Helen Turvey

Seeking Harmony Leadership

Posted in Uncategorized by Helen Turvey on July 21, 2011

Harmony 2.0 Leadership

As part of the Shuttleworth Foundation focus on open content, collaboration and copyright law, we are seeking a steward for the Harmony agreements and leader for the process of expanding their coverage of jurisdictions and types of content.

The digital commons are increasingly important – whether in the form of open source software or wikipedia or music / literature content licensed freely, or open access to knowledge and citizen cyberscience.

Much effort has been spent on the legal copyright licensing frameworks for publishing that material: the Creative Commons licenses, for example, and the work around GPLv3. Much less work has been done on the legal underpinnings for contributions: the legal frameworks by which content from different sources can be combined in the first place.

This represents a weakness and potential friction in the growth of collaboratively produced works. We need confidence that a work assembled out of contributions from different countries and different employers will stand up under international legal scrutiny, and behave in a predictable fashion. Projects that are keen to embrace collaborative development and contributions from “outside” need certainty about the options available to them, and the consequences each path might take.

So-called “inbound licensing” and “copyright assignment” agreements was for a long time simply absent or implicit. Projects often lump together code and content from different sources under a common license without any rigorous framework. In some cases, inbound licenses exist but they are ad-hoc efforts, created project by project.

Recently, the Harmony Project set about reviewing common legal agreements and practices for inbound licensing, to produce a standardised set of legal language covering inbound contributions which also reflects some of the range of approaches, much as the Creative Commons includes a range of parameters that codify different approaches to outbound licensing of open content.

The fruits of the work done by the Harmony group, representing many individuals, projects and companies, are now available as a “1.0” set of legal agreements. They enable organisations to accept contributions either as donations or under “wide license”, and provide a range of flexibility to the organisation as to what they can do with those contributions and which licenses they can in turn publish them under.

Those Harmony 1.0 licenses are a good first effort, covering contributions from the US, UK and compatible jurisdictions. But we know that the field of copyright law is fragmented and diverse, and that other jurisdictions likely have widely divergent perspectives on language that would be legally rigorous for contributions from from, or to, those jurisdictions.

We are seeking a leader for the work needed to expand the scope of Harmony agreements to cover more international jurisdictions, and to refine the concepts and language of Harmony to reflect feedback and experiences gained by those projects which adopt Harmony in the coming months. The person will be a steward of Harmony licensing, with a specific focus on international copyright law and the mechanisms by which collaboration between contributors from diverse jurisdictions can be put on a sound legal footing.

In addition to improvements in the language used between projects and contributors, we are also seeking to establish a framework and network of intermediaries that would act as a conduit for content to flow between jurisdictions. It is envisaged that we would establish a clearing network system, with formal relationships between intermediaries, projects and contributors, which would use agency as a mechanism for brokering the licensing or assignment of content from contributors to projects.

In addition to copyright, such intermediaries and agencies may also play a role in managing the legal risks inherent in copyright ownership, publication and contribution. For example, the risk that code contributed by an independent developer may inadvertently attract the risk of a patent infringement suit in a different jurisdiction. Such risks might warrant the involvement of insurers, and the Fellow would explore the relationship between insurance, risk management and the legal frameworks being developed by Harmony.

Fellowships at the Shuttleworth Foundation
The Foundation supports visionaries and change agents in civil society and academia through single-year renewable grants that cover their own needs as well as a mechanism to amplify their personal investments in programs, projects or initiatives.

Interested?  Contact me directly – or via: fellowships (@) shuttleworthfoundation.org

June – summer reporting

Posted in Uncategorized by Helen Turvey on July 11, 2011

This month ended with our biannual ‘Gathering’.  As we are based around the world, we all (active and non active Fellows) get together every 6 months to:

  • To share and to learn
  • To collaborate and grow stronger
  • To analyse and amend
  • To speak and to solve
  • To plan and to ponder

This Gathering was fabulously hosted by Francois, who took us to CERN, where we learnt a that we all basically knew nothing about how the world is put together – or indeed our purpose on it.  So please expect some silliness in further reading and in the pictures at the end of the post!

Citizen Cyberscience

For Francois, the entrée consisted of the launch of a series of geotagging experiments in collaboration with UNOSAT, aimed at exploring how well volunteers could match images of destruction in Libya to points on a map of the country. This represents a breakthrough in the CCC relationship with UNOSAT, as we have found a project that could be really useful for their clients, who can use the images to better assess damage on the ground.

The amuse-bouche was recording my pitch for a second year as a Shuttleworth Fellow from the back of  a taxi in the Beijing rush hour. Again and again and again and again.

The pièce de resistance was hosting the Shuttleworth Fellow gathering at CERN. It was a combination of French food, Swiss food and Dog food in large quantities – with a smattering of antimatter and some hadron sauce. The highlights for me included testing out P2PU for citizen cyberscience, and role playing to explore the challenges of protecting indigenous people’s biorights.

The plat de fromages included a slice of the Open Access Initiative workshop, where I spoke about Citizen Cyberscience, a sliver of time with the projects board of the Open Society Foundations, which will hopefully lead to some concrete projects, and a dash to London to plan the next London Citizen Cyberscience Summit with colleagues at UCL, King’s and Imperial, for February 2012.

The dessert was running a panel with Rufus on Open Science at the OKCon in Berlin and a one-day hackfest/workshop just prior to the conference. Both events exceeded expectations both in the number of participants, the work we got done and the new contacts and projects that were established during an intense few days. It was a very sweet experience!

Open & Collaborative Resources

As it is that time of year – Philipp also did his Fellowship Reapplication – Blog post about the last year is online, and the video on vimeo.

OKCon – Gave a presentation about “Hacking Education” (and P2PU) and together with other P2PU volunteers ran the P2PU workshop. Focus of the workshop was the creation of:
More Schools — School of Open Data (with OKFN/RP) and School of Citizen Cyberscience (with CCC/FG) are officially under development. Very excited to start working in these two areas – and do so with other fellows.

Building the Org – More interviews and discussion with the lawyers how to hire staff. Also getting ready to bring on three new people on in July/ August and a lot of the organizational groundwork has to be put in place. Also started working on book-keeping / financial set-up with Karen (CFO, Shuttleworth Foundation).

Gathering — I loved how every time I thought I couldn’t possible eat another bite of cheese fondue, Rufus would pass me the Raclette spatula. I strongly suspect that I sat next to a future nobel prize winner during at least one of the lunches. Probably the last one. By the way, rumors that I ordered cheese fondue again at the OSI dinner are entirely true. Thanks for organizing FG!

Highlights for Mark include:

1. New Siyavula identity created
2. New website, siyavula.com, launched which more accurately reflects what we do than the old one.
3. 3 Grade 10 textbooks were submitted for review for inclusion on the national catalogue, Mathematics, Physical Science and Wiskunde.

For Kathi:

  • Open Repositories SWORD Workshop: Met with the SWORD technical team to learn more about the second version of SWORD to make sure it would work for the OER Publishing API. Decided to use SWORD for the publishing API. The full reasoning is published in two blog entries: here  and here.
  • Publishing Clients: Continued investigation into clients that will use the SWORD service, including two translation clients and one word processing document uploader. More info here.
  • The Gathering: Met everyone, was given the idea for a WordPress plugin to publish OER, and fell for CERN.
  • Sprinting in Cape Town: The goal of the sprint was to learn about SWORD (the publishing API), start a generic implementation of a SWORD service for Plone, and get a couple of clients off the ground. We had 7 participants and even got started on the WordPress (or more generically, blog) plugin for publishing OER. More info here:

Access to knowledge

Kabir was also focussed internally with:

1) A number of strategy meetings to develop strategy documents for the way forward for the organization through 2011 and 2012
2) Presentations on community protocols at the 2 day meeting on Economic Justice organized by OSISA
3) Acted as the legal advisor to the African countries at the 1st meeting of the Inter-governmental Committee on the Nagoya Protocol in Montreal
4) Legal advise to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on reviewing the South African IP Amendment Bill

Open data

Rufus held an Open Data Event and Workshop in Bulgaria <http://blog.okfn.org/2011/06/07/open-data-workshop-and-opencamp-in-sofia-bulgaria-4-5-june/> and also an Open Gov Data Conference in Vienna – included a 1-day CKAN workshop and semantic web meetup the evening before.

It was also the month for OKCon – <http://okcon.org/2011/after>  – which is the annual event hosted by the Open Knowledge Foundation.  “OKCon is a wide-ranging conference that brings together individuals and organizations from across the open knowledge spectrum for two days of presentations, workshops and exchange of ideas.”

Youth publishing

Gavin spent this month signing off  research and spending time out in the field with the agency, talking directly to target audience and starting to unpack issues around youth unemployment and disenfranchisement in SA townships.

Work was also done, conceiving and working up the Ikamva Live one-week magazine sprint: another opportunity for immersion and road-testing aspects of Live Magazine with a group of township teenagers – to be completed and sent to print in early July.

He is super excited about the Google-powered mobile learning idea beginning to emerge and take shape, with positive early conversations with Google and other potential collaborators.  Lastly,the Gathering: meeting, presenting to – and being presented to by – the other Fellows and SF team. Great pleasure and honour to spend the week at CERN with everyone, (but sad to have missed the raclette – die to Chilean ash clouds!).


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