Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that has provided simple licenses to people for many types of work since 2001, recently issued a statement outlining its position on copyright law. The easy-to-understand system has seen success online, where Creative Commons licenses can be found attached to materials as diverse as single songs and full-fledged software applications. Some argue that its success means copyright law functions perfectly well in the digital age and needs no changes. However, Creative Commons is offering an alternative to traditional copyright law, which is the source of its success.
However, Creative Commons, which spent a year and a half drafting its statement, is discouraged by what it sees as a worldwide trend toward more restrictive intellectual property laws. The organization would like to see copyright law renovated to make creative works more widely available in the public domain.
"The trend, internationally, is to have more restrictive copyright laws," said Maira Sutton, a global policy analyst. "What this statement does is, it allows affiliates to use their CC hat and say we're involved in this international coalition pushing to make copyright laws more sane."
Creative Commons has plenty of support online and from people like Sutton, but the trend toward restrictive copyright laws is led by some very powerful interest groups as well. Whether copyright laws will begin to trend in a more open direction remains to be seen, but it is clear that many consumers - and a growing number of creators - favor such an outcome.