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Annual campaign kickoff — CC remix T-shirt by Shepard Fairey!

Melissa Reeder, October 5th, 2009

cc-shepard-fairey-logo-medium
Today marks the launch of Creative Commons’ 5th Annual Fundraising Campaign. This year, more than ever before, it is vital that we all support choice and sharing online. Truly, everyone benefits from a free and open internet, and we have only just begun to see how beneficial a culture of sharing can be.

We are reshaping history as we speak. Millions of CC supporters across the globe – creators, consumers, and advocates – have shown that they believe in the importance of universal access to information online. If we want future generations to enjoy the kind of rich culture that we all deserve, we must invest today in the future of creativity and knowledge.

This year we have set an ambitious goal of raising $500,000. To kick start our fundraising efforts, we are thrilled to announce a special-edition remixed Creative Commons T-shirt, designed by Shepard Fairey. Fairey is widely known for his ability to build off both his own work and the work of others to create something new and wholly unique, a quality that resonates deeply with CC’s mission.

We are a non-profit organization, and as such we are all too familiar with the challenge of securing the resources we need to continue our work. We’ve been inundated with news regarding how difficult it is to raise money in today’s economic climate. However, CC doesn’t see this as an obstacle; we see it as an opportunity – an opportunity to call communities across the globe to action.

This campaign is not exclusively about fundraising; it’s about supporting CC – as the original architects of the licenses so many have come to rely upon, and an organization whose mission you value and uphold – in whatever manner you are able. Help spread the word about CC, start or continue licensing your work and using licensed work, and/or give what you can. Any amount helps and all is greatly appreciated.

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Wikis Take Manhattan III is this Saturday!

Fred Benenson, October 5th, 2009

Wikis_Take_Manhattan

Wikis Take Manhattan is a scavenger hunt and free content photography contest aimed at illustrating Wikipedia and StreetsWiki articles covering sites and street features in Manhattan and across the five boroughs of New York City.

Scheduled for Saturday, October 10, 2009, this event will be a sequel to the spring 2008 Wikipedia Takes Manhattan (WTM-1) and last fall’s Wikis Take Manhattan (WTM-2) event. Check out the hoppin’ Wikipedia page for full details.

The day will be sponsored by Free Culture @ Columbia, the Columbia University chapter of Students for Free Culture, in cooperation with Free Culture @ NYU, The Open Planning Project, Wikimedia New York City and Wikipedia volunteers.

If you’re attending, make sure to register online here.

All Wikipedians and non-Wikipedians are invited to participate in teams of up to three (no special knowledge is required at all, just a digital camera and a love of the city).

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Venezuela

Mike Linksvayer, October 4th, 2009

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“I Am What I Learn” Video Contest for Students

Jane Park, October 2nd, 2009

Students over 13, including all struggling college students, have a chance to win $1,000 from the U.S. Department of Education in their “I Am What I Learn” video contest. eSchool News reports that “to get students invested in their education, President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have announced a new video contest, asking students to “inspire” them with their stories.”

I Am What I Learn” asks you to answer the question, “Why is your education important to fulfilling your dreams?” in two minutes or less, and submit it to them by the Nov 2nd deadline. Be sure to visit the site for more details and to check out Secretary Arne Duncan’s own video.

ccLearn encourages you to use CC licensed content for your videos, whether you need a neat soundtrack or image, and to release your own video under one of the Creative Commons licenses.

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A Brief Overview of U.S. Public Policy on OER from California’s Community Colleges to the Obama Administration

Jane Park, October 2nd, 2009

The Publius Project at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society offers a new essay on OER and public policy in the United States: A Brief Overview of U.S. Public Policy on OER from California’s Community Colleges to the Obama Administration . Written by Carolina Rossini and Erhardt Graeff, it does a great job of pointing out the major recent movements toward OER in state and federal governments, and thoughtfully evaluates the issues that each initiative brings to the table.

“This post draws significantly from an interview on August 10, 2009 with Hal Plotkin, a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Dept. of Education, who has closely followed and been involved with OER policies in California. The interview was part of research on the educational materials sector being conducted under the Industrial Cooperation Project at the Berkman Center at Harvard University. The research is part of a broader project being led by Prof. Yochai Benkler and coordinated by Carolina Rossini. In the research, we are seeking to understand the approaches to innovation in some industrial sectors, such as alternative energy, educational materials, and biotechnology. The intention is to map the degree to which open and commons-based practices are being used compared to proprietary approaches and what forces drive the adoption and development of these models.”

Like all content on the Publius site, the essay is available via CC BY-SA.

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dublab Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

Cameron Parkins, October 1st, 2009

logo_listendublab, the nonprofit web radio collective we teamed up with to produce Into Infinity, is celebrating its 10th (!) anniversary during October. The celebration begins today with a ten-day series of events that includes live music, art installations, film screenings, and a variety of happenings that showcase dublab’s breadth and depth as an arts organization.

intoinfinity_artactionKicking off the festivities is Vibrant Visions, a retrospective of dublab’s original art projects including Into Infinity. The event runs from 7PM-11PM at Continental Gallery in Downtown LA (Google Map) and will feature live t-shirt printing, video booths, and a pop-up shop in addition to original art. The gallery will remain open (including the pop-up shop) Wednesday through Sunday, 12PM-8PM, throughout October.

For more information on dublab and Into Infinity, check out CurrentTV’s recent feature as well as a great write-up in the LA Weekly.

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Dutch Public Broadcaster VPRO Releases CC-licensed Documentaries

Fred Benenson, October 1st, 2009

VPRO Site

Paul Keller, one of our project leads for CC Netherlands just let us know about an exciting development from their public broadcaster, VPRO, who on Wednesday released 2 full length (and one more coming soon) documentaries under our CC-BY-NC-SA licenses. What’s great is that these documentaries are current pieces, not old selections from the back catalog or archives – they’ve all aired within the last 10 days. Additionally, VPRO is also offering DVDs of the films for sale.

The documentaries, available in both Dutch and English are available to download in an almost-HD resolution of 640 by 380, but are also posted on mininova.org here and here.

Here’s an excerpt from the project’s press release:

According to Bregtje van der Haak, coordinator of the VPRO’s Century of the City project, releasing these documentaries under a Creative Commons license contributes to efforts to better serve the VPRO’s public:

“We are producing a lot of documentaries that are of interest to specialized communities. In the case of urbanization this includes architects, urban planners and students. From research we know that a growing segment of the VPRO’s audience is watching less and less television but continues to highly value this type of content. By offering content for download we are increasing the life cycle of these programs and enable a whole number of new forms of re-use of our productions. As a public broadcaster we have the obligation to make our productions available to the public in an as flexible manner as possible.”

Congratulations to VPRO!

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REMINDER: CC Salon NYC is Monday October 5th

Fred Benenson, October 1st, 2009

CC Salon NYC Logo

Just a quick reminder that October’s CC Salon NYC is Monday night!

We’ve got a brand new home for the Salons – the Open Planning Project has generously offered their incredible penthouse.

So come out to have some beers with the CC community watch some cool presentations, and meet some new faces in the free culture space.

October’s Salon will feature short presentations from Adam Clark Estes, director of citizen journalism at the Huffington Post Investigative Fund talking about how the HuffPo is using CC to fuel the future of journalism, Shelley Bernstein, Chief Technology Officer of the Brooklyn Museum discussing their amazing community and commons efforts, and myself discussing some current CC projects, achievements, and a sneak peak at what I’ve been working on for the Creative Commons Network.

Here are the details:

Monday, October 5th, from 7-10pm
The Open Planning Project
148 Lafayette St
Between Grand & Howard
New York, NY

We’ll have free (as in beer) beer. If you’ve didn’t make it to any past CC Salons, don’t miss this one, and if you did, you’ll know to come early as space is limited.

RSVP to the event via Facebook or by e-mailing me: fred [at] creativecommons.org.

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Jonathan Lethem’s CC Licensed Philip K. Dick Essay

Fred Benenson, September 30th, 2009

Crazy FriendNotable Brooklyn author Jonathan Lethem (Fortress of Solitude, Motherless Brooklyn, You Don’t Love Me Yet among others) just released an essay titled “Crazy Friend” (PDF download) under a CC BY-NC-ND license. The story is a fantastic read in and of itself, but we’re doubly excited that its CC licensed.

Here’s io9’s summary:

The essay, called “Crazy Friend,” is a winding, mildly obsessive tale of how Dick’s stories guided Lethem out of childhood, into a turbulent adolescence, and at last settled him in a career as a critically-acclaimed writer. He begins by talking about his boyhood relationship with two cool older girls who didn’t get why he thought Dick’s writing was so important, and ends by introducing us to Lethem’s life as a Dick fanboy and showing us snippets of his early writing about Dick (some interesting stuff). Ultimately, Lethem says, Dick is the archetypal “crazy friend” whom we’ve all known. And whom we all love.

Lethem has a new book coming out on October 13th called Chronic City and he’ll be doing an epic reading of the entire book around NYC city book stores starting October 16th.

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First Mobile Novel Launches in South Africa

Jane Park, September 30th, 2009

Mobile phones are the most popular means of communication among young adults in South Africa, as South Africans send 250 million text messages a day. This may be true for many parts of the world, where Internet connections are still in dial-up mode or even nonexistent. Through mobile phones, youth carry daily conversations via text messaging, as in some areas it is cheaper to send a text than to call.

Leveraging the popularity of mobile phones, the m4Lit project has launched the first mobile novel of its kind, or m-novel, in South Africa. Kontax, which follows the adventures of a group of teenage graffiti artists, is made specifically for mobile phones, and is available in both English and isiXhosa. It is being released chapter by chapter on a daily basis, with the first chapter already out. From the press release:

“The m4Lit pilot project aims to explore whether teens are interested in reading stories on their cellphones, whether and how they write using their cellphones, and whether cellphones might be used to develop literacy skills and a love of reading. Enter Kontax, an m-novel written on commission from the Shuttleworth Foundation by prize winning ‘mobilist’ Sam Wilson. Kontax is an m-novel made for mobile – and from 30 September readers will be able to access the dynamic teen narrative from their WAP-enabled cellphones, or from their computers. Every day another exciting chapter in the mystery plot will be told, with 21 chapters rolling out over 21 days. Teen readers will be invited to interact with Kontax as it unfolds on their cellphones: they can vote on and discuss the progressing plot, leave comments, download wallpapers and finally submit a written piece as part of a competition, with airtime prizes available for winning submissions.

…As part of the research component of this project, interviews with teens in Cape Town before and after the publishing of Kontax will establish to what extent this project changes South African learners’ attitudes to reading and writing, what learners think about m-novels, and whether the mobile medium as a literacy tool interests or excites them.

Global perspective
In inviting interaction from and discussion amongst its teenage readers, Kontax is aligned with leading global trends, and follows the success of audience participation in story writing found in Japan, where teens have been reading and writing novels on their cellphones in this way for a number of years. The popularity of the m-novel is clearly evident in Japan, where six out of the top 10 fiction best sellers in 2008 were m-novels that had later been printed in book form. The evolution of digital media has had a profound impact on the literacy practices of teenagers from east to west – in the USA, research has shown that through their computers today’s teens are reading and writing more than ever, not formally but on blogs, MySpace pages and via instant messages. Increasingly, SMSes and chats on their cellphones also form part of the “reading” and “writing” of digital literacy.”

Read the press release for more information. And if you happen to be in South Africa, you may want to attend the book launch at “the Book Lounge in Cape Town on Wednesday 30 September at 18h00. All are welcome, but should please RSVP to either booklounge@gmail.com or 021 462 2425.”

All Kontax content and story images are licensed CC BY-SA. Kontax is written by Sam Wilson and the m4Lit project is spearheaded by Steve Vosloo, 21st Century Learning Fellow for the Shuttleworth Foundation.

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