Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Link to Envato Notes

How to Find Creative Commons Content to Use in Marketplace Items

Posted: 27 Mar 2012 04:43 AM PDT

Classic Buttons Photo by creativecommons
Licensing can be a complex, tricky business. That’s why Creative Commons was founded to help give content creators an easy way to distribute their work while specifying some simple factors such as whether the work could be used commercially or modified. Creative Commons licenses are perhaps most famous for their use on Flickr and Wikipedia. But really they are all over the place, with some half a billion items or more licensed under one of the CC licenses.

For Marketplace users, CC-licensed materials can be a great source of assets to use in item previews and even item downloads. In this post I’ll explain a bit about what kinds of licenses you should be looking for, where to find content, and what to avoid.

Which CC Licenses are suitable for Authors to use?

Every CC license has a short name and description which explains in a simple way what that license allows a person to do. There is also a full legal license if you wish to read it thoroughly. Not all CC licenses are appropriate for content that you intend to use in or on a marketplace item, so you have to pay attention.

The licenses you CAN use with marketplace items are:

Some important things to note are:

  1. Attribution – When this is present you must attribute and link back to the original item. So you would put attribution and a link back in your item description and/or item documentation (depending on where you’ve used the content). Attribution typically says something like “Photo by Joe Photographer” with a link to the page or portfolio where the item came from.
  2. Commercial – The licenses above can be used for commercial purposes. All non-commercial CC licenses explicitly say so. Make sure to avoid any license that says non-commercial since usage on our marketplaces is a commercial usage.
  3. Public Domain – Creative Commons provides a public domain mark which you may also come across. Items put into the public domain can be used in any way you wish (including without attribution). Note that the public domain isn’t technically a Creative Commons license, but the mark is a convenience offered by the organization for content creators.

What to Avoid

Make sure to avoid the non-commercial licenses such as the Attribution-Noncommercial CC BY -NC license. You should also avoid CC licenses that contain the ShareAlike term such as the Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY -SA license. ShareAlike licenses mean that the work you are creating (i.e. the item for sale) needs to also be licensed under the same ShareAlike license. This isn’t appropriate for our marketplaces where the items are meant to go up on sale with the Envato license.

And avoid licenses with the NoDerivs -ND term. The way the -ND license terms are written, all that is allowed is format shifting of items, and compiling items into collections (like an anthology). Remixing or adaptations are not allowed, and that would include using an item within your marketplace item (even if you don’t alter the CC item itself).

Other things to be aware of

You should also remember that just because an item has been made available by someone under a CC license, doesn’t mean they actually had the rights to do so. To give you an example, if I download a photo that someone else took and upload that same photo to Flickr and put it under a CC Attribution license, it doesn’t mean the photographer has actually given permission for such usage.

Essentially when you use free content such as CC licensed items you are taking some risk that the person licensing the content actually has the right to do so. I advise to use your common sense and exercise some caution when sourcing content from sites like Flickr. For example if it looks like the user is just uploading stuff they like rather than images they own, then you should avoid using those images.

Also you should avoid using images containing visible people that have been licensed under CC licenses. The reason being that the people in the photos probably haven’t granted the right to use their image in a commercial setting. So to give another example, if I am walking down the street and a photographer takes a photo of me, uploads it to Flickr under a CC Attribution license and a drug company grabs that photo for their upcoming Viagra campaign, I’m probably not going to be very happy about it! So even though the photographer is the rights holder of the photograph, laws around privacy and controlling use of someone’s image might kick in. Many people have some sort of right to control the use of images of themselves. So people in CC licensed photos may not have given permission for their photos to be used in your item preview.

If you want to use photos of people, it’s best to license stock photography from a reputable site. Such sites (like our marketplace for photos) ask photographers to upload model releases for their images where the people in the photo have consented to the image’s use in various commercial contexts.

Where to Find Creative Commons Content

There are a lot of sites that index their content according to what CC license the creator has granted. Most famous of all is Flickr, but the list also includes some YouTube videos, Jamendo for music, Fotopedia, Wikimedia Commons and the Open Clip Art Library.

Happily there is a really easy way to search these libraries for Commercial CC licenses using the Creative Commons search page with a check in the box to find content that can be used for ‘commercial purposes’.

Start Searching Creative Commons Content Here

There are other, smaller sources of CC-licensed content such as the Blender open movie projects that I recently posted about. If you know of some good sources, be sure to leave a comment below!

If you have any questions about finding or using CC-licensed, feel free to ask in the comments!

Support Creative Commons

You may also wish to support the Creative Commons organisation who have some really inspirational goals. You can do so by Donating or buying yourself one of their nifty little CC Tshirts from the Creative Commons Merchandise Store.

Author Interview: adamjamescuz

Posted: 27 Mar 2012 12:54 AM PDT

Creating distorted synth sounds, honing his music production skills, aiming for a very individual sound, and liaising with VideoHive authors to include tracks in their videos. This week we meet Adam Cousins (adamjamescuz) from AudioJungle.

If you're an Envato marketplace author and would like to be interviewed for the blog, head over to this form. We'd love to hear from you.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, what do you do for a living?

I have been living in London for the last four years, working as a Flash/iOS Developer for various digital agencies, as well as the occasional dance track from scratch.

Which marketplaces do you belong to? What types of files do you sell?

AudioJungle! I sell mainly House or Dubstep tracks, famous for their distorted synth sounds, high energy and filthy basslines. :)

How did you get started? Have you had any formal training?

I used to mess around with Magix Music Maker and Music 2000 on the original PlayStation when I was younger. I have always enjoyed trying to get the most filthy or distorted sounds possible, even when recording my old acoustic guitar through a cheap microphone and trying to make it sound like an electric guitar!

Describe your home workspace.

Pretty basic. Just a Mac, guitar and headphones. Though I crank the track out through some monitors before I tweak it for mixing. I use Ableton Live, and the plugins I use mostly are the Arturia Minimoog, Guitar Rig 4 and Kore Player. Desperately waiting for the new Z3TA to be released on Mac.

Describe your creative process. What steps do you normally follow to create your files?

Most of the time I usually spend a while designing the main synth sound of the track from scratch so each track has it’s own character. I try and make it so the filters and modulation settings have a lot of scope affect the sound in dramatic ways so I can build the track up from one main sound.

Around this I will add effects and create a drum pattern from a library of samples to fit the overall sound. Sometimes I’ll start with a beat I’ve had in my head for a while and use that as the basis.

What is your advice to other authors regarding how to create a successful portfolio?

It always helps to have a very individual sound, try making the synth sounds from scratch rather than using presets. This has the added bonus that you will get to know your synths really well and it will become easier to create that ‘sound in your head’.

After a while you will start to develop a signature sound, and if the tracks fill a gap in what’s available in the market place you should see an increase in sales.

What do you do to market your files?

Post links on Facebook, Twitter etc. Upload the tracks to Soundcloud. Liaise with VideoHive authors to include the tracks in their videos.

What are your three favorite files, and why do you like them?

Sausage Fattened Dubstep

This was literally just an exercise in trying to make a ridiculously dirty and stuttering dubstep track. I liked the result of the main sound design to made it into a full track.

Deep Freeze

This one hasn’t really taken off yet but it’s one I spend probably the most time adding lots of little nuances and getting the deep bass and the drums to sound tight together.

Energetic pumping electronic club track

This is the track that started it all for me – without this I probably would have given up ages ago!

Apart from yourself, who is your favorite marketplace author, and why do you like them?

AlexZlatev on VideoHive. He’s an awesome motion graphics artist and because he has featured several of tracks in his After Effects productions, he has definitely helped me get more sales from the music.

What do you do in your spare time?

When I’m not at work I try and produce more tracks, hone my production skills and generally experiment. For every 10 tracks I start on, maybe one or two end up becoming full tracks and then only a handful of them end up being uploaded to AudioJungle!

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