Mumbai, Jan 27 - India's entry into the global Creative Commons network that works to expand the range of creative work available for others to build upon and share has been welcomed by Joichi Ito, chair of the non-profit organisation.
Ito, chair of Creative Commons (CC), a 2001-founded non-profit organisation, told IANS:
'India was probably the most significant country we had left out (so far). It is important (for us) from an IT perspective and from a growth perspective. It is a large country, with a significant intellectual community, and a potential economic power.'
On Friday, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay saw the launch of the Creative Commons (India) licenses and project.
CC has released several copyright licenses known as Creative Commons licenses, the latest being one suited to Indian legal requirements. These licenses, depending on the one chosen, restrict only certain rights (or none) of the work.
I think India is not yet polluted with bad intellectual property thinking. Young people are more open to the possibility of accepting Open Source (in the software world) here. Like Brazil, he said.
Said the US-educated Japanese campaigner, venture capitalist and Net entrepreneur: In the US even the kids think in terms of mainstream media metaphors. They say they have to 'steal' music. The words they use also assumes they're committing some crime.
He stressed to see the Creative Commons license as something more than an act of rebellion.
Said Ito: Four years after its launch, Creative Commons has become more mainstream, getting acceptance from (huge) companies like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. (Google and Yahoo allow users to search for text, music, video that can be shared with the Creative Commons licenses.)
In India, we'd like to see (this easy-to-share) license being used for a very broad range of uses, whether it's university producers and courseware, villagers with local content, or even Bollywood, he told IANS minutes prior to the launch of the project for India.
We've spent a lot of time discussing about the needs of professional producers to mass-produce content. But one of the main businesses on the Internet today is to create opportunity to share their own work. It's a multibillion dollar market even today. It's growing, said Ito.
Ito is himself also the general manager (international operations) for the Internet search-engine for blogs Technorati, chairman of Six Apart Japan, and Socialtext. He is the founder and CEO of the venture capital firm Neoteny Co., Ltd. He is on the board of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the Open Source Initiative, and Mozilla Foundation.
Later he called on Creative Commons supporters to help make it ubiquitous. We don't win the argument until your grandmother can use Creative Commons (licenses) without having to install some fancy thing (on their computer), he said.
He argued that even commercially-driven Bollywood, India's mainstream films sector, could gain a lot from Creative Commons licenses.
In markets where it was little known, like Japan for instance, it could allow its older films to be shared among viewers, allowing for its popularity and demand to be built up there, he argued.
In Brazil, one of the largest (commercial) record label has opted for allowing non-commercial copying of its music under the Creative Commons license, he argued. The ability to influence cultures beyond borders works well if you can legally share it, he said.
He advocated the license for documentary filmmakers - growing fast in India but still struggling to find their audiences. Non-commercial, non-derivative licenses are what is needed. Quite a few documentary filmmakers use that. They want viewers to be able to copy their work, but don't want it to be commercially reused (without permission), said he.
Ito said Creative Commons' developing nations license was one of those which was not doing well. We thought book publishers might have been interested in using it, to license their work in countries where they didn't have a market (and one which could not afford to pay for them), he said. But, others were doing fine, he added.
Several million pages of web content use Creative Commons licenses. This makes tonnes of text, video, music, photos and educational content sharable to those with Net access.
But the project has its share of critics as well, with some questioning how well it was living up to its perceived values and goals.
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