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Creative Commons Launches CC0 and CC+ Programs

About CC

San Francisco — December 17, 2007

Today, Creative Commons announced the launch of CC0 (aka CC Zero) and CC+ (aka CC Plus). These programs are major additions to CC’s array of free legal tools.


CC+ is a protocol to enable a simple way for users to get rights beyond the rights granted by a CC license. For example, a Creative Commons license might offer noncommercial rights. With CC+, the license can also provide a link to enter into transactions beyond access to noncommercial rights — most obviously commercial rights, but also services of use such as warranty and ability to use without attribution, or even access to physical media.

“Imagine you have all of your photos on Flickr, offered to the world under the CC Attribution-NonCommercial license,” said Lawrence Lessig, CEO of Creative Commons. “CC+ will enable you to continue offering your work to the public for noncommercial use, but will also give you an easy way to sell commercial licensing rights to those who want to use your work for profit.”

The CC+ architecture was pioneered by early adopter CC-enabled businesses such as and is effectively implemented by numerous creators and intermediaries who enable a simple way to move between the sharing and commercial economies. CC+ provides a lightweight standard around these best practices and is available for implementation immediately.

Creative Commons will collaborate with commercial rights agencies and other companies to build upon CC’s metadata architecture and give the public simple “click-through” access to commercial rights and other opportunities beyond the scope of a public CC license. Companies and organizations announcing support for CC+ include Yahoo!,, Beatpick, Jamendo, RightsAgent, Youlicense, Strayform, Cloakx, and Copyright Clearance Center.

“The CC+ initiative adds an exciting new dimension that enables a commercial element to co-exist within the Creative Commons framework,” said Rudy Rouhana, co-founder of RightsAgent, Inc — provider of a new service that automates licensing to permit re-use and monetization of user-generated content. “RightsAgent is delighted to be one of the first companies to implement the CC+ standard. The working relationship between RightsAgent and Creative Commons now provides both a transactional and commercial layer that will help further the success of Creative Commons and the success of this initiative,” said Rouhana.


CC0 is a protocol that enables people to either (a) ASSERT that a work has no legal restrictions attached to it, or (b) WAIVE any rights associated with a work so it has no legal restrictions attached to it, and (c) SIGN the assertion or waiver.

“In some ways, CC0 is similar to what our public domain dedication does now,” said Lessig. “But with CC0, the waiver of rights will be more robust internationally, and both the waiver and assertion will be vouched for, so that there is a platform for reputation systems to develop. People will then be able to judge the reliability of content’s copyright status based on who has done the certifying.”

CC0 was previewed at Creative Commons’ 5th birthday event this past weekend in San Francisco. A beta version of the protocol will be released for public discussion on January 15, 2008. This will include the traditional components of the CC architecture — legal code, human-readable explanation, machine-readable metadata, and tools. The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School will collaborate with Creative Commons on drafting the legal code for CC0.

In conjunction with the CC0 announcement, Creative Commons’ project Science Commons launched the “Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data” — a method for ensuring that scientific databases can be legally integrated with one another. The protocol is built on the public domain status of data in many countries (including the United States) and provides legal certainty to both data deposit and data use. Science Commons has worked with data licensing thought leaders and is pleased to announce partnerships with Jordan Hatcher and Dr. Charlotte Waelde, the legal team behind the Open Database License; Talis, the company behind the Open Database License process; and the Open Knowledge Foundation, creators of the Open Knowledge Definition.

“The ‘freedom to integrate’ is one of the fundamental freedoms for data on the Web, and in one stroke, the Science Commons protocol integrates the primary legal options around data into a single Open Access regime,” said John Wilbanks, Vice President for Science Commons. Data in the sciences is most useful when it’s in the public domain, like the human genome and all the information at the US National Center for Biotechnology Information. This protocol, and its implementation by Talis and the Open Database License, creates a legal tool for data creators to put their data into the same legal zone as the genome and other key fundamental research resources.”

“We’ve recognized the importance of Open Access data at Talis for a number of years, and it was an obvious step for us to work with Jordan Hatcher and Dr. Charlotte Waelde to validate our earlier efforts and to place them in a sound legal framework from which others could also benefit,” said Dr. Paul Miller, Talis’ Technology Evangelist. “Looking at CC0 and the Creative Commons’ Science Commons project, the synergies with our own license development were immediately apparent. We shall now be working together with Creative Commons and the license’s new hosts at the Open Knowledge Foundation to see the pool of remixable data grow, for the benefit of all.”

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 2001, that promotes the creative re-use of intellectual and artistic works, whether owned or in the public domain. Through its free copyright licenses, Creative Commons offers authors, artists, scientists, and educators the choice of a flexible range of protections and freedoms that build upon the “all rights reserved” concept of traditional copyright to enable a voluntary “some rights reserved” approach. Creative Commons was built with and is sustained by the generous support of organizations including the Center for the Public Domain, the Omidyar Network, The Rockefeller Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, as well as members of the public. For more information about Creative Commons, visit


Mike Linksvayer
Vice President, Creative Commons

Press Kit

Posted 17 December 2007