Lawrence Lessig

Lessig and others offer “Open Government” principles

Eric Steuer, December 2nd, 2008

A short follow-up to our post from yesterday about how Change.gov is now available under a Creative Commons license: Lawrence Lessig announces a set of “open government” principles intended to guide the Obama-Biden transition team’s use of the Internet. Visit open-government.us for the letter and video that outline these principles, and read Ben Smith’s post on Politico for more information about this project.

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HarperStudio Interviews Joi Ito

Fred Benenson, December 2nd, 2008


HarperStudio, an imprint of the world renown publishers Harper Collins, has an interview with Joi Ito, our CEO. In his answers, Joi tackles some of the more complex implications of Creative Commons licensing for media like books:

2) Does Creative Commons have different implications for different forms of media? Would books be affected differently than music, for example?

Joi Ito: … In the case of book publishing, we have seen a variety of different examples. The basic consideration is how much demand the book already has versus the potential demand that a free download version of the book might create. Clearly there is some cannibalization of sales if people who were going to buy the book end up reading it online. However, we have quite a bit of data which supports the fact that making the book available for free increases the likelihood that the book will get stronger coverage on blogs and word of mouth and also find its way into markets not typically marketed to by the publishers. If, for instance, one allows derivative works, a good book will often quickly get translated, whole or in part, which can drive demand in International markets.

Definitely worth a read if you’re interested in the future of publishing and CC.

Update: HarperStudio also points us towards Lawrence Lessig’s appearance on KQED.

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CC + MIT + Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Melissa Reeder, November 24th, 2008

On Dec. 12th, 2008, CC will be pairing up with two of the most influential and innovative institutions in the “open” movement: MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

For those of you interested in the tech side of Creative Commons, MIT’s CSAIL is hosting CC’s second Tech Summit from 9-4:30. The first Tech Summit, held at Google this past summer, was a complete success; those archived presentations are here.

And for those of you interested in CC generally, CC and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society have joined forces to bring you the panel discussion: “The Commons: Celebrating accomplishments, discerning futures.” Panelists include James Boyle, The Public Domain; Lawrence Lessig, Remix; Joi Ito, Free Souls; and Molly S. Van Houweling, Creative Commons’ first Executive Director. Jonathan Zittrain, of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, will moderate. A reception will follow at 7:30 pm. Details are here.

We hope you will join us in celebrating Creative Commons’ sixth successful year and the culmination of our 2008 Annual Fundraising Campaign, “Build the Commons.” This event is open to the public, but because we’re closing in on the end of our campaign, we encourage you to bring your check books (or cash rather) and help sustain CC by donating at the door!

Space is limited. Please RSVP by December 1st to Melissa Reeder, Development Manager, at melissa@creativecommons.org.

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A letter (and very special offer) from Lawrence Lessig

Melissa Reeder, November 17th, 2008

Last week, CC founder Lawrence Lessig sent the following letter (and offer) to our email lists. However, I thought it was important that everyone who is interested enough in CC to read our blog, should have the opportunity to read this as well. If you’d like to sign-up for our ccNewsletter list, please do so here.

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Dear Creative Commoner:

It has been an exciting week in America. Many of us had been focused on this presidential election. Few have had the time to think about the other projects we have that are working hard to do good.

I’m writing today to ask you to think again about one of those projects that will always be important to me — Creative Commons. We’re in the middle of our annual drive. The success of this drive is essential to our ability to run. The vast majority of CC’s supporters, including of course its Board, and current CEO, are volunteers. But the organization depends upon a small number of wildly underpaid staffers, as well as modest infrastructure to keep the system alive.

This is a tough year to ask for support, I know. All of us are facing difficult decisions about what we can really afford to do. But as I looked out at the packed audiences in Hong Kong celebrating the launch of the 50th Creative Commons jurisdiction, I saw again just how critical it is to keep this movement growing. We have made important progress over the year, including most importantly for me, winning the confidence of the Free Software Foundation so that they will permit FSF licensed wikis (including Wikipedia) to relicense to a CC license. But there is an enormous amount of work left to be done.

Please help us in this. Whatever you can give is important. And if you’d like something tangible in return for your gift, I’m happy to send you a signed copy of my latest (and last in this field) book, REMIX, inscribed however you like. (I’m only going to sign a limited number for this purpose, and we’re going to charge an insanely high price, but if you’re interested, visit here. And if you’re ordering from outside the United States, you’ll get the Bloomsbury Academic version of the book, with the CC license explicit inside.)

I’ve not pestered you much this year. It has been important to me to see this organization thrive when I’ve not been at the center of its work. But Creative Commons remains the work I’m most proud of. And like any parent, it still keeps me awake with worry at night. Please help us make this year another success. Do what you can. Get 6 friends to do the same. We’ve been depending on small donations long before America could spell “Obama.” And we depend upon those donations still.

Please support Creative Commons today.

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Trailer for “RiP: A Remix Manifesto” Released

Cameron Parkins, October 20th, 2008

The new trailer for RiP: A Remix Manifesto – the Girl Talk featuring, community edited documentary that focuses on copyright and remix culture – was posted online recently and looks to be coming along excellently. The trailer features clips with Greg Gillis, Cory Doctorow, Lawrence Lessig, and a slew of other big names in the copyright/remix world. From Opensource Cinema:

Imagine a world where ideas and culture, from “Happy Birthday” to Mickey Mouse, are horded under lock and key by copyright laws. Even ideas that could lead to a cure for cancer would be off-limits. Stop imagining now, because this is the world you live in. Although pop culture giants such as Walt Disney and the Rolling Stones built on the past to produce their art, the door is closing behind them.

I’ve been making a documentary for over 6 years that explores this issue: RiP: A Remix Manifesto.

Digital technology has opened up an unprecedented global economy of ideas. RiP explores the robber barons and revolutionaries squaring off across this new frontier as the film journeys from the hallways of Washington to the favelas of Brazil. Our central protagonist is Gregg Gillis, the Pittsburgh biomedical engineer who moonlights as Girl Talk, a mash-up artist rearranging the pop charts’ DNA with his incongruous entirely sample based songs. Along the way, I met key figures on the complexities of intellectual property in the digital era, among them Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig, culture critic Cory Doctorow, Brazilian musician and Minister of Cultural Affairs Gilberto Gil, and Jammie Thomas, the single mom successfully sued by the RIAA for illegal downloading.

Footage from the film is being continuously posted to RiP’s remix site for viewers to see an remix – similarly the soundtrack is being created collaboratively online by the ccMixter community.

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EVENT: Lawrence Lessig’s “Remix” Launch Party, San Francisco 10/29

Cameron Parkins, October 20th, 2008

CC founder Lawrence Lessig recently released a new book titled, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. The book will be his last solely devoted to the issues of copyright and in it, he aims to “map[] both a way back to the 19th century, and to the promise of the 21st” through the veil of copyright reform and content ownership. To celebrate, a book party is being held in San Francisco on October 29th, at which we will be present with a table brimming with schwag. Details below:

WHEN: October 29 2008
WHERE: W Hotel / 181 Third Street, San Francisco
WHEN: 6:30PM Reception / 7PM Program

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Free Culture Conference 2008

Fred Benenson, September 8th, 2008

Just after I graduated from NYU, I went to work as the ‘free culture’ intern at Creative Commons during the summer of 2005. I had started the Free Culture @ NYU chapter that year and CC felt like a great fit, and still does. But one of the things that puzzled me that summer was that there weren’t more free culture student activists in the bay area at the time. Clearly, things have changed.

Through the help of Berkeley’s budding Free Culture chapter, Students for Free Culture been able to organize a great conference for Fall break.

We’ll have keynotes by CC founder Lawrence Lessig, copyright legend Pam Samuelson, and John Lilly of Mozilla.

Day 1 will be open to the public and consist of panels and presentations in conjunction with the keynotes, and Day 2 will be workshops, team building, and learning about effective activism.

We’re doing a pay-what-you-feel system reminiscent of the one made famous by Radiohead and Girl Talk, but with one extra twist: ours also shows publicly what the average amount paid is, and right now it is around $27.

Finally, we have raised money in order to fly students in active chapters out to Berkeley for the conference, so if you’re interested in attending and have registered your chapter with Students for Free Culture, please book your flights now and visit our Travel page for more information.

If you’re looking to get involved in the Free Culture movement, I couldn’t suggest a better way of getting involved in our community.

And for what its worth — when considering interns CC has been known to look favorably upon candidates who have demonstrated involvement in Free Culture chapters.

Registration opens today, so sign up now!

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