Category Archives: creativecommons

paniq is making an album

That’s right. The final goal has been reached, so Paniq & Sylvia now have all the funding they need to can this awesome piece of free music in the next months.
It’s great, it’s awesome and it’s gonna be free for everyone and all over the web (I think). Well it should be at least, so keep an eye open for this one cause this could be the start of a great new (r)evolution in online art and music making (see this post by @Kurreltheraven about it as well)  and it only took 190 folks to donate.

From Paniq’s post:

You people are awesome. I simply don’t know what to say other than: thank you, times and times again. Never would we have believed that it takes only 190 people and a few days to make something good happen.

Wicked. Now go make a smashing album!

going commercial

creativecommons.org

A while ago there was this product that came out on the Belgian market that allowed shopkeepers, barbers and anyone who was having a business to bypass the Belgian version of RIAA called SABAM by offering royalty free music in a box. You just had to hook up the little box to an audio system and it would play hours of music that SABAM could not claim any royalty fees for.

Since that little device isn’t cheap I figured the home-made way would be cheaper. You could use an old PC or a laptop and hook that up to your audio system. After all there’s tons of free music out there on archive.org and other sites right? Yes there is. But when I started digging around for some examples it turned out that even though that music is licensed under a Creative Commons license, most of it is restricted from commercial use.

The thing is that this “no commercial use” clause seems to make perfect sense when you publish something online at first. You don’t want someone use your music or pictures just like that and get filthy rich off it, without effort? But the thing is that this clause also prevents all sorts of indirect commercial use that’s not meant to make money off the sweat of your back. Someone might want to use that awesome photo in a business presentation. No can do. Someone might want to play your music in his bar. Nope, can’t do that either. That person might even be a DJ playing at a paid gig. In theory he can’t play any tunes licensed under the non-commercial clause, but you might want that promotion right? Non-commercial turns out to be a bit of a grey area it seems, and it’s clear that the Creative Commons lads are struggling with it as well.

So the question is: what’s the risk of putting your stuff out there under a Creative Commons license that does allow commercial use? Are you going to be ripped off? Maybe. But people are ripping off copyrighted material every day. So it doesn’t matter what kind of license you slap on it? If someone wants to violate it, they will, no matter what. Publishing material under a more liberal license just opens more possibilities for people to use it for all the right reasons. Isn’t that what we are aiming for in the first place? Look at the Open Source movement as an example. There’s no clause in the popular licenses that prevents commercial use. In fact, that’s one of the reasons that Open Source Software is so mature and widely used this day.
I know that software and finished products like music, photo’s, video’s and text are not the same. Software is never really a finished product as it continuously evolves, but the idea is the same.

Paniq does it for all his music for example. He does it for the above mentioned reasons and services like Jamendo sell his music to shopkeepers, barbers and bartenders so they can play this royalty free music without having to pay fees to a silly copyright organisation like SABAM. They pay the artist a percentage of the sales afterwards, so it’s good karma all around.
So I thought I’d go commercial too where I can. My Flickr pictures can now be used commercially, and these awesome wallpapers (if I may say so myself) as well.

Just think about it, the next time you pick a cc-license.

Photo by Andrew*, cc-licensed.

help paniq make his new free album

Here’s an interesting business model for ya. Paniq, which latest free cc-licensed album I blogged about before, is going to make a brand new album. This time however he’s putting his day-job on hold for a few months to fully concentrate on the creation of his music and see if that changes the outcome (hoping it’ll sound totally awesome I guess). Since this will cut in on his cash-flow, he’s looking at the internet to fund his poor artists ass while he’s working on the album.

If you’re thinking “Hey, I don’t mind chipping in a few bucks or euros for some good free music!” then by all means head over to the album’s website and make a donation. It’s conveniently called the-album.cc so you can’t miss. If you’re feeling very generous you’ll even get extra benefits, ranging from a thank-you on the album booklet, a physical copy of the album or a stripper coming to perform the album live in your bedroom!

Well, that last one I made up,  but there are some cool options in there if you’re willing to lay down the cash, so check it out.

Also worth nothing for the open source zealots out there. The album will be made completely on free software. Awesome.
So? Is “The Most Remarkable Album On This Entire Planet” going to get finished?

Well. It’s up to us really.

geek space invader wallpaper

Space invaders. Probably one of the first computer games I ever played on a console. The blocky invaders have turned into pieces of geek culture all by themselves showing up all over the place from graffiti to tattoos and post-it art. So at one point I ran into this image on Flickr with yet another space invader on it and thought it would be great to use that as a desktop wallpaper somehow. I tried it out but didn’t like the result enough so I decided to make my own. From there I had a template to create some more and now I’m putting them up here for you to download. Yay!

All images are Creative Commons licensed so you can use them quite freely and share them with anyone you like. To maintain the crispness of the awesome gradient backgrounds (yeah, that’s about how far my Gimping skills go) all images are saved in PNG format for maximum quality. I’m also sharing the original GIMP XCF project files with these so that you can go ahead and create your own smashing mash-up of the space invader wallpaper suited to your own personal taste. There’s a template in there with the space invader ranging from very small to rather large. New backgrounds, new resolutions, new compositions, it’s all within your grasp if you get yourself a free copy of GIMP. Don’t forget to link back here if you create something truly awesome btw. I don’t mind some kick-ass wallpapers myself.

All files are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike license just to keep things a tad fair and make sure that everyone finds it way to the source files and gets the same chances of being creative with them. It’s all about the sharing baby!

Images are available in a blue, gold and green background and in 1024×768, 1280×1024, 1440×900 and 1680×1050 screen sizes.

Click the images to get a larger preview. To download you just click that little blue arrow appearing in the right upper corned when hovering the thumbnail.
Can’t see a widget? No problem, click here for direct linkage.

soundcloud is where the cool cats are at

Since some of you seem to be digging the free samples posts I’ve been putting up maybe this one will be right up your alley as well. There’s a bunch of music-sharing websites out there by now, or simply sites that allow in one way or the other to put your music up there in a play-list like Myspace. A newcomer on the internet block is Soundcloud however and it’s picking up like a twister. All the cool kids are on it I see. Chaps like Moby and A Guy Called Gerald for example and this guy. Or collaborative stuff like Tara Bush’s free mp3 Mondays.

Soundcloud feels a bit like the Flickr of music. It’s slick, works smooth and allows you to share your tracks with the world, create or join groups, comment and get commented on, you know the drill,  the whole social web 2.0 deal. Cool thing is that it also gives you a neat graphical view of the tracks you’re playing, allows for super-easy embedding in your own website with the same graphical splendour. If you want to comment on that awesome second drop in a track, that’s possible. Just click the second where it starts and enter your comment. “OMGWTF” for example. The author will appreciate it.

Looking for a easy way to share and host music, or just feel like browsing through an already impressive collection of free music by genre? Soundcloud is the place to be it seems.

Photo by polas, cc-licensed.

more free music samples

So the free vocal samples for your tunes post turns out to be quite popular. It just happens that in the meantime I ran across some more of these nice free sample resources and so I thought that it would be neat to share them here online with you again.

This time it’s not about vocal samples alone. The last post wasn’t either really. You can find tons of other samples there as well, but it’s just one of those places I end up at when I am looking for an interesting vocal snippet. But anyway, here are some more wicked cool free sound archives:

  • pdsounds.org or public domain sounds: their goal is to record everything and make it available for free. Sounds good doesn’t it? Volunteers sample whatever they want and post it to this site as public domain. The archive is still limited but it contains a nice selection of original samples already which is great. If you’re looking for some unique ambient noises and sounds, this seems to be a good place to start. If you feel like it, you can volunteer as well and upload your own samplings.
  • SampleSwap: a large archive of already 5.5 GB of sounds available under a Creative Commons license. Contains about everything you want like breakbeats, loops, drum hits and kits, sounds effects, instruments, vocals etc.
    The forum at the bottom isn’t where you’ll find the samples btw which is a bit confusing. If you can’t find your way to the samples right away look at the top of the page. There’s a search box there, and a link to browse the directory by category. That’s where you want to be to explorer the many subfolders of the archive.

Photo by macca, cc-licensed.

using archive.org for file hosting

For the love of Moby
cc-licensed photo by J. Star

For the 60×60 Buzz Compilation I was looking for a place where I could host pretty large files, and also host them without having to worry about bandwidth problems if it would end up getting downloaded a few thousand times. There are always a bunch of options but choosing Archive.org to host this project was definitely a good thing to do.

So what’s so good about it? How about starting with the things that are no so good, so we can keep the good news for last.

  • The website doesn’t look fancy. If that’s what you are looking for you will be disappointing. No neat web 2.0 style gradients or shiny surfaces there. Just plain oldskool solid HTML. But look further for a way to fix that.
  • If you’re not a geek, you might find it hard to manage your content. The easiest way IMO is uploading files using FTP. You can use the web interface for single files, or for smaller files, but you need to use FTP when your files are over 100 MB. There’s also a nice Creative Commons Publisher tool as an alternative to FTP that looks pretty easy to upload content with. I didn’t use it because I wanted more control over the uploading process (bandwidth throttling mainly).

And now, on to the good stuff!

  • Free bandwidth. They host your files, and you don’t have to pay a cent for it.
  • Free web space. You can upload a huge amount of files, with a huge size, and it’s all free free free.
  • Embed your files on your own site or blog. So you can make it as fancy as you want, without spending a single byte on bandwidth. They even have a flash applet you can use. You can also link to the links they provide for streaming. No problem.
  • After uploading a FLAC of WAV file, the system automatically encodes your files into a variety of commonly used audio formats such as mp3 and ogg, at several bit rates. That way, people with low bandwidth can choose to tune in to the 64kbps stream, or download only the lower bit rate versions. Others can opt for the high quality original FLAC file, but no matter what you don’t have to bother with doing these tedious conversions yourself. In case of video, we’re talking conversions to DivX, MPEG and QuickTime format. You can also opt not to do this, if you like.
  • Feedback: people can leave comments, and apply a rating. You get an email when someone leaves a comment, so you don’t need to check yourself. But you probably will anyway. I do.
  • Your downloads are counted. Stats!!! I love em.
  • Artwork, CD covers, text, whatever you feel should be published as extras, it’s up to you.
  • Work out your own concept. Want to publish a single file, an EP or a full blown album? No problem. You can even set up a net label .
  • Your stuff is indexed in the archive.org search engine, making your findable not only on their own site, but it’s quickly indexed in Google as well. Oh, and probably in those other search engines as well, but who’s using those right?
  • You content is updateable. Now this one is really handy. Whatever you put up there, you can update it afterwards, add new files, or delete files. Nothing is permanent, so whatever screw up is in there, it doesn’t have to be in there forever.
  • Which brings us to the next point. It’s there forever! Well, that’s the idea behind the whole archive anyway. You put stuff up there for future generations, and they make sure it doesn’t get lost. Like a big internet library.
  • The Internet Archive isn’t controlled by a commercial company either. It’s a non profit organisation working on donations, so you don’t have to fear that sudden policy changes will require you to cough up cash to keep your files hosted. You’re free to donate however, in case you have some money lying around.

Most of these above points also work for other formats such as video and even text, as they are quite flexible over at archive.org you know. But since I don’t have any experience with those, I focused on audio in this post.

As you can see, Archive.org has a lot more to offer than most other free file hosts. You have to own the content you publish of course, and be prepared to license it under a Creative Commons license. But then again, if you are thinking about publishing something on the internet, it makes sense to use some sort of CC license.