Creative Commons is a public charity dedicated to reducing barriers to the free exchange of knowledge and culture by making it easy and efficient to obtain legal permission to reuse creative, scientific, and educational works. Taking inspiration from the open source movement, CC has developed Web applications that help people license their original works for specified uses while retaining their copyrights. CC licenses have been adopted by such diverse organizations as the BBC, MIT, and the Public Library of Science. Over 60 million documents on the Internet are offered under CC licenses.
CC was established in 2001 with the assistance of Berkman Center fellows and clinical students. CC’s board includes cyberlaw faculty James Boyle of Duke, Michael Carroll at Villanova, and former Berkman Professor Lawrence Lessig of Stanford. Also serving are MIT computer science Professor Hal Abelson; lawyer, documentary filmmaker, and former Berkman Executive Director Eric Saltzman; 2007 Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim; Berkman Fellow and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales; public domain advocate Laurie Racine; Magnatune CEO John Buckman; and Internet publisher Eric Eldred. CC’s Chairman is Joi Ito, ICANN board member and venture capitalist. Its corporate secretary is Berkman Fellow Diane Cabell. CC’s first executive directors, Molly Van Houweling (now Assistant Professor at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall) and Glenn Otis Brown (Strategic Partner Development Manager for Google’s YouTube), are former Berkman students.
CC currently maintains offices in San Francisco, Boston, and Berlin in addition to a subsidiary in South Africa. With help from legal academics around the world, CC’s International division has supervised the porting of CC licenses to dozens of different jurisdictions. The Science Commons division, headed by former Berkman staffer John Wilbanks, develops tools for open access to scholarly literature and data. SciCom’s Advisory Board includes Nobel Laureates Sir John Sulston and Joshua Lederberg.