Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Wednesday 16/3/2005Off to the October Gallery in Holborn for the launch of the Creative Commons UK licence. Apart from us and our friends at silicon, the only media organisation represented seems to be the antediluvian industry samizdat NTK, in the ebullient form of Dave Green.

Wednesday 16/3/2005

Off to the October Gallery in Holborn for the launch of the Creative Commons UK licence. Apart from us and our friends at silicon, the only media organisation represented seems to be the antediluvian industry samizdat NTK, in the ebullient form of Dave Green. He moves around the gallery ceaselessly introducing people to each other, some more than once, while shamelessly clad in a real NTK-branded nylon anorak. Truly, a force of nature at work. It was a very jolly affair, with John Perry Barlow giving a rousing speech about free creativity being a duty, almost an essential attribute, of being human. It's always invigorating to hear one's own instincts articulated with force and precision: I was struck again that in the battles between those who wish to impose ever tighter controls on intellectual property and those who want to limit that control, only one side says what it actually thinks. You don't need to decode the motives behind Creative Commons.

Although both we and Silicon covered the story, there's very little sign of it elsewhere. Which is odd: Creative Commons in the US has been a practical and conceptual success: by letting people distribute their creations with some rights reserved, it's encouraged a lot of sharing of books, media and music — even the movie 'Outfoxed' — while keeping the option open to make some money at it.

This notion — seemingly obvious in retrospect, as good ideas so often are — coincides very closely with what the BBC is planning to do with its Creative Archive. That's going to be a groundbreaking story when it happens, and unique in the world: given the amount of excitement behind it and the BBC's connections with the CC UK people, it's especially bizarre that there's no mention of the launch on the BBC's Web site or news services.

One thing's certain. With more than ten million items released already under the American CC in just over a year, and online services such as the Flickr photo-sharing site already offering CC as a standard option for its contributors, the concept has got huge momentum and is not going away. It's not quite clear that as fast as people try to close down information it's being opened up in other ways, but the battle is closer than perhaps we may have dared to hope.