Happy birthday, Creative Commons

Lawrence Lessig

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12 years ago today, we launched the first Creative Commons license suite.

The internet was changing the way people share, and changing what it meant to be a creator. But copyright law hadn’t caught up. The Net was making sharing easy; the law was making it hard.

We made a bet that many creators would stand between the extremes. That they would be inspired by the idea of “some rights reserved” and dedicate some of their rights to the commons.

One billion licensed works later, I think we were right.

Back then, it was a leap of faith. We just didn’t know. I certainly didn’t know that CC licenses would catalyze a global community in almost 80 countries, or that governments and foundations would take our values and embed them in official policies, dedicating funds to create freely available works. But that’s what CC has been helping to facilitate.

Today, Creative Commons is making another leap. We’re betting that if we can make it more seamless to share CC-licensed content between different web platforms, we can multiply CC’s impact exponentially. So this is what our tech team is building.

We’re also betting that by investing in a new generation of advocates for open, we can accelerate our policy wins to a worldwide tipping point.

CC licenses are having a real impact on people’s lives. They are helping reveal information used to treat diseases, to make governments more transparent and accountable, and to make education accessible for everyone, everywhere. That’s an incredible impact for a set of simple, free licenses.

That’s why I hope you will consider making a donation today.

I’ve been inspired by many idealists. And I’ve had my heart broken more than a few times as I’ve rallied people together for change. But CC has proved that big change can happen, when it is supported by many, and often.

So please take a moment to think about the role that Creative Commons licenses play in your life and in our communities. CC licenses have transformed how the internet works, but we’re just getting started.

Please consider making a gift to Creative Commons.


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