What is this open source stuff anyway?

Open source can mean a lot of things. The movement we think of as “open source” began in the software world and helped generate the net as we know it today. In theory, many eyes with access to the internals of the product will improve the quality of the product. Does the current model of dissemination for our work serve us well? Can this effort open up access to dissemination in the way that wikipedia has opened up access to building an encyclopedia? This can bring both risks and rewards. There are aspects of this sharing that are beginning to happen within protected spaces in our community.

The idea behind this project is to create a space that is wide open. Where editorial is not from top down, but from grassroots up. This may be a very risky challenge.

A book called Free Culture is in your packets that alerts us to the urgency of this kind of openness and the value of tools like Creative Commons (CC) licenses as a tool.

With relation to this effort, an author or content creator who submits material under a CC license would still retain copyright to their work and the ability to negotiate other agreements with other entities (like publishers). The CC license would simply assure other collaborators and mixers of the content that the version they are using and that their derivative use is legal and allowed.

There is much of this sort of sharing going on already. We may not be talking about something new, we may be able to combine this with other efforts under way.

Fabio and Mary had a conversation with an intellectual property attorney who suggested that by minimizing editorial control we might be able to shield ourselves from certain kinds of liability, especially if we respond quickly to IP issues when notified of problems.