U.S. President George Bush has signed

A controversial bill that would stiffen penalties for movie and music piracy at the federal level. [1]

NBC Universal’s lawyer Rick Cotton said,

The bill will give movie and music makers more tools to fight the tidal wave of counterfeiting and piracy of everything from medical devices to automobile parts to media by organized crime. That is at the core of what this discussion is about. It is not about teenagers. [1]

I’m so relieved to hear teenagers are exempt – that is what Mr Cotton means, right? Or perhaps he just means a few teenagers caught in the net won’t matter when we can’t afford this awful “tidal wave.” Those poor movie and recording companies, they’re going to loss all their billions and billions of profit – what will they do!?

If only they knew about Creative Commons. It’s been around since 2001.

Creative Commons helps people dedicate their creative works to the public domain – or retain their copyright while licensing them as free for certain uses, on certain conditions. [2]

The Web 2.0 education program 23 Things: 23 Learning 2.0 Things developed by Helene Blowers at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) is licensed under Creative Commons. Anyone is allowed to use and share the program as long as it is attributed, used non-commercially and no derivative works are made [3]. This has meant many libraries have used the program in staff training.

Cory Doctorow writes science fiction books. His most recent is Little Brother [4]. Doctorow applies a CC license to all his books. They’re traditionally published and also available online for anyone to download, read and share. People still buy his books, which go through numerous printings. He said,

We live in the era of copying, the era when restricting copying is a fool’s errand, and ‘by CC’ gives me an artistic framework to embrace copying rather than damning it. [5]

I know movie and recording companies aren’t about to license their products under Creative Commons, but I can dream.


  1. Bartz, Diane (2008) Bush signs controversial anti-piracy law Reuters, 13 October
  2. Creative Commons (2007) Creative Commons: History
  3. PLCMC (2006) Learning 2.0: 23 Things
  4. Doctorow, Cory (2008) Little Brother New York: Tor Teen
  5. Doctorow, Cory (2007) Commoner Letter #2 Creative Commons Blog