[open-development] Promoting open business models?

Michael Roberts michael.roberts at acclar.org
Sun Jan 27 19:43:33 UTC 2013

Hi Tim,

> 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 practice?
> 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? 

I believe IDRC and Shuttleworth Foundation co-funded a bit of research around Open Business Models when Creative Commons was just starting to gain a lot of attention and momentum.   They have some research papers worth reviewing.  If you are based in Oxford, it might also be worth a chat with Heather Ford.


Michael Roberts -- Acclar Open Aid Data 
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