[LINK] Creative Commons values

Linda Rouse linda at databasics.com.au
Fri Oct 27 14:19:19 AEST 2006

At the risk of rousing the troll, I found the following by Lessig on 
Creative Commons and the sharing economy an excellent review of what 
it's all about.. Online at 

Creative Commons Values

In the four years since we launched CC, the Internet, and the world's
understanding of the Internet, have changed dramatically. In 2002, the media
was obsessed by something called "piracy." Today, they call it
"user-generated content." Just around the time we launched, Wikipedia
crossed 100,000 articles; today it is the most important testament to the
Internet's potential to enable something different and extraordinary.

When we started, none of us had any real idea about what the Internet would
become. But we all had dreams. Mine was that the Internet would offer
something different from the world of analog culture. While many were
obsessed with how new technologies would radically change old businesses, I
was eager to see the new ways of creating and interacting that would
develop. iTunes does better what Tower Records did pretty well. But what
would the Internet create in 2010 that didn't exist (in any significant
sense) in 1990?

One dream was what Andy Raskin called in his 2004 "Business 2.0" 
article about Creative Commons [http://money.cnn.com/magazines/
business2/business2_archive/2004/05/01/368240/index.htm], the "sharing
economy." The "sharing economy" is different from a traditional commercial
economy. It is not simply people working for free. Instead, this is the
economy that supports Wikipedia (and free and open source software before
that). It is the economy that drives much of the creativity in YouTube and
blip.tv. It is the world of "amateur" creators, meaning again, not those
whose work is amateurish, but those who do what they do for the love of what
they do, and not for the money.

This sharing economy is not meant to displace the commercial economy. 
Its purpose is not to force Madonna to sing for free. Its aim instead is to
enable the millions of other people around the world who are also creative,
but who want to create in a different kind of community. The editors who
make Wikipedia sing are not people who couldn't get a job at Encyclopedia
Britannica. They instead create for a different reason, within a very
different community of creators.

At its core, Creative Commons is designed to support this sharing economy.
Our free tools give creators a simple way to signal the rules under which
they want to create. And, perhaps more importantly, by signaling clearly and
reliably these freedoms, they encourage others who otherwise might hesitate
to share and build upon that work. Thus, for example, the Public Library of
Science [http:// plos.org] publishes all of its articles under a CC license
that gives users the freedom to share those articles broadly. Libraries and
institutions around the world can now archive these works and make them
available locally. Without the confidence of the CC licenses, no doubt
lawyers within these different institutions would have panicked. The CC
licenses let that panic be avoided, and invite many (who otherwise would
not) to help share and build upon work.

The next challenge is to figure out how this sharing economy interacts with
a traditional commercial economy. What happens when Time wants to use a
fantastic CC-licensed Flickr photo? Or how does a hit on ccMixter move into
the commercial space?

CC will never become a part of that commercial economy. But it is important,
I believe, that we play a role in enabling this crossover. 
The alternative is a world we're seeing too much of all ready: large
entities that create sandboxes for "sharing," but then effectively claim
ownership over everything built within that sandbox. This is, in my view,
not a sharing economy. It is instead simple sharecropping.

The key is to build alternatives that creators on the Internet can use to
both create as they wish and keep control of their creativity. 
That's the challenge I see over the next four years. And as we review over
the next few weeks some of the best of CC from around the world, you'll
begin to see how this challenge might be met.

This email is part of a weekly series written by Lawrence Lessig If you
would like to be removed from this list, please click here:

Linda Rouse, Information Manager
DataBasics Pty Limited
Phone 1300 886 238 (bus.) Mob: 0412 40 7778
Email linda at databasics.com.au
Web http://www.databasics.com.au

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