December 20, 2007

Gilberto Gil performs ‘Andar com fe’

At the 5th birthday party for Creative Commons on Saturday night, the great Gilberto Gil — musician, Brazil’s minister of culture and a Creative Commons supporter — performed several acoustic songs. Here is a 3-minute video of his popular hit "Andar com Fé," captured with my Nokia N95 camera phone.

I’m still hoping others who shot video at the event Saturday will send pointers to the footage.

Cross-posted to Real People Network.

December 19, 2007

‘Here Comes Another Bubble,’ v. 1.1

You may have read the controversy over the Richter Scales’ video Here Comes Another Bubble, a smart, clever sendup of Web 2.0 culture done to a Billy Joel tune.

Lane Hartwell objected to the band’s inclusion of her photo (for a split second) in their mash-up — yes, they should have attributed her contribution or used a photo with a Creative Commons license and attributed the photographer — and sent YouTube a takedown notice. ValleyWag covered it with a post titled, Here Comes Another Takedown.

So the band just released version 1.1 of the video, sans Hartwell’s photo and with (too-quick) credits at the end. Footnote: I’m one of the photographers credited, for my shot of Robert Scoble during his book release party. I thought that shot looked familiar!

December 18, 2007

Just ordered & donated a One Laptop Per Child computer


I’m a huge admirer of the One Laptop Per Child program headed up by MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte, so I just took advantage of the Give One Get One program, which ends on Dec. 31. You make a tax-deductible contribution to send an XO laptop to a child in a developing country, and they’ll ship you one as well for the price of $424 (including shipping to your home).
After the purchase is made, they tell you the machines will ship in the early spring.

Related from the BBC News: A child’s view of the $100 laptop — what your child can do with the XO at home.

December 16, 2007

In Tikal, temples in the mist

Temple steps

I used to be a free-lance travel writer, so the main story in Sunday’s NY Times Travel section caught my eye: In Tikal, Temples in the Mist. It’s a look at the greatest ruins of the Mayan civilization, found deep in the rain forest of Guatemala. I visited there more than a decade ago: here’s my article, and here are my photos on Flickr (like the one above).

Here’s the Times’ slide show on Tikal, and here’s a photo from the NY Times piece:


December 16, 2007

Creative Commons raises $13 million, launches 2 new licenses


I’ve been scouring the blogosphere and news sources for other writeups about this, but so far haven’t spotted a single posting. And there’s not a word about this on the Creative Commons site.

So I’ll relate what I jotted down last night at Creative Commons’ fifth birthday party at Terra Gallery in San Francisco with no guarantee that it’s 100% accurate. (If you have an additional details, feel free to leave a comment.)

I’ve been worried about Creative Commons’ viability for the past year or so, given that nonprofit law requires new revenue sources after a certain period of time. Founder Lawrence Lessig (still on Ourmedia‘s Advisory Board) took to the stage with perhaps 400 well-wishers millling noisily around and gave a half-hour presentation about Creative Commons’ fund-raising efforts and the launch of two licenses.

$13 million raised

A while back, the Hewlett Foundation agreed to kick in $500,00 per year over 5 years if Creative Commons could find four other outfits to pledge the same amount. Lessig related the deadline drama:

The Omidyar Network agreed.

So did a "secret entity" from Europe that declined to disclose its identity.

Next, a consortium consisting of Mozilla, Google and Red Hat.

Saturday, the fifth actor fell through, leaving all the pledges in jeopardy, for Hewlett made Dec. 15 a hard and fast deadline.

So, yesterday the board members of Creative Commons — I believe consisting of Lessig; Joi Ito; cyberlaw experts James Boyle, Michael Carroll and Molly Shaffer Van
Houweling; public domain web publisher Eric Eldred; filmmaker Davis
Guggenheim; MIT computer science professor Hal Abelson — individually pledged the $2.5 million over 5 years, through a combination of future fund-raising and personal donations, saving the entire enterprise. Wow. Talk about last-minute dramatics.

Individuals also have kicked in more than $530,000 so far during the current fund-raising cycle. (There was also talk of another $12.5 million, bringing the total to $25 million, but I didn’t understand what that was a reference to.)

Two new licenses

Lessig also unveiled two new licenses, though they’re not live yet.

The upcoming CC Zero license appears identical to the public domain. "It means no law applies," said Lessig. The license carries the additional benefit that it will be machine readable and thus more easily discoverable.

The new CC Plus is the one I’ve been waiting for and will be using extensively. It provides a simple way to obtain additional rights online. Say you designate your video or photo with a Creative Commons By-NC license and a commercial outfit spots it and wants to use it. They’ll be able to click through and learn of the pricing and restrictions you specified in a metadata template (microformat) that the work carries. A few of the sites that are set up to begin using the CC Plus license are Pump Audio, Jamendo, Magnatune and

Lessig also hinted that Trent Reznor and Nine-Inch Nails, one of the bands that have been at the forefront of encouraging remix creativity,
will be using Creative Commons licenses in some of their next works.

Joseph Siino, senior vice president for global intellectual  property and business strategy for Yahoo!, briefly took the stage and announced a new set of Creative Commons capabilities we’ll be seeing on Yahoo! soon.

Other sites Lessig mentioned during his presentation:

Public Library of Science
The Web Virtual Library at

The night ended with the great Gilberto Gil — longtime musician, Brazil’s Minister of Culture and a Creative Commons supporter — taking the stage with his son, Bem, and performing an acoustic set. (Couldn’t stay for DJ Spooky’s after-midnight set.)

I have photos, but I lost my Canon Digital Rebel XT at the BART station on the way home.

Update: Larry Lessig updates us on the latest events at Creative Commons.