On 31st January 2014, the Center for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) in partnership with Creative Commons and Google hosted the first ever Creative Commons Uganda Affiliates Salon at CEHURD’s offices in Ntinda-Kiwatule, Kampala.
The meeting was attended by an extensive cross-section of Creative Commons affiliates, stakeholders and well-wishers. These included Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Lawyers, Librarians, Musicians, Media people, University lecturers, Software Developers, technology innovators and Book publishers to mention but a few.
The meeting was moderated by the ever impressive Solomon Serwanja from Ntv Uganda who made an interesting analogy to the dilemma that arose in the Music industry when a one ‘Geosteady’ arose to fame on the wings of ‘Viola’ a song that was adapted from Elly Wamala’s song ‘Ebinyumo byaffe’. ‘Viola’ had an unprecedented success on the air waves and even introduced Elly Wamala to many of the young generation who had even never heard of his music. Even though ‘Viola’ was not sung in the spirit of open access, the benefits of open access as illustrated by this song are there for all in the music industry to see.
The salon was characterized by a very high level of interaction and different opinions from people of diverse backgrounds were shared in what was surely a very informative session for those who were present.
Charles Batambuze, CC Uganda Public Lead briefly explained the history of CC Uganda and how a person would obtain a CC license for a work they sought to license under Creative Commons. He also shared his experiences with CC licenses under the National Book Trust Uganda and Femwrite who have encountered amazing successes through tests they have carried out on some of their publications with CC licenses. He spoke of MYSA, an Australian publisher which reaped up amazing profits when they moved away from the copyright regime of licensing literary works because of the immense publicity that came from sharing their work under Creative Commons licenses. To date MYSA licenses all its work under CC licenses.
Mobile Monday’s Daniel Stern spoke of the availability of YouTube videos for very recent textbooks which are creating a revolution in the access to educational materials landscape around the world. Because many pupils and students cannot access hard copy text books which are discouragingly expensive, the importance of creative commons licenses in closing the literacy gaps which have been brought about by income inequality cannot be overstated.
Makerere University’s Prof. Kakungulu Mayambala reiterated this by emphasizing the need for activists to influence students to take up the CC initiatives to promote its growth especially through their dissertations and research theses.
Inspiration on sharing of work can be drawn from the story of Victoria Cheng whose American rendition of Chameleone’s ‘Badilisha’ racked up an amazing number of views thereby bringing more attention to the song in the United States than Chameleone could have anticipated when he sang the song.
According to Javie Ssozi CC Uganda’s Tech Lead, one of the challenges to the CC initiatives is attribution in the CC context in the internet community. Since people are continuously using people’s work on the internet without attribution or authorisation, there is need to put the content on the internet in a sharing context and to address ignorance on how CC licenses work.
As noted by FOSSFA’s Brian Ssennoga, there is nothing new under the sun and even William Shakespeare did not create a single English word but put together already existent words to create the masterpieces that we enjoy today. There is very little content that can be truly referred to as original content since everyone is inspired by already existent content to come up with novel ideas.
The idea of Creative Commons is to protect creativity, honor work and contribute to generation of knowledge through sharing. There is need to inspire all creators of literary content into the CC movement. It should be emphasized that Creative Commons is not an alternative to Copyrights but is a license in copyrights.
Very interestingly, the creative economy in Uganda is increasingly coming under a lot of attention and the President of Uganda has recently constituted a National Creative Economy Committee on which, it is our pleasure to report that, our very own Charles Batambuze is a member. The future of creativity has never been brighter!
Participants were introduced to the Open Data day which is on February 22nd which will be hosted at the African Center for Media Excellence in Kampala and were encouraged to attend the same to further the spirit of open access.
The salon was closed by CEHURD’s Programmes Coordinator David Kabanda who commended the tremendous contributions of the participants in making the Salon a success and implored the participants to continue growing the creative commons movement in Uganda.
The Future is Open! Creative Commons Salons Comes to Uganda by CEHURD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://creativecommonsug.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/the-future-is-open-creative-commons-salon-comes-to-uganda/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://creativecommonsug.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/the-future-is-open-creative-commons-salon-comes-to-uganda/.