4th Annual Sparky Awards

Open Up! calls on students to let the world know they support Open Access and to say why. This year, entries are invited to four categories:
1. Animation – Drop into the media lab and master that illustration software!
2. Speech – Just say how it is. Skip the fancy editing and use your 120 seconds to tell campus viewers in your own eloquent words why Open Access matters to you.
3. Remix – Mix it up. Re-use video, music, images and remix with your own content to create your unique vision of the importance of Open Access. Content must be re-used legally.
4. People’s Choice – The People choose! Sparky Award entries are opened up for public vote.
Winners will receive an iPad, iPhone, or iPod and a fabulous “Sparky Award” statuette.
Entries in the international Sparky Awards competition are now being accepted and must be received by 12:00AM Eastern time on May 27, 2011. To be eligible, videos must be freely available on the Internet and available for use under a Creative Commons License.
For more info see: http://www.sparkyawards.org/

Shakespeare and Copyright

There is an interesting discussion developing online regarding whether copyright helps or hinders artists. It was spurred by a recent op-ed column in the NY Times that basically argues that copyright protects the income of artists therefore allowing them to continue to create. The authors contend that Shakespeare was able to continue to produce his works because of the income from the Globe Theatre’s admissions.
However, as Kevin Smith points out, artists generally survive off their patronages (government grants, academic appointments, wealthy sponsors) NOT the little that might trickle down to them through royalties from copyright.
And the TechDirt blog has posted an even more compelling response: If current copyright laws existed in Shakespeare’s time would he have even been able to create his masterworks? Art inspires art. Shakespeare himself created derivative works based on the products of others. Today’s copyright laws would likely have prevented him from doing so in many cases… and we would be without his cultural legacy.

OpenAttribute Addon

A new addon for Firefox and Chrome has just been released that helps users attribute Creative Commons licensed materials.
Most online CC material requires that you attribute the creator when you use it – but how to properly format the attribute can be confusing. The new OpenAttribute addon recognizes when you are on a page that has a CC license. If you want to use the material on the page – and correctly attribute it – all you need to do is click on the small CC icon that appears in the URL bar and the formatted attribution will appear for you to copy & paste!