By employing a range of Creative Commons licences alongside standard copyright and public domain licences, edgeX encourages users to modify and mash up one another’s contributions, thereby ideally creating a continuous stream of content evolving over time in the hands of a varied community of participants. — Axel Bruns and Sal Humphreys
The Emergent Digital Grassroots eXpo (edgeX) project is a research and application initiative which aims to map grassroots and amateur content creation, focusing on community engagement with new media and strengthening local identity. Centred around Ipswich, Queensland (pop. 150,000), the site explores whether participants’ sense of local, geographic community can be enhanced through the use of Internet technologies expressing local themes.
Coordinated by the Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation at the Queensland University of Technology, edgeX is a partnership project with the University of Queensland and the Ipswich City Council. Launched in 2006, the project is funded for a three-year period through the Australian Research Council (ARC). The first stage of edgeX has involved the creation of a website, which allows the uploading of multimedia content, combining the functionality of a YouTube-style video site, a Flickr-like photo site, and blogs and podcasts. The site provides functionality for commenting, rating, and tagging, allows the development of specific user groups which evolve their own self-moderation structures, and contains a competition and exhibition space as a central feature. Competitions are seen as an optimum way to generate both interest and content for the edgeX site whilst building further community connections.
Offering Creative Commons licences alongside standard copyright and Public Domain dedications, edgeX encourages users to modify and mash up each other’s content where permissions allow. A notable feature of edgeX’s multimedia content sharing system is its emphasis on interaction not only through text, but also via content uploaded to the site. By offering Creative Commons licences for original contributions, the site aims to create a ‘continuous stream of content evolving over time in the hands of a varied community of participants’ (http://snurb.info/files/talks2007/Playing%20on%20the%20Edge.pdf).
edgeX’s Creative Commons framework is explained here.
The content management system supporting the edgeX site is designed to track user interaction with the site and its contents. These data can then be analysed using a variety of tools, supporting the diverse research interests of the project group. The project should soon reveal interesting statistics on Creative Commons licence uptake.
Creative Commons provides a crucial basis for the intended content development, reuse, and remixing activities which edgeX users are invited to participate in. In utilising CC frameworks, edgeX also aims to play an important educative role, alerting users to the impact of applicable Intellectual Property laws on their own work and on the work of others as they encounter it. It highlights the fact that even for users who have no intention to commercialise their work, protecting their rights as authors remains important, while it is possible for them at the same time to enable others to share in and build on their creative work. It is hoped that the transparent, reliable, and accountable rights environment which Creative Commons licences establish will help generate strong communities of content creators, who can collaborate with one another without fear of seeing their intellectual property exploited by third parties without consent.
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