Case Studies/Association for Progressive Communications Australia
apc.au advocates for and employs open licenses such as GNU and Creative Commons, as tools that provide a legal framework that would ensure ownership of cultural and intellectual property remains within the public domain and for the public good. — Grant McHerron, Technical Director, apc.au
apc.au was established in 1997 on the ideals expressed in the Association for Progressive Communication's Internet Rights Charter. Emphasising awareness, realisation, and protection of rights, the Charter commits to Internet access for all, access to knowledge, particularly with respect to shared learning and creation using free and open source software, and freedom of expression and association.
Within this framework, apc.au’s core objectives are:
- To promote and provide services for the development, application and strategic use of, and community education in respect to online and digital media technologies;
- To develop and provide networking online media services, applications and content, including advisory, consulting and related services, production and research;
- To assist the civil sector in the use of online media services and in the development and publication of network content, in areas of community interest including environment, social development, human rights and social justice;
- To support online media initiatives through the Australasian and Asia-Pacific areas and promote open and equitable access to online media technologies particularly for the non-government sector and disadvantaged groups and for the development of strategic working communities.
apc.au sits on the steering committees of Open Spectrum Australia sustaining community broadcast licensing on the digital spectrum), Home Lands (remote communications program for refugee youth) and the Arts Law Consortium (providing access to ICT rights issues to cultural development and arts workers).
Within Australia, apc.au has previously traded under the following programmes, each an independently registered business in Victoria, Australia and headed by Andrew Garton, apc.au’s Managing Director:
In 2008, apc.au decommissioned c2o and began the process of archiving Toy Satellite projects, representing a decade of Australian new media art.
apc.au is an organisation which advocates open content and flexible licensing models, being engaged in both the development of, and sustained access to, community-owned communications and broadcast infrastructure.
On 26 March 2008, Document Freedom Day (DFD), apc.au Managing Director Andrew Garton announced the release of 10 years of essays, lectures, reports and articles dealing with ICT4CD, information communication technologies for cultural development, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Australia licence. Reproduction of materials housed on the wiki is encouraged provided acknowledgement is given.
Observing the importance of open content licensing, Andrew Garton explains in the press statement issued for the event:
- ‘The author may choose to reserve some or all rights through open licenses, providing consumers with immediate access to how content may be used, re-used and/or attributed without having to communicate with neither the author nor any 3rd party. Open licenses puts rights management directly into the hands or authors of any form and medium.’
As a global network of civil society organisations, APC’s mission is to build strategic communities and to make meaningful contributions to ‘equitable human development, social justice, participatory political processes and environmental sustainability.’ The APC mission was approved at the 1997 APC Council meeting in South Africa. In joining Document Freedom Day, apc.au expresses support for organisations, social movements and individuals through the use of open information and communication technologies.
- ‘Document freedom is fundamental for your documents to outlive the application you are currently using and allows you to choose and change applications freely.’
Supported by the Free Software Foundation, Google, IBM, Red Hat Linux, and Sun Microsystems, amongst many other organisations, Document Freedom Day encourages organisations to embrace open standards. With the announcement of apc.au’s open archive in 2008, Grant McHerron, apc.au Technical Director, provided the following rationale for joining the event:
- ‘Many have experienced the pain of trying to convert from one proprietary format to another when exchanging documents (e.g., from MS Word to Lotus.) Formatting is lost or broken and re-work is often required. This extends even to different versions of the same product, as those using Office 2000 are unable to read information created by MS Word 2007. Storing information in open document standards facilitates the flow of information and prevents its loss when older applications become obsolete.’