Weblog

2007 September

Australian Creative Resources Online

Cameron Parkins, September 24th, 2007

After some web downtime, Australian Creative Resources Online (ACRO), a repository for open and CC-licensed creative content, is back in operation. Technically a not-for-profit research center, ACRO is simultaneously a research facility, a digital repository, a source of creative materials, and a place for people to display their digital works. From ACRO:

This site is for people looking for audio, video, and still images that can be used freely and legally for creating digital art, education, or just for fun. ACRO is research centre in the University of Queensland Business School set up to study creativity in digital environments with a focus on the implications of broadband technologies.

Institutions such as ACRO are essential to the movement towards open and free content. Commendably, ACRO exists as more than a repository and provides much needed research into the world of digital content consumption and distribution as well. Their contribution thus becomes two-fold – not only does ACRO provide a means for people to distribute their works openly, they also invest time and thought into figuring out how to make this process more fluid and clear.

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Flash Forward Mix

Cameron Parkins, September 24th, 2007

There is a great mix of CC-licensed electronic over at Gratisvibes, an amazing music blog based solely around CC-licensed electronic music. The mix itself stems from the Flash Forward Party in Singapore, part of iCommns’ 50 Great Parties Club. From GratisVibes:

Well, it’s been a week but finally the guys (DJ FU, CT and I) who did the Flash Forward dj gig last week have managed to churn out the mp3 mix of the whole set. Lasting about 50 minutes, this mix contains a broad selection of tracks that we have reviewed before at Gratisvibes. Also included in the mix are several new tracks from The Electronic Music Lab, Singapore mainly to give the whole gig last week a dash of local flavour.

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The Craft Economy: Stapling CC Licences Through Out Toronto

Cameron Parkins, September 21st, 2007

The Craft Economy, an indie band out of Toronto, have recently (and rightfully) garnered some internet fame for their unique approach to content distribution. From Torontoist:

If you dig free stuff and you happen to be walking through Kensington Market or Queen West this week, local band The Craft Economy have burned a hundred copies of their debut EP All On C and stapled them to hydro poles as a way of promoting their upcoming show. All On C is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. That means whether you rip it off the Internet, or a pole, or even—we hasten to say it—purchase it (if you’re old-fashioned like that), you can copy, distribute and remix it in any way you like so long as you attribute the original work to the band and share your work in a similar fashion.

By using CC-licences, The Craft Economy were able to gain traction that would otherwise be very difficult for a group of their size. They promoted the free sharing of their music, and in doing so, got blogged about on a variety of sites, including BoingBoing. Since then, they have had their songs downloaded over 7,000 times in two days, a remarkable number indeed.

Not only do The Craft Economy have a great sense for getting their name out there, there music is awesome as well. Be sure to check out their myspace page where you can download their EP for free and then mix/mash/share it in any way you see fit.

UPDATE: The Craft Economy EP All On C is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA as opposed to a CC BY-SA license as quoted from Torontoist. This means that while you can still copy, distribute, and remix their songs, you must make sure the derivative work is noncommercial.(Thanks Andreas!)

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Wikipages Goes CC

Cameron Parkins, September 21st, 2007

Wikipages.com, a “wiki-fied” business directory that allows anyone to add and edit entries on business listings, has recentlly gone CC by licensing all their content under a CC BY-SA licence. Although currently focused on the NYC-Metro area, Wikipages is gearing up to take on more cities in the immediate future.

This is another fine example of the power of CC-licences at work. Offering an alternative to traditional yellow pages, Wikipages uses the open structure of a wiki to create a citizen-mobilized, and potentially more comprehensive, listing of businesses in metropolitan areas. By choosing CC-licensing, Wikipages furthers this goal by ensuring this information stays open not only in terms of contribution but distribution as well, a practice that can only lead to numerous benefits for both businesses and the public alike.

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Internet offers more than mindless entertainment

Mike Linksvayer, September 21st, 2007

Appearing in the Pepperdine University Graphic, the title and first paragraph of Internet offers more than Facebook read like a throwback to 1995:

If you are sick of the same old sites, Facebook, Myspace and TMZ, there are some alternatives available on the Web that offer just as much mindless entertainment.

(1995 version: There’s more to the Internet than AOL.)

However, it’s great that the author thinks students should know about one site that is not mindless entertainment:

All students at Pepperdine should know about Creative Commons (creativecommons.com). This site is a place where people can submit and download original content. Everything from photos to music to videos can be downloaded and used without infringing on most copyrights.

Creative Commons is a great community to research and find material that people actually want to share. There are different levels of copyright and different uses for each download so make sure you read the fine print and start downloading.

Close. We’re a .org, but creativecommons.com redirects to .org. One can’t submit or download much content directly from creativecommons.org — there are many sites that enable CC licensing that you can submit and download from. One can choose a license and search for licensed content here.

Overall the two paragraphs about Creative Commons seem like a throwback to 2003, but the article is absolutely correct that all students should know about CC, and it’s great to see this knowledge spreading to a university attended by children of Hollywood’s rich and famous.

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C-Shirts, Code, and Music in Japan

Michelle Thorne, September 21st, 2007

 

FoxkehThe Creative Commons team in Japan is ablaze with activism. At Mozilla 24 in Tokyo this September 15th, the Japanese team invited participants in their workshop to remix FireFox’s squeezeably-cute new mascot Foxkeh into over 45 uniquely designed CC-licensed T-shirts, a continuation of the successful C-Shirt project highlighted at the iSummit 2007 in Dubrovnik.

They also hosted LiveCoding #4 during the 23:30-03:00am stretch of Mozilla 24. With over 100 attendees and 5 x 20 min. of live & local hacking action, the CC team in Japan ushered in daybreak with audience-generated Open Content creation and then joined in the streaming of Larry Lessig’s speech on Web n.0.

In other good news, Public Project Lead Dominick Chen reports that mF247, one of Japan’s largest net-labels, now offers artists the option of adding any CC license to their work. Domo arigato, Japan!

(Image credits: Mozilla Japan, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.1 Japan. Source: http://www.foxkeh.com/downloads/)

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iCommons/OneWebDay Party NYC this Saturday: Party IRL!

Cameron Parkins, September 20th, 2007

Interested in free culture, technology, the Internet, Creative Commons, new media, and anything in between? If so, iCommons, is throwing a last minute party this Saturday (9/22) in New York City! If you are in the area, you should absolutely check it out.

There will be video and music performances, drinks, and cool people abound. Its a free beer, free music party and with hosts Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia) and Susan Crawford (OneWebDay) this is not one to miss. Use codeword IRL for entry to the loft.

partyirl1.jpg

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CC, UGC platform integration and customer acquisition

Mike Linksvayer, September 19th, 2007

Denise Howell writing at ZDNet has a nice report on IP and the user generated economy at TechCrunch40 about new collaboration services that have affordances for CC licenses, and some that should:

The clips forming the foundation of musicshake creations are all licensed, and the company plans to let users sell their creations, keeping some of the proceeds themselves and kicking some to those providing the clips on which the finished work is built. It would be nice to see musicshake include Creative Commons licensing, but there was no mention of this today.

Two companies who either are or are contemplating offering Creative Commons licensing are docstoc and AOL’s BlueString (mentioned above). docstoc, which blends document storage with sharing and social networking, bakes in Creative Commons licensing à la Flickr, and BlueString’s terms advise users that they “may” have the option to apply a Creative Commons license to what they put on the site.

Good (probably) for docstoc and BlueString. For others, it seems crazy to not build in the option of CC licensing from the beginning (yes, I am biased). First, CC licensing assures “users” (really the creators who make such sites valuable) that the site is not an attempt to turn the creators into sharecroppers. Second, there are real legal issues around UGC, especially collaboratively created media, that CC licenses help to address — and these licenses have been deployed for nearly five years, and benefit from many thousands of hours of international copyright expertise and community input. Third, unless the new service intends to be a monopoly host for its content type (dream on), it makes sense to facilitate the flow of content among services — may the best host win, and if a new service isn’t better on some angle than existing ones, why bother? Fourth, there is no other way to give users access to tens of millions of photos and hundreds of thousands of audio and video tracks to build upon legally — and allow users to actually use their collaborative creations legally outside of your silo, perhaps even inside it.

Somewhat less obviously, CC integration is a cheap customer acquisition strategy, if done thoroughly — meaning CC licenses are exposed in a machine-readable way in HTML, feeds, and custom APIs — i.e., integrated into the platform, not merely the site. My favorite example of this is web-based office software Thinkfree’s integration with Flickr’s CC search. A small organization in Anytown, Anywhere that merely wants to cut costs (mostly by having to not maintain local IT infrastructure — they could save on MS Office licensing by using OpenOffice) starts using ThinkFree. Someone wants to add a picture to a document, and it is very natural to use Flickr’s CC search embedded in ThinkFree to do so. This user is very likely to come away satisfied with a great picture for their document, given the 47 million licensed photos on Flickr. Not only is it likely this user has just been introduced to Flickr, they’ve been introduced in a very powerful way, which would be almost impossible to reproduce with a marketing budget of any size.

Now Flickr (owned by Yahoo!) presumably does have a pretty big budget, and it is already very well known, at least among the digerati (others are more likely to be using a far less cool photo sharing site). A new service probably has next to no marketing budget and is unknown to everyone by definition, making this story even more compelling.

The need for web sites to have “open” APIs has clicked with the masses (of digerati anyway) this year. Hopefully this helps make clear why CC licensing of user created and collaborative content is an important part of such an “open” strategy.

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First CC-licensed Photography Contest in China

Michelle Thorne, September 19th, 2007

Creative Commons China Mainland Photography Contest

CC in China Mainland has partnered with the online photo-sharing community nphoto.net and one of China’s largest internet portals, sohu.com, to co-sponsor the first CC-licensed photography contest in China Mainland. The first submissions were received on September 1st, 2007, and at the time of this posting, entries now number around 3,500 and span three major categories: society & humanity, nature & landscape, and portrait.

The contest is open to both professional and amateur photographers, and as the blog from CC in China Mainland reports, all entrants will select a localized CC license for their photos.

Judging will be carried out in two phases, the first consisting of open, online voting ending October 15, followed by a selection by a panel of experts. Awards will be presented to the winners on November 3rd at the National Library of China accompanying the opening of a critically-acclaimed photography exhibition.

Official contest page: http://cc.nphoto.net/

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Digital Asset Management and the Semantic Web

Mike Linksvayer, September 19th, 2007

One way to think of Digital Asset Management is as “enterprise software” for media shops. Another is as the functional opposite of DRM — DAM helps organizations deal with and make use of huge volumes of media, including of course tracking licensing, while DRM attempts to “deal” with users who might want to use individual pieces of media.

It isn’t just media shops and large organizations that have large libraries of media to track and be able to use optimally in various productions. So I’ve been predicting for awhile that DAM-like features will rapidly filter down into “consumer” creator software. One vector for this is growing support for XMP, which allows for embedding arbitrary metadata in media files (Adobe originated XMP, which is based on RDF, the core Semantic Web metadata technology).

Microsoft has apparently gone the next several steps by basing Microsoft Media Manager on RDF and OWL. Via David Seth, who pulls these two quotes from the Media Manager site:

“This RDF model allows companies to add nuance and intelligence to media management beyond what is possible with traditional metadata.”
“… Most importantly, the IMM RDF model overcomes traditional barriers to metadata sharing between external systems.”

That’s great. Now it should be really easy to build support for CC licensing into the Media Manager, if it isn’t there already. :)

Three recent and related pieces on the CC blog, if you read between the lines: Introducing Desktop Licensing, Your copyright metadata on a GRDDL, and File Info panel for Adobe applications.

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