Andy Raskin has turned in a very good, long feature on Creative Commons — including some quotes from me — that does a terrrific job of explaining the project and why it's important.
The "sharing economy" is built on a supply-and-demand equation wholly alien to traditional media companies — the record labels, Hollywood studios, and publishing houses that support strict copyright enforcement. It's powered instead by the Allan Vilhans of the world, digital artists who promote sharing as a means to obtain everything from 15 minutes of Internet fame to licensing deals, job offers, and mainstream publishing contracts. For these artists, rampant Internet file swapping isn't a threat, but a blessing: the cheapest way to move from unknown to known.
The sharing economy is already worth billions of dollars, but its direct beneficiaries aren't mainstream entertainment companies. Instead, they're the likes of Apple (AAPL), Adobe (ADBE), and EarthLink (ELNK) — firms that sell the hardware, software, and bandwidth required to produce and distribute, say, a Howard Dean howl remix. But for the sharing economy to expand its scope and realize its full potential, it needs a signpost: a branded icon participants can use to tell each other, "Download my work. Modify it. Send it to a friend. Please." Creative Commons aims to play that role.