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Creative Commons Announces New Leadership, New Funding

San Francisco, CA, USA -- April 1, 2008

Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that works to expand the body of creative work available to the public for legal sharing and use, today announced both a leadership evolution and a major new grant of $4 million from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to support its activities. "Both pieces of news we are announcing today reflect Creative Commons' maturation from a startup into crucial infrastructure for creativity, education, and research in the digital age," said the organization's founder, Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig. Creative Commons celebrated its fifth anniversary last December.

Lessig has announced a shift of academic focus from copyright to political corruption. He recently launched Change Congress, a movement to increase transparency in the US government's legislative branch. In order to concentrate on this effort, Lessig is stepping down as CEO of Creative Commons. He will be replaced by entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and free culture advocate Joi Ito. Lessig will remain on the Creative Commons board.

"Although I have changed my focus, I'm still very much committed to Creative Commons and the Free Culture cause," Lessig said. "The work I intend to do with Change Congress is in many ways complementary to the work of Creative Commons. Both projects are about putting people in power and enabling them to build a better system. I could not be more pleased to hand off the leadership of Creative Commons to the extraordinarily passionate and qualified Joi Ito."

"Under Larry's management, Creative Commons has grown from an inspirational idea to an essential part of the technical, social, and legal landscape involving organizations and people in 80 countries," said Ito. "With it, the organization has grown in size and complexity, and I am excited to increase the level of my participation to help manage this amazing group of people. The Hewlett Foundation has been a major supporter of ours from the beginning and we could not be more grateful for their support going forward into the future."

Founding board member and Duke law professor James Boyle will become chair of the board, replacing Ito, who remains on the board. "Jamie has demonstrated his commitment to Creative Commons from its founding," said Lessig. "He led the formation of Science Commons and ccLearn, our divisions focused on scientific research and education respectively. There is no person better suited to lead the Creative Commons board."

Boyle is optimistic about Creative Commons' future. "If one looks at all the amazing material that has been placed under our licenses - from MIT's Open Courseware and the Public Library of Science to great music, from countless photographs and blogs to open textbooks - one realizes that, under Larry's leadership, the organization has actually helped build a global 'creative commons' in which millions of people around the world participate, either as creators or users. My job will be to use the skills of the remarkable people on our board - including a guy called Larry Lessig, who has promised me he isn't going away any time soon - to make sure that mission continues and expands."

The Hewlett Foundation grant consists of $2.5 million to provide general support to Creative Commons over five years and $1.5 million to support ccLearn, the division of Creative Commons that is focused on open educational resources. "The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been a strong supporter of openness and open educational resources in particular," said Catherine Casserly, the Director of the Open Educational Resources Initiative at Hewlett. "Creative Commons licenses are a critical part of the infrastructure of openness on which those efforts depend." The Hewlett grant was a vital part of a five-year funding plan which also saw promises of support from Omidyar Network, Google, Mozilla, Red Hat, and the Creative Commons board.

Creative Commons also announces two other senior staff changes. Diane Peters joins the organization as General Counsel. Peters arrives from the Mozilla Corporation, serves on the board of the Software Freedom Law Center, and was previously General Counsel for Open Source Development Labs and the Linux Foundation. She has extensive experience collaborating with and advising nonprofit organizations, development communities, and high-tech companies on a variety of matters.

Vice President and General Counsel Virginia Rutledge, who joined Creative Commons last year from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, will take on a new role as Vice President and Special Counsel. In her new role, Rutledge will focus on development and external relations, while continuing to lead special legal projects.

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 2001, that promotes the creative re-use of intellectual and artistic works, whether owned or in the public domain. Through its free copyright licenses, Creative Commons offers authors, artists, scientists, and educators the choice of a flexible range of protections and freedoms that build upon the "all rights reserved" concept of traditional copyright to enable a voluntary "some rights reserved" approach. Creative Commons was built with and is sustained by the generous support of organizations including the Center for the Public Domain, Omidyar Network, the Rockefeller Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, as well as members of the public. For more information about Creative Commons, visit


Eric Steuer
Creative Director, Creative Commons
eric (at) creativecommons (dot) org

Press Kit

This is a request from the CC team. If you've got any stories, please let us know!

Flickr Re-Use Stories

Calling all Flickr photographers and CC-licensors - we are compiling a list of interesting and/or unique stories of re-use of CC-licensed photos on Flickr and we need your help!

If you or someone you know has had their photographs reused in an intriguing way, please send the story and corresponding photograph to melissa AT creativecommons DOT org. This is super significant in helping us explain to the larger community why CC is important for photographers. We have a short time frame and any help from those in the CC community is greatly appreciated!

skitched-20080325-184130.jpgBack in 2004, John Battelle blogged about the idea of Sell Side Advertising. I thought it was a good idea and blogged about it also. The idea was for the publishers to choose the ads that show up on their site rather than the advertisers choosing the publishers. Since then, I think several people haved tried to build things like it, but I haven't seen something that's working well with this theory. (If you know a good example let me know!)

In 2006, we (Digital Garage) set up CGM Marketing to work with Technorati Japan to help explain to advertisers about advertising on user generated content and act as an ad rep company for Technorati and other user generated media sites.

Later that year, CGMM, Digital Garage, Reid Hoffman and I invested in Etology, an ad marketplace company. CGMM, Techonrati Japan, the DG team and I worked on brainstorming what a blog ad network would look like and I remembered some of the thinking from that discussion about sell side ads.

In Septemer of last year, we launched Ad-Butterfly, which was inspired by the discussion about sell side ads. Six months later, we've got 5500 bloggers who have passed our screening and have signed up and around 3700 bloggers actually running ads. This number is continuing to grow. These blogs are generating approximately 100M impressions a month. Right now, we're still not sold out so we're running some house ads, but some rough estimates show, depending on the type of blog you have, that you should end up getting more from our service than ad sense for the same number of impressions, once we can sell through the inventory. I think the magic number in terms of scale to get more advertisers is around 10,000 blogs and 200M impressions and we should hit that sometime soon.

Here's how it works. As a blogger, you sign up for the service and put our badge on your blog. As an advertiser, you search for blogs that you are interested in and request to advertise on their site. The advertiser and the blogger can opt into allowing and using a "review space" which allows the blogger to comment on the ad as well.

After testing the system and talking to bloggers, advertisers and readers of the blogs, we've found that we have a win-win in terms of trust. The bloggers like that they get to choose the ads. The advertisers like that they are paying for space on pages of bloggers who like them. The readers like that the ads are either releveant or at least in some way endorsed by the bloggers and say they are more likely to trust or click the ads.

We've been able to get large brand-named clients like NEC, Toshiba, NIKE, BMW, Suntory and Softbank partially because of this and at least at this point, they seem to be willing to pay a premium for this "friendly network" sort of placement compared to run of network or machine targeted placement.

In addition to scaling the network, we're working on more features to make it easier and more interesting for all of the parties but I think we're off to a good start. I'll post about some new stuff we're working on soon.

So... when I sit down and think about "what comes after ad sense?" I think this might be one of those things...

Thanks to Martin for suggesting I should probably blog this. ;-)

Boy, I feel safer already...

United States Patent 6,933,851
Hahne , et al. August 23, 2005
Air travel security method, system and device


A method of providing air travel security for passengers traveling via an aircraft comprises situating a remotely activatable electric shock device on each of the passengers in position to deliver a disabling electrical shock when activated; and arming the electric shock devices for subsequent selective activation by a selectively operable remote control disposed within the aircraft. The remotely activatable electric shock devices each have activation circuitry responsive to the activating signal transmitted from the selectively operable remote control means. The activated electric shock device is operable to deliver the disabling electrical shock to that passenger.

Air travel security method, system ... - Google Patents

via The Kaz

The iCommons Summit will be in Sapporo, Japan this year. I'll post more about this event later. We'll all be there and you shouldn't miss it.

We're asking for submissions for ideas for sessions now so if you want to propose something, follow the instructions below.

We are pleased to announce that submissions for the iCommons iSummit 2008 in Sapporo, Japan are now open. You can submit through the online submissions system.

The iSummit is a global event dedicated to the exploration of global digital culture. We invite sessions on projects from different regions around the world, and on global topics related to the Commons and Free Culture.

We are accepting submissions for the following session types: workshops, panel discussions, poster sessions, sprints, presentation bonanzas, video, speedgeeking, podium, meetings, and other suggested formats (to be decided in consultation with the iSummit team). The specific session formats are detailed here. Sessions are ordered according to specific labs, which are spaces dedicated to specific themes, projects or mediums.

Important Dates
• Submissions: 1 March - 31 March
• Submission review, feedback and notification of acceptance: 1 April - 14 May

More on the iCommons site...