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Michael Winter shared the announcement that Wikipedia has been "blacked out for 24 hours to protest against proposed legislation that threatens freedom of expression on the Internet.To find out more try accessing Wikipedia as normal or go to:". Michael also indicated that he thinks it "Seems like a good way to get support for a worthwhile protest".

Nick Ford added the comment "For me a locked down/user pays manifestation of the Internet rather than the Internet the world is currently blessed with is something to be vigilant against. For more information visit Stanford Centre for Internet and Society (CiS) and read 'STOP SOPA'. Lawrence Lessig is the founder of CiS and Creative Commons".

Image representing Creative Commons as depicte...Image via CrunchBase

I wholeheartedly agree that the Internet needs to remain as open and accessible, and that the whole notion of copyright is an outmoded, artificial construct that has been placed on creativity and innovation by folk who see a direct cause and effect between the creation of something, and making a buck. The reason I feel it's artificial is that invention and art (to name but two) have always been a constant collaborative effort, where one thing builds on another - often extending it. The lightbulb could not, for example, have been invented if a whole heap of work had not been done around electricity, resistance, and the materials required to make the physical object. How can you copyright / patent that?

WikipediaImage by Octavio Rojas via Flickr

The whole notion also raises interesting wider questions around what we believe to be freedom of expression, and where, if anywhere, the line has to be drawn. There is some content that pretty much unanimously human being are likely to agree has no place in society in general, and on the Internet in particular, and some forms of predatory behaviour that are also not acceptable. However, where subjects of morality, bias, and belief are expressed, what do we feel is 'acceptable' and why? When I find something objectionable should that mean it is removed? If the Internet is there for anyone to share their own world view, what if it seen as inciting violence by some, but as a way of promoting peace by another? And who makes the final decision? Would be great to hear what you think.

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Comment by Hazel Owen on February 14, 2012 at 11:37

As an extension to the discussion based on in-the-field experiences of open education practice, is the book by Leigh Blackall and Bronwyn Hegarty (as co-author and editor) entitled Education Practices: User Guide for organisations. You can download the book in .pdf format (and yes, it's licensed CC).


The description on the site reads "This user guide is for educational organisations interested in developing open education practices using popular social media. It is based on an analysis of the Otago Polytechnic experience 2006-2009, where a small group of teachers used social media to develop open education practices. Recommendations are made for further work and investigation based on Otago's experiences."


So, if  you are looking for models based on practice, and that have been tried and tested, then this is something you will find invaluable.

Comment by Hazel Owen on February 8, 2012 at 10:06

Thanks Bronwyn and John. It's interesting to see that ethics, creativity, sharing, safety, and access are all closely intertwined. I was listening to this TED talk (below) which seems to pull many of things both of you say together. The focus is ethical, sustainable, shared creativity...and one of the interesting results is that a community has grown up around the initiative (which is open source, and çrowd prototyped / tested). The community is global, and Britta Riley at one point indicates that there is much more worth associated to developing the ideas of others in the community rather than being "the ideas man".

The blurb from the site reads: " Britta Riley wanted to grow her own food (in her tiny apartment). So she and her friends developed a system for growing plants in discarded plastic bottles -- researching, testing and tweaking the system using social media, trying many variations at once and quickly arriving at the optimal system. Call it distributed DIY. And the results? Delicious."



Comment by John Owen on February 6, 2012 at 19:31

Earning a living through the copyleft model is achieved by charging for a service rather than for a product.  Moodle is a good example of this where many people earn money providing support, training, customisations, hosting, etc; but not charging for the product itself.  Collaboration to ensure such a product works and is maintained can only be achieved if the work is done without direct reward - how would you distribute the royalties for using Moodle to all the developers who created it.  It is very much based around the concept of earning a "living wage" rather than retiring on your yacht after creating the "killer application."

Using licencing tools such as CC allow you to share your work for others to use - you state whether this can be reused/recycled/enhanced/modified commercially or otherwise.  If you request remuneration, you need to find a way to get it.  There are lots of "store" models out there to achieve this as well.

I think the trick is to be careful what and how you licence your works, and also to consider what is "your work".  Licence what is truly yours if you intend to earn a living directly from it; otherwise set it free and see what wonderful things others can do with it.

Lawyers and media companies may well have a different opinion to me :)


Comment by bronwyn hegarty on February 1, 2012 at 9:56

Yes the idea of removing information because it is offensive for whatever reason is a tricky one. Well we already do it in society all the time - offensive human beings are removed to prison. This happens when the authorities get involved. When people act without involving the authorities people who offend also get removed, in one way or another. Vigilante behaviour is not favoured when it is against the law. Freedom of expression is important but offensive material and bullying behaviour via the Internet is not. I also don't agree with one group controlling the masses.  To be effective people can learn to be assertive, ethical and responsible - and also may need to 'harden up' if others don't agree with them or challenge them. I believe that we learn appropriate behaviour best from our peers and by observing others. I believe that the Wikipedia model has shown us the power of networks in keeping things open and 'safe', and has done a great job in showing us how to 'share our toys' without throwing them out of the cot when things get sticky. Copyright does nothing in reality, but line the pockets of those who are probably already rich (in majority world terms) or have the money to sue - in contrast copyleft opens up a whole world of possibilities for anyone....if everyone plays fair and gives attribution where it is due. The question is how can we make enough money to live if we share our creativity freely with the world - or does this actually more likely our creative works will be seen, and we will make money anyway? Bron

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