Final Commoner Letter: Jimmy Wales
Melissa Reeder, December 23rd, 2008
Our final commoner letter of this campaign comes from Jimmy Wales, who needs no introduction.
If you haven’t contributed, now is the time. Please help spread this letter far and wide. Now, Jimmy Speaks…
Dear Creative Commoner,
Creative Commons recently celebrated its 6th birthday, and I want to take a moment to ask for your support of CC’s vital role in building a commons of culture, learning, science, and more, accessible to all.
When I founded Wikipedia in 2001, Creative Commons unfortunately did not yet exist. However, as by far the most wildly successful projects for the creation of and legal infrastructure for free knowledge in the world, our paths are inevitably intertwined.
For example, we have Wikinews publishing under CC BY, Wikimedia Commons curating thousands of quality images and other media, many under CC BY or BY-SA, Wikimedia chapters in Serbia and Indonesia as the Creative Commons affiliate organizations in those jurisdictions, Wikimedia Sweden and Creative Commons Sweden collaborating with Free Software Foundation Europe to put on FSCONS, and Creative Commons’ international office in Berlin just moved in with Wikimedia Germany.
Most importantly, we have people working to build free knowledge around the world, collaborating mostly informally. Some see themselves as part of one or more movements and communities, others just want to share and collaborate.
I’ve been pleased to personally serve on the CC board of directors since 2006 and am happy that after years of work, the Wikimedia community has obtained the option to update its primary license to CC BY-SA. This would remove a significant barrier to collaboration among people and communities creating free knowledge, a barrier that only exists due to the timing mentioned above.
As I explain in Jesse Dylan’s A Shared Culture, Creative Commons is about building infrastructure for a new kind of culture — one that is both a folk culture, and wildly more sophisticated than anything before it. Think about how quaint a traditional encyclopedia appears, now that we have Wikipedia. How much better would the world be if we allow education, entertainment, government, science and more to be transformed by the web? If we do not support Creative Commons, the realization of these dreams about what the Internet can and should become are at risk. By supporting Creative Commons, we build those dreams.
Allow me to close with a borrowing. Eben Moglen, chief lawyer of the free software movement, without which neither Wikipedia nor Creative Commons would exist, wrote the following at the end of the first letter of this campaign:
Supporting Creative Commons isn’t just something I feel I ought to do; it’s something we all have to do. I hope you will join with me in supporting Creative Commons with your money, with your energy, and with your creative power. There’s nothing we can’t do if we share.