Creative Business in the Digital Era

I’m really excited to be able to announce a new project that I’m working on with the Open Rights Group, in partnership with 01Zero-One and funded by the London Development Agency. Creative Business in the Digital Era is a research project examining the different ways in which artists and businesses are innovating around open intellectual property.

Increasingly, we are seeing publishers releasing books simultaneously under Creative Commons license and in print. Authors such as Cory Doctorow and Lawrence Lessig, who blazed this particular trail, are now being followed by many other people willing to experiment.

But it’s not just authors and publishers who are innovating around open IP. Musicians are also seeing the value of getting their music in front of their fans immediately upon release. Record labels such as Magnatune been letting fans download music for free for a long time, but now it’s spreading to the mainstream: Radiohead are giving away their album In Rainbows, and letting the fans decide how much to pay, if anything.

And software companies are also realising just how powerful it is for them to release data via an API, Google Maps being an excellent example of how giving away data enables third-party applications to be developed, with commercial operations licensing the data and non-commercial mash-ups using it for free.

I must admit I’m very excited by this project. So often we talk about how Creative Commons licensing can help businesses and artists alike to flourish, but it’s sometimes difficult to come up with good solid examples. This project is focused on finding and documenting examples of real world innovation, and will culminate in a day-long course and two evening courses to be held in March 2008. In the finest collaborative tradition, we’re doing all the work out in the open so anyone can join up on the wiki and contribute. We really need the help too: the timescale for getting this done is alarmingly short as we need to have all of the material written by February 2008. If you want to help please just jump in!

If you want to keep abreast of what we are doing then there we have a blog and a Twitter stream. And if you see any articles that you think might be relevant, please tag them with ‘org-cbde’ in