Creative Commons, Reform Organization

“Free legal tools to help you build your own copyright.”

Creative Commons are a reform organization. They are not the people’s revolutionary intellectual property liberation front, nor are they the committee for unlimited commercial exploitation of the public domain. As a charity under US law they cannot even lobby the government for copyright reform, as that would be politics.

They have a reformist agenda, based at least as much on freedom of contract as freedom of speech. And it is based on copyright. But as with the GPL, it is an ironisation of copyright, a legal hack or judo throw. It does not make copyright stronger or excuse copyright maximalism. Copyright will get stronger without CC. At least with CC that increasing strength can be reformed.

Creative Commons’s motivations may differ from the groups whose interests they support to a greater or lesser degree. So what? The effects of their actions do not. Consensus-building is a lost art and one that CC have succeeded in admirably. Yes, that consensus does not advance more radical agendas. But those agendas would fail quite happily without CC. At least with CC the groundwork is laid for them.

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