New Creative License Available for Office Users

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-06-21 Print this article Print

Microsoft and the Creative Commons have partnered to create a new copyright licensing tool, known as the Creative Commons add-in for Microsoft Office.

Users of Microsoft Office can now choose one of the Creative Commons licenses for work created in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Microsoft and Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that offers flexible copyright licenses for creative works, partnered with 3sharp LLC, a Redmond, Wash.-based independent solution provider to develop and test this new copyright licensing tool, known as the Creative Commons add-in for Microsoft Office.
This new copyright licensing tool lets the 400 million users of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint choose one of several Creative Commons licenses from within the specific application, Microsoft and the Creative Commons announced June 21.
This new tool, which is available for download at no cost from Microsoft Office Online or Creative Commons, lets users choose from a variety of Creative Commons licenses that let an author retain copyright ownership, yet permit the work to be copied and distributed. The license also allows some restrictions, such as whether the work can be modified and used commercially. It also lets users dedicate a work to the public domain. The full list of Creative Commons licenses can be found here. 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," said Lawrence Lessig, a professor of law at Stanford Law School and the founder of Creative Commons, in a statement. Craig Mundie, the newly appointed chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft, said the move would bring "fresh and collaborative thinking on copyright licensing to authors and artists of all kinds … Were committed to removing barriers to the sharing of ideas across borders and cultures, and are offering this copyright tool in that spirit." Bill Gates has begun handing over the reins of power at the Redmond software maker to Craig Mundie and Ray Ozzie, the chief software architect. Click here to read more. For his part Gilberto Gil, the cultural minister of Brazil and who has released one of the first documents using the Creative Commons add-in for Microsoft Office, welcomed the move by "big companies like Microsoft working with nonprofits to make it easier for artists and creators to distribute their works." Brazil is also the host nation for the Creative Commons iSummit, to be held in Rio de Janeiro from June 23-25, where the copyright licensing tool will be featured. Ian Angell, a professor of Information Systems at the London School of Economics, said the new tool would let an author easily embed licenses to creative works during the innovation process. This was an important step in ensuring that people became aware of not only their own intellectual property rights but also the rights of others. The LSE partners with Creative Commons to drive Creative Commons license adoption and awareness in England and Wales. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on image editing and Web publishing tools.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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