Nina Paley has released her landmark animated feature Sita Sings the Blues under a CC0 license (as close to putting it in the public domain as you can get). She did it because of a "vow of nonviolence" and the inanity of copyright lawyers.
I learned of Aaron’s death on Sunday; on Monday, the National Film Board of Canada told me I had to fill out paperwork to “allow” filmmaker (and personal friend) Chris Landreth to refer to Sita Sings the Blues in his upcoming short, Subconscious Password, even though Fair Use already freed the NFB from any legitimate fear of Share-Alike’s viral properties. I make compromises to my principles every day, but that Monday I just couldn’t. The idiocy of NFB’s lawyers was part of the same idiocy that Aaron fought in liberating documents from JSTOR. I couldn’t bear to enable more bad lawyers, more bad decisions, more copyright bullshit, by doing unpaid paperwork for a corrupt and stupid system. I just couldn’t.
So the NFB told Chris to remove all references to SSTB from his film.
There are consequences for taking a principled stance. People criticize you, fear you, and pity you. You get plenty of public condemnation. You lose money. Sometimes the law goes after you, and although that hasn’t happened to me yet, it could as I do more civil disobedience in the future.
And if you'd like to reward us for our use of Creative Commons licenses, and reward Tor Books for its decision to drop DRM on all its ebooks, we hope you'll buy an ebook at your favorite ebook retailer.
Amazon Kindle (DRM-free)
Barnes and Noble Nook (DRM-free)
Google Books (DRM-free)
Apple iBooks (DRM-free)
Booksense (will locate a store near you!)
Barnes and Noble
Philip Neustrom has created Set your Instagram free!, a simple way to add Creative Commons licenses to your Instagram photos (something the service doesn't support natively, meaning that technically anyone who reposts your Instagrams risks a lawsuit). Wired has a good writeup by Nathan Hurst:
“What makes Flickr’s Creative Commons licensing so great is that it’s structured: You can search through their photos and just find ones that are CC-licensed and even drill down by tag, etc.,” says Neustrom. “So I wanted to provide something with the same level of structure.”
Users sign in with their Instagram accounts, choose the CC license they wish to use, and every photo they Instagram for the next three months (Neustrom included a re-up requirement so that users wouldn’t forget they’re sharing) will be CC-licensed. Take note, though: There’s no way to selectively license your Instagram photos — they’ll all appear on I Am CC. Whether you want them licensed in the first place is up to you, but chances are, they’re not making your any money anyway.
This is a page from Lifecycles, a short pamphlet by Manvir Singh. The mini-book collects illustrated accounts of reproductive cycles—how various flora and fauna create replacements for themselves and how those replacements grow into adults.
It's a great, short read that would be perfect for a grade-school aged kid to explore. (There is a page for humans, but it skips over all the NSFW parts.)
Singh is part of CreatureCast, a collaborative, multi-media blog produced by students in Casey Dunn’s Invertebrate Zoology course at Brown University. So, not only is this an awesome educational resource, but it's an awesome educational resource created by a student. (And did I mention that it's CC licensed and free to download?)
Jan Rubak has once again set out to create a fan-audiobook of my essays, reading aloud from my book Context as he did with my earlier collection, Content. He's a great reader, and he's uploaded half the book so far, with the rest promised soon. Here's an MP3 of his reading of "Think Like a Dandelion."
Wired.com has a new photo policy: "Beginning today, we’re releasing all Wired.com staff-produced photos under a Creative Commons (CC BY-NC) license and making them available in high-res format on a newly launched public Flickr stream." They've commemorated the event by releasing 50 of their archival images under the same terms, including this fab Jim Merithew shot from The Toy and Action Figure Museum. Bravo!
Blackboard, the ubiquitous, hedge-fund-backed classroom software found on campuses around the world, has just changed its billing structure to make it possible for schools to share their courseware without having to pay fees for members of the public who audit the course or download its materials.
This is a pretty substantial shift. As EFF co-founder Mitch Kapor said, "Architecture is politics," and when your campus runs on a service that is architecturally incapable of hosting an open course, by default it becomes a place where courses must be closed.
The last time I taught a course on a Blackboard campus, I found the product so cumbersome and walled off that I threw it out in favor of a mailing list, a wiki, and a Blogspot blog that the students all belonged to. It was slightly more work to set up (mostly because I had to manually add all the students to each of those services), but it gave me the flexibility I needed to teach the course I'd been asked to deliver.
In Victory for Open-Education Movement, Blackboard Embraces Sharing (Thanks, Dad!)
Mr. Henderson said that in the past 18 to 24 months he has heard increasing requests from colleges officials to allow sharing. He said that he wanted to make the change sooner, but that it is easier for him to win the argument now that the company, which was publicly held, has been sold to a private-equity firm, Providence Equity Partners.
“This is something that is easier to do as a private company more easily than as a public company because the risk of being misunderstood by investors is less,” says Mr. Henderson. “The investor community was skeptical about that and worried” about an open policy, he says, adding that in the new ownership model, “we had to tell three people about that at Providence, who immediately got it.”
One key to Blackboard’s new “Share” feature is a partnership with Creative Commons, which offers licenses for free content. When professors choose to make their courses free, they will be presented with options to easily attach a Creative Commons license, something they otherwise would have to do manually.
Jane from Creative Commons sez,
Today marks the official launch of the 2011 Creative Commons Annual Campaign! Please join us in powering the future of openness! This year, we are offering a limited teal edition of the CC "I love to share" t-shirt to everyone who donates $50 or more (until supplies run out). For those who donate $300 or more, in addition to the t-shirt, we are offering beautiful hard copy editions of The Power of Open, stories of creators sharing knowledge, art, and data using Creative Commons.
The world is experiencing an explosion of openness. From artists inviting creative collaboration to governments around the world requiring publicly funded works be available to everyone, the spirit and practice of sharing is gaining momentum and producing results. We post about these results frequently; subscribe to the CC newsletter for a distilled monthly rundown.
Creative Commons relies on donations to build and constantly improve the technical and legal tools that enable openness to flourish. The future of openness is bright, but ensuring that future requires urgent and sustained effort. CC is continuing to improve the usefulness of our licenses and helping even more artists, institutions and governments share their works. We are reaching a critical mass and need your support now more than ever.
The breadth of content and openness of the class is enough to make any online education junkie salivate. The class’s RSS feeds host audio-recorded lectures, class assignments and special discussions. Worth’s Fall course attracted over 10,000 visitors to its website from 1,632 cities in 107 countries... Thanks to some savvy networking, the class also gives access to some big names. The crowd-sourced list of photo books, with submissions from bandstand photographers Alec Soth, Gilles Peress, Joel Meyerowitz, Todd Hido and others had over 100,000 page views.Jonathan shot some portraits of me as part of a National Portrait Gallery project, and they're among my favorite photos of all time (check out his portrait of Alan Moore!).
“I think Jonathan’s course experiments are fantastic,” says Professor David Campbell, member of the Centre for Advanced Photography Studies at Durham University. “He is probably the most creative teacher I know.”
After nearly 15 years as a successful commercial photographer specializing in portraiture (he’s photographed celebrities like Alan Moore, Colin Firth and Brett Easton-Ellis), Jonathan Worth gave up the advertising and editorial jobs, left New York, and returned to his native England to take up a part-time teaching gig at Coventry University.