Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Caterina Fake

Creative Commons Press Release

Flickr Cofounder Caterina Fake Joins Creative Commons Board

San Francisco, CA, USA - August 25, 2008

Creative Commons announced today that Flickr cofounder Caterina Fake has joined its board of directors.

Fake cofounded the massively popular photo sharing site and community in early 2004. Flickr was one of the first media-sharing sites to embrace Creative Commons licensing as a way to encourage users to make their work available to the public for free and legal use. Since the site's inception, Flickr's community of photographers have licensed over 75 million photos to the public under Creative Commons copyright licenses, making it one of the biggest sources of permissively-licensed material on the Internet. CC-licensed Flickr photos are now used in a variety of projects and publications, ranging from Wikipedia to The New York Times.

In addition to just being a super-cool person, I'm really excited about getting Caterina's help figuring out how to better integrate Creative Commons into the tools that we all use as well as making all of the tools that Creative Commons makes better to use. Flickr is really a model by which many modern services and interfaces are measured. I think that Caterina's experience with Flickr as well as her practical "get stuff done" entrepreneurial attitude will be a great addition to our board.

Welcome aboard Caterina!

You know when you lose your connection and both sides frantically try to call each other back and cross paths? Richard Wolpert has a new rule:

  1. if you initiated the call and it drops you call the other person back.
  2. if you received the call and it drops you just wait for the call back.

Pass it on.


huge and important news: free licenses upheld

So for non-lawgeeks, this won't seem important. But trust me, this is huge.

I am very proud to report today that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (THE "IP" court in the US) has upheld a free (ok, they call them "open source") copyright license, explicitly pointing to the work of Creative Commons and others. (The specific license at issue was the Artistic License.) This is a very important victory, and I am very very happy that the Stanford Center for Internet and Society played a key role in securing it. Congratulations especially to Chris Ridder and Anthony Falzone at the Center.

In non-technical terms, the Court has held that free licenses such as the CC licenses set conditions (rather than covenants) on the use of copyrighted work. When you violate the condition, the license disappears, meaning you're simply a copyright infringer. This is the theory of the GPL and all CC licenses. Put precisely, whether or not they are also contracts, they are copyright licenses which expire if you fail to abide by the terms of the license.

Important clarity and certainty by a critically important US Court.

The brief that was filed is here.

When we talk to organizations that want to use Creative Commons licenses, we inevitably end up in the legal department. In many cases, these legal departments are, understandably, conservative and they throw a lot of reasons why "it can't work" into the discussion. They often create an impenetrable wall of legal mumbo jumbo that often causes the management or the teams inside of these organizations to give up trying to use Creative Commons licenses.

This notion of whether CC licenses are just contracts which require things like click-wrapped acknowledgment from the user or not hinge on this distinction that has been made clear with this ruling. Clarity on this point should make it significantly easier to clear conservative legal departments and will hopefully make adoption that much easier.

Big thanks to the Stanford team and everyone involved. This is a happy day.

Joshua Ramo with Tariq Krim in background
Joshua Ramo with Tariq Krim in background (Photographed in Helsinki)

If you've been watching NBC, you have probably seen my friend Joshua Ramo. He's one of the smartest guys I know. When I first met him, he was working at Time Magazine as their International Editor. At some point, he decided to head over to China and learn Chinese.

He quickly became fluent and a favorite liaison by both the Chinese and the Americans. As a China expert, he provided advice for both sides and his understanding of both sides allows him to provide the nuanced perspective to cover the Olympics.

Recently, he's just finishing up an amazing book on the future of International Affairs. His background in physics (and complexity) combined with his work in foreign policy gives him a really interesting perspective that I'm looking forward to reading about.

Finally, he's one of my best friends and a Japanophile and is one of the few non-Japanese people who continues to surprise me with new restaurants in Japan.

Joshua's got a new website (designed by Boris) where you can download some of his CC licensed books. ;-)

Oliver Ding has made an amazing Freesouls slide show and has shared it on SlideShare. Wow!

Oliver also started a freesouls group on SlideShare.