Grants/ (Servizio Licenze Libere Lombardia) - Startup of the Lombardy Free/Open Licenses Clinic

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Applicants: lettera27 Foundation
Affiliation: Creative Commons Italia, NEXA Center for Internet & Society at Politecnico di Torino (see endorsement letter)
CC affiliated? Yes
Contact: Iolanda Pensa (lettera27 Foundation)
Coordinator: Iolanda Pensa (lettera27 Foundation)
Project Start: 2010/10/01
Project End: 2011/10/31
Download budget Discussion

Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.

Lo.SeLiLi is a free licenses law clinic based in the Lombardy region (Servizio Licenze Libere Lombardia). The scope of the law clinic (something that differently from the U.S. represents a very recent phenomena in Italy) is to provide with technical informations and legal advice users of Free/Open Licenses (Creative Commons, Gnu-GPL, BSD, Artistic, etc). The project proposed is the startup of Lo.SeLiLi, it is based on the experience accrued by some of the proponents who created and currently run SeLiLi (which is based in the Piedmont region) and it is promoted by lettera27 Foundation. The clinic is meant as a one-stop shop, online based initiative that organizes itself throughout a website and an internal list of “listeners”; the "listeners" are volunteer with an expertise in legal, economic, business and technological field and a short list of renown professionals hired upon a by case bases. During its startup (2010-2011) Lo.SeLiLi will set its local network and it will specifically provide information, advices and tools to 12 cultural institutions based in the Lombardy region.

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).

SeLiLi provides three main outputs:

  1. information (in the most elementary and basic cases) provided through the mailing list
  2. legal, economic and technological advice provided by professionals
  3. online documentation on the project website, based on the information and advices provided (after anonymization) in order to benefit the whole community with the knowledge produced. The online documentation is structured in FAQ, bibliography and samples.

In addition to SeLiLi regular outputs to which Lo.SeLiLi contributes to, Lo.SeLiLi startup project produces two additional specific outcomes:

  1. identification of the Lombardy region working group which is constituted by the Lombardy region Scientific Committee (in charged of monitoring and evaluating Lo.SeLiLi), by the network of experts (the group of volunteers and professional who are involved through the mailing list and who provide advices) and by the institutional network (institutions and stake-holders which support the initiative and which can guarantee its sustainability);
  2. tools designed for cultural institutions; specific FAQ, bibliography, procedures/samples and three micro-videos made available online, which provide basic information and background to allow cultural institutions to adopt free licenses on their archives and on their current documentation (publications, researches, databases, press material, background information, websites). All the tools produced will be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license or CC0. The three microvideos will be produced by the artist and designer Antonio Scarponi and its firm Conceptual Devices; the documentation available for download and for printing will be edited with TOI - Things of Internet, a series of graphic templates which allow to edit instant books, leaflets and postcards on A4 (the templates are already available for free for non commercial use).

Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?

SeLiLi is a user-focussed clinic specifically designed for individuals, non profit organizations and micro-enterprises (less than 15 employees) that wish to implement a strategy of knowledge sharing and openness in their activity. The clinic provides support in particular to those who are known not to be able to access specific legal (or technical) advice - usually for economic constraints -, and for such reason they sometimes give up their initiatives, or even if they don't, they switch to not-that-open projects. SeLiLi favors 2 main types of participants. Those who seek general information on how to use Creative Commons and FLOSS licenses for their activity, who usually seeks for an “informative” answer, i.e. an answer that explains them how the terms of copyright, licenses, protection of the work, royalties, collecting societies, governments stamp-fees (aka bollini SIAE, an Italian peculiarity), and similar issues affect the use of Creative Commons, or other FLOSS licenses. On the other side the clinic, thanks to its interdisciplinary nature, provides support to those requesters whose case is particularly complex for the overlapping of many different areas of law or disciplines, or because represents a not-yet explored problem, or because it implies to negotiate complicated terms with some publishing or editing house. Lo.SeLiLi reinforces the SeLiLi service: it contributes to its shared tools (mailing list, FAQ, online documentation) and it specifically targets users based in the Lombardy region, one of the most productive areas in />

What is your relationship with the community you are targeting? Why are you the best individual/organization to lead this project? Do you have prior experience in related projects?

The project is promoted by lettera27 Foundation with the endorsement of SeLiLi, Creative Commons Italia and the NEXA Center for Internet & Society. lettera27 is based in the Lombardy region and its mission is to promote literacy and education. lettera27 supports access to knowledge and knowledge sharing and it asks its partners and grant-seekers to adopt open licenses. Through its project WikiAfrica since 2006, lettera27 has been inviting communities, institutions and individuals to contribute to Wikipedia and to adopt compatible licenses. At the moment lettera27 is already in contact with cultural institutions based in the Lombardy Region for its project WikiAfrica Milan (2011, pending); WikiAfrica Milan is a yearly training on content-based communication and the use of copyleft. To implement WikiAfrica Milan lettera27 got in contact with SeLiLi, Creative Commons Italia and NEXA Center for Internet & Society; from this first link, the organizations decided to promote a specific service in the Lombardy Region: Lo.SeLiLi. The operation manager of the existing SeLiLi project (operating mainly in Piedmont) and the managing director of the NEXA Center followed the drafting process of this proposal and provided feedback. Hence, the project brings together a focus on the territory, expertise on the Italian "Open" scenario (Creative Commons, FLOSS, SeLiLi, etc) and a network of young and active professionals and/or academics who are committed with the same objectives (many of the people involved in SeLiLi, Creative Commons and NEXA Center, individually and/or in connection with the initiatives we coordinate, have become reference points on the Italian landscape in the field of information based social and economic initiatives).

How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?

The startup of Lo.SeLiLi will be evaluate through three meetings (January, June and October 2011). The first meeting evaluates the networking phase (Scientific Committee, number of experts involved, feedback from the institutional network); the second meeting evaluates the service and the documentation produced (feedback collected by the coordinator from the participants and the network, number of requests, quality of the FAQ and online documentation); the third and last meeting plan the follow up of Lo.SeLiLi (institutional network and financial plan). Statistics from the service (mailing list, websites, download) will provide quantitative data.

How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?

At the moment SeLiLi involves a Scientific Committee, a network of experts and a network of institutions (NEXA Center for Internet & Society with its link with research centers and universities, and Piedmont Region); during its first year, SeLiLi produced around 30 assessments, the second year 40, and the third year around 60. Lo.SeLiLi is conceived by a working group of 3 people and it is designed to enlarge the number of participants by involving a local Scientific Committee (3 people), a network of experts based in the Lombardy region (8-10 people) and an institutional network (3 institutions: public and private grant providers and a research centre); the networking phase will take place between October 2010 and January 2011. During its startup Lo.SeLiLi will provide around 25 assessments between January and September 2011 and it will specifically serve 12 institutions based in the Lombardy region. The institutions will be invited to benefit from the clinic (information, consultancy, communication tools), to evaluate it and to contribute to design its structure in the most pertinent way for the Lombardy region. In January 2011 the institutions will be selected, among them there are Cariplo Foundation (with more than 1.000 supported institutions per year based in the Lombardy region) and 10 cultural institutions (museums, archives, libraries, cultural centers, festivals and non profit organizations). Also lettera27 Foundation and its partners (based in Italy, South Africa, Senegal and Cameroon) will benefit from the clinic and contribute to it.

Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".

Lo.SeLiLi facilitates the usage of the tools developed by Creative Commons and allows artists, musicians, writers, video makers, associations, non profit organizations and public administrations that are interested in (or sometimes have never heard about) using open licensing to achieve their goals. Creative Commons has an “institutional failure”: it is not a law firm. Of course it couldn't be differently. Through our clinic and the two main “products” offered - informations and professional advices - we are sure (and partially we have already demonstrated) that we can help Creative Commons in increasing the amount of creativity in “the 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?

Dealing with "free licenses" requires many different expertise in the fields of law, economics, technology, businesses and on how individuals and associated entities operates. SeLiLi and Lo.SeLiLi bring together lawyers, economists, business managers, computer scientists, organizations and operations managers.

What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?

  • In order to facilitate the usage of the tools developed by Creative Commons is fundamental to create a common cultural and socio-economic background where both non-profit and entrepreneurial players understand the potential of such instruments (read: new business methods, now forms of production that favor innovation and sharing, etc). Many times it is not easy to explain CC and how it works in terms of investments return. Lo.SeLiLi responds to this challenge with a clinic user-focussed and well-roothed in the local context. The clinic addresses specific requests, it looks for a common language through discussion and exchange, and it creates a new and productive environment. The online documentation, the FAQ and the communication tools (such as the micro-videos) multiply the translations.
  • The concept of Law clinic is still a very recent and less known one on the Italian landscape, so also under this point of view our project places itself at the forefront of socio-economic participative development, with all the difficulties connected.
  • In Italy the legal profession of lawyers is based on strict professional and deontological rules that forbid for example to advertise one's own activity or to seek for clients ("procacciamento di clienti"). Violation of those rules might cause the radiation from the bar. In our case, thanks to the experience accrued with the SeLiLi project and thanks to the regional dimension of Lo.SeLiLi, we have protocols that will prevent the existence of frictions generated by our activity.

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?

SeLiLi is a strongly volunteer-based service, with a light infrastructure. Lo.SeLiLi relies on common resources shared with SeLiLi (website, mailing list, existing network) and it needs a specific budget for a coordinator and for professional advices. Lo.SeLiLi startup (2010-2011) is conceived to create a sustainable local clinic, user-focussed and well-connected with the territory. The startup allows the clinic to set its structure and network (it's very important that Lo.SeLiLi is connected with an university or a research center based in the Lombardy region), to produce specific outcomes, to apply for local fundings (Lombardy Region, public fundings and private foundations) and to plan its follow up. Creating regional clinics allows SeLiLi to reach a wider audience and to multiply access to local fundings.

How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?

Lo.SeLiLi is conceived as an extension of SeLiLi clinic (administrative scalability). The project is launched with a startup phase (2010-2011) which allows the local clinic to define its specificity according to the needs and potentialities of the territory. At the end of the startup the working group and the network of Lo.SeLiLi will decide how the service will continue (load scalability): Lo.SeLiLi can become an independent structure federated with SeLiLi (growth and expansion) or it can simply enrich the network and resources of SeLiLi itself. Thanks to the involvement of different organizations with different missions, Lo.SeLiLi during its startup will produce specific information, advices and tools which reinforce the work of each organization involved and provide new tools offered by SeLiLi (functional scalability). The production of online documentation, FAQ and micro-videos from this experience will facilitate the replication of the experience in other geographic areas and contexts (geographic scalability); the implementation of those tools in Italy is an objective of SeLiLi; lettera27, through its project WikiAfrica, is particularly interested in translating the tools to benefit a wide range of institutions worldwide which can contribute to its project and it is specifically interested in providing those tools to institutions based in Sub-Saharan Africa.

What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?

The grant provided by Creative Commons is very important to allow the startup of an independent, efficient and collaborative project. It is essential that Lo.SeLiLi is disconnected from the local administrators and politicians at least during its first year, when the framing of the project is so important and it needs to be free to operate from any external pressure.

Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)

SeLiLi is supported by a network of lawyers, economists, business managers, computer scientists, research centres and universities and it communicates with them through email, mailing lists, websites, meetings, conference-calls, video, posters and conferences. lettera27 Foundation is involved in several communication initiatives which aim at promoting awareness, addressing communities and encouraging debate: conferences at Festivaletteratura (major literature festival in Italy, 70.000 visitors), a campaign on public transports (Luoghi Comuni, 4 editions), communication material distributed during art, cinema and literature festivals in Burkina Faso, Italy, Germany, USA, SouthAfrica and Zanzibar. lettera27 also benefits from Moleskine support through its projects Detour and myDetour.