Three blog posts from Creative Commons provide details.
After an extensive search, the Creative Commons board of directors is pleased to announce that Ryan Merkley will be our new CEO. He’ll start work on June 1, and we’re all looking forward to working with him.
Ryan joins us after a career working to advance social causes and public policy in nonprofits, technology, and government. As chief operating officer at the Mozilla Foundation, Ryan contributed to the development of Mozilla products and programs supporting the open web, including Lightbeam, Webmaker, and Popcorn, and also established Mozilla’s successful individual fundraising program. Ryan was most recently managing director and senior vice president of public affairs at Vision Critical, a Vancouver-based SaaS and market research firm. Before that he held leadership roles at Toronto’s City Hall, including senior advisor to Mayor David Miller, where he initiated Toronto’s open data project. Ryan also served as director of corporate communications for the City of Vancouver and the 2010 Winter Olympics. He has an impressive track record of leadership in civic-minded and technology-centered organizations — and I think he’ll make a great leader in the Creative Commons movement.
I am thrilled to welcome Ryan Merkley as the incoming CEO of Creative Commons.
This is an important moment in the history of the organization. After eleven years, CC licenses are globally recognized as the definitive tool for sharing creative works. Millions across the world use CC as a force for good in their communities. We are building universal access to knowledge and culture as we had hoped — within the freedoms we craft inside copyright.
But the web has changed, and its users with it. And CC must too. I am excited and incredibly pleased that Ryan has agreed to join CC as the leader to take CC into its next era.
My path to CC has been unorthodox, but feels logical in retrospect. My commitment to public service and the public good; my deep belief in the power of technology; and my work to support the open Web as a place for everyone to create, share, and connect. Those are common threads that run through my work at the City of Toronto, at Mozilla, and now with Creative Commons.
Why am I joining CC? Because its success is so vital, and I want to ensure we succeed. Creativity, knowledge, and innovation need a public commons — a collection of works that are free to use, re-use, and build upon — the shared resources of our society. The restrictions we place on copyright, like fair use and the public domain, are an acknowledgement that all creativity and knowledge owe something to what came before.
There needs to be a balance that allows business models to thrive, and allows shared work to proliferate.
In the modern copyright environment, each one of us has to make a conscious decision to share our work. It can be complicated, confusing, and expensive. But we need creators to be inspired to do it anyway. We need governments, nonprofits, and institutions to give the public permission to use their works. We need an organization that makes the case, creates solutions so that sharing is easy even when the legal frameworks make it difficult, and that champions the benefits — both to individual creators, and to society.
Half a billion licensed works is an impressive achievement, but today’s Facebook users upload 350 million photos a day, and YouTube users upload over 100 hours of video a minute (yes, some of it CC-licensed). I want to drive more licensed works into the commons by breaking down the barriers — legal and technical — for individual creators. And we need tools to help those who would reuse their work to find it quickly and easily.
Creative Commons is based in Mountain View, Calif., and Merkley plans to split his time between there and his home in Toronto starting June 1. The organization has a full-time staff of 17 and a 2014 budget of $4.8 million with revenue of $4.3 million.
Still, one of the principal challenges for the organization is to keep tabs on its licensees, Mr. Merkley said. The 500 million total “is an estimate, not an actual number,” he said. “It is hard to track them.”