How Creative Commons Plays in Iraq

In Iraq, where most digital goods are pirated anyway, the idea of open source development isn't finding fertile soil.

According to Mark Belinsky a social entrepreneur working to bring tech to the Kurdistani city of Erbil, the copyright notions developed in the U.S. to solve very specific problems just don't port that well.

"One of my favorite bloggers in Iraq, Hamoz, didn't want to wait for [the free browser] Firefox to download so he bought a copy on the street for a dollar," Belinsky told TechPresident's Nancy Scola via Skype. But he noted, "you can do the same for Photoshop."

In general, "Even talking about 'open source' is complicated. Everything is free and open source here, because everything is pirated."

Belinsky found himself in the country for a conference called "Emerging Technologies, Emerging Democracies," where he's helping train locals on how to use tech to strengthen the region's economy and improve governance.