December 17, 2006  ·  Lessig

plaque.jpg

My retirement plaque, presented by Jimmy Wales. (click to enlarge)

Last week, culminating Friday night, in parties around the world, Creative Commons celebrated its fourth birthday. Hundreds of people helped mark this event. My 3 year old son, Willem, and I cut the first cake at the party in Portugal.

Five hours later, in the Creative Commons party in the virtual world of Second Life, I made (for me an announcement. As I removed the CC torch from my bag of objects, I told those in world, and in San Francisco, that Joi Ito, a venture capitalist from Japan and a key driver in the “sharing economy,” would be replacing me as Chairman of Creative Commons. I will remain on the board, and as CEO. But from the moment I handed him the torch, he is CC’s new Chairman.

This is a very happy moment for CC. I’m not going anywhere — CC will continue to get everything I can give. But we are movement, not a cult. And it is important that movements have leaders. I have had enormous respect for Joi since first meeting him in Japan in early 2000. It was a real coup when I was able to convince him to join our Board. Joi’s whole ethic has been to build the sharing economy. That ethic of building is precisely where CC is going right now.

This has been the best job I will have had. I can’t describe how extraordinary it has been to watch this organization grow, nor how rewarding it has been to see the passion and energy it has inspired. We have tried to show the world something about how creativity works — not through obsessive control, but by creators inviting others to create and share as well. More and more, this is a message the world seems to get.

But for now, let me leverage a bit the opportunity that the ambiguity of new leadership creates. After the thermometer is updated to reflect a very generous anonymous gift we just received, we will have just $100,000 left in our campaign. That’s a lot to raise in two weeks, but I think we can do it. Indeed, you can look at this change in leadership in two ways, each of which gives some of you a reason for one last push:

  • Some of you have been loyal supporters of me from the very beginning. I can’t begin to express how grateful I’ve been for this support, or for the generous thanks you’ve offered. To you, please show that support one more time, by supporting CC in this final two weeks of our drive.
  • Some of you have been loyal critics, with a different vision of copyright, or CC, and with a strong hope that the organization move beyond the particular vision I’ve offered. Now you have your chance: please celebrate the change, by supporting CC in this final two weeks of our drive.
  • Either way, what both I and CC need most just now is your support. A simple click is all we need to get that going.

    Finally, thanks to all of you, and the Board of CC in particular, for allowing me this extraordinary opportunity. And join me in helping, and supporting, Joi Ito in his new role.

    • http://ponderance.blogspot.com Tama Leaver

      Larry,

      As someone who has blogged, Flickred and taught several units at my university under a CC license during your chairmanship, can I just say what a fantastic job you’ve done (and will no doubt continue to do in a slightly different role)!

      Can I also congratulate you on snagging Joi Ito as your successor who will no doubt add his own vision and energy to this fantastic organisation!

      My deepest respects,
      Tama Leaver

    • http://lucychili.net/sfd Janet Hawtin

      It feels sad and a big change, but I can see why youre doing it.
      We live in interesting times.
      Thanks also for blogging it has helped to have a window into the cogs of it all. It isnt easy to initiate and carry through an idea which has this kind of impact. I think the foss and free culture folks are amazing for their ideas and also for their persistence.
      Bravo
      Janet

    • http://kevindriscoll.info/ Kevin

      Congratulations! The new configuration sounds like a positive move for everyone involved. Good luck in 2007!

    • http://www.negativesoundinstitute.com gurdonark

      You and the other folks at creativecommons.org have done important things, and will do more important things still. Your collective steps to regularize and define ways to share culture have great value.

      This step to ensure continuity and leadership for the organization is another step forward.

      You’ve done a great job with this, and it’s good to see your efforts continue as the organization evolves.

      Best, Robert, who records as gurdonark

    • http://s.e.x.infogami.com Jeny

      Congratulations and good luck!