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Creative Commons 1967

Mike Linksvayer, September 8th, 2007

At this weekend’s Singularity Summit in San Francisco, “openness” of all sorts — open source, open access, open content, transparency — seems to be considered an uncontroversial and important part of making “AI and the future of humanity” a good one, for example:

If the singularity is in fact near, the fundamental tools of information, collaboration and access will be our best hope for making it happen in a way that spreads its benefits and minimizes its dangers — in short, making it happen in a way that lets us be good ancestors.

However, Creative Commons was mentioned in reference to a forty year old poem, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace by Richard Brautigan. Paul Saffo highlighted the poem as an example of a “positive, compelling vision that ordinary people could buy into.” But before showing the poem, Saffo highlighted the copyright notice as CC-like:

© Copyright 1967 by Richard Brautigan

Permission is granted to reprint any of these poems in magazines, books and newspapers if they are given away free.

Sounds a lot like a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.

Here is an example of a 2005 blogging of the poem (go there to read it). The blogger specifically cites the permission, though whether a blog qualifies as any of the permitted mediums may be questionable. So yes, granting permission up front does help spread your work, even decades later, and yes, it is good to have lawyers involved in drafting the permission language. Forty years later, Creative Commons has both taken care of. :-)

For some CC Attribution-licensed blogging and photos of the summit, see David Orban’s blog and Flickr set.

One Response to “Creative Commons 1967”

  1. gurdonark says:

    and of course Woody Guthrie’s songbook in the 1920s, which bore the copyright legend:

    “This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin’ it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do”.