Monday, 5 May 2008

Lawrence Lessig bound for LIANZA in Auckland

LIANZA have just announced on their blog their last keynote for the upcoming annual conference in Auckland on 2nd, 5th November 2008. To my delight it's Lawrence [Larry] Lessig, the well known web commentator and web copyright evangelical. And, yes, even though he doesn't present on the topic any more, he retains a more than paternal eye on ongoing developments in the Creative Commons world. His own blog is here

Curiously I was watching him last weekend doing a TED session. He was great - I especially liked his forceful condemnation of the way 'us olds' think it is okay to criminalise our children by ignoring their defacto read/write/collaborate behavior.

I also think his definition of the same is a brilliant summary of 21st century digital literacy - and that it is high time we started celebrating the return of the creative amateur. I offer the link below as embed.

Creative Commons NZ
Even though the good Dr Lessig doesn't present on Creative Commons any more, I think it would be a great idea if LIANZA ran a parallel session on the Creative Commons in New Zealand.

I have two reasons for this. First, I don't think enough has been done to show people the way the CC licence world works, and that the public library network could be a key player in changing that.

Second, I strongly believe our key knowledge institutions, including libraries, archives museums and galleries, have a crucial role to play to make the Creative Commons framework an ordinary and necessary part of our digital life, including offering parts of their collections as creative commons material.

I keep being told this is much more complex that it looks. Sorry, I can't see it - it must be possible to start collaborating around this issue, beginning with the existing Mataphi members?

We might even manage to do something before the good Doctor arrives in Auckland. Think about it - wouldn't it be embarrassing if the current situation was still the same when he gets to his feet in November?

We have six months to fill the Creative Commons asset bank - are we up for it ?

Oh - and of course - nice one LIANZA! Story!


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul - interesting post. Your question - in what way is this more complicated than it seems? - is a good one.

In many cases, the barriers aren't so much around copyright (which CC addresses nicely), but rather around agreements that collecting institutions have made with donors. This is further complicated where the items are often 'unpublished' works such as photographs where the rights of the creator bump up against other rights (e.g. the right to privacy of the people in the photo).

Instituting Creative Commons licensing in some of these organisations would require big changes to the relationships that the institutions have with their donors. The institutions would need to be able to present a range of options to the donors (without pressuring them) and then scrupulously manage any donated items in accordance with their wishes.

Which is not to say that discussions shouldn't take place, just that sometimes it *is* more complicated than it seems. We're talking about education, upskilling, and cultural change, all of which are tricky! Collecting institutions build their collections of unpublished works on the basis of reputation and their track record in dealing with donors - not wanting to risk these is understandable.

I do think though that there may be a tendency to assume that donors want institutions to be conservative in their approach to access and that they expect the institution to be the protector and gatekeeper: so long as the donor agreements reflect this assumption we won't see any big changes any time soon.

Yet clearly lots of people donate because they want their treasures cared for and available for future generations. Maybe it's time that more options for those kinds of donors were available as well, and CC could well be a useful tool in that context. (Particularly for future donations. Making retrospective arrangements for items already in collections would be a big undertaking!)

Paul Reynolds said...

Dear Sam
I understand all of your points, and indeed have had them given to me on a number of occasions. However, I don't see any coherent , or collective attempt to start addressing the issues.
This is why I say Mataphi is a possible place to start - it beggars belief that we can't get 1000 images of CC material up and available in a heartbeat .

poropitia outside the box said...

The LIANZA 2008 committee are very excited about getting Professor Lessig to come to NZ. Thanks also to the University of Auckland for co-hosting his visit. His time is pretty well scheduled so there isn't any extra time available at this stage.

The committee are going to throw around some ideas re 'Creative Commons at Conference' and see what we can come up with. Thanks for the idea.

Kris (LIANZA 2008 Comms.)

brenda said...

With the NZ On Screen site (to go live later this year) we aim to have as much material released under CC as possible - this will likely include all the material we produce ourselves (writing and video) but most likely not too much of the tv/film content we are getting license to publish :)
Still, it could be a good case study.

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