Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime-ann> Creative Commons Releases Liblicense For Simple Technical
Scott Shawcroft on Thu, 2 Aug 2007 17:53:51 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime-ann> Creative Commons Releases Liblicense For Simple Technical Licensing Integration

San Francisco, CA - July 30, 2007 - Today, Creative Commons published
the first public release of its desktop licensing library, Liblicense,
featuring desktop integration.  When content authors grant permission
for re-use of their work, Liblicense provides software developers with
the ability to easily discover and display those permissions to a user. 
Liblicense also offers authors the ability to embed those permissions in
a standard way in files.

Generally, copyright law applies automatically upon fixation of a
creative work to tangible form, and people must get explicit permission
from the copyright owner before they are allowed to re-use or change the
work.  To allow collaboration, many authors choose to stamp their work
with content licenses allowing some forms of re-use.

On the World-Wide Web, authors frequently publish license information in
a web page shown to users before they download the actual work.  "Once
off of the web, the files are on their own. When away from the context
of the creator's website, information about the permissions is lost.
When would this all change? When will a license be as ubiquitous as a
modification timestamp?" asks Scott Shawcroft, one of the developers of

Developed by Scott Shawcroft, Jason Kivlighn, Jon Phillips and Nathan
Yergler, Liblicense 0.3 is the first small step towards universal
license tracking on the desktop. Liblicense can show users the license
of a file and enable them to license new files or modify the license on
old files.  By embedding information about many licenses into the
software package, liblicense allows authors to embed concise license
names while users can see a full name and description.

Liblicense does not and is never intended to technologically restrict
the ability of users to use their computers or the content that is
stored on those computers.  It serves to inform rather than enforce. 
This is especially important because copyright law has a broad exception
category called "fair use" that allows for some use of a work without
permission, and all of the licenses supported by Liblicense do not
restrict those fair uses.

There are many interesting applications which have yet to be explored.
As one example, Creative Commons plans on integrating liblicense with
Sugar, the user interface library used by the One Laptop Per Child
(OLPC) project.  They are also considering use in applications such as
music players, web feed readers, desktop publishing programs, and text
editors. "Imagine finding a song you love using Amarok and finding out
you can share it with your friends. Or imagine finding a brilliant poem
on a blog through Liferea you can base a video or song off of," says

Additionally, in the future, Creative Commons hopes that Liblicense will
support embedding license information into all of the file types used on
the desktop. While this goal is technically challenging, steps must
first be made in creating standardized ways of embedding license data in
some file types.

For more information visit
http://www.creativecommons.org/project/Liblicense, join the developers
on irc.freenode.net/#cc or email them on cc-devel {AT} lists.ibiblio.org. 
Liblicense is available at http://sourceforge.net/projects/cctools under
the CC-GNU-LGPL, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/LGPL/2.1/.

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 2001, that
promotes the creative re-use of intellectual and artistic works-whether
owned or in the public domain. Creative Commons licenses provide a
flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, artists, and
educators that build upon the "all rights reserved" concept of
traditional copyright to offer a voluntary "some rights reserved"
approach. It is sustained by the generous support of various
organizations including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation, Omidyar Network, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Rockefeller
Foundation as well as members of the public. For general information,
visit http://creativecommons.org.

Press Contact

Nathan Yergler
Chief Technical Officer
Creative Commons
(415) 369 - 8487
nathan {AT} creativecommons.org
nettime-ann mailing list
nettime-ann {AT} nettime.org