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Posts Tagged ‘free culture’

Does the market need a free culture?

In Community, Conference, Research on October 25, 2010 at 6:48 pm

A couple of weeks ago at the Free Culture Research Conference in Berlin I organized a ‘freedom and sharecropping’ session that started with two questions: (a) when is ‘free’ necessary for the market? and (b) when is it ‘sharecropping’?

Click on image to visit conference wiki

Summary

A business should consider free/open licensing and/or free (as in gratis) access to its content or services when:

  • A product, idea or business is in the early stages of development
  • The business depends on very large numbers of transactions which would be too costly to negotiate individually
  • The business wants to position itself as a middleman; a platform enabling large numbers of transactions as above
  • There is a vision to build an open innovation ecosystem around the service or product that the business is offering
  • There are strong network effects in the way the product or service operates; free/open licensing can be a boon in terms of promotion but businesses will also be concerned about monetization and possible lost revenue
  • Free can be a complement or the icing on the cake on top of a commercial offering, i.e. a differentiating factor rather than an enabler of a very large number of ‘commodity-like’ transactions

Why should a business avoid implementing a  ‘sharecropping’ scheme where it lets others upload share and remix their content but does not grant them rights to their creations?

  • Because its users may be sensitized to the topic and perceive it as exploitation, which will inevitably backfire
  • Because this will work against the open innovation argument above

Read the rest of this entry »

CFP deadline for Free Culture 2009

In Conference, Research on August 3, 2009 at 10:10 am

By now many of you must have heard about this year’s Free Culture research workshop, to be held at the Berkman Center in Harvard. It has been posted on the Berkman web and reposted on many other places. This post is mainly to alert everyone to the fact that the deadline for the open call for participation is coming up real soon now: August 9.

From the CFP:

The Free Culture 2009 research workshop builds on the enthusiasm generated by the First Interdisciplinary Research Workshop on Free Culture which took place during the 2008 iSummit in Sapporo, Japan. It presents a unique opportunity for scholars whose work contributes to the promotion, study or criticism of an emerging Free Culture, to engage with a multidisciplinary group of academic peers and practitioners, identify the most important research opportunities and challenges, and attempt to chart the future of Free Culture.

Our aim is to provide an opportunity for scholars and practitioners to discuss their findings, experiences, and vision for a Free Culture with peers whose backgrounds extend beyond individual disciplines, because we believe that the wider participation in the creative process (and consequently in the formation and dissemination of our modern culture) enabled by new Internet technologies, innovative legal solutions and new business models, are far-reaching and therefore deserve to be examined through the lens of multidisciplinary inquiry. More specifically, this year’s workshop will be focused on:

(a) participant interaction and joint reflection on key findings from cutting edge research in the field
(b) the development of a research agenda, with the identification of key topics for future research
(c) facilitating research collaborations and exchange of ideas between different academic institutions engaged in Free Culture research
(d) fostering useful academic outputs over the next 12+ months
(e) considering policy recommendations or a policy orientation that may emerge as a result of Free Culture research and scholarship

For the full text click here.

To get an idea of what last year’s workshop was like, you may visit the wiki for Free Culture 2008.

Report from Free Culture 2008

In Community, Conference, News, Research on September 23, 2008 at 12:31 pm

It is finally done… after much delay and a couple of suggestions and corrections by iSummit participants, I managed to publish online a report from Free Culture 2008, the research workshop I helped organize during the iSummit in Sapporo, on the themes of sharing, online freedom and collaboration, commons-based peer production and Creative Commons licensing. Click here to go to the report on the commonsresearch wiki, which also contains the program of the workshop. The report is pretty comprehensive and leaves little else to say, but if you’re reading this let me just say that I feel lucky to be part of a community of people who are willing to dedicate what precious little time they have to helping set up this workshop. I think this has a lot of potential and we’re already starting to plan for Free Culture 2009!

If you’re reading this for the first time and have no idea what it is all about, the wiki contains a lot more information. The whole idea basically started from a few of us (mostly CC-affiliated academics) thinking that we need a forum to exchange our ideas and findings on research pertaining to aspects of the digital commons. Then one thing led to another, and in what I think would make an exemplary case study of online collective action, we managed to set up Free Culture 2008 and generated enough interest to get everyone talking about a follow-up conference in 2009 (which, like the 2008 event, will not be limited to just CC-related topics). I will post more on these plans as soon as they start to take shape.

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