Archive for September, 2006

Prayers for David Cornwall

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

Friday I had to fly out to Denver after finding out that my father-in-law, Dave Cornwall, is gravely ill. Dave has abdominal surgery about a week ago but somehow he got an infection, and it’s erupted into full-blown sepsis. His temperature spiked to 104 yesterday and he is on life support, but today his temp has come down to 97. He also woke up for several hours this morning, appearing alert and nodding his head to yes or no questions.
While he was awake, Susanne asked him if he wanted to listen to his music. As many of you know, Dave started composing classical music after his retirement and has written dozens of pieces, including the wedding march for when Susanne and I got married. We’re playing a copy of it in his room in the ICU right now. Here’s a podcast of it, performed by a string quartet from the Denver University Lamont School of Music.
All in all, the situation is very touch-and-go, and he has an uphill battle ahead of him. Any forms of prayer, good thoughts, karmic energy, etc, would be most appreciated by Susanne and her family during this difficult hour.

Digital Divide 101 With Amanda Congdon

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Andy and Amanda posing for a photoIf you’ve been reading my blog this week, you’ll know that Amanda Congdon was in town on Monday, and we spent a few hours together talking Internet culture and hanging out with local video bloggers. Today she published a video of our time together, including me serving as a poor navigator through the District (shame on me) and chatting about the digital divide in the lawn of the Episcopal church across from my old apartment in Dupont Circle.
All in all, I think I managed to get by without making too much of an idiot of myself, but I definitely must get into the habit of tucking in my shirt before being filmed. -andy

A New Idea: A Creative Commons RevShare License

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Last week in Cambridge I got to see some great presentations at the WGBH open content conference, including online copyright gurus Jamie Boyle and Eric Salzman, both of whom are board members of Creative Commons. One of them – I think it was Eric – invited participants to suggest new types of licenses that Creative Commons could develop.
Later that night, I got together with Steve Garfield for a couple of beers and talked with him about the conference. When I mentioned the Creative Commons bit, he immediately pitched his grand idea for a new Creative Commons license – a “50-50 license” – which he discussed publicly yesterday on his blog. Steve uses the attribution noncommercial license, but he wants to take it a step further and allow him to forge revenue-sharing relationships with other parties:

If people want to use my work for commercial purposes they can contact me and we can work something out. I’m pretty much ok with a 50/50 split of revenue if someone wants to use my content.
I am proposing a new CC license that encompases this idea.
The same Non Commercial license with a 50/50 add on, so if someone wants to use my work for a commercial purpose they can, as long as they split the profits with me 50/50.
I don’t want to deal with long contracts. Just let me know you want to use my work and split the profits with me 50/50.

I’m really intrigued by this idea, but I’d take it a step further. The notion of splitting revenues 50-50 is fine for plenty of bloggers and content producers, but not everyone wants a revenue sharing model in which the splits are done evenly. Some people may insist that they get a 70-30 split, while others may feel they’ll get more offers if they ask for only 10 or 20 percent of the revenue. Just like every blogger has a different notion of how they’re content gets used, there’s no telling how many different ways someone would want to divvy up the proceeds.
Actually, that’s not true. There are a 100 different ways a revenue split could happen if you think about it: a 1-99 split, a 2-98 split, and so on. And it wouldn’t make sense for Creative Commons to create 100 different licenses for this purpose. So I would modify Steve’s idea: rather than propose a 50-50 license, I’d call it the NonCommercial-Attribute RevShare License.

RevShare 50-50 license RevShare 60-40 license RevShare 70-30 license

The first two parts of the license would be the same as always. Anyone could use the specified content for noncommercial purposes as long as they attribute me, and there’s no need to ask permission to do that. But if you want to use the content for commercial gain, you’d have to accept a revenue sharing agreement with me. So every time you make money on derivative works that incorporate my content, I’d receive and agreed-upon share of the revenue.
So how would you express your desired split? Through metadata, of course. Creative Commons licenses are actually three licenses: a simple, easy to understand deed that explains your rights and responsibilities; a lawyerly contract that spells it out for the suits; and machine-readable metadata that gets embedded with your content. For example, when I created my blog, I added the metadata for the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, my particular license of choice. All I had to do was go to the Creative Commons website and fill out a form that asked me simple questions about how I want my content to be used. My answers to these questions generate the metadata that gets inserted onto my blog. Once I’d done that, search engines could pick up the metadata, allowing people to search for content that meets their particular needs. The metadata essentially tells the search engine what my licensing terms are and passes it on to interested parties conducting the search.
It seems to me that Steve’s idea could be built into a new license, while allowing you to specify your revenue sharing terms while filling out the form on the Creative Commons website. So if you were happy with a 50-50 split, that’s what the metadata would say. (Ideally it would also generate the appropriate CC button on your website, complete with the split numbers, like the above examples.) That way, if a person looking to license content is willing to share a certain amount of their profits with the original content producer, they could limit their search to a particular split or split range. I could see this being particularly useful when conducting CC searches on Flickr.
I could also see this leading to yet another license: the NonCommercial-Attribute-FlatRate license. Rather than requesting a revenue share, a content producer could include in their metadata a baseline flat rate for their work, in the currency of their choice. So if I think I’m a hot-shot photographer and expect good money for my picks, I could select the license and set it to say that if you want to use a pic for commercial gain, you’ll have to license it from me for $1000. Or $10. Or 15 drachmas. Whatever. The amount would be determined by what you think the market would tolerate for your work. So Flickr suddenly becomes a market for amateur photographers, as well as a showcase for their work.
Interesting ideas, Steve… Thanks for getting me thinking about it. -andy

New Email Scam Claims to Help Bridge the Digital Divide

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

Earlier today I received an email purporting to come from the “Bill Gates Foundation” (as opposed to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) saying that I’d just won 25,000 euros as part of a “lottery for Internet expansion in Africa.” The email, composed in French, claims that that the so-called foundation had set up a lottery of “50,000,000 millions” euros – I’m not sure if that means 50 million or 50 trillion, though 50 trillion would certainly be more generous. For some reason, they claim that I’m getting a small chunk of this change, and somehow it’ll help bridge the digital divide in Africa.
Unfortunately, they didn’t transfer the money to my PayPal account. Instead, they said I needed to provide basic contact information, including my passport number and copies of any other pertinent ID card. Seems like a pretty good deal to me. ;-/
Here’s the full text.

From: “BILL GATES FOUNDATION LOTTERY FOR INTERNET EXPANSION”
To: andycarvin@yahoo.com
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2006 23:03:54 +0200
Subject: BILL GATES FOUNDATION LOTTERY
A votre aimable attention:
Nous avons le plaisir de vous annoncez que vous êtes l’un des heureux
gagnants de la :
BILL GATES FOUNDATION LOTTERY FOR INTERNET EXPANSION IN AFRICA,
dont le siège mondial pour l’Afrique se trouve à Paris.
Une loterie portant sur les adresses email des internautes africains.
La valeur totale en jeu est de 50.000 000 millions Euros et votre
adresse à été tiré au sort par sélection informatique lors de notre deuxième
tirage annuel effectué la semaine dernière au siège mondial sis à
Paris.
Vous faites donc partie des heureux gagnants et votre gain est de 250
000 Euros.
Pour entrer en possession de votre lot, veuillez adressez exclusivement
les informations suivant par email votre:
Nom:
Prénoms:
Adresse complète:
Numéro de téléphone:
Fax, email ainsi qu’une copie de votre carte nationale d’identité ou
passeport.
Après quoi il vous sera expliqué comment entrer en possession de votre
lot.
Recevez encore toutes nos félicitations
Isabelle Chevalier
Directrice des Opérations
BILL GATES FOUNDATION
12, Avenue Léonard de Vinci
92916 PARIS LA DEFENSE

Anyone else received this scam? I’m wondering if they’re working their way through some digital divide-related mailing list. Either way, I’ve already forwarded a copy of it to the real Gates Foundation, in case they want to post something about it. -andy

I Swear He’s Not Dead

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

Watch the video
I managed to catch Winston on video in his favorite sleeping position. Do other cats do this? Beats me.

The Amanda & Andy Show: Strolling Through Dupont Circle

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

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Another walk with Amanda Congdon, this time along P Street in Dupont Circle, discussing her current five-week video blogging road trip across the US. Special cameo by Mario Librandi.

The Amanda & Andy Show: Strolling to the White House

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

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A walk down Pennsylvania Avenue with Amanda Congdon to the White House. Amanda wanted to do a little dance there.

The 2006 Virgin Festival

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

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Here’s a three-minute montage of the sights and sounds of the Virgin Festival in Baltimore. The montage, which will air on Rocketboom, includes clips of Wolfmother, Gnarls Barkley, The Killers, the Raconteurs and The Who.

The Who: Can’t Explain

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

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Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey kick off their 80-minute set at the Virgin Festival with “Can’t Explain.”

Gnarls Barkley: Chariots of Fire

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

Watch the video
Gnarls Barkley, in its “chariots of fire” costumes, performs a snippet of Queen’s “We are the Champions” as a lead-in to “Go-Go Gadget Gospel.” -andy