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Lessig at educause 2009: Creative Commons

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...and think about what else we could be doing. So, the second thing we could be doing is thinking about how to change norms, our norms, our practices. And that, of course, was the objective of a project a bunch of us launched about 7 years ago,the Creative Commons project. Creative commons project has as its ideal identifying simple ways, giving authors simple ways to mark their content with the freedoms they intended their content to carry. So rather than the All Rights model of Britney Spears, this is a kind of Some Rights Reserved model, where you signal clearly: "The freedoms you have with my creative work, and the restrictions that I continue to insist upon." So the freedoms could be the freedom to share the work, to remix the work, or both. And the restrictions you are allowed to impose - you can say: "You can do it for non commercial purposes", or you can say: "You can only do it if you share alike", meaning you give others the freedom that you inherited, or you can post both restrictions. You add these freedoms and restrictions together and you get a bunch of licenses: there are 6 licenses, they all come in three layers. So one of the layers here is a human readable commons deed: a deed that expresses, in terms everybody should understand, the freedoms and restrictions associated with that creative work. Second and very different, is a lawyer-readable license (audience laughs) a billion-page document, written by the very best lawyers we could find, to make enforceable the freedoms associated with this content. And third, and ultimately in my view, most important: a machine-readable expression of the freedoms that are associated with this content, so that machines can begin to identify the freedoms that run with particular bits of content and make it easier for education - educators and scientists and artists to gather content on the basis of the freedoms that it carries. And so Yahoo and Google both now have built into their search engines the ability to filter content on the basis of these freedoms. When you enable this kind of a collage, you get a certain kind of creativity that is, in my view, the celebration, the very best kind of celebration, of a kind of the kind of Romantic vision that Souza was talking about. This is still my favorite example of that: this is a song written by an artist, Colin Mutchler, he called it "My Life" - guitar track he uploaded to a free site that allowed other people to download it under a Creative Commons license. 17-year old violist named Cora Beth downloaded it, added the violin track you here on top here, renamed the song: "My Life Changed", and then re-uploaded it for other people to do with it as they want, there has been a whole bunch of remixes of these. Some of them are great, some are a little bit embarassing, like the Japanese one, "My Life Changed", absolutely rich, you know, showing off (?). But the critical point to recognize is that these creators could create, consistent with copyright law, without any lawyer standing between them. And that's the objective here: to enable people to respect the underlying rights which copyright enables them and grants them, without requiring the high costs of intervention that lawyers always will impose on the respect of those rights. So we launched this in 2002, and since that time, there has been an explosion of licenses, creative objects out there in the world marked with these license. An extraordinary range, over 100 million images now at Flickr, Radiohead released a song, #1 song on Amazon that was licensed under a Creative Commons license, Girl Talk is a big supporter here, and Nine Inch Nails released an album under a Creative Commons license: within the first week, they made 1.6 million dollars on free music that was available for people to dowload for free. Because they had recognized the importance of bringing the audience upstage, and they were rewarded for that. Al Jazeera, amazingly, makes all of their video now, of the Middle-East, available under a Creative Commons license, so anybody can incorporate it into news shows and commentary around the world. The White House has put the White House content under a Creative Commons license. And of course, last year, Wikipedia re-licensed the whole of Wikipedia under a Creative Commons license, to build this infrastructure of interoperable free culture that speaks to a different business model of creativity.

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 48 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Lawrence Lessig
Director: Lawrence Lessig
Views: 208
Posted by: calmansi on Dec 20, 2009

Excerpt from Lawrence Lessig's "It Is About Time: Getting Our Values Around Copyright Right" talk at Educause 2009, in which he presents the Creative Commons project and explains the CC licenses.
For full video recordings of his talk, see by Michael Paskevicius (mpaskevicius on YouTube). This excerpt begins at 0:34:26 of the video of the complete talk.
This excerpt - as the whole of Lawrence Lessig's talk at Educause 2009 - is under a license.

NB There is also an audio podcast of the talk:

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