Copyright and Creative Commons licensing

January 17, 2006 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Copyright, Creative Commons | Leave a comment

In The Ideas Interview (Guardian, 16 January 2006) John Sutherland interviews Lawrence Lessig about copyright, Creative Commons, and the public domain. More than 45 million Creative Commons licences have now been adopted worldwide.

“Creative Commons content is not technically in the public domain because it’s all copyrighted content that’s licenced. But it is effectively, at least for some uses, in the public domain. A creator, or a teacher, or a student who wants access to content doesn’t have to worry about being a law violator just because they want to access, or use, or distribute remixed content. And the critical thing is that we do this by getting agreement from the creators. We’re not taking anything from anyone.”

“The public domain has been so important historically in fuelling the spread of culture and keeping competition up and prices down. But copyright terms have recently been extended so repeatedly – Europe is now adopting a life plus 70 [years] term – and the US has extended the terms of existing copyrights 11 times in 40 years. So there’s this ever-increasing pressure to expand the term of copyright. That’s great for the 1% of creative work that continues to have any commercial life more than 10 years after its initial publication. But for the other 99%, all the copyright system does is lock it down and make it inaccessible.”

See also creativecommons.org/

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