Change.gov added OpenID login for commenters and now the entire site has been put under a Creative Commons license. These concepts are no longer just the dreams of "crack-pot fringe case" advocates - they're the official policy of the US President Elect.Last week Barack Obama's Presidential transition website
The particular Creative Commons license chosen by Change.gov, the "By" license (one of many options), means that instead of the default US Copyright of "all rights reserved," visitors are now allowed to reuse any of the content from the site as long as they give attribution back to the original source. Standard Copyright is for protecting scarce content but Creative Commons is a legal framework set up to make sharing and reuse as easy as possible.
We frequently post Creative Commons licensed photos in posts on this blog, for example. The CC "By" section on photo sharing site Flickr is filled with images that can be used commercialy and in derivative works, just as long as attribution is given to the original photo publisher. Travel social network Dopplr recently began using images from this same section of Flickr to create beautiful city profile pages on their site. Creative Commons recently created a new case study collection to demonstrate in detail how the various CC licenses have served publishers around the world.
Introducing Creative Commons to More People
The license on Change.gov also states that anyone who posts anything to Change.gov (like comments) must accept that their content will be under Creative Commons as well. This could be the first introduction to the CC concept for millions of people. It would have been good to see the CC license listed on the bottom of every page instead of just on a relatively obscure "copyright policy" page. In all likelihood though, the Obama team chose CC because it makes the most sense to use, not to prove a point.
This act of support for progressive intellectual property policy is big news, but it also makes us wonder - what's next? That's exciting to think about.
Check out CreativeCommons.org to learn more about this new publishing paradigm.