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Put the Supremes on Your iPod

Glenn Otis Brown, July 15th, 2003

Our friends at have now made it ridiculously easy to download MP3s of classic U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments for free under a Creative Commons license.

Here’s a list of the first wave of Supreme Court recordings that OYEZ has embedded with license information.

Download (warning: big) a few here if you like, then browse OYEZ for a few dozen more:

(1) Roe v. Wade;

(2) the Pentagon Papers case;

(3) Miranda v. Arizona;

(4) the Sam Sheppard (a.k.a., “the Fugitive”) murder appeal;

(5) the justly titled Loving v. Virginia (in which the Court overturned a Virginia law banning inter-racial marriage).

OYEZ also has the audio from the recent affirmative action cases Gratz and Grutter.

Not jogging music, exactly — but many of them do get the blood going. Hats off to OYEZ for this ongoing public service.

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Digital Mix: A Special Bay Area Event Celebrating Illegal Art

Matt Haughey, July 14th, 2003

On July 25th the Electronic Frontier Foundation will host a night of music, art, and conversation to celebrate digital culture. Hosted at the Black Box in downtown Oakland, this all-ages event will bring up-and-coming artists of electronica, digital film, and illegal art together with leaders from the cyber-rights movement. Among the event’s speakers, Creative Commons’ Glenn Otis Brown will be there to discuss the new sampling license. For more information, please proceed here.

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BitPass + Creative Commons

Neeru Paharia, July 9th, 2003

Musicians Joshua Ellis and Big Friendly Corporation have implemented a new technology called BitPass to sell their Creative Commons-licensed content via micropayment.

Joshua has offered his songs under an Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license. If you buy a song for 50 cents, or the entire album for $3.50, you’re then free to copy, distribute, and make derivative works — as long as you give Joshua attribution, don’t make commercial uses, and release all derivative works under an Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license. Joshua says he’s sold over $100 of content within a few days.

Anyone interested in mixing these songs, or putting them into your student film?

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Commons on the Hustings, II

Glenn Otis Brown, July 3rd, 2003

Our licenses make another appearance on the campaign trail. Check out AmericansForDean.

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An Opsound Exchange

Glenn Otis Brown, July 3rd, 2003

You’ve got to hear this. This week’s featured content is exactly the sort of innovative co-authorship that Creative Commons, and good folks like Opsound, make possible.

Colin Mutchler explains:

About a month after submitting a few acoustic guitar tracks to
Opsound‘s sound pool [and thus releasing the song under an Attribution-ShareAlike license], I got an email from a violinist named Cora Beth, who had added a violin track to one of the guitar tracks, “My Life.” She called it “My Life Changed,” and I think the track is definitely more beautiful now. Maybe eventually we’ll add drums and words.

This is collaboration across space and time, as our Flash movie puts it — with no rights-clearing needed. Great stuff. We’d love to hear more of this sort of thing, so tell us if you have a similar story.


The Phoenix Trap

Matt Haughey, June 26th, 2003

This week’s featured content is Philadelphia-area rock band The Phoenix Trap. All their songs at are available under a Creative Commons license (which also has streaming versions). Fans can purchase a CD of their full set of songs as well. “Not Me” and “You’re on Fire” were definitely my favorites.

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Metadata embedding and verfication plan for MP3 & other formats

Glenn Otis Brown, June 25th, 2003

A big part of the OYEZ Supreme Court audio announcement today is our new strategy for helping people associate license information with MP3s. (We’ll soon move on to other file formats.)

Right now we’re just showing people how to associate verifiable license links with files. But we want to encourage the developer community and various file-sharing and media player companies to build tools that take advantage of the embedded links to make our licenses useful in the P2P and other non-web contexts.

More info:

(1) Metadata embedding in MP3s and other files

(2) The advantage of the verification link

(3) Verification link: also a traffic engine

(4) Geek-readable version of embedding strategy

Please give us your feedback below, or on the metadata discussion list.


Supreme Court Audio Classics Enter P2P Zone Thanks to Creative Commons Licenses

Glenn Otis Brown, June 25th, 2003

Today, the OYEZ Project announced the first-stage, 100-hour release of MP3s from their 2000+ hours of Supreme Court recordings using Creative Commons’ licenses.

The release also marks the debut of our new metadata tagging and verification strategy, which explains how to attach and verify license information to MP3s (and soon, other files) for distribution on the Net.

Read the Featured Commoner interview of OYEZ director and founder Jerry Goldman, by Creative Commons’ Laura Lynch.

Check out some Supreme Court audio, such as the recent Affirmative Action case.

Read the press release.

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Supreme Court Audio Classics Enter P2P Zone Thanks to Creative Commons Licenses

Matt Haughey, June 25th, 2003

Creative Commons Also Rolls Out Strategy for Embedding and Verifying License Information in MP3s and Other Files

Palo Alto and Chicago, USA — Creative Commons and the OYEZ Project announced today the first-stage 100-hour release of MP3s from the Project’s 2000+ hours of Supreme Court recordings using Creative Commons’ machine-readable copyright licenses. Creative Commons also announced its new metadata verification policy, designed to ease the legitimate distribution and copying of audio files online by associating copyright information with the files themselves.

The OYEZ Project,, is a multimedia archive dedicated to the business of the Supreme Court of the United States and the lives of its Justices. Founded in 1994 at Northwestern University, OYEZ will now host MP3 audio recordings of oral arguments before the Court dating back to the 1950s, including landmark cases such as Gratz v. Bollinger, 2003 (affirmative action) Grutter v. Bollinger, 2003 (affirmative action) Bush v. Gore, 2000 (2000 presidential election) Regents v. Bakke, 1978 (affirmative action) Roe v. Wade, 1971 (abortion and reproductive rights) New York Times v. United States, 1971 (the “Pentagon Papers” case) Miranda v. Arizona, 1966 (“You have the right to remain silent . . .”) Gideon v. Wainwright, 1963 (a defendant’s right to counsel).

Recordings of the oral arguments from these historic controversies are now available for free download from the OYEZ website under a Creative Commons copyright license, which encourages copying and redistribution of the recordings while imposing certain conditions on their use: OYEZ must be attributed, commercial re-use is prohibited, and any modification of the files obligates licensing under the same Creative Commons terms as the original files.

“With the Creative Commons, we have for the first time found a way to license our content to assure use consistent with our objectives. As long as users meet the conditions of the license, they are free to enjoy and share a small treasure of America’s legal and political heritage,” said Jerry Goldman, Northwestern University political science professor and OYEZ project director.

“By releasing hundreds of important Supreme Court recordings under Creative Commons licenses, the OYEZ Project has demonstrated a commitment to filling the commons with high quality educational material for others to use and learn from,” said Lawrence Lessig, chairman of Creative Commons and professor of law at Stanford. “Just as important, the OYEZ Project’s use of machine-readable licenses with its MP3s is a big step toward a world in which law and technology can work together to promote sharing.”

More About Creative Commons’ Metadata Embedding Policy

Creative Commons also announced today their new metadata embedding policy that defines a standard way to embed metadata into files verified by an external webpage.

“The Creative Commons license information embedded into each of the OYEZ Supreme Court files can be verified by an external webpage maintained by the copyright holder,” said Mike Linksvayer, Creative Commons CTO.

“We hope this will become the standard approach to embedding and verifying metadata.”

More information below, and at:

More about Creative Commons

A nonprofit corporation, Creative Commons promotes the creative re-use of intellectual works — whether owned or public domain. It is sustained by the generous support of The Center for the Public Domain and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Creative Commons is based at Stanford Law School, where it shares staff, space, and inspiration with the school’s Center for Internet and Society.

More information at

More about OYEZ

Today, The OYEZ Project provides access to more than 2000 hours of Supreme Court audio. All audio in the Court recorded since 1995 is included in the project. Before 1995, the audio collection is selective. OYEZ aims to create a complete and authoritative archive of Supreme Court audio covering the entire span from October 1955 through the most recent release. OYEZ receives support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, FindLaw, Northwestern University, and the law firm of Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw.

For more information


Glenn Otis Brown
Executive Director Creative Commons
1.650.723.7572 (tel)
glenn -AT-

Jerry Goldman
Professor of Political Science
Director, The OYEZ Project
1.847.475.6671 (tel)
j-goldman -AT-

Neeru Paharia
Assistant Director Creative Commons
1.650.724.3717 (tel)
neeru -AT-

Mike Linksvayer
Chief Technical Officer Creative Commons
ml -AT-

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Adelante con Swartz

Glenn Otis Brown, June 24th, 2003

Creative Commons has signed on in support of Aaron Swartz‘s call for “forward motion” on blog protocols. We will be participating in helping define licensing extensions to the new specification.

(I’ve worked with Aaron, our metadata advisor, for over a year now, and this isn’t the first time I’ve followed his lead. You should try it if you haven’t.)

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