Creative Commons Africa is on its way! The plans for the new project were announced at the Idlelo first conference on the African digital commons and we are currently working on the draft South African licenses.
Some of the issues that were raised at Idlelo that I'd like to try and solve include:
1. Archival: What happens when the standards that you employ in digitising content are surpassed? What happens to the content when there isn't the economic incentive to change the platform?
I was just speaking to Glenn Otis Brown (Executive Director of Creative Commons) about this - he said that it is a major problem, especially when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act forbids archivists to alter the technology of older content in order to preserve and view it. The Internet Archive is at least dealing with the problem of backing up content - a great deal of which is discarded when websites are updated. We're hoping that they will mirror content - especially archives such as the South African History Archive (SAHA) when they make their material available online - hopefully under a Creative Commons license.
2. Community rights: How do you apportion value for information and knowledge that people hold as a collective group, rather than as individuals?
This is also a difficult one because the whole global system that we've built around 'intellectual property rights' is about individual rather than communal rights. The only way that I can think is for the community to be made aware of how to take advantage of the copyright system as well as alternative mechanisms to generate value and then decide itself how they apportion that value within the community.
3. Translation license: This came up in one of the discussions around TRIPS where an educator was arguing the inflexibility of the current copyright system when he had asked a publisher if he could translate an article into local South African languages for his students and he was denied. A great new license would be for authors to dedicate their works for translation among local language.
Anyway, comments are most welcome on these issues as we map out the strategy of the new Creative Commons Africa organisation.