Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I'll be in SF tomorrow and will at the CC Salon. Come by if you have time. Here's the Eventful listing. Here's the info from the CC Weblog:

Creative Commons Salon SF Next Wednesday: Joi, John, Heather and Jim

Please join us for the first CC Salon of 2007 at on Wednesday, February 21, from 7-9 PM in San Francisco. It will be major! And, yes, please note, we are not doing this event monthly now, but every other month to maximize the impact in SF!

The line-up for the evening:

* John Wilbanks, Executive Director, Science Commons
* Joi Ito, Web Entrepreneur, Chairman of Creative Commons Board
* Heather Ford, Executive Director, iCommons
* Jim Sowers, Calabash Music and National Geographic, Musical Guest, Discussing state of Digital Music and DJ’ing


The event is free and open to the public. Quick presentations begin at 7 PM and go until 9 PM, but if you’d like to have an informal meeting or get a good seat, get there a bit early (We open the doors at 6 PM). So don’t worry if you’re late; there will be stuff happening all night at Shine, 1337 Mission Street between 9th and 10th Streets. Shine has free wi-fi and a super cool Flickr photo booth. Note: Since Shine is a bar, CC Salon is only open to people who are 21 and older.

Also, plug this event into your digital life on our posting.


CC Salon is a free, casual monthly get-together focused on conversation, presentations, and performances from people or groups who are developing projects that relate to open content and/or software. Please invite your friends, colleagues, and anyone you know who might be interested in drinks and discussion. There are now CC Salons happening in San Francisco, Toronto, Berlin, Beijing, Warsaw, Seoul, Brisbane, and Johannesburg. Read about the first Jo’burg salon on

PS I'm still trying to figure out what to talk about. Any suggestions?


Heres a talking point for ya:

I'm sure this kind of thing is going to come up more often.

Were it me speaking, I'd want to come up with something about how to attract quality to the CC concept. I'm afraid that at this moment, there is a risk of the CC being perceived as too "pinko" to be taken all that seriously. I guess however that is the fundamental catch 22; how does one persuade people who make their living creating something to give it away for free in such a way that it might lead to money in someone else's pocket (as in above referenced link).

In the case of music, something besides DJs would be nice. DJs are important, but there is the fact that basically DJs don't fundamentally create, at best they are a "value add" stage and even then they often end up as parasites within the system. See recent NYT coverage on DJ Drama and the "Gangsta Grillz" mix tapes issue. Byrne & Eno's Bush of Ghosts inputs were good, but a bit timid. Good in that they did it "right" by releasing the source tracks as opposed to just the mixdowns & acapellas, timid in that they only released two of the songs and those were fairly weak ones. The Wired CD was much braver but it was ironic that the two of three tracks released under Noncommercial Sampling Plus were from artists who would be nowhere today without sampling.

More efforts like this which included artists people have actually heard of would do alot to raise awareness of the CC. Doing it in a way that new or upcoming artists can legally release their derivative works would be incredibly meaningful. Of course a major obstacle to doing these projects is very few creators retain the necessary rights to their creations. If you don't own your label and control your distribution, its unlikely you can legally allow unencumbered re-use of your work. Kind of a Catch 22 really.

So what did you end up talking about?

There was a lot of overlap with your comments. I talked about the necessity of changing CC from an underground movement to something mainstream. I think it has a lot of parallels to the Internet. The core promoters are fairly religious, but it took the widespread adoption by everyone and lots of self-interested businesses before it became ubiquitous... and the fact that it "won" this war and is ubiquitous is great for those who really believe in the Internet. Similarly, CC need to go beyond our close group of believers and needs to be part of our "day job".

I also talked a bit about the contrast internationally in regions like India and Brazil where the culture hasn't been infected with the IP bug that comes from lots of mainstream media and overzealous lawyers. In some of those regions, CC is the first time people hear about copyright. We need to be aware that some of the issues we have are local issues, but that these will probably spread as to developing nations come online and begin to interact with "The West".


Obviously you and I agree on this matter to some degree and I am delighted to hear that. May I suggest however that you not use words like "infected" when speaking in public about "going mainstream"? Its words like that which contribute to the "pinko" image I referenced above. Those kinds of words, the inferrence that copyright is somehow "bad" or "evil" do not persuade the gatekeepers to open up. May I suggest that the idea of noblese oblige might be a better strategy?

I tried to post this same kind of thing once before in response to the India CC, but it never made it through.

Chris: I'm not saying that going mainstream is being infected. I'm talking about a disease which is characterized by disputes, lawyers and lots of mad people. Regardless of what side of the argument you are on, I think that there is a sense that the system is "broken" or "breaking". My point was that in countries without big media companies and lots of lawyers, this sense of a broken system doesn't really exist and the desire to "fix it" is very different if it exists at all.

*I* get that, I'm just saying that alot of people who "need convincing" wont get it. My point is that words have power, weild them carefully. Sorry if I'm beating a dead horse.

So what did you end up talking about?

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