[Community_studios] [cc-lessigletter] CC in Review: Lawrence Lessig on CC Licenses
lessig at pobox.com
Wed Nov 23 14:37:41 EST 2005
[This email is part of a weekly series written by Lawrence Lessig and
others about the history and future of Creative Commons. If you would
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From last week's episode:
In the next two weeks, I'll describe two other new initiatives that
will define our work over the next year. And then this path of
missives will turn to consider some criticisms of what we've done and
where we're going. Stay tuned, but fear not: I promise to be finished
The story continues:
From the start, we've had a simple slogan: "Some Rights Reserved." A
Creative Commons license gives permission to exercise some rights,
but also allows the author or creator to keep some rights to him- or
herself. Thus the meaning of a BY-NC (Attribution-NonCommercial)
license is not that the author would never grant commercial rights.
Instead it simply means that the commercial rights are not granted or
"pre-cleared" by the Creative Commons license. To get the commercial
rights, you need to ask the author first.
Many people have never understood this about us. They've confused
"commons" with "communist." They've suggested we believe that artists
don't need to eat. But nothing in our mission is against artists
profiting from their work. Indeed, our message from the start has
been that for at least some creative work, and some artists, the
exposure that a Creative Commons license offers could help the artist
profit from his or her work.
Today we announce a project to make that message clearer. Over the
next six months, we will be developing a new feature with some
Creative Commons licenses to enable creators to add links to permit
users to commercially exploit their works.
We call this project "cc.com," and while the details are still being
hammered out, here's the basic idea: Let's imagine you're a musician
who is happy to have your music shared noncommercially. But, like
most, if someone is going to make a profit from your work, you want a
piece of that pie. So while you'll allow members of the public to use
your work noncommercially under a Creative Commons license, you
reserve the commercial rights. But you'd also be very happy to offer
the commercial rights to others on certain terms.
Here's how cc.com might work. You come to the Creative Commons site
and select your Creative Commons license. If you select a license
with a NonCommercial license element, then we'll give you the choice
of partners who might be able to offer your work commercially.
(Alternatively, you could simply specify a link back to yourself for
any commercial licensing.)
If you select a partner, the system would pass you through a partner
site to enable you to specify the commercial terms associated with
your content. That information would be added back to the Creative
Commons license as a link to the partner site. Your Commons Deed
could then look something like this:
So that when someone comes to your Commons Deed, they would be
informed of the rights you have licensed to the public for free use
and enjoyment. But then they'd also be given a link to a site where
they can buy something more than what is given for free. That
something more could be more rights. It could be CDs. Or it could be
anything that you and our partners decided would be useful to offer
through the Commons Deed link.
Creative Commons would not be running these commercial sites. Except
for selecting trusted partners, we would have nothing to do with any
commercial transaction. Our aim would simply be to enable another
link between the artist and a fan, so that the artist could more
directly profit from his or her creativity.
We're already tinkering with the technology to make this work. We're
beginning to talk to potential partners. There's lots left to be
done. But I'm confident that within the next 6 months, we'll be
launching this important new Creative Commons initiative, with the
support, I'm confident, of many important creators.
Next week I'll describe a second initiative that we'll be launching
over the next year. And while this second initiative will be
important for Creative Commons, it will be critical to the ecology of
creativity generally. Stay tuned.
One final fundraising plug: It took a lot of work, but I convinced my
staff to re-release the original Creative Commons t-shirt, with a
slight, but important, modification. Check it out here:
And buy millions for your friends here:
To link to or comment on this message, go to:
Week 7 - Lawrence Lessig on iCommons
Week 7 - Lawrence Lessig on iCommons - Spanish Version
Thanks to Maria Cristinia Alvite for translation.
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