More than a year ago, Free Culture advocate Anas Tawileh analyzed the state of Arabic content online. His portal Arab Commons has grown modestly but steadily since its launch in 2007, offering 11 full textbooks in Arabic, plus magazines, podcasts, poetry collections, and a number of art works — all within a few months. For a language with 200 million speakers, however, Anas and his colleagues in the Arab World were determined to match scale and build a larger pool of open Arabic content. But how?
A critical first step came when CC Jordan announced the public discussion of the first Version 3.0 draft in Arabic, a necessary move to improve the licenses’ legal certainty in court and prompt wider adoption in the Middle East.
Now, with the unparalleled release of Al Jazeera’s Gaza footage under CC BY, the Arab World is poised for more. In Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah already created the Initiative for Arabic Digital Content, which recently held a two-day workshop on “Open Arabic Content” in Riyadh. CC legal expert Rami Olwan from Jordan was in attendance, discussing the licensing system and meeting supporters. Ziad Maraqa, co-Project Lead from CC Jordan, spoke yesterday in Damascus at the iCommunity FOSS Workshop, a notable gathering for the Syrian Free Software community.
With initiatives like these, Creative Commons in the Arab World will no doubt continue to grow. After the Jordan CC licenses launch, other jurisdictions are ready to follow. There is still a lot of translation and outreach work to be done, so if you would like to get involved, you can contact Donatella Della Ratta, our Arab World Media and Development Manager, and learn more.
With that, a huge thank you to the recent event organizers for inviting CC to participate, and thank you to the many individuals already helping promote Free Culture in the Arab World!