"Create your own culture" <--I want to use this as a tagline
Create Communicate Collaborate
The goal of the C3 campaign is to create a pool of student-created, student-distributed content, which all are free to build upon and share, and to create global and local community around this free culture.
Many people think of creativity as something that is done by people far away, in Hollywood, in Nashville, in Silicon Valley. It doesn't have to be that way. What's changed?
In a word: everything.
Digital technology allows anyone -- from a college student in Dubuque to a businessman in New York to a filmmaker in Dublin -- to create new culture and release it to the world at virtually no cost. Every "consumer" has the potential to become a creator. Digital recording equipment allows you to create professional-quality sounds in your basement - sounds that once required multi-million-dollar recording studios. Digital technology is democratizing this creative power; with programs like Garageband anyone can join in, anyone can create their own culture. If you were making a car, you would need a huge factory, an assembly line, tons of raw materials and hundreds of workers. But in the digital age, you can build innovative products (in the form of software) that can transform society using only a normal desktop computer. Every computer owner has a software factory on their desktop.
This low barrier to entry gives us the ability to create extremely local media sources and creative projects, but it also gives us the ability to get help from all around the world, to have global barnraisings.
[I'm going to need some fact-checking here
For instance, Microsoft often doesn't bother to translate Word into languages which don't have enough market share to make it "worth their while." Unfortunately, because it is closed, proprietary software, the local people who use that language cannot change it to fit their needs. The open source alternative to Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, is different. In February 2002, when the Hungarians wanted an office suite in their native language, they organized a nonstop 3 days long translation party for OpenOffice.org. They got together a bunch of people at a Hungarian university, gave them a lot of pizza, and with the help of Hungarian speakers around the world, they translated the whole user interface to Hungarian.
Our global community can make our local communities stronger. By leveraging this open office suite, the result of the labors of hundreds of people from around the world, the Hungarians were able to create something useful and powerful for their local community.
Not only is it easier and cheaper to create than ever before, it is cheaper and easier to communicate and share. It costs a lot of money to purchase and operate a printing press, or a TV station or radio station. Besides, there are limits to how many TV or radio stations there can be. On the Internet, anyone with a website can have their own newspaper, their own radio or TV station, and they can reach anyone who is online anywhere in the world. You will still have to pay for bandwidth, and as you use higher bandwidth media, such as sound and audio, your costs will increase dramatically.
However, if you use peer-to-peer technology, if you leverage your fanbase and let your audience help you distribute your art/media, then you can avoid those costs -- you can reach the entire world with your message for almost no money at all.
Finally, if you license your work freely, you then allow people to stand upon your shoulders, to build upon the foundations that you have laid, to study what you have done and disseminate your knowledge. Creative Commons is an easy and powerful tool that will help us lay the foundations for our own free, collaborative culture working inside of the locked-down, permission culture. [explain CC for the benefit of print publication] CreativeCommons.org is the definitive site for copyleft licensing. Their mission is to "expanding the range of creative work available for others to build upon and share." Their website will tell you about how you can benefit from licensing your work under Creative Commons, wether you are a musician, photographer or illustrator, writer or blogger, filmmaker, educator or scholar. They will guide you through the steps of creating your own personally tailored license, where you can pick and choose the freedoms you want people to have with your work: distribution with attribution, modification and derivation, commerical use, or some limited combination of the above. Their site gives you the tools to design this license in plain English -- they provide the lawyer jargon. Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization which offers copyright licenses free of charge, for those who want to open their work in the digital commons while still retaining ownership. The CC slogan is "Some Rights Reserved". You can learn more about it at CreativeCommons.org.
[The problem with what you've written is that it requires too much unpacking. What is copyleft? I think that a simplified version that doesn't go into the details of what Creative Commons is, but a simpler summary of what it does for the purposes of the project is what we need]
As CreativeCommons.org so powerfully puts it, if permission has been granted ahead of time to build upon and reuse work, you can collaborate across space and time with people that you've never met. However, this is not a complete picture of a free culture: it treats the work as separate from its creators, when what makes open source software powerful is the community built around it, the culture that understands and supports it. It is the same thing when you're talking about free culture in a broader sense.
(We need to build a community around this alternative method of creation)
A huge problem that we face in our society is that there is a division between the culture that we are free to build upon and the culture that has meaning for us, that has mindshare. Many of the most powerful cultural icons of the modern day, such as Mickey Mouse or Barbie, are owned by corporations, who will try to sue out of existence any artist that criticizes them, uses them to critique the world around us or simply to tell new stories. (We've won some battles, as we celebrated with our BarbieinaBlender.org project, but that's only because we're building a movement to fight these battles.) Communication depends on shared meaning, and if we cannot communicate using the cultural artifacts that have the most meaning for us, that's a problem.
(The trick is, how can we make independent, copylefted art meaningful to large sections of the population? How can we make free culture into our shared, common culture? partially by leveraging the public domain, but partially by using the power of localness and connectedness to connect people with Free Art)
Ideally, what we would like is for the art and culture that has the most meaning for us as a civilization to be free for us to build upon. To some extent, we already have this, in the form of the public domain. However, because of the recent dramatic extensions of the length of the copyright term, the public domain has receded into the past and begun to fade from relevancy.