[open-development] Promoting open business models?

Tim Davies tim at practicalparticipation.co.uk
Sun Jan 27 19:10:24 UTC 2013

Hey all,

Responding to one of the comments on the open development working group
review etherpad at http://okfnpad.org/opendevwg (please do visit to add
your thoughts) that as a list it would be good to have some more in depth
discussions as well as link sharing, I thought I would pose a question that
struck me whilst in Nairobi last week for a hackathon around research data
(blog posts about the event here:

That question was how far in advocating for open development we should be
advocating for open business models? And what that might look like in

The context of the question was a visit to the iLab at Strathmore
University, where, amongst other issues, some of the research and product
development work going on has focussed on developing DRM (Digital Rights
Management) technologies that will allow mobile educational content to be
sold through micro-payments and tied to single devices. This clearly goes
against the idea of open content that anyone can share, but at the same
time, could lead to wider access to educational resources than would
otherwise exist, and could stimulate provision of educational content where
it is lacking...  In hearing about this micro-payment based, and DRMed
educational content, I wasn't sure how to respond, or what realistic
alternative models to point to that stand a chance of similar success in
disseminating educational content.

Have other list members dealt with this sort of situation, and the tensions
between the potential for market-based production to take a valuable idea
or product to scale (particularly in developing countries), but at the cost
of the openness of the products?

In a spirit of open discussion...,


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