[cc-br] Fw: [cc-info] CC in Review: Lawrence Lessig on Supporting the Commons

Omar Kaminski kaminski at fgv.br
Thu Oct 6 14:59:48 EDT 2005

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Lawrence Lessig" <lessig at pobox.com>
To: <cc-info at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2005 1:12 PM
Subject: [cc-info] CC in Review: Lawrence Lessig on Supporting the Commons

> So today, Creative Commons launches its first fund raising campaign.  
> Until now, we've lived on very generous grants from some very wise  
> foundations. But the IRS doesn't allow nonprofits to live such  
> favored lives for long. To maintain our nonprofit status, the IRS  
> says we must meet a "public support test" -- which means we must  
> demonstrate that our support comes from more than a few foundations.  
> And thus, this campaign.
> This email is a pitch, asking for your support. But it is also the  
> first in a series of emails I will write explaining what Creative  
> Commons is, and where we're going with it. This is something I should  
> have done long ago. There have been many thoughtful (even if some not  
> so thoughtful) questions raised about who we are, and where we're  
> going. I've wanted an excuse to answer them thoughtfully before. The  
> IRS has given me that excuse.
> You're on this list because you've signed up to receive information  
> about Creative Commons or been a friend to CC in the past. If these  
> weekly emails from me (from now until Christmas, around 500 words in  
> length, except for this one which is a bit long) will be a bother,  
> please unsubscribe at
> http://creativecommons.org/about/newsletter#unsubscribe.
> Alternatively, if you know others who might find these interesting,  
> please recommend they sign up at
> http://creativecommons.org/about/newsletter.
> This first email won't have much news to current friends of Creative  
> Commons. You probably know all this. My aim in this initial missive  
> is to explain what Creative Commons is, and why we launched it. There  
> will be some bragging about what we've accomplished so far. Don't  
> worry, these emails are from me, and not a press department. There  
> will be plenty of self-criticism later on. For the moment, let's  
> focus on the positive idea that got CC going.
> CC: The Story
> Creative Commons was conceived in a conversation I had with Eric  
> Eldred. I was representing Eric in his case challenging the United  
> States Congress' Copyright Term Extension Act. Eric was enthusiastic  
> about the case, but not optimistic about the results. Early on, he  
> asked me whether there was a way that we could translate the energy  
> that was building around his case into something positive. Not an  
> attack on copyright, but a way of using copyright to support, in  
> effect, the public domain.
> I readily agreed, not so much because I had a plan, but because,  
> naive lawyer that I was, I thought we'd win the case, and Eric would  
> forget the dream. But nonetheless, long before the Supreme Court  
> decided to hear Eldred's plea, a bunch of us had put together the  
> plan to build the Creative Commons.
> We stole the basic idea from the Free Software Foundation -- give  
> away free copyright licenses. Because copyright is property, the law  
> requires that you get permission before you "use" a copyrighted work,  
> unless that use is a "fair use." The particular kind of "use" that  
> requires permission is any use within the reach of the exclusive  
> rights that copyright grants. In the physical world, these "exclusive  
> rights" leave lots unregulated by copyright. For example, in the real  
> world, if you read a book, that's not a "fair use" of the book. It is  
> an unregulated use of the book, as reading does not produce a copy  
> (except in the brain, but don't tell the lawyers).
> But in cyberspace, there's no way to "use" a work without  
> simultaneously making a "copy." In principle, and again, subject to  
> fair use, any use of a work in cyberspace could be said to require  
> permission first. And it is that feature (or bug, depending upon your  
> perspective) that was the hook we used to get Creative Commons going.
> The idea (again, stolen from the FSF) was to produce copyright  
> licenses that artists, authors, educators, and researchers could use  
> to announce to the world the freedoms that they want their creative  
> work to carry. If the default rule of copyright is "all rights  
> reserved," the express meaning of a Creative Commons license is that  
> only "some rights [are] reserved." For example, copyright law gives  
> the copyright holder the exclusive right to make "copies" of his or  
> her work. A Creative Commons license could, in effect, announce that  
> this exclusive right was given to the public.
> Which freedoms the licenses offer is determined both by us (deciding  
> which freedoms are important to secure through CC licenses) and by  
> the creator who selects from the options we make available on our  
> website. The basic components have historically been four: (1)  
> Attribution (meaning the creator requires attribution as a condition  
> of using his or her creative work), (2) NonCommercial (meaning the  
> creator allows only  noncommercial uses of his or her work), (3) No  
> Derivatives (meaning the creator asks that the work be used as is,  
> and not as the basis for something else), and (4) Share Alike  
> (meaning any derivative you make using the licensed work must also be  
> released under a Share Alike license).
> These four options -- when each is an option -- produce 11 possible  
> licenses. But when we saw that 98% of our adopters chose the  
> "attribution" requirement, we decided to drop attribution as an  
> option. That means we now offer 6 core licenses:
> (1) Attribution (use the work however you like, but give me attribution)
> (2) Attribution-ShareAlike (use the work however you like, but give  
> me attribution, and license any derivative under a Share Alike license)
> (3) Attribution-NoDerivatives (use the work as is, and give me  
> attribution)
> (4) Attribution-NonCommercial (use the work for noncommercial  
> purposes, and give me attribution)
> (5) Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (use the work for  
> noncommercial purposes, as is, and with attribution)
> (6) Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (use the work for  
> noncommercial purposes, give me attribution, and license any  
> derivative under a ShareAlike license)
> (We also offer a couple of other specialty licenses that I'll  
> describe in a later post).
> These options get added to a basic template license. That template  
> assures that the creator (1) retains his or her copyright, (2)  
> affirms that any fair use, first sale, or free expression rights are  
> not affected by the CC license, and (3) so long as the adopter  
> respects the conditions the creator has imposed, the license gives  
> anyone in the world four freedoms: (i) to copy the work, (ii) to  
> distribute the work, (iii) to display or publicly perform the work,  
> and (iv) to make a digital public performance of the work (i.e.,  
> webcasting). Finally, the license also requires the adopter to (1)  
> get permission for any uses outside of those granted, (2) keep any  
> copyright notices intact, (3) link to the license, (4) not alter the  
> license terms, and (5) not use technology (i.e., DRM) to restrict a  
> licensee's rights under the license.
> The licenses give creators a simple way to mark their creativity with  
> the freedoms they want it to carry by default. The license is an  
> invitation to others to ask for permission for uses beyond those  
> given by default. A "Noncommercial" license does not mean the creator  
> would never take money for his or her creativity. It means simply,  
> "Ask if you want to make a commercial use. No need to ask if you want  
> to make just a noncommercial use."
> We launched Creative Commons in December, 2002. Within a year, we  
> counted over 1,000,000 link-backs to our licenses. At a year and a  
> half, that number was over 1,800,000. At two, the number was just  
> about 5,000,000. At two and a half years (last June), the number was  
> just over 12,000,000. And today -- three months later -- Yahoo!  
> reports over 50,000,000 link-backs to our licenses. "Link-backs" are  
> not really a count of how many objects are licensed under Creative  
> Commons licenses - a single license could cover 100,000 songs in a  
> music database for example, or a single blog might have multiple  
> instances of the license. But the growth does measure something: The  
> uptake of Creative Commons licenses is growing fast, and indeed, far  
> faster than I ever dreamed.
> Next week: What problems did we aim to solve and what examples from  
> the past did we learn from.
> To link to or comment on this message, go to:
> http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/5661
> To support Creative Commons, go to:
> http://creativecommons.org/support
> For more on the licenses, see
> http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/fullrights
> For comics and movies: http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/how1,
> http://mirrors.creativecommons.org/
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> issues please visit http://creativecommons.org/weblog/

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