Promoting the commons at street festivals

This summer two friends and I took to the streets with one of our town’s summer street festivals (http://www.openstreetsutw.ca) to spread awareness and promote some good examples of Free Cultural works. We gave out gratis music CDs, DVDs with Blender films, and brochures. The content we gave out is at http://librestreets.singpolyma.net/

Had some good conversations with people. Some people understandably had no CD or DVD player at home, but most we talked to did not have that issue. Lots of stock left over to give out at future events. The cover for every CD and DVD contained a condensed version of most of the brochure, so that we could not only provide exposure for the works and creators, but also get some part of the message home with even people who just grabbed items.

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Good job!

If I were to iterate on that I’d probably give less space to licenses and some to mentioning free software, education, research, or some to promoting specific works or brands, I guess Blender is this case. In my limited experience doing general public outreach (as opposed to a primed audience) emphasizing copyright and licenses either makes people uninterested or brings out their inner nutcase, though I suppose the latter indicates a need for education. I’m curious about your overall impression from conversations you had at the festivals.

It never occurred to me to do outreach at open streets festivals though I’ve enjoyed them enough to write about on my personal blog (mostly off-topic: admittedly I mostly enjoy them as an example of banning cars, rather than for the experiences they are; probably my loss). Another angle such events might be attuned to at least where I live is intellectual property as and abetting gentrification, something I plan to write about.

Definitely agree. I felt it was important to explain the “how” in the brochure (the licensing panel forms the back when folded) but maybe don’t even need to include that much. From conversations with people, we mostly found that as soon as we mentioned copyright, people were confused, uninterested, or assumed we were doing something illegal. Explaining through the “these artists have chosen to make their work available for other artists to make new art out of” angle met more success.

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