The first Creative Commons regional meeting in the Arab World was held a few weeks ago during Al Jazeera’s annual Media Forum in Doha, Qatar (14-16 March, 2009).
The Forum hosted the first ever face-to-face meeting of the Arab Project Leads (Ziad Maraqa and Rami Olwan from CC Jordan and Nafaa Laribi from CC Tunisia) with CC staff (Joi Ito, Donatella Della Ratta, Catharina Maracke, and Michelle Thorne), key media researchers, bloggers, CC enthusiasts and supporters from the region. The meeting, organized with the kind support of Al Jazeera, tackled many issues that are crucial for future developments of CC communities in the Arab World. Lawyers Stephanie Raye Safi from Khasawneh & Associates (Dubai), Samer Jamous from Talal Abu Ghazaleh (Qatar) and Mohammad El Said (Al Jazeera) gave input on the first ported Arabic license, now being finalized by CC Jordan.
The Arabic translation of the name “Creative Commons” took center stage of the discussion. Pros and cons were weighed whether to leave the name in English and transliterate into Arabic script, or if it should be translated with a proper Arabic word. The Jordanian translation “masha3” was agreed to be the closest to the original English meaning, but for those who would still like to share their input, the public discussion is still open on the CC Jordan page, where you are encouraged to contribute. Other legal issues were debated, such as moral rights and fair use.
The discussion also focused on how to enrich community participation in the Arab World and develop initiatives in media, education, and general outreach. Everyone agreed that a key component for CC in the Arab World should be to foster content creation in Arabic and to encourage innovation in tools and software to speed up this process. With these plans and more underway, a community list will be started in English and Arabic. If you’d like to be in touch, please let us know!
The CC Al Jazeera day also featured a panel on “Building successful media projects in open networks”, moderated by CC’s CEO Joi Ito. Mohamed Nanahbay, former Head of New Media at Al Jazeera, presented the CC Al Jazeera repository, a website initiated by the channel to host broadcast quality footage, all distributed under CC BY. Mohamed explained how the footage has been used and remixed by different groups of people, including several TV channels that edited and re-broadcasted the material. Footage shot in Gaza last December is now available in the repository, and Al Jazeera announced in Doha that they plan to add more topics and genres before the summer. The panel also hosted a delegation of the European Broadcasting Union led by Nicoletta Iacobacci, Head of New Interactive, to learn more about how to use CC licenses in future broadcasting initiatives.
It was a very busy and interesting day, with plenty of insights and thoughts for the future development of open content and CC communities in the Arab world. A big thank to the Al Jazeera team, particularly Mohamed, Moeed, and the New Media team for their passionate support and the great work to make this happen. Shukran gezilan!
We hope to plan more events of those kind, and if you want to stay in touch with us on those topics, please write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org