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A good sign: Blackboard.com bucks the trend and promotes a truly free license.

A very interesting announcement from Blackboard.com:

... Blackboard will now support publishing, sharing and consumption of open educational resources (OER) across its platforms. [...] Support for OER enables instructors to publish and share their courses under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) so that anyone can easily preview and download the course content in Blackboard and Common Cartridge formats...

What makes this big news is that these kinds of initiatives usually use one of the non-free Creative Commons licenses: one containing either no-derivatives ("ND") or non-commercial ("NC") clauses or both.  Instead, Blackboard.com bucked the trend and opted for full freedom: by offering CC-BY, they're encouraging users to choose a truly Free Culture license.  Let's hope others follow their fine example!

Kudos to Blackboard.com.  And congratulations to the educators and students who will now be able to share, translate, re-use, and transform educational materials for any purpose, without having to ask permission first.

Blackboard.com logo

Creative Commons Attribution license (3.0)

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Lawrence Golan Speaks about Golan v. Holder

Lawrence Golan (conducting)

Seal of the United States Supreme CourtThe U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments Wednesday in Golan v. Holder, which argues against action taken by Congress to move thousands of works from the public domain back under copyright restrictions. It's not small beer in the copyright world. Google supports the challenge. The New York Times, Washington Post and others ran stories today.

Rich Bailey interviewed the plaintiff, conductor Lawrence Golan, for Question Copyright.  (Some of Golan's comments to us are similar to what's in the New York Times piece "Will Copyright Stifle Hollywood?" by Peter Decherney, an associate professor of film studies at the University of Pennsylvania.)

Here is a lightly edited transcript of Lawrence Golan's remarks:

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NYC Artists to Learn "How to Free Their Work"

artspire logo

As part of the New York Foundation of Arts' Artspire program, QuestionCopyright.org's artist-in-residence Nina Paley will be teaching fellow artists about the principles and practices of free culture. Taking her highly informative piece "How to Free Your Work"a her point of departure, Nina will speak to the group about her experience distributing her award-winning film Sita Sings The Blues and her ongoing adventures in open distribution. She will particularly instruct the group in how to choose an open license, demystifying the many Creative Commons and other licenses available; how to make it easier for fans to support then; how to upload files to archive.org; how they can do less work on their own and enable your fans to do more; and how to use unlimited content to sell their stuff.

The workshop will take place on October 5, 2011 at 6:30PM at the NYFA office located at 20 Jay Street in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn. For more information and to register for the event, click here.

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