2008 January

More CC Cinema 2.0

Mike Linksvayer, January 7th, 2008

Following up on today’s post on a short about “Cinema 2.0”, made with presumably Cinema 2.0 techniques … more links on CC Cinema 2.0 and nearby.

The A Swarm of Angels collaborative film project is moving into its third phase, advanced development.

The folks behind ASoW have also posted their ideas on 7 rules for open source media, including what they call “Open Plus”:

Open Plus adds more opportunities for participation and involvement in the work whether as a creator, or as part of what used to be called ‘the audience’.

  • 6. Reveal the process
    Allowing access to not only the final source media, but work-in-progress material and software files, adding another layer of transparency and documentation.
  • 7. Open contribution
    Adding ways to influence and participate in the creation of the original work through various types of community/audience involvement (opportunities such as open crewing, direct feedback or contribution mechanisms).

There are different flavours of open media, and these states can accommodate most Pioneering open movie projects like Blender’s Elephants Dream and Modfilm’s Sanctuary count as open source media because they allow you to access the source files. The recent release of the copyright documentary, Steal This Film, illustrates extreme openness rejecting any copyright and licensing restrictions, but doesn’t provide source media. The same is true for the Creative Commons-licensed machinima feature film Bloodspell.

Next generation projects like the upcoming Peach animated film from Blender team, our own A Swarm of Angels feature film project, and the opensourcecinema.org documentary illustrate the more transparent and flexible end of the open content spectrum.

Open source media is not open source technology. It doesn’t have the same rules but some common properties. It should have some minimum requirements, so it is easier for everyone to immediately figure out how open the media you want to enjoy really is.

The “Plus” part of their delineation (quoted above) concerns the community processes around media creation, a topic often left out of formal definitions of openness, though very much part of the longstanding conversation carrying over from the software world (cf. The Cathedral and the Bazaar). In other ways “Open Plus” does not go as far as the Definition of Free Cultural Works, which does not allow for usage restrictions.

Speaking of Elephants Dream (mentioned in the quote above, and code-named Project Orange when it was under development), we’ve been incredibly remiss in not mentioning two very cool follow on projects — Project Peach, another open movie, and Project Apricot, an open game built using many of the same technologies. These are incredibly exciting projects from the Blender Institute with the dual goals of creating excellent product and tuning up the open media creation toolchain. All of the non-software components of these projects are available under the non-restrictive CC BY license with source materials available in an open format — clearly free cultural works.

Finally, news about two films on copyright in the digital age:

Steal This Film 2, which we mentioned back in November, is now available. Unfortunately it isn’t under a CC license, supposedly “so you can still steal it”, though the material is highly relevant.

CopyCat will be under a CC BY-SA license, but is still in the planning stages:

The focus of the web series will be the Internet itself and the effects it has had on society, US and global. It will make use of pop culture references, wit, and satire of current events. (The humor, however, will be a delivery system for the information, not the end-all of the series.) It will be fast-paced, much like the documentary style of the films Loose Change and Good Copy, Bad Copy. It will use elements of the personal nature of Michael Moore’s filmmaking (following one person’s opinion) with the cineme verete qualities of narrator-less films like Jesus Camp, and it will switch between the two based on the subject covered.

Read about how to participate in and follow the progress of CopyCat.

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2007 CC Swag Photo Contest Winners

Melissa Reeder, January 7th, 2008

Carpeted Commons Creative Commons Swag Contest 2007_2

The two overall winners of the 2nd annual CC Swag Photo Contest are (drum roll please) — Glutinx and Tyler Stefanich. Congratulations to you both!

Thank you to everyone who participated – we greatly appreciate your support. And again – thanks to everyone who helped us reach our 2007 fundraising goal!

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RightsAgent and CC+

Cameron Parkins, January 7th, 2008

RightsAgent, a “provider of copyright management solutions for user-generated content”, launched a little over a month ago with much promise. RightsAgent is built specifically with CC in mind and aims to streamline commercial transactions for CC NC licensed works, giving content creators a platform to “perform copyright transactions with those who wish to license their work” commercially. This is an implementation of what we recentlly coined CC+.

RightsAgent currently supports both Flickr and Revver users, with more content directories on the way. Although a month late (but nonetheless informative), check out this interview with RightsAgent co-founders John Palfrey and Rudy Rouhana to get a better idea for RightsAgent has in store:

Creative Commons itself, five years ago when it was founded, filled an extraordinarily important gap in the marketplace. It was very difficult if not impossible for somebody to give away some rights [to their work] and retain other rights. CC became an extremely simple way to do that. Five years later, what’s clear is that there is great value in what some people are generating online, and the gap we think RightsAgent will fill now is that sometimes you want to give away some rights and sometimes you want to get compensated for what you’ve done. In some context, you might want to license your work freely under CC, and in other contexts you might want to get paid. This system allows you that flexibility. In the same way that Paypal created a simple platform for paying for any e-commerce item on the Web, our idea is to create the same kind of mechanism for the sale of Web 2.0, “user-generated content.”

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Creative Commons Cinema 2.0

Cameron Parkins, January 7th, 2008

Check out this great YouTube clip we got e-mailed over the holidays, cut entirely of footage and sound from The Tracey Fragments. It was made to celebrate what the creator and editor, Toi Matteucci, saw as “Cinema 2.0.”, the reuse of footage from one film (in this case The Tracey Fragments) to create a new work with an entirely different purpose.

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New Year Resolution: Free(v.) stuff

Mike Linksvayer, January 7th, 2008

Craig Neilson writes about his three 2008 resolutions at WorldChanging — (1) Be vegetarian, (2) Walk, (3) Free stuff, where free is a verb:

This year I want to set stuff free, which is easier than it sounds. I’m contributing to Wikipedia, publishing more helpful personal web pages and licensing my Flickr photos with the most generous Creative Commons license available.

This is the kind of group activity that causes massive change. Information can be an unlimited resource when we free it – a move that costs little and benefits many. What’s exciting about freeing stuff is that you don’t know how your stuff could be used.

Read the whole article, including some insightful comments on the value of setting stuff free.

Here’s Craig’s Flickr stream, with photos indeed licensed under CC BY.

Creative Commons — wholesome like walking.

Craig Neilson / CC BY

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CC Talks With: BloodSpell

Cameron Parkins, January 7th, 2008

Although we took a little break in our “Featured Commoner” series over the holidays, we are back in action with many more stories and interviews for the new year. First up in 2008 is Hugh Hancock, Artistic Director ad Co-Founder of Strange Company, the “world’s oldest pro ‘Machinima‘ production company” and producers of acclaimed full-length machinima BloodSpell. We’ve talked about the film before, but further enlightenment was due.

What’s BloodSpell/Strange Company all about? What’s its history? How did it come about? Who’s involved?

Strange Company is the world’s oldest professional Machinima (real-time 3D filmmaking using computer game engines or similar tools – basically puppetry on a computer) production company – we’ve been around since 1997, when I quit pursuing a computer science degree to go play with this new “Quake Movies” thing. It turned out to be a better idea than it looked – we’ve been making films for 10 years now and havve been praised by Pulitzer winner Roger Ebert, worked for some of the most respected companies in the world (like the BBC and BAFTA), and have’ve produced some fantastic films.

BloodSpell is a feature-length Machinima film, one of the few that have ever been made. It’s what we’re calling a “punk fantasy” – an epic fantasy film about a world where people are infected with magic in their blood, but without all of the pompousness, “Olde Worlde” feel and posh English accents that most fantasy films feel they have to have.

BloodSpell happened because we’d been spending a while trying to develop a really huge film project, and we’d kinda lost sight of what makes Machinima great – the fact that it’s fast and cheap enough to make a Machinima film that you can just do it. A collaborator of mine pointed out, in his inimitable way, that we had “lost the punk edge”. So we promptly turned around and decided to put together a fast, cheap film.

Of course, then mission creep set in. But four years later, we’re very proud of the result, and the response we’ve had – praise from major newspapers (The Guardian and USA Today), top interweb/storytelling types (like Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow), and great reviews all across the world.

How are you using CC licenses with BloodSpell? Which CC licenses are you using and why?

BloodSpell is released under a CC BY-NC-SA license. Essentially, we chose CC for brutally commercial reasons – we weren’t going to make money with BloodSpell (it’s basically the world’s largest market research project), we knew that basically every first feature film doesn’t make its creator money, no matter how it’s licensed, and we wanted to make sure that as many people as possible got to see it. From that standpoint, CC was a no-brainer. Likewise, there was no reason to limit the uses people make of our work – I’d love to see BloodSpell fan-fiction, for all that I probably can’t read it myself for legal reasons.

Can you talk about any interesting instances of reuse that have arisen from your choice of CC licensing? What benefits have you seen from using CC licenses?

Actually, we’ve not seen a lot of reuse and remixing, although a couple of people have done some very cool fan-art and remixed trailers. The major benefit we’ve seen is simply that people know they’re free to watch and give away BloodSpell, and that’s made us very popular – to the extent that we’re currently the second most watched Scottish feature film this year, on a budget that’s more than 100 times lower than the next most watched film!

What’s next for BloodSpell/Strange Company?

We’ll be releasing a BloodSpell DVD pretty soon – also under CC – and we’re going to be working on developing tools and technology for our next productions.

The other thing I’m likely to be doing is helming a CC cookery show called “Kamikaze Cookery”, teaching people to cook using modern, molecular gastronomy techniques, but that’s a different story…

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Video intro to RDFa

Mike Linksvayer, January 7th, 2008

If you remember Manu Sporny’s Intro to the Semantic Web … for noobs, released on December 25 and that whetted your appetite for something more technical, Manu has just released a video intro to RDFa, one of the metadata technologies Creative Commons is using. Like the previous video, this one and its source material is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike.

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Thank You!

Melissa Reeder, January 4th, 2008

cc campaign wrap

After an intense 3 months, the 2007 annual fundraising campaign has come to a close. And what a close it has been — $601,976 raised! The amount, however, is not nearly as noteworthy as the global participation that occurred in order for this campaign to be successful. The map above, displayed on our home page throughout the campaign, shows the geographic distribution of contributors. This is truly a community supported organization. Thank you to everyone who helped us surpass our campaign goal and more importantly thank you for your commitment to keeping culture free.

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Political Novel “Republic” Released Under CC License

Cameron Parkins, January 4th, 2008

Author and veteran Charles Sheehan-Miles decided to kick off the New Year with an action rather than a resolution by releasing the e-book of his novel, Republic, under a CC BY-NC-ND license. From Sheehan-Miles:

“…the biggest challenge most authors face isn’t online piracy. It’s not people out there diabolically copying their works and distributing them for free. In fact most authors (including yours truly) suffer from a different problem entirely — no one has ever heard of them. After all, literally hundreds of thousands of new titles come out every year, and only a few hundred writers in the entire United States (if that many) actually live off their books full time. So, by giving away the book, I hope more people actually read it.

Want to share it with a friend? Feel free. Email it to them, send them the link, whatever. If you find that you enjoy the book, I’m hoping you’ll order a copy, but that isn’t required. You could also post a review somewhere. Post a link in your blog. Ask your library to order a copy, so more people can get it for free. Whatever. If you do post a link somewhere, let me know about it. I’d love to see lots of people reading the book, the more the merrier.”

Sheehan-Miles is talking here about the idea that obscurity, not the sharing of cultural works, is the biggest threat to him as an author. Novels in particular are culturally ingrained in the concept of “sharing”, be it between friends, family members, or even libraries. By choosing a CC license, Sheehan-Miles is able to overcome the limitations of all rights reserved copyright in relation to this conundrum, allowing for the free redistribution and sharing of his novel online.

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CC Hong Kong begins public discussion

Catharina Maracke, January 3rd, 2008

It’s with great pleasure to announce that the CC project in Hong Kong has entered the public discussion for their localized license draft. We would like to congratulate the CC Team in Hong Kong, lead by Dr. Yahong Li and Alice Lee (The University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law) as well as Rebecca MacKinnon (Journalism and Media Studies Center).

Please feel invited to join the Hong Kong team in discussing and reviewing their license draft and help the licenses to be adapted to Hong Kong law. The role of the discussion is to start the public debate and to make the least amount of changes necessary to bring the licenses into accord with Hong Kong law (http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Worldwide_Overview). We expect the archived discussions to serve as a history of this experience. That way, your input will continue to be useful to anyone from any country even after the discussion for Hong Kong is completed.

We are looking forward to an interesting and fruitful discussion!

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