MP3Tribute is a Fitting Memorial to Aaron Swartz

There's a fantastic new project that kicked off recently in memory of Aaron Swartz. If you don't remember who he is (which would be a shame), he's the developer/ co-author of RSS 1.0/ unofficial co-founder of Reddit/ information freedom activist who tragically took his own life earlier this year. You may recall that I wrote about the lawsuit against Aaron, which many people blame as one of the reasons for his suicide, and the resulting Aaron's Law which aims to reduce the penalties levied on hackers and perpetrators of technological misdemeanours.

Since his passing, the online community supporting the freedom of information has created a number of tributes to Aaron but this one is probably my favourite. The #MP3Tribute organized by Jairus Khan seeks to compile a list of 100 music albums and make them available for download as a single collection, in Aaron's memory.

The twist is that the folks behind the project are asking artists to share music that was already released for-pay, and license it under a Non-Commercial Creative Commons License.

The MP3Tribute site states:
I'm asking musicians who have already-released albums to license those albums under the Creative Commons so that it's legal for fans to share those albums. I want to take some of the art that is out there and make it available to everyone.

I'm hoping to get 100 albums licensed. 100 albums that used to be illegal to copy, now available for fans to share forever. 100 pieces of art you don't need to pay to access.

The albums all have to be:

1. Commercially available at some point (out of print is fine)
2. Not already released under any prior CC/GPL/etc license 
That's it. I'm not including albums that are already available under a Creative Commons license (like my own) because this is specifically about taking existing art and giving the public new rights to it.
As I write this, there are 24 albums on the list. Given that the project only started on March 13th, I'd say it's in great shape. You can subscribe to receive an email when the collection is available for download. Even if they don't reach the target 100 albums, they will declare the project complete at some point and connect with everyone to come download the compilation.

If you're an artist who also believes in the freedom of information, would you consider adding your music? If so, you can contact jairus@mp3tribute.com directly.

Being a fan of open information, I registered. Will you?


FYI: I’m this month's speaker at Agile Ottawa. Join Ellen Grove and I tomorrow Tuesday, March 19th for some IRL geeky goodness. For more info, check out the event details.