In just five days, a key EU vote could visit untold harm on the whole world's internet by subjecting all public communications to algorithmic censorship: the proposed Article 13 of the new Copyright Directive will force sites to build vast databases of known copyrighted works, and then block any user submissions (text, audio, video, code, stills) that seems to match a copyrighted work, and anyone can add anything to the blacklist of unpublishable works, without any proof of copyright and without any regard to fair dealing and other vital protections for free expression.
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The EU is mooting a new copyright regime for the largest market in the world, and the Commissioners who are drafting the new rules are completely captured by the entertainment industry, to the extent that they have ignored their own experts and produced a farcical Big Content wishlist that includes the most extensive internet censorship regime the world has ever seen, perpetual monopolies for the biggest players, and a ban on European creators using Creative Commons licenses to share their works.
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Under US copyright law, creators who have signed away their copyrights for the "full duration of copyright" can still get their rights back from publishers under something called the "Termination of Transfer," which is a hellishly complex and technical copyright provision that is almost never used, since it requires that creators wait decades and then successfully navigate all that complexity (even knowing how many years you have to wait is complicated!). Read the rest
Syrian Creative Commons lead Bassel Khartabil disappeared in 2012, snatched off the Damascus streets by Syrian authorities; in 2015, he was secretly executed by the Assad regime, a fact that has only just come to light. Read the rest
The Met's collection contains over 375,000 images of art in the public domain; they've made these directly searchable and browseable, there's a Github repo of metadata, integration with the Creative Commons search tool, and extensive collaboration with Wikimedia and GLAM Wiki. Read the rest
The fine folks at Small Business Web Designs in Australia put together a very helpful list of 50 Top Rated Websites for Royalty Free Stock Images, like Path to the Sea by Paul Jarvis on Life of Pix. Read the rest
Shiv Integer is a bot created by artists Matthew Plummer-Fernandez and Julien Deswaef; it downloads Creative Commons-licensed models from Thingiverse, mashes them up into weird and often amazing new shapes, adds machine-generated titles and descriptions to them, and posts them. Read the rest
Rocket Lee writes, "In Bloc by Bloc: The Insurrection Game, players struggle together to overthrow a repressive government and liberate a randomized city that changes with each game. To win, players must build barricades, loot shopping centers, occupy strategic locations, clash with riot cops and defend liberated zones before time runs out and the military arrives. Each player is also dealt an individual faction agenda and those with Vanguardist or Nihilist agendas are secretly playing to win the game alone." Read the rest
Chelsea Manning's helpers write, "Citing potential copyright infringement, the Army censored materials on prison censorship from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that were
sent to Chelsea by one of her volunteers." Read the rest
Jane from CC writes, "Creative Commons, the global nonprofit that makes it easier for creators to share their work under simple copyright terms, announced a major milestone in the release of its 2015 State of the Commons Report today: over 1 billion works have been licensed using Creative Commons since the organization was founded." Read the rest
Khartabil has been imprisoned in a Syria's Adra Prison since 2012, though as of October, he has been transferred to an undisclosed location. The free software/open culture activist was the lead for Creative Commons Syria and has contributed to Wikipedia, Firefox and many other projects. Read the rest
Sam writes, "I've been releasing a lot of graphic design resources, turning the plants and animals I see into colour palettes and web or print design textures. (Disclaimer: no animals were harmed in the making of these pixels. I ate some of the plants afterwards. They were tasty.) Read the rest
Jonathan Worth is a celebrated, successful, internationally recognized award-winning photographer who saw the writing on the wall for his business -- selling pictures to magazines -- when he found himself threatening a young girl for pirating his pictures, and decided there had to be a better way. Read the rest
From the world's most prolific internet songwriter.
Let's show the world how sharing can be good for business.
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.
Ahimsa: Sita Sings the Blues now CC-0 “Public Domain”
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After a short delay, Charlie Stross and I have finally managed to get the site for our new novel, Rapture of the Nerds, live and online, including Creative Commons licensed ebook versions of the book. If you enjoy the free downloads, we hope you'll buy a personal hardcopy at your local bookseller, or from your favorite online seller, or donate a copy to a library or school.
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
Amazon Kindle (DRM-free)
Rapture of the Nerds Read the rest