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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Creative Commons Turns 5

Last night Creative Commons celebrated its fifth birthday with an excellent party in San Francisco and several announcements. Due to the difficult acoustics situation in the venue, I was unable to hear just what Prof. Lessig was saying most of the time, and there don't seem to be announcements on his blog or the CC website yet, so I hope I get this right - please check those sites soon for more authoritative information. (Meanwhile, here is another partygoer's post, far more detailed than mine.)

- CC met and exceeded its goal of raising half a million dollars in individual donations by Dec. 31. It's also just raised a massive amount of funding from other sources, as covered in the above-linked SocialMedia post. Congrats!

- CC is starting a Legal Commons (Beta), to debut on Jan. 15, with some sort of affiliation with Carl Malamud of public.resource.org. The gist of the announcement seemed to be that all federal cases will be publicly accessible (dating back to when, I'm not sure). This is excellent news for those of us in the legal community, and, as a friend of mine commented, "It raises a big middle finger pointed directly at Eagan, Minnesota" (home of Thomson West, i.e. Westlaw). As the open access journal movement continues to gain steam, law journals that want to go open access - and their readers - will benefit from open resources such as public.resource.org, Altlaw, and the forthcoming Legal Commons, as they provide alternative/parallel citations to Westlaw and Lexis/Nexis. Much of the value of a law journal article is in the citations, so readers can now follow up on a citation even if they don't have (cheap/free) access to Westlaw or Lexis.

- There are going to be new CC licensing options: CC+, which adds more rights than any CC license currently offers; and CC-0 [zero], which allows a creator to waive all rights over her work and to authenticate that waiver with a signature, in a machine-readable way. I'm not sure what the details of the CC+ license are and I hope I'm getting CC-0 right. I was not able to ask Prof. Lessig what is probably a question that has already been answered, or for which he would have a ready, detailed answer (as he usually does when asked pretty much anything, from "Hey, should privacy rights be alienable?" to questions about unladen swallows' airspeed). My question is, What about the analog hole? This has surely come up in the context of existing CC licenses. If CC-licensed (or CC-0 rights-waived) content jumps offline, doesn't the machine-readable license tethered to that content by a bunch of ones and zeroes become useless? Does it become, to borrow a loaded word, orphaned? I should investigate this on my own, but I address it to the Lazyweb here in the hopes that people whose minds don't get easily distracted by DJ Spooky and chocolate cake (man that was a great party) will weigh in.

Happy birthday, CC!

UPDATE: Aha, Lessig has blogged about the party, the money, and the new licenses. Among the various clarifications of my mealy-mouthed interpretation of his announcements Saturday, Lessig says all federal case law will be free by about this time next year. Tasty.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Magnatune: An Ethical Alternative to iTunes

Magnatune is a Creative Commons licensed music site that allows you to listen to all their music streaming online for free. If you like the music you can purchase music CD's or download MP3's for for a price of your choosing. Many advocates of strong All Rights Reserved(ARR) copyright claim that ARR copyright is need to help new artist make a name for themselves. Distribution models like Amie Street and Magnatune are challenging this assumption head on.

They have a portion of the site dedicated to Why They are Not Evil.

Top 5 reasons they are not evil:

  • Musicians get paid: 50% of your purchase price goes directly to the musician, not to labels and their lawyer.
  • Give to your friends: We encourage you to give 3 copies of any music you buy to your friends
  • Remix friendly: Tons of our music, acapellas and samples are available for Remixing at CC Mixter All our 128k MP3s are some-rights-reserved Creative Commons licensed
  • No major labels: we have absolutely nothing to do with major labels or the RIAA

  • No DRM: No copy protection (DRM), you can do what you like with your music, unlike iTunes and Windows-media based web sites.

  • Freedom for IP greatly respects the work done by Magnatune and encourages the development of new business models in the music industry to appropriately reflect our technologically advanced culture.

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    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    NTEN call for an IP panel on copyright options

    I just finished doing NTEN's online survey for 2008 NTC Agenda. I was surprised to not see a single topic or part of a topic that dealt with online copyright issues. When distributing information online ones IP strategy should play a central role in letting users know what they can do with your content and what happens to their contribution. SecondLife, Myspace, Wikipedia, Flickr and YouTube all have different ways of controlling and enabling distribution through IP choices.

    I would love to run a session on using Creative Commons and alternative licensing of intellectual property to reach more constituents and more people in need. Using a culture of sharing as a form of distribution can empower your IP to work for you. If you are attending NTC this year and would find a copyright session useful please let NTEN know.

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    Tuesday, October 02, 2007

    Ourspace update: New date for Thirdplace Books, October 18th

    The talk and book signing at Third Place Books has been moved from October 27th to October 18th. The Elliot Bay event is still this Wednesday at 7:30pm, hope to see people there.

    Book Event:
    Thursday, October 18, 2007, 6:30 pm
    Talk & Book Signing
    Third Place Books
    Ravenna Third Place
    6504 20th Ave NE
    Seattle, WA 98115

    PS: The book is under an all rights reserved copyright... although one chapter is available online at the wiki. http://www.upress.umn.edu/wiki/index.php/OurSpace One chapter is a small step in the right direction.

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    Sunday, September 30, 2007

    OurSpace, author Christine Harold, Speaking in Seattle x2

    Come out to Elliott Bay Book Company Wednesday or Saturday the 27th to meet Christine Harold. We need you to help resist the corporate control of culture.

    In OurSpace, Christine Harold examines the deployment and limitations of "culture jamming" by activists. For Harold, it is a different type of opposition that offers a genuine alternative to corporate consumerism. Exploring the revolutionary Creative Commons movement, copyleft, and open source technology, Harold advocates a more inclusive approach to intellectual property that invites innovation and wider participation in the creative process.

    Christine Harold is a professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Washington. Her previous position was assistant professor of speech communication at the University of Georgia.

    Book events for OurSpace: Resisting the Corporate Control of Culture by Christine Harold

    Book Event
    Wednesday, October 3, 2007, 7:30 pm
    Talk & Book Signing
    Elliott Bay Book Company
    101 South Main Street
    Seattle, Washington 98104

    Book Event
    Saturday, October 27, 2007, 6:30 pm
    Talk & Book Signing
    Third Place Books
    17171 Bothell Way NE
    Lake Forest Park, WA 98155

    More information available at:


    PS The publisher has not returned my emails about the what copyright the book is under and why... If the publisher is holding it hostage under a full right reserved license we may need to take action.

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    Thursday, July 19, 2007

    ATJWeb.org is now using a CC license

    This is a great example of how a Creative Commons License can work to enable the mission and goals of an organization.

    If you are not familiar with ATJWeb you should check it out. It is based on the Washington State Supreme Court's order designed to increase access to the justice system by applying principles that focus technology implementors and the justice system in general on values including privacy and accessibility.


    Access to Justice (ATJ) Web seeks to help guide the development of technology to help those in need. Through the ATJ Technology Principles we can use technology to give everyone fair access to the justice system a reality in Washington State and beyond.

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    Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    Patrons for the Public Domain

    I was reading The End of Copyright By Ernest Adams today and was reminded of one of the better possible strategies for replacing copyright.

    "Yet another model is the donor model: somebody who is known for creating great work can collect up donations in advance; when he has collected enough to fund the work, he builds it, and releases the game copyright-free when it’s finished."

    If this Idea is expand to creating foundations that make grants to artists or creator for the purpose of making making art that is destine for the Public Domain, at the point of first publication, this would solve the problem of pay artist while simultaneously enhancing the commons. This model could also used with
    Creative Commons license.

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    Saturday, February 17, 2007

    Why copyright NPO web sites?

    As a non profit why lock away your contributions to society with a threat to litigate?

    All copyright does is allow you to sue someone if your work is used by someone else.

    Non-profits should tag their work with a Creative Commons license that allows other to build on the work and add to the NPO community as a whole.

    I strongly recommend removing copyright notices in favor of an attribution only license which allows other to build on your contributions to the community as long as they credit the author. Most NPO's want their work distributed in ways that help as many people as possible. All a copyright notice does is discourage sharing with the community as a whole.

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