Creative Commons has now officially launched its 2008 fundraising effort – our Build the Commons Campaign. Many skeptics think this is a precarious time to launch our major fundraising initiative; we disagree. This is an opportunity. An opportunity to call our community members to action – to help us make sure that the Commons continues to grow and be supported. These times demand creative problem solving and innovation on a global level – innovation that stems from collaboration and knowledge exchange, both of which are facilitated through access and sharing, and all of which are made possible by the Commons.
Since I started at CC, I’ve made sure that our annual campaigns (I can’t believe this is my third!) have always had two goals. The first is to raise a large sum of money from our community members (this year’s goal is $500,000) by the end of the year. The second, and in my opinion more important of the two, is to build awareness and community. The Commons is only as strong as the community behind it, and only by working together can we build a Commons that withstands the challenges of this generation and those to come. With this campaign, we’re asking that you help us Build the Commons by using CC licensed works and CC licensing your own work, educating others about the value of the CC approach to openness and access, and lastly – by joining the CC Network.
We are launching several cool things in conjunction with the campaign, and at the top of the list is the chance for you to join the CC Network. By joining, you will become part of a worldwide community dedicated to building the Commons and bringing open content to all corners of the globe. When you join you receive several benefits: a profile page where you can list your CC licensed works; an OpenID you can use at many different sites; and a button you can put on your work’s page to show you’re part of the CC Network. The button shows your support Creative Commons and allows us to add provenance information to the deed when people click through from your work.
We’re also launching the CC Video Project, where we’re asking you to produce a 90-second video that explains why you’re a Creative Commons supporter. So get creative and let the world know why you think what CC does is important. As the commons continues to grow, it’s important that we capture the stories of the community responsible for building it. Creative Commons has only succeeded because of the incredible work that you do. We want to hear and share your stories. How CC has helped you create, access, and collaborate?
This project happily coincides with the release of Jesse Dylan’s new video “A Shared Culture” which is an incredible short that features members of the Creative Commons board talking about the work we do and why we do it. Maybe you’ll choose to use Jesse’s video for inspiration. Maybe you’ll even take some of what he’s done and remix it, mash it up, or sample it in your own video. Whatever you make, be sure to let us know about it – we want to highlight all of the interesting people and stories out there. Check out the CC Video Project page for details on how to participate.
In addition to joining the CC Network and participating in our video project, there are many ways to support CC. Our financial goal is to raise $500,000 – a lot of money, I know, especially now; but any amount you can give makes a difference. You may even be able to double the value of your contribution by taking advantage of your company’s corporate matching gifts program. When you give to CC, you play a central role in helping to sustain the CC infrastructure, enabling us to continue our work maintaining and improving the existing tools and resources that millions of people use and rely upon.
As I said before, CC is around and important thanks to you and what you do with it. The livelihood of the Commons relies upon its community members – the builders, users, and supporters of the open web. If we don’t come together, and if CC is not sustained, the Commons runs the risk of stagnation and restriction – the antithesis of innovation, and innovation is so desperately needed right now. Help us make sure the Commons remains strong and continues to grow by taking part in the campaign today!