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2005 June

Creative Commons South Africa Launch

Neeru Paharia, June 7th, 2005

Week before last, Creative Commons South Africa officially launched at the Commons-Sense: Towards an African Digital Information Commons conference in Johannesburgh. The launch event and conference, primarily organized by Heather Ford, South Africa Project Lead, and Andrew Rens, South Africa Legal Lead, was nothing short of spectacular.

The launch event on the night preceeding the conference was well attended by leaders in arts, technology, education, and government. South Africa-based band 340 Milliliters rocked the house alongside an art gallery of Creative Commons licensed works.

Following the launch began the 2-day Commons-Sense conference sponsored by the LINK Centre (at Wits University) and funded by the International Development Research Centre. The groundbreaking conference collected 120 leaders from around Africa, and the world, to talk about what a digital commons means specifically to the social and economic context of the continent. There was a terrific bill of speakers who addressed issues including access to knowledge, open access publishing, traditional culture IP, medicines, free trade agreements, and technology.

Specifically worth mentioning was a talk given by Eve Gray from the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, who discussed how HSRC’s early experiments with open access publishing paid off. As they made their research papers available for free download, the print revenues went up by 270%.


The conference was well reported on, with a crew of young journalists from the New Media Lab covering the blow-by-blow with blogs, images, and videos from the conference, in addition to a great article written in Business Day about the launch event.

There was much hope that this conference would be a jumping off point for greater activism in Africa using technology, and tools like Creative Commons as enablers for social and economic development.

Heather Ford, South Africa Project Lead:

The band, 340 Millileters rocking the house at the Creative Commons launch event:

The conference attendees:

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Free Culture Phase 2 Conference

Neeru Paharia, June 6th, 2005

A little late on the blogging (due to travel), but still worth reporting on:

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend the Free Culture Phase 2 conference. The conference was organized by Malkia Lydia and Colin Mutchler (father of Creative Commons’ theme song My Life and Free Culture Tour), and sponsored by American University. It brought together a small number of diverse younger and older activists, including Freeculture.org, Downhill Battle, Listen Up, Third World Majority, Eyebeam, and many more. The diverse group struggled to understand what free culture truly means in the context of global economics, access to technology, and traditional knowledge. The group also shared ideas, art, and experiences using new media as a tool for social justice. Though it wasn’t clearly defined what Phase 2 might be, it was understood to me that the root of what everyone was doing came from a common passion for citizen self-determination and empowerment.

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Open Access Publishing Takes Another Step Forward

Mia Garlick, June 6th, 2005

Science Commons – a new project of Creative Commons that works to encourage sharing of scientific and academic knowledge – has launched an Open Access Law Program. The Program is designed to make legal scholarship “open access,” that is freely available online to everyone, without undue copyright and licensing restrictions. The Program involves an Open Access Law Author Pledge, Open Access Law Principles and an Open Access Law Model Publication Agreement.Our very own Chairman & CEO, Lawrence Lessig, is one of the first signatories to the Open Access Law Author Pledge. In addition, 21 important law reviews have adopted the Open Access Principles, or have policies that are consistent with them. Leading journals like such as Michigan Law Review, Animal Law, Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, Indiana Law Journal, Lewis & Clark Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Michigan State Law Review and, New York Law School Law Review, Texas Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, and Wayne Law Review and Michigan State Law Review have signed on, as have all of the journals published by Duke Law School and Villanova Law School. More information about the Program is available at the Science Commons Program page. The Program is one part of the Science Commons Publishing Project, which is working to support open access to scholarly research in a wide range of disciplines including agriculture, entomology, biology, anthropology and now law.

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5+ hour documentary series CC’d

Mike Linksvayer, June 3rd, 2005

Jason Scott has created a five plus hour documentary series on Bulletin Board Systems. Prior to the commercial Internet local BBSes were “the net” for anyone without an Internet connection, typically only provided by major universities and research institutions. In short, BBSes are where many long time net denizens cut their electronic media teeth (including me in the mid to late 1980s) and BBS culture was an important input into today’s commercial Internet culture (BBS technology however has almost entirely been superseded).

I heard awhile ago that this documentary was in production and I’ve been eagerly awaiting its release. I’m now thrilled to learn that 1) it has been released, 2) under a Creative Commons license, 3) under a liberal Creative Commons license (Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0), and 4) the creator has posted a great essay on how to make a great product and why he chose to CC license his great product.

Read Jasons’s essay and check out the DVD set. Proceed to enjoy, rip, share, remix and share again (and alike).

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