Thursday, February 9, 2012

Free Culture Wants To Be Shared

A lot of people have heard of free culture by now: literature, music or film for example, published under free licenses instead of using the old copyright path;  this mostly includes giving a large portion of your income to some distribution or publishing company.
Picture found here
With ACTA and similar laws or treaties threatening to crack down on the "filesharing problem", free culture is becoming much more than merely an underground hipster scene but a serious alternative to corporate culture:
"The free culture movement is a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify creative works in the form of free content by using the Internet and other forms of media.The movement objects to over-restrictive copyright laws. Many members of the movement argue that such laws hinder creativity. They call this system "permission culture".Creative Commons is a well-known website which was started by Lawrence Lessig. It lists licenses that permit free sharing under various conditions, and also offers an online search of various creative-commons-licensed productions.The free culture movement, with its ethos of free exchange of ideas, is of a whole with the free software movement. Richard Stallman, the founder of theGNU project, and free software activist, advocates free sharing of information. He famously stated that free software means free as in “free speech,” not “free beer.”Today, the term stands for many other movements, including hacker computing, the access to knowledge movement and the copyleft movement.The term “free culture” was originally the title of a 2004 book by Lawrence Lessig, a founding father of the free culture movement."

Especially Creative Commons is all about works that give the creator and audience more flexibility and remove legal barriers for creativity and pushing culture further through remixing, derivatives and intertextuality without having to go through a large heap of red tape beforehand, especially as a remixer. Creative Commons offers all kinds of licenses from very free to more restricted, the creator is free to choose. This type of liscense does not meen one has to give away work for free, even though this is mostly done. The majority of artists relies on donations, revenue from selling hard copies, concert tickets or memorabilia.

Especially in the last five years, a vibrant sub or rather parallel popculture has blossomed and is making more and more people happy every day. From happy amateur work right up to highbrow culture, there is something from every type of artist for all tastes imaginable. So that you can get the picture of  this scene, the following links will give you a first overview of good sources for creative commons content:

Please note: This list is far from complete, it offers merely a choice of sites that give you an overview of what is around at the moment. There are a lot of blogs, forums and other sites promoting and sharing creative commons music. Just keep your eyes peeled. 

Jamendo: (Creative Commons only)
Jamendo is the world's #1 platform for free and legal music downloads. Available in seven languages, it offers the largest catalog of music under Creative Commons licenses. For artists, it's an easy and efficient way to publish, share and promote their music, and also to make money, through ad revenue sharing and commercial partnerships. (From: Jamendo FAQ

Bandcamp:  (Creative Commons and other)
So what's Bandcamp then? We're a publishing platform for bands, or, anthropomorphically/arthropodically-speaking, your fifth, fully geeked-out Beatle -- the one who keeps your very own website humming and lets you get back to making great music and building your fan base. If this all sounds as highly satisfactory to you as we hope, we invite you to check out the screencast, or cut straight to the chase and sign up for a free account. Welcome! (From: Bandcamp FAQ)

Free Music Archive (FMA): (Creative Commons and other)
The Free Music Archive is an interactive library of high-quality, legal audio downloads.  The Free Music Archive is directed by WFMU, the most renowned freeform radio station in America.  Radio has always offered the public free access to new music. The Free Music Archive is a continuation of that purpose, designed for the age of the internet.
Every mp3 you discover on The Free Music Archive is pre-cleared for certain types of uses that would otherwise be prohibited by copyright laws that were not designed for the digital era.  These uses vary and are determined by the rightsholders themselves (please see our FAQ) who feel that allowing a degree of free cultural access is beneficial not only to their own pursuits, but to our society as a whole. (From: FMA About)

ccMixter: (Creative Commons only)
ccMixter is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want.
Remixers If you’re into sampling, remixing and mash-ups grab the sample packs and a cappellas for download and you can upload your version back into ccMixter, for others to enjoy and re-sample. All legal. (From: ccMixter)

Internet Archive: (Creative Commons and other)
The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. Founded in 1996 and located in San Francisco, the Archive has been receiving data donations from Alexa Internet and others. In late 1999, the organization started to grow to include more well-rounded collections. Now the Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages in our collections, and provides specialized services for adaptive reading and information access for the blind and other persons with disabilities. (From: About The Internet Archive)

Tribe of Noise: (Creative Commons only)
Social media sight for musicians and thier fans, as well as other people in the music business. Artists can get more attention for thier work, as well as hook up to fans and possible partners. All music on this platform is uploaded under a Creative Commons 3.0 by-share alike license. 

Smash Words: (Creative Commons and other) 
This publishing platform for independent authors is the place to be if you are looking for a fresh and indie-feeling read. Anybody can publish thier work for free here, may it be a full novel, short stories, non-fiction, research or even poetry. The works are either for free or available at a fair price to support the author. Smashwords also helps authors distribute thier works  to the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader Store, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store. For the reader smashwords offers  a library containing all purchased works for a better overview. 

For more information on where to find good Creative Commons content, just go to the Creative Commons website and search by the type of content you are looking for. 

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