Monday, October 04, 2004

Lawrence Lessig, of Stanford University Law, launched the UK version of Creative Commons today at UCL. He spoke about the problems of the existing copyright system and the future of creativity and technology.

Creative Commons is a new way for authors, artists, musicians, film makers, programmers and others to make their creative works available to the world. Rather than the usual"(c) All Rights Reserved" approach that limits the use that can be made of works, Creative Commons provides a"(cc) Some Rights Reserved" license. Creative individuals can use the Creative Commons website to automatically generate licenses that fit their exact needs.

Lessig talked about cultural remix which he described as the freedom of creative expression to remix culture without seeking permission. He argued that digital technology has changed the way creative content is created, developed and distributed and so should our understanding of copyright. He does believes in copyright to protect creative content BUT not where it is ambiguous and unnecessarily applied to content without the creators intent. He is for collaborations across the internet, creative co-creation and building on other people's work but he is against lawyers as unnecessary intermediaries.

The licenses are available from November 1. They are made up of three layers; human speak, lawyer speak and machine speak. The first so you as a creative person can understand how it works, the second so the court will support and respect your claim should it resort to that and the third sets up an infrastructure for a searchable database in the future. The UK is the 10th country to take on the Creative Commons model. There are apparently 60 others currently negotiating their own. There are various spin-offs from the original version. Wired magazine will feature a CD of music released under Creative Commons sampling license. There is also a Science project looking to push open access publishing and the BBC Creative Archive is currently building on the CC model. Upon questioning Lessig admitted they started with a culture model before an academic one but hoped through experimentation it would develop. It has me thinking about the changes it suggests - How it might affect the way I blog or read or reference other blogs? How different the UK version will be to others? and more, but later as this post is long enough...