Creative Commons Facing IRS Threat

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The non-profit Creative Commons licensing project needs to raise $225,000 by the end of 2005 to face down the IRS requirement of “public support.”

Visitors to Creative Commons chairman Lawrence Lessig’s website will see a link to the organization’s fundraising program. According to Lessig, Creative Commons needs to do some public fundraising, otherwise their tax-exempt status could be in jeopardy.

In comments to the story, Lessig noted the problem was tax-exemption related, writing “The live or die is that foundations are blocked from donating when there’s a tax exempt problem.” Currently the organization needs to raise about another $100,000 by year’s end.

Creative Commons provides licenses that content creators can use to make certain uses of their work available under terms that are less restrictive than a full copyright. They call it “Some Rights Reserved.” Content creators can use the service for free.

Licenses cover attribution, noncommercial use, derivative works, and sharing. Many of the licenses can be combined; a song can be licensed under Creative Commons as requiring attribution, restricting commercial use without permission, and permitting the creation of a derivative work (like a mashup) from the song as long as the mashup is distributed with the same license as the original song.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Creative Commons Facing IRS Threat
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