The true pioneers of the sharing economy

The real sharing economy is not about renting out your apartment on Airbnb or offering your services as a taxi driver on Uber. These are both good services but it would be completely wrong to label them as pioneers of the sharing economy.

The true pioneers would be the technological sharing culture with projects like Linux, Wikipedia, Github and Open Street map. The communities that developed the Internet in the 90s and the important work by the free software movement in the 80s built the foundation for one of the largest paradigme shifts in history. The Creative Commons movement that has grown strong over the last 10 years has also played an important role in creating a strong sharing economy.

If one were to look for companies that can be called pioneers in the sharing economy it would have to be Amazon, Google and Redhat.

People like Richard Stallman, Tim Berners-Lee, Lawrence Lessig and Håkon W. Lie are pioneers of the sharing economy trough significant contributions that deserve to be mentioned.

Creative Commons: Remix from Creative Commons on Vimeo.

More than 40% of the global population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand →

Quality education should be delivered in the language spoken at home. However, this minimum standard is not met for hundreds of millions, limiting their ability to develop foundations for learning. By one estimate, as much as 40% of the global population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand (Walter and Benson, 2012).

A great part of the world’s learning content is written in English or in major languages in the industrial world. We don’t know the exact shares for the most-used languages when it comes to learning related content in particular, but it’s reasonable to assume this to be proximately equal to the most-used languages on the Internet as a whole.

As of 2015, 55.5 percent of all web content was in English, followed by the next four most-used world languages Russian, German, Japanese and Spanish, adding up to an additional 21.5 percent. Compared to this, the lack of digital resources is striking for languages like Swahili, Bangla or Hindi which are mother tongue or commonly spoken languages for an estimated 60+, 200+ and 500+ million respectively.

GoOpen Talk with Meredith Jacob

In this GoOpen Talk I have a conversation with Meredith Jacob, Assistant Director at American University Washington College of Law. Meredith is a part of the legal team at Creative commons US and a leading expert on IP and Copy right issues. In this videoblogg she talks about the OER situation in American schools and the GoOpen campaign launched by the The U.S. Department of Education.

GoOpen talk with Meredith Jacob from GoOpen.no on Vimeo.

Principles for digital development

For any ICT-based project it is crucial to develop technology based on good and sustainable principles, implementing solutions that are user driven and based open standards at the same time addressing concerns like universal design and privacy. There should be no exception for all the projects targeting users in developing countries.    

A growing number of youth in developing countries are online and thereby possibly connected to learning resources on the Internet. By 2025, as many as 4.7 billion people worldwide will be online. Compared to today, about 75 percent of the increase will come in emerging economies. An increasingly digital world brings unprecedented opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation. This will result in a large number of projects that develop technologies over the next decade and significant investment from NGOs and governmental organizations.

But to reap these benefits, it will be incredibly important to ensure that technology, data and digital resources are developed based on a sustainable model.

Donor and multilateral organizations have been discussing how to surface and spread best practice in the use of ICT tools as part of development programming for at least a decade. These discussions culminated in the UNICEF Innovation Principles of 2009, the Greentree Principles of 2010, and the UK Design Principles, among others.

At the end of 2015 I came across a project called The Principles of Digital development working to consolidate these efforts. The Principles for Digital Development draw from the processes mentioned above, and are the result of consultation with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and large number of NGOs and governmental organizations.

The Principles for Digital Development are “living” guidelines that can help development practitioners integrate established best practices into technology-enabled programs. They are written by and for international development donors, multilateral organizations, and implementing partners, and they are freely available for use by all. The Principles are intended to serve as guidance rather than edict, and to be updated and refined over time.

The nine principles are:

  • DESIGN WITH THE USER
  • UNDERSTAND THE ECOSYSTEM
  • DESIGN FOR SCALE
  • BUILD FOR SUSTAINABILITY
  • BE DATA DRIVEN
  • USE OPEN DATA, OPENSTANDARDS, OPEN SOURCE,OPEN INNOVATION
  • REUSE AND IMPROVE
  • ADDRESS PRIVACY & SECURITY
  • BE COLLABORATIVE

If you are in the planning stages of an app, a portal or any other project involving technology you should take your time and study the documents and guidelines at digitalprinciples.org/ 

GoOpen talk with Jöran Muuß-Merholz

Jöran Muuß-Merholz is a OER-activist that runs www.open-educational-resources.de promoting OER in Germany. Jöran joined us in Oslo this week to participate in a book sprint. This gave me the chance to sitt down with him for a GoOpen talk.

In this videoblogg Jöran talks about the situation for OER i Germany just know, and how OER has gained momentum both in politics and as a grass root movement.

Jöran Muuß-Merholz from GoOpen.no on Vimeo.

The story of Android and how it gave free software the right WAF-factor(Wife Acceptance Factor)

In the «Pre-Android period» gadgets from Apple and computers from Microsoft had what you might call a higher wife acceptance factor, meaning it was more likely to be adapted by non technical users.

When I started out playing with free software more the 15 years ago the terms free software and open sources had a very high geek-factor associated with them . At this time it was hard to imagine any laptop or device running free software taking marked shares from Windows.

For companies developing proprietary software it was also very important to label free software as low quality and unreliable. This has changed dramatically over the last 15 years and Android played an important part in this journey.

Android gave the word disruptive a whole new meaning

The year is 2008. The first GoOpen conference is about to kick off in Oslo.

When the Director of free software at Google, Chris Dibona enters the stage as one of the conference’s keynotes, he talks about how Google has built its business with free software.

He also talks about how they are already well underway to expand Googles business, not only to cover search, ads and video (acquisition of Youtube). At this point it was already known that Google had launchd the first version of a mobile operating system in November 2007  that was based on Linux – the name was Android.

The first phone with Android was released in Norway the next summer and in only 18 months Android dominated the market for smart phones in our country. Sins the launch in 2007 Android have taken over markeds across the world with nearly 1.5 billion users at the end of 2015. This despite the fact that both Apple, Microsoft and the Finnish mobile company we have forgotten the name of,  did every thing possible to dominate the same space during this period.

From the start Google and their partners had a totally different business model, letting different vendors develop new devices based on the same core system. This gave the marked many different devices and the vendors freedom to build on the same software commodities. The key in this approach is an open plattform in an open marked.

The story of Android is important for many reasons, but primarily because it shows that by rethinking a business model completely, it is possible to change a large market in a very short period of time.

An important thing to remember, the mayor topic that concerned most free software activist in 2007-2008 was not Android but the document formats and the battle between OOXML and ODF. During the GoOpen conference in 2008 a friend of mine, Håkon Wium Lie, organized a demonstration that ended up in front of the Norwegian Parliament, with the slogan “OOXML – Go to hell.”

Little did we know that it was not ODF and OpenOffice but Android that would cause a breakthrough for free and open source software and give it all so important Wife Acceptance Factor.

 

How to access more then 500.000 public domain pictures directly from your CMS or blogg

When developing open educational resources, or just writing a blogg, most of us like to add pictures and illustrations. In the old paradigme this was both difficult and expensive. Over the last few years services offering pictures under a free license have been popping up to compete with commercial stock photo alternatives. Pixabay.com is one of these services.

The project is an international website for sharing high quality public domain photos, illustrations, vector graphics, and film footage. In January 2016, Pixabay offered about 550,000 free photos, illustrations, and vectors and almost 1,300 films. They also offer a public Application Programming Interface (API) allowing third party users and website developers to search Pixabay’s image database.

In the demo at det bottom of this blogpost I will show you how I connect to the Pixabay API from WordPress without doing any programming of my own.

Pixabay is not the only provider of pictures and it is important to be aware of the differens between Royalty free and a free license, some of the free license ones that I have used are:

Royalty-free is not the same as a free license

When images are offered royalty-free, this simply means that the purchaser pays a fee and can then use the image without paying additional royalties or licensing fees. This also means the purchaser doesn’t have to give attribution. This is the model used by paid stock photo sites. The problem with this model is that every provider has their own rules and licenses and limitations.

Within the range of Creative commons licenses that require attribution the CC BY license is the most flexible and the CC BY-NC-ND is the most restricted and the part that says Non Commercial is in fact a bit problematic on its own.

Creative Commons Zero (CC0) is the most flexible: CC0 enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright- or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.

Pixaby that i use in my blogg license most of their pictures under CC0. In this demo I will show you how easy it is to connect directly to the API at Pixabay without writing any code. It takes about 2 minutes if you are using WordPress.

How to combine the Hollywood blockbuster The Hobbit and creative commons content in the same OER

Can you combine Copyright and Creative Commons? Yes you can!

After a meeting at the EU parlament on Copyright and IP related issues in October 2015 I have received several questions regarding copyright versus creative commons and more specifically how we at Norwegian digital learning arena(NDLA) combine the use of Copyright and CC license.

The main strategy at NDLA is to release content under Creative Commons BY SA but we also use NC on pictures and Copyright in some cases.

To explain this it is best to show an example from NDLA where we do this with a combination of text from our own staff, a picture from NTB Scanpix and the Hollywood blockbuster film made by Peter Jackson called The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug.

Skjermbilde 2016-01-09 kl. 11.40.45

 

These different parts all are released under different licenses:

  1. The text by Tina Andersson Jensen is released under Creative Commons BY SA
  2. The picture of Peter Jackson(top right) by Hannibal Hanschke is released under Creative Commons BY SA NC
  3. The full length movie is released with Copyright and with the limitation that it can only be accessed from IP adresses in Norway.

When combining resources like this it is important to be accurate in marking the different parts with the correct license. In the screenshot under the three different licenses are defined. When a user puts the cursor over the icon the license and relevant information shows in the black frame. (Norwegian text)

Skjermbilde 2016-01-09 kl. 11.48.41

What license to chose?

My personal opinion is that it is best to use Creative Commons BY or BY SA. When using NC(non-commercial) there are some problems in terms of “what is non-commercial” and how this term is to be interpreted.

New Zealand director Peter Jackson arrives for the European premiere of the adventure film 'The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug' in Berlin, Germany, 09 December 2013. The film will start screening in cinemas across Germany on 12 December 2013. Photo: HANNIBAL/dpa Creative commons by-nc-sa 2.0
Photo: NTB Scanpix, HANNIBAL/dpa – Creative commons by-nc-sa 2.0

 

 

This post will come in a new version soon. The Hobbit has be replaced with The King’s Speech on ndla.no

 

My favorite TED talks from 2015

Some of the TED Talks  that I have watched in 2015 really made an impression on me and I have just set up a list of the ones that i rank as the best. These are not TED talks that where held in 2015, but talks that I have watched over the course of the last year and found to be inspiring.

Lawrence Lessig talking about how there is a corruption at the heart of American politics, caused by the dependence of Congressional candidates on funding from the tiniest percentage of citizens.

Clay Shirky on how internet will change government and how government can learn from open sources. 

Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

In this talk from 2005 Jimmy Wales recalls how he assembled “a ragtag band of volunteers,” gave them tools for collaborating and created Wikipedia, the self-organizing, self-correcting, never-finished online encyclopedia. 10 year later this talk is still super relevant and the idea behind wikipedia is still an inspiration.

What is the status on the free culture movement over a decade after the Lawrence Lessig book «free culture»?

When reading the book «free culture» for the second time(now in Norwegian) I started to reflect on how and if the situation on copyright, IP and free culture has changed since Lawrence Lessig publishes his book in 2004. Lessig was one of the early visionaries that pushed for a reform of our copyright laws and the way we practice law as the world around us is changing.  Lawrence Lessig was also one of the co-founders of Creative Commons that sparked a community sharing text, videos, pictures, learning resources and other works.

My thoughts on this is that in terms of the debate on copyright and IP one could argue that somethings haven’t changed at all, while if you look at the digital commons and the amount of digital content that is released the picture is totally different. We still read and hear stories on a weekly basis on how new laws and trade agreements effect our daily lives in terms of how we need to handle copyright. On the other hand over the last years we have seen the commons of resources growing exponentially making it easer to reuse free content.

The landscape around copyright, fair use and IP is still not easy to navigate

To elaborate I am going to start with a story that an Indian lawyer told me this week at a conference in New Delhi. In 2012 at one of the larger universities in Delhi they did as many others, they copied books and parts of books into learningresources that where used in classes.  This was based on a thought of «fair use» but still the publishers(Oxford university and others) decided to hammer on with a lawsuit. BUT……they did not go after the university, they went after the contracted photocopy shop with an 100.000 dollar lawsuit.  This was in 2012 and they got the courts to issue and «induction» ordering the activity to stop. The case is still unsolved.

This is an example that is very similar to some of the stories from Lessigs book from 2004, and the «tactics» of the copyright lobby seems to be the same, attacking the weakest link, in this case they attacked the pohotocopyer instead of the university. This is just one of many stories that shows that the landscape around copyright, fair use and IP is still not easy to navigate.

The commons is growing exponentially

«State of the Commons report» is an effort to measure the immeasurable scope of the commons by looking at the CC licensed content, along with content marked as public domain, that comprise the slice of the commons powered by CC tools. The report for 2015 was published on December 8th, 2015, and it is showing a very promising development for public domain and CC licensed content.

The number of  of CC licensed works have nearly tripled over the last 5 years

CC1

Picture from Creative Commons.

The number of public domain works have doubled over the last year

CC2

Picture from Creative Commons.

It might seem to me that the «producing part» of free culture community has moved passed that discussion and that we are in the middle of something that looks like a paradigme shift in terms of content released under a free license.

I am writing this post while attending the The Fourth Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest in New Delhi and my conclusion is that we need to secure that the lawyers and activist that work to secure the free culture aspects of the copyright battle need our support, as the discussion on these problems are not at all solved.