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«Principal Editor Professor Brian Fitzgerald Head of School of Law, Queensland University of Technology, Australia With the assistance of Jessica ...»

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copyright owners could lose protections and US [that is the important word] copyright income “could be at risk” he says.

The International Association worried about US copyright income, but of course they are not going to worry about US copyright income. They are worried about US lawyers’ income. You might think is this the empire striking back? No, do not worry – it is the imps-for-hire striking back. That is the fear– that we are going to threaten lawyers in some sense. But it is not just them. Bill Gates, gave an interview, where he was asked about this

intellectual property war. This is what he said:

There is some new modern-day sort of communists, who want to get rid of the incentives for musicians and movie makers and software makers under various guises, they don’t think that incentives should exist.

Communists: is that who we are? I mean remember communism, whatever Marx said, was the world where all property was owned by the State. We are not for that. You might remember corporate fascism was the world where all property was owned by monopoly corporations. You might think we live in a world very much like that, but we are not for state ownership or monopoly capitalist ownership; we are for what this has always been about: authors expressing freedom associated with their content. We might be called ‘commonists’ perhaps. I like to use the word ‘commoners’; that is who we are. The commoners’ movement here is Creative Commons. Are we a serious threat? Let us be a serious threat to lawyers in common. Not a big problem in the world. Are we a virus? Let us be a virus that enables artists to spread culture, to understand culture, to free culture; let that be what this virus does. Are we out to change law? No, that is not our purpose.

That is the whole insight. We do not have to change one law to enable people, to enable this project to succeed, because we are using existing law.

It might be that this project, if it succeeds, does change the law. But the critical point to remember and emphasise over and over again, especially in the world where the earth is thought to be flat, is if we change the law, it is not to kill IP. We are not against IP. It is instead to bring IP into the 21st century, to make writing legal in the 21st century. Technologists have given us a way to write. The lawyers have told us that way is illegal today. We owe it to our children to give them the freedom to write that we knew, and that our forefathers spent hundreds of years creating.

Creative Commons Worldwide The iCommons Project


A critical part of the Creative Commons strategy has been the ‘porting’ of the Creative Commons licences to national jurisdictions.

In this presentation leaders of the Australian iCommons movement (QUT’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Tom Cochrane and Ian Oi) along with the Assistant Director of Creative Commons, San Francisco (Neeru Paharia) talk about their experiences internationalising the Creative Commons..

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My name is Tom Cochrane, Deputy Vice Chancellor here at QUT and on behalf of QUT I would like to add a note of welcome to this relatively temperate January day in Brisbane.

Brian Fitzgerald, whom I am sure, just about everyone here knows, first approached me over a year ago with a speculative question about the University’s attitude towards becoming formally connected with the Creative Commons initiative. Part of this involved the concept of an institutional affiliation. We did not hesitate. The reason for this was simply that our recognition of the universality of issues involved in this area meant that responses needed to be done rapidly.

In an atmosphere of increasingly polarised views, innovative and creative approaches to intellectual property law, particularly those which constitute interest in compromises, are increasingly attractive to a wider and wider range of concerned people. It is my view that the licensing issues that we are discussing here are themselves one of the best forms of response to some of the tensions that we have heard described earlier today.

I did have a few remarks that I was going to make about the free-trade agreement, but a fair few of those have been made already by Justice Sackville, and I would only add to those querulous observations. One is to ask, looking back, which sugar producer, which beef lobbyist in Australia, could possibly have entertained a view of the future in which they would understand, if they would care to, that half of the bill – physically the text of the bill – to implement the FTA in Australia (which is a 140 page document), 70 pages of those were concerned with the required amendments to the Australian Copyright Legislation.

My second querulous observation is to ask that, if one accepted that the United States may have a strategic international interest in effectively extending its own precedent setting copyright legislation – the well-known DMCA – to other jurisdictions by the most efficient means possible – this would be through bilateral trade negotiations. And with what more willing partner on the globe with which to have an experimental first step at almost complete compliance? Perhaps content with those two questions we should pass to the main session. I merely make those comments to add to a view about the huge importance of the issues about which this conference is concerned at all levels. In building a different kind of future, it is my belief that a progressive and constructive approach is the iCommons Project.

Our first speaker is Neeru Paharia. Neeru is an Assistant Director of Creative Commons. She graduated from the University of California at Davis in 1997 and received a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management, concentrating on information systems from Carnegie Melon University in 2000. Prior to Graduate School Neeru spent a year in the Kyro Fellowship program, a leadership program in public affairs. Neeru comes to Creative Commons from McKinsey & Co where she worked as an associate consultant. She is also a film-maker, illustrator and blues guitar player and she has shown her work in various film festivals and publications. This is her first time in Australia.

Ian Oi is Special Counsel in the Canberra office of Blake Dawson Waldron.

He practices primarily in the area of information technology, communications, intellectual property and cyberlaw. For a number of years, he has particularly focussed on the development of licensing, distribution and management of Open Content and Open Source Software.

Among other things, Ian is Co-Project Lead and Leader of the Drafting Team for the iCommons Australia Project, which promotes Creative Commons licences in Australia. Ian has also drafted contractual frameworks for the development and deployment of Open Source Software and Open Source Software Licences in an Australian environment.


Good morning, thanks for having me. I am filling in for Christiane Asschenfeldt who is our iCommons Coordinator. She could not be here today so I am here to talk about iCommons and to also tell you about a few of the other projects we are working on in Creative Commons.

First, congratulations on the Australian launch. It is fabulous.

To review very quickly: we offer copyright licences which are between a full copyright and the public domain. These are the attributes you can


• Attribution

• No Commercial Use

• No Derivative Works

• Share Alike You can choose a licence from our website. You will get a piece of code which you can paste into your webpage and it will display the ‘Some Rights Reserved’ logo next to the work you are licensing. That links to the Commons deed of the relevant legal code, which incorporate the chosen layers of the licence. The Creative Commons licence makes it clear to other people who wish to either download the work or re-use it in some capacity, that they can do that in the conditions specified under the licence.

iCommons We started the project with licences that were based on US law. We found that it is necessary to translate these licences, at least the legal layer of the licences, not necessarily the Commons deed or the digital code into different languages and into different legal jurisdictions. We have done this by developing a porting process where we identify a project lead, they produce a draft, we go through a public discussion, we do another draft, a review and then finally adoption.

Here is a little bit of the Creative Commons timeline. In 2001-02 work began on the original Creative Commons licences. In December 2002, we launched the first versions of the licences. In April 2003, Christiane Asschenfeldt joined us to begin iCommons, working with institutions around the world to port the legal level of the licences into different legal jurisdictions. In March 2004 we launched our first country – Japan. Over the year, eleven more countries have launched licences. In January 2005 Croatia launched their Creative Commons and today we are here in Australia.

Here is an overview of some of the countries we have been launching.

Australia has now moved into porting licences to join fourteen countries with licences. We are in discussions with over seventy countries, and hopefully we will have 84 soon. As iCommons evolves we are moving in a few different directions. We have been working on building the number of countries that have licences, talking to as many countries as possible. We also are hoping to build some infrastructure to increase the number of licence-adoptors, to build some community building efforts in countries to work with institutions, artists, any kind of content-creators to licence their work. Hopefully the total amount of licensed content will grow by following these two different axes.

There have been some porting challenges, because laws are different all over the world. The most significant challenges that actually may impact on the Commons deed are to do with: attribution and moral rights, which have some impact upon derivative rights; and agreements with collecting societies where authors may not be able to waive either their Commercial or Non-Commercial rights.

So what else do we do?

Christiane Asschenfeldt runs the whole iCommons Project, so what do the rest of us do? We pretty much just hang out in San Francisco. There are other a lot of other things that we do at Creative Commons and I hope to share some of those things with you today, because I believe they are very exciting and they can also hopefully inspire you to do some of the same.

We think of what we do in three main buckets:

1. get as much content licensed as possible

2. make that stuff all searchable

3. get people to re-use that content One of the aspects of the licences is this piece of machine-readable code. It is RDF Code, it actually goes into the html code of your webpage, and you never see it. However, computers can read this Code and can do really interesting things with it. One of the main things that we use the RDF for is to build a semantics search engine. What the search engine can do, is that it can go onto the web, it can find the subset of the web, that is under a Creative Commons licence, it can discern what kinds of items those are and what kinds of licences they are under. The semantic web is a vision of the World Wide Web consortium and Tim Berners-Lee as well.

We have built a first-instance of a semantic search engine using Creative Commons. If you have heard of Mozilla the Open Source Browser Software, they actually have a search box in the corner where you can find our search engine. You can, for example, do a search such as ‘find me all images of sunsets that I can modify and build upon’. You can download the chosen photo, alter it and republish it under the Attribution NonCommercial Share-Alike licence. That is Creative Commons in action.

Also, Mozilla has a plug in, where if you visit a webpage that has a Creative Commons licence on it, the icons will show up in the bottom corner of the webpage, and that is also facilitated by the RDF Code that goes into the webpage.

Another project that we are working on, that we are really excited about, is called ccPublisher. This is the Internet Archive. They want to host everything they can. They have a bunch of different projects, but their main goal is to archive the whole Internet. They have this thing called the ‘Way Back Machine’ and you can type in a URL like Yahoo 1995 and get a page of what Yahoo looked like in 1995. It is very cool, especially if you have disputes with people about information which Professor Lessig can also tell you about. It is a very good tool to know about.

The other great thing about the Internet Archive is that they will host Creative Commons licensed works for free. We have capitalised off this by building a desktop tool called ccPublisher. What does it do? You can download ccPublisher, drag and drop your files and choose a Creative Commons licence. It will then imbed the licence information into the MP3 file itself, it will upload it onto the Internet Archive for you and return to you a URL where you can download your song (which can be converted into various formats for streaming and download). Now your song has been published to the Internet for free to the Internet Archive and it will be there forever. This tool also works with video and audio, and we hope it is a way that people can actually more easily publish their content to the web.

We recently did a project with Wired Magazine where they released sixteen songs under a Creative Commons Sampling Licence. What the licence allows you to do is to fileshare all of the songs and to sample them. In some cases you can sample the songs commercially and in some cases noncommercially, but you are allowed to fileshare all the songs. Among the artists are David Byrne, Gilberto Gil, the Beastie Boys and others.

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