It’s been a challenging but hopeful year for Creative Commons. We’ve made some significant advances, found new leadership, and grown our affiliate network. But the commons is still at risk, and we have much to do.
Last November, we released Version 4.0 of the Creative Commons licenses. The new licenses are an enormous achievement, and represent years of work by dozens of dedicated people — including some of the foremost intellectual property experts in the world.
Version 4.0 is the most international set of licenses to date, which wouldn’t have been possible without the expertise and effort of Creative Commons’ affiliate network. It’s also the most versatile, covering use cases that no one would have thought of 11 years ago. And that wouldn’t have happened without the diverse community of users pushing the licenses to go further.
Without those communities, Creative Commons licenses would be an interesting idea and no more. With them, CC is a growing, evolving movement that’s redefining how knowledge, culture, and information are shared. The affiliates give CC licenses relevance and meaning with their tireless work to build communities around open licensing and open practices.
Last year, CC staff, board, affiliates, and community met in Buenos Aires to plan for our long-term future. Together, we agreed that licenses alone will not achieve our dream of greater access to knowledge and culture worldwide. Laws must change too. A few weeks later, we formalized our public stance in support of global copyright reform. We urge lawmakers to consider the unintended consequences of overly restrictive copyright law. And we arrived at that stance only because our community led us to it.
In May, after an extensive search, CC selected Ryan Merkley as our new CEO. Ryan joins us after a long history in technology, nonprofits, and government, including work as chief operating officer at the Mozilla Foundation. He brings a strong vision and passion for Creative Commons and its communities, and has already begun to reach out to build the next phase of our organization. I’m excited for what’s to come, and to work with him as chair.
CC and its licenses are part of the infrastructure that powers the web we know and love. But building the licenses is just the first step; the next step is to use those licenses as a tool for change. All of us can work together to demonstrate the value of sharing to individuals, governments, policy-makers, institutions, and corporations, and to build a future in which everyone is more free to participate in society. While the task is significant, I know we can achieve it together.
Except where otherwise noted, The future is open by Creative Commons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.