MS enriches Creative Commons with PowerPoints™

Plug me in

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Readers have noted the endless banality of the "Creative Commons" here at El Reg before.

Now all that's set to change. The terabytes of Sunday doodles and absent-minded loops which are already available for 'remixing', will soon be joined by purchasing lists, sales forecasts, corporate mission statements, and World Cup All Time Best XIs. Microsoft has released a plug-in for Microsoft Office 2003 which automates the process of choosing a Creative Commons license, and embeds it in the Office document.

"Office is a tool for creating," said the project's most prominent supporter, Stanford law school Professor Larry Lessig, in his personal journal.

"Giving the creator more control over that creativity is a way to make the Office platform more valuable to creators."

Creative Commons is intended to automate the process of requesting copyright permissions - which few DIY web publishers in 2006 bother to do anymore. However, Creative Commons endorses an incredibly complex matrix of licensing options - some of which are not free at all. So the idea of embedding a machine-readable license into a document is core to the success of the venture. In theory, it allows web searchers to identify what material is available, and what can be done with it, without the intervention of a human.

The only thing that's missing is a machine-writable mechanism - which would remove the human being from the creative process entirely. But then, with material of this quality, who'd notice the absence?

The PowerPoints are coming.®

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