The Need for a CC0 Foundation [White Paper]

 As web3 continues to grow, one of the most interesting developments has been around intellectual property. Rather than grasping on to IP with a tight fist, a number of artists and technologists are giving it away freely by placing it in the public domain under the CC0 license.

This is a radical departure from how companies have traditionally approached IP. Could you ever imagine the Walt Disney Company giving away Mickey Mouse for public use? But this approach to the public domain may not be as surprising given that many web3 builders have come to age using open-source tools: they are looking to apply this same ethos in free-to-use software to that of artistic creations.


View the PDF above, or download here!

The Nouns project was the one of the first mainstream projects to enable folks to use their creations for free, followed by Blitmap (of which the creator, Dom Hofmann, is also one of the ten original Nounders) and a host of other projects, including web3’s current darling By licensing their projects as CC0, they not only welcome derivative projects to use their IP, they also send an active signal to the Internet culture at large that memes are not just welcomed, they are encouraged. In an interview for a retrospective of Blitmap’s first anniversary, Hofmann and fellow Blitmap artist and Sup, Inc. cofounder Totally told me that the proliferation of the CC0 narrative was the most surprising thing to this this past year.

However, the general public/”normie” population may not be familiar with the CC0 movement. This presents an incredible opportunity to not only educate, but to encourage the new wave of creators to adopt a stance for permissive licensing. That’s the key driver for this white paper, to demonstrate the need of a CC0 Foundation.

I will not pretend to have all the answers—if anything, this is a piece designed to record my thoughts on what is needed, not how to get there. But after learning about what CC0 when the original 17 Blitmap artists voted put their work in the public domain, my mind has constantly been thinking about this topic. This document serves as putting my pen to paper to get these thoughts down in writing; my goal would be that it inspires other thoughtful consideration. Thanks for reading!

You can find me frequently hanging out in the Blitmap Discord or on Twitter at @niftypins.






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