I’d like to thank you for making a fantastic film about the first decades of the free code software movements. RevolutionOS is now 10 years old, and remains an important contribution to the history of this game-changing social and technological phenomena.

I’m writing today to ask if you have considered applying a pro-sharing license to the film, for example a CreativeCommons license? Why would you use a CC license? For a start, it would be a gesture of goodwill to apply the same principles to your work that the thousands of programmers whose work creates GNU/ Linux and other free code software apply to their work. Secondly, those who want to show the film for non-profit, community-building purposes would feel free to do so, without the need for hours of correspondence work for you. Thirdly, relevant parts of your film could be ‘quoted’ to visually illustrate Wikipedia and other free reference sites, again, without hours of correspondence work for you, and prospective ‘quoters’.

Finally, the stories you tell in RevolutionOS demonstrate that making creative works freely available, and making a living from them, are not mutually exclusive. The free availability of your film in the digital arena, and the goodwill generated by seeing you apply ‘open source’ principles of your subjects to the film itself, may actually help to generate increased sales of DVDs, or donations to your organisation. This isn’t as unlikely as it might seem. This strategy worked for a bunch of open source games released as the ‘Humble Indie Bundle‘, and for the many of the projects documented in the book ‘The Power of Open‘. Although I encourage the use of the most open CC-BY license, you could choose to add a ‘Non-Commercial’ clause, to prevent anyone from selling copies of the film without your permission (as regular All-Rights-Reserved copyright does).

Banyak Films created a site for their documentary ‘Us Now’ - which explores the crowdsourcing principles behind open source development - where the film can be viewed in totality, or explored in sections. That approach required a lot of the film-makers, as they had to fund the hosting bandwidth. Simply adopting a libre license, and allowing your fans to fund the distribution costs has no such costs to you, and as mentioned above, has the potential to save you time and bring you benefits in the form of goodwill and free promotion.

If nothing else, I hope I’ve at least given you an idea for another great documentary - exploring the implementation of free culture principles outside the world of software.

Filed December 15th, 2011 under free software, documentary, open source

Thanks to Jane Hornibrook of CreativeCommons Aotearoa/ NZ, I just learned that CC International have just kicked off a public discussion to gather ideas for the first drafts of Version 4.0 of the CC license suite. The main discussion will take place on the CC-licenses email list, and a 4.0 area on the CC wiki has been created to track the key points made in discussions on the list. Some of the issues under consideration for CC 4.0, each with their own section on the wiki; attribution and marking; internationalisation; license subject matter; moral rights; the NonCommercial clause; the ShareAlike clause; technical protection measures; and treatment of adaptions.

Please take the time to read as much of this briefing material as your can, and share your thoughts with the CC team about how the licenses need to evolve. The CC 4.0 roadmap aims to have first drafts released for further public discussion in Feb/ Mar of 2012, with the goal of releasing the final versions in Dec 2012.

Filed December 12th, 2011 under Uncategorized

As is often the case over summer, my online presence has waned in recent weeks. In this case, mainly due to time spent supporting Occupy Together occupations in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington), Ōtautahi (Christchurch), and Ōtepoti (Dunedin). Over the last couple of months I’ve been writing updates and posting photographs on Aotearoa Indymedia, so this post is a chance to summarise them all in one place. 

My participation in the global Occupy Together movement began with a face-to-face gathering at the People’s Expo and Social Forum in downtown Wellington to discuss local action for the October 15 global day of action, called by the Spanish ‘indignistas’, and supported by Occupy Wall St. We came to consensus on assembling near the NZ Stock Exchange, resulting in a rally and march to the NZSE, and the beginning of Occupy Wellington on the City to Sea Bridge above Civic Square.

By the end of the first week, the occupiers in Te Whanganui-a-Tara had made contact with occupiers in 3 other main centres; Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland), Ōtautahi, and Ōtepoti, as well as smaller camps in Taranaki (New Plymouth), Murihiku (Invercargill), and Tauranga/ Bay of Plenty. In the lead-up to Labour Day the movement seemed to be going strong and I headed south, visiting the Occupy Christchurch camp a couple of times for the afternoon while I was in the shaken city.

Next I spent a few days in the Octagon, the town square of Ōtepoti. I responded to the fearmongering by the Dunedin City Council, and their allies in the Otago Daily Times with a parody of their thinly-veiled smears of Occupy Dunedin, and responded to anti-occupation  biol of ex-Wanganui mayor Michael Laws. After a couple of weeks off; crewing for the awesome Circulation festival, and clowning around the races, the Victorian Fete, and the SteampunkHQ in Oamaru; I returned to the Octagon and the general election. Now I’m back in Ōtautahi, and intending to spend a few days supporting the occupation here.

For me, Occupy Together is all about opening up a space for sharing new ideas that could move us beyond the failed politics of ‘old left’ socialism and ‘old right’ conservatism, and the failed economics of the new right “free market” fetish vs.the new left state regulation fetish. One of the great things to come out of the occupations is an enthusiastic and open-minded sharing of political, economic, and philosophical ideas among all present, whether committed occupiers or curious passers-by. Freed from the trolling and name-calling that so often takes over internet debates, the face-to-face nature of the occupied spaces remind people to actually address the issues, generally in a respectful and thoughtful manner (as long as they’re not drunk and trying to smash tents ;). 

I went into the occupations excited about the recent events in Iceland, where the population defaulted on foreign debt and crowdsourced a new constitution. One of the more interesting proposals I’ve been introduced to since, packaged in a critique of representative democracy published on Aotearoa Indymedia under the title ‘A Tick in the Box: Is That Our Lot‘ , was an idea called ‘demarchy’. In a nutshell, the system involves selecting a representative council of citizens (using a process similar to selecting juries) to make each major national decision, rather than electing a new set of 120 dictators every 3 years, who can be wined and dined by the 1% to make sure they get the results they want from the house of representatives. Demarchy is just one of many new dishes on offer. I look forward to sampling the whole smorgasbord, and sharing it with the rest of the 99%.

Filed December 7th, 2011 under Uncategorized
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