I was asked to contribute to a collaborative article/story/post that is going to be published on the iCommons site. The question is the following:
"What do you think was the most exciting thing that happened in the commons during 2006, and what do you anticipate for the future of the commons for 2007?"
And here is what I said:
The most exciting thing that happened in 2006, certainly from my perspective, was the increased frequency of Creative Commons licenses on blogs and content sharing sites. I have been blogging for just over two years and I have started seeing blogs published under Creative Commons more and more and that means that there is a growing awareness of Creative Commons licenses in the blogosphere. The addition of Creative Commons licensing options in sites like Flickr mean that users can publish their content under far less restrictive licenses schemes than was previously possible. Of course an important development here is that users have the choice not just which content to share with their friends, family and the world at large but also how to share it. That is a tremendously empowering development and very apt given the phase the Web is currently in.
As much as there is a greater awareness of Creative Commons and the options available through the various licensing options, it still seems to be in use by a very small group of publishers and users who are perhaps better described as early adopters than representative of mainstream users.
Looking ahead to 2007 I would really like to see this awareness go mainstream and not just with users themselves. I would like to see the mainstream music industry start to publish their music under Creative Commons and independent musicians shift to a Creative Commons-based model. I am also curious how Creative Commons would fit into mainstream publishing (books and journals specifically). What would the business model be where the content is more readily available than was previously the case under copyright? How would a major publisher publish a book under Creative Commons and how would that impact on the way books have traditionally been published? Will books and music be published using more than one medium and under different licensing schemes?
When it comes to the blogosphere, I would like see more blogs published under Creative Commons because publishing them under copyright hinders the global conversation that spans in excess of 63 million blogs (according to Technorati). Blogs are, to me, an expression of the essence of The Cluetrain Manifesto which stated that markets are conversations before we had a blogosphere to speak of. Blogs should facilitate conversations and one way to do that is through Creative Commons.
So what do you think lies in store for Creative Commons in the year to come? Is Creative Commons a feature in your life? Do you know what it is? Have your eyes glazed over?