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Microsoft and Creative Commons Release Tool for Copyright Licensing


Wednesday, June 21, 2006; 03:09 AM

Microsoft  and Creative Commons have teamed up to release a copyright licensing tool that enables the easy addition of Creative Commons licensing information for works in Microsoft Office applications. The copyright licensing tool will be available free of charge at office.microsoft.com, and CreativeCommons.org. The tool will enable the Office suite users to select one of several Creative Commons licenses from within the specific application.

“We’re delighted to work with Creative Commons to bring fresh and collaborative thinking on copyright licensing to authors and artists of all kinds,” said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft. “We are honored that creative thinkers everywhere choose to use Microsoft tools to give shape to their ideas. We’re committed to removing barriers to the sharing of ideas across borders and cultures, and are offering this copyright tool in that spirit.”

“The goal of Creative Commons is to provide authors and artists with simple tools to mark their creative work with the freedom they intend it to carry,” said Lawrence Lessig, professor of law at Stanford Law School and founder of Creative Commons. “We’re incredibly excited to work with Microsoft to make that ability easily available to the hundreds of millions of users of Microsoft Office.”

“It’s thrilling to see big companies like Microsoft working with nonprofits to make it easier for artists and creators to distribute their works,” said Gilberto Gil, cultural minister of Brazil, host nation for the Creative Commons iSummit in Rio de Janeiro June 23 through 25, where the copyright licensing tool will be featured. Gil, who will keynote at the iSummit, has released one of the first documents using the Creative Commons add-in for Microsoft Office.

The goal of the Creative Commons licenses is to give an author a clearer ability to express his or her intentions regarding the use of the work. The Microsoft Office tool allows users to choose from a variety of Creative Commons licenses that enable an author to retain copyright ownership, yet permit the work to be copied and distributed with certain possible restrictions, such as whether or not the work can be used commercially and whether or not modifications can be made to the work. The full list of licenses available from Creative Commons is available online at http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/meet-the-licenses. The tool also provides a way for users to dedicate a work to the public domain.

“The collaboration of Microsoft and Creative Commons to bring Creative Commons licenses to Microsoft Office applications underscores how for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations can work together to bring innovative ideas and tools to the public,” said Alan Yates, general manager of the Information Worker Division at Microsoft.

Microsoft and Creative Commons partnered with 3sharp LLC, a Redmond-based independent solution provider to develop and test the copyright licensing tool.



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