November 5, 2008  ·  Lessig

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From the CC site:

Pop star Gwen Stefani and her husband, rocker Gavin Rossdale recently welcomed a baby, Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale, into the world. Many celebrities contract with a magazine to arrange an exclusive photo session that debuts mother with newborn. But Stefani and Rossdale took a different approach and hired their own photographer and put the photo online for the public under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license, along with some additional terms that allow all print magazines, newspapers, and blogs to use the photo – even commercially, with some restrictions. You can download a high-res version of the photo (and check out the additional terms the photo is available under) at Stefani’s site.

November 3, 2008  ·  Lessig

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I awoke in New Zealand today to an article in the New Zealand Herald, and I had a strange sense of deja vu. It is still Monday in America. And like the Monday before the 2004 election, and the Monday before the 2000 election, there is enormous confidence among Democrats that we are going to win this.

But as with 2000, and 2004, I have become a bit terrified about where we’ll be Tuesday. For as presented by the New Zealand Herald, however optimistic the static view of the swing states is, the dynamic view — what is the trend — is sobering, to say the least. As this graph shows, only Florida is trending in the right direction. Every other critical state is trending away from Obama.

Now of course, maybe not quickly enough. Of course, the advantages are significant, especially relative to 2004. And of course, McCain would have to move mountains to overcome the enormous machine that the Obama campaign has built.

But here’s the weird deja vu I feel. In 2004, I got on a plane Tuesday to fly to London. When I got on the plane, I watched every pundit, as well as Kerry’s daughter, speak about how all the polls were with Kerry. The “exit polls” indicated a clear Kerry victory. But then when I landed, I sat it utter disbelief in the United lounge at Heathrow, watching the Ohio numbers go against us, and therefore, delivering 4 more years to Bush.

We Democrats have trouble closing the deal. We have trouble continuing the push to the very last moment. We have repeatedly been blindsided by the fact that the other side votes regardless of the expected result, while we’re more contingent — making the effort if it seems necessary, relaxing when it doesn’t.

Please, don’t let this happen again. Please, if you’re an Obama supporter, do absolutely everything you can in the next 24 hours to make sure every single possible Obama vote turns out to vote. Volunteer for a phone bank, or use my.barackobama.com to phone bank from home. And beyond this, do the sort of things that too few of us ever have the courage to do: Express to your friends, and anyone you know, why you want them to support your candidate. Send an email with a personal story, or an argument important to you, to as many people as you can. Apologize for the intrusion, but intrude nonetheless. (How weird is it that engaging people about democratic issues in a democracy is generally viewed as inappropriate). And don’t let up until 8pm Pacific time.

I’m doing this. I’m exhorting you. I’m writing to everyone on my twitter/facebook/indenti.ca/flickr lists. If I can find an smtp server that will let me, I’ll dump an email to as many of my friends as I can telling them they this is so important. And when my plane lands in the US Tuesday morning, I will join my wife (who is running a phone bank in San Francisco), spending the day on the phone). I will mark myself as weird in doing all this, no doubt. But we can all afford this, if only just once in our life.

I understand the other side has their reasons. I respect them, even if I disagree with them. But I am genuinely afraid about what happens to our side if we let this slip away. There is enormous energy and passion among young people for Obama. There is a passion and hope that makes me cry each time I think about it among African Americans, and those who think about and live the discrimination of our past, and present. There is an energy I have never imagined could be behind any politician. I have known for more than a decade that this man is the real deal. And it gives me enormous hope for this democracy that we are about to vote to make him President.

Unless we don’t. Unless we let this slip by, again. Unless we sit in our comfortable cubicle, and let politics be run by the other side.

Don’t do this. Do something this time. Please at least help spread this message. Make sure everyone who could matter here knows what you believe. And don’t stop until the clock runs out.

November 3, 2008  ·  Lessig

The Free Software Foundation has released the GNU Free Document License version 1.3. Section 11 of that license now (essentially) permits certain wikis to be relicensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (v3.0) license, so long as the relicensing is completed by August 1, 2009. That means, the Wikipedia community now has the choice to relicense Wikipedia under a Creative Commons license. (Here’s the FAQ for the amendment.)

It would be hard to overstate the importance of this change to the Free Culture community. A fundamental flaw in the Free Culture Movement to date is that its most important element — Wikipedia — is licensed in a way that makes it incompatible with an enormous range of other content in the Free Culture Movement. One solution to this, of course, would be for everything to move to the FDL. But that license was crafted initially for manuals, and there were a number of technical reasons why it would not work well (and in some cases, at all) for certain important kinds of culture.

This change would now permit interoperability among Free Culture projects, just as the dominance of the GNU GPL enables interoperability among Free Software projects. It thus eliminates an unnecessary and unproductive hinderance to the spread and growth of Free Culture.

Richard Stallman deserves enormous credit for enabling this change to occur. There were some who said RMS would never permit Wikipedia to be relicensed, as it is one of the crown jewels in his movement for freedom. And so it is: like the GNU/Linux operation system, which his movement made possible, Wikipedia was made possible by the architecture of freedom the FDL enabled. One could well understand a lesser man finding any number of excuses for blocking the change.

But here’s what Richard said in 2002 in a different context:

“If we don’t want to live in a jungle, we must change our attitudes. We must start sending the message that a good citizen is one who cooperates when appropriate….”

Add “good citizen” to the list of praise for this founder of contemporary freedom.