Professor James Boyle appointed the chairman of the board of Creative Commons

April 4, 2008Duke Law News

April 3, 2008 — William Neal Reynolds Professor of Law Professor James Boyle has been appointed chairman of the board of Creative Commons, the organization announced on April 1. Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that works to expand the body of creative work available to the public for legal sharing and use. Boyle was one of the organization’s founding board members and co-founded subsidiary divisions devoted to science and to open educational resources.

Creative Commons pioneered the use of free copyright licenses to offer creators — authors, scientists, artists, and educators — the choice of a flexible range of protections and freedoms for re-use of their work. Volunteers in 40 countries have adapted the licenses to their local legal systems, making it one of the largest international networks working on these issues. Tens of millions of works have been licensed under Creative Commons licenses – from songs and movies, to textbooks and photographs. The users of the licenses are eclectic: MIT and the Public Library of Science, David Byrne, the Beastie Boys and Nine Inch Nails, Academy Award winning documentarian Davis Guggenheim, and countless scholars, teachers, photographers and bloggers use the licenses to allow others freely to copy, share and in some cases customize their copyrighted works. In Boyle’s words, “We are building on the ‘all rights reserved’ concept of traditional copyright to enable a voluntary “some rights reserved” approach; the result is a global ‘creative commons’ of material you can use and share because permission has been granted in advance.”

Creative Commons’ founder, Larry Lessig, endorsed the choice of Boyle as board chair. “Jamie has demonstrated his commitment to Creative Commons from its founding,” said Lessig. “He led the formation of Science Commons and ccLearn, our divisions focused on scientific research and education respectively. There is no person better suited to lead the Creative Commons board.” Lessig will be returning to the Creative Commons Board and the former chair, Internet entrepreneur Joi Ito, will take over as CEO.

Co-founder and faculty director of Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, Boyle is the author of Shamans, Software and Spleens: Law and Construction of the Information Society, the co-author of Bound By Law, a comic book on fair use in documentary film (licensed under a Creative Commons license) and the forthcoming book The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind which will be published by Yale University Press in Fall of 2008. That book too will be freely available in full online under a Creative Commons license, Boyle says. “That seemed only fair.”

More information about Creative Commons is available here.