I made Wil Wheaton recite the digits of Pi for four minutes, then a fan set it to music

There's a scene in my novel Homeland (the sequel to Little Brother) in which the first 1,000 digits of Pi are featured; when it came time to produce the audiobook edition, poor Wil Wheaton -- the narrator -- ended up reading out Pi for four solid minutes, with some entirely understandable difficulties. Nick Land set the reading to music, creating quite a delightful little tune! Read the rest

Youtube told them to use this "royalty-free" music; now rightsholders are forcing ads on their videos and claiming most of the revenue

'Dreams' by Joakim Karud is a popular track in Youtube's library of safe, royalty-free music, which it supplies to video creators who want to stay on the right side of copyright, but Sonyatv and Warner Chappell claim that the Creative Commons-licensed song contains an uncleared sample from the Kenny Burrell Quartet's 'Weaver of Dreams,' which has allowed the giant rightsholder corporations to claim ownership over any video that incorporates the track and demand the lion's share of the revenue generated by the tens of millions of views associated with them. Read the rest

Just This Banjo: free/open banjo instruction for an angry moment, because you can't be sad while playing the banjo

For years, I've been covering the career of Patrick Costello (previously) a deaf, copyfighting, open access banjo player and teacher who is responsible for a bounty of instructional books, videos, and meetups for would-be banjo players. Now, Patrick has finished a new book called Just This Banjo and made it open access, in the name of fighting the malaise and terror of our precarious moment. As Steve Martin has proved: you can't be sad while playing the banjo. Read the rest

Open source documentary drawings from Berlin

After Suzanne Forbes graduated from art school, she worked as a penciller for DC and a courtroom artist for CBS and CNN; today, she lives in Berlin, where she is a prolific "documentary artist," rendering scenes from the U-bahn, sex parties, and other scenes around town. They're Creative Commons (NC-ND) licensed, and supported by donors on her Patreon. (Thanks, Pat Ketchum!) Read the rest

Crowdfunding season four of JourneyQuest: a CC-licensed fantasy-comedy show that treats its fans with respect

Ben writes, "First featured on Boing Boing in 2010, the fan-supported TV series JourneyQuest has continued for nine years(!) and is now Kickstarting a fourth season. It's an open world with a copyleft license, proving that encouraging sharing, remixing, allowing commercial derivatives, and not treating fans like criminals can still lead to success." Read the rest

How Metabrainz stood up to a predatory copyright lawsuit and won

I'm a volunteer on the board of The Metabrainz Foundation, the nonprofit that maintains the Metabrainz service that produces accurate metadata on music that helps listeners locate the music they love and musicians and services accurately allocate revenues from online services. Metabrainz's material is strictly Creative Commons, including the art its users include in their updates to the database. Read the rest

The new Creative Commons search engine is out of beta, with more than 300 million images!

I am totally, utterly reliant on Creative Commons images for Boing Boing, and mostly I use Google Image's mediocre search tool for this purpose, but no more! Creative Commons's new search engine is out of beta, and contains more than 300,000,000 images, along with tools to make attribution easier! (via Kottke) Read the rest

Video and audio from my closing keynote at Friday's Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain

On Friday, hundreds of us gathered at the Internet Archive, at the invitation of Creative Commons, to celebrate the Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain, just weeks after the first works entered the American public domain in twenty years. Read the rest

Braille RPG dice

Jack Berberette's Dots RPG project creates free, CC-licensed shapefiles for RPG dice with Braille faces (you can order readymades from Shapeways); they're part of a larger project to produce accessible RPG materials of all kinds for people with visual disabilities. (via the-a-r-t-i-s-t) Read the rest

On January 1, America gets its public domain back: join us at the Internet Archive on Jan 25 to celebrate

Timothy from Creative Commons writes, "In the US beginning Jan 1, 2019–after a devastating 20 year drought brought on by the infamous 1998 'Mickey Mouse Protection Act.' Creators, commons advocates, librarians, legal activists and others are celebrating in San Francisco at the Internet Archive on January 25, 2019 to mark the 'Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain.' There will be keynotes (including from Cory Doctorow and Larry Lessig), panels with legal experts like Pam Samuelson and EFF, and lightning talks to showcase the important, weird, and wonderful public domain." Read the rest

The EU's new Link Tax bans the use of Creative Commons and open access for news

One of the most controversial elements of the EU's new Copyright Directive is Article 11, the "link tax," which requires paid licenses for links to news stories that contain "excerpts" (more than a single word from the story or its headline, depending on which draft you're reading). Read the rest

Creative Commons: next week's EU vote could cost us the internet

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. Read the rest

The EU's latest copyright proposal is so bad, it even outlaws Creative Commons licenses

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. Read the rest

New tool helps authors claim their copyrights back from publishers (even "perpetual assignments")

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

RIP, Bassel Khartabil, Syrian free culture activist executed by the Assad regime

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

Metropolitan Museum of Art makes more than 375,000 public domain images available as CC0

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

Treasure trove of royalty-free stock photo websites

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

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