Free Culture Advocacy:

A General Strategy and Some Examples
Involving Social Movement Groups and Community Universities

Speaker: Chao-Kuei Hung

Links: full article; discussions

The "Difference Set Strategy"

the difference set: FS minus non-FS What I have learned from Free Software advocacy:
Fighting with non-FS directly is hard;
Let's focus on the difference set:
What FS can easily do whereas non-FS cannot

intersection (difficult): office, graphics, music, ...

difference (easy): Live CD, Live USB, DRBL, ...

Strengths of Free Culture

What common strengths are shared by free software, open content, etc.?

  1. Highly profitable business model? Probably not (too many).
  2. Low cost.
  3. Easily multiplied. Two implications:
    1. Suitable for "marketing/advertizing" needs.
    2. Most perceivable by business who have to distribute conten/information to their customers (not selling it, but as part of their business cost).
  4. Remix.

Best Friends 1: Educational Institutes

  1. Best friends for free content consumption: Universities, schools, ...
  2. Why 1: Distribution is largely cost, not profit.
  3. Why 2: Cost is amplified by large # of "customers"
  4. Simplest remix: a math course using Dr. Geo, gnuplot, maxima, ...
  5. Remix across types of content: For a class about birds, create an enlightenment Live-CD with contents (and a theme, of course!) from wikipedia, Public Photo Gallery, Tree of Life, Freesound, ...
  6. Remix across courses? cross-disciplinary courses utilizing remix of open contents. (STS?)
  7. High-profile projects: Guadalinex, OLPC, ...

Best Friends 2: Social Movement Workers

  1. Best friends for free content production: organizations that advocate human rights, bikes, ...
  2. Why? They have an agenda to spread; they can best grasp the idea of sharing their contents as gratis publicity
  3. High-profile examples: Free Software Philosophy, Free Culture, gratis religious books at stations, ...
  4. Likely further examples:The Great Ape Project (video clips => Bonobo => Kanzi => novel sentences), An Inconvenient Truth, ...

The Big Picture (I)

  1. a possible ecology of the free culture advocates, the social movement groups, and the community universities Entities are not necessarily mutually exclusive. (E.g., free culture communities are a subset of the social movement groups)
  2. Why attractive? More conductive to the free flow of information.
  3. "Customer"-oriented thinking: e.g. a class for business advertisement design without legal hassles => "remix" of FS tools and open content projects such as inkscape, gimp, and wikicommons; but none of the above in great details.
  4. Why community universities: more flexible; affinity to communities (think marketing needs for tourism)

The Big Picture (II)

Motivations for business donations? Public perception in general, plus

  1. Bottomline: health insurance business => a wikibook on the health subject
  2. Bottomline: tourism businesses => wiktionary
  3. Profit: environment-friendly electronics manufacturer => green electronics purchasing policies

(Well known strategies for donation petition) The point: the marketing aspect and the amplifying effect

Why I Wrote this Article?

  1. FS advocates' cry: there is no lack of nice technologies; there is a lack of public awareness -- Diffusion of Innovation (Everett Rogers) Examples:
  2. To free culture communities: There is a need and techniques for "marketing" free culture
  3. To the society (and Taiwanese in particular): technologies can be used to improve life quality, not just making money