2007 June

Congratulations to Overmundo and Miro/Democracy/Participatory Culture Foundation

Mike Linksvayer, June 2nd, 2007

Two important CC friendly organizations have received major kudos and support recently.

Brazilian free culture site Overmundo won the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica 2007 Golden Nica for Best Digital Community. CC won the 2004 Golden Nica for Net Vision and we’ve highlighted Overmundo before, including here.

The Democracy media player (soon to be known as Miro), a project of the Participatory Culture Foundation, won second prize at Netsquared out of 21 participants and hundreds of submissions, as recommended here.

PCF also recently received a $100,000 grant from the Mozilla Foundation. The announcement also has some nice words about a previous recipient…

[W]e have been able to provide resources to both individuals and projects whose efforts represent what we’re hoping to support. For example, we gave a grant to Creative Commons last quarter because CC is an organization that very much pursues the same ideas and principles set forth in Mozilla’s mission and the Mozilla Manifesto. (Just to restate it, the Mozilla mission is to provide choice and innovation on the Internet.)

In our last board meeting, it was decided that Mozilla would give a $100,000 grant to the Participatory Culture Foundation, the makers of the Democracy Player. PCF, like CC, aligns well with Mozilla and its manifesto. Additionally, PCF has projects that are built partly on Mozilla’s technology.

Congratulations to Overmundo and PCF and thanks to Prix Ars Electronica and Mozilla!

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O’Reilly on free downloads vs sales

Mike Linksvayer, June 2nd, 2007

Book publisher Tim O’Reilly writes:

As part of our continued effort to understand the impact on book sales of the availability of free downloads, I wanted to share some data on downloads versus sales of the book Asterisk: The Future of Telephony, by Leif Madsen, Jared Smith, and Jim Van Meggelen, which was released for free download under a Creative Commons license.

Jeremy McNamara of nufone.net, which operates one of the mirrors, provided us with download stats, which we were then able to compare with book sales. Our goal of course, is to help publishers understand whether free downloads help or hurt sales. The quick answer from this experiment is that we saw no definitive correlation, but there is little sign that the free downloads hurt sales. More than 180,000 copies were downloaded from Jeremy’s mirror (which is one of five!), yet the book has still been quite successful, selling almost 19,000 copies in a year and a half. This is quite good for a technical book these days — the book comes in at #23 on our lifetime-to-date sales list for the “class of 2005” (books published in 2005) despite being released at the end of September. You might argue that the book would have done even better without the downloads, especially given the success of asterisk and the importance of VoIP. But it’s also the case that the book is far and away the bestseller in the category, far outperforming books on the same subject from other publishers.

Read the whole post with graphs.

Also see one O’Reilly author’s perspective blogged here in January: Linux Kernel in a Nutshell: The Secret Goal.

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