Established in 2001 by academics and activists Lawrence Lessig, Hal Abelson, and Eric Eldred with the support of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain, Creative Commons publishes licenses that allow creators to retain copyright and proper attribution for their work while enabling others to share and make use of it. The standardized Creative Commons logo, designed by artist, animator, and filmmaker Ryan Junell, consists of the characters cc enclosed in a circle—the second c bringing a deliberately new meaning to the traditional copyright icon ©. Junell’s clear system includes additional symbols that indicate the terms granted by the copyright holder, such as the requirement for attribution, or to restrict the use to noncommercial purposes. In 2006, Creative Commons designer Alex Roberts reconceived the “attribution” icon (originally) as the stick figure we know and use today. The Creative Commons symbol allows those who create any type of content online—be it photographs, text, sound, or something different—to think beyond the default position of “all rights reserved.”
Gallery label from This Is for Everyone: Design Experiments for the Common Good, February 14, 2015–January 31, 2016.