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A Simplified Summary of Public Domain Status for Creative Works in US Copyright Law (excluding audio works)

A Simplified Summary of Public Domain Status for Creative Works in US Copyright Law (excluding audio works) – Aharon Varady (CC BY-SA)

Among the many things I do in my work for the Open Siddur Project, I create digital copies of works in the Public Domain. These copies then serve as the basis for . . . → Continue reading: A Simplified Summary of Public Domain Status for Creative Works in US Copyright Law (excluding audio works)

Tracking down the author of the popular quote, “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past”

Banana Writing for Meditation? (credit: Core Jolts)

Wisdom. Shimon ben Zoma taught that the wise learn from everyone. My friend, Pesach, wrote a book of his accumulated life wisdom, Sustainable Bliss, and devoted three pages to pithy quotes he had picked up in the course of his readings and travels. While editing and co-publishing . . . → Continue reading: Tracking down the author of the popular quote, “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past”

Mechon Hadar is Open

From 2009-2010, I was a fellow of Yeshivat Hadar in the pilot year of its first year-long program of study. A couple months ago, Rabbi Jason Rubenstein, Dean of Students at Yeshivat Hadar, asked me if I would consider reviewing Mechon Hadar’s new website. At the Hadar reunion earlier this year, Jason had provided a . . . → Continue reading: Mechon Hadar is Open

SHARE WHAT YOU LOVE ♡ A Decision Tree for Choosing Free-Culture Compatible Open Content Licenses for Cultural & Technological Work

Since we all live under the current terms of each of our respective nation’s copyright laws, simply making something available or accessible over the Internet doesn’t make it free under copyright for others to use and improve upon. That’s why open content licenses exist: to abrogate the restrictions imposed by copyright law, and it’s why we need to use them. . . . → Continue reading: SHARE WHAT YOU LOVE ♡ A Decision Tree for Choosing Free-Culture Compatible Open Content Licenses for Cultural & Technological Work

Teach me your Open Source Torah, on one foot

American Jewish World Service does important work, so when a site they built for educators and learners to access Jewish sourcetexts on social justice and other important activities disappeared overnight due to what appeared to be a domain registration lapse, I was motivated to write an essay on how organizations can appreciate their websites as more than “proprietary and Copyrighted marketing assets to better leverage their brand.” eJewishPhilanthropy, a well-read blog popular among Jewish professionals published it this morning. Here’s a snippet: . . . → Continue reading: Teach me your Open Source Torah, on one foot

Making oneself into a Maqom Hefker (an ownerless place): On the Economy of Sharing Torah, Dimus Parrhesia (freely and openly)

Last year, I was interviewed by Alan Jacobs for the Atlantic Magazine on the potential and promise of an open source Judaism. This year I was privileged to write an essay for the Sova Project, a project that is considering the structures and processes of a sustainable society through the lens of biblical, prophetic, and rabbinic Jewish values and practices. In the essay I try to pose many of the same concerns from the perspective of community professionals: scholars, artists, and educators: “Those of us who make a living as crafters, educators, and servants of the Jewish community: how do we feel about sharing our work? I mean, really sharing? When, in working with Torah, I create a lesson plan or feel like I have some brilliant insight or analysis or make a translation, how do I give it, release it to the world at large so that my work can spread through adoption, adaptation, redistribution (and attribution)? Further, what are my anxieties and vulnerabilities in sharing my Torah? What honestly are my desires, aspirations, and needs? How, through my method of sharing, can I satisfy and reconcile these concerns?” In wrestling with these questions, I wanted to bring attention to an important orientation that guided Talmudic discourse in Torah — that of dimus parrhesia, a Greek term for a cultivated attitude towards sharing ideas, freely and openly. . . . → Continue reading: Making oneself into a Maqom Hefker (an ownerless place): On the Economy of Sharing Torah, Dimus Parrhesia (freely and openly)

Open Content License Generator: A WordPress Plugin for selecting and displaying an Open Content compatible license for posts

Over at the Open Siddur Project, I was looking for a way that users sharing their work could automatically select between any of the three free/libre compatible licenses offered by the Creative Commons. Well known among free-culture activists, not all Creative Commons licenses are “free” according to the Free Software Foundation’s definition of free.[1]By free, . . . → Continue reading: Open Content License Generator: A WordPress Plugin for selecting and displaying an Open Content compatible license for posts

Testing Web browsers as Platforms for Hebrew Text Publishing

Given that one important aspiration of the Open Siddur Project is the development of a web application for anyone to edit, maintain, and share the content of a personal prayerbook that they can craft online, I’m very concerned at how well web browsers today display the Hebrew language with all of its diacritical (vowels, cantillation) . . . → Continue reading: Testing Web browsers as Platforms for Hebrew Text Publishing

GNU General Public License + Font Exception

Lately, for the Open Siddur Project, I’ve been putting together a font package for more easily distributing extant free/libre licensed Unicode Hebrew fonts. These fonts tend to be licensed with SIL’s Open Font License (e.g., EzraSIL and Cardo), or the GNU General Public License (GPL, e.g., Maxim Iorsh’s Culmus Project fonts). Because of the differences between fonts and other software code in their usage, there arose some conflicts which necessitated an exception to the GPL specifically for fonts. Unfortunately, the GPL font exception statement is somewhat buried in the Free Software Foundations GPL FAQ. Because important information on the GPL+FE is nowhere on the Internet included in one single post, I’ve reformatted it and shared it below. . . . → Continue reading: GNU General Public License + Font Exception

update 2002-08-08

I’m working on a proposal for a project that I’m calling the “Open Siddur”. The goal of the project is to bring back the creative power of t’fillah to the individual while encouraging the feeling of solidarity with and awareness of the larger Jewish community and their diversity. The draft proposal is located here. Growing . . . → Continue reading: update 2002-08-08

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