March 24, 2005  ·  Lessig

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Late last night, Yahoo! launched a Creative Commons search engine, permitting you to search the web, filtering results on the basis of Creative Commons licenses. So, as I feel like I’ve said 10,000 times when explaining CC on the road, “Show me pictures of the Empire State Building that I can use for noncommercial use,” and this is the first of about 13,000 on the list.

This is exciting news for us. It confirms great news about Yahoo!. I met their senior management last October. They had, imho, precisely the right vision of a future net. Not a platform for delivering whatever, but instead a platform for communities to develop. With the acquisition of Flickr, the step into blogging and now this tool to locate the welcome mats spread across the net, that vision begins to turn real.

  • http://greg.cohoon.name/ Greg Cohoon

    Wow, that’s really cool — it will certainly help make CC more accessable and attractive.

  • Justin

    Pimpin’ … That is great news!

  • Rob

    Well that’s great, but until they come out with Linux support for Launchcast, I’ve got no real reason to patronize them. I don’t use their e-mail service. Their groups are a big advertising-delivery operation and polluted with spam. Google is a better search engine. I can’t use Launch or play any of their windows-centric games. So they really don’t have much to offer me.

  • http://cnuk.org/ matt @ cnuk

    Looks good, but I really wish it was Google and not Yahoo. Yahoo is a bit of an advertising portal these days, and as Rob points out – they are very IE/Windows centric, still.

  • http://dfisla.uniblogger.com Daniel

    This is an excellent idea. I suppose this could be extended for other licensing such as BSD, GPL and so on.

    Maybe there should be a standard (RDF), some kind of tagging scheme so that each website could not only display the projects/files hosted but as well relevant licensing for such content.

  • http://atulchitnis.net Atul Chitnis

    Personal triumph here: I typed “bangalore rock music” into search.yahoo.com/cc, and found a little rock group (called Phenom) right there near the top of the results.

    I promote this group and their original music, and encouraged them to publish under a CCL last year, after meeting Larry in Berlin in 2004.

    They did, and in a country where even “free downloads” of original rock music mean a couple of hundred downloads at the most, these guys have had THOUSANDS, and things haven’t slowed down.

    I know, this sounds like promotion as well, but don’t take it as that. I have been promoting Free & Open Source Software for more than a decade, and having my two worlds – FOSS and Music – come together this way is really something I am proud of.

    I hope I haven’t violated any rules here by posting this.

  • josh

    I think their “creating a platform” is something http://labs.google.com is also promoting, I think Google has shifted the industry ideas around towards this.

    Yahoo still has to get rid of their web beacons and their way of summarily wiping out a listserve “group” based on a single complaint, with no communication with the list owners, nor allowing them to backup their lists. They need to allow for an “adults only” (Rated R content) group (listserve) service.

  • http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/MortazaviBlog M. Mortazavi

    I wonder what you think of
    filtering
    .

  • J.B. Nicholson-Owens

    If there’s a more appropriate place to ask these questions and make these points, please do tell me where that place is so I can copy this there.

    Something that could be made much more clear: how do these search engines know what material is CC-licensed and what is not? I’m particularly interested in this when it comes to tagging Ogg Vorbis files and including metadata in webpages.

    I maintain the News from Neptune website and the audio files are hosted at the wonderful archive.org. How should I tell search engines that News from Neptune recordings are CC-licensed?

    I’ve followed the advice on the CC MP3 page as far as mentioning the words “Creative Commons” on the site, linking to the appropriate license, and mentioning the same in the copyright tag in every Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, and Speex show file we distribute. But I’m not sure that is the proper way to go about being found by search engines that care about CC-licensed works in particular.

    I’d like to do something on the server end (or supply end, when I generate the audio files) so that I don’t have to register with any search engine (any registration approach simply doesn’t scale up to dozens of search engines looking for CC-licensed works).

    I’d also like to get official plain text copies of CC licenses so I can include a copy of the license with the work. This way people will know what their rights are by sharing files in the most ordinary way. This will be particularly helpful if they don’t have an Internet connection, or can’t get to the CC site (for whatever reason). My plan is to include the entire text of the chosen license in an appropriately named Ogg tag (say, “License”).

  • http://www.zentastic.com/ Shannon

    How do they know it’s Creative Commons material?
    THEY DON’T

    I know because I found lots of ripped-off copyrighted content there, including content stolen from myself and friends of mine.

  • Justin Donnelly

    This is very cool, but I was awfully disappointed by the explanation on that page, “While most stuff you find on the web has a full copyright…” [emphasis added] This seems lifted from the content industry FUD that people who believe in sharing are anti-copyright. I think Yahoo! is really muddying the waters by suggesting that there is fully copyrighted and partially copyrighted content.

  • http://www.johnniemanzari.com Johnnie Manzari

    This says a lot using few words: “They had, imho, precisely the right vision of a future net. Not a platform for delivering whatever, but instead a platform for communities to develop.” Yesterday I finished writing a long, confusing post that tried to communicate what you got across in just those two sentences.

  • http://www.marinatingthemind.com Spyros

    That is fantastic. I just finished reading Free Culture, and was delighted to find out about the creative commons, and moreso to find the license that fit my needs. I had been waffling back and forth over copyright before your book and the creative commons.

    Now with a search engine making cc material so accessable, the public domain should begin to flourish once again!

  • Wanderley

    a9.com now offers users the possibility of adding additional “search columns”. And someone implemented a Creative Commons search as well. Not sure it comes from creativecommons.org, though.

    I just wish it was selected by default…

  • http://www.keepitreal.com B-Honest

    Hey Larry – why do we have to pay to read your books?

  • http://www.bladam.com/ Adam

    I agree that the Yahoo CC search is a good first step, but I’d like to humbly invite you to check out my take on a next generation music service that builds upon CC licensed music materials to facilitate broad sharing of independent music.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts… and perhaps you’d even be able to convince Yahoo! to implement my idea? :)

  • http://www.cei.org/foodie Andrew Langer

    My thoughts on music.

    I am so tired of hearing about Shostakovich. Yes, 2006 is the 100th anniversary of his birth and he wrote hundreds of symphonies and so on. But, listen, I majored in Soviet Studies and it is all crap. I mean, not one thing he wrote even compares with “Dreaming from the Waist” on “The Who by Numbers”!

    The best music is Celtic music followed by guitar rock. You can just keep your piano concertos and so on.

    About the only good thing classical music is for is that some girls like it. But, who needs girls when you can just hire prostitutes? My good buddy John Berlau is an expert on prostitution. He’s doing a book on it and it will be seriallized in Reason Magazine and then published by CEI.

    A lot of you may or may not know that CEI’s very own Julie DeFalco is an Eastman graduate. They say she can play the viola. I’m not even sure what a viola is. I can tell you that she earns her extra money for her Max Mara boots not by playing the viola but by her webcam business. So there.

    I’d write more but it is time for some ice cream. Bagpipes and chocolate chip, a night in heaven!

    Andrew Langer

  • http://langrrr.blogspot.com Andrew Langer

    Dr. Lessig –

    I apologize for the fact that your blog has been drawn into the internet campaign of one disgruntled anti-libertarian who seems to have a particular venom for me, John Berlau, Julie DeFalco and other libertarian writers and groups.

    I didn’t write the above comment, and moreover, I do not endorse any of the sentiments contained within it.

    – Andrew Langer