Issue #14 December 2005

Creative Commons runs annual fund-raising drive

Red Hat and Creative Commons have been together since the beginning. In 2001, Red Hat provided the nonprofit Center for the Public Domain with much of its original endowment, and the Center for the Public Domain in turn provided Creative Commons with much of their seed money.

In the three years since their inception, Creative Commons has grown into a movement. Their goal -- to build a layer of reasonable, flexible copyright in the face of increasingly restrictive default rules -- has resonated strongly with content creators. According to Google, 40 million web pages now carry some form of CC license, and these licenses are now effective in 26 jurisdictions worldwide, with 50 more in the works.

The work of Creative Commons is also crucial to the continuing evolution of remix culture. It's often been said that good artists borrow and great artists steal, but in recent years, large corporate copyright holders have taken to applying that old adage literally. Right now, artists who remix the copyrighted works of other artists in creative ways are subject to prosecution, even if their work is transformative, innovative, and previously considered to be protected under fair use standards. CC licenses allow artists to choose how their work can be reused. They are a necessary first step towards a digital commons of work that can be safely sampled and remixed by artists -- without the intervention of lawyers.

ccMixter, sponsored by Creative Commons, is a great resource for remixes produced under the CC licenses. ccMixter regularly sponsors contests that award the most creative remixes of CC licensed content; ther current contest is for the best remix containing samples of the upcoming Copyright Criminals documentary.

These successes drive the growth of Creative Commons. According to development director Anne Marino, Creative Commons has a 9 member board of directors and a staff of 15 who work on education, science, the arts and culture, an international presence and outreach, software, licenses, fundraising and fiscal and office management. Creative Commons will work in the coming year to strengthen ties with commercial entities, and to help build business interest around CC-licensed content. They will also continue to work closely with the free and open source software community on tools to enable the production of more CC-licensed content, and on better software for deliver CC-licensed media.

Continued growth requires continued fundraising efforts -- so this fall marks their first Fall Fundraising Campaign. Red Hat has already successfully completed a challenge match, helping to raise $10,000 for Creative Commons -- but time is short, and Creative Commons is still more than $100,000 short of their fundraising goal.

Please help Creative Commons in their important mission. Donate now.