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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Errata: the configuration of networked publics on the web

In Conference, Research on December 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm

It was recently brought to my attention that an incorrect version of the paper I presented this summer at the 2012 Web Science conference at Northwestern University has been uploaded to the ACM Digital Library. The title of the paper is “The configuration of networked publics on the Web: Evidence from the Greek Indignados movement“.

There is a reason for this: the incorrect version is in fact the version that we initially submitted for inclusion in the conference proceedings earlier this year, but we quickly realised that we had made some mistakes in the interpretation of the data. We revised the paper during the conference and quickly sent the corrected version to the conference organisers who reassured us that it will be uploaded to the ACM DL. Unfortunately this hasn’t happened, so I am in touch with the organisers to try and rectify this. 

I am sure this will all sort itself out, but for our readers it is important to note that if you got the paper during the Web Science conference, or from the ACM DL, or some other online source, you may in fact have an outdated copy with errors, especially in the interpretation of the power law graphs (discussion and conclusion sections). As such, this post is aimed at a temporary fix by providing the correct final version that should have been included in the proceedings. 

Link to correct article:


Link to ACM DL entry for paper (valid for citation purposes, and hopefully to be updated soon with the correct manuscript above):


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


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.

iSummit and Free Culture 2008

In Community, Conference, News, Research on July 24, 2008 at 11:47 pm

While Singapore is bracing itself for the local launch of Creative Commons (ok, perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit, but it is an important milestone), Sapporo is getting ready to welcome the largest international annual event of the Creative Commons and related communities: the iSummit. This year we are organizing for the first time a research workshop during the iSummit, the First Interdisciplinary Research Workshop on Free Culture (or Free Culture 2008 for short), whose detailed program can be found on the Commons Research Wiki I set up for this purpose. All submissions to the workshop were peer-reviewed and the extended abstracts (in some cases also full papers) are published on the wiki.

If you’ve already registered for the iSummit, then good for you, I think you’re in for a treat. If not, then hmm… tough luck, I think registration is closed now but there will be plenty to follow online, through the iSummit website (see link above), the icommons main community website, the research wiki (see above) and even on Second Life (for more info on how to follow the proceedings and get involved remotely  keep checking the main iSummit website. So, here goes, all the info you need in a short post, as I need to get my slides ready for Sapporo! That, and a million other things as usual, but I won’t complain here, this is meant to be a joyous post after all.

iSummit & Commons Research

In Conference, Research on April 17, 2008 at 2:00 am

And now for some really good news: the website for the new iSummit (i.e. the largest and most exciting annual event around the Creative Commons and related communities) is up and looking pretty sweet. Also, this year for the first time I am co-organizing a Research Workshop at the iSummit, together with Jonathan Zittrain and Tyng-Ruey Chuang. The deadline for submissions to the workshop is April 26 and in fact we only ask for extended abstracts and not full papers, so if you’re working on any of the themes of the workshop do send your work and help us build a multidisciplinary research agenda for issues that are relevant to the promotion and sustainability of a global digital commons.

First Interdisciplinary Research Workshop on Free Culture
Hosted at the fourth annual iSummit, 29 Jul -1 Aug, 2008, Sapporo, Japan
With submission deadline: 26 April, 2008

The First Interdisciplinary Research Workshop on Free Culture presents a unique opportunity for scholars with various backgrounds, whose work contributes to the promotion or study of an emerging Free Culture, to present their research work to a multidisciplinary audience of academic peers and practitioners. It will be held in conjunction with the fourth iSummit, one of the largest annual events for the Free Culture and related movements. Our aim is to provide a platform for scholars to communicate their findings to an audience that extends 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.

The focus of the workshop will be on the presentation and critique of work in progress, and with the inclusion of both academic researchers and practitioners, so as to produce a holistic perspective on the future of a more participative, open and free information society. Workshop participants will have the chance to present their work at an event which attracts some of the world’s foremost thinkers on the future of the Internet, as well as practitioners, technologists, activists and artists who help shape that future.

Click here to read more on the isummit website.

Visualizations of remix culture

In Research on January 19, 2008 at 4:37 pm

I’m very excited about having finally managed to sort through the data and produce what I believe are some of the first visualizations of our contemporary remix culture. The data is from the ccMixter online community which is focused on music production and remixing. We have managed to plot all the links between source and derivative works in this community and have conducted a preliminary analysis at the Participatory Media Lab, with the aim to understand the structure and the dynamics of participative action, especially as relating to the collaborative production of digital media content.

One of the visualizations, consisting of all uploaded audio tracks that have been remixed and all remixes thereof, is shown below. I was very surprised by the structure, density and connectedness of the resulting network. I was expecting to see a more weakly connected set of “islands of common interest”, as defined by genre, friendships or location. Instead, before we even go into deeper analysis, the figure suggests that the creative reuse of cultural content (such as enabled by licenses like Creative Commons) leads to a very high degree of cross-pollination across authors and across works, forming a dense network of greatly enhanced collaboration and creativity through open sharing and reuse. We have posted a working paper and more cool hi-res visuals on the Participatory Media Lab wiki.

New research wiki up!

In Research on January 2, 2008 at 6:46 pm

It’s been some time I haven’t posted anything, but what a busy time it’s been. Many things coming up in 2008: workshops, conferences, papers waiting to be finished, new ideas waiting to be put on paper… at least now we have a place to publish news and articles coming out of our research in Singapore or relating to our research interests. The Participatory Media Lab of SMU now has a wiki, and you can find it here: http://pml.wikidot.com. Check out this address for a list of all our papers and for news relating to CC, new media and free culture research. And thanks to wikidot for being such a great free service!

It’s been a while…

In Conference, Research, Travel on October 16, 2007 at 4:50 pm

Yes, it’s been a while since my last post, too much work and travel kept me from posting more frequently. I hope to improve on this, I’ll add this to my bottomless TO-DO list, whose ability to stay always full can only be matched by my PAPERS-TO-READ list. There’s so much happening these days in and around Creative Commons, digital media, fair use, virtual worlds, all these topics that get me excited, that it can be hard to stay on top of all this information.

First things first: State of Play V in Singapore was a great experience, one of the few occasions in this world I would guess (the other one I can think of being the iSummit) where one can meet so many lawyers who are fun to talk to and are actually working on interesting and cutting edge stuff instead of settling divorces and inheritance claims (which is what I always thought lawyers are for after all). I think the workshop organized by CAPTEL wherein I also gave my own little ‘spiel’ on CC and Second Life went quite well, at least I learned a lot from it and had many good follow-up discussions.

Then came TPRC in Washington DC. First time at TPRC for me, though I’ve known of its existence for many years now, just didn’t have much to say about policy in the past. But now I do have one or two things to say about CC, copyright and the balancing of the rights of authors, copyright owners, and society at large. You can read my paper “Taking Stock of the Creative Commons Experiment” with Warren Chik, Ankit Guglani and Giri Tayi on the TPRC website (also blogged on the CC blog).

Very interesting were also the other presentations at our session (see link above), especially that of Mark Schultz on the Cost Disease of public live performance is very relevant for anyone interested in the future of music recording versus live performance. James Grimmelmann presented at another session on commons production and the role of moderation, a more theoretical piece which needs to be read more carefully to be appreciated. Overall it is now clear to me what the main value of TPRC is: getting to know in just a couple of days what the hottest topics are at the intersection of networks, media, law and policy. And for that alone it was worth it.

Washington subway

Washington subway station, not your shoddy NY subway :)

Other than that, Washington seems like a nice city, much more quiet than New York, with all the positive and negative qualities that come with being quiet. New York is a mad, howling gorilla of a city, it is great fun, but with a uniquely negative vibe, perhaps this is why it is attracting so much love and hate, domestic and imported.

Washington - view from Smithsonian

Washington – view from the Smithsonian

If you get a chance, visit the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, this is about the only bit of ‘tourism’ I did in the city, and it was worth it: hosting a good collection of modern American and some foreign sculpture, paintings, and installations.

Washington - view from Hirshhorn

Washington – view from the Hirshhorn museum

After Washington and NYC it was off to San Francisco and the Silly Valley…

CC stats

In Research on July 2, 2007 at 10:58 pm

My iSummit presentation on Creative Commons license adoption and related statistics can be found along with Mike Linksvayer’s slides on the Creative Commons blog, but you can also access it here: iSummit presentation.Main findings:

  • There are at least 40-60 million CC-licensed items online
  • About 2/3 of the content are licensed under NC
  • SA and ND are also popular attributes, although ND is popular only in combination with NC
  • BY-ND is by far the least popular license
  • 80% of the content is licensed under the generic-unported CC license
  • The use of ported licenses exhibits significant variations between jurisdictions
  • The Spanish license is the most popular, probably because of high awareness of the licenses in Spain as well as the fact that the licenses are used by many South American users
  • The Swedish, Bulgarian, and Israeli licenses appear to be used in the most liberal way (i.e., users in these jurisdictions tend to share more liberally)

More to come on CC stats in the near future…


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