Last night we kicked off the openeverything focus series, a Berliner initiative to explore and promote “openness” in a range of fields and applications. About 30 guests joined us in christening oefb, which willl be held regularly every fourth Thursday of the month in newthinking store.
Jonathan Gray (UK) from the Open Knowledge Foundation wowed us with the depth and breadth of his organization’s work, a non-profit championing open knowledge from “sonnets to statistics, genes to geodata”. OKFN excels in demonstrating how information, when licensed openly, can be remixed in unexpected and stunning ways. My favorite was the sculpture of crime statistics, but Jonathan also mentioned the great visualization work of OKFN board member Hans Rosling and the UK’s impressive neighborhood watch system FixMyStreet, as prime examples of mashable data sets.
OKFN is also generating public domain calculators designed to tell you in a mouse-click the copyright status of a particular work. These calculators are based on simple flow charts provided by legal experts in various jurisdictions. Jonathan told me all they need is a skeleton of the legal structure scribbled on a napkin, and OKFN will build the code around it. So if you’d like to get involved, join the list!
Sebastian Moleski also took the stage to tell us about the unprecedented 100,000 image donation from the German Federal Archive to Wikimedia Commons, which marked the largest contribution to the Commons to date. The photos are truly breathtaking, varying from not-so-ordinary street scenes to famous German sights and figures. All of the photos are high quality and licensed under a CC BY SA 3.0 Germany license.
We summed up the evening by announcing the fusion of oefb and the CC Salon Berlin. As was discussed, a lot of high-profile adopters are opening up their content and platforms, like Al Jazeera, whitehouse.gov, and YouTube. And some in cases, these works have monetized in unprecedented ways; Amazon.com reports that NIN’s Ghosts I-IV beat out chart-toppers Coldplay and Death Cab for Cutie for the best selling mp3 album in 2008…and you could have downloaded the whole thing for free.
So there was a lot to ponder and a lot to celebrate at the first openeverything focus + CC Salon. Come join us for the next one on March 26 in newthinking store, where we’ll be talking about Open Design.
To conclude, I’d like to give a shoutout to the fabulous people behind openeverything in Berlin; thanks for *everything*! Andrea Goetzke, Martin Schmidt, Christine Kolbe, Linda Löser, Cecilia Palmer, Nicole Ebber, Kai Uhlemeyer, and newthinking for always giving us a place meet!
Image: “Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1987-0704-077, Berlin, 750-Jahr-Feier, Festumzug, Computer“by Thomas Uhlemann, made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License by the Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive), Bild 183-1987-0704-077