“Denmark has joined the free world”

This afternoon, I went to the launch of the Danish version of the Creative Commons. I’ve discussed the Creative Commons before, but to sum up: It’s a set of new copyright licenses for creative work intended to make it easy for the creator to give other people some rights not currently allowed by standard copyright.

It is inspired by the copyleft licenses introduced by hacker Richard Stallman in the early 80s, and share the idea that new digital technology makes copying and redistribution so easy that new legal thinking is needed to deal with the torrent of creativity that has been unleashed with it.

The brainchild of Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, the Creative Commons seeks to take these ideals from the software world and apply them to culture in general. The catchphrase of the CC is “Some Rights Reserved” and with the licenses you can allow several different kinds of uses for your cultural content, for instance Attribution (when others distribute your content they must put your name on it) or NonCommercial (you do not allow others to use your content for commercial purposes).

There are six different licenses to choose from, depending on your content. I have had a CC license on this blog for quite a while now, but it isn’t until now that that license is actually valid in Denmark.

At first the Creative Commons were launched in the US, and as it has gained popularity it has been possible to adapt the Creative Commons licenses to other jurisdictions. Denmark is the 34th country to ‘join the world of Free Culture’ as Lawrence Lessig puts it.

Lessig was there at the launch and he did a brilliant keynote presentation. I can only recommend going to one if you get the chance. Rarely have I heard such a lucid performance. It was a different keynote than the one that I have referred to earlier, and I liked this one better. It was more visionary, more constructive. He’s come a long way in the past 4 years.

I couldn’t find an online version of the new keynote (though I didn’t look very hard), but I expect it’ll be available soon enough.

I didn’t stay long after Lessig’s keynote though, as the next speaker was Danish politician Morten Helveg Petersen who has just pushed a motion on Open Standards in the public sector through the Danish Parliament. Though there are some interesting issues concerning the legal status of the incredible amounts of data that the Danish national radio and TV has produced over the years, Helveg managed to make it incredibly boring, and since the sun was shining so invitingly outside, I just had to leave.

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