20 October 2009

Education,FLOSS, underage contributors

We received a contribution in the form of a few (anime style) character drawing sketches for a Free project promoting software freedom, but the contributor is a 15 years old girl who knows about nothing about licenses and freedom, she probably like do draw and consider the teacher to be a cool guy. Wanting to to "the right" thing, we tried to explain clearly what the free licenses are about and asked the parents to agree with the contribution. For this we put our engineer heads together and composed a text along the lines (rough English translation):

"I, ..........(parent) agree for my son/daughter, ........., to participate in the PojectName project with his/her graphic creations. Those creations will de distributed and modified with the author's attribution, according with the site terms of service"
...you can see how we tried to avoid introducing unknown terms as CC-BY, that would have confused further some parents who are not techies, as we avoided putting numbers or exact descriptions of the contributions, since you can't control those in an open project (I weighted a bit about involving the "blogosphere" into grafting the text but ultimately considered what we got "good enough").

Naturally the mother asked about the possible rewards and worried about her daughter splitting learning time with community work and naturally we answered as a 100% volunteer project we can't provide monetary compensation, we can provide some learning and experience, and if needed, some diploma.

Until now, nothing out of the ordinary to deserve wasting a blog post about, what upset me was a mother reaction like:
"If I would know she will be able later to live well from those drawings, icons, pictures... would not kill her so much with math... geometry and everything... there are so many talented kids with useless diplomas and medals they can not do anything with, they smply sell those for nothing..."
Duh! This is not an OR, is an AND, you cannot become a developed individual without art and community. Education is also culture, is finding you passion and developing it. I remember my childhood under the communist regime, when you were supposed to go to school, learn math, become an engineer, work in a factory, have children who will go to school, learn math, become engineers, work in a factory, have children...

Good thing I am a third party in the conversation above, I would have been tempted to stop it abruptly.


  1. Usually the best approach is the one that lawyers recommend: "Unfortunately we cannot provide career advice"...

    There are plenty of people who work in graphic design - finding companies who are going to pay people for part-time work without a bit of experience may be hard.

    That applies to any age of course...

  2. En lo personal no se mucho de diseño grafico, pero me gusta el enfoque de la libertad para con la sociedad, me explico si tuviera talento para diseñar pondría todos mis trabajos para que todo el mundo pudiera copiar, distribuir y comunicar públicamente la obra, pues es un don que se tiene el de poder diseña, el compartirlo con los demás nos hace ser solidarios y mejores persona…es mejor ver una licencia (cc) que una (Derechos de Propiedad Intelectual)…Gracias por su atención perdón si ofendí a alguien es mi opinión:
    Por cierto muy buena pagina www.nicubunu.ro me agrado mucho es una de las mejores que visto en internet