open the past, create the future

Re-use music videos on youtube

Two days after Universal exasperated many of us with its same old chest beating rhetoric about services such as youtube and myspace, Warners have announced a much more constructive response.

Under the agreement, YouTube users will have full access to videos from Warner artists. They will also be permitted incorporate material from those videos into their own clips, which are then uploaded to YouTube. Warner and YouTube will share advertising revenue sold in connection with the video content.


Filed under: open culture

betty and cab live again on

Betty Boop

I have had my head very much in organisation mode for the last 6 months or so. But I promised myself that in the new year I would make sure to re-connect with my favourite domain. And right on cue I find Betty Boop on Check out the fantastic Cab Calloway rendition of St James’ Infirmary in Snow White for an inspiring bit of dance animation (compare it with the live opening sequence of Cab in Minnie the Moocher). All of the Betty Boop library is in the public domain and therefore available free of copyright. Which reminds me, the other new year’s resolution is to really spend some time on video editing this year. Maybe Betty goes to the moon?

Filed under: open culture

open source biology

Wired tell of an Australian leading the work on provision of new bio technology under an open source licence. It includes a quote from John Wilbanks, the Director of Creative Commons’ new Science initiative, Science Commons.

A paper appearing in this week’s edition of Nature is antiseptically entitled: “Gene transfer to plants by diverse species of bacteria.” But the information that lies within may herald a revolution in biology.

The paper describes two new technologies: TransBacter, a method for transferring genes to plants, and GUSPlus, a method of visualizing where the genes are and what they do. Behind the research, which was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, is a team of scientists who want to provide the technologies as a “kernel,” modeled on the Linux movement, as the beginning of perhaps the first practical offering in open-source biology.

Filed under: open culture

At Speakers' Corner

Yesterday I was lucky enough to hang out with a group of folks passionately interested in open culture, free software and alternative copyright frameworks. Cory Doctorow organised a breakfast followed by an excursion to Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park – it was fantastic. Cory opened with a rousing introduction to the cyclical history of establishment concern in the face of innovation that ultimate results in new and even more successful business models. This was followed by Rufus Pollock exhorting us to care about the frameworks of access. Danny O’Brien was up next with a very charismatic call to open the BBC’s archive. Unfortunately I missed the other speakers as I was off chasing pidgeons with Ada.
Becky Hogge caught some of the speeches on video here (via boingboing)

Filed under: open culture

thousand points of culture

Larry Lessig has been posting inspiring views from the World Social Forum in Brazil for the last three days. I was particularly moved by his description of the youth camp.

*ponders* how to develop a project to have millions of “points of culture” around the world.

After lunch, I visited the Youth Camp at the WSF, where 50,000 tents, and 80,000 kids are participating in WSF events. At the core was a Free Software lab, with about 50 machines, all running GNU/Linux, and constant lessons about how to set the systems up, how do to audio, and video editing, how to participate in free software communities. This was organized totally by the kids who ran it. Machines in shacks, hay on the ground, wires and boxes everywhere.

I got to talk to the organizers of at least one part of the lab for about an hour. JP Barlow and I peppered them with questions as they described their “Thousand points of culture” project — to build a thousand places around Brazil where free software tools exist for people to make, and remix, culture. The focus is video and audio; no one’s much worried about Office applications, or the like. It is an extraordinary, grass roots movement devoted first to an ideal (free software) and second to a practice (making it real).

They have the culture to do it. Again, there were geeks, but not only. There were men, but plenty of women (and lots of kids). They were instructing each other — some about code, some about culture, some about organizing, some about dealing with the government — as they built this infrastructure out. Think Woodstock, without the mud, and where the audience makes the music.

Filed under: open culture

Archiville shorts

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