Posted on August 31, 2009 in CC, copyright, IP by Brian RoweComments Off

WLA Logo Washington Lawyers for the Arts has invited me to speak on copyright licensing panel later this month.  The talk will be at 4Culture, 101 Prefontaine Pl S, Seattle, Washington 98104 on Tuesday, September 22, 2009, Noon – 2:00 pm. The other speaker on the panel is Nick Mitchell of Hughes Media Law Group and the moderator is Jefferson Coulter who blogs on copyright at Copyright or Wrong.  This should be a good talk with lots of time for Q&A.  The registration is only $10 for students and artist, hope to see people there.

Here is the full announcement from WLA:

SEATTLE – Copyright is the primary means of protecting an artist’s rights in his or her works. However, understanding the nuances of copyright law and the implications the law has on using others’ works, or allowing others to use yours, can be daunting, and has led to increasing criticism of the U.S. copyright system as a whole.

In 2001, Creative Commons was established with the goal of making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, and it has since developed a variety of model licenses that can be used when licensing one’s works. In this presentation, attorneys Jefferson Coulter, Nick Mitchell and Brian Rowe will discuss Creative Commons licenses and their use in the arts.

The presentation will begin with a brief discussion of copyright law and copyright licensing, and the policy considerations that inform copyright law in the U.S. The discussion will then turn to Creative Commons, with an examination of the reasons Creative Commons was established, what Creative Commons licenses are (and are not), why you may or may not want to use them, and important things to consider if you do. A question and answer session will follow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Noon – 2:00 pm (registration begins at 11:30, brownbag lunches welcome)

101 Prefontaine Pl S
Seattle, Washington 98104

FEE: In advance: $35 Attorneys and Paralegals; $10 Artists and Students. At the door: $40 Attorneys and Paralegals; $15 Artists and Students

To register, visit Brown Paper Tickets, , or phone 24/7 at 800.838.3006. To pay at the door, RSVP to Washington Lawyers for the Arts at 206.328.7053. Please note that the event is subject to cancellation; visit or call 206.328.7053 for more information.

MORE INFORMATION: To view the full event information, select this link.

Posted on April 14, 2009 in CC by Brian RoweComments Off


Wikipedia is voting on using Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike as its primary content license.  If you have 25 edits or more on Wikipedia you can vote!

For background on the migration process, see Wikimedia’s licensing update article and the following series of posts on the Creative Commons blog:

propaganda poster original created by Brianna Laugher, licensed under CC BY.

This post was remixed from Mike Linksvayer’ longer and more informative post over at CC’s Blog.

Posted on January 13, 2009 in CC, IP by Brian RoweComments Off


CC has just gained a foothold in the middle east:

Al Jazeera Network today announced the world’s first repository of
broadcast-quality video footage released under the Creative Commons
3.0 Attribution license. Select Al Jazeera video footage – at this
time, footage of the War in Gaza – will be available for free to be
downloaded, shared, remixed, subtitled and eventually rebroadcasted by
users and TV stations across the world with acknowledgment to Al

It is very interesting to note that Al Jazeera is using one of the most liberal license CC – BY, which only requires attribution (only a public domain dedication is more liberal). This may make Al Jazeera the freest, with regard to copyright, major news outlet. CNN, MSNBC and Fox should take note…

Note I will add a link to the full Press realse when it is posted online, the press release just hit the CC email list.

Update: Here is the offical CC post with links to the full press release.

Posted on December 20, 2008 in CC by Brian RoweComments Off

The video is now up for the” The Commons: Celebrating Accomplishments, Discerning Futures” from last weekend. The discussion is great. There is a lot in the video about the history of CC that i did not know. It is also a collection of some of the best public speakers around.

PS: Jonathan Zittrain did a great job as the moderator.

Posted on October 15, 2008 in CC by Brian RoweComments Off

CC has just launched its annual giving campaign.  This year’s campaign has two major components. First a call for videos and second a donation drive. The call for videos is truly within the nature of participatory culture:

Tell us why you support CC in a short video, up to 90 seconds. Be creative!
Creative Commons is not just about the tools we create — the heart and soul of what we do lies in the incredible work that you, our community, are able to inspire and produce with the help of those tools.

Learn more about the call for videos.

On the donation side of things CC is now offering a hosted open ID account for any of the network donation level, which start as low as $25 for students. The open ID account comes with a good Privacy Policy which includes a human readable summary of the main points:

Creative Commons has established a Data Usage Policy as part of its Privacy Policy that covers how CC uses information about persons who use our Websites and when they log into a website using a Creative Commons Open ID. Among other things:

  • No Linking: CC does not link information from our OpenID server logs to the personal information you submitted to us to establish an OpenID (or otherwise).
  • No Sharing, Selling or Third Party Analytics: Except in the unique situations listed in the CC Network Privacy Policy, Creative Commons does not voluntarily provide information about your OpenID usage to third parties. In addition, we will never use a third party analytics provider to collect or analyze any information through our operation as an OpenID service provider.
  • No Access: Just as any OpenID provider could, CC is able to technically access your website account tied to our services and login on behalf of its OpenID users. Creative Commons will never do so.
  • No Retention: Creative Commons discards non personal information from our OpenID server logs once we have used the information to improve our websites and OpenID services, and for system administration purposes (such as debugging).
  • Notice: CC will use reasonable means to notify you if we are ever required to provide a third party with your non personal information, unless prohibited by law.

This is just a summary of our Data Usage Policy. You should read our entire CC Network Privacy Policy, including the Data Usage Policy that it includes, before using Creative Commons as your OpenID service provider.

To give to the commons make a video or join the network:
Support CC - 2007

Posted on August 22, 2008 in CC, How to, IP by Brian RoweComments Off

Molly Kleinman, a librarian at the University of Michigan, has written two great blog posts on How To attribute CC works. I strongly recommend reading them here is an excerpt.

Best practices for Attribution of CC work:

1. “Keep intact any copyright notices for the Work”: If a work you’re using has a notice that says “© 2008 Molly Kleinman”, reproduce that notice when you credit the work. If such a notice does not appear, don’t worry about it.
2. “Credit the author, licensor and/or other parties (such as a wiki or journal) in the manner they specify”: If a creator has a note attached to her work that says, “Please attribute Molly Kleinman as the creator of this work,” then attribute Molly Kleinman. If there is no note, but there is a copyright notice (see above), attribute the copyright holder named in the copyright notice. If there is no note or copyright notice but there is a username, check the creator’s profile to see if it specifies how to attribute the creator’s work. If it doesn’t, attribute the username. If there is no creator or author name of any kind, but there is a website (like Wikipedia), attribute the website by name.
3. “The title of the Work”: If the work has a title, call it by name. If it doesn’t, you can just say “This work by Molly Kleinman…” or just “Untitled, by Molly Kleinman…” Whatever seems appropriate.
4. “The URL for the work if applicable”: Link back to the original source of the work. I would argue that this is the most important part of the attribution notice. It can help creators keep track of places where their work appears by seeing what links are driving traffic to their websites. It also gives users of your work an easy way to track down the original source. If you are reproducing a CC-licensed work in a print format, you might prefer not to include a long and ugly URL, and there might be situations where leaving out a URL is appropriate. But in general, the link is the most valuable part of the attribution.
5. “The URL for the Creative Commons license”: Link to the license. The original work should have a link to the license under which it was released; link to the same place. You do not need to include the full text of the license when you reproduce a CC-licensed work.

There is no standard way to format the attribution of a CC-licensed work, and you can adapt the style or phrasing to suit your needs or the standard citation style of your discipline.

Here are a few examples:

An Ideal Attribution
This video features the song “Play Your Part (Pt.1)” by Girl Talk, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license. © 2008, Greg Gillis.

A Realistic Attribution
Photo by mollyali, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

A Derivative Work Attribution
This is a video adaptation of the novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. Copyright © 2003 Cory Doctorow.

Read more at Molly’s Blog:

PS the blog is licensed under CC-BY, so you’re also free to use and adapt them however you’d like!

Posted on August 20, 2008 in CC, copyright, IP by Brian RoweComments Off

They may be a little cryptic. I will be giving some public talks on my time at CC later this year for the Seattle University Public Interest Law Foundation. Feel free to ask me any questions in person it was a great summer.

Summer Of Copyright

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: copyright 2008)

I still need to find an easy way to synchronize slides to a talk and post them online. If you have any ideas please let me know.

Posted on August 18, 2008 in CC, IP, licensing, open source by Brian RoweComments Off

During my last week at CC in San Francisco, an amazing opinion can out of the United States Court of Appeals which held that “Open Source” or public license licensors are entitled to copyright infringement relief. This case brought incredible excitement at the CC offices. One of the big questions we get is what happens when someone violates a license? Is the artist entitled to contract damages or copyright infringement damages and injunctive relief? This is a huge issue. If an artist can only get contract damages the licenses are nearly useless for more than signaling.

Under contract law proving harm on a freely distributed work is difficult at best and getting an injunction is very very difficult. The licenses were always written with the intent that the user could gain copyright remedies, but until it was tested in court many old guard companies have been a little afraid of using the licenses. The Court held that free licenses such as the CC licenses set conditions (rather than covenants) on the use of copyrighted work. As a result, licensors using public licenses are able to seek injunctive relief for alleged copyright infringement, rather than being limited to traditional contract remedies. This court ruling creates a very useful and powerful precedence at the federal level (although I am not entirely sure over which courts it is persuasive and which it is controlling, this will be the subject of another post).

Beyond the basic holding of the court, this is a great ruling for two other reasons: the court that ruled and the mention of Creative Commons directly.  The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) is the leading intellectual property court in the United States.  The Federal Circuit is the only judicial circuit that has its jurisdiction based entirely on subject matter rather than geographical location. It hears all appeals from any of the United States district courts where the original action included a complaint arising under the patent laws. In this case one of the claims of the plaintiff was a patent claim giving the court jurisdiction to hear this appeal; normally the court does not hear copyright issues.

Second this was a case involving the Artistic License an open source software license that is very similar to the Creative Commons licenses. Even though a CC license was not directly at issue the court of appeals did mention both Creative Commons and the OpenCourseWare project that licenses all 1800 MIT courses under CC licenses noting them as important to the public and as advancing arts and science at an pace only imaginable a few years ago. Attribution was also given a special mention as important from an economic perspective. The opinion understood some of the basic important parts on an online economy often free distribution is equated with giving up all rights, this opinion looked deeper and found the importance of reputation and credit online.

Lawrence Lessig explained the theory of all free software, open source, and Creative Commons licenses upheld by the court: “When you violate the condition, the license disappears, meaning you’re simply a copyright infringer. This is the theory of the GPL and all CC licenses. Put precisely, whether or not they are also contracts, they are copyright licenses which expire if you fail to abide by the terms of the license.”

This ruling was made possible through the hard work of the public license community who came together to write a friend of the court brief on the appeal.  The cosponsors the brief were Linux Foundation, The Open Source Initiative, Software Freedom Law Center, the Perl Foundation and Wikimedia Foundation.  The principle attorneys on the amici brief were Anthony T. Falzone and Christopher K. Ridder of Stanford’s Center for Internet & Society.

Official CC Press Release
Wendy Seltzer Comments: Federal Circuit Confirms Key Free Software Licensing Practice
Mark Radcliffe Comments:Major Victory for Open Source in Jacobsen Decision
Read the full opinion: Jacobsen v. Katzer.(PDF)
Read the full brief.(PDF)

Posted on August 11, 2008 in CC, nptech, Tim Hwang by Brian RoweComments Off

Sarah and I are attending the interactive portion of SXSW next year.  FFIP did not submit any panels on IP issues this year, but there are a lot of other great panels being proposed.

Panel recommendations:

Start to Finish Drupal Redesign – This is a technical panel put on by our own webmaster Sarah Davies,  She is running a redesign at ACLU a including usability and accessibility testing.

Eric and Fred from CC proposed a number of good ideas on the more activist side including  DRM: The Fight Isn’t Over Yet, Did You Get Ripped Off? Understanding Appropriation, Dusty Jackets: Does Anyone Buy Physical Media Anymore?, Non-Profit Technology Work: How You Can Do Good

Creative Commons intern Tim Hwang has also proposed a panel on The state of the Meme Scape and the Obsolete?: A World After E-mail.

Beth Kanter also has a great list of nonprofit tech panels up.

I look forward to seeing people there!