November 4, 2005  ·  Lessig


At an event for potential donors to Creative Commons last night, a representative from Google announced that Google’s “advanced search” would now allow results to be filtered by Creative Commons licenses.

This is of course very exciting news. It confirms a decision Yahoo! made months ago when it revealed a (much more explicitly Creative Commons) search portal. Ever since I had the chance to meet with the top Yahoo! executives over a year ago, I’ve known that Yahoo!’s future depends upon building creator-approved freedoms. Their joining with Flickr! is just part of this overall, creator-driven strategy. That meeting convinced me that Yahoo! understood more than most the growth and innovation that can be built through these creativity communities. And that’s of course what Creative Commons believes as well.

Google’s move here is therefore reassuring. I’m hopeful it signals a much broader recognition. I’ve been a staunch defender of Google’s fair use of creative content. That’s the subject of this month’s column in Wired. But as well as fair use rights, which we all should defend, there will be important growth enabled by making it easier for creators and authors to exercise their freedom to enable others to build up or share their work. This is the thing Yahoo! seems to get, imho. That the rest of the world gets it is my strongest hope.