Microsoft, Creative Commons make strange bedfellows

By   |  June 22, 2006

Microsoft has partnered with alternative copyright body Creative Commons to create a licensing tool for Microsoft Office documents, allowing authors to easily include Creative Commons licenses in Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents.

The plug-in for Microsoft Office 2003 and XP inserts the selected Creative Commons license directly into your work, and supports a number of languages.

“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,” says 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.”

Lessig has been a harsh critic of Microsoft in the past – paricularly regarding Microsoft’s “Get the Facts” campaign and Microsoft’s US anti-trust trial. Coincidentally, Martin Taylor, Microsoft’s man behind the “Get the Facts” marketing attack on Linux, has just departed from Redmond.

Microsoft downplayed the links between Creative Commons and open source in its announcement, and everyone suddenly seems to be on friendly terms. “We’re delighted to work with Creative Commons to bring fresh and collaborative thinking on copyright licensing to authors and artists of all kinds,” says 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.”

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