Free Culture in Berlin

Call for Papers

Deadline for extended abstracts: June 7, 2010

The 3rd Free Culture Research Conference

Free Culture between Commons and Markets: Approaching the Hybrid Economy?

The Free Culture Research Conference presents a unique opportunity for scholars whose work contributes to the promotion, study or criticism of a Free Culture, to engage with a multidisciplinary group of academic peers and practitioners, identify the most important research opportunities and challenges, and attempt to chart the future of Free Culture. This event builds upon the successful workshop held in 2009 at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, organized and attended by renowned scholars and research institutions from the US, Europe and Asia. The first event was held in Sapporo, Japan, in 2008, in conjunction with the 4th iCommons Summit. This year’s event is larger in ambition and scope, to provide more time for interaction in joint as well as break-out sessions. It is hosted jointly by the Free University of Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies and will take place at October 8-9, 2010 at the Free University Campus in Berlin, in collaboration with COMMUNIA, the European Network on the digital public domain. Funding and support is also provided by the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Given this year’s theme and the generous support of the Free University’s School of Business and Economics, we encourage submissions at the interface of Free Culture and business, although we welcome submissions from any relevant discipline, will be inclusive and will maintain the interdisciplinary nature of the event, as in previous years. Enabled by new Internet technologies and innovative legal solutions, Free Culture prospers in the form of new business models and via commons-based peer production, thereby both challenging and complementing classic market institutions. Alongside business perspectives, we expect that perspectives from law, IT, the social sciences and humanities will help us develop a better understanding of the challenges at hand, for individuals, business, law, the economy, and society at large. Topics of interest include:

•Studies on the use and growth of open/free licensing models
•Critical analyses of the role of Creative Commons or similar models
•The role of Free Culture in markets, industry, government, or the non-profit sector
•Technical, legal or business solutions towards a hybrid economy
•Incentives, innovation and community dynamics in open collaborative peer production
•Economic models for the sustainability of commons-based production
•The economic value of the public domain
•Business models and the public domain
•Successes and failures of open licensing
•Analyses of policies, court rulings or industry moves that influence the future of Free Culture
•Regional studies of Free Culture with global lessons
•Best practices from open/free licensing, and the application of different business and organizational models by specific communities or individuals
•Definitions of openness and freedom for different media types, users and communities
•Broader economic, sociopolitical, legal or cultural implications of Free Culture initiatives and peer production practices
•Methodological concerns in the study of Free Culture
This is the first time the event will be held in Europe, the home of many past supporters and participants of the Free Culture workshops and also home to millions of individual and institutional adopters of open licensing models. We will therefore strive to promote and connect European scholars working in relevant spheres, while also representing the global diversity of the field.

Conference website

Bits without Borders at Michigan State

Bits without Borders: Law, Communications & Transnational Culture Flow in a Digital Age

September 24-25, 2010

Intellectual Property & Communications Law Program

Michigan State University College of Law
East Lansing, Michigan


Whether termed a “Flat Earth” or “Global Village,” the planet’s shrinking and linking is widely accepted as a fait accompli. While cybertopians may celebrate the emergence of globally networked communities, others fear the “coca-colonization” of culture will impoverish diversity of expression. Digital communications not only accelerate cultural convergence, but also disrupt existing policies that preserve and nourish local cultures and identities. Some see the technologies that facilitate such transnational exchanges as undermining the authority of the nation state itself.

Look closely, however, and peaks and valleys emerge in the so-called “Flat Earth,” and the “Global Village” turns out to be far from global. Rather than passively watch their borders become obsolete, governments at every level subject digital communications to state control—from the explicit censorship of “content” (e.g. internet filtering) to regulation of the “pipes” (e.g. communications protocols) to restrictions on “speakers” (e.g. media ownership laws).

This conference examines the broad cross section of regulatory policies that affect transnational culture flows. From internet governance to intellectual property rights to cultural protectionism, we have inherited a patchwork of piecemeal, often contradictory policies, some squarely aimed at cross-border exchange, others with purely domestic motivations. By examining the choices that governments make to facilitate or thwart transnational flows of cultural expression across these legal domains, we hope to provoke insights that transcend these specific areas and to develop a common language by which scholars can identify core values, characterize recurring problems, evaluate systemic tradeoffs, and contribute to more informed legal decisions.

We invite contributions from scholars working in both legal and non-legal disciplines on topics related to the conference themes. Possible subject-areas include:

· Digital Communications
· Internet governance
· Internet filtering
· Search Engine Regulation
· International Trade
· E-Commerce Regulation
· Cultural Economics
· Cultural Geography
· Intellectual Property Rights
· Traditional Knowledge/Folklore Protection
· Human Rights/Constitutional Rights
· Cybersecurity

We have a broad interdisciplinary and international line-up of committed participants. However, there is still space to accommodate a few more. Please send abstracts to the conference organizers, Sean Pager and Adam Candeub (Michigan State University College of Law) by June 25, 2010. Conference papers will be due in early September. Selected papers will also be considered for an edited collection. Further information can be found on our website:

Contact: or

Scholars who have confirmed their participation at the Conference include:

Olufunmilayo Arewa, Northwestern University School of Law
Johannes Bauer, Michigan State University, Quello Center for Telecommunications, Management and Law
Barton Beebe, New York University School of Law
Susan Brenner, University of Dayton School of Law
Tomer Broude, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law
Mira Burri-Nenova, World Trade Institute, University of Bern Faculty of Law
Adam Candeub, Michigan State University, College of Law
Anupam Chander, University of California, Davis, School of Law
Wayne Fu, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Jon Garon, Hamline University School of Law
Daniel Gervais, Vanderbilt University Law School
Christoph Graber, University of Lucerne Faculty of Law
James Grimmelman, New York Law School
Justin Hughes, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University
Michael Kende, Analysys Mason Consulting
Kevin Kennedy, Michigan State University College of Law
Lili Levi, University of Miami School of Law
Milton Mueller, Syracuse University School of Information
Phil Napoli, Fordham University Graduate School of Business
Sean Pager, Michigan State University College of Law
Frank Pasquale, Seton Hall University School of Law
David Post , Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law
Catherine J. K. Sandoval, Santa Clara University School of Law
Kevin Saunders, Michigan State University College of Law
Mark Schultz, Southern Illinois University School of Law
Joseph Straubhaar, University of Texas at Austin, College of Communications
Hannibal Travis, Florida International University College of Law
Steve Wildman, Michigan State University, Quello Center for Telecommunications, Management and Law
Mary Wong, Franklin Pierce Law Center
Christopher Yoo, University of Pennsylvania Law School