Monthly Archives: December 2007

final hours: thank you again for the support

As we enter the final hours of the Support Creative Commons campaign (and here in California, we still have 9 hours left, so feel free to join in), we’ve exceeded our goal by almost 20%. I’m grateful to all for the support, especially the support coming just now. This has been a fantastic year. Continue reading

Posted in creative commons | 8 Comments

Commons Misunderstandings: ASCAP on Creative Commons

ASCAP’s essay, “Common Understanding: 10 Things Every Music Creator Should Know About Creative Commons Licensing” nicely highlights some important considerations that any musician should review before using a CC license. Unfortunately, however, it also continues some common misunderstandings about Creative Commons. I’ve reprinted, and responded, to these in the extended entry below. But before the details, there is one important fact of agreement to keep in view, and one important disagreement:
We certainly agree with ASCAP that “music creators should fully understand the terms to which they are agreeing and the implications down the line.” That applies to CC licenses as much as to a recording contract. And we’re as keen as anyone to make sure that understanding is there.
But it is not the case that CC asserts that “artists should give up all or some of their rights” — if by that ASCAP means either that we believe giving up “all or some of their rights” always benefits an author or artists, or that, benefit notwithstanding, an artist should sacrifice his or her rights for the common good. Neither is correct. We know that sometimes, freer access helps. We provide tools to make it easier for artists to enable freer access. We also believe that when making creative work freely available doesn’t hurt, and sometimes helps, the culture is benefited by choosing freedom rather than licensing lawyers. And finally, we believe that some forms of creative work — e.g., the work of scientists, or governments — should be freely available. But that normative claim is far from the work we do with the authors or artists that ASCAP deals with. Our business with respect to them is not to exhort them to charity. Artists and authors have it bad enough without a bunch of nerdy lawyer-types trying to pile on more guilt.
Now to the end of correcting some misunderstandings, the corrections of what ASCAP has said: Continue reading

Posted in creative commons | 39 Comments

Sunlight: Help on a distributed research project

The Sunlight Foundation has launched a distributed research project. The aim is to learn what happened to former members of Congress and staffers after the 1 year “cooling off” period has come to the end (and thus, they can go work for lobbyists). Using a very cool interface, you can help track down former staffers, and add the results to the research database. Begin here. Continue reading

Posted in Corruption | 13 Comments

from ccKorea


wow indeed. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Wired Science — final episodes of the season

So as an iTunes subscriber to Wired Science, I’m a bit biased here. But you can get Wired Science for free tonight and next week — last two episodes of this season — on broadcast TV (PBS).

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On what exactly happened Saturday night


Flickr: fumi: Creative Commons License

So as you know, this weekend CC celebrated its fifth birthday. In parties in Beijing, Berlin, Manila, Seoul, Belgrade, Brisbane, New York, Bangalore, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, thousands of CC supporters got together to remember the last five years, and get a peek of the next five. (Flickr stream).
I was in San Francisco at an extraordinary event at which Gilberto Gil and his son, Bem, and DJ Spooky performed. During my talk, I made a bunch of announcements. The key points were these:

  1. Current TV will start integrating CC licenses into their citizen created content system.
  2. CC0: On January 15, we will release a beta protocol to support a new tool, “CC0.” CC0 will enable two things: (1) a simple, machine readable way to mark work with either a waiver of rights, or an assertion that no rights attach to a particular work, and (2) a simple way to sign that waiver/assertion. The protocol is intended to support use cases where the desire is that no rights attach to some work. E.g., databases in Europe (where the database rights muck up research), or material in the open education movement. Simultaneously with the announcement, Science Commons released its “Open Access Data Protocol,” which implements CC0 to support freeing data.
  3. Legal Commons (beta): Taking inspiration from the liberator and manumitter of government documents and legal cases, Carl Malamud, Creative Commons will enter into a joint venture with to collect and make available machine readable copies of government documents and law. Carl and I have committed to freeing all federal case law by the end of 2008. Importantly, this effort will not set up competing systems to the emerging ecology of great free law services (Cornell’s LII, or Columbia’s We instead will help gather and make available the resources those services use to provide their amazing service. So look for a tarball of all federal cases by the end of 2008, in parsable and usable plain text.
  4. CC+: This protocol enables a simple click through ability to get rights or permissions beyond those provided by a CC license. So, e.g., a Flickr photo licensed under a BY-NC license could have a simple click through to some agent to provide commercial rights for that photo. We announced with a bunch of partners already. But really key was:
  5. Yahoo announced it was baking CC+ “into the system” of Yahoo, making it possible for any Yahoo service to offer content using the CC+ infrastructure.
  6. The Annual Campaign, this year with a $500,000 target, has exceeded its target by almost $40,000. This includes $50,000 contributions from Sun and Microsoft, and a $20,000 contribution from Tim O’Reilly.
  7. [5×5] Challenge: After Hewlett issued a challenge to find 5 funders to promise 5 years of support at $500,000 a year, we announced pledges to match the commitment: The Hewlett Foundation, Omidyar Network, an (so far) anonymous European trust, Google/Mozilla/Red Hat (3-1-1), and amazingly, our board which promised to personally commit to either raise or contribute $500k/year. This means we’ve got core funding for 5 more years, and the first time I could breathe easily in more than 5 years.
    Stay tuned for more on each. But suffice: it was an amazing night. Continue reading

Posted in creative commons | 10 Comments

Doublemint days

We’re in the final four days of CC’s push to complete the CC fundraising campaign by Saturday. Last week we learned that Sun had doubled its contribution from last year. On Friday, our local hero, Tim O’Reilly, doubled his contribution from last year. And today we learned that Microsoft has also doubled its contribution from last year.
Doublemint yours today. Or singlemint if you’ve not given before. And if we can push a few more into the bucket, then we call can go back to work! Continue reading

Posted in creative commons | 1 Comment


The Stanford Center for Internet and Society is now in the early planning stages for a conference to be held April 18/19 about the idea of a CTO for the United States government. Obama of course suggested the idea in his tech program. But this conference has nothing to do with the Obama campaign.
My current thinking is to pick four policy areas, and get experts to reflect upon how a CTO might impact or advance policy interests within each area. The four I now plan are (1) privacy, (2) security, (3) transparency, and (4) efficiency. Then at the end of the day, experts in administrative law will reflect upon how best to architect the office of the CTO to achieve these objectives.
No doubt there will be lots of fun speculation about who the US CTO should be. My own view is that the person should be someone at least with experience as a CTO at a major organization. (I.e., s/he needs to be a credible techie.) S/he should also have a rich sense of policy.
I’ve set up a page on my wiki to invite suggestions for the planning of the conference. And if you’d like to be informed when final plans are made, send a note to [email protected] Continue reading

Posted in good code | 10 Comments

The Economist on corruption


The Economist has a piece about my shift to work on corruption. Fortunately, it was finished before my (arguably) corrupt offer to send a (CC-licensed) DVD to anyone who contributes $100 to Creative Commons. If you’d like to participate in that scandal, send an email after the contribution to [email protected].
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Posted in Corruption | 8 Comments

9 days till we're 5


By Tama Lever at Flickr,

Creative Commons License

Tama’s is the latest winning Flickr photo in the CC Flickr contest. It nicely captures my obsessive focus these next 9 days.
We turn 5 on the 15th. We’ve got a long way to got to meet our target for the year. Ordinarily we’d have till the end of the year. But this year, I want to meet the target by December 15. We’ve all been working insanely hard to pull this (and a list of amazing announcements) together. I want to be able to let the staff go back to life on December 16. And I want to have sometime to explain to my 4 year old just how reindeer fly.
So please, if you haven’t, support us now. If you have, support us again. If you’ve got any really good dirt on someone, blackmail them now. And, as a special (if corrupt) bonus: If you donate $100 or more, I’ll send a free DVD of my first corruption lecture. Just send an email to [email protected] after you make your donation with an address, and off it will go.
Continue reading

Posted in creative commons | 7 Comments