Creative Commons Hong Kong Launch

Joi Ito and me (by cloneofsnake)

Went to last Saturday’s Creative Commons launch event in Hong Kong, my knowledge of CC stemmed from my fanboy-ism toward Flickr. I think I had probably heard some Yahoo internal talks about Flickr that included a briefing of this “CC” license thing. So, the presentation from CC founder Prof. Lawr ence Lessig and CEO Joichi Ito were both eye openers for me!

OK, so my knowledge of CC is basically what’s listed in Flickr’s Creative Commons page, and Prof. Lessig presented a much more detailed & updated version of it. The parts that I picked up (and remembered) are:

CC0 – no law, waive, assert, public domain, social norm – honor – keep it free
CC+ – beyond CC, license to buy, for profit

For more info on Prof. Lessig, check out this TutSearch result of “Lawrence Lessig”. (Will watch those videos later when I have time.)

While Lawrence Lessig came from a law background and talked about law and licensing. Joi Ito talked about tech & science. Most of it relates to the scientific communities, how researchers could use CC to ease their processes of trading information w/o worrying about the lawyers.

My take-away:

Science Commons

Provider (Designer / Creator) –> Bank (keeps track of use of your creation) –> Users (Re-design, Consume)

For a better summary, check out Ryanne’s blog on the event. It was too bad that the Q&A session was too short, ‘coz as soon as I heard about CC0 and public domain, a weird question came up in my mind. If CC0 would’ve existed 20+ years ago, would it have killed the Mario Brothers? 😀 Let me explain. Mario is the plumber in Donkey Kong! Donkey Kong was a massively successful video game! Nintendo made a shit load of money off of it. Then, Universal Studios sued Nintendo for infringing their King Kong character. Nintendo of America’s CEO back in the days was Howard Lincoln – a lawyer by trade. He looked it up. Went to court. Had the whole case threw out b’coz Universal Studios had registered King Kong under the public domain. So… if CC0 had existed back then… no Donkey Kong –> no Mario Bros. ??! Possible???

Actually, a more serious question would be how they view Chinese and Asians in general, ‘coz to me (as with a lot of others), Chinese are viewed as selfish and likes to “take” but doesn’t “share”. (And in the worst cases, stealing and profiting from counterfeits / pirated goods.) I think it would’ve been beneficial if Lessig & Ito could give a few examples of other countries with similar issues and how CC had helped.

I really wanted to talk to them afterwards but they both escaped quite fast, I was only able to hunt down Joi Ito! I told him about my projects and also my move to Tokyo in January to work for It’s pretty obvious how CC could help small time designers and artists, but what about an established corporation – like Muji or Lego? Turns out Joi knows about cuusoo too, he remembers it as Elephant-Design, he said he needs to get back to their lawyers as they are not using CC yet, but he thinks that’s only because their lawyers don’t fully comprehend the CC license. He said may be I should explain to Nishiyama-san about the CC license as well! 😛 … and may be he’ll see me in Japan.

All in all, it was a good day! Learned a lot, pumped me up and gave me new ideas, met up w/ my Flickr and Drupal and Microsoft pals, organized a follow up meeting w/ the Drupal dudes to discuss the usage of CC. I have a feeling that those of us who are working with open source and CC will lead and become “paradigm shifters” in HK (and perhaps even Asia).

Links given during the presentation:
TED Talks – Ideas Worth Spreading. – “Inspired talks by the world’s greatest thinkers and doers”

fotonauts – Images for Humanity. – “fotonauts’ mission is to enable the creation of the definitive pool of images for everyone to contribute to, discover, use and enjoy, covering all areas of human interest.”


Just another guy trying to beat the system and be released from the Matrix

Posted in events, hong kong
2 comments on “Creative Commons Hong Kong Launch
  1. […] know I promised a write-up on my Tokyo trip, but in light of all the wonderful articles written by my friends, and this monumental event which I unfortunately happen to have missed, I decided to make a brief […]

  2. Kenneth Law says:

    Hey there. I’m Ken. I think I’ve seen you around (BarCamp, Agile – Toy vs. Software). Just wanted to say great blog! very interesting articles. heartfelt and genuine. wish i could have been at the CC launch. incidentally, i was in tokyo last friday so I couldn’t make it. thanks for letting me live vicariously through your blog.

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