Monday, March 31, 2008

The Future of Copyright

Larry Lessig ought to be a name familiar to those of us in the publishing industry. He has tirelessly promoted the cause of the Creative Commons which is, as it sounds, a common pool of primarily digital content that is available for use and re-use by members the community at large. Their tag line is "Share, Remix, Reuse — Legally" and they provide tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry.

Even if you're unfamiliar with the concept of the Creative Commons, you've probably seen work licensed under these licenses on Flickr. All of the content on Wikipedia is licensed under similar terms.

In the following presentation, delivered at TED, he talks "... about copyright issues [and had] TEDsters to their feet, whooping and whistling, following this elegant presentation of three stories and an argument [and] in an homage to cutting-edge artistry, he throws in some of the most hilarious remixes you've ever seen."

An Introduction

We like to believe that Pratham Books is a childrens’ book publisher with a difference. Started in 2004, it was set up to fill a gap in the market for good quality, reasonably priced children’s books in a variety of Indian languages. We are a non profit trust and our mission is to make books affordable for every child in India.

The Read India Movement started as a result of widespread research that showed that a large number of children in India, who are in school, cannot read. Estimates are that 1 out of 2 children in government primary schools across the country cannot read fluently and children who are unable to read are unable to learn due to lack of comprehension, a large number of school drop-outs.

In 2003, Pratham, a national initiative that seeks to ensure universal primary education, tested a large scale method that uses a child centric approach to teaching children how to read. This 45-day programme uses illustrated story cards and phonetic “Barakhadi” charts to teach children how to decode sounds and recognize words and letters. The method integrated a joyful approach to learning where children are encouraged to read and participate in activities based on each story card. This programme has been conducted across India with amazing results.

Once children learn how to read it is crucial to sustain their interest by cultivating a reading habit. Pratham responded by setting up libraries for children that would provide them the opportunity to read meaningful children’s books in regional languages. Our aim was to provide a book in every child’s hand and a library in every neighbourhood. Pratham now has around 4000 libraries across the country.

As the number of libraries increased so did the need to stock more and more books. But a quick review of the current market scenario revealed two major issues in the Indian children’s publishing industry:
  1. There are a number of excellent mainstream children's books available which are written by authors from the western world. There are far fewer available that are of Indian origin. And, even fewer, in Indian languages..
  2. Even among the books that are available, Indian as well as foreign books were expensive and so stocking the libraries was difficult. The few books that were available at lower costs, in local languages, were produced so badly that children were not stimulated by them.
Thus started the search of a publisher who could join forces with Pratham and supply us with a regular inflow of books that were:
  • Woven from the Indian fabric, rooted in the Indian origin
  • Spoke the child’s language
  • Was beautifully illustrated, written for the child, and produced in a way he would love to keep reading more
  • All of the above at a cost ranging from Rs. 10 – Rs. 25. No more than Rs.25.
And here is where we faced a problem. Thus was born Pratham Books.

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Picture via Happy Horizons.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hello!

Hello world!

Namaskaara!


Read this doc on Scribd: Kato Clever and the Big Trouble