23 July 2010

Move Commons: Moving Beyond Creative Commons

Talking of commons, I was reading David Bollier's Viral Spiral recently, probably the best book about the rise of the commons as a new force (and I want to emphasise that I am not at all bitter about the fact that he didn't mention Rebel Code once in his description of the early days of free software - nope, not bitter in the slightest.)

I bought a dead tree version, but it's freely available online under a CC licence (sadly not an option when Rebel Code came out...for the simple reason Creative Commons was being formulated at the same time I was writing it.) That's appropriate, since the book is largely about the evolution of the CC licences - and a fascinating tale it is, too.

One particularity of those licences is the way that they try to give users different flavours (in fact there were originally more than there are now - some were later dropped). In many ways the ability to specify exactly which freedoms you are passing on is the most revolutionary - and contentious - part of the CC project.

Against that background, I was therefore delighted to come across Move Commons (MC), "a simple tool for initiatives, collectives and NGOs to declare the core principles they are committed to." It works in almost the same way as the CC licences, allowing you to specify exactly what your "core principles" are:


MC helps these initiatives to declare the core principles they are committed to, allowing others to understand the initiative’s insight with the first glance. The idea is to choose the MC that fits your initiative, and place the generated logo (a combination of four icons) in your webpage.

Once done that, when the next websurfer reaches the initiative’s webpage, it’ll be very easy to understand your initiative’s approach and immediatly answer several questions (Is this a Non-Profit? Are they transparent? Can I use part of their content for my blog? How are they organized internally? Do they expand the Commons with their actions?), before even clicking here and there.

But not only that. By choosing your MC you are connecting with other collectives using MC. Thus, anyone can come to movecommons.org and search for “non-profits that are sharing their contents, and are interested in environmentalism and education“, and if your initative fits that description, it’d appear there. You can thus link with other similar initiatives, regardless of their geographical location. Besides, volunteers could easily find you when they are searching with initiatives like yours… independently of how much you have invested in marketing

The page of options gives an idea of how this works, complete with dinky little logos representing things like profit/non-profit and hierarchical/non-hierarchical.

It's a clever idea, although I'm not sure they've got the key categories worked out yet - for example, it's not clear what the "Reproducible" option really means in terms of content licensing. Still, it's great to see people building on the CC ideas, just as Creative Commons built on the GNU GPL's original breakthrough.

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9 comments:

KtothedoubleL said...

Why don't you make your book available under CC now? Even if the book is so old they didn't have CC licenses when it was written, you could license it now. Even if it is old I am sure some people want to read it and they would be more likely to read it if it was available for free online through CC

glyn moody said...

@KtothedoubleL: believe me, I've thought about it. The problem is the contract I have with the publishers doesn't allow it. Worse, they have started selling Kindle versions, so they probably won't take kindly to the idea of free cc ones....

I might try approaching them later this year - although I don't even know who my publisher is there any more, it's so long ago. If only I had written it a year later, things would have been simpler...

Crosbie Fitch said...

Glyn, there's nothing so sad as an author who believes they can alienate themselves from their own writing in terms of their natural right and liberty to make and distribute copies and derivatives.

Do you really believe that copyright can do this?

Why not allow your words to accidentally/on purpose find their way on to file-sharing networks?

You can then write an article 'complaining' about this flagrant infringement and provide evidence of where it's being shared so your master, I mean publisher, can take appropriate steps to stamp it out.

glyn moody said...

@Crosbie: who says they are not already there? Am I complaining....?

Crosbie Fitch said...

Glyn, please complain. Specify precisely where these unauthorised copies are being made available by dastardly pirates.

Hmm. maybe I should just type "Rebel Code" into Pirate Bay?

;-)

valdis said...

Glyn, you are not alone in stupid case when can't do with your work what you want. My doctoral studies supervisor published on-line "unofficial preprint drafts" of Springer Verlag publications;-) So you can act similarly.

glyn moody said...

@valdis - postprints, maybe...

shevek said...

Thanks a lot for your post on Move Commons, Glyn! We are trying to gather the feedback in order to improve MC, so we'd be pleased if you can contact us with additional feedback/opinions on our work.

Btw, we're borrowing your post last sentence to complete our About ;)

glyn moody said...

@shevek: sharing is good...

When I have a moment (ha!) I'll send through some more thoughts.