Results of the visit of the Persiaux Business School

"Collaboration is the solution to the hyper-complexity of today's world."
(by  Athanasios Priftis

In February, the team visited the Persiaux Business School to talk about copyright and their changes due to the evolution of the internet. A new type of participation, the most iconic example of which is Wikipedia, is leading the society to adapt to copyright and intellectual property.

The full report of the visit to the Ecole Persiaux (PDF).


Wikipedia is an encyclopedia based on sharing and collaboration. With more than 300 languages and 100'000 contributors, it is the symbol of online participation. It is the reference encyclopedia. The purpose of this platform is to stabilize human knowledge through the search for a general consensus. Each article is the result of a debate made by the contributors. The majority of contributors are volunteers. The rule "little time but often" explains that it is not the amount of time spent editing content on Wikipedia that makes the quality of it. On the contrary, it is thanks to the thousands of contributors who participate that the quality is maintained. 

Free license

Larry Lessig, a Creative Commons board member, tells in his TEDx talk the story of two poultry farmers who filed a complaint to the government over the planes. The chicken followed the planes passing over their farm, throwing themselves in the air against the wall of the farm. The land is an asset of their property, at the time of thoses facts, the law declared that the air below this land was part of this property. But with the arrival of planes, several issues arose. Thus, the law was no longer adapted to reality. The same concept applies with the rise of the internet, which raises a number of questions that concern mainly intellectual property.

The debate on copyright is more animated than ever, after the internet has revealed new forms of collaboration and use of content.  opyleft, in other words "free license" is a new form of license that responds to this evolution. The Creative Commons website explains the three general criteria of a free license:

  1. information can be shared, conditionnally that the author is always named as the source.

  2. informations may be modified, provided that the modified content is under a free license like the original content.

  3. commercial uses: if the above-mentioned sharing and modification conditions are respected, commercial use is permitted.

Through the free license system, we go beyond the classic rules of copyright and, at the same time, a work can be improved by other Internet users. 

The guardian angels of the net

The Persiaux School demonstrates, through its history, that participatory collaboration promotes personal and collective development. This school was created by Adolphe Persiaux who sold typewriters. At the time, it was the peak of technological innovations. He founded the school to train people to use typewriters. Then, quickly, skills as mastering French and accounting became essential to perpetuate the use of typewriters.

The school secretary Laetitia, a former student, who noticed the difficulties of certain students to perform certain tasks, developed a group dynamic on Whatsapp. Meaning that the group was used to correct the exercises, ask questions and clarify any kind of doubts by sharing experiences. Since the creation of this group, the failure rate of students has drastically dropped.

The role of the guardian angels consists in listing the experiences lived on the internet by the students and extracting a charter of good practices to adopt. It's about applying the principle of participation. The collaborative writing of this charter allow for anyone to discuss each other's experiences and thus create an atmosphere of sharing allowing students to talk about uncomfortable or traumatic situations they may have encountered on the internet. The guide for guardian angels on the net is available on the Resources page.

To conclude,  here are the adjectives that the students expressed to describe the session: rewarding, interesting, libertarian, long, new, informative, complicated, different, complex, conscious, moving, captivating, informative, nice, fun, revealing, attractive, exciting, surprising.

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