December 17, 2007  ·  Lessig


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. [5x5] 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.

  • Micah

    For what it’s worth, is actually the combined effort of Colorado Law and Columbia Law.

  • JD Lasica

    Congrats on an amazing accomplishment. The board members of Creative Commons are to be particularly congratulated for stepping up to the plate in a big way.

  • Harold Asmis

    I read your profile on the Economist, and have written about it on my blog. Best of luck in your fight on corruption.

  • David

    Happy 5th birthday, CC. Sounds like a blast. Too bad Chicago was left out in the cold (literally).

  • Seth Finkelstein

    Congratulations – five years is a lot of hard work.

  • Jonathan Pfeiffer

    Congratulations — especially on the 5×5 news!

  • Eric Hamilton

    As a photographer, I’m VERY EXCITED about the possibility of CC+ on Flickr! I hope it happens soon!

    I know a lot of photographers who don’t like or believe in CC, but I’m a huge supporter. Keep it up!

  • steve Garfield

    Great to see CC+!

  • Steve Glista

    Do you need summer interns for the Legal Commons project? I’m a 2L with a tech background at Oregon Law, and I’d love to work on any project that can expand the commons or the utility of the public domain…

  • Tim Wu

    Legal commons, great news! Tim