Glenn Otis Brown, November 24th, 2004
Tomorrow the U.S. celebrates Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. Just as the days are getting dark too soon, the wind (even here in Northern California) getting a precocious frost to it, and the mad dash towards yet another big milestone New Year taking stride with only an imaginary starter’s whistle blown, we’re obliged to pause. To reunite with friends and loved ones. To think about why we’ve done so. To say thanks for everyone and everything we’ve got, however much we might or might not deserve it. Yes, it sounds corny and quaint. But that’s me.
Most times, with most people I know, we say our thanks to God, or to life. I’m all for both but tend to prefer to do so privately. What I’ve always wanted to do very publicly — but have never done, as far as I remember — is to say thanks to people. Doubtless it’s not an original idea, but we at this organization, if you’ve noticed, really like unoriginality.
So, thanks to people. Thanks, Creative Commons, for my job.
A job’s not a person, but it is people. For me the most important thing about Creative Commons, even beyond the concept and the service (which I sort of dig, too), is the people. That’s the staff, the board, our advisors, volunteers, sponsors, supporters — all of whom I’ll talk about some later — but it’s really more about the wildly great number of you using the tools or re-using their fruits in ways we never anticipated.
I was first drawn to study copyright and cyberlaw, I remember pretty clearly, because most cases were ultimately stories about weird and interesting people. Plaintiff or Defendant or often both, they were people who wanted to become bigger people by extending their voices. In school or now, that’s subject matter — that’s a vocation — to be thankful for.
As a bonus, the people studying and arguing copyright law were, and remain, the weirdest and most interesting lawyers.
So, take the union of those two groups of weird and interesting people, add the Internet and some civics lessons from pioneers of coding, and you’ve got a nice candidate for your gratitude.
Stay tuned for more givings of thanks (if you can stomach any more earnestness) in a series of blog posts about a specific few of the people above.