[Paleopsych] Business Week: Wikimania and Free Culture Movement

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Wikimania and Free Culture Movement
10 Challenges for thee Free Culture Movement
Source: Businessweek

by Olga Kharif

Aug. 4 will mark the first day of the world's first international Wiki 
conference, Wikimania, located, sadly (for the U.S. Wiki fans, anyway), in 
Frankfurt, Germany. Wikis, which allow thousands of people to collaboratively 
work on the same documents online, are transforming the way information is 
produced. Several years ago, Wikipedia.org, the most high-profile Wiki site, 
has begun to get people involved into collaboratively creating news stories. 
Now, the site is putting out books, such as "How to Build a Computer" and 
"Wikijunior Solar System." It's also pulling together a so-called Wikiversity, 
in which Web users are invited to create online courses on everything from 
economics to philosophy.

What I find particularly interesting is that this powerful technology is 
actually part of a cultural movement. Many call it the Free Culture movement, 
to correspond with a book of the same title written by popular blogger and 
Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig. The idea is that knowledge should be 
shared freely through technologies such as Wikis.

I think that businesses need to take a note of this movement, as it could bring 
about major changes to the way they protect their intellectual property, create 
products and services and function.

According to FreeCulture.org, the movement has already resulted in eight 
college chapters around the country. And it has spread far beyond written 
works. Public Patent Foundation is advocating that all software should be free. 
Clearly, open-source operating system Linux is rapidly gaining popularity. And, 
recently, a group of Danish students created the world's first open-source 

In the next few days, Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales will actually compile a 
list of things he believes should be free in a write-up on the Lessig blog 
here. He has particularly specified that he won't be talking about beer.

So this will be a serious list and one, hopefully, that will show the direction 
our society will be going in in the coming years.

Wales believes that some other types of knowledge/content that are pay-for 
today will become free 20 to 50 years down the road. It's going to be 
interesting to see the ideas that come out of the blog and Wikimania.

Source: Corante Tech News Many2Many group weblog on social software

Jimbo's Problems: A Free Culture Manifesto

I'm in Frankfurt this week for the first Wikipedia conference. Jimmy Wales has 
been warming up for his Wikimania Keynote on Larry Lessig's blog, talking about 
10 things that should be free. The idea for this list comes from Hilbert's 
problems. In 1900s Mathematician David Hilbert posed 23 problems, 10 were 
announced at a conference, the full list published later, very influential. He 
notes that all of these things were obvious, suggested or proposed by others.

10 Challenges for thee Free Culture Movement

1. Free the Encyclopedia!

Mission is to create a free encyclopedia for every person on the planet in 
their own language. For English and German, this work is done (of course there 
could be be quality control, etc.). French and Japanese in a year or so, ton of 
work to be done globally. Will be done in 10 years time, an amazing thing when 
you consider minority languages that have never had an encyclopedia.

2. Free the Dictionary!

Not as far along, but picking up speed. A dictionary is only useful when it's 
full of words you don't know, unlike an encyclopedia. Needs software 
development, such as WikiData. It is structured information, for cross 
reference and search.

3. Free the Curriculum!

There should be a complete curriculum in every language. A much bigger task 
than the encyclopedia. Need not just one article about the Moon, but one for 
every grade level. WikiBooks isn't the only one working on this project. The 
price of university textbooks is a real burden for students. The book market 
doesn't take advantage of potential supply of expertise. Not hard to imagine 
500 economics professors writing instead of one or two to create a better 
offering than the traditional model.

4. Free the Music!

The most amazing works in history are public domain but not many public domain 
recordings exist (even in classical music). Proper scores are often proprietary 
derivative works (such as arrangements for a modern orchestra). Volunteer 
orchestras, student orchestras could provide the music for free.

5. Free the Art!

Show two 400 year old paintings. Routinely get complaints from museums saying 
there is copyright infringements. National Portrait Gallery of England 
threatens to sue, a chilling effect, but they have no grounds. Controlling 
physical access keeps people from getting high quality images "I wouldn't 
encourage you to break the law, but if you accidentally take a photo of these 
works it would be great to put it on Wikipedia for the public domain.

6. Free the File Formats!

Proprietary file formats are worse than proprietary software because they leave 
you with no ability to switch at a later time. Your data is controlled. If all 
of your personal documents are in an open file format, then free software could 
serve you in the future. Need to educate the public on lock-in. There is 
considerable progress here and continued European rejection of software patents 
is critical.

7. Free the Maps!

"What could be more public domain than basic information about location on the 
planet?" -- Stefan Magdalinksi. FreeGIS software, Free GeoData. This will 
become increasingly important for open competition in mobile data services.

8. Free the Product Identifiers!

Hobby Princess blog Huge subculture of people making crafts, selling them on 
eBay, but need competition from distributors.

Increasingly, small producers can have a global market. Such producers need a 
clobal identifiers. Similar to ISBN, not ASIN (proprietary to Amazon). Suggests 
the "LTIN: Long Tail Identification Numbers" would be cheap or inexpensive to 
obtain (has to have some cost to fend off spam). Extensive database freely 
licensed and easly downloadable to empower multiple rating systems, e-commerc, 
etc. The alternative is proprietary eBay and Amazon. Small craft producers 
should be able to get a number and immediately gain distribution across them.

9. Free the TV Listings!

A smaller issue, it may seem. But development of free software digital PVRs is 
going on. Free-as-in-beer listings exist, but this is tenuous. Free listings 
could be used to power many different innovations in this area. Otherwise we 
will be in a world where everything you watch will be DRM'ed -- so this is 

10. Free the Communities!

Wikipedia demonstrates the power of a free community. Consumers of web forum 
and wiki services should demand a free license. Otherwise, the company controls 
the community. Similar to a feudal serf, company maintained communities have a 
hold on communities. Are you a serf living on your master's estate, or free to 
move? Social compact: need to have Open Data and Openly Licensed software for 
communities to truly be free. Wikicities - for profit, free communities - 
founded by Jimmy and Angela. Free licensing attracts contributors.

He will be adding more on Larry Lessig's blog over the coming weeks.

Notes from the extended Q&A are here
http://ross.typepad.com/blog/2005/08/jimbos_problems_1.html .

Posted by Ross at 10:21 AM

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