To anyone interested in changing hearts and minds

The London Book Fair launch of Unbounded Freedom last Friday at the Century Club in Shaftesbury Avenue might have confirmed Bill Thompson’s view as expressed in his BBCNews column that such ‘fine-tuned rhetoric’ is ‘unlikely to change people’s minds’. Bill chaired the event.

Listen to the debate for yourself now available at the Counterpoint Unbounded Freedom

Beforehand, those who accepted the invitation looked divided down the middle fairly evenly between those who want to pursue the Creative Commons experiment, and those who want to see it stopped in its tracks. At the end of a brief and bracing debate kicked off by Christian Ahlert and Caroline Michel, a straw vote was taken and showed – surprise surprise – that the room was fairly evenly divided.

However, I think Bill underestimates what can be achieved. First of all, Ian Brown makes a good point on Blogzilla. As he said, ‘Creative Commons and open access publishing is still badly misunderstood by many in the publishing community’:

Though they may not change their minds – we need them to know what they are talking about.
Secondly and perhaps more importantly – there were representatives there and also here on the follow-up blog of people who are open to having their minds changed and whose experiences and thoughts need to be well-understood by anyone engaged in this discussion: creators who are scared of the impact on their livelihood, and want to calculate the ‘threat’; people who would like more insight and indeed inspiration about what Creative Commons thinking can do for them – I began to get enthusiastic when I looked at some of the examples which I have crammed into Pts. 2 & 3 of Unbounded Freedom as a result – and the people who will be influenced by how these people react, who are watching this carefully and who know that it is time for a more mainstream, democratic debate.

For the time being, it may well still be the case that the debate currently divides between those who think it should be debated and those who wish the whole thing would just go away…

So, I wonder if you have a moment – if you’d help me prove my good friend Bill wrong…
At the moment we’re talking about photography – are there any FlickR enthusiasts out there?

best wishes, Rosemary

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2 Comments on “To anyone interested in changing hearts and minds”

  1. First of all, my sincere congratulations for your book! You have employed excellent rhetoric and done a considerable amount of research.

    Last week a friend of mine who works at IBM Bulgaria and is chairman of Open Projects Foundation sent me a link to it. I was gladly surprised that the British Council took the step to sponsor such a study.

    Despite the clearly stated CC license, feeling it would be more polite, I would like to ask you for your permission your work to be translated into Bulgarian, so it can be presented at the upcoming OpenFest 2006 in Sofia.

    OpenFest is an annual event where people meet to discuss open software, shared culture and various business models based around these concepts.

    There is a steadily growing number of Creative Commons related projects in Bulgaria. One of the more interesting is the so called Creative Commons House (C3), which comprises a recording studio, a photo studio, a small theatre stage and a publishing studio. The C3-House is intended to work in two ways:

    1) In a Creative Commons “mode” where artists can freely use the facilities, provided their creations (music, photos, etc.) are then made available under a CC license.

    2) A commercial “mode” where the facilities are used for a fee and the user doesn’t have any obligations regarding the sharing of his works; this mode is meant to subsidise the other one

    Currently only the recording studio and part of the photo studio are complete. The intention behind the C3-House is to promote the ideas of Creative Commons and to give young and budding artists an opportunity to express themselves and start successful careers. This initiative is backed mostly by young professionals who work in IT, business, politics and culture.

    As for your current blogpost:

    Freeing your creative work is a lot like facing some of the fears of being a parent. As your children grow up, they tend to become more independent and willing to take on a life of their own. They dislike restrictions and long to go into the open world, explore it and make new friends.

    This may be hard to accept for a parent who is afraid of letting go and sees his children as “his own”. But then we shouldn’t forget that many of our parents were raised in times of want and social insecurity and that the offspring was often seen as a mean of securing one’s future.

    I therefore don’t want to pass judgment on people who prefer to restrict sharing of their works and feel dependent upon them to earn a living.

    Greetings from Bulgaria to the UK!

    Vladimir Dzhuvinov

  2. Rosemary Bechler Says:

    Greetings Vladimir and Bulgaria! Very interesting stuff, and I have to say, you end on a good note. I hope we’ll talk some more.

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