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, Program Manager - Technical, 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.
About the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Since its establishment in 1990, the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) has worked with the United Nations to help civil society organisations participate in global policy-making via the strategic use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) including the Internet. APC also examines issues surrounding privacy, surveillance, and encryption, and governance of the Internet.
apc.au, the Australian member organisation, sits alongside members in Argentina, Bulgaria, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Italy, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, the UK and Uruguay. In addition to many members offering local portals to discuss ICT policies and rights in their respective regions, APC works to achieve social and environmental justice and sustainable development. APC members are often the first providers of Internet in their countries, and they continue to pioneer practical and relevant uses of ICTs, particularly in developing nations and with grassroots organisations. Governed by its constitutive members, APC sets its strategic policies every four years.
apc.au is an organisation which advocates open content and flexible licensing models. Projects are developed with partners, clients and associates under an open publishing model utilising a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Australia licence. Many projects have been recognised as pioneering the use of CC licenses in the Australian and international cultural development and screen sectors.
Typically, apc.au uses Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Australia licenses as a default, although some works are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Australia licence, depending on the project and item.
Significantly, as part of apc.au's support for Document Freedom Day 2008 (DFD), Managing Director Andrew Garton announced the release of 10 years of essays, lectures, reports and articles dealing with information communication technologies for cultural development (ICT4CD), under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Australia Licence. Reproduction of materials housed on the apc.au 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.’
Further examples of apc.au’s current projects employing Creative Commons include:
- Home Lands: Connecting young refugees to their homelands and separated communities via online media and Creative Commons rights management in association with the Cultural Development Network, the Home Lands Reference Committee, and with support from the City of Melbourne;
- Video Slam: Rights and production management workshops that encourage cross-discipline collaboration in the use of flexible licenses. This results in the production of new works that put Creative Commons licenses into direct contact with screen practitioners. Video Slam explores whether these licences can be used to create new works from Share Alike content and whether there is enough material in the public domain to produce works that are both meaningful and watchable.
- Sarawak Gone: As tradition is sacrificed for modernity and capital, indigenous communities also make way for dams. A community media project documenting meetings between six indigenous communities in remote and urban locations. Sarawak Gone will trial the use of CC licences in an indigenous context – all video shot, edited and distributed will remain the intellectual property of the communities that comprise this project.
Detailed information on the projects apc.au undertakes can be found on their wiki. In addition to their projects, apc.au is working to establish an open business model that provides operational transparency, effectively applying the open and flexible concept to the company itself.
apc.au advocates for and employs open licenses such as GNU and Creative Commons as tools that provide a legal framework to ensure that ownership of cultural and intellectual property remains within the public domain and for the public good.
In an email interview with Grant McHerron, Technical Director of apc.au, with Rachel Cobcroft from Creative Commons Australia in May 2008, he expressed the following opinion:
- ‘Open models for licensing, for research and education, the arts and cultural practice, science and business... for everything that we make and the resources we rely on, are an imperative towards the need to move from the dire outcomes of opportunistic development and the mechanisms currently in place to protect them.
- These tools apply a sense of collective ownership and that which strives for the common good, that stimulates innovation and the transformation of unsustainable practices without the burden of patents. apc.au, through its various projects, from broadcast spectrum policy to public performance, from online media advisory to research in collective music making, we seek a more liberal, sustainable society that respects, protects and enhances both bio and cultural diversity and is nourished by it.’