Category Archives: creativecommons

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.

60×60 buzz compilation (aka free music, come leech)

60x60 buzz compilation

A project that has been sucking up quite some time lately, but was well worth the investment is something I thought of doing after running into the Subvert Central 60×60 compilation.
I thought it would be great to have an similar compilation with tracks from people using Jeskola Buzz as their music software. I thought this would be great because I use Buzz myself, and it would be a way of forcing myself to actually write and release something again. Another reason is that I know there are a lot of people writing great stuff using this underrated piece of free software, and this would be an excellent way of getting some of that stuff out there.

After launching the idea on several mailing lists, spamming some folks over email, bending a few arms, and getting other volunteers on board to make some cover art and do the mastering, the final result is now online on archive.org.  It turned out into something I’m quite proud of. The quality of the tunes submitted by the contributing artists are in general outstanding, ranging from poppy tunes, to chill ambient, crazy breakcore, techno and some industrial rock. I’ve listened to the compilation for a few weeks now and I have to say it still doesn’t bore me. I cant help but cranking the volume up to insane levels with some of those tunes. They are simply t3h awesome!!!!11.

One of the best things about this for me personally is getting to know a lot of people from the Buzz scene by doing this. I found the Buzzchurch forum to be a real driving force for this project, as it’s full of positive energy and open minded people. Props to you all, this wouldn’t have been possible without you guys.

So if you feel like downloading a quality compilation of 60 tracks, each 60 seconds in length by a ton of artists using Jeskola Buzz in one way or another… then get your butt over to archive.org and start downloading that free hour of sweet sounds!

And a bonus mix!
Sweet!

60×60 subvert central compilation

subvert central 60x60 cover by Jonny500How about some music to start the weekend? Sounds nice doesn’t it, and it does, trust me.
The guys up at the left field jungle/drum’n’bass forum Subvert Central started a so-called 60×60 music compilation amongst the forum members and have now come up with the final result.

60×60 stands for 60 second tracks from 60 people, resulting in one hour of electronic and quite experimental music.

Complete with good looking artwork, released under a Creative Commons license and free to download at high 320kbps or FLAC downloads. I mean seriously, if that doesn’t get a music geek excited any more, what the hell does?

A Real Doll with a built in wireless internet radio receiver maybe… hmmm… but the mix will do for now.

about licensing

Franz Patzig's CC eyesI was thinking about writing a post about licensing stuff online because I find that it would be just dandy if more people would publish their works under a more liberal license. My idea is that a lot of folks don’t do this this simply because they don’t even know about it, so their creations fall under the default full copyright clause.

Recently however another angle came up giving me another reason to write something about licensing. As you might have noticed I use pictures from other people in this blog published under a Creative Commons license. This allows me to use those sweet visuals without having to ask consent of the author for every pic, as long as I attribute him. I’m doing that by linking back to their Flickr site where the original is hosted. This is handy because I don’t have to email everyone and ask them if I can pretty-please use their picture in a blog post, and wait until they send me a reply back. That last bit can take a while because you can never tell when somebody will check their email, and find it in their heart to reply your request.

Sometimes however people haven’t taken a lot of consideration while slapping that CC license on their pictures. Afterwards it turns out that they don’t like the idea of their shots being used in some blog after all, and ask me to change it again. Since I’m a nice guy I have a habit of doing this. But once you’ve set your mind on using a certain visual for your post, it sucks having to remove it and find yourself another one.

So here’s a few things to consider when you’re putting any kind of content or art online:

  1. Whatever license you use, there’s a chance it will be violated. Some people won’t know they are violating it because of their ignorance. Others will but simply don’t give a toss. If you’re serious about your works not being used without permission, consider not publishing them online at all. I know this isn’t very encouraging, but this is a fact of cyberlife.
  2. Even working within the rules set in your chosen license, it’s possible your work will be used for something you don’t like. Let’s say you created a piece of kick ass music you’re proud of and you decide to put it online for others to enjoy freely. You choose a Creative Commons license that allows other to use it non-commercially as long as they attribute you. Someone looking for a soundtrack for his Youtube video on some extreme kind of radish fetish decides to use your beautifully crafted musical masterpiece, and attributes you as he should. You however are a radish-friend, and feel appalled as you find your music used in such a radish-unfriendly manner. Tough luck however. There was nothing in your CC license mentioning any kind of limitations concerning radish pornography.

So it’s good to ponder these above points, and see if this kind of permissive license is something you want to choose for your creative brain farts.
However, I’d suggest you look on the bright side of things and consider all the good things that can come from them as well. Or better, what’s the worst that can happen, and is it really that bad? It’s like Matt from the WordPress team said in his post about people doing unwanted things with his open source blogging software.

“Good people will do good things with it, and bad people will do bad things with it”.

Instead of looking at the bad ways your product is being used, you should concentrate on the good stuff, which is why you made it in the first place.
If you think about how many people that might benefit from your free or permissive license, and that those people might be doing creative things with it in ways you couldn’t even think of, then I guess it’s all worth it. If you want other people to benefit from your work, expand upon it, and perhaps take it to another level, by all means use a CC license and allow them to do so easily.

To close off, here’s another quote from the post by Matt:

“First you have to figure out who you’re fighting, who you’re trying to help, and if the price of freedom is something you’re willing to embrace”

flickr now more secure… bugger

Yep, Flickr.com got a bit more “secure” recently, if you can call it that, and I have to say that I’m sorry to find out about it.

You see, flickr users posting their nifty pics could disallow surfers like myself from viewing the original photo and only allow the preview on the main photo page.
This makes sense of course, as some people in there are professional photographers who want to store their hi-res pictures on flickr but don’t want just any bozo (like me) to be able to rip and download their pictures for free. These guys have their property and income to protect right? The fun part however was that the protection was only half arsed. Yep, it’s was pretty easy to bypass, and you could nicely download the original if you knew the naming scheme flickr used for the original.

Now this has changed sadly enough. There’s no way you can get to the original, since the name now seems to be in no way related to the other resized versions, and well… that means I won’t be able to get those bitching backgrounds on my desktop anymore from the pros. It’s sad, yet understandable. *sigh*.

Luckily however, there are also more generous folks in there, shooting professional pictures and allowing them to be downloaded, or even better… share them under a CC license.
Bravo!” I’d say to those, and just because we like them so much, here are a hand picked examples of such great snips of those oh-so generous flickrites.



Pretty darn good stuff isn’ it? And if you click the pictures, you’ll get more eye pleasing goodness from the camera of the same photographers, and if you just can’t get enough… there’s always the Flickr CC search!

license agreements suck

A girl with a copyright (c) on her arm.  A statement for sure.Seriously, who ever reads those damn things anyway. You have to be a bloody lawyer to get it at all, and when I’m on the verge of installing this neat new hip piece of software on my machine, I really don’t feel like sitting down for 15 minutes and read through some boring legal text…. aaaargh!
But then again, you might end up getting screwed by Sony if you don’t right… oh wait, they didn’t put the phone-home ability in the license agreement did they… well, just another reason why not to read em I guess.

But what would be really cool, is a simple way to identify what kind of license you have in front of you. I’m thinking along the lines of CC copyleft licenses for instance. Oh sure, there’s legal text there, but you can skip that and go straight to the simple explanations.

Like Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike shizzle, pretty clear innit?

Pretty much says it all once you’ve gone through the licenses, and you don’t even have to bother about the legal mumbo jumbo unless you get off on that kind of stuff, you geeky lawyer type you!

So how about that? Wouldn’t that be cool? Can someone dish up some of those licenses, so we only have to look at a single line of text, or maybe even a cool graphic that represents the kind of license a piece of software is packaged with?

Maybe Sony should have one with an icon where someone takes it up the b-hind, or that goatse picture which they’ve tricked us into watching way too many times before… it would suit nicely wouldn’t it?