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3rd Free Culture Research Conference - October 8-9, Berlin

Free Culture Research Conference Hosted jointly by the Free University of Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, the 3rd edition of the Free Culture Research Conference will take place on October 8-9, 2010 at the Free University Campus in Berlin, in collaboration with COMMUNIA, and with funding also provided by the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Under the title "Free Culture between Commons and Markets: Approaching the Hybrid Economy?", this event will be a unique opportunity for scholars whose work contributes to the promotion, study or criticism of a Free Culture, to engage with a multidisciplinary group of academic peers and practitioners, identify the most important research opportunities and challenges, and attempt to chart the future of Free Culture.

COMMUNIA Working Groups will meet in Berlin the day before the Conference: COMMUNIA Members may visit this page for the agenda of the day (October 7).

The complete programme of the Conference (including links to the papers) is available here [23sep10].

Call for Papers for PFIE special issue on "Universities as Knowledge Institutions in the Networked Age"

Policy Futures in Education (PFIE) JournalThe online-only Journal Policy Futures in Education (PFIE) will publish a special issue on the impact of information technology and the Internet on universities: to keep and develop their role as knowledge institutions, how should universities reshape in this new environment? Sub-topics, such as open access to scientific literature and distance learning, have an established track of studies and proposals. However, it has not been common so far to aim at an integrated analysis of how universities will and should change to accommodate the changes brought by cyberspace in their specific role of knowledge user, processor, producer and disseminator.

One topic to be addressed is how the process of learning within universities will change because of the Internet and digital devices: Are we heading towards purely technology-mediated learning strategies? Is the old Socratic professor-student direct approach completely obsolete?
A second topic is how research will be affected by the Internet: a major potential impact will be on the way research results will be communicated in the future.
The third topic regards how should universities use cyberspace to best implement their mission with respect to society: In recent years society has been asking universities to do more than simply, albeit crucially, educate students and produce new academic knowledge.

This PFIE special issue builds upon the COMMUNIA 2010 Conference on University and Cyberspace (Turin, 28-30 June 2010).

Deadline for submissions is 15 January 2011. Papers should be sent as email attachments to: All papers submitted will be evaluated using the PFIE's normal peer review process. For more information, please contact the editorial team. [08sep10]

Compartilhamento legal! – will Brazil put an end to the "war on copying"?

Compartilhamento legal!, under CCOn the final day (August 31st) of the public consultation on Brazil's copyright bill (English translation) a group of academic, educational, consumer, musical and digital cultural organizations joined in the Network for copyright law reform. In their fifteen contributions for access to knowledge they propose, among others, an exception for educational non-profit use and a term reduction from 70 to 50 years after the death of the author.

Under the slogan "Compartilhamento legal! R$3,00 de todos para tudo," this network is proposing to legalize non-commercial file-sharing in exchange for a levy on broadband Internet access. The idea is nearly as old as peer-to-peer file-sharing itself. It has been tested in technology and in law making a few times. Here and now in Brazil, it feels like it might actually become a reality. [06sep10]

"10 Rules for Radicals": making PSI more accessible

Image from, public domainThis pamphlet -- 10 Rules for Radicals -- is the transcript of US rogue archivist Carl Malamud's keynote at the 19th World Wide Web Consortium conference in April 2010. Quoting author Cory Doctorow on boingboing, "It's a thrilling and often hilarious account of his adventures in liberating different kids of information and networks from various bureaucracies in his storied and exciting career."

Carl Malamud is the President and Founder of Public.Resource.Org, author of 8 books, and long-time advocate of public domain in the US. In his speech (also available in video and on Scribd) he provides a detailed guide about how to deal and work with public agencies for making Government and public sector information more accessible and re-usable.

A must-read for anyone interested in the history or future of universal access, open networks and free societies. [01sep10]

An Un-'Common' Take On Copyright Law

In his new book Common As Air, Professor Lewis Hyde says he's suspicious of the concept of "intellectual property" to begin with, calling it "historically strange." Hyde backs it up with an impressive amount of research; he spends a significant amount of time reflecting on the Founding Fathers, who came up with America's initial copyright laws. ...

Hyde advocates for a return to a "cultural commons" and quotes, approvingly, Thomas Jefferson, who believed that "ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man." ...

America's intellectual property law hasn't changed much in the past few decades; it doesn't look like it's going to change anytime soon (at least not toward a larger public domain, one of Hyde's main goals). But Hyde has crafted a compelling argument that copyright is "a limit that has lost its limit," and it's one that every American who is concerned about our nation's cultural heritage should consider.

Read the full NPR story, including some excerpts from "Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership". [23aug10]

New Zealand: Open Access and Licensing for State Services agencies

e-gov logo in New Zealand, under CC BY 3.0In July the New Zealand Cabinet approved the Government Open Access and Licensing framework (NZGOAL), providing guidance for State Services agencies to follow when releasing copyright works and non-copyright material for re-use by third parties. It standardises the licensing of government copyright works for re-use using Creative Commons licences (specifically the Attribution [BY] license) and recommends the use of ‘no-known rights’ statements for non-copyright material. It is widely recognised that re-use of this material by individuals and organisations may have significant creative and economic benefit for New Zealand. [12aug10]

Privilege and Property. Essays on the History of Copyright

Book Cover of 'Privilege and Property', under CC What can and can’t be copied is a matter of law, but also of aesthetics, culture, and economics. The act of copying, and the creation and transaction of rights relating to it, evokes fundamental notions of communication and censorship, of authorship and ownership – of privilege and property.

"Privilege and Property" is a collection of 15 essays for 450 pages, edited by Ronan Deazley, Martin Kretschmer and Lionel Bently, and available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 License on the Open Book publishers website. [28jul10]

University & Cyberspace Conference: all slides presentations available

We are continuing the process of reviewing and organizing the considerable material produced in the three-day event in Torino (28-30 June). The main Conference page now includes all slides presentations, ready for downloading. Also available are the video-streaming recordings, divided in morning and afternoon sessions for each day. A useful timetable and recap about such video-streaming sessions is also available here, thanks to Mark Vanderbeeken and his Experientia project. [14jul10]

Conference material and video-streaming archive

THANK YOU everybody for making this three-day conference a successful and exciting event!
We are currently putting together the full proceedings and other material, while the video-streaming recordings, divided in morning and afternoon sessions for each day, are already available. [04jul10]

"University & Cyberspace" Conference: second day underway

conf speakersThe second day of our Conference is going strong, with exciting panels and lots of attendees interaction — here is the on-going live streaming on the web.

Reports, interviews and more coverage is available on the Italian daily La Stampa's website, while several video-interviews with speakers and other material is being produced by the Polimedia awesome team. And don't forget the Twitter stream at #communia! [29jun10]

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