Grants/Microcréditos CC (CC microcredits)
Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.
Microcréditos CC (CC microcredits) is a research into free culture microfinancing based on the notion of community profit introducing the possibility of returning money in the form of packets of "training" and educational methodogies, FLOSS code or physical products (open hardware/open design) involving community development and emancipation.
The aim of Microcréditos CC is to establish together with producers, lawyers, economists and fiscal experts a simple, effective and CC-inspired graphical and machine-readable tool for both donors and recipients to stipulate the core principles they are committed to when they get credits or give credits, establishing social CContracts before the results of the donations are accomplished.
Although the CCredits concept is used consciously in 3 senses of the word (cash credits, reputation credits and time credits) the object of the Catalyst grant is mainly geared towards evaluating cash credits, and the legal, fiscal and theoretical implications of monetary micro-transactions. In the first year, we'll look at the validity of the system in the context of the Spanish law and territory, before opening it up to Latin America and Europe.
Microcréditos CC and social CContracts are also a way of reclaiming budget transparency and a real commitment for community development to NGO's, enterprises, public entities and social programmes funded by savings banks. That's why we have already started talking to entities, trying to convince them to be users and be part of the Microcréditos CC ecosystem as a way for them to share and guarantee social responsibility beyond passive donations, based on the horizontal evaluation criteria of the community of producers and the most active organisations in the field.
Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).
-Papers on legality and taxation of the proposed system of microfinancing.
-Blog posts on youcoop.org, presentations in international events.
-Promo Clip of how the Microcréditos CC platform and social CContracts would work.
-Video Interviews with experts involved in the workshops.
Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?
Creative commoners, Social commoners, creators who use CC and see an oportunity in apliying CC and copyleft ethics to peer production and peer financing to create a real change. This is definitively about CCrowd funding! Open standards for crowd funding. We need to encourage young entrepreneurs to develope innovative business models around FLOSS, Open Hardware and Open Crafts. The 3 sectors/communities for whom we have designed the first draft of the Microcréditos CC ecosystem are:
-Open Hardware & Open Design
-Open Education Methodologies and Crash courses (workshops, education kits built from both actual community experience and tangible results) involving the community of educators, sensible to the introduction of open web and free software principles in schools and universities.br />
Platoniq is an international non-profit organisation made of cultural producers, social researchers and software developers with creative, DIY, and technical backgrounds who, from the mix of complementary skills and social and cultural interests have set up a number of independent projects around media, free culture and community development. Since 2001, Platoniq has trained and engaged in the design and production of its tools, citizens (from kids to senior), NGO volunteers, students, teachers, amateur and profesional researchers working in the fields of audiovisual communication, cultural management, art, journalism, ecology, sociology and computing. During the last years, their project Burn Station has been awarded by the Transitio Festival (Mexico DF) and by the Transmediale Digital Culture Festival (Berlin). It has also won a mention of honour in the UNESCO Digital Arts Awards. http://www.bankofcommons.org/ http://www.platoniq.net/burnstation/
Previous Platoniq projects (Burn Station, a copyleft music copy station and GPL software, Bank of Common Knowledge – an open platform for mutual education and knowledge exchange) have helped us build an international network of culture, software and knowledge producers and a reputation which we want to reinvest into Free Culture. We started by looking at free distribution with Burn Station, then we tried to respond to the challenge of peer-produced knowledge with BCK, and now we got to a point where our project, as part of the CC cosmos along with many others, feels the need to rethink our own sustainability model. So eCConomy is what Microcreditos CC looks at: a form of producing creative democracy trough creating a common economy.
It's also worth mentioning that Platoniq has collaborated with Mondragon University (Mondragon coop.) in the creation of a laboratory to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in Basque Country (Ideiazoka 2009). Platoniq has recently set up YOUCOOP: a new platform to gather and share methodologies, games and experiences they compiled over the years. In a few words, recipes for peer-driven innovation. http://www.youcoop.org/
How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?
One of the immediate benefits of the Microcréditos CC project is the establishment of open standards for micro-financing a culture of the commons. In a near future and after finding partners to develop the infrastructure and the platform, a collateral benefit will of course be a repository of code, methodologies, and open hardware projects, produced under the Microcréditos CC umbrella.
How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?
We'll work with a core group of 12 Spanish and international researchers, consultants, ethical bank representatives, creative commoners, reinforced by "beta testing" and design thinking sessions with potential donors and recipients through playful sessions (miCCrocamps) to evaluate the effectiveness of the Microcréditos CC protocol and test the limits of our capacity to share and our right to demand sharing by others. To which extent can we understand the concepts of social benefits, or community profit and face them by practicing it on a beta phase.
Our main consultant is Javier de la Cueva (Madrid, 1962), a practicing lawyer. He handled the defense for Ladinamo Madrid (the first ruling ever to acknowledge Copyleft) and Sharemula (which confirmed that websites offering links are not infringing any laws). He created and continues to drive Procedimientos Libres (Free Legal Proceedings), whose first legal proceeding was a lawsuit against fees charged on digital media. He is currently engaged in programming Proyecto Kelsen (a framework for managing legal data under AGPL license) and developing Ontología Jurídica Libre (Free Legal Ontology). He is also a professor in the Master’s degree programme on Intellectual Property at EOI Business School and a lecturer. A GNU/Linux user since 1998, he has been a systems manager under that operating system since 2003.
Other active consultants are Arantxa Mendiharat who has been coordinator of DISONANCIAS, a pioneer platform to put into contact international artists with industrial and services organizations in order to develop research projects and AMASTE, an ideas office in Bilbao specialised in combining mediatory, relational and participative processes and devices to promote active thought and a critical spirit in fields such as social innovation, youth matters, culture, entrepreneurship, media literacy and territorial development.
We will also keep working with the experts and collaborators who have participated to the Bank of Common Knowledge project. Some of the collaborators are Heloísa Primavera, founder of the Solidarity Exchange Network in Argentina; Michael Linton, creator of the LETSystems in Canada and an expert in community currencies; Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation; and collectives such as Metareciclagem (Brazil), Telekommunisten (Germany), Constant (Belgium)...
We plan to maintain involvement of all parties by setting up a social network based on Elgg, and by redistributing workshop methodologies to encourage the building of local nodes of Microcréditos CC. The idea is to work on an open R&D basis.
Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".
Microcréditos CC aims to provide a common micro-financing platform for all CC affiliates and CC users. In one word, our mission is to come up with a model for CCrowdfunding. In that sense it should benefit all commoners and entities seeking to protect and invest in digital commons.
Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?
We want to build a standard microfinancing system for fully copyleft-licensed projects, based on the structure of CC and GPL-derived licenses.
-We have set up a mediawiki for the research.
-We'll set up an Elgg social network platform to publish documents and organize working groups.
-We'll be looking at RDF (Resource Description Framework) potential as a framework for metadata and compatibility with CC REL.
-We'll provide a report on the compatibility of Microcréditos CC with CC licenses.
What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?
-Establish some sort of partnership with financial entities in order to reduce the costs of transfers between donors and recipients. To achieve this we will talk to representatives from key Spanish banks, as well as ethical banks and online payment platforms such as PayPal. Banks will hopefully see that our initiative can be beneficial for money transfers on the Internet and the use of online systems like PayPal, still not widely adopted in Spain.
-One of the main challenges is to help consolidate a culture of micro-donations in Spain. Contrary to the tradition in other European countries, donations are not generally promoted as fiscal incentives for citizens or organizations. Providing practical and clear information about this could be essential in generating broad public awareness and economic support for social projects.
-Drawing on valuable projects and avoiding the most uninspiring ideas taking over and discrediting the system. In order to achieve this, we will be holding special calls for social organizations with specific needs and/or problems. This way we can draw in projects that will hopefully generate considerable media impact and an important social repercussion. These events will give shape and color to the kind of projects that will get funded through our system. One of our goals is to partner up with both public and private organizations to support these endeavors.
-The commitment of the borrower to return the micro-donation in quality educational modules.
-Developing a valid evaluation system.
-Finally, a basic challenge is facing the time to reclaim a Citizen Movement for social innovation and community profit!
Each new challenge, improvement or consultancies reports will be shared through workshops involving debate and beta testing with different communities of producers.
How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?
Parallel to our research, we're in the process of creating a creative coop, an entity that would support the project integrating the most active collaborators, which will be in charge of building and managing the future microcréditos CC platform. Future income shall come from providing services and consultancy facilitating cooperation and distributed innovation processes to introduce cultural and economical shifts within organizations such as NGOs, institutions, cooperatives or social businesses. A percentage of the money obtained by partners will go directly into the development of the project.
Lobbying with local admisnitration in Spain is also necessary.
Note that the future of the project does not depend on CC grants exclusively (although the legal research does). Platoniq gets other funds from Catalan government (pending) and the Contemporary Culture Center of Barcelona (CCCB) to partially cover expenses of platoniq daily activities, as well as general communication expenses.
How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?
Microcréditos CC should be compatible with CC licenses and should be of interest for CC producers looking for funds and feeling that money, resources and skills should be shared according to open rules and open standards defined by CC like social CContracts. We will start looking at the validity of the system in Spain, and in a second phase we plan to offer the model we come up with internationally, with a strong focus on South America, where our networks naturally grow faster. To help scaling the impact of the project locally, we've planned to organize Microworkshops (miCCrocamps) along the research process in Madrid (Medialab Prado), Bilbao (Eutokia, a new Center for social innovation with the colaboration of AMASTE) and Barcelona (Contemporary Culture Center of Barcelona-CCCB, a regular partner of Platoniq).
What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?
The CC network is the ideal platform for debating the improvements of the research and to find partners to engage in the development. Involving Creative Commons Spain in the research and the posterior development is of course essential (contact has already been established). Facilitate the compatibility of social CContracts which regulate CC Microcredits with the choice of an appropriate CC license upon credit application. CC licenses are an ideal way to reinforce social responsibility and commitment to the CC mission and the copyleft spirit. For donors, CC licenses are a criterium, a warranty of the recipient's commitment to give back the credit to the commons.
Another desirable goal would be that the CCsearch tool integrates a search criteria like search CC projects financed or produced via CC microcredits. CC could also feature along the possibility to browse CC projects or publish CC projects an optional "CC projects to micro-finance or donate to". That option would be connectable to microcreditos CC projects database.
Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)
Mailing list, sharing experiences and methodologies through our YOUCOOP platform (http://www.youcoop.org), Platoniq's website, social networks, IRC chat, working sessions, free knowledge markets (as part of the Bank of Common Knowledge project)...