The rapid growth of digital technologies over the last decade has led to a revolution in the creation and dissemination of knowledge – a revolution that has created unprecedented challenges for copyright law. The ‘all rights reserved’ model of traditional copyright law, with its complex legal concepts and requirement for permission for even the most common and non-controversial of uses, does not fit well with an environment which both enables and requires reproduction and communication on an unprecedented scale. From a legal perspective, one of the most significant responses to these changes has been the development of new licensing systems designed to open up access to and use of protected material. These ‘open content licensing’ (OCL) models preserve the creator’s intellectual property rights whilst giving permission in advance for the content to be used more broadly than would be permitted under default copyright law. The most popular and widespread of these licensing models in relation to creative material is Creative Commons (CC).
In November 2006, the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCi), in conjunction with the Queensland University of Technology, hosted the CCau Industry Forum, a research-focused industry engagement event. The event was run by the CCi ccClinic and CC + OCL Research projects, and aimed to evaluate understanding of and attitudes towards copyright, OCL and CC in Australia. The Forum focused on the government, education and the creative industries sectors.