Some time ago the New York Times wrote about the fathers’ leave in Sweden. The articles ends with these words:
In Sweden I am on the right,” Mr. Westerberg said, “but in the United States, I’m considered a Communist.”
Some days ago David Wiley wrote that with the open content the Open Knowledge Foundation gets it wrong when claiming that share-alike licenses are open but non-commercial ones aren’t.
For those who are not that familiar with the open/free content/knowledge discussion, the share-alike (SA) license has a condition asking people who remix or build upon the content to distribute the resulting work under the same license. The license ensures that later works will be open, too — will stay in commons. Wiley wrote:
“When authors adopt a share-alike license, they are saying: we value the freedom of content over the freedom of people.”
As an author using share-alike license I see this a bit differently. I value the *freedom of mankind*, the common good, over the freedom of content or individuals.
I think that this is the way most SA people see it: When you are given, you should give back, too.
I also do not consider use of SA to be any kind of violation of individual’s rights. Individual’s rights is something I am not willing to negotiate about. In the case of content anyone is still free to release *their own stuff* under whatever license. So, as a such SA is not really communism. It is a way to contribute to the common good.
Later Wiley wrote a follow-up post with the title Openness, Radicalism, and Tolerance and asking “Why isn’t the open crowd more open-minded?”
I see here some signs of a straw man arguments.
I think we should look how the Free / Open Source Softeware movement and the Open Content movement were started. People simply started to do things. The Free software people made software and wanted to share it with their friends. Some other people started to write free encylopedia or publish University course content online. They just did it because they could.
What are people doing in the field of Open Education?
Many things. For instance, the Peer 2 Peer Univeristy and the Wikiversity are crassroot open education projects organizing self-organizing learning online. The idea is to bring people together to teach and to learn from each other. Simple.
Similar kind of initiatives are started here and there: from Indian to Brazil, From South Africa to Finland. I find these much more interesting that the discussion on content-driven “open education”. The content is there – now it is the time to use it. That is education.