Archive:Discussion 3: Creating Free Culture

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Schedule: Discussion 1 | Discussion 2 | Infinite Smallness | Lunch National FC discussion | Discussion 3 | Chapter & project reports
Workshop Session 1: Open Access | Free Software | Free Music & Remix Culture | Free Video & Open Media
Workshop Session 2: Digital Disobedience | Communication and Collaboration | A Vision for | Models for Creators
2007 workshop reports +/-

Ken Freedman, WFMU

Discussion of their music archive with a cc-by selection for remixing. ['Not completely original', Ken insists, but the audience says: very cool. See also the Free Music Project mentioned below; may coordinate]

Q: There is a context in the rural south of exploitation of the artists, and the act of getting release. Does free culture embed itself into a prior system of exploitation and expression, and denial of income of these artists who have a low level of literacy abou rights and copyright?

A - the DJ who does the show I'm referring to also has a gospel lable; he's in touch with the same artists. I can't be sure he's clearning things for the radio show, but he is definitely clearing things from the same artists for their commercial releases.

Jace Clayton / DJ /rupture


[notes on Jace's sense of what it means to be a DJ]

[on reuse and pastiche:] ... a famous Egyptian classical singer... And a lot of what he's doing is in a long tradition of folk repertoires... he's just sitting there, a middle-aged man with a violin. His whole approach is v different from mine as a DJ; aside from the difference in technical expertise, I was blown awy with what he did over the course of three minutes.

Q - for DJ Rupture - something I have truble with talking to artists, somethign I'm working on a lot. Ther's this weird subeversive appeal to sampling without permission. If you're a hiphop artists and you have ther ight to hcoose with a sample the orig artists is okay with and one the orig isn't okay with, you choose the latter. maye that's oversimp it, but I woinder if you ever feel likme that within your own sensibilities...

A - yeah, breaking the law can in many cases be quite enjoyable. hip-hop is very specific; these days you have to be very clear. but a lot of what DJ's do is in between. [e.g., When you have to consider whether 5000 people or more than that are listening to a piece]


Fred Benenson repping Creative Commons

Eric Steuer from Creative Commons was supposed to be here; I'm still a CC fellow, I worked there as a volunteer for quite some time. I'll run down the kinds of things Eric has been organizing. The biggest thing close to completion: a kind of formal, official integration with YouTube. Not just selecting licenses for one's own content, but also using youtube's filtering/audio fingerprinting technology to open up an opportunity for more CC licensed content to be reused in user-gen videos, &c.

How that works: if a user uploads their own version of a beyond music video... and the original content holder is doing a deal with youtub,e the user will be able to select a license to let that be put on top of their video or in the background, to encourage them to do what they're already doing, but in a way that's okay with the original owner. For obvious reasons beyonce may not be cool with that. it's really important and a big project that Eric's been working on for a while.

Big challenges he needs help with: someone familiar with the music business, interested, wants to parlay this into working with the fc world, maybe cc. You don't have to fly or live in sf.

Next: the Free Music Project; getting bands to take part in another creative commons music event, and license their music under a CC license. We're working with OLPC as well, and how the music will end up on the laptops is another big issue; SJ can talk about this as well later. This project isn't the same as WFMU at the moment, though it may end up being [the same thing]. We're finding 10 artists who are in different labels and genres and popular; massively appealing musicians who show up on MTV< appeal to kids, and sell millions of CDs; getting them to release some of their content under CC-By. This has happened before -- Beastie Boys, David Byrne. The contest would run for 9-12 months; only open to young people, 25 and under, 21 and under; to push that music into music ed programs at schools, so anyone working, using music, could use this as fodder; not necc remix, but learn how to sample properly; a CD as end result that would be for sale at Starbucks; you'd have great tracks, maybe a dozen, remixed by kids in music programs and compiled to act as a fund raiser for one of these projects supporting music ed. We think this would be a really good way to not just promote 'free culture' or freely copyable usic in the beer sense, but free in the senes of demonstrating why it's important to let people have access to music in a free way. The whole point of the project wouldb e to demonstrate value to CC, not just getting musicians to release stuff.

Next: something CC is looking to get funding for, it's a valuable project to pursue. right now we just have a rubric about 'primary commercial use' which is a bit complicated. The idea is to come up with a sentence or two for a boilerplate definition - challenging but not impossible. It would be an asset for CC licenses to define where they start and stop being free.

Next: CC-Learn. Interviewing educational directors; an analog of science commons. Not just a subset project of CC, but a sister org where not only would they do evangelism around issues and schools, but also they would promote licenses to use in schools. Obviously freer licenses and liberal ones are useful in ed communities; CC is looking at nurturing that progress.

Last: PLos - get people translating things into their languages, chose the most valid interpretation in their language? Have this turn into a scholarship fund, to get students learning how to translate stcience, and have a promotinoal tool for PLOS-One website, which as a great translation tool.

General Questions

Q - Remixing and lawyer's comments

A (Fred)- Whoever you talk to, some people will think that creativity comes from some special light from god, and atists produce it; others think it is organic and grows out of a group of people. I think it's somewhere in between, but to see a literal mashup is jarring for some people. We're not used to those terms because it's so new. Seeing a thousand frames of star wars [mashed up] is new for people, so we don't necc. know how to analyze it. We need a new vocabulary and its one we aren't familiar with.
A (Ken)- I don't think it's a matter of encouraging people to use existing material as building blocks for something new, it's a matter of not losing the right to do that. Disney for instance built an empire on public domain works. If you talk to lawyewrs, they talk of taking from existing works; if you talk to artists, they think they are adding culture.
A (Jace)- I think people have to fight for the right to do this completely; kids have internalized the MTV quick edit... I was with friends a week ago, and frineds showed me what they got in a Turkish shop -- made by a few rural Kurdish youth; I think it was a kurdish folk song; it was shots of three giuys dancing on a hillside in northern turkey. And they spliced in 50 cent videos to eminem to fred astaire to disney cartoons; I thought these kids were lightyears ahead of me;. That's the default for the current genreation. Making htis level of play, spin, recreation legal and protected, not something to be stomped donw, is really valuable.

Q - [about having more people able to get out into the world]

A -you have more voices able to get out on the internet, but you also have new licensing that tries to limit things to help support existing stations (the fcc and recording/broadcast industry). They don't want that; that's too much democracy, so incumbent existing broadcasters are the only ones able to get new digital radio stations. that's what the industry wants; an ongoing battle.

Q - we can see what the future can be like. How can we get others to see what the future can be like ? Oonce they can see the vision, they will want this. They'd want to be able to put 10s of their daughter's Disney video into a recording of her.

A - you just have to have good examples to point to... before you could point to Wikipedia it would have been hard to convey that idea to anyone.