A Global, Pro Bono Week Tribute
Diane Peters, October 22nd, 2012
This week is Pro Bono Week in the United States. We wish to take this opportunity to thank the many talented legal professionals on whom we count for impeccable, cutting-edge advice around the world on an array of issues, all on a volunteer basis.
CC leverages pro bono legal expertise on a number of important projects. For example, almost exactly one year ago, Creative Commons formally embarked on the versioning of our license suite. This is one of the most important responsibilities we have as the steward of licenses relied upon by creators to share an estimated one-half billion works on the Internet (and counting). As with the development of the past four license versions, this undertaking involves major policy decisions, complicated questions of international, regional and jurisdiction-specific law, and ambitious goals. Those include internationalization, compatibility, licensing of database rights in Europe and elsewhere, and anticipating future impediments to sharing that take the form of paracopyrights, such as technical protection measures and other copyright-like rights.
The issue of internationalization alone benefitted greatly from multiple efforts: a law firm with international reach provided detailed research on license formalities under both common law and civil law copyright systems; database experts within our affiliate network responded to our inquiries on the details of licensing sui generis database rights in a way that would not have adversely impacted people in countries where those rights do not exist; and a law firm with offices in Asia and Europe provided detailed research on effective technological measures around the world.
The support CC receives in the form of pro bono services extends deep within the organization itself in equally important but less visible ways. This includes the legal expertise required to maintain a strong, compliant tax-exempt organization, upkeep and outreach involving our current licenses and public domain tools, working with affiliated organizations in more than 70 countries, and supporting intricate policy work that consistently pushes the envelope on public domain policy, education and open access initiatives, and science and data, to name just a few.
Here at Creative Commons, we find ourselves in the privileged and fortunate position of working daily with an impressive array of legal experts around the globe who lend insights, legal acumen, and depth of perspective to every dimension of our legal work. This effort and dedication in the aggregate makes our vision and reach possible, and our legal products among the most trusted, respected and robust of any offered. More amazingly still, the large majority of these experts provide assistance free of charge.
We count many among this amazing group:
- attorneys from prestigious law firms around the world, including (among others) Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Latham & Watkins, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, WilmerHale, and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton;
- sophisticated copyright experts who help make up our 100+ member affiliate network and lend their expertise from leading universities, organizations, and beyond; and
- the legal experts on CC’s volunteer board of directors, as well as Diane Cabell, CC’s long-serving corporate counsel who has been providing CC with pro bono advice since our founding.
We extend our sincerest gratitude to all of those — both current and past — who have provided Creative Commons with volunteer legal assistance. As a direct consequence of this assistance, CC as well as our community of affiliates and adopters are all in the strongest position possible to maximize digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.