Creative Commons Iceland is still in its infancy. The initial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed around December 1, 2009 by Tryggvi Björgvinsson, on behalf of the Icelandic Society for Digital Freedoms, and Þórður S. Gunnarsson, on behalf of the University of Reykjavík School of Law. Since then things have progressed with some difficulty but still in the right direction. The jurisdiction's legal lead, Harald Gunnar Halldórsson, had to step down because of personal reasons and the project has had some difficulty finding an adequate legal lead to replace Harald Gunnar.
CC Iceland has focused on publicity in the year since the initial MOU signing and getting some local projects and people to learn about Creative Commons and use Creative Commons for their cultural and creative works. This in turn creates a need for a local port of Creative Commons licenses and engages more people to help, support and work on CC Iceland.
CC Iceland participated in the Cloudberry project workshop in Gothenburg (organized by Jonas Öberg) where artists from all of the Nordic countries (which CC Iceland relates to due to the legal proximity of the countries) met and discussed how to advocate and "market" Creative Commons in the Nordic countries. At the same workshop project leads from Creative Commons Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland met. Four Icelandic artists participated in the project and all of them got engaged in Creative Commons.
The language plaza (Tungumálatorg), a web site dedicated to education of Icelandic abroad and helping foreigners adapt to Iceland, was opened on November 16 by a group of teachers with support from the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture. The language plaza decided to advocate and enforce the use of Creative Commons for all creative works on the language plaza.
The resulting datasets from a citizens's forum with a thousand participants deliberating on the future of the Icelandic constitution were made available under a Creative Commons license. This is the second time such a citizens forum - called a national assembly locally - generates such freely available datasets consisting of aggregated statistical data showing the range and variety of the opinions of the Icelandic people.
We have created a genuine need for Creative Commons in Iceland and we have engaged a group of artists and teachers to participate and advocate Creative Commons. In addition we have started work on creativecommons.is with the goal of creating a commons which all Icelandic Creative Commoners can use to promote and advocate Creative Commons in Iceland.
Our vision is to continue to grow the need for Creative Commons in Iceland, to continue to educate Icelanders and promote the use of Creative Commons for Icelandic creativity. We believe that with the need we'll be able to find a new legal lead who will be as interested in seeing CC Iceland grow as we do.
The CC Iceland community is relatively large. We have digital freedom activists who are interested in using and promoting free culture in Iceland through the use of Creative Commons. We have a few artists who are interested and engaged in Creative Commons and experimenting and contemplating how they can use the licenses for their projects and how to further advance knowledge about free culture within the Icelandic artistic community. We then have teachers who are learning about the importance of Creative Commons for education and are starting to use Creative Commons for their creative works and starting to reap the benefits.
In 2011 we want to shift some focus to lawyers and introduce them to this new look at how to increase and foster creativity. First we want to finish our web site in order to have a good and found base for our arguments. We plan on finishing the web site early December 2011 and launch the website officially around Creative Commons' anniversary 2010.
We also plan to have a Cloudberry workshop in Iceland in February 2011 and organize a larger artistic event around the workshop where the local artists will engage other diverse Icelandic artists to participate in a large collaborative art project. We have high hopes for the Cloudberry workshop and the co-located artistic event.
It is self-evident that an enthusiastic legal lead is necessary for the porting and advancement of CC Iceland. A legal lead is necessary for CC Iceland which in turn will benefit all Icelanders, especially Icelandic creators, and the global Creative Commons network as well. The ideal legal lead will be an engaged individual ready to take on the responsibility. To achieve this we need to reach out to interested lawyers and the artists who participated in the Cloudberry workshop have expressed interest in helping CC Iceland find the legal lead. Since we want the right individual we cannot promise to have found a responsible person willing to be a legal lead by a specific date but we wish and hope we will have found someone by end of spring 2011. The public project lead, Tryggvi Björgvinsson, is responsible for finding a new legal lead.
The overall goal for 2011 will be to port the CC licenses to the Icelandic environment. We have created the need so it is of extreme importance to continue our work and finish the porting of the licenses. This will in turn benefit Iceland as a whole and the global Creative Commons network. In the end we will have fully ported licenses to the Icelandic legal environment, translations of human-readable texts and other products necessary for community-wide adoption and use. We plan to start porting the licenses as soon as we have found a new legal lead but we want to finish before December 2011. The public project lead and the new legal lead will be responsible for the license porting.
Furthering public awareness about free culture and the benefit of free content for the sake of society is important. The Icelandic society as a whole will benefit from more awareness about free culture and more free content. We will achieve this to some extent with a project website, creativecommons.is, via the Cloudberry workshop and the co-located event, through other public events and release of more Icelandic works under Creative Commons that will take place and be released when opportunity arises. Creativecommons.is will be launched mid-December 2010, and the Cloudberry workshop and the co-located artistic event will take place in February. The public project lead, Tryggvi Björgvinsson, is responsible for the project as a whole, as is the future legal lead but to advance CC Iceland Smári McCarthy, the local artists who participate in the Cloudberry project, and others will all work together to reach out and engage more people to participate in a free, Icelandic culture.
Currently, CC Iceland is very unstable and, as explained earlier, still in its infancy. We have had some troubles during the one year since we signed the MOU. The biggest problem CC Iceland is facing is the current lack of a legal lead and the lack of ported licenses. We plan to find and establish a sound and firm ground for the CC Iceland before we can start thinking about its sustainability and scalability.
We will of course try to ensure that CC Iceland will have a sustainable and scalable future and our first step is to create creativecommons.is, a cyberspace home for the projects where we can inform our community of our progress and our setbacks. Creativecommons.is will also serve as the projects central documentation repository (via a blog).
Iceland will surely benefit for other Nordic jurisdictions and has engaged in a communications with other project leads on how to further advance CC Iceland. We plan on working with the other Nordic jurisdictions mainly through the Cloudberry project. We hope that we will be able to learn from those jurisdictions as we need some sort of mentoring from the Nordic countries while we are still charting the territory.
The Cloudberry project is a regional outreach program in the Nordic countries organized primarily by FFKP (Föreningen fri kultur- och programvara) with Jonas Öberg as the main lead. Each country has a Cloudberry project lead, for Iceland this is Smári McCarthy. The first Cloudberry workshop, titled "Some rights reserved for nordic artists", was held in Göteborg, Sweden, 4. November 2010, and will be followed up by similar workshops in Reykjavík, Iceland, and Torshavn, Forøyjar, in early 2011.
For the Reykjavík workshop we intend to organize a larger free culture event to try and raise awareness about free culture in general and Creative Commons in particular. This event will be organized in collaboration with other participants of the Cloudberry project and local artists in Iceland.
The collecting societies in Iceland are organized in such a way that they have a common fund into which royalties and other fees are pooled. Currently, in Iceland like many other countries, participation in collecting societies is semi-mandatory in the sense that dues are collected regardless of the level of participation or consent of the artists.
To this end the Icelandic Digital Freedoms Society has been interested in the possibility of applying for membership in the collecting fund, as a representative of the free culture movement. Funds accumulated through this fund could be used to organize workshops, create educational material, and fund legal activities aimed at reducing the lock-in to the collecting societies system. This would serve as the first step towards unraveling the mandatory royalties system in Iceland.
This approach will be built upon the success in Denmark, where acceptable contracts have been made to this end. We will be in close collaboration with our Danish counterparts in the implementation of this project, and we are also supported by a local alternative record label which has shown much interest in Creative Commons and the proliferation of free culture.
While the project is still growing we plan to be in close contact with other Nordic jurisdictions for advice on how to best approach CC Iceland, and what steps to take in the future. We will seek guidance and help through extra-curricular activity at the Cloudberry workshops where CC Iceland can talk and engage directly with other Nordic Public Project Leads. Their vision and their advice will help us focus, further and establish a future for CC Iceland.
For information we plan to translate all of the licenses to Icelandic.