News

CC’s Future

Lawrence Lessig, December 28th, 2006

The story so far:

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

The story continued…

The hardest thing about pushing the work of Creative Commons is the thought that in 15 years, it will be impossible to explain just why this work was important — either because the worst would have happened, and the technologies that have encouraged the explosion of creativity we see just now will have been re-controlled, or because the best would have happened, and the balance that we’re pushing for will have been achieved, in both practice and law.

I’m famous for a certain sort of pessimism. But about this, I’m optimistic that it is the second sort of change that we’re most likely to see. The creative energy of the next generation will not be stopped. The technologies of creativity are not going to become insanely expensive again. And thus, in my view, the most likely future is one in which this potential for creativity will be reconciled with a copyright system that offers protection where that’s necessary to create great new works, without burdening the world of creativity that doesn’t depend upon copyright to flourish.

Creative Commons’ most important contribution will be to help transition to this more sensible world. As I’ve described in these past weeks, we have already built the infrastructure to help the “sharing economy” flourish. The tools we’ve begun to demonstrate at ccLabs will also help support the inevitable growth of a hybrid creative economy, where works are available freely in some contexts, but commercially exploited in others. Both bits of legal infrastructure will encourage creativity, while respecting authors’ rights. Both suggest a different balance the law might strike, when politicians begin to recognize why this difference is important.

But until the day when this point is obvious, it is critical that we all continue to push this voluntary, private effort to get artists and creators to signal to the world the freedoms they believe their work should carry. We need that signal not just in hundreds of millions of licensed objects, but in billions of licensed objects. We need it built into the infrastructure where every creative work gets made. And we need this as a signal and a practice: as an effort every creator makes to encourage a certain ecology of creativity.

Over the next year, working with our new Chairman, Joichi Ito, we will push the program of interoperability that we started last fall. We will push as well the project of integration into many more applications of creativity. And most importantly, we will launch an endowment of the Creative Commons core to guarantee that the central project of CC will forever survive. Or at least if not forever, until the point is so obvious that we all can move on.

Thank you again for the support you’ve given me over these past four years. And again, please help celebrate this transition by supporting us in this final week of our fundraising campaign. We need just $20,000 to reach our goal. If each of you asked just 5 of your friends to join, we would certainly make that number by December 31. And if we make that number, it will be much easier for me, after four very hard years pressing the message of CC, to see this project pass to a new, and I promise, fantastic leader.

With that final plea, the Lessig Letters end.

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Week 6 – CC Changes
Week 6 – CC Changes – Spanish Version
(Thanks to Maria Cristina Alvite for translation)

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