Too often the debate over creative control tends to the extremes. At one pole is a vision of total control—a world in which every last use of a work is regulated and in which "all rights reserved" (and then some) is the norm. At the other end is a vision of anarchy—a world in which creators enjoy a wide range of freedom but are left vulnerable to exploitation. Balance, compromise, and moderation—once the driving forces of a copyright system that valued innovation and protection equally—have become endangered species.
Creative Commons is working to revive them. We use private rights to create public goods: creative works set free for certain uses. Like the free software and open-source movements, our ends are cooperative and community-minded, but our means are voluntary and libertarian. We work to offer creators a best-of-both-worlds way to protect their works while encouraging certain uses of them—to declare "some rights reserved."
Thus, a single goal unites Creative Commons' current and future projects: to build a layer of reasonable, flexible copyright in the face of increasingly restrictive default rules.
Lawrence Lessig, Board Member|
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