It’s customary at Creative Commons for the Board of Directors to pause during our annual meeting to acknowledge any departing Board members and staff and thank them for their contributions to the CC mission and community. Among the exceptional Commoners we acknowledged this year, there is one who has touched more projects, individuals, and institutions in the CC community than any other. And so I’m writing to share the CC Board’s tribute to our departing General Counsel Diane Peters, with heartfelt gratitude on behalf of the entire CC Board. We all look forward to continuing together on this journey as fellow CC community members, and as beneficiaries of everything that we owe to the foremost architect and steward of the Commons.
For twelve years as General Counsel at Creative Commons, and even before that as a member of the greater open knowledge community, Diane Peters has been the embodiment of CC’s innovations and ideals.
Diane was the chief architect of the current generation of Creative Commons legal tools–the mastermind of their universal design principles and detailed provisions, and the leader who harnessed the insights of the entire CC community to ensure their precision and excellence. Through this work, Diane not only built our legal tools but also built our network–mentoring and collaborating with lawyers and other community members around the world to perfect the CC tools and spread the CC philosophy.
Diane is a legal hacker in the best sense of the phrase. She has harnessed the law to avoid organizational pitfalls and legal jeopardy, and also to accomplish our loftiest goals. She has done this from her crucial and complex post as General Counsel, Board member, and Board Counsel and Secretary. This role as trusted counselor can be a challenging and even lonely one, requiring a lawyer who is both embedded in and objective about a beloved organization. Diane served in this difficult role with deft skill, wisdom, and grace.
At CC HQ and among the CC community, Diane has been not just a lawyer but a senior leader, working in partnership with CEOs, directors, staff, and community members to ensure CC’s adherence to our vision, mission, and highest ideals of integrity in times of both triumph and trouble. Diane has served as our institutional memory and the keeper of the CC flame.
The Open COVID Pledge is a testament to Diane the lawyer and Diane the leader. It is a great legal hack that also demonstrates Diane’s management and direction-setting skills, and the emotional intelligence necessary to quickly accomplish a critical goal through the collective efforts of a diverse group of contributors with their own institutional affiliations, priorities, and personalities. OCP is a beacon that shines a light towards CC’s future, thanks in large part to Diane.
Diane has also been a visionary regarding sharing by scholarly, educational, and cultural institutions. Her expertise and collaboration with partners including MIT, UNESCO, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution were essential to achieving the release of countless works of culture and knowledge into the commons.
It is hard to imagine CC without Diane Peters. And we won’t. Because Diane’s legal talent and collaborative leadership have left an indelible mark on every aspect of CC’s work. She has ensured that this work will stand the test of time, evolving to meet new opportunities and challenges while remaining true to CC’s ideals.