The Creative Commons initiative, championed so eloquently by Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, now has a Web site and a fully formed proposal. The idea is that artists and other IP holders should be able to attach different strengths of rights to their works depending on their needs. The idea is to move away from a blanket process of copyright protection by offering a more pragmatic menu of different legal rights.
What’s great about this system is that it does not suggest that every artist place their material into the public domain, but instead allows them to establish a range of rights, from the very loose up to the quite restrictive. The team are also building a set of tools – including an online legal document creator – which will make it dead easy for folks to create their own set of personal rights attaching to their music, art, writings and even Web sites. Here’s a good article on the project.
Personally I think that this is absolutely fabulous and well overdue, and as soon as the tools are released in the autumn, this site will be one of the first to adopt the new format. We desperately need to get away from the current restricted, inflexible and damaging system of blindly protective copyright litigation which surrounds the creative process at the moment. The only people winning are the lawyers!