Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Mimi in her ergopod

I am so proud of my sister Mimi (and her colleagues like danah boyd) today. Her work funded by the MacArthur Foundation was released today and is getting a lot of coverage in the press. It's the result of a three-year study of the the way young people use digital technologies and media and provides rigor in an area that is cluttered with anecdotal and often misguided notions about what kids do and what's good for kids.

The New York Times

Teenagers' Internet Socializing Not a Bad Thing

Good news for worried parents: All those hours their teenagers spend socializing on the Internet are not a bad thing, according to a new study by the MacArthur Foundation.

"It may look as though kids are wasting a lot of time hanging out with new media, whether it's on MySpace or sending instant messages," said Mizuko Ito, lead researcher on the study, "Living and Learning With New Media." "But their participation is giving them the technological skills and literacy they need to succeed in the contemporary world. They're learning how to get along with others, how to manage a public identity, how to create a home page."

You can download the report from the project page. The report is CC licensed of course. ;-)

Tomorrow is the WITNESS Gala and we will be honoring WITNESS' partner Comissão Pastoral da Terra for its work to end slave labor in rural Brazil.

We just met Silvano Lima Rezende at the WITNESS Board Meeting. Silvano will be representing the CPT tomorrow at the Gala.

Here's a video of their work.

Creative Commons Blog

Campaign Exclusive: Custom USB Drives & Unreleased Jonathan Coulton Album

The ever innovative Brooklyn-based singer songwriter Jonathan Coulton has teamed up with Creative Commons to release his greatest hits compilation "JoCo Looks Back" on a 1gb custom Creative Commons jump drive to help support our 2008 campaign. If that weren't enough, JoCo and CC have also included all of the unmixed audio tracks for every song on the drive. That's over 700mb of JoCo thing-a-week goodness. Since all of JoCo's music is released under our Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, this is an incredible opportunity for the public to remix and reuse his fantastic music. Song files are in 320kbps MP3 and unmixed audio tracks are in 256 VBR MP3.

We'll be offering the drives exclusively at our $50 dollar donation level (and above) until December 31st. Also included are a account, an OpenID identity, and a 2008 campaign sticker.

Creative Commons Blog
Commoner Letter #3: Jonathan Coulton


It's hard to overstate the degree to which CC has contributed to my career as a musician. In 2005 I started Thing a Week, a project in which I recorded a new song every week and released it for free on my website and in a podcast feed, licensing everything with Creative Commons. Over the course of that year, my growing audience started to feed back to me things they had created based on my music: videos, artwork, remixes, card games, coloring books. I long ago lost track of this torrent of fan-made stuff, and of course I'll never know how many people simply shared my music with friends, but there's no question in my mind that Creative Commons is a big part of why I'm now able to make a living this way. Indeed, it's where much of my audience comes from - there are some fan-made music videos on YouTube that have been viewed millions of times. That's an enormous amount of exposure to new potential fans, and it costs me exactly zero dollars.

When you're an artist, it's a wonderful thing to hear from a fan who likes what you do. But it's even more thrilling to see that someone was moved enough to make something brand new based on it - that your creative work has inspired someone to do more creative work, that your little song had a child and that child was a YouTube video that a million people watched. A Creative Commons license is like a joy multiplier. The art you create adds to the world whenever someone appreciates it, but you also get karma credit for every new piece of art it inspires. And around and around. This is my favorite thing about Creative Commons: the act of creation becomes not the end, but the beginning of a creative process that links complete strangers together in collaboration. To me it's a deeply satisfying and beautiful vision of what art and culture can be.


Thanks so much for this Jonathan and thanks for all of the great thoughts and kind words in the commoner letter.

Takuma Hatano and Joi
Ambassador Hatano and me

Just finished a trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai to attend and speak at the Electronic Media conference organized by the Higher Colleges of Technology. (Conference program) The request came through Ambassador Hatano and the Japanese Embassy. Thanks for the referral Ambassador!

The host was Sheikh Nahayan, a very popular Sheikh who is the Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology and the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research. They call him the "People's Sheikh" because he has an open door policy where anyone can visit him at his residence without an appointment and meet with him if they're willing to wait. This system reminds me a bit of Edward Hall's P-Time.

The conference was a lot of fun. All of the speakers were really great.

The general themes of the meeting were how the Net was affecting publishing and journalism. We also discussed Arab media and media in the UAE.

While we had some different perspectives of the role of amateurs in journalism, there was much more agreement considering the diversity of positions represented. We had wide spectrum of traditional journalists and publishers. The discussion was more constructive than any I've had recently with such a diverse group and we really focused on the mechanics and metrics of various business models for the future of journalism. One great example was Vidar Meisingseth's presentation about VG News Portal, a Norwegian news site that gets a huge percentage of its revenue from online and a substantial amount of news from amateur photographers and "tips" that come in via SMS, phone and email.

Alexandra Pringle, the Editor in Chief of Bloomsbury talked about the book publishing business and mentioned Bloomsbury Academic that Frances Pinter is running which will have Creative Commons licensed books available for download with print on demand for those who want to buy a printed version. They will be publishing Lessig's Remix in May.

We discussed the topic of censorship although it wasn't on the program. Many of the visiting speakers talked about the importance of freedom of speech. There was a very interesting comment from a student in the audience who said she had discussed this with her other friends there and represented their view. She said that often foreigners come to the UAE and criticize online censorship, but that she thought it was fine. She said that most of the citizens respected the rulers and that blocking certain sites was not necessarily a bad thing. Citizens of Abu Dhabi represent only 20% of the population or so. It would be interesting to find out what the rest of the population thinks.

According to the Access Denied report on the UAE: "The government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) pervasively filters Web sites that contain pornography or relate to alcohol and drug use, gay and lesbian issues, or online dating or gambling. Web-based applications and religious and political sites are also filtered, though less extensively. Additionally, legal controls limit free expression and behavior, restricting political discourse and dissent online." If you look at the chart on the page, it looks like the social stuff is the focus of the censorship however.

One thing that I've found in my limited travels in Jordan and the UAE is that there is quite a diversity of positions among the young people with respect to social and religious practices. Samr Husain Al Marzouqi explained how he worked very hard at MTV to make it cool but still respectful of the various positions including those kids who adhere to somewhat conservative beliefs.

I talked about a number of topics including amateur vs professional, Creative Commons, blogs, micro-blogging, mobile and the need to allow people to use video remix as a form of political expression. I talked a bit about the success that the Communist Party of Japan have been having using Nico Nico Douga. (Takeshi Natsuno talked about this at the DG New Context Conference. There is a good article by Chris Salzberg on Global Voices about this as well.)

Some photos from the trip are on Flickr.

Susan Crawford

Andrew McLaughlin, Kevin Werbach and Yochai Benkler

Wow. This is wonderful. Two of my favorite people and the two people who I know who are the most qualified for this job have been chosen by Obama to lead the FCC transition team. Congratulations Susan and Kevin! Maybe we'll save the Internet after all.

If the new administration keeps choosing teams like this, we're in for some really good change.

TV Week

November 14, 2008 12:39 PM
Obama Assembles FCC Transition Team

By Ira Teinowitz

President-elect Barack Obama today named two academics to head his transition team looking at issues and personnel for the Federal Communications Commission.

Susan Crawford, a University of Michigan law professor of communications law, and Ken Werbach, a Wharton School assistant professor and a former counsel for new technology policy at the FCC during the Clinton administration, will lead the team.

Ms. Crawford is a former partner of a Washington law firm that specializes in communications law and recently left the board of directors of ICANN, a group that oversees Internet domain-name registration. Mr. Werbach edited Release 1.0, a technology newsletter, and founded Supernova Group, a technology analysis and consulting firm.

The Obama transition team includes a number of former FCC officials, but under the conflict-of-interest rules adopted by the president-elect's team, many may be barred from directly examining FCC issues.

President-elect Obama's office said today that Ms. Crawford and Mr. Werbach are part of the Science, Tech, Space and Arts Team that will be directed by Tom Wheeler, a former president of National Cable and Telecommunications.

Oh, and it should be "Kevin" not "Ken"... hmm.

via Dewayne via IP