In case you haven’t heard about it yet, Creative Commons, the organisation that has brought you a brilliant set of open licences that you can use to share your creative works, has organised a series of Iftars (traditional Muslim breaking of fast at sun dawn), in four cities across the Arab world. I was lucky enough to attend the one in Amman.
The event started with the food naturally, and then the brilliant Mohammad Khawaja gave a presentation on CC, and it’s need and spirit, continuing on to explain the different CC licences to the crowd. After that, Issa Mahassneh, president of the Jordan Open Source Association, gave an overview of open content on the web for the crowd. He also brilliantly highlighted a couple of examples from the local music and electronic news scene that are not CC licensed, but with non-standardised licence policies that espouse similar principles. Such ventures for example would benefit from a standard CC licence.
To conclude the evening, a CC licensed animated film from a local company, Curlstone Studios. The film is called Once Upon a Star, and you can view it here, and it was followed in the event by a drum circle like the one I attended the day before. That’s it to describe the event, and if you missed it, here’s what I got out of the event, coupled with my thoughts on open licensing.
First of all, I think it’s a brilliant idea by Creative Commons. Iftars by organisations are common place during Ramadan, and they showed that they have a deeper understanding of the region, and a willingness for greater integration, by holding one as well. Not to mention that Ramadan is one of the holiest months on the Muslim calendar, and one of the many virtues this month represents, is the spirit of sharing. Usually, people in this month share food and drink with colleagues, loved ones, and the needy. Expanding on that, music, literature, and art is just as important for the soul, as food is for the body, and CC makes such works much more available than with standard copyright.
Not to mention that I believe that CC licences are much more natural to the human spirit than standard copyright. Back in the old day of Arabia, long before the invention of the printing press, let alone the internet, and the need for copyright emerged, Arabs used to meet, read poetry to each other, and memorise each other’s poetry. The most popular poems at the time were even written down and hung up at the local markets, for those few who can read, so that they can recite them again back at their home towns.
People still want to do that nowadays, but with the restrictive copyright laws, this can be really difficult, and potentially dangerous. This is were CC comes in. If one is an artist that genuinely wants people to share their work, yet one still want to reserve some of their rights to their work, CC helps you do that with a set of licences that can easily be customised to what you want.
If you want to copy this post, just mention my name, after all, Tarakiyee’s blog is CC licensed. It’s that easy, and you don’t even have to ask me for permission. That saves both me and you a lot of time. And it’s really easy to license a work under Creative Commons, practically all you need is to add a single line to your book, blog, or portfolio, with an optional link to the CC website. They even have a licence generator that can help you.
Let’s promote a spirit of sharing for a better future! Follow CCAmman on twitter for future info.
Shoutouts: Other than the people mentioned already in this post, special thanks to 7iber for MCing the event, Aramex for supporting it region-wide, and Eman Jaradat for setting the whole thing up. =D