June 2007

Envisioning a free Internet

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The iCommons Summit 2007 was held at Dubrovnik, Croatia, from 15 to17 June, 2007. The summit brought together pioneers of the free Internet to make sure that, at its crossroads, we guide the world along a path that will enable the kind of free culture and decentralized innovation that has characterized the early years of the Internet.

With an impressive lineup of iconic free Internet philosophers, the participants heard from people like Creative Commons CEO, Larry Lessig, CC Chairman and Digital Entrepreneur, Joi Ito, Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales and CTO of Linden Labs, Cory Ondrejka. Some new voices were added to the debate this year including India's Lawrence Liang, who has become renowned for his considered commentary on the positive impact of piracy in developing countries, Jonathan Zittrain discussing themes from his new book 'The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It', Benjamin Mako Hill from MIT who will talk about competing visions of 'free culture' from the free software perspective, and Becky Hogge from the Open Rights Group, who will talk about successful campaigns to rid the world of restrictive IP laws.

Apart from the insight of the great 'philosophers of the commons', the Summit also brought together practitioners, activists and technologists working on concrete projects that continue to inspire us about the possibilities of a free culture on the Internet. In these workshops, leaders of the open education movement seeded new ideas for global cooperation, and participants shared insights on how open content is planned, strategised and built from the ground up. Ideas on how to curate open content using tools like del.icio.us and concepts like 'crowd sourcing' and 'peer production' were also discussed. And experiences on how to increase government use of open access licensing for publicly-funded materials, and look at new opportunities to fund open content using alternative business models, were shared.

The iCommons Summit was supported by cutting edge Internet companies around the world whose success is based on a free Internet – companies who recognise the potential of commons-based peer production for growing their networks and their businesses, and doing it in a way that benefits all of humanity.

Incubated by Creative Commons (www.creativecommons.org), iCommons is an organisation with a broad vision to develop a united global commons front by collaborating with open education, access to knowledge, free software, open access publishing and free culture communities around the world. Using the annual iCommons Summit as the main driver of this vision, iCommons features projects that encourage collaboration across borders and communities, and promote the tools, models and practice that facilitate universal participation in the cultural and knowledge domains. The Summit collaborates with organisations and communities from around the world to demonstrate and share best practice and discuss strategies for continuing the positive impact that 'sharing' practices are having on participation in the cultural and knowledge domains. Creative Commons has spawned an array of initiatives like the Science Commons (www.sciencecommons.org), ccInternational (www.creativecommons.org/worldwide), ccLabs (http://labs.creativecommons.org/), ccMixter (http://ccmixter.org/).

iCommons core values

  • Defend, protect, support and encourage the freedom of societies to create, build upon and share works of culture.
  • Encourage broad participation in the growth of the intellectual commons – from business to the public sector, and throughout wider civil society.
  • Respect the diversity of creativity and innovation by creators around the world.
  • Promote and support efforts to achieve a more equitable global development based on access to technology, knowledge, science and culture.
  • Promote the highest levels of open access to intellectual products for organisations and individuals – especially those with a public mandate
  • Employ open and transparent governance and processes organisationally.
  • Promote and seek global diversity in participation in iCommon activities.
  • Actively seek out, and productively network with other organisations that promote like values.
  • Encourage accessibility principles within iCommons.  

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