[Cc-uk] Creative Commonists & Microsoft
dhirst at pavilion.co.uk
Sat Jan 8 17:16:30 EST 2005
It looks as if this is a weak spot in his Billship's thinking.
We're Creative Commonists, Bill
By Katie Dean
Story location: http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,66209,00.html
02:00 AM Jan. 08, 2005 PT
When Bill Gates referred to copyright reformers as modern-day communists in
an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show, it didn't take long for the
web community to respond with a big "nyah-nyah-nyah."
Bloggers and designers were quick to dream up "creative communist" symbols,
a play on one of the best-known groups working
The images were instantly passed around and added to websites, T-shirts and
The kerfuffle started when Gates was asked in a News.com interview
l?tag=nefd.ac> if intellectual property laws should be reformed. He
"No, I'd say that of the world's economies, there's more that believe in
intellectual property today than ever. There are fewer communists in the
world today than there were. There are some new modern-day sort of
communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and
moviemakers and software makers under various guises. They don't think that
those incentives should exist," he told News.com.
The comments show just how out-of-touch Gates is with a large and growing
community of people who have embraced the ideas of open source and building
on one another's creative works, proponents of copyright reform say.
Creative Commons was formed to provide a more balanced alternative to those
who want to protect their works, but share them under certain conditions.
The group devised a series of flexible copyright licenses available for
anyone, for free.
When people snap photos, write music or create animations, for instance,
they can choose a license that permits others to use or sample the content
as long as they credit the author and use the material for noncommercial
Glenn Otis Brown, executive director of Creative Commons, wondered whom
Gates was referring to when he made the remarks. Certainly not Creative
Commons, which is a "voluntary, market-based approach to copyright," Brown
wrote in an e-mail.
"I get sad when people cheapen words like 'communist' or 'fascist' by
throwing them around recklessly, especially given what those words meant in
the not-so-distant past," Brown wrote. "My father was a CIA Cold Warrior for
35 years of his life; he wasn't fighting against GPL'd software. Stalinist
purges, the Berlin Wall, tanks in Budapest -- that's communism.
"And let's not forget just how many creative people's lives were ruined by
irresponsible name-calling not too long ago. Remember the Hollywood
blacklists?" he wrote.
Lawrence Lessig, Stanford University <http://www.stanford.edu> law
professor and chairman of the board of Creative Commons, mocked Gates'
comments at the organization's second anniversary party Thursday night in
San Francisco. He said Gates was mistaken: Copyright reform advocates are
"commonists," not "communists."
Ken Mickles, owner of Giant Robot <http://www.giantrobotprinting.com/>
Printing, decided to print T-shirts with the red Creative Commies logo.
After Boing Boing <http://www.boingboing.net> posted the link, Mickles
received about 250 orders in less than a day, he said. The T-shirts sell for
$5 or $6 depending on size.
Graphic designer Ryan Schroeder also arranged to print similar shirts
through CafePress.com <http://www.cafepress.com/creativecommies> .
"I can't say I was terribly surprised by (Gates') comments. That's the kind
of thing you would expect," Mickles said. "I don't really take offense to
being called a communist."
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