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Creative Commons Qatar Marks One-Year Anniversary
Hundreds Gather to Celebrate Digital Openness and Sharing of Creative Content
One-year ago Qatar’s burgeoning creative community came together to celebrate the launch of an official affiliate of Creative Commons being set up in Qatar and on May 23, 2012 more than 300 people marked the anniversary with a range of activities. Individuals and organizations came together to showcase their work using Creative Commons to share their creativity. The one-year anniversary celebration was hosted by Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar and supported by the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR).
“Creative Commons is truly about bringing people together. It’s about sharing ideas and building networks. It’s about collaboration and innovation. It’s about being creative with others,” said Brian Wesolowski, Creative Commons Qatar (CC Qatar) community lead and ictQATAR Director of Communications. “Creative Commons helps us move from cut and paste with no attribution, to copy and share with attribution and recognition. We are never going to return to a society where locked down, airtight copyright controls work – and this is a good thing. But still, we want to respect the rights of creatives like you, and keep that creativity moving forward.”
Creative Commons (CC) is an international non-profit organization that is committed to maximizing the creative benefits of the Internet. It has developed flexible content-rights licenses which serve to complement traditional copyrights and reflect the realities of the digitally connected world. Creative Commons licenses encourage content creators to share their work more openly to maximize collaboration and innovation, while still maintaining the rights of the creator. ictQATAR signed a memorandum of understanding with Creative Commons in 2010 to serve as the official host for an affiliate in Qatar. There are more than 70 official CC affiliates worldwide, with CC Qatar being the first hosted by a government institution.
During the CC Qatar anniversary celebration, local cartoonist and artist Khalid Ali showcased his work for attendees and explained why he chose to share his creative works under CC licenses. “I decided to use CC for my work because as a political cartoonist during the Arab Spring it was the least I could do to be supportive. People were giving their lives and all I had was my work, so to be part of that spirit I decided to share my work openly and become part of this community that is about sharing and collaborating to bring about change,” he said.
In addition to sharing Khalid’s work, Mada (Qatar’s Assistive Technology Center) also explained how CC is helping them to share content, including open source software, to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
A new film project, Dohati, was also featured. Dohati is a community-led project that encourages everyone in Qatar to share what Doha and Qatar means to them. The Dohati films will be published on the CC Qatar website. The anniversary event also featured a range of engaging activities where attendees could learn more about how CC works, create and license original works on site and film their submissions for Dohati.
Creative Commons Qatar works to foster a community of Creative Commons advocates, artists and content creators in the country, with the goal of growing an environment in Qatar that embraces openness, sharing and collaboration, leading to greater innovation and hopefully spurring more Arab-originated content. Throughout the past year the Creative Commons Qatar community has been working to promote digital openness and CC license adoption across Qatar through a range of workshops, events, organizational outreach and digital campaigns.
For more information about Creative Commons Qatar and to see some of the local works done under Creative Commons licenses, visit www.creativecommons.qa. You can also follow Creative Commons Qatar on Twitter @ccqatar and on Facebook.