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Why -NC (non-commercial) isn’t a bad thing

This is another one from the 2009 draft fault that I’m dusting off *unedited*.  It’s interesting to see my thoughts from May 2009 considering:

A) I now co-host a show on remixable music.

B) Am starting law school later this month.

C) We have seen some of the fallout from the Oracle-Sun merger.

 

I didn’t even re-read this.  I probably say stupid things.  I probably claim to be a terrorist or something. Most people put disclaimers that the words are their thoughts and not their employers. These aren’t even my thoughts!  Well, I mean, they were my thoughts. They still could be my thoughts. There’s a reason I left it in draft…

 

The original post:

 

I was listening to the Software Freedom Law Center podcast the other day (I can get the exact episode if you’re curious) and the guy (I haven’t been listening long enough to know their names) was talking about how the GPL v2 clause 7 (pretty sure that’s the clause) was created so that their didn’t become ***two classes of users***.  GPLv3 was written to clear up the ambiguous language in v2 clause 7.  It’s a noble goal, and I totally agree with it, but I want to explain two reasons why, while it’s pretty obvious the creative commons non-commercial clause ***creates two classes of users***, I still like -NC.

1) I don’t believe in capitalism.

Ok, I work for a multi-million dollar company and I like nice stuff, so I’m either a hypocrite or simply practical.  This point is one I don’t like to talk about for two reasons; A) modern McCarthyism B) (really a subset of A) I don’t think it paints a good picture of Free and Open Source Software.  FOSS has long been branded a communist plot and I think Red Hat, IBM, OraSun (this what I’ve been calling the merger…anything got something better?), MindTouch, etc, have shown that’s not the case.  This is *not* the place to get into a political discussion, but I just want to be clear about this; neither I nor anyone I associate with wants the sort of dictatorial regimes the Russians and Chinese have produced in the name of communism.  Clearly those guys read as little Marx (or hated what he said) as much as the McCarthyites.

Now that I’ve got the huge disclaimer out of the way, down to the meat of it.  I haven’t paid much attention to the licensing issues in the past. I knew they existed but wasn’t really educated.  I may have heard the ***two classes of users*** argument before, but the lightbulb went off listening to this.  I’ve only visited the Bahamas (arguably not a separate country; our military protects them, they accept US currency and they speak English) and Canada, but I think the USA is particularly interested in “the rights of corporations” and though clearly a band of un-American terrorists, I think the FSF shows their American blood in making this argument.  Now, when it comes to software, I actually wouldn’t like a -NC license as you’ll see in point 2,

2) Software is a tool, Art isn’t (unless it’s marketing)

It may not be just about companies you don’t like, it could be about turning your art into a tool.  I guess true freedom would say this would be fine, but I understand someone having a visceral response to their art being used for commercial purposes.  Essentially, it’s the principle of the thing.  And, I don’t think this visceral response has anything to do with not being capitalistic.

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jamendoAwards2011 – Jamendo

jamendoAwards2011 – Jamendo.

Make sure you vote for Madison’s own Lorenzo’s Music in the Pop category as well as in the Rock category.
Other suggestions are:

 

Professor Kliq – Electro

David Rovics – World

Pete Prodoehl – Experimental and Instrumental

Emcee Lynx – Urban

 

Obviously you can check out the Music Manumit Podcast for other artists I’d suggest.

Who should we interview for the Music Manumit Podcast?

We put out the call to all of our interviewees for people they think we should interview, but often we don’t get very many suggestions.  What about you, my loyal blog readers, who do you think we should interview.  You can post here, hit me up on Status.Net or leave us some voice feedback at  646-495-9205 x 36355.

Also, I apologize about missing September, but if you want to know about what’s going on in my life, you should probably just listen to the podcast.

Creative Commons FTW…oh wait

I like to think I walk the walk, not just talk the talk.  You know, I don’t go downtown unless I must, I bike to work.  I buy organic foods. <rant>I use GNU/Linux and don’t sit behind my Mac talking about how great FOSS is (yeah, I’m calling you out).  I believe in compromise and personal priorities, but recently I’ve gotten more and more frustrated by people not getting out of their comfort zones and making excuses.  Personal priorities are often excuses.  If you don’t believe in FOSS, that’s fine, but don’t claim to like it and then not actually support it.  It’s like saying how you love the earth and then driving 30 miles to work. It’s CRAP (I’ll keep this family friendly, but, um crap isn’t exactly what I want to say).

But hey, I’m not a zealot. I’m really not. I just don’t want people fooling themselves and (potentially unintentially) fooling others. </rant>

That’s not the point though.  Last night we were talking about how “hippie” people were.  Look, I’m more comfortable with the word socialist than 99.9 or so people in this country.  I’m pretty left, but I’m way too angry to be a hippie.  I said, hey, I listen to punk and metal, not hippie music.  The retort was that I listen to “open” punk which is pretty hippie. I like the fact that people are accusing me of listening to Creative Commons music.  I do, actually, that feels like a great compliment…but is it true?  Now, I’ve been a Last.fm user for over 4 years, so there’s a lot of legacy data out there, but let’s take a look.  In the last 7 days, 3 of my top 15 artists were Creative Commons…only one over the past three months though and none in the last six months or the last year (unless you count NIN…sure, let’s count them).  If you look at the all-time stats, Severed Fifth (Jono Bacon’s “band”) rolls in at 347.  Holy Pain and Predator both roll in at 444.  And since we’ve been counting NIN, they roll in at 76.  After finishing the post (before publishing) I realized there might be a couple of other bands in the top 500 and sure enough Gråsuggorna and No Se both roll in at 304.  Obviously, this is all subject to change.

Also, I should note that many people believe that -NC (non-commercial) is non-free and by a strict definition it isn’t.  I, on the other hand, am much less cozy with -ND (no derivatives).  I’ve been meaning to post a blog on the -NC topic, but suffice it to say that while I believe in copyleft and freedom in software, software is a tool. Art is art…unless it’s marketing.  There’s a time and place for marketing, but let’s not confuse the two.

Back to the point, even though NIN is so high *because* of their new Creative Commons albums, it’s also so high because of a large back catalog of non-Creative Commons stuff.  Essentially, there are five bands in my top 500 (all in the lower half). This maks for some convenient math; 1%.  This hardly qualifies me as listening to “open” punk.  By the same logic, I listen to rap. Though there are only 4 bands (unless you include Limp Bizkit and maybe others), The Beastie Boys (88), Eminem (69), Dr. Dre (357) and Cypress Hill (226) have a *much* higher average. I have a total tracks played number so I could do some other stats, but I don’t want to beat this to death.

The point of all of this (including the rant) is to challenge us all to do a better job.  Fighting the good fight takes a lot of energy.  It takes energy I often don’t have after a long day at work.  We need to encourage each other and work together.  Is there something I can do to help you migrate to GNU/Linux? Is there something I can do to help your Creative Commons’ music?  Since we need all the help we can get, I guess I’ll work with you Mac fan boys too.

One last thing for music fans and Apple fan boys alike. If you think audio editing is just for the fruity among us, come see Tom Ray of Lorenzo’s Music give a presentation on audio editing in Linux on August 18th.  I’d love to give you guys and gals some more links, but like usual I’m running up against bed time and a long to-do list.

Open Everything Madison & Sweden news

My posts are often reflective and questioning, but nearly as often informative.  The “Where are we going?” question is much more interesting to me than the “Where have we been?” question.  I am, however, tasked with writing about Open Everything Madison on Saturday (as well as Berlin and Hong Kong), so I’ll try to post something substantial about that.  Of course, I’m already much more interested in the next Open Everything Madison.  You can see the planning for the next OEMad at http://openeverything.us

OEMad 2008

Aside from our poor job with documentation and the functional, but less than ideal, handoff from Berlin, I’d say the day was an overwhelming success.

Some of our documentation can be found at various twitter accounts.  Search for oemad and you should find them.  There’s also the Google search for oemadDebriefing notes are found on the main site as well as Articles and Resources.  Some pictures are at Flickr but as of posting Non-Profit Tech’s photos are not being indexed.

I’m both saddened and elated when I tell interested people about Creative Commons, Free Schools and Really, Really Free Markets.  Of course I’m saddened that these are more ubiquitous terms in our language, but mostly it’s a positive feeling.  I’m always scared that my political leanings (which I think free schools and RRFMs show) will feed the “open source is communism” argument.  As companies like OpenNMS, Red Hat and MindTouch clearly show, that’s a bunch of bunk.  As a technology person first, I fear that the benefits of open source code are lost to the politicized “freedom”.  Clearly I’m a fan of both.  At the moment I’m having trouble finding a succint list of the benefits of FOSS, so if you’re up for a longer read, check out Albion, one of the oldest sites on the Web.

It’s also incredibly disheartening to see people interested in free culture being down on Creative Commons liscensed music.  I listen to plenty of non-CC music, but I think at an event promoting openness, CC music should be played.  Or maybe other bands that promote openness that might not license CC.  I don’t know much about Radiohead, because that’s not the type of music to which I listen, but I think I’d be ok with their music playing.

We pretty much stuck to the schedule.  It wasn’t exact, but close.

We broke up into two groups for the 1:30pm-2:30pm Open Knowledge section and I (along with the other organizers) went with the Education and Libraries group.  Having a professor there was very beneficial.  As I mentioned above, I introduced a lot of people to the idea of free schools.  If you think free schools are weird, just remember that’s the only diploma former USC professor Cory Doctorow has.

The 2:30-3:30 Creativity, Innovation, and Economic Opportunity section was a lot of fun.  We had a small group to discuss Art, Content and Property and we mostly discussed music; Radiohead, Girl Talk, Creative Commons, Nine Inch Nails and Jamendo.

By the time we got to the technology part of the day (a little later than 3:30) everyone was starting to get tired.  But technology and openness are so easy, the discussion was still good.  One of my friends that attended most of the event said that keeping it a cohesive event and him not coming just for the technology portion certainly made it more interesting.

After the event and cleanup, four of us went out to get Sushi on State Street and of course the conversation continued.  After that, I headed to DevMadHouse at Extra Bold Portfolio Studio on Pickney St and 4 of the 6 people there had also been at OEMad, so the conversation continued and being a hack fest, centered more upon technology.  At DevMadHouse there was no schedule to adhere to and we had the venue all night so conversation was even more fluid.  There was some good conversation about FOSS in industry and whether Google is to be trusted with their Microsoft-like “embrace and extend” of OpenIDPhotis always makes sure I don’t live in a FOSS bubble, which I suppose is a good thing.  Also of note that weekend was MadXmasAbe and Jonathan went, leaving the rest of us behind at DevMadHouse and then returned. Photis came to DevMadHouse after MadXmas.

OEMad 2009

As mentioned above, there are complete and changing notes on OEMad09 on the wiki.  As much as I’d like to rehash all my ideas on that site so you have a single source of info, I don’t think that’s a good use of my time.  Please check out the site. However, here are some of my biggest ideas: open gaming (actually either playing games on Linux or FOSS games on other platforms), open food (we could make it!), open hardware (building!) and live music.  Getting a local documentary film maker to do a documentary on the process of making an open event happen would be totally cool too.  Please, please, please share your ideas for the next event either here or especially at http://openeverything.us.

Calling it OEMad first off might be a misnomer as I think there’s a good possibility it will be in Milwaukee.  Nothing is set in stone though.  Potential names would be Open Everything Wisconsin or Open Everything MidWest.  If there is any traction from Minneapolis or Chicago groups, we may not be able to claim OEMidWest.  Time will only tell.

Yesterday at work I asked a non-attendie what we would have to do to get him to come to the next one.  This is really the person in which I’m interested.  Linux needs a critical mass.  I’m ok admitting that part of why I support FOSS are selfish reasons.  I support universal healthcare for much of the same pseudo-altruistic reasons.  It’s not just for me, but also the institutions and people I care about. For instance, I hate to see my alma mater’s (NCSSM and UNC) throw money away at proprietary software.  Still, I’d say that’s a somewhat selfish motive.

Back to the point, he said “Open Strippers” half joking but we did have an interesting conversation then about Creative Commons and the idea of a performance.  A conversation that easily applies to live music performances and theatre.  I also mentioned the Girls and Geeks discussions at BarCampMilwaukee. Of course, there’s also open source sex.  So, I wonder what we could really make happen in this regard.  Not just the sex regard, but bringing people in the door who are lazy, unmotivated or simply uninterested in openness (or just don’t know it yet).  Of course, it’s the “just don’t know it yet” crowd in which I am really interested.

SWEDEN!

I bought a Flickr Pro account in anticipation of the Sweden trip this summer.  I figure this way I can post Christmas photos too.  I get a new camera for Christmas, so I suspect I’ll be taking a lot of pictures!  The Sweden trip will be 7-9 days.  My travel partner is wanting a shorter trip and I’m wanting a longer one, so I think keeping it at 9 days includes two weekends if you leave on the right days.  It will depend on what sort of deal AAA can help me with.  She is interested in dancing, the outdoors and visiting the cities.  I am interested in fotboll, ishockey and metall (probably any English speakers can make those out…especially if you know me).  So, I’m definitely looking for suggestions, both for her and for me.  We’ll also probably be visiting Helsinki, Finland.  I don’t know if we’ll have time to visit Copenhagen.  It’s so close, but we don’t want to feel rushed.  I’d kinda like to go north of the artic circle just for the experience.  That might make it so Siberia doesn’t interest me as much.

Well, typing all of that with a broken arm wasn’t entirely pleasant, but I’m glad I did it and I hope you enjoy.  If I had the time, I’d re-read for typoes, but whatever, release early, release often.  If you stop by, please leave a comment!

Open Everything Madison (OEM)

If you’re curious, check out: http://groups.google.com/group/oemad

There will be more details posted here as they come about