Lawrence Lessig, a professor of law at Stanford Law School, and chair of the Creative Commons Project, speaks out about how our copywrite and intellectual property laws are stifling creativity and innovation. His flash presentation can be found at http://www.eff.org/IP/freeculture/free.html. In this presentation, professor Lessig describes how the length of term for copyright protection keeps getting extended. He calls this the “Mickey Mouse” Protection Act as every time Disney is about to lose its protection for Mickey, the law gets extended. Lessig discusses how so much of our innovation comes from building on innovations and the creativity of others (Disney himself based his animations on fairy tales in the public domain) and that by restricting our ability to create derivate works, we are squashing our ability to innovate. (The flash presentation itself is a great communications piece. Good use of technology to get a point across.)
Professor Lessig’s answer to the all or nothing copyright restrictions is to create a new licensing structure that allows content authors to offer some use, beyond “fair use”, of their works. This licensing structure is the Creative Commons Project. Check out “Get Creative” – an animated flash movie illustrating how Creative Commons works to help content authors collaborate.