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Developing Nations Copyright License Frees Creativity Across the Digital Divide

About CC

The law-and-technology nonprofit Creative Commons offers a tool for authors and publishers to encourage innovation in developing nations while protecting their rights in the developed world.

Geneva, Switzerland, and San Francisco, USA – Creative Commons, a nonprofit dedicated to building a body of creative and educational materials free to share and re-use, unveiled today its Developing Nations copyright license. Creative Commons chairman Lawrence Lessig and Developing Nations license architect Jamie Love announced the new license at the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue’s workshop on “The Future of WIPO,” in Geneva.

Like all of Creative Commons’ legal tools, the Developing Nations license is free of charge and allows authors and artists to invite certain uses of their work, upon certain conditions — to declare “some rights reserved” as opposed to the “all rights reserved” of traditional copyright.

Specifically, the Developing Nations license allows copyright holders to invite a wide range of royalty-free uses of their work in developing nations while retaining their full copyright in the developed world.

“The Developing Nations license allows, for the first time, any copyright holder in the world to participate first-hand in reforming global information policy,” said Lessig. “The fact is that most of the world’s population is simply priced out of developed nations’ publishing output. To authors, that means an untapped readership. To economists, it means ‘deadweight loss.’ To human rights advocates and educators, it is a tragedy. The Developing Nations license is designed to address all three concerns.”

The license was designed by Jamie Love, an expert on intellectual property and development, in cooperation with attorneys at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, in Silicon Valley, and other experts on intellectual property and development.

“The new license makes it easier to expand access to knowledge and support development. It is a tool to make the resource-poor information-rich,” said Jamie Love.

About Creative Commons

A nonprofit corporation founded in 2001, Creative Commons promotes the creative re-use of intellectual and artistic works-whether owned or in the public domain-by empowering authors and audiences. It is sustained by the generous support of the Center for the Public Domain, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Omidyar Network Fund, and the Hewlett Foundation.

For general information, visit

To learn more about the Developing Nations license,


Glenn Otis Brown (San Francisco)
Executive Director
Creative Commons

Jamie Love (Washington, D.C.)
The Consumer Project on Technology

Christiane Asschenfeldt (Berlin)
International Commons Director
Creative Commons

Press Kit

Posted 13 September 2004