I share my letter to COMMUNIA with our Minciu Sodas laboratory's working group
Learning From Each Other - and my letter is in the Public Domain! Andrius
Thank you for writing on this important topic which I also brought up at our
meeting in Turin.
Certainly our own stance on the openness of our work will determine whether
our efforts are taken seriously, whether serious people participate and
whether we have any impact for the better.
My understanding is that COMMUNIA is the forum for championing the Public
Domain so that we have a vibrant commons where we are all free to work
I feel a duty in each situation to give preference to greater sharing over
lesser sharing. Public Domain places fewer restrictions than any form of
copyright or copyleft. Therefore I will work that we give preference to the
Public Domain wherever possible.
I propose that our work be "Public Domain except when noted otherwise" so
that any exceptions are decided on a case by case basis.
One of our tasks is to learn about the specifics of each situation and be
able to recommend license practices. I think it is premature for us (or at
least for me) to commit ourselves to one or more licenses.
I hope that we will use licenses with much more forethought and generosity
than many people do. I see many cases where 99% of people who reuse material
do not heed the terms of a license and where frankly its not clear why there
is a copyright or license.
Bad practices, like bad habits, cause grief to those who try to undo them,
but especially when they are bad social practices. The Wikipedia license
(GNU FDL) is I think exemplary as a "mental rut". Currently, my lab members
are interested to organize a Wikipedia and other content in the Lou language.
Unfortunately, Wikipedia is commited to the GNU FDL which I argue is
completely irrelevant and inappropriate for an African language where
participants would be happy to share, but instead we are imposing on their
freedoms a contortion from the Western legal system. Imagine how difficult
it is for me to work against the Western status quo and argue for the Public
Domain. And then consider that COMMUNIA can outline ways by which a
community like Wikipedia can migrate from one license to another or to the
We have the opportunity to identify and advocate for good practices. We can
argue for a world where 90% of content is in the Public Domain, 9% is fair
use, .9% is Creative Commons and .09% falls under copyright. We can do so if
we think and live in terms of the Public Domain as people who actually do
share. Our lab, Minciu Sodas, is a leader in such sharing - we have written
over 25,000 letters in the Public Domain - and we have much to contribute
regarding how such a culture of sharing functions. In my experience, for
example, the "share alike" forms of copyright/copyleft are the most
incompatible with the Public Domain.
The Public Domain is so weak that it is understandable that even in this
forum for the Public Domain we need to discuss its merits or even qualify
that by Public Domain we mean "copyright-free", "use your best judgement",
"you need never ask for permission".
Yet let us embolden ourselves to support the greatest use of the Public
Domain before we resign ourselves to any alternatives, especially more
complicated alternatives. I hope and expect our European Union to be at
least as progressive as the United States of America. The US government,
unlike most other governments in the world, places its works in the Public
Domain. We can encourage a much wider use of the Public Domain than that!
The Public Domain is like the air we breathe - it does not want or need to be
boxed and tracked in containers with labels as to who is the author, what is
the source, what is the license. It is the fear to be controlled that makes
for all these boxes. I speak also as a social entrepreneur that
"noncommercial" means "nonsustainable". I speak as a social networker that
"sharealike" is like "free" as in "forced to be free" as in the Soviet
I hope our work is as fresh as the Public Domain! More fresh air!
I ask for more voices to speak on behalf of the Public Domain. Or will I be
the only one?
Our awareness on this topic will serve us all in our momentous work!
+370 699 30003
I also have a comment on the Network Agreement
related to its article 8(2). I understand that
all knowledge produced by the Network should be
disseminated under an open access frame. I doubt
however that it should necessarily include re-use
for commercial purposes (therefore a publisher
could publish a book with the proceedings of one
workshop or conference). At least, I would
recommend that our licenses will require a
Share-ALike provision so as to contaminate
subsequent re-uses of our knowledge with a public
What do you think ?
It does not necessitate a re-writing of the
Agreement as we can adopt such a licensing scheme
in a further GA meeting.