• Anonymous

    Do you take Amazon gift certificates? Damned if I ain’t got $100 of those I don’t know what to do with.

  • Mark

    (repost – Tim – 12-22-05)
    Mr. Lessig,

    I understand and support the concept of Creative Commons, the license. But I’m not sure I understand what Creative Commons, the organization, does. The licenses are written, right? Why does it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to make them available to the public?

    I don’t mean to be a troll, but I think CC is seriously falling down on its sales pitch here. I know that if I give money to EFF, I’ll help hire more smart lawyers and activists to agitate and litigate for users’ rights online. I know that if I donate to Public Knowledge, I’ll get more lobbyists and activists to agitate and lobby for sensible copyright reforms. However, I have no idea what I’ll get if I give money to CC. More pretty graphics and a splashier media campaign? More types of CC licenses? A cushier office for CC’s existing staff?

    There are lots of worthy organizations competing for my dollar, and the dollar of every other netizen. A good cause isn’t enough to earn my support—it has to be an organization with an effective, understandable plan for promoting that cause. I’m sure CC has such a plan, but they haven’t done a very good job of communicating it to me, and I bet a lot of other people are in the same boat.

  • Mark

    regarding my repost above of Tim’s post from 12-22-05:

    After reading “The Lessig Letters” I am still dumbfounded.
    What do you need the moeny for? Paying the “volunteers from over 70 countries around the world interested in porting our licenses to their local law????”

    Here you go Mr. Lessig – charge $0.05 per license user.
    It is fair price, a nickle for a real legal use license that would cost between $500 to $1000 if the user went to an attorney. At the 50,000,000 link-backs CC brags about – CC would have close to $3,000,000 in spending cash – 30X more than the paltry $100,000 you are begging for.

    As I would tell the drunk at my door “son, get a job.”

    NB – Assuming that 5 US cents is too expensive for some of your 3rd world country users, CC could create a scale, say, charging U$S 0.08 for US users and U$S 0.02 for those in Cuba.

  • nate

    Mark —

    First, as you probably realize, there is no good infrastructure for micropayments. How do you propose to collect these fees?

    Second, it is not the creator who gains from having work under a CC license, but the public. A comparison between the cost of an attorney drafting up a license and a small payment is invalid, because the current default is no license at no cost. The goal is to make it easier for a creator to keep only partial rights, for the benefit of others. Charging the benevolent licensor (in money and hassle) for their generosity is counterproductive.

    I think your overall question is good, though: “What is the money for?” One of the letters offers some details about future projects (http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/5734), but not any explanation of what the money will be used for. And is the goal an arbitrary number? The only logic offered for the amount seems to be “We are down to the last $100,000″.

    Does this somehow explain why you need another $100,000? If $100,000 is a critically small amount, why is that also the amount you need to raise? If it is a large amount, where is the crisis? How much did you start with? What was it spent on? How long will this money last? And the references to the need for “public support” would seem to imply the real need cannot actually be mentioned. It all feels too shady, mysterious, and manipulative for me to want to be part of.

    –nate

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    As mentioned, some of this seems to have to do with IRS regulations about “public charities” (i.e. “501(c)(3)” organizations)

    http://www.ezec.gov/Toolbox/501c3factsheet.html

    “There are 8 types of tax-exempt 501(c)3 organizations: charitable; religious; educational; scientific; literary organizations; those that test for public safety; support national and international sports competitions; and those that work to prevent cruelty to children or animals. Many community and economic development organizations have chosen to classify themselves as educational organizations. However, be aware that 501(c)3 public charities are supposed to receive at least one third of their support from the general public. Some organizations find themselves relying heavily on donations from founders or board members, or going back year after year to the same foundations or corporations for income, which may not count as “public” support. “

  • http://wrecking.org/cbd/ cbd

    Anonymous, there’s a link to the Amazon Honor System for CC on their support page.

    Mark, I think the Lessig letters provide more a bit more detail about the future of CC than you allow here. But I agree that a link to financial data or audits would be nice.

  • http://wrecking.org/cbd/ cbd

    I emailed the CC audit staff last night, and got this response:

    CC’s most recent audited financial statements are posted at http://ibiblio.org/cccr/docs/audit.pdf. The Statement of Activities shows that just over 82% of our funds ($1,105,583) went to programs and nearly 18% ($234,662) was spent on administrative and fundraising expenses. The Statement of Functional Expenses gives you a general breakdown of how this money was spent.

  • http://wolli.blogspot.com/ wolli

    Lawrence,

    Paypal only offers limited accounts in the country I live in. Can I support you via Moneybookers?

  • http://Erica_Davies@health.qld.gov.au Erica_Davies@health.qld.gov.au

    We can do it
    – Erica
    Erica_Davies@health.qld.gov.au

  • Anonymous

    cbd: Thanks, but the Honor System only honors credit cards. The only way to get rid of my gift certificate is to give it to someone else (now impossible because I deposited it), or spend it on Lawrence’s book 10 times over :)

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