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Creative Commons Unveils Machine-Readable Copyright Licenses

Glenn Otis Brown, December 16th, 2002

San Francisco, CA — Creative Commons, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the creative reuse of intellectual works, launched its first product today: its machine-readable copyright licenses, available free of charge from creativecommons.org. The licenses allow copyright holders to easily inform others that their works are free for copying and other uses under specific conditions. These self-help tools offer new ways to distribute creative works on generous terms — from copyright to the public domain — and are available free of charge.

“People want to bridge the public domain with the realm of private copyrights,” said Stanford Law Professor and Creative Commons Chairman Lawrence Lessig. “Our licenses build upon their creativity, taking the power of digital rights description to a new level. They deliver on our vision of promoting the innovative reuse of all types of intellectual works, unlocking the potential of sharing and transforming others’ work.”

Creative Commons licenses help people express a preference for sharing their work — on their own terms. Copyright holders who decide to waive some of their rights but retain others can choose a license that declares “Some Rights Reserved” by expressing whether they require attribution or allow commercial usage or modifications to their work. Additionally copyright holders may select to waive all their rights and declare “No Rights Reserved” by dedicating their work to the public domain. After the copyright holder chooses their license or public domain dedication, it is expressed in three formats to easily notify others of the license terms:

1. Commons Deed. A simple, plain-language summary of the license, with corresponding icons.

2. Legal Code. The fine print needed to fine-tune your copyrights.

3. Digital Code. A machine-readable translation of the license that helps search engines and other applications identify your work by its terms of use.

“Our model was inspired in large part by the open-source and free software movements. The beauty of their approach is that they’re based on copyright owners’ consent — independent of any legislative action — and motivated out of a wonderful mixture of self-interest and community spirit,” explained Creative Commons Executive Director Glenn Otis Brown. “One of the great lessons of these software movements is that the choice between self-interest and community is a false choice. If you’re clever about how you leverage your rights, you can cash in on openness. Sharing, done properly, is both smart and right.”

Various organizations and people have pledged their support for Creative Commons, including Byrds founder Roger McGuinn, DJ Spooky, iBiblio, the Internet Archive, MIT Open Courseware project, O’Reilly & Associates, People Like Us, the Prelinger Collection/Library of Congress, Rice University’s Connexions project, Stanford Law School, and Sun Microsystems. Implementers include musicians, writers, teachers, scholars, scientists, photographers, filmmakers, publishers, graphic designers, Web hobbyists, as well as listeners, readers, and viewers.

Copyright holders can choose the appropriate license for their digital content at http://creativecommons.org/license/. Additional information is available through the technical fact sheet and testimonials document.

Behind Creative Commons

Cyberlaw and intellectual property experts James Boyle, Michael Carroll, Lawrence Lessig, and Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, MIT computer science professor Hal Abelson, lawyer-turned-documentary filmmaker-turned-cyberlaw expert Eric Saltzman, and public domain Web publisher Eric Eldred founded Creative Commons in 2001. Fellows and students at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School helped get the project off the ground. A non-profit corporation, Creative Commons is based at and receives generous support from Stanford Law School and the school’s Center for Internet and Society. Learn more.

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Creative Commons Launches

Matt Haughey, December 15th, 2002

Creative Commons Unveils Machine-Readable Copyright Licenses and launches revamped website.

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Creative Commons Announces New Management Team

Matt Haughey, December 15th, 2002

Sep 18, 2002 — www.creativecommons.org
— Creative Commons today announced its newly formed leadership
team, expanding its efforts to cultivate a vibrant public
domain within the current copyright system.

Founding Executive Director Molly Shaffer Van Houweling
recently completed her long-planned transition from Creative
Commons to become Assistant Professor at the University
of Michigan Law School and member of the Creative Commons
Board of Directors.

“We are proud to have had Molly lead the team to where it
is today – her extraordinary contributions helped make Creative
Commons a reality,” said Creative Commons Chairman Lawrence
Lessig. “Our new management’s impressive track record will
help bring our efforts to a new level by bridging the copyright
world with the public domain and removing barriers to creativity.
We are poised for tremendous success.”

Former Deputy Director Glenn Otis Brown, now Executive Director,
has worked closely with Van Houweling to ensure a smooth
transfer of responsibilities that include overseeing the
organization’s strategic, technical, and development activities.

Brown joined Creative Commons early 2002, having worked
for the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Miami and
the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law
School. He is a published author on copyright issues with
works appearing in The Economist, the Harvard Law Review,
and The New Republic.

“The founding team raised awareness about the unexplored
possibilities for interplay between copyright and the public
domain,” said Brown. “We are now focused on helping the
public take part in this mission. We’re excited about launching
our copyright licenses free of charge this autumn; soon
people will be able to express a preference for sharing
their work on their own terms.”

Other additions to the management team are:

– Associate Director Neeru Paharia, formerly of McKinsey
& Company and Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. A noted
filmmaker, illustrator, and blues guitar player, her work
has been showcased in various film festivals and publications.
Paharia received her Master of Science in Public Policy
and Management with a concentration in Information Systems
from Carnegie Mellon University.

– Consulting Technical Director Ben Adida, founder and CTO
of open source technology consultancy Open Force. Best known
as co-founder of ArsDigita, Adida helped develop the ArsDigita
Community System, the first free toolkit for building collaborative
database-backed Web sites. Adida received his Master and
Bachelor degrees in Computer Science from MIT. His writings
have appeared in IEEE Internet Computing, IEEE Software,
and Open Magazine.

– Consulting Communications Director Sally Khudairi, communications
strategist for the Apache Software Foundation and Web Standards
Project. Active in the Web for nearly a decade, she directed
communications strategies for some of the industry’s most
prominent specifications, including XML, HTML 3.2 and 4.0,
and HTTP/1.1. Khudairi is a leading proponent for emerging
initiatives such as the Semantic Web, Web Services and Intellectual
Property Rights.

Biographic information on the Creative Commons team can
be found at www.creativecommons.org/learn/aboutus/people

About Creative Commons

Bridging the copyright world with the public domain, Creative
Commons promotes the innovative reuse of all types of intellectual
works. An assemblage of renowned cyberlaw, intellectual
property, and technology experts collaborated on Creative
Commons’ first initiative planned for public release in
Autumn 2002. Through this project, copyright holders can
choose from a collection of licenses to easily inform others
that their works are free for copying and other uses under
specific conditions. Creative Commons is an independent,
non-profit organization based at Stanford Law School. For
more information, visit www.creativecommons.org

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Roger McGuinn to Use Creative Commons Licenses

Glenn Otis Brown, December 10th, 2002

We’re proud to announce that Roger McGuinn, author of the ethereal sounds of legendary rock band The Byrds, has licensed dozens of musical recordings with Creative Commons licenses.

McGuinn has long been a leading champion of the American folk music tradition. At his Folk Den, McGuinn publishes his own versions of traditional tunes, using the Web to celebrate “the tradition of the folk process, that is the telling of stories, and singing of songs, passed on from one generation to another by word of mouth.”

McGuinn is the latest in a line of prominent creators who have decided to apply Creative Commons licenses to their work. DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid, has licensed a short film; multimedia collagist People Like Us (a.k.a. Vicki Bennett) will license a number of her songs; and the Connexions Project at Rice University has published all of their online course materials with our licenses. Browse our Featured Works to find information about these and other excellent works.

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Creative Commons to Release Licenses for Public Use

Glenn Otis Brown, December 10th, 2002

On 16 December, Creative Commons machine-readable licenses will be available to the
public free of charge. Learn creative ways to distribute your works and find pointers to all sorts of licensed content you can use right away.

Join us in celebrating the release of our licenses at an early-evening reception featuring a chat and screening by DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid (NYC); a multimedia jam by People Like Us (London); and an address by Lawrence Lessig, Chairman of Creative Commons and Professor of Law, Stanford University. Plus a few surprises.

When:
Monday, December 16th; 6:30 pm –
9:00 pm

Where:
SomArts Cultural
Center
, 934 Brannan Street, San Francisco,
California

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Unisys World

Press Robot, December 10th, 2002

Creative Commons’: Protecting Intellectual Property on the Internet,” by The Butler Group.

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c|net

Press Robot, December 10th, 2002

MP3 Insider: Preserving the common good to accelerate progress,” by Eliot Van Buskirk.

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Routledge

Press Robot, December 10th, 2002

New initiatives to encourage a creative copyright common”

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Activeline

Press Robot, December 10th, 2002

Fikri mülkiyette yeni boyut: creative common,” in Turkish.

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Internet.com

Press Robot, December 10th, 2002

Stanford Breathes Life into Free Exchange,” by Gretchen Hyman.

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