Creativity and innovation are essential ingredients for the development of human society. Scientific, economic and social evolution requires the orchestrated efforts of many intellectuals, working together on overcoming challenges to human development and inventing novel concepts, theories, tools and technologies that can be effectively exploited to serve humanity and improve the well being of society. Think for a moment of the scale of technological and social developments in our modern world. While some may argue that these developments have been misused, no one can deny the considerably higher quality of life we enjoy compared to our ancestors. Cures now exist for infectious diseases that once could destroy a complete nation, travel and communications became much easier and cost effective that people can now engage in dialogues with each other in ways that were unimaginable just a few decades ago, and the list goes on.
Such massive developments could only become possible through the empowerment of researchers and intellectuals to capitalise on the gigantic body of knowledge built by their fellow creative workers. Every innovator taps into the knowledge sources produced by others and contributes back to the development of human wisdom. However, with the increasing complexity of creative and intellectual work, appropriate incentive systems should be implemented to motivate intellectuals to invest their time and effort in contributing to the global knowledge creation. Without such systems, very few are willing to devote their scarce resources to expand the borders of knowledge in the highly demanding modern lifestyle. But these incentive systems should be carefully designed to serve their main purpose: motivating intellectuals to produce creative work by guaranteeing them a fair return on their investment of intellectual and financial capital. They should not block access to knowledge in such a way as to prevent others from capitalising on the previous body of knowledge in their pursuit for creativity and innovation.
The booklet was published by Creative Commons Australia (CCau) and the Creative Commons Clinic. It covers a variety of projects from Syria to New Zealand, and is full of colourful and exciting stories.
Arab Commons had its place in this publication, in which you can find updated statistics on the initiative’s achievements, in addition to two cases of Arab intellectuals and artists: Dr. Rayan El Helou and Hanadi Traifeh.
(Published on iCommons.org)
When I wrote “The Growth of Arab Commons” last month, my primary intent was to reflect on what we have achieved over the past year and to pinpoint any challenges or obstacles that may need to be overcome for the Commons to achieve its aimed for growth in the Arab world. Nevertheless, several trends seemed to have a prominent impact. The article concluded with a call to “combine the promotion of Creative Commons in the Arab world with the larger objective of increasing the development of digital content in the Arabic language”.
Well, it does not happen much (at least for me), but it seems that someone was listening!
During The International Symposium on Computers & Arabic Language (ISCAL), held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 10 to 12 November 2007, I delivered a keynote on Creative Commons and the strong link between their philosophical foundation and the sharing culture that dominates the social fabric in the Arab world. My aim was to attract attention to the urgent need to quickly embrace Creative Commons in the region and promote the development of open content in the Arabic language by emphasising the compatibility between Creative Commons and the belief and value systems in the Arab world.