Photo: Joi Ito at LeWeb by Peter Bihr (released under Creative Commons by 2.0)
Creative Commons, says Joi, is something like a protocol. He compared it to the TCP/IP of cultural production. It’s what makes systems and content producers and content users and whatnot interoperate. It provides the legal framework to lower transaction costs for content sharing and remixing and usage so that you wouldn’t have to spend tons of money on legal advice just to use a picture. Creative Commons make it easy, and legally safe, to share content and to allow use of your content under certain conditions.
Traditionally, you had either regulated or unregulated uses for, say, a book. Regulated: Read. Unregulated: Share, give away, sleep on it. In a digital work, it’s tough, as practically everything is unregulated. Every use means you have to copy it – in many cases you have to make several copies to use it just once.
The rest of the presentation covered the basics of Creative Commons: Why is it important, and how Creative Commons goes about providing a human-readable, a machine-readable and a lawyer-readable license (called “deed” here). He also mentioned the current CC Case Studies project, which shares examples of successful commercial uses of Creative Commons licenses.