Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Recently in the Creative Commons Category

Bassel Khartabil, a leading figure in the Syrian Open Source software community, has been imprisoned by the Syrian government since March 2012, accused of "harming state security". The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has declared his imprisonment arbitrary and called for his immediate release.


Khartabil's wife, human rights attorney Noura Ghazi, has recently been contacted by insiders in the Assad government and told that Bassel has been secretly sentenced to death. (English translation/comments on Noura's Facebook post, which is in Arabic.) It is impossible to confirm these rumors, but this is deeply disturbing news for friends of Bassel and defenders of freedom of expression anywhere.

The Internet Governance Forum in João Pessoa, Brazil, has released a statement demanding that the Syrian government alert Bassel's family to his whereabouts and exercise clemency in his case. We at the MIT Media Lab join this call, and urge the internet community to exercise whatever pressure we can on the Syrian government to make Bassel's whereabouts known and release him from detention.

On October 22, the MIT Media Lab invited Bassel Khartabil to join the Lab as a research scientist in the Center for Civic Media, to continue his work building 3D models of the ancient city of Palmyra, whose ruins have been destroyed by ISIS. We continue to hope that Bassel will be able to take his position at the Media Lab, and we desperately hope the rumors of his death sentence are untrue.

We ask for your help in calling attention to Bassel's arbitrary detention and seeking his whereabouts and immediate release.

- Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab
- Ethan Zuckerman, Director, MIT Center for Civic Media


Post on Ethan's Blog

I am proud to announce that we have offered Bassel Khartabil a position as a research scientist in the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab, where he will work directly with its director, principal research scientist Ethan Zuckerman. As a research scientist at the Media Lab, Bassel will be able to continue his longstanding work protecting spaces for online speech-work that fits naturally with the core research mission of the Center. In particular, Bassel is currently working on reconstructing in 3D the ancient ruins of Palmyra, one of the sites raided and destroyed by ISIS.

Bassel Safadi

Bassel Khartabil is a dear friend and former colleague at Creative Commons, and a vocal and brilliant advocate and worker for free culture on the Internet. Bassel invited me to Damascus in 2009 and introduced me to students, artists, and Syrian culture, and it remains the most inspiring trip I've ever made in the region. While I was there, he took me to visit ancient Roman sites as well as arranging a wonderful dinner with local tech entrepreneurs. The relationship between history, arts, and technology was stunning-something that no other city does as elegantly as Damascus. (Here are some of my photos from the trip.)

On March 15, 2012, Bassel was arrested by the Syrian military police, and eventually tried without a lawyer present at a military field court. Advocates across the globe have challenged his arrest and detention, arguing that his work presented no threat to anyone inside or outside of Syria, and instead represented the best aspirations of the open software movement.

I am writing this post now because, along with his family, friends, and colleagues around the world, I am very concerned about Bassel's safety. Until recently, he has been held at Adra Prison, but his current whereabouts are unknown-as of yet the Syrian government has not shared any information about where he is or why he was moved.

Bassel has devoted his career to the rich culture of Syria and to protecting that culture. His contributions to the open Internet and open culture internationally, and his research and creativity, have benefitted all of us. Without people like Bassel, the Internet wouldn't be the vibrant and open resource that many of us take for granted.

Stéphanie Vidal has written a detailed and thoughtful piece about Bassel's situation for, and Creative Commons has published a translation by Philippe Aigrain, Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay, and Jean-Christophe Peyssard on their blog. I encourage you to read these to understand the intricacies of Bassel's situation. One part of Stéphanie's essay in particular really stood out for me:

When there is no longer respect for human rights, public calls can only state what one hopes for. This brings us to the second point: the more the affirmation of our hope is shared and present on the Web and social media, the more it may turn to a reality. Bassel's engagement in favor of a free Internet may have brought him to jail, but the attention that we, citizens on the Internet, give to this case may, to some degree, help bring him out of the darkness.

In the name of the international academic community, I would like to ask President Assad to please give Bassel Khartabil a presidential pardon. He is an important world citizen and a true Syrian trying to protect the heritage of the country, and a pardon would be a tremendous show of good will and a contribution to the preservation of Syrian culture.

Please share this post widely and keep Bassel in your thoughts.


I ran into Loic at MIPTV in Cannes where I was giving a talk about Creative Commons. MIPTV is "The World's Audiovisual and Digital Content Market" attended by television and mobile phone content industry people. When we were walking along the beach, Loic did a video interview. I got a bit carried away and blunt in the interview. ;-) Apologies for being a bit rude to the champagne-drinking participants of the meeting.

The conference was focused on commercial content so I was talking mostly about CC in the context of marketing. Obviously, there are many other reasons for CC including free culture, open courseware, research, etc.

Hot off the press...

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

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...

Lawrence Lessig

Larry blogs that:

Last Free Culture lecture, first thought about what to do about political corruption

So this Thursday, January 31, at 1:00pm, at Memorial Auditorium on the Stanford Campus (directions) (map), I will be giving my last lecture about "Free Culture." The event is a bit staged (literally), as it is being sponsored by an entity making a film about these issues, and they want the lecture to use in the film. But the venue is beautiful, and I will also use the opportunity to map out one plan for addressing the problem of "corruption" (as I've described it) in politics. I've now finished a draft of the talk; for those who have seen me speak before, it is new (almost completely new -- maybe 1% are must have slides from the past). For those who haven't seen me speak before, it will be a nice map of where this debate has been, and where I think I want to go. Any questions about logistics, send an email here.

I'll be there. If you're in the area, please come. It should be an important/great talk.

Daily Kos speculates that Larry should run for Congress and is running a poll. 83% are saying yes as of this posting. ;-)

Be there or be square.

CC 5th Birthday Party in SF

Lessig Blog
Some important news from Wikipedia to understand clearly

As you’ll see in this video, there has been important progress in making Wikipedia compatible with the world of Creative Commons licensed work. But we should be very precise about this extremely good news: As Jimmy announces, the Wikimedia Foundation Board has agreed with a proposal made by the Free Software Foundation that will permit Wikipedia (and other such wikis) to relicense under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

That is very different from saying that Wikipedia has relicensed under a CC license. The decision whether to take advantage of this freedom granted by the FSF when the FSF grants it will be a decision the Wikipedia community will have to make. We are very hopeful that the community will ratify this move to compatible freedoms. And if they do, we are looking forward to an extraordinary celebration.

Read the Wikimedia Foundation resolution here.

My endless thanks to everyone who has helped make this possible, from Richard Stallman and the FSF board, to the important leaders within the Wikipedia community who say yet another legal obstacle to freedom that they could remove.

Thanks to everyone who has been working on it. This is a very significant step in improving interoperability and I think this is a great example of how we can all work together to benefit the free culture community. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Technorati Tags:

Lessig Blog
From the Why-a-GC-from-Cravath-is-great Department: The lawsuit is over

We received this happy missive in the mail yesterday: The plaintiffs in the lawsuit about Virgin using a CC-licensed photo have dismissed CC from the case. This is not a settlement. It is not the product of negotiation. It is the recognition by plaintiffs counsel that the laws of Texas and the United States give the plaintiffs no cause to sue Creative Commons.

This is great news. Congratulations to the whole team who worked on this including a number of volunteers from the community.

Jump-1 JUMP系列 Photographer:老0

I landed in Beijing yesterday at 5AM from Los Angeles and am leaving today at 1PM for New York. From a logistical and environmental perspective, I think this was one of my stupider trips. However, from a content perspective, this was one of my best trips ever. I really met more interesting people, saw more interesting things and had more interesting conversations in a single day than I’ve had in a long time.

I started out the morning yesterday by giving at talk at cnbloggercon organized by Isaac Mao. I gave a talk about the sharing economy and got some interesting questions and hallway conversation about sharing in the context of China. I also got to meet a lot of the Chinese bloggers I only knew by name. Many thank for Isaac and his crew for organizing this excellent annual conference and sorry I haven’t made it over before.

Then I went to the Creative Commons China Photo Content ceremony at the National Library in Beijing. There were 10,000 submissions of professional and amateur works licensed under various CC licenses. There were three categories: Society, Nature and Portraits. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges including famous photographers, professors and other notable people. The photographs were amazing. There is a web page of the winning photographs. Don’t forget to click the link underneath the winning photos for the second place winner gallery.

While we have silly people in the West saying that for every free photo on Flickr a professional photographer loses their job, we have professional photographers in China licensing their best works under CC licenses. As far as I could tell, the amateur and professional photographers seemed integrated and supportive of each other.

After the awards ceremony, we have a workshop with presentations from an illustrious and interesting group of speakers. Overall a groundbreaking and well executed event. Congratulations Chunyan and the CC China team!

I’m uploading photos from my trip in a Flickr set. I found out yesterday that there is a Firefox Plugin to bypass the Chinese block on Flickr. Yay!

24/7 DIY Video Summit is a conference which involves more of my friends than just about any conference recently. It should be a blast. Be there or be square.


February 8-10, 2008 School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California

[Howard says] I’m thrilled to moderate a session on Feb 9 that will include Yochai Benkler, John Seely Brown, Joi Ito, Henry Jenkins, and Lawrence Lessig. I don’t think this particular group has ever been on stage together.

Conference web site: Blog:

Spaces are limited for attendance at the academic panels and the workshops. The video screenings are free and open to the public.

24/7: A DIY Video Summit will bring together the many communities that have evolved around do-it-yourself (DIY) video:artists, audiences, technology providers, academics, policy makers and industry executives. The aim is to discover common ground, and to chart the path to a future in which grassroots and mainstream, amateur and professional, artist and audience can all benefit as the medium continues to evolve.

This three-day summit features:


On February 8 and 9, there will be screenings of DIY video that are open to the public. These will feature curated programs on design video, activist documentary, youth media, machinima, music video, political remix and video blogging. The video program will culminate in an evening program and reception on February 9 that will draw from all of these video genres.

Registered attendees will have access to the academic program on February 8 and 9 that features panels on The State of Research, The State of the Art, DIY Media: The Intellectual Property Dilemma andDIY Tools and Platforms. Featured speakers include Yochai Benkler, John Seely Brown, Joi Ito, Henry Jenkins, Lawrence Lessig, and Howard Rheingold.


On February 10, the day will be devoted to practical and hands-onworkshops for registered attendees on topics such as intellectual property, media creation, distribution and new-media design tools. Attendees will also have the option of organizing their own birds-of-a-feather meetings to connect with other attendees.

Philipp and I had a conversation about altruism as a follow-on to a bunch of posts he done on the site. I end up rambling on and don’t give him much of a chance to talk, but it was fun. Check out other posts on the site and let me know what you think about my theory of altriusm. ;-)

philipp (South Africa) on
The role of altruism in the digital commons

Listen to Joi Ito and Philipp Schmidt discuss altruism, the economic man, the difference between happiness and pleasure, carriers of compassion, and that being a happy sharer yourself, is the best way to get others to share as well.

The conversation starts off with an overview of Marcel Mauss’ The Gift, and the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness, which address the issue of sharing from very different directions. The Gift provides a historical framework for sharing that is non-financial, and sets out a clear process of sharing that runs counter to our economies’ urge to commoditise. The Dalai Lama develops a theory of happiness that is grounded on compassion, and the ability of human people to learn happiness. Why is it that we learn Maths and Sciences in school, but don’t seem interested in learning and teaching how to be happy?

Joi then sets out a profoundly optimistic model for collaborative citizenry that will help us identify, and ultimately address, global challenges like climate change. He makes a convincing argument that happiness comes from things like community and a well functioning family, where more is not necessarily better, and that the best way to bring others into this movement is to let them participate in our functional communities of sharing, and to be happy.

Note: The book mentioned by Joi is Scott Page’s The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies.

Larry just posted about the Texas suit against Virgin and Creative Commons

On the Texas suit against Virgin and Creative Commons

Slashdot has an entry about a lawsuit filed this week by parents of a Texas minor whose photograph was used by Virgin Australia in an advertising campaign. The photograph was taken by an adult. He posted it to Flickr under a CC-Attribution license. The parents of the minor are complaining that Virgin violated their daughter’s right to privacy (by using a photograph of her for commercial purposes without her or her parents permission). The photographer is also a plaintiff. He is complaining that Creative Commons failed “to adequately educate and warn him … of the meaning of commercial use and the ramifications and effects of entering into a license allowing such use.” (Count V of the complaint).

Please read the rest of his post.

This is a very good example of the complexities of copyright and other rights and the necessity of educating the public and ourselves about what copyright exactly is. As Larry points out, the posts on Slashdot are for the most part accurate and correct, but in a nutshell - Creative Commons is about copyright and NOT about privacy or other non-copyright issues. Just because something is licensed under a Creative Commons license, it DOESN’T mean that you can do anything you want with it. Different jurisdiction around the world have a variety of different laws, but depending on where you, property rights, moral rights, privacy laws and other laws may restrict what you can do with a photo. It is the responsibility of anyone reusing or remixing works to understand what rights may apply in their particular application. In particular, commercial use can trigger a variety of restrictions and a CC license on the photo by a photographer only relates to the rights that the photographer might typically have.

One of the things that I’ve been working on with our small group of photographers in the iCommons Photo-Commons node is to discuss things like model releases in combination with Creative Commons licenses to address exactly these sorts of issues. Above all, what is important is to create a way for subjects, photographers and people using these photos to have a clear way to decide and communicate what rights they would like to reserve and what rights they would like to permit. Creative Commons is one important part of this process, but we clearly need more than just CC to make this all work.

Gerfried Stocker
Gerfried Stocker

Other than being 7 degrees celcius and raining most of the time, Ars Electronica this year was a lot of fun. It was packed full of work for me this week with five talks and ten media interviews, but with Sandra, Elizabeth and Fumi's help, everything went smoothly and I survived. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to see all of the installations or talk to as many artists as I would have liked, but I had more than enough interesting conversations to make it great.

I went to Ars Electronica this year together with the MOGA unit which is a collaboration between Professor Inakage's lab, Joi's lab (mostly Fumi) and Hiroyuki Nakano's Peacedelic team. MOGA set up the "Jump" installation in Linz. Yuichiro Katsumoto, also from Professor Inakage's lab presented Amagatana. It was fun seeing the students I had been working with in the Ars Electronica context.

I think that most of the talks will end up online somewhere, but I'm not sure where. ;-) I did see one video interview on

The theme of this year's Ars Electronica was privacy.

The first session I participated in was with the Austrian Association and Judges and members from the Ars Electronica community. I talked broadly about the generation gap and the how the behavior and use of the technology was very different among the new users of the Internet and how difficult it was, yet how important it was, for the older generation to try to understand the way the new generation used the new medium. I was really impressed in the conversations with some of the judges and how forward looking they were. I also talked about the importance of Global Voices in the future of global democracy. I suppose that federal judges can think more long term about democracy and things like the cost of privacy than their politician brothers. Having smart judges is a great thing as the recent ruling by the 10th Circuit Court in the US shows.

Summer Watson
Summer Watson

The second session I participated in was a discussion about future trends with some of corporate executives. It was a good group with a number of interesting presentation. The presentation that was the most interesting to me was Summer Watson, a British soprano opera singer, who announced that she is going to ski the last degree (from 89 to 90) of the North Pole and sing an Aria at the North pole as a call to action on environmental issues.

I had coffee with her afterwards and we talked a lot about Creative Commons and online identities and was inspired to start the Summer Watson Wikipedia article.

I also did a session about WoW which I think you can imagine without me going into too much detail.

Volker Grassmuck
Volker Grassmuck

I did a session with Leonard Dobusch to talk about importance of Free Networks and Free Knowledge. Again, I'm sure readers of this blog can imagine what my position was. Leonard, who is also the son of the Mayor of Linz, had some interesting perspectives on the role of municipal governments in supporting public access. He had co-edited a book recently where they discussed many of these issues. He cited an article by Volker Grassmuck where Volker argued that having a public space for hosting content on the web was important.

Finally, I was on a panel as part of a awards ceremony and a kick-off meeting for Fair Music. The idea behind Fair Music was sort of a music parallel for the Fair Trade mark. Whereas the Fair Trade mark tries to identify products where the production meets basic Fair Trade parameters and requirements, Fair Music marks were awarded to companies and projects where the artists and consumers were treated fairly. Fair in this context means a number of things including the artist receiving a fair share of the remuneration or the project promoting diversity against the bias of "Northern" dominance in the music business.

I mostly talked about the need for new business models and the role of Creative Commons in this context.

I uploaded my photos a Flickr set.

First of all, THANKS to Six Apart and the community of users for the support. Creative Commons and WITNESS can really use the money and we appreciate it VERY much. A portion of the donations by users for permanent Live Journal accounts was donated to RAINN, EFF, Creative Commons and WITNESS during a recent campaign.

Unfortunately, we failed to disclose my involvement in Creative Commons and WITNESS when Six Apart was conducting the campaign. I'm the chairman of Creative Commons and a board member of WITNESS. I apologize to everyone for this oversight. I think that transparency is an essential part of everything we stand for and it really is unfortunate that we didn't handle this properly.

I would like to make it clear that while I donate time and money to WITNESS and Creative Commons, I pay all of my expenses and have never charged anything to either of these organizations... so while it doesn't make the lack of disclosure OK, I don't personally benefit financially from either of these donations from Six Apart.

Anyway, thanks again for everyone's support of Six Apart, Creative Commons, WITNESS and other organizations that I love.

BTW, Valleywag posted about the lack of disclosure.

UPDATE: BTW, my wiki profile probably is the best list of affiliations that I have if you're interested.

Mikeypod is one of my favorite podcasts. He had me as a guest on his last show. It was a blast. Thanks Michael!

Talked to nacho_c and we decided to start using the "freeplaces" tag as a location/place compliment to the "freesouls" tag.

Teo and Larry

According to Wikipedia, "Lawrence Lessig (born June 3, 1961) is an American academic. He is currently professor of law at Stanford Law School and founder of its Center for Internet and Society. He is best known as a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on copyright, trademark and radio frequency spectrum, particularly in technology applications."

I think I met Larry when he was in Japan promoting the Japanese edition of Code and I was on a panel with him. I got to know Larry better when he was in Japan for an extended period in 2002-2003 I think. At the time, I was struggling as an activist in Japan, fighting against the broken democracy of Japan. This struggle and the advice that Larry gave me for how to think about this struggle lead me to write my Emergent Democracy paper and take my struggle to the rest of the world.

Larry is a genius at identifying how complex systems such as law, code and politics influence each other. He's able to figure out where the balance is and turn murky complex issues into sharp, understandable thoughts around which movements can rally and debates can be won. Most importantly, Larry throws himself into acting on these causes with a dedication that energizes everyone around him.

Larry has really helped me evolve from an armchair philosopher to increasingly more serious activist. When Larry asked me to join the board of Creative Commons, I was honored and shocked, concerned about whether I would be make a sufficient contribution. I was even more surprised when Larry asked me to be the chairman of Creative Commons and I'm still concerned about my ability to play the kind of role that Larry expects from me.

However, Larry hasn't left me with much slack or time to wallow in my lack of confidence and the combination of his confidence and firm leadership is pushing me to have to grown quickly into my new position.

Larry is the mentor of mine who sets the standard of high-quality, no-compromise dedication to our higher causes, showing that there is no issue too complex or large that we can't make a difference with enough commitment, persistence and focus.

Pierre Omidyar

Good news. Pierre made BusinessWeek's list of Entrepreneurs for the Ages. Congrats Pierre! And... they used my photo of him. Yay!

Bad news. They didn't give me attribution. It's the ONLY thing I ask people do with my photos since they're Creative Commons Attribution licensed. It doesn't cost them anything... and they're crediting the photos by Getty Images.

/me shakes fist at BusinessWeek

The original Flickr image is here:

I suppose they might have found it on Pierre's Wikipedia article. But... clicking on the photo shows the license.

UPDATE: I wrote them a letter and they sent me an apology and fixed article. Thanks BusinessWeek!

Spoon Email

As I prepared to answer a rather long list of questions for a Macedonian newspaper, I realized that I would be motivated to write more thoroughly and spend more time on the answers if I knew I would be publishing them on my blog. I chatted with the journalist and he agreed. Thanks Vlado.

So here are my answers to some questions about the Internet, CC and Mozilla. Not that new for those of you who know this area, but if you're going to ask me some basic questions, you can start here. ;-)

Maybe I should be plopping this stuff onto a wiki...

Here are the questions:

1. What is Creative Commons license?

From the website:

How does a Creative Commons license operate?

Creative Commons license are based on copyright. So it applies to all works that are protected by copyright law. The kinds of works that are protected by copyright law are books, websites, blogs, photographs, films, videos, songs and other audio & visual recordings, for example. Software programs are also protected by copyright but, as explained below, we do not recommend that you apply a Creative Commons license to software code or documentation.

Creative Commons licenses give you the ability to dictate how others may exercise your copyright rights—such as the right of others to copy your work, make derivative works or adaptations of your work, to distribute your work and/or make money from your work. They do not give you the ability to restrict anything that is otherwise permitted by exceptions or limitations to copyright—including, importantly, fair use or fair dealing—nor do they give you the ability to control anything that is not protected by copyright law, such as facts and ideas.

Creative Commons licenses attach to the work and authorize everyone who comes in contact with the work to use it consistent with the license. This means that if Bob has a copy of your Creative Commons-licensed work, Bob can give a copy to Carol and Carol will be authorized to use the work consistent with the Creative Commons license. You then have a license agreement separately with both Bob and Carol.

Creative Commons licenses are expressed in three different formats: the Commons Deed (human-readable code), the Legal Code (lawyer-readable code); and the metadata (machine readable code). You don’t need to sign anything to get a Creative Commons license—just select your license at our ‘Publish’ page.

One final thing you should understand about Creative Commons licenses is that they are all non-exclusive. This means that you can permit the general public to use your work under a Creative Commons license and then enter into a separate and different non-exclusive license with someone else, for example, in exchange for money.

2. Can you explain the concept of CC?

From the website:

Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved."

We're a nonprofit organization. Everything we do — including the software we create — is free.

Creative Commons helps you publish your work online while letting others know exactly what they can and can't do with your work. When you choose a license, we provide you with tools and tutorials that let you add license information to your own site, or to one of several free hosting services that have incorporated Creative Commons.

3. I have a blog. Why should I use CC license?

If you do not use a Creative Commons license, it is not clear to people reading your blog what rights they have to reuse your work. Other than "fair use" or other narrow uses permitted under the laws of various countries, people will have to ask specific permission to reuse photos, text and screenshots of your blog. With a Creative Commons license, people can know if they can use things from your blog without asking permission. The CC license also stipulates that they must give you attribution so that when they use things from your blog, they are required to put your name on it.

For most bloggers who are looking for an audience and to join the conversation, allowing people to use your work and share your knowledge increases the likely hood that you would be quoted on other blogs. If you choose the most liberal license, CC-BY that allows commercial reuse, you are more likely to show up in a newspaper, magazine or TV show. As a blogger, you should weight the "cost" to you of someone using your work in a commercial way, with the attention you would receive by being shown on TV, etc.

Many main stream media publications already quote and use material blogs without permission, but CC allows them (and non-commercial users like bloggers) to know your intent which is important for the ethical and legally conscious sites and shows.

4. You said that now days there is a change of the consumer profile and consumer needs. Can you explain this? (The example of Pepsi and ITunes)

The Internet has enabled a dramatic change in the way we interact with content. We no longer have to be passive consumers, but can be participants in the global dialog of media. The problem is that new technologies and the capability to do things doesn't mean people will. Most new forms of media initially mimicked the old. For instance, photography was for a long time, just like paintings in form. TV shows looked like radio with pictures. Similarly, most people who are in charge of deciding how the Internet is used from a legal or corporate perspective still use the Internet and consume media as if they were in the broadcasting era.

The key to understanding business and the law in the future is to look at the behavior of the young people not as crime, but rather as a new behavior that the world will have to adapt to.

5. Can you explain the concept of Professionals vs Amateurs?

When the cost of the distribution of content was very high, the business of the manufacture and distribution of content was very similar to the industrial manufacturing process. Because of the high cost, most content was created by professionals and the tools for creation and distribution were not available for amateurs. The notion that professionals were high quality and amateur meant low quality sort of made sense in this era.

However, amateurs do things for the love of it. Amateurs do things for no pay not necessarily because they are lower quality. The problem was that in the past, to even make films or TV or music, it was a requirement to be a professional.

Now with low cost creation and distribution technology, the amateur is again part of the creativity world and this notion that professionals are better is less valid. People don't work on Linux because they aren't good enough to work at Microsoft and people don't write blogs just because they aren't good enough to be professional.

What Creative Commons is doing is trying to provide a license and choices for more types of creators than just the industrial professional - for people to whom the sharing is part or all of the reason that they make things. The current application of copyright is skewed mostly for the broadcast manufacture, distribute, consume, model of the world.

6. You said that, now days, more and more people choose happiness over pleasure. How this reflects on Internet?

I think that money can buy pleasure, but money can't necessarily buy happiness. I think that more and more people are choosing to do things in order to become happy instead of doing things just for the money. I'm not sure that there are more people making this choice, but I think that the Internet enables a new kind of sharing and collaboration that allows people who pursue happiness to produce things together. Yochai Benkler would call this Commons Based Peer Production. While I don't think that happiness is the only incentive to collaborate and produce on the Internet, I think that choosing happiness over pleasure / amateur over professional is a core driving element of open source and open content that is becoming exceedingly important on the Internet.

7. Is Internet a initiator of this process?

I'm not sure what this means...

8. How do Hollywood and other major industries accept CC?

There is a mixed response. I think that because the core values of CC involve Free Culture, I think that often this is misinterpreted to mean anti-copyright. In fact CC is not anti-copyright. It is just asking to allow artists to make choices based on what they would like to do.

I think that the enlightened people in the industry know, like and use CC. Some have even begun to understand the commercial benefit of using CC for marketing lesser know artists or for promotion already well know artists. I think that as new business models that involve sharing evolve, people will find that sharing actually makes business sense.

I think that we are struggling to make this case because for most people any change is frightening and disruptive. I am confident, however, that we will wind the hearts and minds of most people in Hollywood.

A good example is the Internet. Initially the Internet (or TCP/IP) was at odds with what most of the worlds companies and standards bodies wanted to do. it was considered rogue and illegal in some countries. Pushing the Internet was a political statement. Now everyone uses it. Some people would like to make it more closed and some of us fight to keep it open, but for the most part, people see its value and realize now that open is better than closed. I think that CC might follow a similar path.

9. What is for you a REMIX, an what an ORIGINAL?

Very little of what is created is truly original. Almost every kind of derivative work involves creativity. I personally believe that culture and ideas and our role is really as participants in a vast evolution of information passing from the past to the future. In that sense, I don't think that it is very wise to differentiate remix and original works too much.

For instance, this article that involves and interview with me... is this original or a remix? What parts of it are original? In fact is it a collaboration between us. I think that you can collaborate in your mind with things you have heard or have inspired you in the past, you can collaborate with books or images that you find, you collaborate with people are you talking to... but in the end, most things we do involve other people and in that sense it is remix.

10. How does technology reflects on low?

Sorry, I'm not sure what this means.

11. What is the concept of Science Commons license?

Science Commons is not a license, it is a new project.

From the website:

Science Commons works on these problems: inaccessible journal articles, tools locked up behind complex contracts, socially irresponsible patent licensing, and data obscured by technology or end-user licensing agreements. We translate this into projects, with work in three distinctly different project spaces: publishing (covered by copyright), licensing (covered by patent and contract) and data (in the US, covered only by contract). We work on agreements between funders and grant recipients, between universities and researchers and between funders and universities—all in the service of opening up scientific knowledge, tools and data for reuse. We also promote the use of CC licensing in scientific publishing, on the belief that scientific papers need to be available to everyone in the world, not simply available to those with enough resources to afford subscription fees.

12. Is CC a left wing oriented movement?


I think that a lot of the ideas about sharing and Free Culture on more left than right, but I think that as CC becomes more ubiquitous, it is becoming more and more neutral. Again, I would suggest looking at the Internet. The open and free nature of the Internet resonates deeply with the people who are in the left wing, but is incredibly important and central for the military and the right wing.

There is definitely a left wing component of the CC movement, but to be successful, CC will need the buy-in and support of everyone.

13. How is CC different from Copyright?

CC builds upon copyright and doesn't replace it. CC licenses are licenses that use copyright law in various countries to describe how people want to share, very similar to how open source software licenses use copyright to make software shareable.

14. Tell us more about your work in Mozzila foundation?

The Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organization that is working for the public benefit. There are no shareholders and the board is not paid.

One useful reference for this might be the Mozilla Foundation manifesto:

In it, we pledge:

The Mozilla Foundation pledges to support the Mozilla Manifesto in its activities. Specifically, we will:

* build and enable open-source technologies and communities that support the Manifesto's principles;
* build and deliver great consumer products that support the Manifesto's principles;
* use the Mozilla assets (intellectual property such as copyrights and trademarks, infrastructure, funds, and reputation) to keep the Internet an open platform;
* promote models for creating economic value for the public benefit; and
* promote the Mozilla Manifesto principles in public discourse and within the Internet industry.

Some Foundation activities–currently the creation, delivery and promotion of consumer products–are conducted primarily through the Mozilla Foundation's wholly owned subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation.

15. In Macedonia the most famous Mozzila product is Firefox. Why is Firefox, and bunch of other products, free of charge for costumers?

Firefox is Open Source. Since Mozilla is a public benefit and we are trying to offer value for the public, we have decided that providing it for free helps the users and the Internet the most.

16. What is the future of Internet?

;-) Well hopefully Macedonia plays an important part of the future. The future is what we make it and we all need to work together to keep the Internet open and promote tools that provide voice to and empower the people.

During Larry's talk at the iCommons Summit he talked about shifting his focus from IP related stuff to fighting corruption. Some took that to mean that he would be abandoning the "movement" but Larry describes in a blog post that he's not leaving us, but rather shifting his focus. He will continue to work on Creative Commons, but his public and academic will shift. Please read his post for the nuance and the specifics.

Fumi uploaded the Larry's talk to YouTube.

I'm reading The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. In it, they suggest that we should focus on pursuing happiness as our goal in life and the we should be careful to make a distinction between happiness and pleasure. Doing crack, drinking alcohol and even enjoying nice weather are mostly pleasures and not real happiness.

One of the core elements of happiness, according to the Dalai Lama, is compassion. Cutler describes how many psychologists will argue that man is inherently greedy and that the first thing that babies try to do is look for a nipple to suck milk - an inherently greedy desire. However, Cutler argues that babies also have a basic instinct to connect with people and illicit a smile or compassion. Babies will stare at you and smile and this makes you feel good and care about the baby. This basic social behavior is an important instinct for babies in addition to the sucking for milk. The argument is that compassion is also a basic human behavior and not something that you have to learn after you are older.

The Dalai Lama describes ways of increasing compassion. One exercise he suggests is to meditate or think deeply about someone or something (like an animal) and think of that person or animal suffering. You could imagine a lamb in fear before it is about to be slaughtered or a friend in some deep pain. As you imagine this, a feeling of compassion emerges. The Dalai Lama explains that one should be able to feel compassionate towards everyone and everything.

In general, I'm a fairly compassionate person, but I do have people and things that annoy me. Recently I've started to practice meditating on those things that annoy me and building compassion and understanding. I still find it difficult at times, but as I do it more and more, I'm finding that I'm becoming happier and happier.

We then realize that we need to develop patience to build compassion. Our patience grows by being challenged by annoying or hurtful people and events. It is these people and events that ultimately are our teachers. We should learn to cherish and be thankful for these annoying things, because without them we would not grow and become even happier. (So thank you all of you annoying people! ha!)

Compassion vs greed is something that we've been talking a lot about in the context of amateur vs professional. I think that compassion and the happiness one gains from giving and sharing is one of the fundamental driving forces of the sharing economy just as greed and the "economic man" are fundamental elements of capitalism and neo-classical economics. I think that in order to really understand how the sharing economy works, we need to understand how happiness works and what makes people choose compassion over greed.

We often make decisions which involved trying to decide which decision will make us happier. We often mistake pleasure for happiness and make the choice that may be more pleasurable instead of the choice that would provide more long-term happiness. The Dalai Lama says that just framing questions to yourself in terms of what will give you more happiness and making a distinction between happiness and pleasure will help us make the right decisions.

It often takes self-control or will to choose happiness over pleasure. As I become more conscious of my happiness, I realize that awareness of this distinction and awareness of your happiness helps to reinforce and provide feedback for your decisions. This feedback makes it easier and easier to make the "right" choice.

Update: Added "patience" in paragraph about teachers.

Last month, I blogged about one of my new "missions" - to take photographs of people and post them under a CC-BY license so that Wikipedians and other people writing articles have access to photographs that they can use in articles. There is a problematic lack of usable photos of most people as any Google Image search will prove. I've been talking about this a bit more and Larry suggest we start a "freesouls" movement to encourage people to post take and post their photos under a free license.

I've started tagging any decent quality images of people on my Flickr stream tagged with their name and the tag "freesouls". If you're interested in joining, just start using the tag.

I did a workshop about photography at the iCommons Summit and discussed freesouls. One of the issues that came up about portraits was the issue of moral rights, model releases and privacy. We've decided to make the photography discussion at iCommons a permanent thing and will be setting up a "node" for this. If you're interested in discussing these issues, please join the node and the mailing list I'm setting up. For now, you can just sign up on my wiki or the Flickr group until we have a more permanent place for the node.

We'll mostly be discussing norms and legal issues around taking and sharing portraits as well techniques, tools, services and events. We'll also try to put together a tutorial online. We're planning to do the workshop again at iCommons Summit '08 in Sapporo.

Update: You can sign up for the Photo Commons mailing list here:

Dialog box asking you to agree to CC license before downloading to Video Walkman

Saw Masaki and Takeshi from Sony yesterday. They are responsible for Eyevio, Sony's video sharing site. Eyevio uses CC licenses as a default allowing users to select their license when they upload. As Kirai reports, you can sync to the PSP and the Video Walkman. They also have it working with the Video iPod. They use H.264 with no DRM and only allow you to sync CC licensed content. My favorite part of the demo Takeshi did or me with his Video Walkman was when Eyevio popped up a dialog box when you were about to sync the videos that said, "Do you agree to abide by this CC license?" Awesome. Really.

Example: BY-NC-ND video of a blind folded guy in a batting center. ;-)

A very generous sponsor will donate $100,000 to iCommons if we can raise a matching grant of $100,000 in just 7 days. Powered by our amazing community of bloggers around the world, we’re going to do just that by getting 21 Visionary Patrons to each name one of the base camps on the way to the Summit for $3,000 - taking us up 21 base camps to reach the $63,000 Summit (our sister organisation, Creative Commons, is raising the rest). Each base camp on this epic journey will be named after the sponsor, and sponsors will be able to display buttons indicating their support of this wonderful event.
More information on the iCommons site. Your help on this would be greatly appreciated. Please spread the word.

Lessig has a thoughtful post urging people to urge the RNC and DNC not to use restrictive copyrights on political debates. With more and more political expression being done in video, it is time we consider the importance of free speech in video. Video is covered by stronger copyright restrictions when it comes to citation and remix than text. Having politicians and political parties push networks to air their words under the most permissive CC license, the CC-BY license would greatly enhance the public's ability to participate in the political video dialog.

UPDATE: Lessig has an update with the crazy rules that NBC uses today for reuse of debate footage.

We really need your help on this.

Two years ago, iCommons established the yearly iSummit conference as a way to bring together the thinkers, innovators, and pioneers of the "Open" movement.

This year's iSummit (taking place in Dubrovnik, Croatia from June 15th through 17th) will bring together more than 250 key players for two days of intense discussion and debate about our digital freedoms and the future of the Internet. It is critical to assure that a truly global legal perspective is represented at this important conference.

Creative Commons International affiliates
are crucial to the success of the iSummit and of Creative Commons globally. The iSummit is the one opportunity each year for these dedicated volunteers drawn from universities and cultural institutes to learn from each other face to face and plan for the challenges and opportunities facing the movement in the next year. Enabling these volunteers to participate in the iSummit is truly the most leveraged way to support Creative Commons at this time.

In order for Creative Commons to provide affiliates with scholarships to attend this critical conference, we need your help in raising $50,000 within the next two weeks. This is a daunting task, but we strongly believe that you, our community, will help us reach this goal.

Please give to the fund. All of our usual cool premiums are available.

To help, Digital Garage, a major sponsor of iSummit 2006, is matching the first $20,000 that is contributed.

This campaign will end when we have raised $50,000, or in two weeks, whichever comes first. There will be updates from our international affiliates blogged each day of the campaign.

If your company is interested in contributing matching funds or if you have questions about the campaign, please contact our Development Coordinator, Melissa Reeder, at

Web20Mirai Cover-1
Impress, a Japanese publisher, just released a Mook (magazine/book) called The Future of Web 2.0 - The Sharing Economy based on presentations at the Digital Garage New Context Conference last year in Tokyo. The book is in Japanese. There are excerpts from presentations by Mitchell Baker, John Buckman, Tantek Çelik, David Isenberg, Lawrence Lessig, Jun Murai, Hiroyuki Nakano and Cory Ondrejka. I've got some words in it including a translation of my DBA thesis proposal. (I really do need to work on this more...)

A really cool thing about this is that Impress has decided to release this mook under CC BY-NC (v 2.1 Japan). They have also made a PDF versions of each section available for download simultaneously under the same license on their site.

I'll blog more of the upcoming events that I'll be attending at SXSW, but here's an important one.

We challenge you, our community, to raise $6000 for Creative Commons by subscribing to GOOD Magazine and having a drink with us at the famed South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, TX. All it takes is for 200 people over the next 2 weeks to subscribe to GOOD. No, my math skills are not wrong. If you subscribe in the next 2 weeks your $20 bucks will be generously matched by Six Apart for up to $2000. So you won't just raise $4000 for CC but $6000.

Since July 2006, Creative Commons has been one of the 12 non-profits benefitting from the Choose GOOD campaign. GOOD magazine was started by some innovative people who have taken a non-traditional approach to promoting their magazine - and have experienced unbelievable success. The folks at GOOD have been traveling around the nation hosting parties and more importantly raising money and awareness for the non-profits that they support.

Over the past 7 months they have sold 11,899 subscriptions generating over $200,000 which in turn is gifted to 12 non-profits that are doing new, innovative, and great things. CC is one of them and since July GOOD has raised over $11,000 for us!

We need your help to make GOOD Magazine's SXSW party honoring Creative Commons the most successful party they've hosted to date. Cover charge is the $20 subscription fee and we strongly suggest emailing your rsvp to

If you want to help support CC and attend one of GOOD's infamous parties but do not reside in the Austin, TX area don't worry - your subscription fee gets you into any of the upcoming GOOD parties. And yes all parties are open bar.

By subscribing to this awesome new magazine you gain entrance to the biggest GOOD/SXSW party to date and you're helping us raise $6000 for CC. That money will support what we continue to do best - enable a participatory culture.

SXSW GOOD Party details:
with Special Guest Joi Ito, CC Chairman
VJ Phi Phenomenon
DJ Filip Turbotito
Ima Robot
ex Junio Senior

Monday March 12th
Uncle Flirty's
325 E. Sixth St. (on corner of Trinity and Sixth)
Austin, TX

This Event is for GOOD subscribers only

From Lessig's Blog.



Two friends of CC — updated

Two friends of Creative Commons have been nominated for won an Oscar: Board member Davis Guggenheim’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (husband of Christiane Henckel von Donnersmarck, original director of Creative Commons International)’s film, The Lives of Others.

CrooksAndLiars has a clip with Davis’ acceptance speech.

YouTube has Florian’s acceptance speech.

Friends are to inspire. And so they have.


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?

Sorry I didn't post this earlier. Larry blogged about it a few days ago.

Lessig Blog
Looking for a General Counsel for Creative Commons

It is with sadness that I post that we’re looking for a new General Counsel at Creative Commons. After two fantastic years at the legal helm, our current GC, Mia Garlick, like the GC before her, Glenn Brown, has been snatched up by the Google Monster. (It’s a nice monster, but very lawyer-hungry).

This is a insanely cool job, though of course, for only non-profit pay. But for anyone eager to move into a more interesting, remake-the-world kind of practice, check out the description on the CC site.

/me shakes fist at Google Monster. ;-)

CC India launch
I just returned from the CC India Launch.

This makes India the 35th country to complete the porting process of the CC licenses. Congratulations and welcome to the CC World.

India is a very interesting and significant country for us for a variety of reasons. First, it is huge and growing. Huge in terms of knowledge, economy, culture, IT companies and artists. India is also not yet nearly as "infected" with the copyright bug that comes from companies trying to protect their Read-Only Internet. Similar to Brazil in this way, it is possible that India might find CC more natural than countries that already have a culture and legal framework making sharing difficult.

The talks given during the launch were really great. One comment made by Anurag Kashyap, a well know Indian film maker stuck in my mind. He said that he grew up in a small village and didn't have access to movies. It was though pirated movies that he was able to educate and inspire himself and eventually become a major contributor to the film industry. In India, sometimes piracy is the only possible way to get software or content when distribution channels or payment systems don't exist.

Deepak Phatak talked about his work at KReSIT where he and his students are contributing vast amounts of courseware to the commons available under a CC license.

Nandu Pradhan, president of Red Hat India, Lawrence Liang, the CC India Legal Lead and iCommons Board Member, and Catharina Maracke, head of CCi (the international license porting and coordination part of CC) also spoke at the opening. All of the presentations were great and the launch was a big success.

Shishir K. Jha, the India lead organized the event and did an amazing job. Thanks a TON Shishir. Venkatesh Hariharan from Red Hat India took care of all of the press and helped me understand the VC and IT startup world in India. Thanks. I also want to thank Iti Bose and all of the student volunteers who made the whole thing work so well. Finally, thanks to everyone who showed up for the talks and the celebration.

I look forward to seeing even more great things from India.

John Brockman's EDGE asks a tough question every year. For 2007 the question was "What are you optimistic about?" My answer was:

Emergent Democracy and Global Voices

I am optimistic that open networks will continue to grow and become available to more and more people. I am optimistic that computers will continue to become cheaper and more available. I am optimistic that the hardware and software will become more open, transparent and free. I am optimistic that the ability to for people to create, share and remix their works will provide a voice to the vast majority of people.

I believe that the Internet, open source and a global culture of discourse and sharing will become the pillar of democracy for the 21st Century. Whereas those in power as well as terrorists who are not have used broadcast technology and the mass media of the 20th century against the free world, I am optimistic that Internet will enable the collective voice of the people and that voice will be a voice of reason and good will.

There are other answers from other people on the website.

Happy New Year.

Larry's talk is on Google Video. Definitely worth watching. Standing ovation. There are some new ideas that I'd love people's feedback on.

CC Weblog
CC Business Mixer: Calling for Creative Commons Entrepreneurs

Creative Commons and CC board member John Buckman will be hosting a CC Business Mixer on Thursday, Jan. 18th from 6pm-8pm at the Creative Commons offices in San Francisco. If you have an idea for a Creative Commons related business, this is your chance to present your idea to other like minded entrepreneurs and network with VCs. Have an idea you would like to present? Email John Buckman at

Details: Creative Commons Business Mixer for CC Entrepreneurs
6pm-8pm, Thursday January 18th
Creative Commons
543 Howard Street, 5th Floor
San Francisco

It looks like I'l be able to make it to this event. If you're in SF and have a startup that involves CC or are a VC interested in this space, email John Buckman and see you there. ;-)

I'm at Narita Airport waiting for my flight to Berlin via Frankfurt to attend the 23rd Chaos Communications Congress aka 23C3 as well as the iCommons board meeting. This is the third year that I've attended. It's one of my favorite conference with thousands of hackers converging on the Congress Center in Berlin. This year Digital Garage will be a sponsor of the conference and I will have a small team of folks including the MXTV BlogTV team covering the evening and doing some interviews. As always, the content will be released under a Creative Commons Attribution License and will be uploaded to You Tube and other places.

I'll be in Berlin until the 31st and travel back to Japan on New Years Eve just like last year. My big question is whether New Years Eve is including in the "end of the year" through which the in-flight Wifi is supposed to work.

This is the first flight I've taken since I started my ETL program and it's rather weird. Thinking about the logistics of getting tons of vegetables in Berlin feels almost upside down from the last time I went too. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but it's a bit disorienting.

Yesterday Creative Commons celebrated its fourth birthday with parties around the world as well as in Second Life. Larry was in Portugal and I was in Japan so we hooked up with the party in Second Life. Board members Hal and Jimmy also joined us there together with a great mix of SL visitors and regulars.

In Second Life, Larry took the opportunity to pass me a digital torch as part of a ritual where he handed on the Chairman position to me after four amazing years as the founder-Chairman of Creative Commons.

When I joined the board in 2003, the licenses had been launched and the movement already had a great buzz of activity and good will around it. A the time, some products like Movable Type had already integrated Creative Commons licenses, but for the most part, CC was a movement of like-minded people with a vision. Since then Creative Commons, thanks to everyone who has supported us over the last four years, has become a standard feature in major search engines, web services, software tools and content libraries. In four short years, Creative Commons has grown from an idea to a basic part of the technical and business infrastructure of the Internet and the sharing economy.

One thing that needs to be clear is that I'm succeeding Larry, not replacing him. That's impossible. I'm jumping into the movement to try to help where I can and contribute to the leadership that Larry started. Larry remains fully committed as CEO. I'll try to give Larry more time to focus on his unique contributions to Creative Commons while I bring my own.

Creative Commons was and always will be a cultural and social movement which empowers people to share and promote free culture. In every way, it is "the right thing to do." However, Creative Commons has a new group of supporters. Many people now use Creative Commons because it makes business sense. The corporate world needs to hear this in a language they understand. I speak their language.

While I hope that Creative Commons T-Shirts will still get you free drinks in San Francisco, I think that Creative Commons will become a regular topic of conversation in board rooms, government policy meetings and living rooms of "normal people". As we lay claim to ubiquity, we need to step up as an organization and as a movement. I hope you will all join me in pressing on with renewed confidence and energy to make CC such a success that, as Larry hopes, people will look back and think that what we are saying now should have been obvious.

Please read Larry's post for his perspectives on this.

Finally I need to thank everyone for your support over these four years. It is through the broad grassroots support that CC has been able to port to over 70 countries, convince major companies to adopt the licenses and change their practices and become a key enabler of sharing and free culture. It takes real work and real money to build a movement like this. And the movement continues. Please continue to support CC and if you aren't already a supporter, it's a good opportunity to start. We've got $100,000 left to raise to meet our $300,000 goal for this fund raider. Your participation is essential to our success and contributing to our funding is an important part of this support. Thanks. CLICK HERE TO GIVE

UPDATE: Press Release

CC Blog
Celebrate CC globally and virtually

Melissa Reeder, December 7th, 2006
Creative Commons 4th Birthday Party is on December 15th. If you are located in the San Francisco Bay Area come celebrate with the CC SF staff at Songbird, the company that brought you the super cool media player. They have generously offered to host our party.

The details:
What: Creative Commons Turns Four!
When: Friday, December 15, 2006, 9pm until 2am
Where: Songbird – 777 Florida Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, CA
Please RSVP to as space is limited.
Since most of CC's supporters are spread out around the world we thought that it would be awesome to see how many of our international affiliates would interested in hosting CC celebrations of their own!. So even though you may not be able to attend the SF party don't fret because there are now CC Celebration parties in Warsaw, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Portugal (as part of their initial launch), and New York City. If you don't see a party in you country, talk to your nearest CC affiliated jurisdiction project lead about having a party or just meeting up in an informal place like your local coffee shop, friend's house or bar.

If you are unable to make any of those locations but can make it virtually then we can accomodate that too!

Come celebrate with Larry Lessig, Creative Commons' CEO, Jimmy Wales and Joi Ito to take part in this virtual birthday bash. We will be streaming San Francisco's live festivities into Second Life. Teleport directly to our land at 9-10pm PST on Kula Island to see the live stream, listen to music, and chat with a few of our favorite progressive thinkers and free culture fans.

As a way for all the global commoners to be able to celebrate together we are asking that everyone document their celebrations with videos and photographs. Upload them with the tag "ccb-day", "city" (i.e. Berlin), and any other identifying tags, so we can pick them up and channel them through Stage6, the video and image content platform. If you would like to upload to Stage6 directly the format is DiVX. If you are unfamiliar it's easy to use and they have help for both Macs and PC. The open source application for PC's is Dr. DiVX and they have how-to videos for Dr. DiVX as well. also host informational videos. We are also encouraging commoners to support CC by uploading a short video or written testimonial about you support CC and use "cc" "testimonial" "city" and any other identifying tags. We want to know your stories and share them with the rest of the world.

See you there!

UPDATE: I will be there via Second Life

Today, Creative Commons launched the first CC Swag Photo Contest on Flickr to promote our Annual Fundraising Campaign. The contest offers a chance for people to win prizes for creatively photographing their CC Swag (t-shirts, buttons, stickers, etc. — all available from the Support the Commons store) and showing their support for CC during this critical fundraising period. Two winners will have their photos used on Creative Commons' informational postcards, which will be distributed internationally to promote CC and the winning photographers. Winners will receive 100 copies of the postcard with their photo. The winners will also be able to choose a Creative Commons board member to record a personalized outgoing voicemail announcement — that's right, your friends can be greeted by Lawrence Lessig every time they call you! For more information, please visit the contest page and read the rules.

I recently blogged about some of the issues I have with YouTube. Revver, on the other hand, does two things right. They share the proceeds from advertising with the artist and they've figured out and advertising model that still allows you to download the video. Revver uses a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 license which does not allow remix and derivative works, but does allow sharing.

Creative Commons has launched fundraising campaign with Revver.

Creative Commons and Revver launch Viral Video Fundraising Campaign
Submitted by Eric Steuer on 2006-11-01 01:04 PM.

Today, Creative Commons launches a brand new fundraising model: We're becoming the first nonprofit organization to raise money through online video sharing.

We've uploaded several of our short videos (which explain CC licenses and talk about how the Creative Commons project began) to Revver, an incredibly cool video-sharing platform that uses Creative Commons licenses to help creators make money from their work.

Revver attaches a short ad at the end of each video on its network. When a viewer clicks on the ad, Revver splits the resulting ad revenue with the video's creator. Usually, it's a 50/50 split, but Revver is generously giving Creative Commons 100% of the money our videos make through the end of our fundraising campaign on December 31, 2006.

So, watch our Revverized videos (or help us spread them by embedding them on your blog, MySpace page, or Web site), check out the ads at the end, and help Creative Commons get paid! (Although we want you to watch our Revverized videos so we can earn money, we've also made ad-free versions available.)

As part of this launch, we're premiering our latest video -- Wanna Work Together? -- designed by Ryan Junell (who is also responsible for our Get Creative and Reticulum Rex clips) and featuring new music by Lesser. The video pays tribute to the people around the world using CC licenses and CC-licensed content to build a better, more vibrant creative culture.

In conjunction with this launch, we're also publishing a Featured Commoner interview with Steven Starr, the founder and CEO of Revver. In it, he talks about Revver's origins, its future, and his views on the current state of user-generated video.

For more information about the Viral Video Fundraising Campaign, take a look at our press release.

Photo by Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Yesterday, Veni Markovski took Paul Twomey and me to go see Ivailo Kalfin, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria. Paul is the President/CEO of ICANN (I am on the board).

First of all, The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry has now licensed all of its content under a Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution License . YAY!

The Minister also just started a blog at

It was clear from the conversation that Veni was a well known (and mostly liked) maverick who had blazed the way for open Internet in Bulgaria with the support and help of the Minister. They talked about some of the policy war stories from the past.

Here is the press release from the meeting via the Veni/ISOC Bulgaria blog:

Minister Kalfin told Dr. Twomey that the government has on the top priorities list promotion of development of information infrastructure in the country, and development of the information society. He informed the guests about the current statistics about Internet usage by the citizens, companies and government. Minister Kalfin noted the fact that Bulgaria has good traditions in the field of software. He pointed out several international IT-companies that enterBulgaria, and invest in ICT.

ICANN’s President gave high remarks on the policy Bulgaria has for Internet access and usage. He informed Minister Kalfin about the multiple business-oriented applications, and the effect of using IT in different branches of the economy.

Joichi Ito, one of the Internet pioneers in the development of blogs, spoke about the new culture and new opportunities, noting that the blogs are one of the most democratic tools for access to information.

Another topic covered was the improvement of the services about registration of domains in the .bg top level domain.

Minister Kalfin started his own blog, to be found at, where he will be discussion issues about Bulgarian foreign policy, EU membership, etc. The blog is based on open source software - Wordpress, and is the first such an initiative by a Bulgarian minister. Mr. Kalfin invited Joichi Ito to become an author at his blog - an invitation that was accepted by the famous Japanese IT-investor and blogger.

The content, published at the web site of the Foreign Ministry is now under CreativeCommons License - attribution 2.5. That puts the ministry among the firs in the world to use this license. Another ministry to use CC is the Brazilian Cultural Ministry, but it uses CC-attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives.

UPDATE: Test of Google Earth - This is the hotel I'm staying at -

If you'll be around New York City on September 29, please join us at Irving Plaza for a Creative Commons concert presented by WIRED and Flavorpill. The show will feature Mike Patton's experimental pop supergroup Peeping Tom, DJ/producer Diplo, and mash-up/remix artist Girl Talk. Creative Commons' CEO Lawrence Lessig will be on hand to introduce the artists.

This concert is a great way to show your support for our work, as proceeds from all ticket sales will go directly to Creative Commons (please note that ticket price is *not* tax-deductible). Tickets are $25 each (plus service charge) and are available online at Ticketmaster.

The event is a part of Next Music, which kicks off WIRED NextFest, a four-day festival featuring more than 130 interactive exhibits from scientists and researchers from around the world.

Please join us if you can. Again, 100% of the proceeds from every ticket sold go directly to Creative Commons.

WIRED + Flavorpill present:
Next Music
Featuring Peeping Tom (with Mike Patton, DJ Rob Swift, and Rahzel), Diplo, and Girl Talk
All proceeds go to support Creative Commons
Friday, September 29 | 9:00 PM, doors open 8:00 PM
Irving Plaza
17 Irving Place, NYC

Mark your calenders: On Thursday, September 14 at 5PM (SL/Pacific), (the online home of Popular Science) and Creative Commons will be hosting a special concert in Second Life featuring Jonathan Coulton as well as popular Second Life musicians Melvin Took, Kourosh Eusebio, Etherian Kamaboko, and Slim Warrior. The entire show will be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 license, so feel free to record and share it. More information is available on this wiki.
People often say that the Internet destroys community be cause you don't have to go to the movie theater or the concert to watch or listen and just sit in front of your computer. In away, concerts, lectures and screenings in Second Life break that theory because these things once again become a social event where you can chat, emote and dance while watching a concert or a movie.
Brazil's Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil partakes of "Free Beer" - brought to him at the iSummit in Rio de Janeiro June 2006.
There were a bunch of cameras rolling when Gilberto Gil got his free beer at the iCommons Summit. All of the video was licensed under a CC Attribution license so Justin was able to edit together a multi-camera video of the Minister and his beer.

It's up on under a CC Attribution license.

Thanks to the colossal effort on the part of Nevin Thompson for the translation and transcription and the overtime work by Thor at dotSUB getting this posted, the MXTV show that I blogged earlier is now available with English subtitles. The show was directed by Shuichi Fujiyasu, "Peacedelic'ed" by Hiroyuki Nakano (who just won a Canne Young Critic award this year for his short film "Iron") and produced by Digital Garage. A lot of the video is just about me and stuff I'm interested in, but there is also a bunch of stuff about Creative Commons. Since it's on dotSUB, anyone who is interested can sign up and translate it into other languages. I'm slightly self-conscious posting a video which is mostly about me, but I think that parts of it are very cool and worth seeing. Shuichi Fujiyasu and Hiroyuki Nakano also did a very cool job of annotating the attributions for the attribution license. Of course, this version is also licensed under a Creative Commons attribution 2.5 license.

Anyway, thanks for all the help.

PS : The Nakano films still need more help on the translation if you happen to have time. ;-), Microsoft has released a free Office plug-in that enables you to mark Office documents (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) with Creative Commons licenses. This has been in the works for a while, and is an extremely cool development. The plug-in will modify the FILE menu, adding an item “Creative Commons” and then when selected, link the user out to the CC site to select a license to be inserted into the license. The first document licensed with the tool is a speech by Brazil’s Culture Minister and supercool musician, Gilberto Gil, about tropicalism. (en) (pt).
This plug-in is for the Windows version of office only and doesn't work on the Mac. However, this is a great step in the direction of mainstream software recognizing and integrating Creative Commons and I would like to thank everyone who made this happen. As Larry states in his blog post, Microsoft has been on the right side of a number of issues and should be commended when they are.

Loic was lugging a one-man-video setup around when we met in Helsinki. He talked me into doing a conversation so he could show off his gear. ;-) He posted the video and audio on his blog.

Loic has been interviewing amazing people for his blog. Unfortunately for me, the interviews are mostly in French. Maybe he should use dotSUB...

Hiroyuki Nakano and his team posted some video messages from him for the iCommons Summit. I added the English subtitles and now they've been translated into Italian, Romanian and partially in Arabic in less than 24 hours. Pretty amazing.

Videos on dotSUB.

Undercity is a Horde city in the World of Warcraft. A few weeks ago some of our guild members and friends decided to take a field trip to Undercity. We snuck in through the sewers and pwned some guards and a battlemaster. I found the video on my hard disk this morning during the conference so I decided to edit it and put some music to it.

The music is Nebula Dub by _ghost that I found on ccMixter. The song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 license so this video is as well. It's about 5 min. (AVI / MP4)

UPDATE: yeah yeah... I know the AVI version sucks.

David Byrne and Brian Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts Remix Site Launches Today Submitted by Eric Steuer on 2006-05-09 04:57 PM.

May 9, 2006

For the first time ever, fans are able to legally remix and share their own personal versions of two songs from David Byrne and Brian Eno’s groundbreaking album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. The interactive forum has been developed to celebrate the reissue of the album 25 years after its original release.

By agreeing to the terms of download, users will be able to download the component audio for two tracks from Bush of Ghosts – "A Secret Life" and "Help Me Somebody.” This component audio is licensed to the public under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. Consistent with that license, users can legally create remixes and upload them to the site. Visitors can listen to, rate, and discuss the remixes, and are also encouraged to create their own videos, which will be streamed on the site.

Yay! Thanks David and Brian and gratz to the CC team!

We are in the final planning stages of the iCommons Summit which will be June 23-25 in Rio de Janerio, Brazil this year. We have international Creative Commons/iCommons and other friendly projects converging at this meeting. I hope you can join as well, either as a participant or a sponsor. Gilberto Gil, Minister Culture, Brazil, our fearless leader Larry Lessig, our iCommons director and star from South Africa, Heather Ford, board member and free culture leader from Brazil, Ronaldo Lemos, Wikipedia founder, iCommons and Creative Commons board member, Jimmy Wales, Creative Commons board member and free culture guru James Boyle, James Love, the man behind the A2K movement and WIPO lobbying for cheaper AIDS drugs and many other interesting people will be there. I will be there as well.

Visit the site, take a look around and hope to see you there.

Also, don't forget to check out the iCommons Summit Bag Awards.

iCommons Summit Bag Awards
Inspired by the SXSW Big Bag Competition, iCommons and Creative Commons announces a competition to design this year’s iCommons Summit bag. With the theme of this year’s event: ‘Towards a Global Digital Information Commons’ and workshops on open creativity, knowledge, science and innovation, we’re looking for designs that are creative, visually arresting and informative. The winner will receive a scholarship to attend the June iCommons Summit, so get your friends and communities involved and they could be attending this amazing event in Rio de Janeiro. Read the contest rules and submission details here.

I've just uploaded the 50 min special produced by Digital Garage and directed by Hiroyuki Nakano for MX TV (and the Net.) All of the content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License. It is a 308 MB MOV file / iPod Video file. This 50 min show is a warmup for a weekly 30 min live show that I will be doing from July. The master is in HD format and I'll upload it at some point.

This show is about Creative Commons and has lots of scenes of me just talking about stuff. It includes a walk-through of my house and is Joi-centric. Sorry. ;-P It's also in Japanese. We're going to possibly make and English sub-titled version. If anyone wants to help, let me know. Since it is CC-BY, feel free to chop it up and do whatever.

Hiroyuki Nakano is a well know director famous for doing the DEEELITE music videos, Samurai Fiction and many other amazing video pieces and it was a huge pleasure to work with him and also watch him get switched on to CC. We tried to figure out the best way to do attribution in video. Thoughts on the icons and format would also be greatly appreciated.

It will air on MX TV 29.April 2006 2100~2155.

UPDATE: If anyone decides to edit it, can you replace the credits at the end with:

Produced by Digital Garage
Peacedeliced by Hiroyuki Nakano
Directed by Shuichi Fujiyasu

I'm going to fix it in the next version, but I'm leaving the current one up there until I do.

Mia Wombat Prepares To Speak
Wagner has posted the transcripts from Mia Garlick talk about Creative Commons. Thanks Wagner! it was a great talk and Wagner did a nice job capturing it for the web.
Second Life Forums
CREATIVE COMMONS: Copyright Basics

Date: Thursday, April 20, 2006
Time: 6:00PM - 7:00PM (60 minutes) [PST]
Location: Kula 4 (75,75)
Host: Genevieve Junot
Category: Education
Cover Charge? No

Event description: Mia Garlick, Creative Commons' General Counsel, goes in-world to discuss copyright issues, and the "Some Rights Reserved" licensing perspective.

Please join us at our new location on Kula Island! We will reserve some some for a brief Q&A session after the presentation.

Creative Commons licenses provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, artists, and educators. We have built upon the "all rights reserved" concept of traditional copyright to offer a voluntary "some rights reserved" approach. We're a nonprofit organization. All of our tools are free.

I'm not sure whether I can be there or not but it should be interesting...

UPDATE: I'm pretty sure I can be there.

Have started working with Justin... or rather Justin has started working on editing video. I'm about to learn to use Final Cut Pro and turn this blog into a video blog. ;-)
Justin Hall @
Open Source Physical Objects: Limor Fried and her x0xb0x Synthesizer

Open Source Physical Objects: Limor Fried and her x0xb0x Synthesizer - a conversation between hacker/artist Limor Fried ("Lady Ada") and Joi Ito with Phil Torrone of Make Magazine. Fried talks about her popular x0xb0x synthesizer kits, and the increasing elaborate revisioning of the product that's coming from her users. With Ito and Torrone, she proposes that this is a promising model for "open source physical objects" - extending the permitted hackability of software to hardware. This is an interview from South by Southwest: Interactive, in March 2006; the camera was held by Merci Hammon, the editor was Justin Hall, and Joi Ito was the executive producer - this is part of a series of videos released online from that event under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 license.

Fellow Creative Commons board member and friend James Boyle helped work on and just released this very cool comic book that depicts in a cool and easy to understand way, the copyright struggle going on right now. You can buy the book or download it since it is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 license.
Duke Law School's Center for the Study of the Public Domain has just released "BOUND BY LAW?" - a comic book on copyright and creativity -- specifically, documentary film. It is being published today --March 15 under a Creative Commons License. The comic, by Keith Aoki, James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins explores the benefits of copyright in a digital age, but also the threats to cultural history posed by a “permissions culture,” and the erosion of “fair use” and the public domain. You can read or download the whole thing for free at and hard copies are on sale at Amazon.

I was recently approached by a publisher who wants to translate my Chinese Anti-Japan Protests post and some of the comments into Japanese and publish them as a book. This site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license so legally they can do this without asking permission. However, I am worried that some people might be posting comments on this blog without being aware that their comments are also covered under this license. If you have contributed to the post and would not like to have your comments translated into Japanese and reprinted, please let me know. Any royalties or fees I might receive for this I will donate to Global Voices, which is the most relevant project to this post.

Today Elisabeth Shue hosted a Creative Commons screening of Teach by her husband Davis Guggenheim. Davis is a fellow board member of Creative Commons. The documentary is available for download and is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license. It is a short excerpt of a longer documentary and is extremely moving. Download it, view it and share it please.

Creative Commons
A Creative Commons-licensed film by Davis Guggenheim

Experts predict that the US will need more than two million new teachers in the next decade. So, how do we inspire today’s young adults to become tomorrow’s educators?

In 1999, director Davis Guggenheim and producer Julia Schachter undertook an ambitious project — to document the experiences of teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District. In examining the trials and rewards that come with educating our children, the filmmakers created two powerful documentaries: the Peabody Award-winning The First Year; and Teach, a short film created to attract talented and passionate people to the teaching profession.

Teach is available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license and is offered online to the public for free. By using a CC license, Guggenheim and Schachter are allowing people to legally download and share Teach, so that its inspirational message can be easily seen by anyone in the world.

Download Teach via Bittorrent
(hosting provided by LegalTorrents).

Dagny And Joi Ito Get Jiggy Wid It
Yesterday Larry asked me if I could go to a Creative Commons party with him. "Sure!" I said. "Hamlet Linden has the details. It's at 1PM in Second Life." I showed up in Second Life around 1:30PM and messaged Hamlet who teleported me to a beautiful tree house. Everyone was in kilts dancing. I clicked the play button on the music and my room was filled with the music they were dancing to. I was looking kind of drab in my semi-default gear, so I was quickly handed a kilt. Then I clicked the dance ball and I was dancing around with the rest of them. Soon Larry arrived and talked to everyone about Creative Commons. It was great meeting all of our new friends in such a beautiful place.

See Hamlet Linden's blog for a better post about this party.


Thanks to all who helped contribute a total of L$37,178 to the Creative Commons donation box provided by Pathfinder Linden. All funds are transferred to Lawrence Lessig's Second Life account, and from there sold and converted into US$ that are deposited directly to Creative Commons' official PayPal account. More events to benefit CC will be planned this Wednesday and Saturday; join the Free Culture group to get involved!
Yay! Thanks!

I just finished my keynote for the 22C3 conference. I'd been mulling over what to talk about from about 2AM or so this morning. After reading the program and the amazing breadth of the 150 or so talks and imagining the 3000 leet hackers that I would be talking to, I decided to put together a brand new talk hitting a lot of the points that often skip because they are controversial or difficult for me to discuss. I was a bit nervous kicking off what I think is one of the most important conference I go to. I am happy to report that it was the best crowd ever. ;-)

Although there is a bit of preaching to the choir, (I got cheers for just saying "open network"), judging from the hallway conversations I had afterwards, it was a smart and motivated crowd and I'm honored and happy that I was able have people's attention to allow me to talk about some of what I believe are the most important things going on right now.

The Syncroedit guys set up an instance for my talk where you can see my notes and things others have said. (Use Firefox please.) Please feel free to add stuff. It's still a test install and fragile so please don't try to break it. It's not a challenge. ;-)

Anyway. Thanks much to everyone at 22C3 for the invite and look forward to spending the rest of the week hanging out with everyone.

A video of the presentation should soon be up at

I've just spent five days in Croatia visiting Zagreb and Dubrovnik. The trip was organized by the Creative Commons Croatia dynamic duo, Marcell and Tomi with the support of CARNet. CARNet is the Croatian Academic and Research Network and I gave a keynote at their 7th Internet Users Conference in Dubrovnik.

After Dubrovnik, I went to Zagreb and gave two presentations organized by Marcell, Tomi and the mama team. mama is a very cool media center, library, community center that is the meeting place of a number of really interesting communities in Croatia. One of the communities that hangs out there is the anime community who I had a chance to meet. They were extremely organized, fun and knew everything about Japanese anime. I learned a lot from them and renewed my feeling that a stronger relationship between anime publishers and their fans would be a win-win.

While I was in Dubrovnik, Marcell drove me to Montenegro and gave me a full day talk on the history of the region and many of the issues. A lot of the news that I had been skimming in the past about the war in the region and the struggle of the people all sort of fell into place. The scenery was beautiful with a mix between ancient towns and cool new restaurants and bars. Although I'm sure Marcell is slightly biased, it was a great opportunity for me to learn about an area of the world that until this trip has been filed in my brain under "Eastern Europe". As I mentioned earlier when writing about my friend Veni from Bulgaria, I am going to make an effort to visit and learn more about Eastern Europe and make up for my embarrassing lack of knowledge of the region and I think this was a good start.

Thanks again for the hospitality and for sharing your culture with me.

I've uploaded a few pictures from the trip.

I'm posting this from my flight to Vancouver where I will be attending the ICANN meeting.

Heather Ford and her crew in South Africa have launched 'Copyright, copyleft and everything in between'.
The Learning Commons
'Copyright, copyleft and everything in between' is a multimedia curriculum on copyright alternatives in South Africa. It covers the social and economic impact of technology from an African perspective, focusing specifically on the origins of copyright and the impact of open source software and open content on African development. The materials have been released under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike South Africa licence which enables you to freely copy and share the files, make derivatives (including translations) - even for commercial use (as long as you attribute us and licence the derivative under the same terms)! Download it here, order the published copy or contact us for more details.
I think educational tools are a great application for Creative Commons, and they've done a brilliant job. Between Heather Ford's work with Creative Commons with Mark Shuttleworth's worth with Ubuntu Linux (It's still running my Asterisk install.), South Africa is quickly becoming one of the coolest places on the planet. Thanks for this Heather.

Google has just launched a "Usage Rights" category in their advanced search. It uses Creative Commons license to allow users to search for works which either "allow some form of re-use" or "can be freely modified, adapted or built upon". This is a great step forward and will hopefully increase the adoption of Creative Commons (CC).

On the other hand, I don't see CC mentioned on the page and having only two choices is limiting, considering the various other licenses that people are likely to use. Yahoo advanced search already has two radio buttons instead allowing you to choose "Find content I can use for commercial purposes" or "Find content I can modify, adapt, or build upon". This actually allows three choices (depending on how you count) and they have a CC logo and a link to an explanation.

I realize it takes a lot for Google to add this and I appreciate all of the work that went into getting this done. Yahoo and Google are both probably testing this feature to some extent. It would be great if you could all spread the word, try to service and give feedback to Yahoo and now Google so they continue to integrate Creative Commons into their offerings.

In addition to Google and Yahoo, there are many other services that have begun integrating Creative Commons. See the web page for more info.

Lessig Blog
buttons galore
becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png

So some smart folks suggested we start passing out buttons for the CC fundraising campaign. We like smart folks (or at least some smart folks), and so we did. Go here to get a button. Please. Pretty please. Or whatever form of please will get you to go.

So please... support Creative Commons. As a wise old man once told me... "Never beg... unless it helps."

Creative Commons (CC) has traditionally been supported by a small number of foundations which have very generously allowed CC to get started and grow into an international movement. (Thanks!) CC is now entering its second phase where it must begin to be supported by the public itself. This is an important step and is also required by the tax authorities in the US for CC to retain its nonprofit status.

Larry has written something about the fund raising as well as an update on CC over on the CC site. Please take a look at it and send your donation to the CC fundraising campaign! Thanks in advance.

GNU Free Software Definition
The Free Software Definition


"Free software" is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of "free" as in "free speech", not as in "free beer".

Actually... Free as in beer.
Vores Øl
How can beer be open source?

The recipe and the whole brand of Our Beer is published under a Creative Commons license, which basically means that anyone can use our recipe to brew the beer or to create a derivative of our recipe. You are free to earn money from Our Beer, but you have to publish the recipe under the same license (e.g. on your website or on our forum) and credit our work. You can use all our design and branding elements, and are free to change them at will provided you publish your changes under the same license ("Attribution & Share Alike").

via karlDrunkCow

I'm an advisor to Eyebeam R&D and they have recently posted a Call for Fellows.

Call For Fellows

Eyebeam R&D seeks inaugural fellows to work on creative technology projects in the Eyebeam Open Lab. The fellowship is a unique opportunity to participate in a new kind of research environment and contribute to the public domain.

The Open Lab is dedicated to public domain R&D. We are seeking artists, hackers, designers and engineers to come to Eyebeam for a year to develop pioneering work. The ideal fellow has experience creating innovative creative technology projects, a love of collaborative development, and a desire to distribute his or her work as widely as possible.

Participation in the R&D Fellows program includes:

* One year fellowship
* 4 days/week commitment
* $30,000 annual stipend + health benefits

Public Domain

Work created within the Open Lab will be widely distributed and freely available under open licenses. All code will be released under GPL, media will be released under Creative Commons, and hardware projects will be released with Do-It-Yourself instruction kits...

There's more on their site. Take a look if you're interested. I have a lot of respect for what the Eyebeam team have done and look forward to seeing some cool stuff from this program.

If you're wondering why I haven't been blogging the last few days... I've been at the Creative Commons Summit with this amazing group of people.

Lessig Blog
the spread(of)CC

As of Thursday, the current spread of Creative Commons. The green are countries where the project has launched. The yellow are close. The red is yet to be liberated.

A lot of progress, but a lot left to do...
Creative Commons: weblog
CC in Yahoo! Advanced Search

Yahoo! Search for Creative Commons is now part of the Yahoo! advanced search

Way to go Yahoo!

(Now close to 16 million pages linking to a CC license.)

Now it's official. Thank you Yahoo!!

Lessig Blog
ccSouth-Africa: "Commons-Sense Conference"

So day two of a fantastic conference at Wits, in South Africa. Sponsored by the LINK Centre, the conference celebrates the launch of Creative Commons South Africa. The conference is being covered by 15 students and a couple staff members from the New Media Lab at the Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies. The site has moblog, video links, blog, pictures and audio -- basically one of the best examples of real time conference coverage that I've seen. What they've done would be amazing enough in the core of Silicon Valley. But in this network-thin space, it is really extraordinary.

I so wish I were in South Africa for the launch of ccSouth-Africa. Thanks for the wonderful coverage. It almost makes me more jealous, but it's great to see everything that went on. Anyway, congratulations to all involved.

Press Release: Creative Commons Expands Internationally & Restructures Its Key Management Team

We have just established Creative Commons International based in the UK to provide support internationally. Neeru is stepping in for Glenn who recently left to join Google. Paula Le Dieu, former Project Director for the Creative Archive project at the BBC and Mia Garlick have recently joined the team. Welcome to all of the new team members.

See the press release for the details.

UPDATE: More on Larry's blog here and here.

Several months ago Dave Balter who runs BzzAgent approached Creative Commons about offering their services free of charge. BzzAgent is a word of mouth marketing company and Dave and I have a number of mutual friends who all speak very highly of him. I wasn't familiar with the details of how BzzAgent worked, but getting the help of someone who understood word of mouth sounded good to me at the time.

Last week, Creative Commons announced a partnership with BzzAgent on the blog. This caused a rather fierce reaction from a number of bloggers. Many people argued that BzzAgent was not "clean" because they were not transparent and they gave incentives to their "agents" to spread word of mouth messages. Many people argued that Creative Commons was not a product that was well suited to be marketed by a company like BzzAgents and that such a campaign would undermine the trust and the efforts of the volunteer community. People argued that if there were to be a campaign, it should be organized more like the Spread Firefox campaign and be open and organized by the Creative Commons community and not by BzzAgent. Larry posted a request for feedback on his blog. The Creative Commons team discussed the feedback and Larry and I both talked in length with Dave Balter. In the end, we decided to take this opportunity to launch a campaign ourselves with the support of the existing Creative Commons community. There is a wiki where we are soliciting ideas. Dave Balter has agreed to help us with this new campaign.

I hope that all of this leads to BzzAgent getting constructive feedback and Creative Commons getting support to do a successful SpreadCC campaign. I believe that the discussion became overly emotional and I commend Dave for his apology for his hostile response to criticism. I spoke to Dave a number of times over the last week and I sincerely believe that he is trying to do the right thing and am pained to see people continuing to smear the BzzAgent name. I realize his response to Suw's post was an overreaction, but he has apologized and has taken the lumps. It was Creative Commons that made the mistake, not BzzAgent. I hope this lynch-mobby behavior subsides soon. Dave has been actively trying to take the criticism constructively and in his last post he promises to work on the reward system and had changed his Code to reflect the criticism about transparency. Now BzzAgents are required to disclose that they are BzzAgents when promoting a product. He has also been friendly and has agreed to pull the campaign and help us in any way that he can even though he had already invested the money and launched the campaign. I don't disagree with our decision to change the partnership with BzzAgent to a community driven one, but I think that there is a lot about word of mouth, especially in offline word of mouth, that we can learn from Dave and BzzAgent. Now that this is OUR project and BzzAgent is a peer, I urge people to continue to provide feedback to BzzAgent, but to also try to see how they can help. They are not "creeps". They are good people and they're here to help.

One of the things that I notice more and more these days is the Madison Avenue/Silicon Valley divide. All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin (I blogged about this earlier) is sort of Cluetrain Manifesto written in Madison Avenue-ese. They use completely different language but are beginning to talk about very similar things. If we're going to reach those people who aren't in our current self-selected community, we're going to have to reach out to the offline and main stream media world. CC has been surprisingly successful considering our lack of expertise in this area, but I think we could do a lot more. I think it's time to bridge this divide between the main stream media types and bloggers and one of the things we are going to have to do is cut each other some slack and try to learn instead of fight.

Getting beyond the language (consumer vs user/customer, buzz vs conversation, etc.) I think that trying to understand how conversations work and at what point something becomes "creepy" is a really important discussion. Is it creepy when I blog about a restaurant which gave me extra soup because I said I would blog about them? Is it creepy that the link to Seth's book above is a Amazon link that has an affiliate code to a non-profit that I'm associated with? Is it creepy that someone is is wearing a Creative Commons T-shirt to be "cool" even though he doesn't understand the licenses? My feeling is that if you have transparency and if things like Amazon links are providing value to the conversation rather than detracting from it, it's NOT creepy. And using that test, I don't think BzzAgents is creepy and I think with some tweaking, BzzAgents can be made uncreepy for some of the more sensitive people as well. I think that at the end of this road lies the future of PR and advertising and trying to understand how companies and products can participate in conversations in un-creepy ways is an important question for companies and customers alike.

I was spending part of my mind thinking about my talk next week in Australia in Melbourne for the Alfred Deakin Innovation Lectures. The topic of the talk was "The Creative Commons: intellectual property & public broadcasting & opportunities for common sense & public good". I was looking at Larry's schedule to try to see when I might be able to talk to him about some ideas and I noticed that he was scheduled to be in Australia too. Then I realized that he was speaking at the same conference. I looked at the site and realized that we were speaking... TOGETHER. So if Larry is the domain, I'm the sub-domain. He's my inspiration and his talks are the Queen's English to my Engrish. With respect to my talks about Creative Commons, what often happens is that people end up getting me when they can't get Larry. For this reason, my standard CC talk is a remix of what Larry says. (Although I have contributed thoughts and material back to the source as any good open source participant.) So now I'm at the same time thrilled to see Larry to do something together, but suddenly in the awkward position of having to jam with someone who plays the same instrument... better. Anyway, I'm looking forward to the experience and I'm sure we'll be fine but I sure hope we end up being better than the sum of the parts.

UPDATE: Larry tells me that the organizers claim I suggested that we be on a panel together. I probably did. I discussed the talk with Jonathan Mills the Director last year and I probably forgot. Oops. Sorry.


Lessig Blog
Happy Birthday, Free Culture Movement!

One year ago -- April 23, 2004 -- about a hundred students gathered at Swarthmore College to begin "an international student movement to free culture." (Dan Hunter described the event in LegalAffairs). The event was organized by the students who had sued Diebold after Diebold sued them. The movement now has about ten chapters around the country.

Happy Birthday, Free Culture Movement! Creative Commons has a present that we wanted to announce today. Bizarrely, we're still waiting for the license. More soon (we hope).

Happy Birthday!!!

Phillip Torrone @ Make:
Make your own Nine Inch Nails

MacMinute has a story about Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails making the band's new single, "The Hand That Feeds" available to download for Mac users with GarageBand to mix and mash up (an actual multi-track audio session). "For quite some time I've been interested in the idea of allowing you the ability to tinker around with my tracks -- to create remixes, experiment, embellish or destroy what's there," Reznor says. Here's a screenshot of it on my Mac (View image) and here's where to get it (70MB file). Here are a couple of the first remixes!

How excellent. This is almost like open source music. It's one thing to say, "hey it's OK to sample this." It's taking it to a totally different level to publish it as a Garage Band project. Now if only they would put some kind of Creative Commons license on it, it would be perfect.

My blog uses a "by/2.0" Creative Commons license. This means that anyone can use anything from my blog and copy or create derivative works without asking permission as long as they give me attribution. NEC has gotten into blogging and wanted to use the content from my blog. Unfortunately, I write mostly in English. I have tried translating posts myself as well as using a number of volunteer translators. The problem is, translation is not very fun and I would rather write another post in English than spend time translating. The combination of NEC's desire to use my content and my Creative Commons license allows NEC to pay a translator to translate my blog into Japanese and use the content on their blog. I don't get paid, but now my words are available in Japanese too.

NEC tells me that after a six month period, they will release the Japanese content under and Creative Commons by-nc-sa/2.1/jp license which will allow me to copy the the translations back to my blog after this period.

Translations are essential for building bridges between cultures. One big problem is that translation sometimes cost MORE than the cost of writing the original work. It's also more boring. Using CC to allow people to create business models to pay translators seems like a great idea to me. Thanks NEC!

NEC's Japanese Joi Ito's Web

Xeni @ Boing Boing Blog
Shirky: stupid (c) laws block me from publishing own work online

Clay Shirky tells Boing Boing:

Welcome to the Copyfight. So, at Etech this year, I gave a talk entitled Ontology is Overrated. I want to put a transcript up online, and Mary Hodder, who recorded the talk, graciously agreed to give me a copy of the video.

When she came by NYC last week, she dropped off a DVD, which I then wanted to convert to AVI (the format used by my transcription service.) I installed ffmpeg and tried to convert the material, at which point I got an error message which read "To comply with copyright laws, DVD device input is not allowed." Except, of course, there are no copyright laws at issue here, since I'M THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.

Got that? I am in possession of a video, of me, shot by a friend, copied to a piece of physical media given to me as a gift. In the video, I am speaking words written by me, and for which I am the clear holder of the copyright. I am working with said video on a machine I own. Every modern legal judgment concerning copyright, from the Berne Convention to the Betamax case, is on my side. AND I CAN'T MAKE A COPY DIRECTLY FROM THE DEVICE. This is because copyright laws do not exist to defend the moral rights of copyright holders -- they exist to help enforce artificial scarcity.

Copyright holders in my position, who want to use Creative Commons licensing to share material, are treated as pathological cases, because we're not behaving in the extortionate manner that current regulations are designed to protect.

I've gotten the copy another way, and the transcript will go up, but this is the state of the world, circa 2005: I can be prevented from copying my own words from my own devices, precisely because I want to share them freely, a use the law is perfectly prepared to regard as irrelevant.

Yes. Welcome to the copyfight. The scary thing is that more and more people are beginning to think it is NORMAL not to be able to do what Clay is upset about not being able to do.

Lessig Blog

Late last night, Yahoo! launched a Creative Commons search engine, permitting you to search the web, filtering results on the basis of Creative Commons licenses. So, as I feel like I've said 10,000 times when explaining CC on the road, "Show me pictures of the Empire State Building that I can use for noncommercial use," and this is the first of about 13,000 on the list.

Excellent news. So who's next? Google? Nokia? Apple? Come on folks... ;-) Hardware, software and services that support Creative Commons is key for creating the sharing economy. Creative Commons was designed to enable machine readable encoding and this is a great example of why. Congrats to all who worked to make this happen.

Update from Boing Boing: DeWitt sez, "I added a Creative Commons search as one of the very first columns on A9 during our launch of OpenSearch last week at ETech."

In yesterday's discussion and in Charles Leadbeater's discussion the day before, there was a lot of talk about the rights of amateurs, the "pro-am revolution" and other arguments about how amateur content and creativity was important. I described how in the blogging world, it's mostly the people who create content who "pay" in contrast to the professional content world where it is the creator who gets paid. I talked about how Creative Commons was really helpful for amateurs who were more passionate about having their works widely accessible than making money. This is not to say that Creative Commons isn't useful for other things of course.

There was a bit of slippage in the discussion in the afternoon when several people pointed out that maybe I was suggesting that amateurs shouldn't/couldn't become professionals. The point, if I understood it correctly, assumed that most amateurs wanted to be professionals and that somehow amateurs were proto-professionals or professional wannabes. At least some of them.

I think this is a mischaracterization and maybe a reason to dump the word "amateur". I think that in the case of many amateurs such as many bloggers, Wikipedians and most open source developers, the amateurs are happy being amateurs and don't feel that they are in any way inferior to their professional counterparts. Many of the heads of open source projects have a day job, but probably believe that they are superior to comparable professionals at Microsoft or other software companies. I doubt that many Wikipedians wish that they could get paid for what they do. There are very few people who prefer professional sex to amateur sex. (I think I got this example from Steve Weber's book.)

My sister pointed this out to me last week by IM as well. I think the answer lies in the mode of production. Money creates a power relationship between the payer and the payee. I think cases where the production is happening in some sort of enterprise or a "firm" where having a manager and having access to resources allows production to be more efficiently, financial relationships and "professionalism" seem to "feel OK." On the other hand, when working in what Yochai Benkler calls "commons-based peer-production," the "professionalism" is replaced by amateur passion as a primary driver.

I pointed out several times yesterday that I don't want to impinge on the rights of professionals, but I believe that monopolistic professional organizations such as rights collection agencies, the Hollywood lobbies and Microsoft are hurting the ability for amateur artists from participating by creating technology and legislation that focuses exclusively on protection instead of the sharing of creativity. I think it is the role of government to call into question the practices of these monopolies which are the unfortunately byproduct of an unchecked free market economy and prevent the passing of legislature that increases the power of these monopolies such as software patents and extension of copyright terms. Instead, they should be focusing on activities that make it more difficult for such monopolies to form such as focusing on open standards and open source and whenever possible, preventing proprietary standards from being funded by public funds.

I'm now at the Creative Capital Conference. Free WiFi. Yay! The DNS from the DHCP didn't work though so you have to find one and enter it directly... anyway.

It looks like a very interesting conference. Some of my favorite speakers are here including Charles Leadbeater and Pekka Himanen (who I was just with in Madrid). The other speakers sound interesting too and I look forward to their presentations. I will be giving a keynote on the 18th at 11:00, doing at Q&A at 11:30 and will be on the "Publicly Financed Content" panel at 13:00.

Today, the 17th, there will an all-afternoon gathering of Creative Commons projects from across Europe. This is the first time they've assembled in one meeting and I look forwarded to hearing about all of the projects.

The mayor of Amsterdam is speaking now kicking off the talk with a quote from Richard Florida talking about how businesses seek out creative people, but people seek out cities with other creative people. He is talking about the creative capital of cities.

I've been using Richard Florida's "Creative Class" to identify the new class of people who are anti-establishment, proactive, creative, connected... you know... us. Francesco Cara and Jyri Engeström turned me on to Richard Florida's work. (Everyone else in the world appears to already have known about him once I started to get excited.) I just read Karrie Jacobs's criticism of Richard Florida and his Creative Class quoting a discussion with John Thackara, the organizer of Doors of Perception, the conference I will be speaking at next. (via Gen Kanai) It's an interesting criticism and it argues that "In other words, Florida has taken something qualitative and turned it into something quantitative." I agree with some of the points, but I think that there is a class of people who seem to have more similarities across countries than other people in the region. If you look at the proliferation of things like social networking software and blogs in countries like Brazil and Iran, I think that broadband users in these countries have more similarities to the creative class in other countries than to their parents. I think that from a social software and remix culture perspective, this is very interesting.

As I get more and more into Ableton Live I am beginning to feel the pain of being a digital musician these days. As a former DJ, I have lots of my favorite music in my head organized by what parts of what songs go well with others. Suddenly, I realize that what I can get away with on a turntable in a nightclub is a no-no when producing music. Record companies in the US have been winning cases against people who sample music. I can buy loops, use Creative Commons content and make my own sounds to use in the music, but what I am unable to do is use the melody, drum track or riff from my DJ days to invoke images and memories we associate with some of the classic songs. It's as if my several years of being a DJ and learning the beats has to be erased from my memory when thinking about how to express myself.

Luckily, there is more and more music with Creative Commons licenses, but it really feels like we're having to start from scratch, building a culture of music creation that encourages sharing and sampling the way we used to do it when samplers and sequencers entered the scene. Artists... please think about using the Creative Commons sampling license when you publish music so that you don't become an island sheltered from the creativity of future artists and DJs.

Cory @ Boing Boing Blog
Lessig portrayed on tonight's West Wing

Larry Lessig is appearing in tonight's episode of the West Wing! Or, rather, an actor playing Larry is appearing in etc etc and so on. Here's some spoilers

Here's Toby & Lessig's conversation (happening at the same time Igor & Vlad are having their conversation): Lessig says he picked up a few phrases -- the language isn't all that different from Polish. Toby notes that they're still eating lunch. Lessig says they love the roast beef. Toby says Lessig wasted the morning talking about a government system that'll never work for Belarus, & now he's given them an extended lunch break. Lessig doesn't think his discussion was a waste. Toby reminds him that the 2 delegates have to leave the WH on Friday w/ a set of laws to take back to Minsk. Lessig corrects him: it's not a set of laws, but a sense of the rule of law. Toby asks him if he's planning on writing a Constitution this week. Lessig asks him if he's familiar w/ Meyer v. State of Nebraska. Toby says Nebraska passed a law making it illegal to teaching anything other than English during WWI. Meyer wanted to teach German, & the Supreme Court declared the law was unconstitutional. Lessig asks where in the Constitution does it say you have a right to teach German in school. Toby: "Okay, & if Oliver Wendell Holmes were alive to serve as President of Belarus maybe they wouldn't need a constitution". Lessig says Holmes dissented on the case. Toby says the 2 delegates need a magna carta w/ real checks & powers. They need a "strong judiciary, a limited executive, a vital press". Lessig replies that a constitutional democracy only works if it reflects demoractic values already existing in the citizenry. Toby says the Belarusians lack those values. Lessig thinks that the most important job they have is to instill those values in the leaders through discussion & debate. Toby says he's talking about 8 people on a DC sightseeing trip. Does Lessig think he's going to reverse 50 years of brutal dictatorship by teaching those 8 people democratic values? Lessig says the 8 are all the President's men & they're teaching them how to scrutinize power. How many people does Toby think it takes? There's a pause, then Toby looks at Igor & Vlad. Then he looks past them & sees Gordon & Miss Universe. A note says, "Tick tock, tick tock".

(Thanks, Alex!)

I'm going to watch it with Larry today. I'll post any blogworthy reactions later. ;-)

UPDATE: It was fun watching Lessig watching Lessig. According to Larry, the screenwriter is a former student of Larry's and it is based on a true story. Larry was a constitutional law professor specializing in Eastern Europe before his recent focus on the Internet and copyright.

UPDATE 2: Lessig comments.

UPDATE 3: Video on Lisa Rein's Radar.

Flash/AfterEffects/Video Design Person Wanted

Submitted by Glenn Otis Brown on 2004-11-24 07:21 PM.

We'd like to produce a short, new animated/motion graphics film, and we need a great designer and/or animator to help us do so on a fairly tight deadline. You should know how to animate in Flash or After Effects (or both) and have experience with any necessary drawing tools, like Adobe Illustrator. You should have the confidence and skill to help us produce a film of at least the caliber of our previous pieces. No need to be a writer (we'll collaborate on the script) or an audio engineer (though if you are one or know one, that's great). Location in the Bay Area and enthusiasm for the work of Creative Commons are big bonuses. Send an email ASAP to if you are interested. Please include (1) a CV, (2) a list of the animated or graphic design pieces you've done, (3) a link to any such pieces that are now online, and (4) all your contact information. Thanks!

If you can help or know someone who can, please pass this info on. Thanks.

I had the opportunity of sitting with Ismail Serageldin, the director of the Library of Alexandria at a session at the STS Forum. He told me a story about a fellow educator and librarian who was dismayed that students were only citing things that they could find on the Internet and were no longer using physical libraries. Ismail said that he disagreed. He told me that he felt that students using the Internet were correct and that it was the libraries that needed to make more material available online. I totally agree. (He also said he was a fan of Wikipedia.) So it's good news that:

Matt Haughey @ CC Blog
30 Million newspapers to be put online

Great news for the public domain: The National Endowment for the Arts and the Library of Congress are putting 30 million newspaper pages online, dating from 1836 to 1922.

It'll take until 2006 to complete the project but the Library of Congress has put up a sample from The Stars and Stripes, an armed forces paper, posting every issue from 1918-1919.

Killer CC App: The Publisher, beta version

Leveraging the Internet Archive's generous offer to host Creative Commons licensed (audio and video) files for free, we recently completed the 0.96 beta version of The Publisher, a desktop, drag-and-drop application that licenses audio and video files, and sends them to the Internet Archive for free hosting.

When you're done uploading, the application gives you a URL where others can download the file. It also is able to tag MP3 files with Creative Commons metadata and publish verification metadata to the Web. A HUGE congratulations to Nathan Yergler, who's done an amazing job with this. Also, a great thanks to Jon Aizen and the folk at the Internet Archive. You can download the Publisher from here -- give it a test run and let us know what you think.

Also note that aside from being downloadable from Internet Archive, these tagged MP3s can flow on to P2P networks, and be identified as Creative Commons licensed (see our Lookup app we recently also updated to 0.96). Morpheus is currently the only file sharing application to identify Creative Commons licensed files.

I'm definitely going to start using this. Amazing. Thanks again everyone!

Striking a Lessig.

The source...

via Xeni @ Boing Boing

Creative Commons
The WIRED CD: Yes, We Have Arrived

You can now get your copy of the WIRED CD, free with the November issue of WIRED, at your newstand. Get yourself two copies: one for you and your friends, and one to save, in plastic, for your grandchildren.

See the full track list.

Yay! Thanks to Wired for pulling this off and all of the artists for participating.

Has anyone ripped and posted it the music anywhere?

One of the difficulties with Creative Commons licenses for music and images is that the images and the music are often copied or forwarded without the licenses. By embedding the license information inside of the mp3 or jpeg data itself, it makes it easier to keep the license attached to the file.

Nathan has just released
a nice drag and drop embedded license lookup tool. See the page about metadata embedding on the CC site for more information on our thoughts on this issue.

If you're using OS X, you can now search for Creative Commons content using Sherlock! Just connect to sherlock://


If you don't have OS X, you can still use our search engine to find licensed content.

More info on the CC blog.

Yes! The woman speaking ahead of me gave the history of television and talked about Steamboat Willie. What an excellent segue-way into my Creative Commons "creativity is built on the past" riff. Steamboat Willie, as you will know if you read Free Culture, is the Walt Disney rip-off parody of Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill Jr. and the first successful Mickey Mouse animation. Lessig likes to call this parody and remix creativity "Walt Disney creativity". The panel is about innovation and creativity in digital television and I'm going to talk about going beyond interactive television and allowing people to interact with the content as creators and considering the use of creative commons in the television context.

UPDATE: It was fun. Since "freedom of the press" was invoked by a previous speaker, I got a chance to point out that the US founding fathers were probably referring more to giving the people a voice and not about protecting multi-national media conglomerates.

I'm sitting in the Italian Parliament (I think.) The panel I was on was dealing with the impact of digital/Internet on content creation and distribution. It started yesterday and continued today. I think it lasted about seven hours or so in total. I found myself in violent disagreement at the beginning because they kept talking about piracy. The interesting thing about this panel (probably more common in other cultures, but new for me) was that we had to come to a written consensus by the end of the session and present it in the Parliament building. It would then be distributed to politicians across Europe as a recommendation.

I found myself negotiating like some UN diplomat.

In the end, here is where we ended up on a few of my "hot buttons".

Organized, for-profit, commercial piracy was different from P2P file sharing by individuals. We could not agree on the impact of P2P file sharing, but we agreed that punishing file sharing was not the only/best way to deal with the issue. I pushed for a stronger stance, my position being that as Chris Anderson says in The Long Tail, it's a matter of price and convenience. People will pay if the experience is better. That was not included in the statement, but "education" was used instead. Blah. I just made a statement that I disagree with this and that there is not enough evidence that P2P filesharing of music is really bad for the music industry.

It appeared that people had a VERY bad image of Creative Commons. For some reason they thought that CC was trying to force people to share and was anti-copyright. I explained the CC was built upon copyright and was trying to help artists choose their copyright.

This part turned out quite well in the statement. They said that CC was a tool, not to steal from artists, but to give them the choice to share and lower the parasitic costs (legal) of choosing a license. They concluded that CC was NOT a threat as they had originally envisioned, but a complimentary and a good thing. The tone was very pro-artist and less tolerant of distributors, the idea of giving more control to artists seemed to be quite attractive.

I'm about to have a chance to object to some of the issues I see in the statement and give an address about my thoughts. I'm going to talk about the value of the Long Tail and Creative Commons.

So the big question for me after reading Chris Anderson's excellent article, The Long Tail is... Will there always be producers and consumers of music and other content, or does the amateur revolution really take off and completely blur the consumer and the producer of content? Will amateur and nearly free Creative Commons style content become the primary content that people consume? Will most consumers create content as well? In other words, will the long tail wag? I've heard many theories about this and it is probably different for text, audio, photos and video, but I think this is an important question.

And in case you haven't noticed, it's clearly now a discovery problem, not a delivery problem.

The concert tonight was amazing. I hope people got a chance to watch the video feed. Gil/Byrne were amazing and were eventually able to get a house full of somewhat tired old people on their feet and dancing. It was also amazing to realize how much Talking Heads songs were a part of my DNA... anyway. Maybe more when I'm less tired. Need to go to bed.

Oh, and David Byrne dedicated "Road to Nowhere" to the Repbulicans.

Wall Street Journal
This Compilation CD Is Meant To Be Copied and Shared

September 20, 2004

For more than a year, the music industry has held firm on its zero-tolerance position on online file swapping, suing 4,679 alleged digital pirates to drive its point home.

But now, 16 high-profile artists, many of them signed to the same global music companies that have brought the lawsuits, are participating in a project that will allow music lovers to freely copy and trade some new songs without risking legal retaliation.

Next month, songs by the Beastie Boys, David Byrne and 14 others will appear on a compilation CD whose contents are meant to be copied freely online, remixed or sampled by other artists for use in their own new recordings. "The Wired CD: Rip. Sample. Mash. Share." was compiled by the editors of Wired magazine, of San Francisco, as an experimental implementation of a new kind of intellectual-property license called Creative Commons. About 750,000 copies of the disc are to be distributed free with the magazine's November issue. The disc also will be handed out to audience members at a benefit concert by Mr. Byrne and others tomorrow night in New York.

The CD will include:

Beastie Boys - 'Now Get Busy'
David Byrne - 'My Fair Lady'
Zap Mama - 'Wadidyusay?'
My Morning Jacket - 'One Big Holiday'
Spoon - 'Revenge!'
Gilberto Gil - 'Oslodum'
Dan the Automator - 'Relaxation Spa Treatment'
Le Tigre - 'Fake French'
Paul Westerberg - 'Looking Up in Heaven'
Cornelius - 'Wataridori 2'
Matmos - 'Action at a Distance'

Thanks to Chris and everyone at Wired for pulling this together. See you tonight at the concert!

via Lessig

torrentocracy - blog
Outfoxed Torrent (torrentocracy exclusive)

In working with Lawrence Lessig, Robert Greenwald has agreed to release the interviews within Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism under a Creative Commons non-commercial license (press release). This means that among the rights now granted, interviews balancing out the fair journalism of Fox News can freely be used as anyone sees fit. To see the full movie, you can purchase the Outfoxed DVD or check it out in theaters.

Torrentocracy (along with has exclusive initial access to distribute these interviews in their digital form due to the work undertaken to promote a TV-connected, public domain, internet based media distribution network. The torrent file to start your Outfoxed download can be found at For more information on how to use bit torrent peer-to-peer filesharing to download this, go here. If you were a Torrentocracy user, you could already be downloading Outfoxed to your television.

Here's some serious substantial non-infringing use of P2P. I bought the DVD and watched Outfoxed. Definitely worth buying the DVD, but being able to download and use the interviews from the documentary is a great contribution to the commons. It will be interesting to see how people remix this stuff.

Creative Commons
Developing Nations license launched

Today the Creative Commons launched a new standalone license, dubbed Developing Nations. The deed lays it out simply: it's an attribution-only license that applies within developing nations. The legal code defines developing nations as "any nation that is not classified as a 'high-income economy' by the World Bank." which according to the World Bank's site means it does not apply in these countries.

This license can be used in a few ways. It can be combined with something currently licensed under a more restrictive license, so that your photographs could be protected from commercial use in the United States, but if it also carried a Developing Nations license, those same photos could be used commerically in say, Brazil. You might also be a musician or photographer that wants to maintain full copyright in North America and Western Europe, but welcome use by others in the countries of Southeast Asia. More information can be found in today's press release.

This is a very important development. People have been asking for this. Many people choose non-commercial use because they worry about NBC or CBS ripping off their work. This provides the ability for countries with less Internet penetration to allow local entrepreneurs to print and distribute things that would not reach many of these people otherwise.

For those of you who can't make the Creative Commons benefit concert in New York next week, WIRED will present a Webcast of the show by David Byrne and Gilberto Gil, LIVE from the Town Hall, at 8 pm EST on September 21st.
For those of you who WILL be there. I'll be there too.
Christoph Wimmer asks where I got my "I )( Wi-Fi" bumpersticker. I got it from It's a very cool site with lots of great bumpersticks. Part of the money is donated to a variety of non-profits. This bumpersticker benefits Creative Commons.

The "I )( Wi-Fi" bumper sticker can be found on the Tech Culture page.


Creative Commons Weblog
Wired presents a Creative Commons benefit in NYC, Sept 21st

Tuesday, September 21, 2004, Wired Magazine will throw a benefit for Creative Commons featuring a concert by David Byrne (with the Tosca Strings) and Gilberto Gil. It will take place at 8PM at The Town Hall in New York City. Proceeds from the concert will go to support the non-profit efforts of Creative Commons.

Tickets are available now from Ticketmaster or, after September 1st, at the Town Hall box office. If you're in NYC and want to help support the work of the Creative Commons, come on out and enjoy a great concert.

Be there or be square.

Xeni @ Boing Boing
What are the cool kids in Harajuku wearing?


Glad you asked. Link to an online photo gallery with street snapshots from Harajuku station in Tokyo. (Thanks, Todd!)

Pete sent me this picture. Marc, were you in Harajuku recently?

UPDATE: Brian reports in the comments that the picture is not Marc, but Sailor Bubba.

Last night I went to see fireworks. There were approximately 22,000 fireworks ignited and an expected turnout of about 320,000 people. You could pay 30,000 yen (around 300 dollars) and get a special seat as a sponsor. Otherwise, you could, like the 320,000 or so other people, find a nice spot and watch the fireworks for free. In fact, there were two other fireworks festivals (Japanese love fireworks) going on within view of the nice spot in the park that we had chosen.

Fireworks shows in Japan are sponsored by companies and local governments. The sponsors usually get the best seats and they are thanked over the PA system for the people watching the show up close. For 99% of the people who watch the fireworks from far away, the sponsors are invisible. These people are, to use Hollywood's favorite word, "stealing" this content. They don't view ads, they don't pay. They do consume a lot of beer, buy stuff in local shops which pay taxes and generally feel good about the "public good" they've just been a part of. Like me, they take pictures and videos of the fireworks and post them to the web and send them to their friends.

I wonder if there is some sort of equivalent business model for other content businesses. Charge a small number of people a large amount of money and give it to 99% of the people for free. Get sponsored by companies and other organizations like local governments that benefit from the secondary consumption increase and follow-on derivative works creation and sharing.

mural_piece1 mural_license_closeup

These pictures taken by Brad Neuberg

Mona Caron has created a beautiful mural on Church street near Market in San Francisco with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 License. So cool. More pictures on Brad Neuberg's site and her site.

via Creative Commons Weblog

Dan Gillmor's , We the Media was published under a Creative Commons license. You can download the entire book in PDF format on the O'Reilly page. It's an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 License.


Thanks to Jim and Ado for setting up the BitTorrent tracker. Here is a torrent for Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture talk in Helsinki that I blogged about earlier.

Yesterday, I met Douglas Krone the CEO of Dynamism. (I forgot my phone at home so couldn't take his picture.) Dynamism is an awesome company that takes all of the coolest gadgets from around the world, localizes them into English and sells them on the Internet. They provide support for these devices. Most high-end gadget geeks that I know have at one time or another purchased stuff from Dynamism.

Anyway, we talked a lot about gadgets, blogs and Creative Commons. I got him to agree that it would make sense to put a Creative Commons license on his site so that people could use pictures of products and clips of his text to review products. I think that his stuff is PERFECT for blogs.

I ordered one of the low-end, but very popular iducks. ;-)

CC Weblog
Lessig's free book still racking in the sales

Stanford Magazine carries a story this month about our chairman and co-founder Lawrence Lessig's book which has just entered its third printing. This is interesting because the book is freely available online for download (under a Creative Commons license), and has been downloaded about 180,000 times. On the one hand an author can give away free content for folks to remake into audio books, translations, and other formats, and the author still gets paid through traditional book sales. Amazing how that works, and works so well sometimes. [via Copyfight]

It will be very difficult to "prove" that the Creative Common license and the freely downloadable aspect of Free Culture improved sales, but the book is selling and making it freely available has clearly not STOPPED sales. I wonder if it is possible to show that making books available for free electronically increases the sale of real books? I wonder if there are particular genres where this holds more true...

There a small, but well produced mp4 video of Lessig's speech about Free Culture and the Creative Commons that he gave when he was in Helsinki this May.

Thanks to Jyri at Aula for the link and for organizing the event.

UPDATE: Here is the link using an IP address if the link above doesn't work for you.

The CC team at OSAF: Nathan Yergler, Francesca Rodriquez, Mike Linksvayer, Neeru Paharia, Glenn Otis Brown, James Grimmelmann, and Matt Haughey.

Creative Commons has just moved into the Open Source Application Foundation space in San Francisco. Thanks for letting our team share the space with you Mitch. CC and OSAF together does make a lot of sense. I look forward to dropping by soon.

Creative Commons is experimenting with using a wiki to discuss using a wiki to maintain a Wikipedia of sorts for Free Culture. Drop by and give us your thoughts.

I arrived last night, made the mistake of eating a cheeseburger before bed and didn't sleep much and felt REALLY BAD this morning.

I crawled onto stage at Flash Forward this morning feeling very scattered and weak, but thanks to a strong topic and lots of funny movies to keep people awake, I was able to struggle through my talk. I talked about Creative Commons, Intellectual Property and the future of marketing. I channeled lots of Lessig and Godin. We did a Q&A session afterwards and I really enjoyed talking to the Flash community. Flash and Creative Commons makes SO MUCH SENSE together. The conference is extremely well organized and cool. I got to meet Stewart McBride and Lynda Weinman who really run a class act. Looking forward to figuring out some way to work with them on something...

After that, I went over to NPR and did a short interview about what I read. Blogs of course. ;-) I think the 20 min or so will be edited down to 3 min so I'm not sure what's going to end up in the interview, but I'll post a link once I know when it's going to air.

So no more public speaking until Apsen next week. Time to relax...

Sunday Herald
The activist, author and director told the Sunday Herald that, as long as pirated copies of his film were not being sold, he had no problem with it being downloaded. "I don't agree with the copyright laws and I don't have a problem with people downloading the movie and sharing it with people as long as they're not trying to make a profit off my labour. I would oppose that," he said. "I do well enough already and I made this film because I want the world, to change. The more people who see it the better, so I'm happy this is happening."
Interesting quote, but as Xeni points out, after the box office hit in the US, he can sort of afford to say that. If he felt this way, it would have been cool if he had put a Creative Commons license on it. Still, I think this is better than nothing. Xeni also points out the film's distributor is clearly against "sharing" of the film on the Internet.

via Xeni @ Boing Boing and Creative Commons Weblog

flickr, a photo management/social network/community/chat service just integrated Creative Commons so you can choose a license for a photo when you upload this. This is awesome. flickr integrates photos into your chat so that you can plop photos into a chat room from your shoe-box and copy photos into your shoe-box from a conversation. People can comment on the photos, etc. It's probably the best integration of photos in conversation that I've ever seen and now with Creative Commons, it should make feel safer and more fluid.

Nice job Stewart!

When writing my last entry, I remembered a question that some people ask me. Why choose the Creative Commons license that allows people to use content free for commercial use? I think people have some sort of instinctive reaction toward the notion that someone could "exploit" their work to make money. One question to ask is, will you make less money because of it or more? They have to give you attribution so more people will know about you and your work. I would rather have people copy and quote my blog without worrying about asking for permission. I would love to appear in commercial magazines, books, websites and newspapers. Yes, fair use allows these people to quote me without asking permission, but fair use must be defended in court and some countries don't even have fair use. As a practical matter, fair use really only gets you the right to hire a lawyer. The CC license allows people to use stuff from my blog without fear because they know my intention and it is clear legally as well.

The next question is, then why not make it completely free? A good way to understand this is to look at the differences between the GNU Free Document License that Wikipedia uses and the by-sa (attribution share-alike) Creative Commons license Wikitravel uses. There is some overlap and lots of nuances, but generally speaking the GNU license is more about creating an ever growing body of work which must remain free and allows commercial reprinting with limitations basically in order to allow people to charge for reprinting the document. The Wikipedia copyright page says:

The goal of Wikipedia is to create an information source in an encyclopedia format that is freely available. The license we use grants free access to our content in the same sense as free software is licensed freely. This principle is known as copyleft. That is to say, Wikipedia content can be copied, modified, and redistributed so long as the new version grants the same freedoms to others and acknowledges the authors of the Wikipedia article used (a direct link back to the article satisfies our author credit requirement). Wikipedia articles therefore will remain free forever and can be used by anybody subject to certain restrictions, most of which serve to ensure that freedom.
Wikitravel has a page on why they didn't choose the GNU Free Document License.
The GFDL was developed to support making Free Content versions of software manuals, textbooks, and other large references. Its requirements for what you have to distribute with a document under the GFDL -- such a copy of the GFDL and a changelog, as well as "transparent" (i.e. source) versions if you distribute over 100 copies -- aren't really all that onerous for large volumes of text.

But for Wikitravel, we really want to have each article redistributable on its own. Wikitravel articles can be as small as 1-2 printed pages. For such small documents, it just doesn't make sense to require people to pass out another 10 pages of legalese text, as well as floppy disks or CDs full of Wiki markup.

Consider these small "publishers" who would distribute stacks of photocopied printouts of Wikitravel articles:

• Local tourist offices
• Hotels or guesthouses
• Helpful travellers
• Teachers
• Exchange student programs
• Wedding or event planners

Burdening these publishers with restrictions meant for software documentation or textbooks would mean that they'd either ignore our license -- a bad precedent to set -- or, more likely, just not use our work.

We make our content Free so we can collaborate on this wiki, but also because we want it to be seen and used. We can't serve travellers with useful information if they can't get to that information in the first place.

A lightweight alternative

The license we've chosen, the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0, is much easier and more lightweight. We think that using the Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0 license (by-sa) meets our goal of having copyleft protection on Wikitravel content, without putting an excessive burden on small publishers. All that needs to be included are copyright notices and the URL of the license; this can be done in a short paragraph at the end of the article.

The big downside of not using the GFDL is that GFDL content -- like Wikipedia articles -- cannot be included in Wikitravel articles. This is a restriction of the GFDL -- you're not allowed to change the license for the content, unless you're the original copyright holder. This is kind of a pain for contributors, but we figured it was better to make it easy for users and distributors to comply with our license.

Creative Commons is planning to issue a new revision of their suite of licenses some time in the winter of 2003-2004. Compatibility with other Free licenses is "a top priority", and we can expect that some time after that version change, articles created on Wikitravel can be distributed under the GFDL. So, even though we can't include GFDL work into Wikitravel, other Free Content authors can include Wikitravel content into their work.

In Wikipedia's case, the main use case is having it available online and I think for that the GFDL works best. In the case of Wikitravel where they would like to see their work expand into the physical world in small bits, I think the CC by-sa works well. I think they both picked the right licenses.

They point out one of the biggest problems with many of these copyleft licenses. They usually require the creator of a derivative work or the distributor to use the same license and even if the work can be tampered with, the license can not. This makes it hard if not impossible to mix with other licenses. The "share-alike" attribute in the CC license the Wikitravel uses serves this function and is similar to GPL and GFDL licenses in this regard. This is important in keeping the "spirit" of the original intent going and in the case of Wikipedia and Wikitravel which are group efforts, this is quite important. In my case, I would rather allow people who use my works to have maximum freedom so I have not included "share-alike" to my license. This allows people to mix my content with other types of licenses.

Creative Commons Weblog
CC Search Plugins

Earlier today Steve Griffin announced a CC Search Sidebar for Mozilla-Based Browsers. Previously Steve has worked on a C# API for CC metadata.

A mycroft search plugin for the CC search engine is also available.


The mycroft plugin adds a new search engine to those available from the Mozilla Firefox toolbar.

Very nice. It's still a tad slow, but definitely shows where we are headed with this. Imagine Google images and Napster on CC. You could find sound-clips for your family album, images for your presentation and movie clips for your class project, all without worrying about copyright infringement or asking permission. Conversely, you could upload content and find it quickly integrated into courseware in other countries and DJ tapes and your creative content would travel freely as long as people gave you credit. These are the sorts of tools that CC needs to really go viral. Thanks Steve!

PS For CC newbies: There are a variety of licenses to choose from so the artists can select what sorts of rights they would like to grant. Free for non-commercial use with attribution is quite common. This blog is free for commercial use as well as long as I get credit.

A Business 2.0 article did a very good job describing Creative Commons and the "sharing economy" which they believe is a multi-billion dollar industry. As I approach companies about trying to adopt creative commons, free software or investment in basic open research and innovation, I am struck by the lack of understanding of the value of sharing and contributing to the commons. It makes a lot of sense to me, but I wonder if it might be useful to try to collect material and generate some addition material that describes the benefits of sharing from a business and economics perspective.

Lawrence Lessig describes the argument very well in Free Culture, but I think that a rigorous business treatment would help the business guys a lot. The think the argument can be made that open protocols such as TCP/IP and http have enabled a great deal of business to happen and if either had been "owned" or patented, we would not have the Internet today. I'm sure IBM can make a strong case about the value of Linux which it has embraced so wholeheartedly. I recently met business researchers in St. Gallen who were displacing management consultants by allowing companies to participate in academics studies about their management that would be contributed to open research. I think there are many arguments about contributing to the commons and how the commons creates a foundation upon which we can build.

I'm going to try to collect papers and articles about this. If anyone has any good references or ideas, please add them to the wiki page I just set up.

Are there any good books about this? I think this is such an important topic that if I had time to write a book, this is what I would want to write it about...

Wired News Leaves Door Open -- a site that both hosts independent music and uses a peer-review process to identify hot bands -- is offering the Creative Commons Music Sharing License to artists who want to distribute their tunes for free, the company said Monday.

Nice. GarageBand is one of the biggest legal mp3 sites and it's cool that they are offering a CC license to their artists. Alternative distribution of music using CC licenses is clearly a good idea and helps people understand the whole Free Culture concept. I really do believe that the issue will become more and more about how to gain attention, not how to charge for delivery. It is changing from a delivery problem to a discovery problem as storage and bandwidth become commodities. Discovery is cheap only when you have a monopoly on people's attention. Obviously, media companies like Clear Channel are trying to keep that monopoly, but I think users are going to dump those locked up modes as new modes of discovery become available. I think that the main way to get attention will be to become part of the conversation and you can only do that if you promote active sharing of your music and content.

After considering a lot of the feedback and statistics from the original Creative Commons licenses, we (I personally was only a small part of this) have launched the 2.0 licenses which I think make them easier to use and easier to understand. Congratulations and thanks to the team for all the work and an excellent step forward.

The details are on the Creative Commons page.

I have changed the license for this blog from the 1.0 Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike license to the 2.0 Attribution license.

Suw has a nice essay describing Lessig's Free Culture and the audio book project that emerged from that. It describes the whole process and really helps show Free Culture in action. It's a longish post, but worth reading, even for those with short attention spans. Her 15 word summary of this essay is:

For the terminally short of attention out there, here's my Free Culture audiobook essay in 15 words:

Free culture = more creativity
New publishing models
Download, read, buy = sales up

Lawrence Lessig will be giving a public Creative Commons presentation in Helsinki. It will be at Korjaamo organized by Aula. It will from 5:30PM on May 24. It's open to the public and will be in English. Details are on the Aula web page. I'm leaving for Helsinki tomorrow and will be there.

Salvador Dalí
Ideas are made to be copied. I have enough ideas to sell them on. I prefer that they are stolen so that i don't have to actually use them myself.
I wish Dalí has said, "works" or "art" instead of "ideas", but this still rocks.

via danah

There's a short interview in MIT's The Tech newpaper with Jack Valenti about DMCA. I'm glad that Jack is still willing to have discussions like this. This is what I meant when I said that I think Jack should be respected. Even if you don't agree with him, he's still willing to try to discuss his position with you.

via Creative Commons weblog

Giving It Away (for Fun and Profit) - By Andy Raskin, May 2004 Issue, Business 2.0

Good article about Creative Commons and the business case.

Here are some thoughts on where I think things are going in the mobile and content space.

I wrote this essay before reading Free Culture so I'm saying a lot of stuff that Larry says better...

Several crucial shifts in technology are emerging that will drastically affect the relationship between users and technology in the near future. Wireless Internet is becoming ubiquitous and economically viable. Internet capable devices are becoming smaller and more powerful.

Alongside technological shifts, new social trends are emerging. Users are shifting their attention from packaged content to social information about location, presence and community. Tools for identity, trust, relationship management and navigating social networks are becoming more popular. Mobile communication tools are shifting away from a 1-1 model, allowing for increased many-to-many interactions; such a shift is even being used to permit new forms of democracy and citizen participation in global dialog.

While new technological and social trends are occurring, it is not without resistance, often by the developers and distributors of technology and content. In order to empower the consumer as a community member and producer, communication carriers, hardware manufacturers and content providers must understand and build models that focus less on the content and more on the relationships.

Smaller faster

Computing started out as large mainframe computers, software developers and companies “time sharing” for slices of computing time on the large machines. The mini-computer was cheaper and smaller, allowing companies and labs to own their own computers. The mini computer allowed a much greater number of people to have access to computers and even use them in real time. The mini computer lead to a burst in software and networking technologies. In the early 80’s, the personal computer increased the number of computers by an order of magnitude and again, led to an explosion in new software and technology while lowering the cost even more. Console gaming companies proved once again that unit costs could be decreased significantly by dramatically increasing the number of units sold. Today, we have over a billion cell phones in the market. There are tens of millions camera phones. The incredible number of these devices has continued to lower the unit cost of computing as well as devices imbedded in these devices such as small cameras. High end phones have the computing power of the personal computers of the 80’s and the game consoles of the 90’s.

History repeats with WiFi

There are parallels in the history of communications and computing. In the 1980’s the technology of packet switched networks became widely deployed. Two standards competed. X.25 was a packet switched network technology being promoted by CCITT (a large, formal international standards body) and the telephone companies. It involved a system run by telephone companies including metered tariffs and multiple bilateral agreements between carriers to hook up.

Concurrently, universities and research labs were promoting TCP/IP and the Internet opportunity for loosely organized standards meetings being operated with flat rate tariffs and little or no agreements between the carriers. People just connected to the closest node and everyone agreed to freely carry traffic for others.

There were several “free Internet” services such as “The Little Garden” in San Francisco. Commercial service providers, particularly the telephone company operators such as SprintNet tried to shut down such free services by threatening not to carry this free traffic.

Eventually, large ISPs began providing high quality Internet connectivity and finally the telephone companies realized that the Internet was the dominant standard and shutdown or acquired the ISPs.

A similar trend is happening in wireless data services. GPRS is currently the dominant technology among mobile telephone carriers. GPRS allows users to transmit packets of data across the carrier network to the Internet. One can roam to other networks as long as the mobile operators have agreements with each other. Just like in the days of X.25, the system requires many bilateral agreements between the carriers; their goal is to track and bill for each packet of information.

Competing with this standard is WiFi. WiFi is just a simple wireless extension to the current Internet and many hotspots provide people with free access to the Internet in cafes and other public areas. WiFi service providers have emerged, while telephone operators –such as a T-Mobile and Vodaphone- are capitalizing on paid WiFi services. Just as with the Internet, network operators are threatening to shut down free WiFi providers, citing a violation of terms of service.

Just as with X.25, the GPRS data network and the future data networks planned by the telephone carriers (e.g. 3G) are crippled with unwieldy standards bodies, bilateral agreements, and inherently complicated and expensive plant operations.

It is clear that the simplicity of WiFi and the Internet is more efficient than the networks planned by the telephone companies. That said, the availability of low cost phones is controlled by mobile telephone carriers, their distribution networks and their subsidies.

Content vs Context

Many of the mobile telephone carriers are hoping that users will purchase branded content manufactured in Hollywood and packaged and distributed by the telephone companies using sophisticated technology to thwart copying.

Broadband in the home will always be cheaper than mobile broadband. Therefore it will be cheaper for people to download content at home and use storage devices to carry it with them rather than downloading or viewing content over a mobile phone network. Most entertainment content is not so time sensitive that it requires real time network access.

The mobile carriers are making the same mistake that many of the network service providers made in the 80s. Consider Delphi, a joint venture between IBM and Sears Roebuck. Delphi assumed that branded content was going to be the main use of their system and designed the architecture of the network to provide users with such content. Conversely, the users ended up using primary email and communications and the system failed to provide such services effectively due to the mis-design.

Similarly, it is clear that mobile computing is about communication. Not only are mobile phones being used for 1-1 communications, as expected through voice conversations; people are learning new forms of communication because of SMS, email and presence technologies. Often, the value of these communication processes is the transmission of “state” or “context” information; the content of the messages are less important.

Copyright and the Creative Commons

In addition to the constant flow of traffic keeping groups of people in touch with each other, significant changes are emerging in multimedia creation and sharing. The low cost of cameras and the nearly television studio quality capability of personal computers has caused an explosion in the number and quality of content being created by amateurs. Not only is this content easier to develop, people are using the power of weblogs and phones to distribute their creations to others.

The network providers and many of the hardware providers are trying to build systems that make it difficult for users to share and manipulate multimedia content. Such regulation drastically stifles the users’ ability to produce, share and communicate. This is particularly surprising given that such activities are considered the primary “killer application” for networks.

It may seem unintuitive to argue that packaged commercial content can co-exist alongside consumer content while concurrently stimulating content creation and sharing. In order to understand how this can work, it is crucial to understand how the current system of copyright is broken and can be fixed.

First of all, copyright in the multimedia digital age is inherently broken. Historically, copyright works because it is difficult to copy or edit works and because only few people produce new works over a very long period of time. Today, technology allows us to find, sample, edit and share very quickly. The problem is that the current notion of copyright is not capable of addressing the complexity and the speed of what technology enables artists to create. Large copyright holders, notably Hollywood studios, have aggressively extended and strengthened their copyright protections to try to keep the ability to produce and distribute creative works in the realm of large corporations.

Hollywood asserts, “all rights reserved” on works that they own. Sampling music, having a TV show running in the background in a movie scene or quoting lyrics to a song in a book about the history of music all require payment to and a negotiation with the copyright holder. Even though the Internet makes available a wide palette of wonderful works based on content from all over the world, the current copyright practices forbid most of such creation.