Wikimedia and Creative Commons in Algeria

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Wikipedia Workshop in Cairo- By Faris knight CC BY-SA 3.0

Since 2013, when the first Wiki Loves Monuments contest started in Algeria, I have collected nearly 1000 photos.
Without any prize to be distributed without any grant for the organization. Successfully introduce 26% of these photos in many wiki pages.
Since then, I have funded a group of users with whom we organize yearly, many contests, many workshops to collect photos to use these photos to create articles in Wikipedia about Algeria: heritage of Algeria: nature of Algeria: culture of North Africa.

Algeria is the largest country in Africa; it has a wide mix of nationalities and cultures — Mediterranean — North African — Arab — Islamic — Berber — Saharan, all this contrast requires many works to be able to share these treasures of this great country — Freely and openly.

How to do it to be happy — while playing — while having a positive vision of the future — with at least of funding. The Internet and social media and certainly the infrastructure and volunteerism of the wiki community.
We all want to share what he knows in social media, but sharing under the Creative Commons is magic.It’s a lot to explain this to the emerging community, but when we find a way to show them what’s great, they adopt directly.

StoryVid OpenGlam Story 09 2020 By Bachounda CC BY-SA 4.0

Where do you come from? :

My name is Bachounda, I come from Algeria, the largest country in Africa, with a coastline on the Mediterranean with a very contrasted interior.
Many empires and civilizations have left their mark, ancient ruins by the sea or at the bottom of the country such as entire cities, mosques, cathedrals, several hundred years of successive human presence in this country.

Of a very contracted nature from the North to the South from the cold snow-covered mountains to the warm sand dunes of the Sahara a Mediterranean, continental or Saharan climate everything is there in this country.

Independent since 1962 It is a very young, very dynamic country which owes much to its roots in its history and above all its deep-rooted culture, which is old and millennia-old.

Who are you?

My name is Bachounda, I am a computer scientist, I develop management applications for state-owned companies.
At the beginning of the Internet in Algeria in 1997, I started to surf here and there and then I discovered Wikipedia is the extraordinary way to participate in it I started to contribute by writing articles on Wikipedia especially about Algeria. I created a start-up with friends for the distribution of open source software. I created the first Wikimedia user group in Algeria in 2014 with Algerian Wikipedans.

After my first participation in the big wikimania 2014 conference in London.
Since then I organize many workshops, many presentations.

We have worked with many Algerian universities and associations for the training and promotion of Wikipedia and free content in Algeria, we launched with friends the first MOOC to learn how to contribute in the Arab world which gathered more than 10,000 registrants, we organize annually several photo contests on the theme Algeria like Wiki love Monuments, Wiki Loves earth or Wiki loves Africa.

What is the purpose of these contests?
The principle is simple: we choose the theme of the participation and then we launch the contest for a duration of one month.

Expo Photo WLM 2018 WLE2018 Oran By Bachounda CC BY-SA 4.0

The collection of the photos is done on the Wikipedia website and starts at the end of the contest by selecting the winning photos and distributing prizes to the winner. This way we manage to collect hundreds of photos of Algeria under the Creative Commons license.

These photos have been and still are used to illustrate articles on various Wikipedia projects. They allowed articles on Wikipedia to illustrate Algeria and its culture, geography, history, and all the fields that are related to Algeria or the neighboring countries in North Africa. I could say that this contest has been a great success with the aim we had made it is for the collection of free and freely shareable content.

What is the relationship between the Creative Commons and the contests?
It turns out that the relationship between the Wikipedia projects the contest and the creative starts it’s very close. In fact all the photos for the contests in Wikipedia projects must be under the Creative license, like version 4 version 3, etc.

This means that during the whole contest campaign we must always explain during our presentations that the participation must be with photos under a free license, and this license is called Creative Commons.

Creative Commons in Algeria what does it mean?

In Algeria if I say, Creative Commons nobody except for a few people can hear this word and understand it – or what it really means. It is not known or not well known it is all that is related to Open or Free that must be explained and introduced in Algeria.

Since the emergence of the digital era, in Algeria, given the ease that these new technologies have generated for the duplication at will of the works of authors or artists as easily and on a large scale. The great difficulty in prohibiting these illegal actions makes one’s actions appear legal and normal. How do you explain and promote Creative Commons in such an environment? Many photographers are going backwards to protect their work.

When a photographer asks himself the question that participating in a photo contest may leave his work at the risk of copiers and lose the fruit of his work. Only one argument can help to make the CC understood is that these photos will be shared under a license that requires quoting the author. That the photo is not subject to participation under a free license.

That participating with a few low-resolution photos allows the photographer to be known through his work. If he manages to win a prize among the 10 best placements, he will benefit from a worldwide promotion.

What should be done for the future?

I think that the Creative Commons should be introduced by the legislators to better protect those who distribute their works under CC in Algeria.

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