giorgos cheliotis: mapping the global commons

Liveblogging Giorgos Cheliotis’s presentation on Mapping the Global Commons: A Quantitative Perspective on Free Cultural Practice at the Berkman Center. Please excuse misrepresentation, misinterpretation, typos and general stupidity.
Cheliotis is interested in measuring the use of the Creative Commons content pool. How much content exists? How free/open is it? How fast is it changing? How much of it is being remixed and fed back into the pool?

You can try to count everything individually, or you can use estimates, community-specific data, external reports and local knowledge. There’s an inverse relationship between the scale and the accuracy/richness of your data.

The CC Monitor project tracks the global development of Creative Commons (CC) licensing. It is still being developed, but the project has been tracking the use of CC licenses for over three years. It does not include unported licenses, often used by those in countries that do not have country-specific licenses.

According to the project’s World section, North America and Europe use CC licenses more than most regions in the world, with a few notable exceptions: Brazil, which has a sizable CC movement, and some parts of Asia.

Cheliotis is interested in the spread of CC licensing — who is using it and why, and how is it moving from person to person or organization to organization?

The CC Monitor project assigns a “freedom score” to each country based on the most frequently used type of CC license. CC licenses give users of licensed content different permissions. Some works can be used with no restrictions, while the use of others is constrained to non-commercial purposes or in cases where the resulting work is also CC-licensed.

CC Monitor assigns points to each license on a scale of 1 to 6, 6 being the most free (most permissive), then assigns an overall score based on these points. The global freedom score is 3.2. Some other scores:

One way that Cheliotis tracks content reuse is through CCMixter, which allows people to create remixes, samples and mashups of CC-licensed content. Cheliotis’ analysis of this content has shown that with a few small exceptions, all of the content on CCMixter is interconnected. The maximum number of remixes he’s found so far is 6, but the number of works per generation of reuse drops quickly — most remixes draw on original content, rather than a pre-existing remix. He also found a significant number of peer-to-peer relationships: “I remix content from you, you remix from me.”

It’s not yet possible to break down content by type (music, video, text, photography), nor is Cheliotis’ project currently tracking content that’s in the public domain (as opposed to strictly CC-licensed). These are both areas into which he would like to expand in the future.

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