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CC Changes

Lawrence Lessig, December 18th, 2006

Last week, culminating Friday night, in parties around the world, Creative Commons celebrated its fourth birthday. Hundreds of people helped mark this event. My 3 year old son, Willem, and I cut the first cake at the party in Portugal.

Five hours later, in the Creative Commons party in the virtual world of Second Life, I made for me an announcement. As I removed the CC torch from my bag of objects, I told those in world, and in San Francisco, that Joi Ito, a venture capitalist from Japan and a key driver in the “sharing economy,” would be replacing me as Chairman of Creative Commons. I will remain on the board, and as CEO. But from the moment I handed him the torch, he is CC’s new Chairman.

This is a very happy moment for CC. I’m not going anywhere — CC will continue to get everything I can give. But we are a movement, not a cult. And it is important that movements have leaders. I have had enormous respect for Joi since first meeting him in Japan in early 2000. It was a real coup when I was able to convince him to join our Board. Joi’s whole ethic has been to build the sharing economy. That ethic of building is precisely where CC is going right now.

This has been the best job I will have had. I can’t describe how extraordinary it has been to watch this organization grow, nor how rewarding it has been to see the passion and energy it has inspired. We have tried to show the world something about how creativity works – not through obsessive control, but by creators inviting others to create and share as well. More and more, this is a message the world seems to get.

But for now, let me leverage a bit the opportunity that the ambiguity of new leadership creates. After the thermometer is updated to reflect a very generous anonymous gift we just received, we will have just $100,000 left in our campaign. That’s a lot to raise in two weeks, but I think we can do it. Indeed, you can look at this change in leadership in two ways, each of which gives some of you a reason for one last push:

  • Some of you have been loyal supporters of me from the very beginning. I can’t begin to express how grateful I’ve been for this support, or for the generous thanks you’ve offered. To you, please show that support one more time, by supporting CC in this final two weeks of our drive.
  • Some of you have been loyal critics, with a different vision of copyright, or CC, and with a strong hope that the organization move beyond the particular vision I’ve offered. Now you have your chance: please celebrate the change, by supporting CC in this final two weeks of our drive.

Either way, what both I and CC need most just now is your support. A simple click is all we need to get that going.

Finally, thanks to all of you, and the Board of CC in particular, for allowing me this extraordinary opportunity. And join me in helping, and supporting, Joi Ito in his new role.

Next week, a final letter with some final thoughts for CC.

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Week 5 – CC Labs

Week 5 – CC Labs – Spanish Version
(Thanks to Maria Cristina Alvite for translation)

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