Russian Machine, Creative Commons, and Aaron Swartz


Effective immediately, all original content on and its related sites is covered by the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. This means you can share, copy, and remix anything we create — so long as it’s done with attribution and not for commerce. This license applies to our writing, our illustrations, our videos, and photos by our team.  It’s a lot of content (2000+ posts), so go crazy.

Here’s a short video explaining Creative Commons licenses.

RMNB is using the Creative Commons license so that we can contribute to the same free culture that has helped us grow and succeed as makers of things. We want to encourage and empower you to take what we’ve created and make new and interesting things out of it as well.

We’ve been planning this change since last spring, but it is a bit more timely now. Last week, hacktivist Aaron Swartz, took his own life. Swartz was a kid genius who helped write the initial spec for RSS 1.0 (a technology for syndicating content over the Internet that I guarantee you have used even if you didn’t know it) and then wrote code underpinning Creative Commons itself. He made court documents in the public domain available without per-page fees and gave tons of resources to web developers and the public domain. He was a tireless advocate for open culture, a critic of draconian Internet legislation like SOPA, a reading nut, and a lot more. He was a real pioneer, possessing an authentic genius made even rare because it was paired with actual moral righteousness.

The world is so much dumber and meaner without Swartz. We hope that releasing our content under the license that he helped create is some minor contribution to the momentum of  his life’s work.

Unless it’s otherwise stated in a post or superseded by a more specific license, you can assume the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license applies to all original RMNB content– text, images, video, interactive. It does not apply to other people’s photos or other media from outside sources, obviously. The license deed appears in the footer of our site along with a link to the Creative Commons site, but if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Thanks for reading. Now go make things!

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  • Kath

    Peter, thanks for the information. I enjoy reading the articles from all of your writers. I noticed Ana is not listed anymore. Hope she is doing well where ever she is.

  • Thanks, Kath.

    Ana moved out west to finish school. We’re still pals though, and hopefully we’ll see her again!