Creative Commons Global Summit 2013 SL

From 21-24 August there was a Creative Commons Global Summit 2013. It is a bi-annual event bringing together a diverse community around Creative Commons licenses: lawyers, artists, technologists, and others. This time wlan slovenija was participating as well, presenting our experience of working in physical world sharing culture.

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More photos from the summit: 1, 2, 3, 4

Before the summit, on Tuesday, there was a pre-event: a conference on Internet regulation in Argentina. It was interesting to listen to some common and shared issues they have with attempts on Internet regulation there, but there were some additional issues like lack of safe harbor provisions for Internet providers. People at the conference were optimistic and were saying that because they are late in their work on Internet regulation in Argentina, they can learn from good and bad examples in other countries. Hopefully, they will choose among examples wisely.

Next day, there was another pre-event, about how CC community should engage in copyright reform. Very interesting as well. For example, when you are reminded that USA have two copyright policies: internal one with fair use exceptions and external one where they export only restrictions, but not really require countries to which they export their copyright policies to establish exceptions as well.

On Thursday, main program of the summit started and I presented some things we do in wlan slovenija network: how we with collaboration and community enable people to share and reuse their Internet connectivity, how we are working on KORUZA project, and how we can use our nodes as small measurements devices, bringing the network closer to Internet of things paradigm. I continued with some issues we identified and might be of interest to CC community.

For sharing and reusing of Internet connectivity, a similar globally valid license should be developed. The difference is that those licenses would not be based on copyrights (as CC licenses are) but on something else. Furthermore, they should try to address questions of net neutrality and other attempts on Internet regulation as well. There were already some attempts at this, but various networks and communities have various values and goals and maybe it would be better to develop a set of compatible licenses, like CC has, instead of only one license.

KORUZA is an open hardware project. But current CC licenses meant for digital world are not the most suitable for such projects. If we allow commercial reuse (which is often promoted as a good practice) we hit the reality that copying or manufacturing physical objects costs (while digital copy is mostly free). This means that somebody with bigger and/or cheaper production line can directly compete with original author in these costs, which is not so in digital world. A better approach would be that all interested manufacturers would connect together and work together on lowering costs even more. So maybe a requirement for manufacturers to contact original author before production should be made. Additionally, digital copies are always perfect. As a consequence, CC licenses do not require any quality assurance on copies. For producing physical objects, attribution is not enough and some quality assurance is needed. Otherwise a project could get a bad name because somebody else might want to lower costs by lowering quality of products. So if license requires sharealike then objects manufactured should really be alike, a good quality copy, not something of a lesser quality.

Utility services, smart cities, health and quantified self apps, and many others are collecting more and more data from various sensors which collect data from various human activities. The issue is, that while data is produces by activities of people, they themselves do not have direct access to all this data in its pure and unabridged form and moreover they do not control the gateways through which this data is collected (utility services devices installed in houses, sensors around the cities, mobile apps). This is a big contrast to Internet (where people still own their home routers/gateways) and especially different to wlan slovenija network where those devices are open and run free software, so both Internet and Internet of things gateways are one and same open and free device. This allows people to retain not just access (and rights) to data, but control how this data is collected and especially which data is collected. Not to mention freedom to tinker with all those processes. As Internet of things is getting more and real we should all keep in mind to not give up devices/gateways used to collect data and data itself so easily away, without even thinking about what we are doing. Next time a utility service comes and wants to install new sensor in your house: ask them if it runs Linux and if you can access this device. Can you upload your own firmware on it? Can you monitor exactly which data is collecting? When you next time use an app which sends data from your mobile phone to app provider – can you configure your own server to which this data should be send? Or are you locked into app provider's servers? More about this issue can be found in this presentation.