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Creative Commons Communities Shine in Middle East


CC communities throughout the Arab World displayed their rich culture and commitment to openness this past week in Lebanon and Qatar, showcasing creative works, inter-regional collaboration, and a focused dedication on legal and copyright issues in the region. Following the Digitally Open conference in Doha and a regional meeting including members of CC’s communities in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria and UAE, Creative Commons co-founder Lawrence Lessig and CC CEO Joichi Ito visited Beirut for the official launch of the Creative Commons Lebanon project.

On October 25, the American University in Beirut hosted artists, young creators, and students from the Olayan Business School and warmly welcomed Lessig’s presentation on “What is CC meant for?” and Ito’s “Innovation in open networks.” Those inspired talks and Q&A sessions were followed by a presentation by Naeema Zarif on “Common people,” a comic-style pop presentation of Lebanese CC community activities made in cooperation with Samandal‘s Fadi Baki. These works are released under Creative Commons licenses, as is the work of comic artist Maya Zankoul, photographer Lara Zankoul, singer and podcaster Tony Yammine, social media expert Darine Sabbagh, media training and consulting NGO Social Media Exchange, and many many others from the extremely active Lebanese CC community.

CC Fellow Ayah Bdeir and VJ CelineCeline, with the help of entrepreneur Habib Haddad, organized the second CC Salon in Beirut. The cozy Karaj, Ayah’s newly opened space for events and gatherings, also hosted a talk by Freesouls‘ artist Chris Adams and a DJ set by Fabricatorz founder and CC fellow Jon Phillips.

On October 26, the Lebanese Bar Association featured a talk by Lessig which framed Creative Commons in the broader context of copyright. The talk was attended by more than 600 members of the Bar, was broadcast live by Al Jazeera and covered by many Lebanese media, including Future TV, As-Safir newspaper and Al Akhbar, which publishes its online content under a CC NC-ND license.

Congratulations to all of our community members and leads from the region, including Pierre al Khoury from La Sagesse University in Beirut, Mohammed Darwish, a lawyer specialized in IP and a volunteer for Consumers International Lebanon, and Tony Feghali, head of the Olayan Business School at the American University of Beirut for making these these events happen. And thanks to the broader CC community in Lebanon for being creative and proactive within the broader fast growing CC Arab world network. Look for updates from the CC regional meeting in Qatar shortly.

Posted 08 November 2010