New: Conference Documentation

The 3rd Free Culture Research Conference: October 8-9, Berlin

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 Freie Universität 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 and Wikimedia Germany. Funding and support is also provided by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung.

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.

Further information on the submission process, venue and academic committee is provided by the links below.


If you have questions about the event, or wish to be kept updated on this and related topics, please subscribe to the commons-research mailing list at:

You can then send your emails to and one of the organizers and/or other members of the list will follow up on your query.

The 3rd Free Culture Research Conference is supported by the following institutions:

The Free Culture Research Conference logo was designed by Christian Dürr, winner of the Open Clipart Logo Design Contest.

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