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Re: Question re: Lessig and the Creative Commons project

On 9/26/02 4:51 PM, Rick Anderson wrote:
> "The Creative Commons, formed by a coalition of academics, is currently
> developing tools to make some or all creators' works available to the
> public for free. The non-profit organization says it aims to 'lower the
> legal barriers to creativity' by allowing creators to immediately share
> aspects of their copyrighted works with the public."
> I'm sure I'm missing something fundamental here, but it's not clear to me
> what problem this project is supposed to solve.  We already have an
> excellent "tool to make... creators' works available to the public for
> free" -- the Internet.  Assuming that the creator holds the copyright,
> there are no legal barriers whatsoever between the creator and the public.
> If I want to write a novel and distribute it freely to the world, I'm at
> complete liberty to do so (as long as I haven't sold the copyright to
> someone else).

The tool on which they are working is one for expressing copyright terms
in machine readable format, which will make it easier for people to
circulate and confidently use other people's copyrighted materials. The CC
project is an outgrowth of things like OpenContent, whose primary goals
are to do for non-software resources (articles, images, music) what Open
Source did for software. From the CC website:


You're probably familiar with the phrase, "All rights reserved," and the
little (c) that goes along with it. Creative Commons wants to help
copyright holders send a different message: "Some rights reserved."

For example, if you don't mind people copying and distributing your online
image so long as they give you credit, we'll have a license that helps you
say so. If you want people to copy your band's MP3 but don't want them to
profit off it without your permission, use one of our licenses to express
that preference. Our licensing tools will even help you mix and match such
preferences from a menu of options:


When you've made your choices, you'll get the appropriate license
expressed in three ways:

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

2. Legal Code. The fine print that you need to be sure the license will
stand up in court.

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

If you prefer to dedicate your work to the public domain, where nothing is
owned and all is permitted, we'll help you do that, too. In other words,
we'll help you declare, "No rights reserved."

 > What am I missing or misunderstanding?  Does the Creative Commons have a
> website somewhere that might offer additional info?

Try http://creativecommons.org/

"I'm much more interested in being right today
than I am in maintaining that I was right yesterday."