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Humans of the Commons

Celebrate the people who make it all happen! “Humans of the Commons” highlights the work of the inspiring people and organizations who build and protect the global commons. Produced in collaboration with Loup — using their StoryEngine approach — our goal is to create a collection of stories that make connections across our global network, and that surface insights and feedback that can strengthen Creative Commons’ work going forward.

Stories are gathered via in-depth interviews — online or in person at the Humans of the Commons lounge at the Global Summit — and shared under a CC-BY license so they can be amplified and help strengthen the network. Learn more at

Live from CC Global Summit: Listen to all the stories on Soundcloud

The Humans


The #FreeBassel campaign drew supporters from around the world (Kennisland/Flickr/CC license 2.0)

Jon Phillips: “We’re entering a new era for the Commons”

I joined Creative Commons as an engineer back when the organization was only two or three years old. I initially met Bassel online. I was working on OpenClipArt and sent out some different announcements — and he responded to them with code. Free code. I thought it was amazing someone would do that.


Ruby Mizrahi / Wikimedia Foundation CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons”

Felix Nartey: “Knowledge Crushes all Barriers”

One of my major goals is cross-collaboration in the open movement. I’ve realized that there isn’t enough cohesion between the different programs and individual projects that exist here in Ghana and elsewhere. We need a coalition.


“It’s a Business Model Based on Sharing”

We’re still fighting an uphill battle. But you can see the enthusiasm growing everywhere. What makes me optimistic is that you see the community growing, and also communities coming together. The amount of people involved in Wikimedia projects that are involved in the Creative Commons community, for example, is increasing. That’s a good thing because we share goals, so working together is extremely valuable.


By Sebastiaan Ter Burg, CC BY-SA

Aris Maro: “This is all about Sharing”

You cannot talk about a better world today without talking about technology, and about the sharing of technology.
One of the greatest challenges to the Commons that I see is understanding of the licenses by the majority of the African continent. If we are able to reach out to all of the creators – the artists, the musicians, the writers – in the grassroots, in different places, in the rural areas, that will be a great opportunity for Creative Commons.


cynthia-khooCynthia Khoo: The Commons Opens up the World

A vibrant Commons is where these things come out, and it provides a way to remove some of those unfair barriers. And it’s only by removing unfair barriers that we will get to a better world.



Mohamed Rahmo: The Commons will Unlock our Country’s Potential

We want to “hack the mindset” of people and transform them from passive to more productive, in a way that’s respectful to their life and means of production. And to educate people about Creative Common in a practical way. Our hope is that this will help make our advocacy work and passing copyright reform easier.
The real success is to use Creative Commons to change the mindset of people.


Soohyun Pae: Access to knowledge is crucial to our well-being and survival

To me, supporting the Commons is like protecting the environment and protecting human rights. Restrictive copyright systems, capitalism, and monetization of knowledge and information have increasingly become threats. Building a vibrant and sustainable Commons-based ecosystem is directly related to the sustainability and well-being of individuals in the world. It creates the foundation for more knowledge and creativity that others can be inspired by and build upon.