Qatar’s Supreme Council for Information and Communication Technology, ictQatar, is among the many governments making waves by promoting openness and Creative Commons. During the welcome address at last weekend’s Digitally Open conference in Doha, the ictQATAR’s Secretary General Dr. Hessa Al-Jaber announced that “all future ICT Qatar projects will be open source, and we aim to use these solutions throughout the government. Open Source should be the solution for every government initiative.” She listed a range of domains where openness would benefit Qatari society, including education, medicine, and the arts. “Being open can even be considered a moral obligation. I am excited about the potential this country has,” Dr. Al-Jaber explained.
Governmental bodies around the world are adopting Creative Commons licenses and signaling to their constituencies that these works can be shared in simple, interoperable ways. Just this week, the current Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva released his official photostream under CC BY, while also posting a CC BY-licensed announcement to run for re-election on SoundCloud.
New Zealand recognizes that reuse of government copyright works by individuals and organizations may have significant creative and economic benefit for the country. To harness this potential and enable greater access to public sector works, the enacted NZ Government Open Access and Licensing (NZGOAL) framework standardizes licensing of copyrighted works by State Services agencies by using Creative Commons licenses and recommends the use of ‘no-known rights’ statements for non-copyright material. The Dutch government also demonstrated a great degree of leadership when it instituted CC0 as the default copyright policy of the Dutch national government’s unified website, which contains the websites of all the ministries. All content on www.rijskoverheid.nl is available without restrictions unless noted otherwise.
Creative Commons applauds these initiatives and looks forward to working with key governmental institutions such as ictQatar and others to pioneer further efforts. To foster original Arabic content and improve education and innovation, ictQatar pledged to establish policies that encourage open source solutions in governmental IT and oversee a major national digitization effort to release Arabic-language content under Creative Commons licenses. These are just a number of initiatives agreed upon during the Digitally Open conference as part of a vision to strengthen the voice of the region.
Furthermore, thanks to the generous support of ictQatar, many CC Affiliates and community members traveled to Doha to participate in the second CC Arab World regional meeting. A summary of the meeting will be published shortly, including information about the region’s roadmap and consensus-driven translations of key CC terms into Arabic. You can contribute feedback to the roadmap when published, and importantly, please consider donating today to Creative Commons to support the licensing infrastructure that many governments and other important institutions and creators rely upon.Comments Off on Governments demonstrating leadership in openness with Creative Commons
The past year witnessed some major achievements for Creative Commons in the Arab world. Highlights included Al Jazeera’s adoption of CC BY for the world’s first broadcast-quality online repository and CC Jordan’s substantial efforts on the first Arabic license port.
2010 promises more exciting developments for the rapidly-growing CC community in the Arab world. Today the legal team from CC Egypt, headed by Hala Essalmawi, produced the first BY-NC-SA license draft adapted to Egyptian law (.pdf).
Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Hala and her team, supported by CC Jordan’s Rami Olwan and Ziad Maraqa, the Egyptian draft is now ready for public discussion.
The public discussion is an open forum where everyone — from lawyers to active license users, from linguists to translators — is invited to contribute. If you have comments about different aspects of the licenses, whether in regards to legal, linguistic or usability issues, please feel welcome to join the CC Egypt mailing list and share your thoughts. Comments should be submitted as soon as possible to allow enough time for review, so we encourage you to post to the list before the end of March.
As efforts across the Arab world continue to expand and gather peer support, we hope that the Egyptian public discussion will foster more cross-border collaborations. This inter-jurisdictional support is a model that is particularly strong in the region, and hopefully it can become a viable approach for future projects.
Congratulations to CC Egypt, and we all look forward to comments from you, the public!
Jeeran, the largest Arabic online community with 1.5 million registered users and more than 7 million visitors per month, has just launched a dedicated Creative Commons space to inform the developing CC Arab community with articles, news and updates about CC activities in the region. While a large commons culture is still developing in the Arab world, the new Jeeran channel should help provide valuable information to Arab users how to license and share their work online.
The ultimate goal of the channel is to foster new CC content creation and dissemination of content in the Arabic language. This is really a fantastic opportunity for the budding CC community in the Middle East because Jeeran has done so much work in the domain of Arabic content creation and language preservation on the Internet. For an example, check out their their innovative project called as Seejal which is transferring an old Arab tradition of poetry onto the web.
The CC channel on Jeeran will feature blog posts, videos, caricatures and music, as well as successful case studies on how Creative Commons is being used in the Arab Region (e.g., the Creative Commons Al Jazeera repository). The channel will also contain a section on news and updates on Creative Commons events, meetings and happenings in the Arab Region like the upcoming Jordan launch and CC Salon.
We’d like to thank Laith and Omar, founders of Jeeran, their team, Rami Olwan and Bassel Safadi from our CC Arab community for making this happen!
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