Phillip Smith

Copyright and creativity: bringing two worlds together

CopyCamp<p>For the past few weeks, I’ve been excited to announce what is sure to be one of the most dynamic conversations about copyright this year. Planning for the event really got under way in June, with the addition of several new team members, and has been racing forward at a break neck speed every since. With only six weeks to go until the event, we’re all anxious to get the word out and to get your ideas, suggestions, participant recommendations, and commitments to being there. Here’s the key info:</p>

  • Who will be there: people are confirming their attendance every day and it’s turning out to be an incredible list of people working in the arts, new media and technology, activists, and scholars (and a few beaurucrats). Just a few of the names that I can remember (and am excited about) are: Mark Hosler from Negativland, Michael Geist, and dub poet Lillian Allen.
  • What to expect: The event will merge together the best things from unconferences, Open Space facilitation, and several of the quirkier convening approaches that Misha Glouberman is known for. Expect small groups, hands-on skill shares, unusual formats, inspiring conversations, and something to write home about.
  • When is the event? When is the Wiki going to be online? The event is at the end of September (28th - 30th) and the Wiki should be online in the next two weeks. In addition to the wiki, we’re going to try some pre-event guest blogging and interviews to get the conversation started early.
  • Where is my royalty payment? Yes, indeed, where is it? No, seriously, this event is going to show you where it is — now, and in the years to come — it going to open that conversation up and hold a big magnifying glass in front of it. This event aims to explore the new models of creativity, creation, and compensation in the age of the Internet.
  • Why is this conversation important? Frankly, I was skeptical at first. This is the land of holy wars: copyright vs. copyleft. But Susan Crean is 110% genuine in her commitment to bringing together a diverse group of creators — people working in a variety of mediums, at different stages in their careers, and from different backgrounds — to have an honest, creator-to-creator, conversation about what the future of cultural production and distribution looks like.

So, as you can tell, this all has me very excited. After the (surprising) interest in the last copyright/copyleft event that I volunteered to organize earlier this year, I can only imagine what a serious event like this — with some resources and a bit more time — might achieve.

CopyCamp will take its cue from other unconferences, like FooCamp and BarCamp, and will add in a few elements of traditional (and less traditional) convening. It will be an intentionally hybrid event. And I expect that it will weave together some of Dave Pollard’s insight into “how to unconference” with the quirky magic of events like Trampoline Hall. Many aspects of the event’s format is being developed by veteran host Misha Glouberman, so it’s sure to be fun, chaotic, and to flip the expected on its head (in fact, I’ve already heard reference to a “Twenty Ideas You Didn’t Know You Were Interested in” session).

I was speaking with Misha last Tuesday and, over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to try to get the entire schedule into the Wiki — in a form where participants can have some impact on the actual logistics of the sessions (e.g.,: “Hey! How can you have session X at the same time as session Y? I really want to got to both… so I’m just going to move things around a bit”). All I can say is it’s going to be the most interesting event about copyright, and being a creator in the zero-decade, that I’ve ever been to. And, if you’re in Toronto — or able to make it here — I hope you can be there too.

Have ideas? Please send them directly to the CopyCamp team here.


Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.


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