Conference: Economies of the Commons – Strategies for Sustainable Access and Creative Reuse of Images and Sounds Online, 10-12 April 2008, The Netherlands

Economies of the Commons
Strategies for Sustainable Access and Creative Reuse of Images and Sounds Online

International Working Conference
De Balie – Centre for Culture and Politics, Amsterdam, April 11 & 12, 2008

Seminar on Intellectual Property Rights
The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Hilversum, April 10, 2008

A wide range of actors around the globe is currently involved in the creation of unprecedentedly rich and invaluable audiovisual cultural and knowledge resources on the internet. These range from national audiovisual archives, broadcasters, professional cultural producers and institutions to civic and p2p file sharing initiatives.

De Balie in Amsterdam and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum, in collaboration with Knowledgeland, Images for the Future, and Virtual Platform, organise a two-day international public working conference on the economies, sustainability, and opportunities for creative reuse of these public audiovisual resources and archives.

While the level of activity and investment in this area is enormous, the question of the longer-term sustainability of these audiovisual resources remains wide open. Continued massive public investment is one obvious solution, with equally obvious drawbacks. The conference intends to question which alternative economic models exist, or could be developed that can sustain invaluable public resources. Paradoxically, we may have to ask: What is a sustainable business model for the digital commons?

The Economies of the Commons conference will focus on three core issues: strategies for sustainability, new modes of value creation, and the potentials for creative reuse around the digital commons. Our main questions are:
– What kind of strategies are available to facilitate the growth of these emerging public knowledge resources, and guarantee their longer-term sustainability?
– How is value created around the emerging digital commons, and how can this value be capitalised on for the public good?
– How can these resources be activated as a creative productive force for contemporary culture, and how can the reuse of these enormously rich resources be facilitated and stimulated?

These questions will be related to current projects, such as Images of the Future (the largest digitisation project of audiovisual heritage in the Netherlands), P2P Fusion (European research project on audio and video sharing), BBC Creative Archives, Prelinger Archives, Smithsonian Global Sound and UbuWeb.

The conference brings together a highly international group of specialists, including Peter Kaufman (Intelligent Television), Rick
Prelinger (prelinger Archives), Roei Amit (INA), Kenneth Goldsmith (UbuWeb), Anthony McCann (Hallam University), Hubert Best (Best & Soames / FOCAL), Lucy Guibault (University of Amsterdam), Florian Schneider ( and many others. Economies of the Commons creates spaces of discussion in which perspectives of mainstream audiovisual archives are mixed with those of market players as well as public domain and non-legal exchange networks (p2p). The program comprises a variety of formats, such as public keynote lectures, interdisciplinary workshops for the exchange of ideas, experiences and the formulation of strategies, as well as targeted seminars addressing very specific problems relevant to specialists, cultural and media producers, policy makers, and decision makers in public and private organisations.

The Economies of the Commons conference addresses a range of target groups that do not regularly meet each other. These include: (broadcast) media professionals, representatives from cultural heritage organisations, internet entrepreneurs, ethnomusicologists, musicians and representatives of the music industry, media activists, researchers in the domains of internet law, economy, information science, p2p file sharing activists, policy makers, and professionals from the field of art and culture.

Special public evening programs will introduce the topics of the conference to a wider audience and present best practice examples.

A one-day seminar at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum, on Intellectual Property Rights issues in the digital audiovisual domain, precedes the conference on Thursday April 10, the results of which will feed into the conference program.

A web dossier has been set up that provides further information on the conference program and side events, program updates, and information on speakers and highlighted case studies, as well as general background and research materials. This dossier can be found at:

Enquiries about the conference program and registration can be directed at:

Eric Kluitenberg
De Balie
Kleine Gartmanplantsoen 10
1017 RR Amsterdam
e-mail: erick [at]