Lulu Enterprises, the latest venture of Red Hat co-founder Bob Young, has recently purchased nowRecording, an Internet site that allows musicians to collaborate with one another online to compose and record music.

“nowRecording uses technology to help breakdown the barriers to creativity and the sharing of information,” says Young, who serves as chief executive officer of Lulu. “For that reason it was a perfect fit with our expanded vision of Lulu.”

Young says nowRecording is a site that has helped pioneer the idea of online collaboration between musicians. It provides both a community for musicians to network and communicate about projects, and also a virtual studio where they can collaborate and contribute musical tracks to one another’s’ songs.

The addition of nowRecording, which will be integrated into within the next six months, will bring not only an expanded repertoire, but two new members to Young’s team. They are Henry Hutton, founder and president of nowRecording, and Randy Williams, a software engineer who will also join Lulu as a full-time employee.

Young says Hutton and Williams are working toward an integration of the nowRecording collaboration tools and the collaborative publishing tools developed by Lulu.

Financial terms of the deal between Cary-based Lulu and nowRecording of San Francisco were not disclosed.

Lulu: from Press to .com

An online marketplace for digital content and collaborative publishing, provides creators and publishers of digital content with a means for distributing work, while at the same time maintaining control over how it is used. is a natural extension of Lulu Press, as well as serving as its Web site, according to Young. Lulu Press is one of two divisions of Lulu Enterprises, with the other being Lulu Tech Circus, a technology showcase recently held for the first time at the N.C. State Fair Grounds.

Young says he built Lulu Press, formed with the purchase of OpenMind Publishing Group, around the idea that it is possible to create an online tool that allows collaborative publishing. But Lulu Press has focused on books and text that can be published electronically and delivered in a variety of formats.

The core idea, however, is providing technology to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, no matter what the medium, he says.

“It became clear as we developed the vision for the company that the idea of collaborative publishing and the delivery of customized content are powerful ideas that apply equally well to all forms of digital content, including music, animations and photography as well as text,” explains Young. “From Lulu Press, we began to develop the idea of, a marketplace for digital content of all sorts.”

Creative Commons gives license

Musician members of Lulu’s latest acquisition, nowRecording, are among the first artists to adopt a set of licenses that expand upon the standard restrictions of current copyright law.

Creative Commons, a non-profit organization based at Stanford University Law School, crafted a set of 11 licenses designed to help the creators of digital content dedicate their works to the public domain or license them on terms more generous than existing copyright restrictions.

Where traditional copyrights restrict any use or reuse of artistic material without explicit permission, Creative Commons offers variations on the copyright license that allow artists to designate their work as available for sharing, reuse, or collaboration. The idea is similar to the Free Software Foundation’s General Public License (GPL) for software.

Unlike the GPL, however, Creative Commons’ licenses are designed specifically for creative works: websites, scholarship, music, film, photography, literature, courseware, etc. The intent is to facilitate collaboration and to give artists working in digital mediums the option of pursuing the widespread distribution that in many cases they want.

“The vast majority of music these days is created in completely digital studios by artists that will never be signed with record labels, and these artists are looking to have their music heard by the masses,” said Hutton, the founder. “The engine of distribution for these musicians will be the Internet. Creative Commons’ licenses anticipate and address the needs of these artists heads-on.”



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