News

Creative Commons South Africa Drafts Now Available

Matt Haughey, October 19th, 2004

The innovative nonprofit pairs with
South African experts to offer localized versions of its “some rights
reserved” copyright licenses soon

SAN FRANCISCO, USA AND JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
October 19, 2004— Creative Commons, a nonprofit dedicated to building a
body of creative work free to share and build upon, announced today
that South Africa is the latest country to join its international
efforts. Creative Commons copyright licenses, which are available at no
charge from the group’s website (http://creativecommons.org),
allow authors and artists to mark their works as free to copy or
transform under certain conditions—to declare “some rights reserved,”
in contrast to the traditional “all rights reserved”—thereby enabling
others to access a growing pool of raw materials without legal
friction. South Africa joins twelve other nations in the draft phase of
adapting the Creative Commons licenses; another nine nations already
offer localized Creative Commons licenses.

Led by the Johannesburg-based LINK Centre,
Creative Commons South Africa plans to adapt the copyright licenses for
use under South African law and to build local engagement with and use
of Creative Commons-licensed content. Andrew Rens, a former lecturer at
Wits University Law School, is leading the legal aspects of the project
while Heather Ford, LINK Centre associate, directs the overall South African effort.

“South
Africa is well-placed to pioneer developments in the field of
intellectual property law,” said Ford. “Through the Treatment Action
Campaign we have had huge success in gaining access to cheaper HIV/AIDS drugs. More recently South Africa has helped to lead a ‘development agenda’ at WIPO which aims to use knowledge as a tool for empowerment, rather than to deepen existing divides.”

Rens
says that South Africa’s innovative constitution has resulted in
dramatic changes to many areas of law affecting the transmission of
ideas including freedom of expression and access to information a
development with potentially interesting consequences for the local
enforcement of copyright laws.

South Africa offers unique
opportunities and poses unique challenges for the Creative Commons
model. Since the demise of apartheid, South Africa has emerged from
global isolation as a model for democracy around the world. With one of
the world’s most progressive constitutions and a Bill of Rights that
stresses individual freedoms, it is also a leader in African policy
development, and a champion for the causes of the developing world.
South Africa is, nonetheless, still a divided society. A small,
wealthy, relatively sophisticated population lives side by side with
and a large, unskilled informal population. Only 4 million of the
nation’s 43 million residents are online.

To join the
discussion on the local ‘porting’ of the Creative Commons licenses and
help make some real change, go to South African website,: <http://za.creativecommons.org>, or view the South African drafts <http://creativecommons.org/projects/international/za/>.

More about the LINK Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand

The LINK Centre
is the leading information and knowledge hub providing training,
research and consultancy in the Information and Communications
Technology (ICT) arena in order to develop public, private, NGO and community-based capacity within the Southern African region.

The
institution focuses on capacity building in the public and private
sectors and development arenas through quality training, applied
research and consultancy services necessary to maximize the benefits of
the Information Society and economy.

For more information, see <http://link.wits.ac.za>.

About Creative Commons

A 501(c)(3)
nonprofit founded in early 2002, Creative Commons promotes the creative
re-use of intellectual and artistic works — whether owned or in the
public domain — by empowering authors and audiences. It is sustained by
the generous support of the Center for the Public Domain, the John D.
and Catherine T. Mac Arthur? Foundation, the Omidyar Network Fund, and the Hewlett Foundation.

For general information, visit <http://creativecommons.org>.

Contact

Heather Ford
Creative Commons South Africa
Ford.H@pdm.wits.ac.za
Phone: +27 11 717 3113
Cell: +27 82 872 7374

Andrew Rens
Creative Commons South Africa
andrewrens@yahoo.com

Glenn Otis Brown
Executive Director
Creative Commons
glenn@creativecommons.org

+1.415.336.1433

Press Kit
http://creativecommons.org/presskit/

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