Creative Commons: A Skeptical View of a Worthy Pursuit
THE FUTURE OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, P. Bernt Hugenholtz & Lucie Guibault, eds., Kluwer Law International, 2006
21 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2006
The paper examines the legal strategy of Creative Commons and analyzes its potential for enhancing the sharing, distribution and reuse of creative works. The paper focuses on Creative Commons's strategic choice to rely on property rights and on viral contracts to promote free culture. While I share Creative Commons's concern with copyright fundamentalism, I am more skeptical of its strategy. The legal strategy which empowers owners to govern their creative works facilitates a far-reaching coalition among libertarians and anarchists, anti-market activists and free-market advocates. While such an ideological diversity might serve the political goals of a social movement, it may compromise the long term goal of making creative works more accessible. The lack of a core perception of 'freedom in information', may lead to ideological fuzziness that would weaken the prospects for constructing a workable and sustainable alternative to copyright. Furthermore, absent a commitment to a comprehensive standard of 'freedom in information', Creative Commons's defining principles are reduced to empowering authors to govern their own work. The paper predicts that this strategy may strengthen the proprietary regime in information.
Keywords: creative commons, copyright, property, contracts, licensing, information policy, freedom in information, access to knowledge
JEL Classification: A13, K11, K12, 034
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation