2007 September

Creative Commons 868

Mike Linksvayer, September 19th, 2007

Besting Creative Commons 1967 by a mere 1099 years is the Diamond Sutra, which according to Wikipedia is the earliest example of block printing that includes a date:

The colophon, at the inner end, reads: Reverently [caused to be] made for universal free distribution by Wang Jie on behalf of his two parents on the 13th of the 4th moon of the 9th year of Xiantong (i.e. 11th May, CE 868).

Which CC license can we (wildly) imagine this corresponding to? Depends what Wang Jie intended “free” to mean — no restrictions, or only distribute without charging.

Via Rufus Pollock’s wide ranging Talk at Law 2.0: Openness, Web 2.0 and the Ethic of Sharing.

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Magnatune and the Ever Evolving Record Label

Cameron Parkins, September 17th, 2007

In a recent interview with technology law podcast OUT-LAW Radio, Magnatune CEO (and CC Board Member) John Buckman outlined Magnatune’s plans to shift from a focus on download related content to releasing streaming products for revenue earning. From The Register:

“What I’m finding is in an era now when we’re all connected to the internet a lot, people don’t really want to download music because then you have to manage it, you have to download it and make sure you don’t lose it and if your computer blows up you have to go and re-download it,” said Buckman. “What people want is access to music […] You simply don’t have to think about buying any more, you just listen online and you give us a little bit of money and you can listen to everything as a stream […] if you like something you can download it for free as well.”

Through its innovative use of CC-licences and automated, flat-rate licensing options, Magnatune has already established itself as forward thinking in terms of the dynamic relationship between record label and music consumer. Here, we see this thinking taken a step further by Magnatune’s commitment to understanding how people consume music and what the best way to get them this music would be, a refreshing approach that is often absent in the recording industry.

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The War Comes Home Uses Creative Commons Licences

Cameron Parkins, September 17th, 2007

The Pacifica Foundation’s flagship station, KPFA, has launched an interactive website, warcomeshome.org, that allows visitors to listen to and share stories about the consequences of the Iraq war for those in America, using their own blogs, email lists, and social networking sites. The website features audio stories, photos, transcripts, resources for veterans and activists, as well as a blog which digs into the politics of the war itself.

The audio stories are licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license and use podsafe music, which was donated by musician Jesse Olson. KPFA’s Web Director Michael Manoochehri elaborates:

“The most exciting part of the warcomeshome.org are the tools that help make the site interactive […] visitors have the ability to leave comments, social network links make it easy to share stories using digg, reddit, and more. The audio clips are Creative Commons licensed, which means that the content can be freely shared and republished. Tools on the site help visitors easily embed the audio on their own blogs.”

Warcomeshome.org has created an incredible resource for accessing important information and opinions about the Iraq war, the value of which is even further increased by its ease of redistribution, with CC licences in particular facilitating the free and open exchange of these important testimonials. In doing so, warcomeshome.org offers an invaluable means for contextualizing an infinitely complex and important situation.

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LiveContent continues…

Timothy Vollmer, September 17th, 2007

The LiveContent project lives on at Creative Commons. Over the summer, Creative Commons teamed up with Fedora and Worldlabel.com to build a LiveCD that runs open source software and showcases Creative Commons and other open content. The first iteration of the project was released at the LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco, with the help of many hardworking interns and the CC community.

In the coming weeks we’re aiming to release version 2.0 of LiveContent, for distribution to libraries, with more free and open content, documentation and demos of Creative Commons and open content movement, and some concrete examples of how users can create and share more open content with the free, open source tools provided on the disc.

Please check it out and continue to champion the project with creative ideas, suggestions, and technical support!

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File Info panel for Adobe applications

Asheesh Laroia, September 14th, 2007

We’re pleased to announce a user-friendly installer for our software to examine Creative Commons licensing from inside Adobe applications like Photoshop. Furthermore, the licensing metadata that you see in Photoshop is interoperable with other metadata packages in Free Software like Exempi.

A week ago I took this picture of our lovely web engineer Nathan Kinkade along with our community manager, Jon Phillips. After opening it in Adobe Photoshop and tagging it with a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license, I clicked on “File Info” from the File menu. Here’s what that looks like:

Photoshop + XMP panel, but smaller

We’ve always said that the Creative Commons licenses come in three forms: lawyer-readable, human-readable, and machine-readable. Metadata is the “information about information” that allows software to tell you more about the file you are examining.

This file info panel is possible because Adobe published an Extensible Metadata Platform (“XMP”) standard as well as Freely-licensed software that implements the platform in addition to supporting it in their own applications. To get started displaying CC metadata in the Adobe programs that support it, simply install our panel (available for both Windows and Mac, the two Adobe-supported platforms). If you want to mark a work as licensed under a CC license, simply choose a license and select the option labeled “To mark a PDF or other XMP-supported file, save this template”. Open that with the Adobe program and your file is marked. We had written about the panel before; this refresh provides an easy installer as well updates it for changes to our metadata namespace.

And remember that this metadata standard is cross-platform. We’ve written before about other people including XMP support in pdflatex, PHP, PDF files, and Tracker, just to name a few examples of Free Software support for XMP.


Saturday is Software Freedom Day

Rebecca Rojer, September 14th, 2007

Tomorrow, Saturday September 15, is Software Freedom Day, a “worldwide celebration of Free and Open Source Software.” Hundreds of teams around the globe will be holding local events to promote software freedom. Search for a team near you.

Creative Commons supports free software and actively develops a number of free software projects. Tomorrow would be a great day to hack on some CC software, maybe work on a patch or try your hand at a developer challenge. Visit the developer page on our wiki for more ways to get involved!

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Mozilla 24 – this weekend!

Melissa Reeder, September 13th, 2007

No matter where you are in the world, you should check out the Mozilla 24 Conference this weekend. This worldwide community event will begin at 8pm PDT. The conference will be physically held in Tokyo, Paris, Thailand, and the San Francisco Bay Area. However, you can tune in to watch via the broadband video WIDE network. Mozilla has also made it possible to pose questions to the speakers and interact with the other online participants via IRC. If you’re interested in hearing about the future of the web from some of the top leaders in the field you should check out all the details.

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Your copyright metadata on a GRDDL

Mike Linksvayer, September 12th, 2007

As of yesterday GRDDL, pronounced “griddle”, is a World Wide Web Consortium recommendation. GRDDL allows one to describe in a standard way how to map information between different XML formats. The acronym stands for “Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects of Languages”, which describes exactly what the standard facilitates.

This is important to Creative Commons because across science, education, and the web there are lots of formats used to describe copyrightable works (and in science, much more than that) and associated rights. These include HTML (and within HTML, data marked up as various microformats and RDFa at least) and dozens of XML-based formats, some well designed, others not so much.

GRDDL makes it easier to process data from diverse formats in an interoperable fashion, when that is appropriate. There’s no requirement to access data via GRDDL, but hopefully the mere opportunity to do so occasionally will make people consider interoperability requirements earlier than they would have otherwise, facilitating lower costs for collaboration across space and time in another way.

Congratulations to everyone involved in developing GRDDL, including Ben Adida, CC’s W3C representative.

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The $2.2 trillion fair use (U.S.) economy

Mike Linksvayer, September 12th, 2007

The Computer and Communications Industry Association has released a study claiming that the value added in the United States by industries dependent on fair use is $2.2 trillion dollars annually, or one sixth of the U.S. economy, apparently almost 70% more than than value added by copyright industries, as measured by other recent studies. From the release:

“As the United States economy becomes increasingly knowledge-based, the concept of fair use can no longer be discussed and legislated in the abstract. It is the very foundation of the digital age and a cornerstone of our economy,” said Ed Black, President and CEO of CCIA. “Much of the unprecedented economic growth of the past ten years can actually be credited to the doctrine of fair use, as the Internet itself depends on the ability to use content in a limited and nonlicensed manner. To stay on the edge of innovation and productivity, we must keep fair use as one of the cornerstones for creativity, innovation and, as today’s study indicates, an engine for growth for our country

The Fair Use exception to U.S. copyright law, as codified in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 states, “The fair use of a copyrighted work … is not an infringement of copyright.” Fair use permits a range of activities that are critical to many high technology businesses such as search engines and software developers. As the study indicates, however, fair use and related exceptions to copyright are crucial to non-technology industries as well, such as insurance, legal services, and newspaper publishers. The dependence of industries outside the high-tech field illustrates the crucial need for balanced copyright law.

While the particular numbers arrived at by the study may be challenged (it is the first attempt to quantify the fair use economy in this way and the CCIA is composed of interested parties), the overall points highlighted above (emphasis added) are extremely compelling.

Given the demonstrated criticality of fair use to the economy and the steady diminishment of fair use, is there any reason to believe the current balance is optimal? Even moreso outside the U.S., where fair dealing and other exceptions to copyright are less liberal than fair use.

This is one place where Creative Commons comes in. CC licenses make it easy to grant permissions beyond the scope of fair use (and without ever restricting fair use), shifting the balance by completely voluntary action. This is not lost on leading companies in the fair use economy. For example, at least five CCIA members have provided support for Creative Commons — Google, Microsoft, Red Hat, Sun, and Yahoo!.

Those are huge, important companies, but a fraction of a $2.2 trillion fair use economy, and that’s not counting the world outside the U.S. Consider joining these leaders — your business, or your job, may depend on it.

Our annual fall fundraising campaign starts next month, so keep the above in mind.

If your company is or should be interested in contributing to our corporate commoner giving program, please contact our development coordinator at melissa@creativecommons.org.

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Help Wikipedia help you: CC license your images

Mike Linksvayer, September 12th, 2007

An Untapped SEO Opportunity: Image Link Love From Wikipedia suggests that web marketers should license their images under CC Attribution-ShareAlike and contribute them to Wikimedia Commons for use on Wikipedia sites.

I like this advice for the obvious reason (encouraging CC licensing, especially under a liberal CC license), but the remarkable thing is that following this “Search Engine Optimization” advice contributes to the greater good. This is largely a testament to the robustness of the Wikipedia community. As I said regarding similar but broader advice earlier this year in Creative Commons for Newspapers, Scientists, Film students and Wikipedia SEOers(!?):

Apart from the CC recommendation, this last article really points to the benefits of the Wikipedia community. Normally ’search engine optimization’ is associated with people basically attempting to scam the search engines’ anti-spam defenses, but most of the article’s tips on participating in Wikipedia are for the good — it’s hard to get any value out of Wikipedia without adding value for others, i.e., it’s hard to scam the Wikipedia community.

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