2008 April

Welcome 2008 Summer of Coders

Nathan Yergler, April 30th, 2008

The call for submissions for Google Summer of Code 2008 has closed and I’m happy to announce that four students will be working on projects for Creative Commons this summer. In no particular order, they are:

Welcome to all; we’re looking forward to a productive, geeky summer.

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Custom CC Search

Nathan Yergler, April 30th, 2008

Google has supported searching for Creative Commons licensed content through the usage rights portion of the advanced search interface for some time. Last week they took the next logical step by announcing on the Custom Search blog that you can now use the indexed license information to filter results in your own custom search engine.

Custom search engines allow you to create a search for a set of sites and host it on your site. This improvement allows you to further restrict your results to resources marked as under a Creative Commons license. The announcement also enumerates how Google looks for CC licenses, although content creators needn’t worry about that aspect — the HTML generated by the license engine contains all the bits you need; just copy and paste!

Thanks, Google!

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Magnatune does good via the Amarok media player

Mike Linksvayer, April 29th, 2008

Last July we mentioned that Magnatune, a record label known for pioneering open business models, had hired a developer to work on Amarok, a free software media player.

Today Magnatune founder John Buckman announced $11,570 in sales via Amarok, of which 10% is donated to support Amarok. This number could get much bigger as Amarok goes cross-platform, notes the Amarok blog:

With the greatly improved Magnatune integration in the upcoming Amarok 2, and the eventual release of Amarok 2 on Windows and Mac, it will be really interesting to see how far we can take this in the future. For now, I hope that the Amarok users will continue to buy music through Amarok, as it is a great way of supporting Amarok development, at the same time as supporting independent artists, who get a full 50% of the purchase price.

Buckman also announced that Magnatune would donate 10% of sales made through Rythmbox to support that free software media player.

Both media players enable a user to listen to music from Magnatune for free, and make it easy to buy — just like the Magnatune web site.

Congratulations to Magnatune, Amarok, and Rhythmbox for making a logical collaboration (open source and open content) a practical win-win for users (ready access to DRM-free, CC-licensed music), developers, artists, and the whole movement — it has been too long since last mentioning that it’s about discovery now.

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Contest/Submission Reminders

Cameron Parkins, April 29th, 2008

There happen to be a couple awesome CC-oriented submission deadlines quickly approaching, and as such, a recap post seemed in order.

Entries for Monopoly Shuffle: A Remix Contest, which we discussed earlier here, are due May 1. That means you only have two days to create a piece of art that is built out of public domain and/or CC-licensed works and engages with the concepts of remixing, fair use, and the public domain. There are some great prizes to be had and submissions must be CC-licensed (preferably CC BY).

The deadline for submissions to the First Interdisciplinary Research Workshop on Free Culture CFP at iSummit’08 has been extended to May 3. As we noted earlier, this is a great opportunity for researchers who study the commons to interact and share ideas with their peers.

Finally, the deadline for the SELF Documentary Contest, in which participants are encouraged to produce a documentary about the creation of free knowledge and education in the digital era, is approaching on May 31. SELF, “an international project aiming to provide a platform for the collaborative sharing and creation of free educational and training materials on Free Software and Open Standards”, is holding the contest “to strengthen the SELF Platform, to centralise, transmit and enlarge the available knowledge on Free Software and Open Standards and to raise awareness and contribute to the building of critical mass for the use of Free Software and Open Standards.” Submissions must be released under a CC BY license or a Free Art license.

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Scripta: CC Latin America

Jane Park, April 25th, 2008

If you haven’t already, check out Scripta, CC Latin America’s new publication available online (CC BY). The editorial committee for Scripta comes from all over Latin America with contributors from Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, and Ecuador. One of our own, intern Grace Armstrong, partakes in this issue with an in depth Q&A introduction to ccLearn and open education. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, the graphics alone—that brilliant turtle on the cover—is worth clicking to.

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LearnHub Integrates CC Licensing

Jane Park, April 25th, 2008

LearnHub logo—the new online social learning network—decided to go Creative Commons earlier this week. On Wednesday, they integrated CC licensing into their platform as an option for users to share their work, with the additional option of contributing work into the public domain. One of their inspirations was Flickr, the online photo management system that has integrated CC licensing and search.

LearnHub is the result of a collaboration between India’s largest online educator–Educomp–and Savvica Inc., an educational technology company that John and Malgosia Green founded back in 2004.

LearnHub is not designed for any one specific group, but for the networking capabilities among the diverse individuals and communities out there. Because they emphasize open educational resources, LearnHub’s goals are definitely in line with ccLearn’s. John tells me what appealed to him about CC:

“What I saw in CC was that there were several different levels, from public domain to copyright, which give people choice… I’m familiar with CC actually mostly through Flickr which I use very passionately. I think that [CC] works very, very well on that platform, but I don’t think they’ve gone nearly as far as they could with it. And we certainly have that opportunity in education.”

For an example of LearnHub’s current interface, check out the “Wanna Work Together” video at LearnHub’s Creative Commons community. It is licensed CC-BY.

Logo & Screenshot © LearnHub

LearnHub looks very exciting, and we will be following their development closely and reporting further as their user community grows. John tells me that they plan for closer CC integration in the future. “We want to encourage people to share their content freely. We have a lot of specific ideas around search integration.”

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Cameron Parkins, April 24th, 2008

LegalTorrents, “an online community created to discover and distribute Creative Commons licensed digital media”, has re-launched in exciting fashion. Originally founded in 2003 as a means to distribute “hand-picked .torrent files that were approved by content owners“, LegalTorrents revamped its infrastructure to be more friendly to content creators looking to spread their works far and wide, a goal which included a clear articulation of CC-licenses in relation to relevant torrent files. From LifeHacker:

Each torrent submitted to LegalTorrents is reviewed by moderators for the proper licensing and then posted to the site. Additionally, LegalTorrents hosts a high-speed seed for each torrent, guaranteeing that you should always be able to get fairly high-speed transfers; in my tests the downloads were indeed very fast (downloading over 400 KB/s).

As with most content directories, LegalTorrents becomes more relevant the more people use it. With that in mind, check out their growing pool of CC-licensed work, contribute your own, and offer any feedback you may have that could improve what LegalTorrents is trying to accomplish.


John Buckman Profile on Open Rights Group Wiki

Cameron Parkins, April 24th, 2008

There is an incredibly comprehensive and informative profile on John Buckman, founder of Magnatune, at the Open Rights Group wiki. The profile contains an immense amount of information, outlining the motivation behind Magnatune, Buckman’s thoughts on the future of the music industry, and a bevy of info regarding Magnatune and CC. Consider it the most in depth Featured Commoner piece ever committed to HTML, and we didn’t even create it.

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Raw Footage from NOVA’s “Car of the Future” Open for Sharing and Remix

Jane Park, April 23rd, 2008

In the winter of 2006, NOVA embarked on an “open production” experiment, asking viewers to contribute by reading and commenting on a preview of their show’s script—the (then) in-progress documentary, “Car of the Future.” The show’s producers liked the results, and according to the Wired Blog Network’s Underwire, NOVA decided to return the favor by “[giving] the material back.” 

For the first time ever, PBS and NOVA have released 240 clips of raw footage from the making of the “Car of the Future” documentary online. The videos, which include full-length interviews with world-renowned scientists and engineers (in addition to various footage of the high-tech vehicles themselves), is free for viewing, sharing, and remixing under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License (CC BY-NC). NOVA encourages you to take this footage and “create your own video or multimedia project about tomorrow’s cars, environmental issues, or other related topics you care about.” They also ask you to send them back your finished product if you want, so that they can feature the best videos on their site.

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Mayer and Bettle: the Animation Sequel about CC

Michelle Thorne, April 23rd, 2008

From CC Australia:

Following [Mayer and Bettle’s] fabulously successful cinematic debut, in which they introduced us all to Creative Commons, the new film provides a bit of an update as to what has been happening in Creative Commons over the last two years, and gives us a bit more information on using the Creative Commons licences. To do this, they travel into Creative Commons world, and run into one of Bettle’s fans and collaborators, Flik.

The animation is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia license, and the full video can be dowloaded in high resolution flash format here.

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