Commons News

Joi Ito Joins Creative Commons Board

Glenn Otis Brown, June 16th, 2003

We’re honored to announce that Joi Ito, venture capitalist, blogger, and tech Renaissance man, has joined our Board of Directors.

Ito is the founder and CEO of Neoteny, a venture capital firm, and has created numerous Internet companies including PSINet Japan, Digital Garage, and Infoseek Japan. In 1997 Time ranked him as a member of the CyberElite. In 2000 he was ranked among the “50 Stars of Asia” by Business Week and commended by the Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications for supporting the advancement of IT. In 2001 the World Economic Forum chose him as one of the 100 “Global Leaders of Tomorrow” for 2002.

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Matt Haughey, June 12th, 2003

This week we’re pointing out the hundreds of photographs taken by freelance writer David Gallagher. His site,, has been up for the past two and a half years and features photographs and insights from his daily life. There are many shots from New York and photos from various trips worth enjoying and sharing.

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Jeff Bezos Recommends Cory Doctorow

Glenn Otis Brown, June 10th, 2003 founder Jeff Bezos recently gave NPR listeners a recommendation for summer reading: the Creative Commons-licensed novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, by Cory Doctorow. (Bezos also gave a nod to The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro.)

Buy the book, or download it for free — thanks to Cory’s vision and our license.

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Instant Karma

Glenn Otis Brown, June 6th, 2003

I’m at the University of California @ Irvine’s Humanities Research Institute talking with some good folks about humanities education and technology.

I did a short presentation about Creative Commons this morning, and by the time I’d wrapped up, conference participant Joe Futrelle, who is technical lead of Digital Library Technologies at NCSA, had licensed several of his own tunes. Joe says he wishes our licensing process were even quicker.

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Guardian Unlimited

Press Robot, June 6th, 2003

Drive to put in a good word

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Yet another thing going for the public domain

Glenn Otis Brown, June 6th, 2003

Aimee Deep, otherwise known as Aimster, has created a special incentive for people to sign the Reclaim the Public Domain Petition.

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VentureBlog and Bag and Baggage

Matt Haughey, June 5th, 2003

We’ve have been enjoying the content on VentureBlog and Bag and Baggage for some time, but recently both of these Creative Commons licensed blogs did a great job covering The Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital Conference.

Thanks to some restrictions on the conference, professional journalists were not allowed to cover the event, but audience members could. VentureBlog had some great insights to take away from the conference and Bag and Baggage did a great job taking live notes from the Steve Jobs interview and the dinner with Bill Gates, and also posted photos from the event.

In addition to the recent reporting, each blog has content worthy of merit. VentureBlog is run by venture capital firm investors and their series of posts on Presenting Your Company offers many useful insider tips. We’ve pointed to Denise at Bag and Baggage before on this weblog, but her posts on what Creative Commons licenses mean for weblog authors were instructive for the community.

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iCommons Finland Begins

Glenn Otis Brown, June 3rd, 2003

Finland is the first country to take part in iCommons, our project to port the lawyer-readable versions of our licenses for use across the world. The Helsinki Institute for Information Technology has produced a first draft of the Finnish licenses and will lead the process from a public discussion list hosted on our site. The process will be much like our other community-based developments, such as the sampling license.

Up next: Japan.

Read the press release.

Join the discussion.

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Sampling license: highlights from week 1

Glenn Otis Brown, May 30th, 2003

The highlight reel from the first week of the Sampling License discussion:

Sarah Brown raised concerns that the draft language wasn’t clear enough about the copyrightability of sample-derived works and what other rights the sampler enjoys in them. She suggested we address these issues more explicitly.

Cathy Kirkman, however, explained why the license itself need not spell these points out, and that a thorough FAQ entry or Commons Deed provision was a better place for the explanation.

Chris Kelty and Negativland debated the sampling license’s proposed “anti-advertising” clause. Kelty reasoned that there may be ways to achieve the same end without using anti-advertising language, and expressed other worries about the provision. Negativland stood by the clause.

Finally, I submitted three humble requests to the list participants (1, 2, 3).

To sum up: No changes to the lawyer-readable language so far, though we should be clearer in our human-readable version of the license (e.g., FAQ, license summary) about what rights the sampler enjoys in the new, sample-derived work.

Discussion is still young — join us. Three weeks left until redraft.

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Birdman Lives

Glenn Otis Brown, May 30th, 2003

Salon has a fun piece, “Pillaging the Cartoon Universe,” about the Cartoon Network’s “Birdman: Attorney at Law,” a show saturated with cameos by characters from classic cartoons and other pop culture artifacts. Two disappointing aspects to this piece: 1) the bulk of it is available only to Salon “premium” subscribers, and 2) author Scott Thill makes no mention of how the Birdman creators go about clearing rights for the re-use of copyrighted characters (ironic, given that the show centers around Birdman’s life as a litigator).

Anyone out there know the answer? Do the Birdman people enjoy a Mike Meyers-like licensing deal, are they asserting fair use, or is it a combination of the two?


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