"contra spem"

Belarus and Ukraine Creative Commons Affiliates meeting (26-27.11.2016, Minsk)

Tue, 12/13/2016 - 23:30

The first meeting of Belarusian and Ukrainian affiliates happened on 26-27th of November. This event helped both teams not only to establish closer relations and common questions understanding but also foster mutual collaboration in creation practical guidelines for bloggers and civil organizations in order to make their content policies more open. 

Ukrainian CC-team history

Our neighbor's history dates back to 2003. From this time they started collecting certain cases, making lots of presentations and establishing close work-relations with officials. Ukrainian colleagues have rich experience in translation both deeds and legal texts of CC (recent version).

From 2011 four members form the team. Their joint effort resulted in strong professional skills and productive work outcome. Last summer (2016) the CC affiliate of Ukraine obtained legal status of non-governmental organization (Open Content). They sought for like-minded organizations for a long time but there were no such a copyright-focused organization in the Ukraine. Only last year they connected with Wikimedia of Ukraine.

About Belarusian CC-team...

As for Belarusian squad it went live in 2012 and has more activist-based and grassroots origins. The members were inspired with the idea of changing copyright for the better and broadcasting this idea among editors and users. In mid 2000s the iconic book "Free Culture" by Laurence Lessig influenced their CC direction in a drastic way. On the 29th of August, 2014 the Creative Commons of Belarus was established (based on organization “Falanster”) and from this time they have stronger relation with a CC-headquarter.

Two years up to 2014 were very intense. Firstly, the central project “Tasty Creativity” was launched. This project was called to initiate a discussion among Belarusian society about alternative development direction of the local copyright law. Secondly, dynamic communication with foreign colleagues took part along with participation in local and international conferences, public lectures, many swag and education materials were publishing with promotion of Creative Commons license. Today it's a big challenge to build transparent and constructive communication with authorities and set up a discussion about copyright issues for changing local legislation and a content sharing culture.

Current agenda for affiliates

In the Ukraine the most active initiator of copyright legislation reform is an IT sector. They push parliamentarians to establish regulation for fostering right expansion for employers. Recent years Ukrainian team has involved lawyer community to take part in translation and review of CC legal code. Belarusian colleagues don't have such relation with lawyers and they are faced with exorbitant prices for legal consultation around 100 euros per hour. But on the other side, Belarusian CC-activists have more broad network of volunteers.

This volunteer-based approach helps them to overcome financial considerations as well as spread their ideology with zero budget marketing.

Translation problem was discussed from different perspectives. Now Belarusian team has completed license choice and deeds for the Belarusian language. Ukrainian crew shared experience on how they use official terms in their deeds translation work as it can be an obstacle in the future (especially in last version of CC). There is not legal text translation in Belarusian but our CC team has an idea to involve students from law department of different universities into a translation contest and a peer review.

Side effect of volunteer approach

How to work with people willing to help? The Falanster is a volunteer-based organization which involves interns in NGO work from last year. This is a strong tool to reinforce capacity of CC affiliate and its outreach.

he main weakness in volunteer work is a big turnover among volunteers. They burnout quickly. This period is around 2-4 weeks and it is time to find a better task for a newcomer. It should be simple in implementation and interesting for this specific person at the same time. But as Belarusian CC-team stresses the work with volunteers is a win-win strategy because knowledge and an increase of the outreach remain anyway.

Collaboration for CC manual.

During the meeting affiliates teams most of the time focused on creating practical guide (helper) for bloggers and non-profit organizations to implement open content policy in their websites. How and who should use CC-license? There are many repetitive questions and private consultation is not always the right solution for affiliates, because of affiliates resources shortage, it's not the best choice for content creators too as they have to wait for a long period before CC-team will be able to spend its time for private communication. Therefore, some human-friendly guidelines (based on wiki, PDF and printed leaflets) can be a good and cheap solution for current situation..

Before starting the work the best practices were collected and analyzed just as local CC cases that were considered. The main idea is to obtain clearance and understanding where are the real challenges for current CC practitioners in Belarusian and Ukrainian segment of the Internet.

The teams outlined the most popular failures of using CC license and created the further structure for the manual:

  • how to define owned content,
  • how to define non-owned content,
  • how to define rules (policies) for content users.

This sections touch upon essential aspects which can appear during editor as well as a content user work.

What is next?

Firstly, the meeting was fruitful for both sides, because teams developed not only a model for the future guideline but also the knowledge and information exchange happened. Ukrainian colleagues were interested in the volunteer experience of Belarusian team, and the latter will drive more attention to the work with officials and other civil organizations.
Moreover, a new idea about Eastern Europe regular event focused on CC issue in "depressive regions" appeared during the session. It could be useful to share and reflect negative experience and hurdle as well. The organizers promise to complete the CC-helper, test it with several NGOs and make public presentations on related events in the near future..

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