2008 July

Very open microblogging service launches

Mike Linksvayer, July 2nd, 2008

Identi.ca, an open source/free software + open content = open service microblogging service launched today. From the FAQ:

How is Identi.ca different from Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Plurk, others?

Identi.ca is an Open Network Service. Our main goal is to provide a fair and transparent service that preserves users’ autonomy. In particular, all the software used for Identi.ca is Free Software, and all the data is available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license, making it Open Data.

The software also implements the OpenMicroBlogging protocol, meaning that you can have friends on other microblogging services that can receive your notices.

The goal here is autonomy — you deserve the right to manage your own on-line presence. If you don’t like how Identi.ca works, you can take your data and the source code and set up your own server (or move your account to another one).

Identi.ca is a project of Evan Prodromou, featured at Creative Commons previously for his work on Wikitravel and other open content initiatives.

Now you can microblog with less guilt. Follow Evan.

Creative Commons’ Jon Phillips is quoted in the press release:

Response from initial testers has been enthusiastic, both for the software’s design and functionality, as well as the site’s openness. “It makes me feel alive again to see the resurgence of free/open on the web,” said Jon Phillips, Community Manager with Creative Commons in San Francisco, CA.


On Distinguishing Between Creative Commons, The Public Domain, and All Rights Reserved

Fred Benenson, July 2nd, 2008

Over the last week we’ve noticed at two instances where editors from mainstream newspapers have confused whether a particular image is licensed under Creative Commons, is in the public domain, or is all rights reserved. In one case, Technology Editor Charles Arthur of The Guardian blogged about a dust up between some photographers and eBay:

Last Thursday we ran a piece about a new (to us) wrinkle on copyright infringement, detailing how some people who had put photos on Flickr under a Creative Commons non-commercial licence (oops – they weren’t) found that they were being sold on eBay by someone who was claiming the rights to them.

Fortunately Mr. Arthur was quick to correct his error (the strike through is his, not ours) as we could find no evidence that the original photos were licensed under CC. While some of the CC licenses would explicitly allow someone to resell the work on eBay (Attribution, Attribution-ShareAlike, and Attribution-NoDerivatives), the default rule of copyright, all rights reserved, however, prevents such transactions.

In other news, The New York Times’ Lede Blogger Mike Nizza improperly associates a public domain image by Henry Holiday as being licensed under Creative Commons:

The Holliday illustrations are from the original 1876 version of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony, in Eight Fits which is available from Project Gutenberg for download here. Project Gutenberg is able to host the book as the work is in the public domain and not subject to copyright due to its creation date being prior to 1923.  Since copyright is a precondition for Creative Commons licensing (and any other licensing for that matter), it is meaningless to say that a public domain work is licensed under Creative Commons.

The New York Times’ link points to a version of the file hosted on Wikimedia Commons which functions as the media ‘backend’ for all of the Wikipedia projects. Wikimedia Commons only contains images and media which are freely licensed or are in the public domain and is an excellent resource for those looking for media that they they can use freely.

Taking a step back, we are excited to see mainstream media using and attempting to understand free works while properly attributing them.  But it remains clear that paying attention to not only the provenance, but the copyright (and sometimes lack thereof) of images found online is an increasingly important aspect of being a digital publisher.

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And the results are in…

Greg Grossmeier, July 1st, 2008

Just one week after the big release of the Case Studies project, things are doing great!  The project has garnered a lot of attention as can be seen from this example list. Some of the things said about the project include these two excerpts.

Ruth Suehle from Red Hat Magazine said:

Despite having just launched, the site is already full of studies.

And Marshall Kirkpatrick from ReadWriteWeb echos the sentiment with:

If your organization is interested in making your content easier to distribute, this database is a great place to learn from the experiences of others. … The breadth of examples already available is very commendable and many of them are quite well developed.

All of the support and positive reviews of the projects are great, but what is really showing us how much this project is appreciated is the fact that people are adding and editing Case Studies!  If you haven’t found your favorite photographer, filmmaker, musician, or writer who uses CC licenses on the list, take a moment and add them.

We have also started to put together some Professions pages to be used to help people find examples of case studies and other information for their discipline more easily.  Right now the pages include a featured list of case studies per profession and even some links to notable works in those areas.  There is a page for Photographers, Musicians, Writers, and Filmmakers. Be sure to check them out.

And, like any other part of this project, if you find anything missing, incorrect, or out of date, feel free to change it.  If you have any suggestions as to what can be added feel free to mention that as well.

Thank you everyone for making this project so successful!

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Cameron Parkins, July 1st, 2008

ImageStamper is a free tool “for keeping dated, independently verified copies of license conditions associated with creative commons images.” You can see an example of how it works here. From ImageStamper:

ImageStamper can act as your witness when you inspect the copyright license of an image that you want to download and use. You can ask ImageStamper to look at the web page with the image to independently verify what exact license conditions apply to that image. ImageStamper will visit this webpage from one of its servers and produce an image ‘timestamp’ — a dated record of image contents and of the license conditions that apply to that image. This timestamp will then be permanently stored in your account and you can present it as evidence that you were given appropriate rights to use the image.

You can help with the development of the project (still in BETA) by giving feedback at the ImageStamper forum.

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Cameron Parkins, July 1st, 2008

Wordle is an awesomely fun new tool (read what the TEDBlog had to say about it) that makes aesthetically pleasing text-images out of any block of text, a site’s RSS feed, or a user’s del.icio.us bookmarks. Check out a ‘wordle‘ we made of CC’s “Share, Remix, Reuse — Legally” text found on the front page of our website:

All of the images created by Wordle are released under a CC BY license, meaning that you can reuse them as you see fit as long as you provide proper attribution. Some seriously cool ideas are sure to follow – for instance one great idea (UPDATE: link fixed!) for using MOO, Wordle, and Flickr to create some eye-catching business cards.

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