Joi Ito’s lecture on Creative Commons in Talal Abu Ghazaleh Business Forum

Joi Ito’s lecture has just finished couple of hours ago here in Talal Abu Ghazaleh Business Forum, Amman, Jordan. Joi’s speech was as usual full of insights, very much focused on innovation as the primary engine for economy and business to move forward. And Creative Commons was described as “an open source for content”, the tool which could speed up the innovation by allowing people to share ideas legally and safely in order to progress -culturally, scientifically, economically and humanly speaking- thru sharing.

(Joi speaking in Amman, the King of Jordan’s pic behind him)

 This is a concept which would be key to develop in the Arab world, too. Some people in this Region do think that since copyright is not such a big constraint as it is in the US or EU Creative Commons may not be needed as a tool. Many people raised their hands to ask this question today in Amman. As Joi explained very clearly and wisely, since the world becomes more globalised and more connected, also the legal framework come to be similar. Btw, this is also happening in the Gulf, where many countries have absorbed the WTO rules on intellectual property. And since all the audiovisual media in the Arab world are originated in the Gulf, this is very much likely to reach the Maghreb and Mashreq very soon.


(Audience in the Talal Abu Ghazaleh Business Forum)

Jordan will be the first Arab country to have a CC license 3.0 ported hopefully in the very next months.

As Ziad Maraqa, one of the CC leads in Jordan, has underlined today, they had to face lots of big issues when translating the licences into Arabic and adapting to Jordanian copyright law. One of the most discussed change today was the translation of the word Creative Commons itself into Arabic, which many bloggers don’t see appropriate (see the discussion in the public forum). But, as Joi Ito underlined, the translation of the name Creative Commons is the most controversial issue in every jurisdiction according to the final users of the license:) Many other key topics as the use of the licenses in audiovisual media or in education have been discussed.

From left to right, Shadi Murtada from Abu Ghazaleh Company, Joi Ito, Ziad Maraqa CC Jordan lead.

The discussion with the audience was very lively and showed a great deal of interest. A good start for CC in the Arab region. Mabrouk!

Creative Commons conference to be held tomorrow in Amman

I am currently in Amman, Jordan to join the Creative Commons conference organised with Abu Ghazaleh company. Joi Ito, the Ceo -a very cool Ceo:)- is going to lecture here, followed by Ziad Maraqa, the CC lead in Jordan together with Rami Olwan. This is a great step for CC in the Arab world and Jordan is the first Arab country to have translated CC licenses which are now under public discussion. Lots of Jordanian bloggers have already blogged on this. I hope to see many people coming from different backgrounds, inshallah. For those of you who are in Jordan pls come to have a look!


Creative Commons calls for videos

The Creative Commons 2008 fundraising campaign has just started. Everybody is invited to join and contribute to help building the commons! And, for those who want to contribute also by creating new cool stuff, there is a new video campaign that invites to release your 90 seconds of audiovisual creativity in a smart video project. To simply tell the others why you support, use and love CC. Yalla!!

Internet Governance Forum to start in Cagliari next week

I am going next week to join this interesting event in Cagliari, the Internet Governance Forum (22-24 october).  Many issues will be tackled with different experts, one of them is the diversity issue. I am going to talk about the most recent web developments in the Arab world, the issues that the Arab world is going to face next, how the web is improving the Arab public sphere, self expression, public debate and of course social and cultural change. The Forum will re-open the discussion on the Internet Bill of Rights which is a very much needed international agreement that should contribute to keep the Internet as free and open to innovation and creativity as it always used to be.  Some recent developments in Europe like the French proposal on a very restrictive anti piracy law prove that we are in a urgent need of “a code of ethics” to keep Internet as a place for freedom of expression, innovation, creativity, diversity and pluralism, not for monopoly, control or restrictive access. For those who are around see you in beatiful Sardinia next week.

Al arabiya website hacked

Since yesterday Al Arabiya website is unaccesible…apparently a group who declares itself to be Shiia has hacked it by posting a picture of a burning Israeli flag and stating that”their” websites will be attacked if “they” attack “ours”..

Still not clear who  this “they”stands for..while the picture shows the Israeli flag, the message refers to Sunni groups who have been accused to have previously hacked the Shiaa websites.

“SERIOUS WARNING: If attacks on Shia WebSites Continue, none of your WebSites will be SAFE”, said the message both in Arabic and in English.

Last month the BBC reported that more than 300 Shiia websites – including the Ayatollah Ali Sistani of Iraq- were attacked by Sunni hacker groups, as the Gulf news magazine reminds us today.

This is part of the growing tension  in the Arab region going on between the Shiaa and Sunni groups:  the famous Al Jazeera v.i.p. Sheikh, Youssef Al Qaradawi (author of the flagship talk show Al Sharia wal hayat), has recently warned the Shiaa not to do any proselitysm in Sunni- majority countries. 

The hacker attack has not been extended to the website of MBC which is the Saudi backed group who controls Al Arabiya news channel as well as four of the top entertainment TV stations in the Arab world..

This Site Has Been Hacked…. – 

قناة العربية الإخبارية، حيث يمكنك مشاهدة بث القناة من خلال الموقع. – 2k –

Public discussion on Creative Commons just started in Jordan

The public discussion of the first Arabic Creative Commons (CC) 3.0 license draft started yesterday. Jordan will be the first Arab country to discuss version 3.0 which is a major step in the diffusion of the CC philosophy across all the Arab world. Creative Commons is an international non profit organization founded in 2001 by Larry Lessig professor of Law in Stanford and author of many important books about the sharing of creativity on the Internet. CC provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry.

It’s a major shift from the copyright “All Rights Reserved” philosophy to the more flexible “Some Rights Reserved”. This shift is not simply concerning the juridical sphere of legal rights. It goes towards the empowerment of users and creators, educators and artists, individuals and communities of individuals that want to share and learn one from each other in a legal way.

The copyright as a method to protect information goods (video, books, music, etc) was born in a “analogue environment” marked by scarcity of production and difficulty in the distribution process. These material obstacles have been clearly removed in the “digital environment” which is on the contrary marked by the abundance of information goods and by a very easy process both in production and in distribution. But the legal obstacle of “all rights reserved” remains within this changed framework preventing many new subjects to use this huge amounts of information goods to learn, create by themselves and share with the others.

In this perspective, the battle for knowledge sharing is key in the Arab world as it is in Europe and in the US.

Copyright might seem not a big issue in the Arab world, where piracy is widespread and openly tolerated (and many more urgent problems have still to be solved). But, indeed, Arab media is booming thanks to Gulf investments and cash: the Gulf itself is setting the trends and standards for the future of the media all across the Arab region.

Having a closer look to what is currently happening in that part of the Arab world,  we will see that restrictions and persecutions on piracy issues have started, both in Saudi Arabia and in the UAE.

Copyright law is going to be enforced also in the Gulf, and this trend will go soon towards the Arab Mediterranean region.

So it is very key to start a debate on those issues right now. This is not a “technical” discussion happening among lawyers or geeks communities. It is very key for all the communities of individuals, particularly those who believe that the future of humankind lies in the sharing of knowledge and experiences. And the sharing of knowledge and creative works is the only antidote that we have against the alleged “clash of civilization”.

Mabrouk to Ziad Maraqa of Agip organisation, CC Jordan lead, and to all the others in the Arab team, for this first great achievement. Everybody in the Arab world is invited to join the discussion and to contribute to the debate at:

Arab media and society new issue is on line

The fall edition of Arab Media and Society journal is on line with lots of interesting essays. Larry Pintak, director of the prestigious Adham Center of Television Journalism in the American University of Cairo, is dealing with the Indonesian media. Indonesia is the biggest Islamic country in the world and there are not many analysis available on it, so this is a good opportunity to know what kind of lessons the Arab press could learn. Coming back to the Arab region, there is Courtney Radsch ‘s article on the Egyptian blogosphere which gives interesting insights on one of the most “à la mode” topic in Western media. Not to forget Paul Cochrane’s paper on the Lebanese media battle. Enjoy!