ISummit ’06 energizes 2 themes
July 1st, 2006

iSummit heads
Shown above in snapshots from the iSummit held a week ago in Rio de Janeiro are some of the leaders of the iCommons idea-becoming-a-movement: Jimmy Wales, Cory Doctorow, Larry Lessig and Joi Ito. The event’s website — for which I was one of the bloggers and that rolled out over the 3+ days of the international meeting — is here. The ongoing iCommons website is here.

A main goal of iSummit was to set the foundations of an iCommons with that would relate ‘nodes’ of different themes of open global synergy for science, culture and other aspects of human communication and endeavor within the Internet. The meeting’s parallel focus was on the Creative Commons. A report from the New YorkTimes is here; it says in part:

In its broadest form, the Creative Commons system allows creators and consumers of culture not only to view or listen to a digital work but also to copy, remix or sample it, as long as the originator is properly credited. Pearl Jam, the Beastie Boys, David Byrne, Brian Eno and the BBC have all advanced the cause in one fashion or another, as have thousands of lesser-known documentary filmmakers, photographers, video artists and bloggers.

“We have an explosion of technology inviting people to be creative, but the way the laws are written, all this activity is presumptively illegal,” said Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford University law professor and one of the originators of the concept. “We want to move away from a maximalist position to create a future in which creativity can occur in a protected space without taking away anyone’s rights.”

The three-day conference here drew the backing of the singer-songwriter Gilberto Gil, who is also Brazil’s culture minister and an advocate of overhauling the global copyright system. Mr. Gil was a founder of the Tropicalist movement, which used cut-and-paste, mix-and-match techniques as early as the 1960’s, long before digital sampling became commonplace.

“Increasingly there is an awareness that intellectual property needs to be treated differently than it has in the past, that we need new policies and new business models,” Mr. Gil said in an interview. In the view of third world countries like Brazil, he said, creativity cannot be fully unleashed unless copyright law takes digital technology into account and allows for “access and sharing.”

Since the introduction of the Creative Commons concept in 2003, some 145 million “creations” have been registered. More than 100 million of those licenses have been issued in the last six months. Mr. Lessig said that blogs accounted for the largest number, followed by images and then music, although the video sector is growing.


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