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Online Sharing With Creative Commons

Publication Date: 
August 15, 2008
Source: 
BusinessWeek Online
Author: 
Kenji Hall

Professor Lawrence Lessig, founder of Creative Commons, is featured in a BusinessWeek story about the history of Creative Commons and its transfer of leadership from Lessig to Joichi Ito:

Ito isn't just some amateur shutterbug with an altruistic streak. In April he took over as the head of Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that offers copyright licenses for creative works. Creative Commons is the brainchild of Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig. He started it in 2001 because he felt that traditional copyright laws might hamper sharing over the Internet. Typically, Creative Commons licenses let creators give their works away online. But they can choose to let others use the work for commercial purposes, as Ito's book will, or restrict their work to noncommercial uses.

The handover from Lessig to Ito marks a new phase. Lessig was the visionary whose credentials as a legal expert and former Supreme Court clerk gave the organization credibility with lawyers. Ito is cut from different cloth. He created one of the first Web pages, experimented with hacking, started Japan's first commercial Internet service provider before the Net caught on, and has kept an online diary about his exploits since the mid-1990s, before "blogging" became a household term. Many hope Ito will recruit more entrepreneurs, businesses, and ordinary Net users. "Joi brings a set of applied experiences from the unavoidably rough-and-tumble world of business," says Reuben Steiger, former chief evangelist of Linden Labs and CEO of San Francisco consulting firm Millions of Us.