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60Sox is probably the most high-profile proponent of CC in this space in Australia and it is great to see this excellent initiative being embraced by Australia's creative practitioners. — Justin Brow, 60Sox Producer/Curator
60Sox is an online network aimed at connecting emergent creative practitioners and industry professionals in Australia and New Zealand. By providing a home to showcase their digital wares, 60Sox gives creators the opportunity to generate exposure, make industry contacts, and receive feedback and critical appraisal from peers and industry experts, with an aim to improve their chances at getting paid for their work or collaborating with people possessing complimentary skill sets.
The site acts as a meeting point for emerging creative practitioners and creative professionals by providing members with their own online portfolio space, which others (including industry employers) can access to critique their work, monitor industry trends and source new talent in a variety of creative disciplines. The network is divided into eight creative categories: Animation, Design, Film & Video, Interactive Media, Music & Audio, Photography, Visual Art and Writing. 60Sox uses a combination of website curation and member ratings to sort the original creative content, with highly-rated and selected items obtaining heightened exposure on the main display pages of the website. It is also user moderated, with a ‘dodgy’ button where members can flag any item that they consider might have inappropriate or infringing content.
What sets 60Sox apart from the crowd is the ‘2bobmob,’ a forum of high-profile and successful industry professionals who provide constructive feedback and advice to 60Sox members. These professionals comment on six items from each category per month, and are able to provide their own ratings to boost material to the front page. The 2bobmob includes such experts as author John Birmingham, DJ Kid Kenobi, musician Gotye, designer Gary Emery, games CEO Robert Murray, Nickelodeon’s Mick Elliot, and Simon Cahill of Sony/BMG.
Conceived in Brisbane, Australia, by senior researcher and experienced industry producer Justin Brow, the 60Sox project launched in August 2007. It is a collaboration of the Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation (iCi) at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Queensland and South Australian Governments, the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA), the Southbank Institute of Technology and the Billy Blue School of Graphic Arts.
‘60Sox is very proud to be flying the CC banner.’ Justin Brow, 60Sox Producer/Curator
As an important part of its ethos of sharing as a vital part of promotion and creativity, 60Sox encourages creators to upload their materials under a Creative Commons licence using its flexible, and easy-to-follow upload system. This best-practice system uses the CC Attribution–NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Australia licence as its default for uploads, but gives users the option to change this default to another CC licence, or all rights reserved if they wish. By doing so, 60Sox actively promotes the exchange of artistic works in the digital domain and encourages creative interaction (e.g. through remixing), but at the same time retains creators’ freedom to choose a licensing model to meet their own preferences.
The user interface clearly displays and explains the default licence, which creators can choose to bypass to the main CC licence generator. Members can set a default licence for all of their works, and are reminded of this licence and given the option to change it each time they upload. Further, they can choose a different licence for individual items and change the licence on a work at any time.
As the statistics table shows, the majority of members of 60Sox have embraced the CC option, which is hugely encouraging.
60Sox’s producer, Justin Brow, says about using the Creative Commons licences:
- ‘CC allows creators of original creative digital material to determine how they are prepared for their work to be used. This creates a very encouraging platform for the sharing of creativity and development of innovation. I liken this “passing-on” of creativity to cultural development in a digital world.’
Justin was initially inspired to adopt the CC licences after meeting Lawrence Lessig in Brisbane in 2005. Lessig conveyed his point with a punch: if everything gets locked down in copyright laws, it really only serves the gatekeepers of content rather than the general populace. Justin felt that if the 60Sox site could encourage innovation in Australia and New Zealand, it would put the nations in a better position to improve international competitiveness in the digital content industries.
Presenting original material showing broad creative skills, this not-for-profit network places Australian and New Zealand’s young creators in a prime position to collaborate and critique work which is innovative and inspired, and moreover, to be richly rewarded for their talent.
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