The Guardian Talks With CC CEO Joi Ito

Headshot B&W, Photo by Mizuka | CC BY

The Guardian just posted a great interview with CC CEO Joi Ito that, while focusing broadly on Joi’s work as an entrepreneur, spends substantial time discussing his role at CC.

The piece touches on a number of topics including how CC interacts with businesses, our commitment to RDFa, and how our licenses can be used:

The advantage of the range of Creative Commons licences is that it can be tweaked as the creator likes. “Typically a professional musician will choose a licence that prohibits commercial reuse to protect their income, which usually comes from copyright. But for instance a photographer, and especially an amateur photographer, may want to be well-known, so they focus on attribution. Documentary producers often say ‘no derivatives’ because they don’t want the story to change, but will allow commercial use so that movie theatres can show their work.”

Be sure to read the interview at the Guardian’s website or check out the full transcript here. You can also listen to the interview as part of the Guardian’s Tech Weekly podcast.

One thought on “The Guardian Talks With CC CEO Joi Ito”

  1. Anya Kamenetz wrote a great article in Fast Company last month, “Who Needs Harvard?”, where she argues many of the same points in my recent post on Free Education ( “Free online courses, Wiki universities, Facebook-style tutoring networks–American higher education is being transformed by a cadre of Web-savvy edupunks.” There are hundreds if not thousands of digital education models in the ether, and she highlights some of the best: 2tor Inc., eduFire, Grockit, Inigral, and Knewton. I particularly love Richard Ludlow’s newest creation, Academic Earth. Inspired by MIT’s Open Courseware and Hulu’s innovate web-based TV design, this site brings together video lectures and other academic content, creating a free, online “educational ecosystem.” Other open courseware models, such as Peer2Peer and Western Governors University, allow students to share information online and even receive a fully-accredited degree from their laptops. Kamenetz concludes, “we’ve gone from scarcity of knowledge to unimaginable abundance.” And in Chris Anderson’s Free model, once something (ie. information) becomes abundant, it becomes “too cheap to meter.”

    These thoughts are all based upon an idea of Open Education, something that Creative Commons founder and Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig must appreciate (see his latest book, “Remix”). My argument in Remixing Education is the same as his: as we consume one form of culture – be it literature, music, video, or curriculum – we are creating something else entirely. Our brains are wired to do that. Our experience, our interpretation of culture – and I include education explicitly here – is different for each of us. How we consume it – how we talk about it, express it, and re-purpose it – is vital to our unique understanding of it. What is education but the recreation and dissemination of previous information for a democratic purpose? Lessig continues, “It is how lawyers argue. It is how we all talk all the time. We don’t notice it as such, because this text-based remix, whether in writing or conversation, is as common as dust.” The hundreds of open-source, open-content sites out there (see Flatworld Knowledge, AcaWiki, Community College Open Textbook Project) are the future of education. And this new remixing of education – hacking, editing, recreating – is the best way to share and spread knowledge in a fully digitized, democratized society.

    Yet I contend that Open Education is not truly Open unless you include personal relationships – the part of the puzzle that educators, especially those rooted in progressive models of reform, know is at the heart of good education systems. Tutorpedia believes in the power of free, open-source, online content, and we will soon publish our own Curriculum Commons where tutors, teachers, and professors can publish their content free on our site, increasing their own audience and reputation. But relationships matter, and the best learning will only happen when these tutors have the opportunity to teach that material themselves (which we will of course encourage).

    As this new wave of technology improves education, it is vital to remember the value of these relationships. Our Tao of Tutorpedia ( will promote the value of the Web 2.0, but also the value of personal relationships, to increase knowledge, understanding, and support. Human interaction can never be replaced, but only enhanced, by the power of a Creative Commons.

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