Questions of the day: Hip-hop artists and DJs have long made a practice of inviting remixes by releasing acapella or instrumental tracks. What stops them from formalizing that invitation with, say, a CC license? Is it that the music-biz lawyers want to reserve the right to hold remixers hostage, in the event they start to become too successful, or stray too far aesthetically? If that’s not the explanation, what is? There’s something about the practice that’s reminiscent of the Speakeasy or back-room gambling joint: when a vibrant sampling underground is uncovered, copyright holders are shocked, shocked to learn the law has been broken.
Related news: The New York Times today inventoried the growing catalog of Jay-Z mash-ups, from the oh-so-scandalous Grey Album *(Jay-Z + Beatles) to Double Black Album (Jay-Z + Metallica), plus about ten more. I’m glad the whole controversy has everyone talking about copyright and art, but it’s a shame that the Grey Album has gotten all the attention. Some of these other mashes are better-executed as records, in my view, if less grand in high concept. I think Illmind’s Black and Tan Album works pretty well, for example, even though its samples are less familiar than the Grey Album’s.
All this makes it more striking to hear people say that remixing is not music, that the manipulation of sound recordings is less worthy an art form than the manipulation of abstract notes and rhythms. Of course rock-and-roll once faced the same criticism — it wasn’t real music. And then came the Beatles, who by no means invented rock but certainly perfected it, so that even the old
foagies fogies eventually came to take its merit for granted. Will it require a masterpiece of mash for remix culture finally to win legitimacy? Who will be the Beatles of bricolage?
Just a quick note to say I just downloaded your MP3 from the harvard.edu Regards, Laurie Laptop
site. It’s good to know that my music was good enough to be included in
your report. I enjoy fact that other people can appreciate it and use it
freely in their own work.
Just a quick note to say I just downloaded your MP3 from the harvard.edu
My friend Benjamen Walker received this email the other day.
Ben recently produced a short piece for Harvard’s Berkman Center‘s great AudioBerkman project called “The Gadget Factor.” The segment takes “a closer look a cool new class of high-tech toys — the portable MP3 player — to find out what effect these devices are having on the world of online music.”
The piece features interviews with media analysts and lawyers — including both EFF’s Fred Von Lohmann and the RIAA’s Cary Sherman. And like all Ben Walker radio pieces of late, it is built around loops of Creative Commons-licensed music.
Another satisfying CC story.
Do you have a good one? Send it to us with “CC Story” in the subject box and we’ll let everyone know.Comments Off on CC Stories
This week’s featured content is the ebook Just In Tokyo. It’s a offbeat guidebook to Tokyo written by web veteran Justin Hall and is now available for download under a Creative Commons license. First printed a few years go, it’s now out of print and Justin is asking for voluntary donations if you like the downloadable book.Comments Off on Just In Tokyo ebook
Creative Commons’ Assistant Director, Neeru Paharia will be on a panel titled Music in the Digital Era this Thursday at the UC Davis School of Law. The panel, cosponsored by the Entertainment and Sports Law Society and California Lawyers for the Arts, will focus on the effects of digital mediums and internet downloading on the music industry.Comments Off on Creative Commons at UC Davis School of Law
I am very happy to announce that our Japanese-law and -language licenses are now available for use from our site. Just select “Jurisdiction: Japan” when choosing a license, and the site will point you to the right document. For those with browsers set to English, the Commons Deed will appear in English. For those with broswers set to Japanese, in Japanese. And the underlying legal code is in Japanese.
This is a major milestone for Creative Commons, and I’d like to extend a special thank you to GLOCOM for driving iCommons Japan, to Yuko Noguchi and Emi Wakatsuki for their extraordinary efforts, and to Machina for her keen insights at various points in the drafting process.Comments Off on Japanese iCommons licenses available now!
Ben Adida, one of our tech advisors, will attend the Semantic Web portion of the World Wide Web Consortium Plenary Session this Thursday and Friday in Cannes, France. RDF, the technology we chose 18 months ago to build our machine-readable licenses, recently became a finalized W3C recommendation.Comments Off on Creative Commons at the W3C
Today we announce a search engine prototype exclusively for finding Creative Commons licensed and public domain works on the web.
Indexing only pages with valid Creative Commons metadata allows the search engine to display a visual indicator of the conditions under which works may be used as well as offer the option to limit results to works available licenses allowing for derivatives or commercial use.
This prototype partially addresses one of our tech challenges. It still needs lots of work. If you’re an interested developer you can obtain the code and submit bugs via the cctools project at SourceForge. The code is GNU GPL licensed and builds in part upon Nathan Yergler’s ccRdf library.
We also have an outstanding challenge to commercial search engines to build support for Creative Commons-enhanced searches.Comments Off on CC-enhanced search engine
We’re happy to announce the winners in our GET CREATIVE!: Moving Images Contest. Last fall, we asked aspiring filmmakers and flash artists to create a short film that explained the mission of the Creative Commons. Our panel of judges has selected the top three entries and they’re all terrific. We want to thank everyone that entered, everyone that helped spread the word, our judges for taking time to help us with the contest, and most of all thanks and congratulations to Justin Cone, Sheryl Seibert, and Kuba & Alek Tarkowski.Comments Off on Moving Images Contest Winners Announced
The New York Times today reports on a surreal U.S. Treasury Department Policy:
Anyone who publishes material from a country under a trade embargo is forbidden to reorder paragraphs or sentences, correct syntax or grammar, or replace “inappropriate words,” according to several advisory letters from the Treasury Department in recent months.
Adding illustrations is prohibited, too. To the baffled dismay of publishers, editors and translators who have been briefed about the policy, only publication of “camera-ready copies of manuscripts” is allowed.
The article does not make clear whether the policy rationale stems from concern for the moral rights of authors in rogue nations.Comments Off on No Derivatives — Or Else . . .