Today I read two very interesting items:
1) CC Learn reports that
the University of Michigan Library has adopted CC licensing for all of its own content. Any work that is produced by the library itself, and to which the University of Michigan holds the copyrights, will be released under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license (CC BY-NC).2) Scott McLeod is blogging on his attempt to convince ISTE that they should ask their conference presenters to apply a CC license to their presentations for the benefit of the larger K-12 .edu community.
It really seems that a larger awareness of Creative Commons, at least among the .edu technorati, is brewing. Instead of trying to protect and hide intellectual work behind the total wall of traditional copyright, the new conversation looks like it will revolve around how others should be permitted to use that intellectual work.
This is a significant shift in the traditional ownership concept. While U of M is purposefully moving forward in a unified direction with their CC licensing, the other side of the coin is seen in the vigorous discussion among the ISTE folks. I also believe that this is shedding light on the changing nature of conferences in general.
While meeting in person is incredibly powerful and energizing, technology is making it more and more possible to participate in conferences (while not actually attending). And the possibility of this is awesome, as it promises to break down distance and other barriers to learning. However, not all conferences might be as open-minded as ISTE. You want to get a good return on your investment when putting on a conference, and I can see other organizations afraid to even consider asking presenters to release their intellectual work freely. To some, this may be seen as devaluing the conference experience and letting people "get all the benefits of attending for free!"
Dedicated conference-goers know that's not the case. Attending in person has a power that few other experiences can match. However, restricting ideas to small groups of only a few does nothing to encourage the free flow of innovation. If we really want to effect change within our professions, we have to think about throwing the doors wide open to see what happens.
...and, for a whole other spin on this same topic, check out Will Richardson's post on Larry Lessig's new book, Remix.