet to be written. As I wrote earlier, we’re planning on venturing into the world of Sugar for the One Laptop Per Child project. That still leaves much unexplored. What about applications? Sure, the desktop will know about licenses. But what about music players, feed readers, desktop publishers and text editors? All of those applications are in the business of ideas. Shouldn’t they display the rights to the information they are dealing with? Imagine finding a song you love using Amarok and finding out you can share it with your friends. Or imagine finding a brilliant poem on a blog through Liferea you can base a video or song off of. Cool. I’m excited.

One last thing, liblicense is, well, kind of skinny. To continue the teenage analogy you are probably sick of, liblicense is the skinny kid who could use some bulking up. While Jason (my esteemed colleague, former roommate and great friend) and I are trying our best to get liblicense to bulk up, we could use your help. We’d like liblicense to support embedding license information into all of the file types known to man. I’m serious. All applications and even the kernel of the operating system should have license information embedded in them. While some formats have semi-standard ( and I say semi due to the lack of application of said standard ) methods for embedding license, others just plain don’t. Those issues need to get resolved before we can support every file format known to man. I know what you are thinking, “It can’t be done. He’s intentionally exaggerating.” Well, you are wrong. Again, I’m serious. Every file format can be supported, its just an issue of how. And an issue of how can be solved. We just need your help. The power of collaboration knows no bounds.

For more information about liblicense visit the project page at http://www.creativecommons.org/project/Liblicense. If you are running Linux (other platforms planned) and would like to try it get it here. If you would like to help develop liblicense or talk with/get help from the developers join us on irc.freenode.net/#cc or the mailing list cc-devel@lists.ibiblio.org. Thanks.

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CC at OSCON, Eric Steuer on Slideshare

Cameron Parkins, July 30th, 2007

We had a great time at OSCON last week – Nathan Yergler, CTO, and Jon Phillips, Business + Community Developer, gave two presentations on CC and the open source community while Mozilla and CC held a party to the jams of the one and only Menomena. Although somewhat delayed, here is a nice digital trail of our escapades:

In other CC news, Eric Steuer, Creative Director, posted two of his most recent presentations on slideshare.net as well – check them out here and here (UPDATE: These links now link to the correct presentations).

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SPARC Video Contest – Mind Mashup

Cameron Parkins, July 30th, 2007

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) announced this past week the launch of the first annual SPARC Discovery Awards, a “contest to promote the open exchange of information”. The theme of this year’s contest, Mind Mashup, calls on entrants to illustrate in a short video the importance of sharing ideas and information of all kinds.

While this challenge is clearly in line with CC’s goals and mission, SPARC has gone a step further by making CC-licensing a required step in the submission process. Contestants are allowed to use the licence of their choosing, as long as it doesn’t contain the ND condition, and in doing so, SPARC creates a contest that educates two fold. Not only will the entrants create short films about the sharing of information, but they themselves will partake directly in the process, crafting films that will be both educational in content and in practice.

To get more info on the SPARC Discovery Awards, go here. The winner will receive $1,000 and entries will be judged by an esteemed panel which includes both Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and documentary filmmaker Peter Wintonick.

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Strange Horizons goes Creative Commons

Cameron Parkins, July 30th, 2007

Strange Horizons, a speculative-fiction webzine that publishes short fiction, poetry, reviews and articles on a weekly basis, have recently added an option allowing authors to publish their works under a CC license. Many authors have taken them up on the offer, including Ben Rosenbaum, whose desire to release his Hugo-nominated “The House Beyond Your Sky” under a CC-licence spearheaded the entire process.

Strange Horizon’s adoption of CC-licenses allows, very simply, for greater flexibility in terms of how an author’s work is distributed online. Jed Hartmen, co-editor of SH, puts it well:

“Some authors would be happy to allow anyone who wants to do so to translate their work into another language or another medium. (“Want to make a music video out of my story? Go ahead!”) Some authors would be fine with letting other people make copies of their work as long as nobody is making any money from the copying. And so on; there are a variety of license options.”

It is great to see this sort of adoption taking place, especially from a publication that Cory Doctorow calls “one of the best short fiction publishers in the world”. Be sure to check out these two blog posts for the various CC-licensed works SH now offers. Oh, and they’re running a fundraising drive as well.

(via Boing Boing)

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Rhizome integrates Creative Commons licenses into ArtBase

Cameron Parkins, July 27th, 2007

Rhizome, “an online platform for the global new media art community”, announced yesterday that it will integrate Creative Commons licenses into its online art archive, the Artbase. From here onwards, artists who contribute to ArtBase will have the option to license their work under a Creative Commons License of their choosing, greatly adding to ArtBase’s flexibility. From Rhizome:

“By implementing Creative Commons, Rhizome aligns itself with sites like Blip.tv, Flickr and Digg, who nurture not only a community of free creativity, but of free culture,” says [Fred] Benenson. Lauren Cornell, Executive Director of Rhizome, adds that “It’s in the spirit of Rhizome to foster collaboration amongst artists. I’m happy that Rhizome is able to make these licenses available, and to support the practice of sharing cultural material within the arts.”

It is fantastic that a leading institution in new media art such as Rhizome has added the ability for CC-licensing in its online publishing interface. As more online repositories, be they artistic or otherwise, add CC-licensing options, the stronger the commons grows. As such, license-adoption from online communities is an essential part of CC’s overall goal, enabling content-creators and content-consumers easy tools to license and remix larger and larger bodies of work.

You can read more about Rhizome here.

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Announcing ccLearn – the education division of Creative Commons

Ahrash Bissell, July 25th, 2007

Creative Commons is pleased to announce the launch of a new division focused on education: ccLearn.

ccLearn is dedicated to realizing the full potential of the Internet to support open learning and open educational resources (OER). Our mission is to minimize barriers to sharing and reuse of educational materials — legal barriers, technical barriers, and social barriers.

  • With legal barriers, we advocate for licensing of educational materials under interoperable terms, such as those provided by Creative Commons licenses, that allow unhampered modification, remixing, and redistribution. We also educate teachers, learners, and policy makers about copyright and fair-use issues pertaining to education.
  • With technical barriers, we promote interoperability standards and tools to facilitate remixing and reuse.
  • With social barriers, we encourage teachers and learners to re-use educational materials available on the Web, and to build on each other’s contributions.

ccLearn will be in transition over the remainder of the summer, 2007, reaching full operation this Fall. ccLearn is generously supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and is working closely with members of the Foundation’s Open Educational Resources Program. This is an international project, and we will be working with open educational sites and resources from around the world.

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CC Salon SF on WED, Aug 8 from 7-9 PM: Bittorent and Intern Presentations!

Cameron Parkins, July 25th, 2007

On Wednesday, Aug 8th, from 7-9 PM, we will be returning to Shinesf.com (1337 Mission St. in San Francisco) for another Creative Commons Salon! A quick turn-around (last months was to make up for our absence in June while at iSummit) with tons of wonderful things in store. Apart from the presentations, it is a great opportunity to meet-up with others interested in Creative Commons’ flexible licensing, technology and standards and informally discuss how we can all work together.

Joining us will be Ashwin Navin, President and Co-Founder of Bittorent, Inc., who will be discussing the overlaps between the CC community and Bittorent and what this means in the near future. Also, all of this summer’s interns (of which I am one) will be presenting on what we’ve been up to for the past two months. It is bound to be a joyous occasion and one that will surely bring tears to the eyes of the rest of the CC staff.

As always, music and drinks will top everything off. Here is the link on Upcoming – we’ll see you there!

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Volunteers for LinuxWorld

Cameron Parkins, July 25th, 2007

The LinuxWorld Conference and Expo is quickly approaching, and as always, we are incredibly excited. This time though, it isn’t only because of the amazing things we will see and hear about (which are bound to be numerous) but also because it is the first time we are reaching out directly to you in the CC Community to lend a hand.

Our staff is small, and LinuxWorld quite large. We are looking for a few volunteers to help out at our booth by meeting/greeting people and doing some general tasks. CC schwag will be involved and, of course, you get into LinuxWorld Exhibition for free!

LinuxWorld runs August 7-9, from 10AM-5PM, at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco. We are looking for 2-3 volunteers, who will be split up in 2-3 hour shifts through out the day. CC staff will be on hand the whole time, so don’t worry about being stranded in a sea of open-source-dom. If you are interested, please send an e-mail to events @ creativecommons.org with a little bit about yourself (any CC-related items are a plus!) and we will get back to you ASAP.

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Vinismo Opens Its Doors to Wine Lovers Everywhere

Cameron Parkins, July 24th, 2007

Today marks the public-launch of Vinismo, “a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date, and reliable guide of all wines in the world”. Vinismo utilizes a collaborative wiki-infrastructure that will hopefully lead to a detailed, readable, useful wine guide for people at any level of expertise.

Vinismo is founded by Evan Prodromou (of WikiTravel – blogged earlier here and here) and Nicolas Ritoux. The entire site is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, meaning that the guide is free for anyone to copy, modify, or publish in any medium. By utilizing this flexible CC license, Vinismo presents itself as an amazing gateway for those looking to understand the complexities surrounding the wonderful, yet dense, world of wine-dom, eventually putting a bevy of information at their fingertips.

It is great to see CC licences being used in new and innovative ways, of which Vinismo is surely grouped. Most importantly, Vinismo allows would-be wine connoisseurs to focus their resources on buying wine rather than buying wine-books. As any collaborative effort based on the sharing of knowledge, a strong community is needed to get Vinismo off the ground. So pop your corks, set-up an account, and get to it!

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