This is part three of a five week series on the Affiliate Team project grants. So far, you’ve heard from our affiliates in Africa and the Arab World. Today, we’re showcasing projects in our Asia-Pacific region, including open data workshops from Japan, a media studies textbook from New Zealand, and software tools and guidelines for public domain materials from Taiwan.
Japan: Workshops and Symposium for Open Data in Japan
by Puneet Kishor (project lead: Tomoaki Watanabe)
Last year in June, the CommonSphere, won a grant to hold three workshops and a public symposium on the use of CC tools (licenses and the CC0 Public Domain Dedication) in the context of open data. The aim of the workshops was to respond to informal inputs from government and other stakeholders on their implementation of CC tools in the context of open data, a new frontier of openness in the last few years in Japan. The team was planning to invite involvement from Japanese national and municipal government agencies and Open Knowledge Foundation Japan.
The first event was a workshop at Information Processing Agency, IPA, an independent administrative agency discussing open data licensing. The panel involved a member of Open Knowledge Foundation Japan as well. The whole session was video-recorded by the IPA staff, and it is now available online, along with presentation materials. The attendance was mostly government officials and the agency staff, around 50 people, and an attendant survey indicated a reasonable success.
The second meeting was held among key figures related to open data and other relevant initiatives, as invitation-only discussions on licensing and other legal issues. CCJP provided logistics support and expertise. It was decided by the attendants that the discussion will remain informal and unpublished.
The third was a symposium to discuss implementation issues of open data, including licensing issues organized by the third party, Innovation Nippon, a joint project between Google Japan and GLOCOM. Both CCJP and OKF Japan helped with pre-event publicity and provided expertise. It featured and was attended by local government officials and municipal law makers, along with business people and academics. The event was videocast and the archive is available already, along with the slides.
- Political will, however, key politicians are not necessarily expected to support liberal licensing allowing use that goes against public order.
- Evidence, anecdotal or scientific, showing that more liberal licensing results in better outcomes. However, such evidence is not abundant, and some government agencies have very specific uses in mind that may make them hesitate.
- Evidence showing other governments of developed countries are doing things differently from what Japan is doing or planning to do. UK, FR, US, AU, NZ all are CC-BY compatible or use a CC-BY license. Their licensing all seem to be open in the Open Definition sense. Japan may result a bit differently.
- Prospective users actively asking for a change.
The challenges faced by the team so far have been 1) the above-mentioned development away from CC tools and 2) the lack of availability of licensing and editing talent on a more stable basis.
The team is in talks with a local government to hold at least one more workshop to discuss licensing issues as they relate to local governments. The symposium was originally planned to be at the end, but given the emerging development above, it may be timed differently.
New Zealand: Media Text Hack
by project lead Matt McGregor
In the middle of 2013, a few New Zealand academics and librarians began to toss around an exciting-but-preposterous-sounding idea: what if they could hack a media studies textbook in a weekend, and then release the results to the world under an open Creative Commons license?
The social benefit – the why – was clear. With textbook prices continuing to rise (and rise) well above inflation, and student debt levels ballooning, the Pacific region desperately needs a new model for producing and distributing educational resources. As Dr Erika Pearson, who led the Media Text Hack project, put it, “Textbooks currently available for New Zealand first year students are often produced overseas, usually the US, and can have a cripplingly high price tag.”
The how was a bit more difficult. Academics and librarians are already rather busy people, and the process of building and managing a team of contributors is labor intensive, with plenty of emailing, documenting, cat-herding, and problem-solving. Thankfully, with the help of a $4000 affiliate grant from Creative Commons, the team could hire a project manager — Bernard Madill — to help build the network of contributors, document progress, and make sure the hack weekend progressed smoothly.
Cut to 16-17 November, 2013: the team, largely made up of early career researchers from across New Zealand and Australia, got together and successfully produced the ‘beta’ version of the textbook. For the last few months, they have been progressively editing and re-editing content, to ensure that the textbook is classroom ready in time for the first down-under semester, which starts in late February.
As the book is shared, edited, and reused by students and teachers across the world, the team will incorporate new ideas, explanations, and examples, producing a text that can be hacked and re-hacked over the years ahead.
This is new territory: while there have been a few textbooks hacks in other disciplines – including this inspirational group of Finnish mathematicians – this is of the first (to our knowledge) of this kind of text-hack in the humanities.
For this reason, the team is putting together a parallel ‘cookbook’, to enable other projects to understand what worked – as well as what did not work – about the project. This will be released in the first half of 2014, and will hopefully inspire other projects around the world to attempt open textbook projects of their own.
The team is hopeful that open textbooks will become more prevalent in public higher education. As University of Otago Copyright Officer Richard White, a core member of the text-hack team, puts it, the open textbook marks a return to the “core principles of academia: sharing knowledge, learning from, and building on the work of others.”
Taiwan: Practices and Depositories for The Public Domain
by project lead Tyng-Ruey Chuang
The project “Practices and Depositories for The Public Domain” (PD4PD) aims to develop software tools and practical guidelines to put public domain materials online more easily. This is a joint uptake of the GNU MediaGoblin project , NETivism Ltd. , and Creative Commons Taiwan , with the latter coordinating the team effort. The overall project goal is to firm up access to and reuse of the many digital manifestations of public domain cultural works by means of replicable tools, practices, and communities.
Tools: The plan is to extend the functionality of the GNU MediaGoblin software package so as to make it more suitable for hosting large collections of public domain materials. For this purpose, new features have been suggested to add to GNU MediaGoblin to help users self-hosting their media archives. These features include batch upload of media (with proper metadata annotations), customizable themes and pages, and an “easy install” script (to install GNU Media Goblin itself).
Practices: The plan is to develop guidelines and how-to on self-hosting public domain materials. Two versions are planned: One in English and the other one in the Chinese language used in Taiwan. An educational website on the public domain, and self-hosting, is also planned.
Community: The plan is to outreach to content holders in Taiwan, and to work with them in releasing some of their holdings to the public domain. It will be demonstrated by a website using the tools mentioned above.
This six-month project started in December 2013 and plans to finish in June 2014. The GNU MediaGoblin project has been focusing on tool development while NETivism Ltd. is concentrating on community outreach. Creative Commons Taiwan is working on practical guidelines. Several interns have been recruited to help with this project.No Comments »
CC is doing a five week series on the Affiliate Team project grants. Last week, you heard about the exciting events and activties from CC’s African region, and today we are featuring those from the Arab World. You’ll learn about a book about Arabic iconic figures that is first of its kind, videos explaining CC in a simple and exciting format, a book on open technology and media production, and an open source platform for stories of hope and change led by a group of Palestinian rappers and spoken word artists.
Algeria: Arabic Icons
by Meryl Mohan (project lead: Faiza Souici)
CC Algeria is currently finalizing its project agreement. With Faiza Souici as lead, the team will prepare an Arabic book under CC licenses, telling the stories of iconic Arabic figures who have had a positive influences in countries throughout the Arab World. They plan to include as many as 20 participants from the community, each writing about the distinctive personality of his or her country. CC Algeria plans to introduce the book at the next CC Salon.
Lebanon: CC Explained Simply in Arabic
by project lead Maya Zankoul
We’re working on two explainer videos for Creative Commons in Arabic. The first movie explains to people with no background whatsoever what Creative Commons is, how it started, and why there is a strong need for Creative Commons. The second movie is focused on licensing, explaining in Arabic what are the different types of licenses and how they can be used.
Our first movie is ready; you can view it here:
Our second movie is being animated at the moment and will be ready in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here is a screenshot from the movie!
Maya Zankoul / CC BY
Morocco: Creative BookSprint
by Meryl Mohan (project lead: Ahmed Mansour)
CC Morocco is writing a print and online book that will be the first in Arabic language on open source software for multimedia production, remixing, and publication. The title of the book will be “Guide to Free Culture,” or in Arabic “دليل الثقافة الحرة” where they will talk about the broad free culture movement (open source software, open data, OER, etc.) with a focus on Creative Commons licenses and most importantly how to be part of that larger movement by licensing your content using CC.
The project targets media creators in the Arab region by introducing them to the free culture movement and the benefits of CC licenses. In addition, it will be a how-to guide to using open source software in producing and remixing media including audio manipulation and video editing.
Four participating authors from Morocco’s affiliate team will work on the project, and upon its completion, they will continue to update the book with feedback from the community. By collaboratively engaging the local community and sending the resulting book to other local affiliates in the region, others can also use it for future workshops and events. With this initial project, free culture and the CC mission can continue to spread throughout Morocco and the North African region.
The book cover and the website (still under construction) where the book will be available for download and online viewing are here: http://opentaqafa.github.io.
The cover is made of a “remix” of the Glider that represents the hacker subculture and CC license symbols.
Ahmed Mansour / CC0
Palestine, Lebanon: Hope Spoken/Broken: Change in the Eyes of Palestinian Refugees
by project leads Bashar Lubbad and Stefan Larsson
Hope Spoken/Broken is a social innovation project hosted by the Internet Institute and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University. The project records stories of hope and change from the Jabalia Refugee Camp in Palestine and invites rappers and spoken word artists to reflect on these stories using hip hop and spoken word poetry. In this project, we will interview Palestinians from different age groups, record their oral histories, and work with rap artists and poets (spoken word artists/lyricists) to turn their true stories into performance pieces for a wider audience. Using digital and social media, we will spread the words, thoughts, and feelings of Palestinians living in the Jabalia Refugee Camp to viewers around the world who would otherwise never hear these stories. Spoken word and hip hop poetry have the unique ability to increase listeners’ empathy. By connecting with poets who live in both Washington D.C. and Palestine as well as with rappers from Sweden, Denmark, and Palestine, we will build an international partnership to create, record, and share an original collection of poems and songs inspired by recorded oral histories from the Jabalia Refugee Camp. Artists (poets and rappers) will attempt to draw parallels between the lives of Palestinian refugees and that of ethnically, socially, politically and economically marginalized groups in the United States, Denmark, and Sweden.
For further information, check out the links below:
Last June, CC began a project grant program for our Affiliate Teams around the world. Of over 70 applicants, 18 were selected to receive funds to support events or activities in their region. The chosen projects in music, education, data, culture, and technology all work towards CC’s mission to promote the understanding and adoption of open policies and practices globally.
We wanted to share how these have unfolded in the past months. Each week for the next five weeks, we will be featuring projects from different regions: Africa, Arab World, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Latin America. This week we’re showcasing the innovative projects from Africa.
Kenya: School of Open Kenya Initiative
by project lead Simeon Oriko
The School of Open Kenya Initiative is a series of workshops aimed at introducing high school students to the concept and culture of ‘Open’ through the courses listed on the School of Open website. This will help them learn about and employ open tools, such as the CC licenses, as well as participate in open culture through collaboration and sharing.
Jamlab has run this project for six months now. We have worked with about two hundred high school students directly. The first batch was in Precious Blood Riruta, a girls’ high school in Kenya. The second, was Lycee Malick Sy in Thies, Senegal. The SOO Kenya program was designed to simply introduce the students to the idea of “Open” but the students gradually became more immersed and have began creating their own openly licensed content. Precious Blood Riruta students have released an Open Education Video on YouTube based on the Kenya High School literature curriculum. The students from Senegal, on the other hand, have become active editors in the Wikipedia space in Senegal. Their first collaborative effort is a Wikipedia page about their school.
What’s coming up?
For the next series of workshops, we are planning to focus our efforts in four Kenyan high schools. This will enable us to work with another two hundred students countrywide. In addition to introducing them to Open ideals, we will also encourage a system of competition in the creation of openly licensed material among the schools in order to thrust them deeper into the ecosystem that until now, has proven to change and affect their mindsets in the most gratifying way.
South Africa: Creative Commons for Kids
by project lead Kelsey Wiens
Creative Commons South Africa (ZA) and Obami are busy building a CC4Kids curriculum. This pilot program is aiming for innovative and dynamic course work to interest kids of all ages. Barbara Mallinson from Obami approached Kelsey Wiens, OER Lead from CC ZA last year to build the program after seeing a number of copyright violations from the kids on the network. The motivation behind the program: Wouldn’t it be cool if instead of teaching kids how to protect and lock down their stuff we instead taught them how to open and share freely? This is something kids and teenagers tend to do naturally. The course is planned to launch in March 2014 as part of the School of Open. We’re looking forward at getting a peek at what they’ve come up with!
Tanzania: Tanzania CC Salon
by project lead Paul Kihwelo
Creative Commons Tanzania affiliate team held their inaugural CC Salon on 6th December, 2013 at the Open University of Tanzania headquarters in Dar es Salaam. The Salon was the third in Sub Saharan region following Kenya’s in early 2013 and South Africa’s held in August, 2006.
Attracting over 60 diverse professionals, including academics, bloggers, journalists, scientists, engineers, students, librarians and information system experts, lawyers, medical practitioners, policy makers, IT professionals, representatives of Tanzania Medical Students Association, Consortium of Tanzania University Libraries and Researchers and Coalition for Open Access in Tanzania, among other participants.
Among the prominent attendees included Ms. Doreen Sinare, CEO-Copyright Society of Tanzania, Ms. Loy Mhando representing CEO-Business Registration and Licensing Agency, Dr. Mary Mayige, Director General – St. Laurent Diabetes Centre and Alex Gakuru the Regional Coordinator – Africa, Creative Commons based in Kenya.
The salon focused on the importance of open copyright and open educational resources, including how Africa stood to benefit from openness in teaching, learning, and sharing as well as increased access to knowledge and quality of learning resources. Open University of Tanzania Institutional Repository also explained how the institutional repository leveraged the university and the country in adding more African content online, as African materials currently represent just 2% of online content. Other topics discussed included health and medicine, and the need to share information for better prevention and/or management for ongoing health problems like diabetes.
Alex Gakuru, Creative Commons Africa Regional Coordinator, summed up the event nicely with an overview of how the CC philosophy ties with the African community: “Creative Commons reflects our common culture and heritage of sharing.”
Click here for the full report on Tanzania’s salon.
Uganda: Promoting Creative Commons Initiatives in Uganda
by project lead Moses Mulumba
In August 2013, CC Uganda received a grant from CC HQ to implement the project “Promoting Creative Commons Initiatives in Uganda.” The project, which is in its final stages, implemented activities to include:
- Stakeholder mapping
- Convening CC Uganda Affiliates to discuss the potential for the implementation of the Creative Commons initiatives in Uganda.
- Producing promotional materials like CC Uganda customised T-shirts, factsheets, stickers & IEC materials on CC Initiatives
- Holding a salon illustrating Creative Commons licences as an example of an alternative model based on copyright to stakeholders
- CC Translation Sprint.
The team met at Café Java on September 9th, 2013 and mapped out stakeholders to engage. The then team was composed of only 15 members i.e 9 lawyers, 2 information scientists, and 4 technology specialists (Javie Ssozi, Ruth Aine, Collins Mugume, and Micheal Niyitegeka) joined the team that day – as below:
Moses Mulumba / CC BY
Having tech specialists and social media enthusiasts join the CC Community was added advantage in breaking the monotony of lawyers being the sole advocates for CC licensing. Soon after the meeting tweets (#CCUganda) of the licences were up and blogs running news of the same –see https://twitter.com/search?q=%23ccuganda&src=typd.
The mapping exercise was followed up with a translation sprint exercise where Affiliates were subjected to an exercise to translate CC Public domain tools/factsheets to Luganda. This too was a success as we won CC HQ support to design and print the translated factsheets for dissemination.
We have also produced IEC including factsheets, T-shirts, and stickers to raise more awareness of the licences. We have convened stakeholders and held a CC salon that has attracted more members joining the open community and committing to use and advocate for use and adoption of the licences in the Ugandan community.
CC Stakeholder convening held on 31st October, 2013 at the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala
Moses Mulumba / CC BY
CC Uganda Salon held on 31st January 2013, at the CEHURD Gardens in Ntinda.
Moses Mulumba / CC BY
Details of pictorials can be accessed at our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Creative-Commons-Uganda-Affiliates-Page/335875883192903.
We are currently working on our 2014 roadmap and official blog from which members can creatively post articles and developments of the open movement in Uganda. The page, which is in its infancy, can be accessed here http://creativecommonsug.wordpress.com/.
Cross Regional Africa: Activate Africa
by project lead Kelsey Wiens
To Open Africa we need to activate the community. This week is the start of a month-long training program that centres around all things ‘Open’. This pilot program have been created to activate 5 Africa communities. Advocates from across Africa including Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Malawi, Uganda, and Ghana are being taken through an Open bootcamp. The intense training program for them covers all the tools and skills required for them to return to their home country and activate their communities. We are teaching them all things Creative Commons, Wikipedia, Open Street Maps, Open Educational Resources (OER), Open Data, Open Government, and the related fundraising & community building. An online version of the training program will be featured as part of the School of Open. They are all racing for the prize to be the first Kumusha Bus stop (a week-long activation in their home country on Africa Day). The Kumusha Bus is the Africanized LibreBus done in South America. The winning bid country will organize activations for a week in different locations around the country. It will be the first bus stop (of many) in Africa.
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From left to right: Abel Asrat – Ethiopia, Nkansah Rexford – Ghana, Michael Phoya – Malawi, Cyriac Gbogou – Cote d’Ivorie, Erina Mukuta – Uganda
Kelsey Wiens / CC BY
After nearly two years working with to support our community and forward Creative Commons in Europe, our European Regional Coordinator, Jonas Öberg, will be leaving us at the end of the month. Jonas has been awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Shuttleworth Foundation to further his research into metadata standards for open materials. We will be very sad to lose Jonas, who has done a wonderful job of promoting CC and open in general over the last few years, and has worked tirelessly to support our European affiliates in their work. Europe is CC’s biggest region, with 37 affiliates stretching from Ireland and the UK all the way through Kazakhstan and Russia – so the job isn’t easy.
The good news is that Jonas won’t be going far, with his Shuttleworth work likely to keep him a constant face in our community.
The other good news is that this opens up a new position for someone to work with Creative Commons in Europe. You can find the full position description here.
In summary, our European Regional Coordinator works to “Assist Creative Commons and the CC Global Network team with organizational planning, strategic communications, community building, and fundraising in Europe in support of the organization’s mission, goals and objectives.” This means running events, coordinating collaborative projects, and generally assisting our European affiliates to build and grow their community. We also expect that 2013 in Europe will see a lot of work with local organisations advocating for the adoption and implementation of open policies in the region, particularly in the fields of government and educational materials.
If you have an interest in community management, open access, and Creative Commons, and live in or have ties to Europe, we’d love to hear from you.No Comments »
In November, representatives from CC projects in Asia Pacific nations came together in Jakarta, Indonesia. Every second year we gather in person to combine powers and plan for the future – and this time affiliates in South Korea, China Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand were hosted by CC Indonesia.
From legal matters to community building and sustainability, we dedicated a whole day to discussions on a range of key issues and challenges for us as individual affiliates and as part of the regional and global CC community. Some fantastic work has been going on in each jurisdiction, and 2013 could be a year of projects across borders. Strategic areas include breaking down language barriers through translation work, developing messaging for government and education sectors, and creating mentoring relationships among teams. The massive diversity in our region is actually a strength, especially for all the CC volunteers out there who might want to work on projects from another country – and all of this will inform our 2013 roadmap (to be posted online).
The second day was a public program for CC representatives and local speakers to run sessions on open government, open data, OER, the creative arts and general tips for beginners. CC Indonesia had a special reason to celebrate since they had recently translated the license chooser and deeds into Bahasa Indonesian, and could present on them for the first time. A translation of Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture (PDF) had also been launched in February by friends from KUNCI Cultural Studies Center in Yogyakarta. Followers around the country submitted reviews of the Indonesian text in the hope of snapping up one of the 15 travel scholarships to Jakarta. The CC Indonesia project is run out of Wikimedia Foundation’s Indonesian arm, and so the keynote speaker Kat Walsh expertly intersected both communities as the Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation and a CC Legal Council. The best moments included stand up comedian Pandji Pragiwaksono, #SKUBYB boys and girls rapping, a dance performance by CC Malaysia, Adhitia Sofyan on acoustic guitar and the giant dancing Ondel-ondel puppets.No Comments »
Creative Commons Europe Regional Meeting in Helsinki / Kristina Alexanderson / CC BY
In September, a number of CC’s European affiliates congregated at the Open Knowledge Festival taking place in Helsinki, Finland, for a regional meeting. Held as a side event over one day of the festival, the meeting was attended by representatives of our affiliates in 17 different European countries.
Each meeting between our affiliates is an excellent opportunity to network and bridge the geographic, as well as cultural, distance between the various jurisdictions they represent. As such, it’s not surprising that one of the more significant outcomes from the meeting was a series of discussions starting between the affiliates after the actual meeting.
During the meeting itself, the affiliates got to hear about Creative Commons global strategy work from Jessica Coates, our Global Network Manager, and about policy work from Timothy Vollmer, our Manager of Policy and Data. Looking towards December, we also discussed Creative Commons’ upcoming 10th birthday and the activities and events taking place around it. One of the outcomes of the meeting was the idea to create a Creative Commons mixtape with Creative Commons licensed music from around Europe, covering the last 10 years, to be released around the 10th birthday.
In the weeks following the regional meetings, on the initiative of Alek Tarkowski (our lead for Creative Commons in Poland), the affiliates and regional coordinator put together a proposal to the European Union Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency’s (EACEA) call for proposals on support for organisations active at the European level in the field of culture. The activities of the proposal that we sent aim to encourage and support cultural institutions in their work to maximize public access to their cultural data and content. Through a series of workshops including experts of the network and participation from European museums, the European affiliates will develop guidelines and instructions on how to increase circulation of cultural data and content in the digital environment at the legal, technical, and organizational levels.
Such a cooperative approach to putting together a compelling proposal in such a short amount of time could not have happened without the ability to meet in person from time to time. While not a direct outcome of the meeting, it exemplifies the relevance of the regional and global meetings of Creative Commons, and the European group is already looking forward for when we next meet, at latest in about a year’s time for the next global summit.No Comments »
This week is Pro Bono Week in the United States. We wish to take this opportunity to thank the many talented legal professionals on whom we count for impeccable, cutting-edge advice around the world on an array of issues, all on a volunteer basis.
CC leverages pro bono legal expertise on a number of important projects. For example, almost exactly one year ago, Creative Commons formally embarked on the versioning of our license suite. This is one of the most important responsibilities we have as the steward of licenses relied upon by creators to share an estimated one-half billion works on the Internet (and counting). As with the development of the past four license versions, this undertaking involves major policy decisions, complicated questions of international, regional and jurisdiction-specific law, and ambitious goals. Those include internationalization, compatibility, licensing of database rights in Europe and elsewhere, and anticipating future impediments to sharing that take the form of paracopyrights, such as technical protection measures and other copyright-like rights.
The issue of internationalization alone benefitted greatly from multiple efforts: a law firm with international reach provided detailed research on license formalities under both common law and civil law copyright systems; database experts within our affiliate network responded to our inquiries on the details of licensing sui generis database rights in a way that would not have adversely impacted people in countries where those rights do not exist; and a law firm with offices in Asia and Europe provided detailed research on effective technological measures around the world.
The support CC receives in the form of pro bono services extends deep within the organization itself in equally important but less visible ways. This includes the legal expertise required to maintain a strong, compliant tax-exempt organization, upkeep and outreach involving our current licenses and public domain tools, working with affiliated organizations in more than 70 countries, and supporting intricate policy work that consistently pushes the envelope on public domain policy, education and open access initiatives, and science and data, to name just a few.
Here at Creative Commons, we find ourselves in the privileged and fortunate position of working daily with an impressive array of legal experts around the globe who lend insights, legal acumen, and depth of perspective to every dimension of our legal work. This effort and dedication in the aggregate makes our vision and reach possible, and our legal products among the most trusted, respected and robust of any offered. More amazingly still, the large majority of these experts provide assistance free of charge.
We count many among this amazing group:
- attorneys from prestigious law firms around the world, including (among others) Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Latham & Watkins, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, WilmerHale, and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton;
- sophisticated copyright experts who help make up our 100+ member affiliate network and lend their expertise from leading universities, organizations, and beyond; and
- the legal experts on CC’s volunteer board of directors, as well as Diane Cabell, CC’s long-serving corporate counsel who has been providing CC with pro bono advice since our founding.
We extend our sincerest gratitude to all of those — both current and past — who have provided Creative Commons with volunteer legal assistance. As a direct consequence of this assistance, CC as well as our community of affiliates and adopters are all in the strongest position possible to maximize digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.2 Comments »
Last week, Muslims all over the world celebrated Eid al-fitr, a festivity which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, dedicated to fasting and praying. Since 2010, Arab world–based Creative Commons communities have celebrated Ramadan by organizing “Creative Commons Iftars” (CC Iftar) across the region.
A CC Iftar is a social event where people gather to celebrate the breaking of the fast, socialize, and talk about innovation, creativity, and the open web. CC Iftars are built around the spirit of sharing which lies at the basis of Creative Commons’ vision, and which people in Ramadan celebrate by breaking the fast together, partaking food, and giving to others.
This year, Creative Commons Arab communities have organized and celebrated CC Iftars in four Arab countries: Qatar, Tunisia, Morocco, and Iraq. CC Iftar Doha kicked off in the Qatari capital on August 13 at K108, a restaurant that redistributes its proceeds to charities working on issues such as unprivileged children’s education. Guests at the CC Iftar Doha were asked to share their ideas about inspiration and the outcome was crafted into a collaborative art project.
The day after, August 14, it was CC’s Tunisian community’s turn to join the CC Iftar project, with the first CC Iftar hosted in the country. Since the third Arab regional meeting “Sharing the Spring” was held in the Tunisian capital in summer 2011 to celebrate Arab youth’s blossoming innovation and creativity, Creative Commons Tunisia’s community — largely made up of photographers, cartoonists, musicians and techies — has been growing incredibly. Many community-led events, including the first CC Tunis Salon, have been hosted in the country. CC Tunis community gathered in the beautiful location of the Sidi bou Said park with home-cooked food (and lots of cats!) to discuss future projects to be held not only in the Tunisian capital but all across the country.
August 17 was our Moroccan community’s turn to host its first ever CC Iftar, with lots of people attending the gathering in Rabat. Morocco recently joined the broader CC Arab community by organizing Open Taqafa and the first Creative Commons Salon in Casablanca. The country has a vibrant artistic and musical scene, together with an high-skilled tech community, and many of these techies and artists are now joining their Arab peers’ efforts to bring more open and collaborative culture to the Arab world. CC Iftar Morocco was a big step in the direction of getting more regional cooperation over common open-culture-related projects.
On the very same day, CC’s Iraqi community was also organizing its first CC Iftar. Bloggers from the Iraqi network for social media (INSM) coming from different parts of the country gathered in Baghdad to celebrate openness and sharing with a wonderful CC chocolate cake. For those who were not able to attend the event physically, a skype session was held in order to join the celebrations virtually. Our CC team in Iraq has a Facebook page around which the community is gathering. Some of its members are regulars at CC Arab regional meetings and we hope to be able to hold CC events in Iraq more regularly, in order to familiarize the broader Arab community with the beauty and cultural richness of the country.
Despite the instability, violence, and political unrest still happening in many places in the region, the Arab world still has a strong will to move forward, create, and share. The community-driven enthusiasm and self-organization skills showed by the CC groups in Qatar, Tunisia, Morocco and Iraq prove this; hopefully next year new communities will be able to join and old communities will be able to come back to action.
As we conclude Eid al-fitr this year, our thoughts go out once again to Bassel Khartabil aka Safadi, CC Syria public lead. Bassel was one of the promoters of the CC Iftar project back in 2010, when he hosted an iftar in Damascus to celebrate cultural cooperation and sharing in a remix project with CC Lebanon. Bassel has been detained by Syrian authorities since March 15th, 2012. A campaign has launched to ask for his release and the response of Creative Commons’ communities worldwide has been overwhelming. We encourage you to spread the word and follow updates on the campaign’s site freebassel.org and on Twitter @freebassel.4 Comments »
|Early morning in Almaty by Irene2005 / CC BY (resized)||Volcano by johncooke / CC BY (resized)|
As CC headquarters starts to wind down for the end of the year, it gives me great pleasure to announce two new CC Affiliates from Kazakhstan and Rwanda.
Led by Rauan Kenzhekhanuly and including Almas Nurbakytov, Nartay Ashim and Balashov Talgat, the Kazakhstan team is supported by Wikibilim, a non-profit organisation which is devoted to expanding the availability of free knowledge in the Kazakh language, focusing on forums such as the Kazakh Wikipedia. Wikibilim is supported by the Government of Kazakhstan and personally by the Prime-Minister Mr. Karim Masimov. The members of Wikibilim have a great deal of experience in the open community, and are working actively to promote open knowledge and free culture values in Kazakhstan, with a particular focus on increasing the quantity of Kazakh-language material available under open licences. Those who attended the recent Global Summit in Warsaw may have met Rauan and Almas, who were enthusiastic participants on behalf of their team.
The Rwanda team, led by Jacques Murinda and including Fred Byabagabo and Prosper Birama, is working in conjunction with the Open Learning Exchange (OLE), an NGO supported by the Rwandan Ministry of Education, which aims to provide universal access to basic education by 2015. The Rwandan team has been active in the CC Africa community for some time and is particularly focused on promoting open educational resources (OER) and open courseware (OCW) initiatives in the region.
We welcome both these teams to our affiliate network, and look forward to working with them as they develop the CC community in their regions.
This brings the total number of official CC affiliates at the end of 2011 to 72, the highest level since the project launched in 2002. A good start for our tenth birthday celebrations next year — see you all there!
Note – This article had previously incorrectly identified Wikibilim as the official representative of Wikimedia in Kazakhstan.1 Comment »