CC0 Licensing: What is it and Why it Matters

Deep diving into the CC0 license: what it is, how it works, and the bull case for dedicating rights to the public domain.
Deep diving into the CC0 license: what it is, how it works, and the bull case for dedicating rights to the public domain.

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Mint Season 5 episode 4 welcomes Emma-Jane Mackinnon-Lee, Founder of DIGITALAX, a web3 fashion company, and founder of The Copyright Cartel, a dedicated Web3 Creative Commons DAO.

We deep dive into the CC0 license: what it is, how it works, and the bull case for dedicating rights to the public domain.

In this episode, we discuss: 

  • 00:10 – Intro 
  • 01:36 – What is CC0 DAO?
  • 03:03 – Getting Started in Web3
  • 05:58 – Emma-Jane’s Upbringing
  • 13:48 – Biggest Takeaways Working on Wall Street
  • 19:34 – Motivation Behind Starting CC0
  • 24:11 – Examples of CC0 Licensing
  • 28:16 – How to Capture Value With CC0 Licensing
  • 34:54 – What Are Some Areas That You Think People Have Yet to Experiment with Using the CC0 License?
  • 41:50: – The Future From CC0 DAO?
  • 46:32 – Outro 

…and so much more. 

I hope you enjoy our conversation. 

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Emma-Jane, welcome to mint. Thank you for being on. How are you doing?

Emma-Jane: I’m doing well. How are you?


I’m good. It’s been what? A year and a half since the last time we did one of these, last time you were on, I guess, a panel or segment that I was hosting was my last, gig blockchain and booze. What was it? I think about a year and a half ago. Like I said, ferocious was on, Jordan Lyle was on, and a couple other people were on. And it’s been a long time coming. Okay. Long, long time coming. last conversation we had was on fashion, okay, fashion and NFTs in general. But this time, I want to really talk to you about CC0 and this whole CC0 summer craze. It’s kind of like going across crypto Twitter, and what better person to talk to you than yourself with all the projects that you’re involved with. Okay, before we dive right in, who are you? What does the world need to know about you? We can start right there, and we can kind of move.

Emma-Jane: Right? So many things. But probably the most relevant to this podcast is a founded a web three fashion protocol and ecosystem back in 2020. That’s called DIGITALAX. has been building that out for the past year and a half now. I also have my own web three fashion label manifesto and I’m a big supporter advocate amplifier user of CC0 public domain content, and particularly in the web three context. So, I also started what’s called CC0 DAO, which was more recent around December last year.

What is CC0 DAO?

Okay, CC0 DAO. What is CC0 DAO? How does that work? And how does that kind of tie into you getting started into crypto?

Emma-Jane: Yeah, so, CC0 DAO, its stands for copyright cartels, zero DAO. But it’s a DAO, it’s a community and kind of infrastructure builders, where we’re really dedicated to pioneering web three Creative Commons, content, knowledge, usability, within the space, because, like you said, are moving into what we’re calling like CC0 summer after defining NFT summer, it’s becoming much more relevant to creators of understanding, how do they keep advancing their self-sovereignty? And what are the tools and mechanisms available to actually do that. And a lot of the, really all of the copyright licensing that’s out there today incredibly restrictive. It doesn’t actually promote the free exchange of ideas, inventions, people being able to engage in free markets. And so, web three and NFTs in the technology around us and we’ll go into more details of that changes, the whole model of how creators can actually deal with ownership and use of their content. And so CC0 DAO is all about pioneering that when we do a ton of cool projects and have a really awesome community around it as well.

Getting Started in Web3

So that’s like that’s like sub niche, sub niche, sub niche culture. And I’m curious more, how did you get your foot in the door into web three? Like, what did your journey into the space look like?

Emma-Jane: Right, so, I started quite some time ago, I first became really interested in Ethereum, and Bitcoin and just the crypto space in general, around 2016 was very much like me on my computer, reading forums, you know, joining kind of tech communities to understand more about it, and the really salient thing that stood out to me it was all about self-sovereignty, and really, as an individual, what am I inherent rights? And how can I actually increase my self-determination? How can I just be able to walk down the street and know that I have optionality, and I’m not at the whims of someone else, and very much how societies set up today. I mean, literally what we’ve seen over the past, think it’s almost been two months now since Putin invaded Ukraine, that there’s all of these choke points. And if you’re not the person that is controlling that choke point, because maybe you’re, you weren’t born into it, or your daddy’s, daddy’s, daddy didn’t kill this person for land that’s gonna lead you to where you are now. And we’re kind of given you that that seat. You’re ultimately at the whims of someone else. And a lot of us are in that situation where we’re kind of living these borrowed lives. And going back to it, just like with Putin, invading Ukraine, one man and you know, the horrendous, tyrannical decisions that he’s made. It’s just causing absolute death and mass destruction for innocent civilians, you know, completely disgusting, but at the same time, it’s like what can people do in a sense, it’s all been just yet collapsing because of the decisions of this one person. And so, it’s very much even in what we call a western culture and society the same thing, it just seems sometimes more abstracted. Like I mentioned before, I like to call it like communism with margins. And what I mean by that, it’s like, whenever you want to do something, or get something done, get something passed, you have to go to some bureaucrat somewhere who is signing off for you or saying that they believe that this is good or bad, and what the outcome should be for your life. And so that’s really got me interested into it. And from there, yeah, things kind of kept tumbling. And I went from more the finance side to then NFTs, looking at web three, gaming, and then into NFT web three fashion.

Emma-Jane’s Upbringing

So, Emma, I have a lot of people, I’ve interviewed over 200 people on, I guess, collectively over across different shows. And you’re the first person that brought up that self-sovereign point of view, despite how big of a topic it is in crypto, one that I also somewhat aligned with that that level of individuality of self-sustainability, right? I really, I really aligned with that. You’re the first person that kind of like, brings up this comment of, I guess, marginal communism. I’m curious to learn more about like your upbringing, like what type of environment if you’re open to sharing, like, what type of environment that you grew up with? That has naturally led you down this path you think?

Emma-Jane: Yeah. Good question. So, in terms of like my childhood, I’m from Australia, and the majority of it from like, very young to around 10, or 11, I grew up in a really small beach town on the east coast of Australia, called Lenox head, it’s near Byron Bay, which to anyone listening, that’s kind of where I’m from.

Shout out.

Emma-Jane: Exactly. But that was really incredible childhood in terms of just never having to really go without. And then when I was 11, I moved to Sydney, which is more of like, biggest city in Australia, compared to the US. But yeah, it’s like tall buildings and highways. And so, I moved there. And from 12, to I’m 23. Now, around 21, there was a lot of kind of different things that I experienced, from more of a personal family side. Schooling side to also, I’m very much in kind of like the workplace may never work for anyone, I was always more on like a collaborative co-founder kind of levels, but all of these really salient situations where I realized that if you don’t own yourself, and every part about yourself your most intimate tools, that ultimately you’re always going to be at the whims of someone else, if you’re whims of someone else, they can do whatever they want, they can turn on the on and off switch, mess around with you, in very varying degrees from, you know, extreme severeness to lighter, and you can’t really do anything about it, it’s very, very difficult. And so, yeah, it was really just kind of kept getting

stronger, a lot of those passes as I grew up, and me coming to more of that conclusion of, well, you need to be able to have that full inherent right to self-determination. And now we have the technology to actually do that.

So, preparing for this interview, I read a little bit about your bio, and did some research on you. And since you got started in 2016, surfing the web for Bitcoin Ethereum, I also understand that you had like a hedge fund kind of like background, right, which, which is like weird to think of, because off the surface, you come off, so creative, and you come off, so like expressive with the pink hair and the things that you’re involved with. And I feel like it’s like the antithesis of what a hedge fund job may look and feel like, is that like, am I onto something here?

Emma-Jane: So, I’d say a few things. So definitely, like traditional hedge fund jobs, like yes, like boring, corporate, you know, sit in a great cubicle and screen for like, what, 16, 17 hours a day, I was on the crypto side. So that’s entirely different, in many ways, because it’s like Wild West. And for me, as a creator, it’s all about being able to just have full range or the full extent of across like every field. And I’ve always loved that. And so, finance, it can be incredibly creative, especially when you’re in a community and you’re on the bleeding edge of technology and markets, like in web three, where the entire thing is not only dynamic, but you know, like you’ve mentioned, you’re actually building new rails and new financial economic rails for guaranteeing self-sovereignty for every individual globally. And that is incredibly exciting. So, when I was at the hedge fund, it was definitely more rooted in the trading side. And I was mostly an options trader. That’s what I absolutely love it. I cannot do a trade. It’s just entirely gambling. Like you have no idea what’s going on. It’s all no noise, no signal. But I was actually trained at the fund by Bruno XO, who’s known as the London Whale. He was part of JP Morgan and their CEO office from 2000 to 2012. And hedged the entire bank’s balance sheets during the global financial crisis. But he taught me what’s called variant swaps, which is this more complex and advanced options strategy. And it’s all about really setting up these mechanisms, that when there are what’s called these black swan events in the market. So, you know, one day everything can be great next day, you see, everything’s crashed, or it’s gone crazy up, it’s really about like the difference in the Delta itself. And that, that asymmetry, and being able to create these trading strategies that actually capture that. And so, it’s very cool, because it’s completely different and left field to pretty much how the entirety of Wall Street American economy, American stock markets run, where it’s all about, really that more day trading approach. But Black Swan and variance swaps is about all going back to the fact that you actually know nothing. And everything around you is dynamic, and you cannot predict. So instead of trying to predict or guess about what’s happening in the future, let’s set up a mechanism that no matter what happens, you’re going to be able to capture and profit off of the moves in the market. So that as well was like absolutely interesting. And there’s so much that I learned during that time that I take into building DIGITALAX, what’s your fashion protocol that I founded and everything else?

Talk to me about that? What were some of the biggest takeaways that you kind of like took with you from? Was it an internship first of all, was it a full-time job? How long was the gig?

Emma-Jane: Right? Yeah, so, I’m completely full time, I was, I slept in the office.

Nice. Wow

Emma-Jane: Yeah, literally. For like, three years now. I’ve slept.

But wait, you’re 23 though. You’re 23? What? How old were you when you were doing this?

I was 20. Yeah. So, it’s like.

Timeout. How did you get an opportunity to like that? How do you put yourself in a room of that, like of that nature, of that professionalism at such a young age?

Emma-Jane: So, I guess, like a few different things led me there, I was studying space engineering at the time and that was when I decided to drop out. I wanted to go and pursue the fun, like full time dive into cryptos as like, this is entirely the future. Staying in a traditional educational school is not going to get many things, it’s gonna get me certificate on paper. That’s it. So, I dropped out and went into that full time. And it was pretty crazy. It was yeah, like 19, 20 hours a day to like, two three-day vendors. I slept on the floor of the office, you know, showered, when I could, it was very hectic. But I love that. And I’ve really extended that like, including to flex and I think that’s for anyone that comes into crypto, they realize this space moves fast. And because there is such a dislike founding of financial incentive to it in a sense. And the markets are very much more like roar to like the community. And when people are coming in, they’re looking at floor prices, or they’re looking at okay, how’s the token actually trending? How’s it doing? Yeah, things are a lot more hectic. And so, I’m really happy and so grateful that I had that background because being a founder in this space, if you don’t have at least some understanding of you know, how does the economic system work? Why is it set up the way it is? You get kind of a lot of punches thrown at you. Yeah, days, like what we’re experiencing now everything’s crashing down, it can be pretty scary if you don’t know how to ground yourself.

Biggest Takeaways Working on Wall Street

You know, I’m a big believer. I also did a bunch of internships throughout college, I didn’t study aerospace or anything of that nature, which congrats, like that’s sick as hell, like, that’s really, really cool. But I’m a big believer that everything that you do kind of like in those early days, those first few gigs that you take to yourself, and you start like getting into the professional space, really end up shaping the rest of your career as to the examples that you see how people work, how things are done, processes, systems, strategies, all these things. And I often look back to all these past experiences that kind of helped me go throughout the day to day of being more independent self-sovereign during the podcast in other things, right. I’m curious now that you’ve kind of left the hedge fund world, which seems incredibly intense, like incredibly time consuming. And now you’re more of in the creative world doing fashion, doing CC0 related things. What were some of your biggest takeaways, like what were the biggest learning lessons, I guess, either learning lessons strategies, working for this guy who is like a beast on Wall Street that you kind of took with you into what you’re doing now?

Emma-Jane: Yeah, I would say one of the really big things is that often when we grow up were made to believe that things are just the way that they are. But when you look into it more, it’s really, there is like kind of strong narrative to it and if you follow how money is routed or how value flows, you can often kind of understand better why people are incentivized to do different things and I think that was a really big part, the fun of it, I’ve always been incredibly curious and never just accepted things, because other people said, or because the system was set up the way it is. But really being able to just go deeper into like, economics, and, you know, capitalism, communism, you name it. Yeah, just like understand how, why that set up and why governments, politicians, you know, corporate giants, why they keep reinforcing things that are actually incredibly negative for the majority of the population and why things don’t change. And that was really key to me and that’s also when I realized just how transcendent web three is, and the technology that’s being built. Because for the first time, it’s really about going incredibly upstream to economics, which a lot of stuff before it’s been hijacked, when you think about web two, and that was completely hijacked by VCs, corporates, you name it and that was really because although this amazing technology was being built and being advanced, it was detached in a way to incentives, and will help people able to influence incentives that was still very much concentrated to the very few. And so web three is all about decentralizing the capital stack, it’s about open access permissionless, anyone now can build an economy from the ground up, you have the technological tools to do that and that’s super powerful, because it means that you aren’t reliant on governments, you aren’t reliant on corporates and other centralized bodies, where fundamentally their incentives are misaligned than yours and if that’s the case, then you can go out there and say, hey, I want to take on the world. But a lot of your efforts will become altruistic, which is really sad. That’s what we see today with so many things, whether that’s sustainability, whether that’s, you know, human rights causes, so much of it really does become people walking down the street, and it’s a rally cry, but the impact is so little, and things just continue on the way that they have and seem to have been for a very long time. Because if you can’t change the way that money flows, and who can create and destroy money, or create destroy value trade value, then you’re always going to be stuck within that that same system.

Yeah, I’m curious to kind of to hear your perspective on I guess, would you go back to that period of working on Wall Street? Do you ever see yourself doing that again? Like, would you spend time doing it again?

Emma-Jane: Right, I feel like I still spend time doing it now, in the sense of when you’re in web three, and crypto and if you know, building a project, running a project, partner project, whatever shape or form, that financial layer is incredibly salient and strong, it doesn’t leave. And when you’re building out a protocol, this is what’s like, the most coolest thing about it, what I say to people, like when I meet people that are still in web two, or they’re building like a social media app, kind of like, you know, explore more of the web three space, because you’re able to literally create an entire economy and civilization across every layer of the stack, from capital to culture, to technology to governance. It’s amazing. And it’s all about, you know, incentives, being able to actually construct systems that incentivize people to engage within free markets to build out different things to collaborate within a network, but then also, at the same time, continue to advance their own independence and self-sovereignty. And this is something even with building DIGITALAX, we have a number of different tokens in our ecosystem from ERC, 20 tokens trading to NFTs, and different varieties of NFTs as well, that act as like keys and passes to unlock whether that’s physical experiences, content, whatever. And that’s a huge kind of extension from the more traditional financial system as it is now.

Motivation Behind Starting CC0

So can we shift really quick talking about more of the cartel that you formed, the CC0 DAO, okay. Can you walk me through like the genesis of creating that organization, and more of the motivations as to what kind of like inspired his birth?

Emma-Jane: Yeah. So, the inspiration itself, it really came back to the same thing of self-sovereignty, self-determination, and how do we keep advancing and extending this Across all layers. And a huge part of that is content itself, which within, you know, more of web two, and also very much society and how it’s set up today, we have a lot of licensing agreements, copyright trademarks, you name it, all of these restrictions that are placed on what creators can and can’t do with the content that they make or other people make, and how that can ultimately be used by others within the network or the market. And a lot of those and really, actually all in the majority of those copyright restrictions, they don’t actually benefit the creators that have, you know, made the original or the derivative works, or are going out there to seek some licensing for what they think will kind of create this protection over whatever they’ve created, and then be able to give them some more financial reward within the future. And what we’ve seen, you know, over many decades is actually this model. It’s highly impractical. And it doesn’t work, it only benefits the very few. And it only benefits those that already had the power in the first place. So massive corporations like Disney, Pixar, Apple, Airbnb, Facebook, whatever, any of this kind of big content production, technological companies. So, the copyright cartel zero CC0 DAO, this was really created for two core reasons. One was to bring forth more infrastructure, and also establish more of a community dedicated to advancing web three Creative Commons. So public domain, but particularly within the web three landscape and field. So how NFTs, DAO governance, how this all contributes to actually further advancing well capitalized open source and public domain content. And then the second part of it was also really about bringing more of the knowledge out there to other creators, so they can understand okay, well, how is this relevant to me? And why is this actually giving me more rights than the traditional restrictive copyright system? Because there is this stigma that many creators have of oh, if I give my work into the public domain, it means that I’m devaluing it, or it must mean that I can’t monetize off it that now it’s free. So that was started in December last year. And it’s been a really exciting journey since then, because more of the crypto community is understanding, well, public domain and CC0 is something that’s super exciting and cool, and we’re kind of like leading up into CC0 summer.

So, what are some of the earliest examples of CC0 licenses being applied to NFTs that come to mind?

Emma-Jane: Right, so a really big and prominent one is definitely NOUNS DAO, which a lot of people have heard of, that started around seven to eight months ago. And it’s these daily auctions that around on Ethereum, these little nouns like pixelated characters, but everything is entirely public domain. And then one also dear to X is another one of the kind of early samples that was even back in 2020, we started open sourcing 1155 material texture and print NFTs as like this open source fashion library, but the entire protocol now is completely CC0. We did that around February.

So, what does it mean to actually I guess, like open-source textures in digital fabrics and more of the fashion world online? What does that mean exactly?

Emma-Jane:  Right. So ultimately, it means that anyone can use that content material for anything they like without restriction, it means that there is really no policing on what they can and can’t do. They don’t have to attribute, they can screenshot, they can download, they can remix, they can just take the thing and like literally remint it with the same name and put a price tag on it. Yeah, absolutely no restriction on the usage or derivations that come out of it.

Examples of CC0 Licensing

So, NOUNS and DIGITALAX are like examples in the NFT world. What are some examples of CC0 licensing being applied? I guess, in the physical world, for example, and the real, like, the more I guess, present world?

Emma-Jane: some of the bigger examples is definitely like artworks. Like if you think about the Mona Lisa, like famous, prominent artworks, these are all entirely in the public domain, which means like any creator can use them. And it’s why you often see like, fashion or posters or whatever incorporating, you know, significant artworks. It’s because actually, yeah, it’s entirely free in a sense for them to be able to access and then not have restriction when they’re using that in other forms. So, there’s that, there’s also scientific journals. A lot of those have been put out into the public domain so they can be used in different ways. But in many ways in web two, CC0 content is considered more rare and something that’s more like an altruistic or like government level. It’s not often that you see like an indie creator, or a private organization, that is saying, hey, we’re going to actually just create all this stuff and put it out there. Which is interesting. And there’s a few reasons why that we can go back to kind of like the foundations of why copyright started in the first place. And ultimately, the founding fathers, when they established like this, the copyright regime, it was only ever meant to be temporary. And it was really about having this understanding that ideas are always best propagated when there is this free exchange, and there isn’t restrictions put on where they can go and how they can be used. But at that time, really the economic infrastructure, it wasn’t able to support and incentivize, and it wasn’t set up in a way where it could incentivize a broader range of creators with kind of just saying, hey, we want to promote innovation invention within the economy, but we’re not going to really give any structure around it, we’re just going to say, hey, go out there and create, and then let’s hope that it kind of propagates something. And so, they put the copyright regime in place as this temporary incentive for creators to say that when you actually go and you put something out there, you can have some guarantees that it’s not going to just be used in ways that will exploit you will mean that all of your hard work potentially might go to zero. If someone else just takes that and then claims it to themselves, you can have kind of some more. Yeah, like ledger within our system that you actually created at this time. And that’s going to be recognized. But unfortunately, that got completely hijacked by what is really the copyright cartel which exists today, amongst corporates. More like the political side of things, you name it. And like Disney is a great example of this, where it’s just used by these bigger behemoths and players to bully independent creators into actually giving up more of their rights and paying huge fees for a certificate on paper where they really don’t ever see anything back from that. And that’s what’s been amazing about web three and NFTs is that it entirely moves on to a new infrastructure and system, where because you have this transparent on chain record of what you created, and when it’s time stamped, now you don’t need to have this like additional convoluted licensing. Instead, you can say, well, actually, anyone can use it, I’m not going to restrict the propagation of my content, because it gains more valuable, the more people can see it. But I’m going to actually define now the ownership specifically. And that’s where you actually monetize on who can actually own what detaching from how the content can be used.

How to Capture Value With CC0 Licensing

So, let’s talk about value capture. So monetizing ownership. So, when everything is public domain, free to use, free to license, free to duplicate, do whatever the hell you want with it. How does value get captured back to the original owner? What does that look like on chain?

Emma-Jane: Yeah, really? Good question. So, I would say two points to that. I mean, ultimately, today, it’s really the same thing. I mean, everything can be so easily copied like the biggest in NFTs is like right, click Save As, and oh, I own it. But everyone in NFTs knows, well, hold on. It doesn’t really matter. Like I could go and screenshot literally BAYC or a punk now, and I can put that on Open Sea, no one can stop me, am I going to get bids on it. Maybe, there might be people out there who don’t like to know how to verify, like, read the verified contracts, and so forth. So, they’re going to be bidding. But ultimately, that NFT is really going to hold no value, unless I do some like major public stance around it that builds more of the narrative story. And that’s really what this comes down to is where does the actual value come from? Where does the money come from? And it’s not actually from just the content itself. It’s really about the broader narrative that is built around that content. Even you know, people are a great example. A lot of people kind of scratch their heads and said, well, how did this you know, random 3d artists, you know, get a bid of $69 million on like a JPEG. But now when you go back and you look more into people’s story, well, it wasn’t random at all for I think it was like over 13 years. He was putting out art every day into the public domain entirely CC0 is a great example, entirely open source, everyday consistently for 13 years and he built up this amazing narrative and story and also a community around him that supported him that believed in what he was doing and could get behind that. And now when he was able to go out there and sell some of his work as an NFT, there was this new mechanism for him to be able to now capture all of that value, which wasn’t possible before. And that’s a really big part of it. It’s using this new technology to say, well, we’re actually going to separate the use or more the publication of the content from the actual ownership of it and status, the story and symbol around owning it.

Yeah, I try to think about how this can kind of come back to let’s say, like a podcast level, like how can this concept be applied to every creator, from images, I get it, I get there’s also like web two libraries of royalty free music that you can use and apply. And kind of like use to your own work, however the way, however you want. But I guess from my point of view, and I know we talked this offline, I talked about this offline for a little bit is how can this apply, be applied? Excuse me to audio, for example, like podcasts? Should I just put my voice out there, for example, and allow anybody to kind of use it for whatever the hell they want? And what are the pros and cons of doing that? Right? Like, what are the pros and cons of NOUNS DAO, for example, giving full access, so I get the pros. Okay. But what’s the downside to that?

Emma-Jane: Right. So, I wouldn’t really say that there is more of a downside. I just think it’s more about recognizing that when you do this, it’s about changing your mindset from often how we’re kind of total brought up within the current system of that policing? Or how do we lock stuff down? How do we make sure that someone doesn’t say take if you put your audio out there in public domain, then don’t go and take that and then put it in some weird Family Guy, that then you might feel embarrassed by or you might not want to have associated with.

Which I guess like in the big picture, like that’s, that’s a net positive, like it’s getting more exposure, it’s getting more virality. But I guess then the question like to counter that. It’s like, how can I capture that value back to myself like, okay, you might be scrolling on Tik Tok and Instagram. And you hear a tidbit, right? And maybe Instagram or Tik Tok, they get that value. But me as a creator, I don’t get that value like that, to transfer money. Maybe on a smart contract level, we can program addresses to basically be intertwined within every single, I don’t know, share, retweet whatever that looks like in the future. But currently, the way things stand today, I still don’t capture that value. Like I know, there’s a lot of content on Tik Tok that gets transferred to Instagram. And it’s just repurposed audio. And when you click on the audio, there’s like, there’s no real way to kind of identify who it is where it belongs to. But it went viral, you know, the person got the exposure, but the person never gets like the recognition for it, if that’s what they’re after, for example.

Emma-Jane: Right. So, I would say that today. It’s already live in, it’s very doable. And what I mean by that is that this is really what NFTs, and ERC 20 tokens are built for, it’s all about being able to actually capture that value. Because like you said, if something goes viral, and Tik Tok now and you are just putting out content there? How do you actually capture it? Well, it’s almost impossible, because what can people buy or purchase? Where can they put their money towards? I mean, you can’t really on Tik Tok, or Instagram. Okay, there’s ads kind of, but as a creator or a consumer? Yeah, it’s very convoluted. It’s not actually like this kind of clear step by step of how you actually get to like that source and then see what the creator behind it. And so today, if, as a, you know, a podcaster and running a podcast, well, if you had a series of NFT products out there, and also a community token, will immediately as your content is gaining virality, or it’s being used in all these different forms and mediums, that is able to be directly channeled back into the price that people are willing to pay to be part of your community to purchase your NFTs, to gain access to the content, you know, maybe exclusive drops, early access to different podcasts or whatever. So, it really is built in that way, you now have these very direct financial rails where if someone likes what you’re doing, they can put their money where their mouth is, in a sense and purchase that. And the great thing is it’s not just this kind of yeah, I guess purchase where it’s like a key that is buying product off the shelf. And that’s it now that it’s an NFT, it’s also this key that unlocks within the ecosystem, that and community that you’re building out. And you know, like I mentioned, that could be something as cool as like being able to attend an IRL NYC rooftop party, to then, you know, going on another adventure, where maybe you could even contribute to like the story of the podcasts or who’s going to actually be on the show, like having governance rights within that which is super exciting.

What Are Some Areas That You Think People Have Yet to Experiment With Using the CC0 License?

Yeah. So, this this kind of reminds me back to a conversation I had with David Greenstein founder, co-founder and CEO of sound dot XYZ, the music NFT marketplace where he basically as he’s, he on boarded, I guess over 100 artists so far to the platform bringing over $2.6 million. And he’s like, oftentimes what you see these artists doing with their NFTs is an unlock secondary value. So, what do I mean by that, there’s a primary value of the of the NFT selling the secondary value of being part of that list to purchase the NFT and then kind of like having these all these additional perks and rights that come with future drops? So, for example, I think it was Pussy Riot who did a drop on sound on XYZ, and then use those NFTs as a way to kind of whitelist people for another drop that she was doing separately from sound dot XYZ. And that brought in more value to the entire collection. So, I get that, I get like the new web three, like meant to models, of creating value, of bringing value back to collectors, adding utility, unlocking content, all these other things. I guess we’re just still so early on to the process seven to eight months is the, I guess the most found example of NOUNs, which is the most successful CC0 project from, from my understanding to date. So, we have yet to see how this kind of, how this stuff kind of like unfolds in the future. So, what are some areas that you think people have yet to experiment with using the CC0 license?

Emma-Jane: Look, I think every layer, I think, like you said, because it is early, really, the big thing is just more creators submitting works into the public domain. And for themselves, seeing how that doesn’t mean that that work is exploited in any way. In fact, it’s granting them more rights, and that they can still go out there and sell their NFTs for significant amounts of money. Just like NOUNs, you know, like you said, it’s every day, there’s bits of like, 80 Eth, or whatever coming in, for these little pixelated characters when they’re there’s no licensing or copyright around them at all, which is pretty amazing. And what that show is, is again, the value doesn’t come from just a JPEG or a more unique JPEG, or more different JPEG, because that has no defensibility in itself. That’s, you know, really fighting for a lost cause. Because as a creator, if you’re going in from that mindset of well, how do I just create something more and more unique? Because that’s certainly where the value comes from. It means that as more creators come into the space, it just gets harder and harder to differentiate yourself because more people are gonna be doing more unique things. And so instead, the way to look at it is really, how do I actually build up a really strong community around what I’m doing? And then how do I use these NFTs as keys, like you mentioned the secondary value, to unlock even greater things and build the strength of that that economy because that’s really where the defensibility comes for. But I’d say that a big part of that I’m excited for, what we’ve definitely seen in kind of like the past three months within the NFT space, particularly is this corporate consolidation. It started appearing a little bit towards the end of last year, but it’s definitely picked up. Were these bigger corporates, Legacy fashion brands in particular from Nike, Adidas, you know, Louis Vuitton, you name it, they’re coming in, and they’re dropping NFTs, taking large amounts of liquidity out of crypto and back into field.

But really not caring so much about the community and doing these NFT drops is just kind of staying in that hype race of oh, where, you know, building for the metaverse, so we’re experimenting the NFTs and web three, because that’s the new thing now. And that’s the thing making headlines. And although, you know, when people say is that good or bad, I’ve kind of two thoughts that in one way is like great in terms of just amount of publicity, and more eyes that it brings on different topics within NFT’s like it definitely furthers more of the message to more people out there. But at the same time, these corporates in these groups are not incentivized the same way as like a retail or an independent builder or creator within Web three, their priorities are entirely different. And they don’t align with decentralization. I mean, their model is so wrapped up within traditional liability that it can’t become a flexible, dynamic DAO and so why CC0 is kind of very important to that side. It is really a stopper against this corporate consolidation as well and what I mean by that it undercuts these corporates because their business model really relies on that traditional licensing system. It relies on being able to punish creators that use their IP or their content without their permission. It relies on then being able to in terms of the supply chain, just reduce the cost of what it makes to create their items and increase slave labor to be able to do that. And then put higher margins when they sell their products to the market. That’s how they gain more of that profit. So, if you’re as a creator, able to reduce your supply chain costs to, you know, even below zero by using public domain content, gaining access to free resources materials out there, to then use that to make a more unique work or another derivative, it really means that now you have the ability to actually go up against them, and to undercut the prices that they’re putting out there. Because ultimately, what the prices you have to put out to actually make that product are becoming less and less through access to CC0, so that’s something really exciting.

So, when someone wants to make something, CC0, quote, unquote, how do they do that? They just put that in, like the description. Okay, this is a CC0 NFT, do whatever the hell you want with it. Is there some formal process to go through to legally I guess, make it public domain? What does that look like?

Emma-Jane: Yeah, so the best way to do it, especially in the web three space is just to post on Twitter. You don’t even need to put it in description, like some projects do. Some don’t. Like even for example, like with NOUNs, the actual NOUN description, I don’t think has it, but when you go on the site, there’s just like an FAQ section FAQ section. So, it says like this project CC0. That’s it. So yeah, you don’t need to and that’s the amazing thing about it is you don’t need to go and pay a lawyer or pay some clerk to process a document, you know, which it’s ends up costing hundreds of dollars. And that is something that a lot of creators don’t just have put out there. You can just literally do a post on Twitter and say, hey, this image CC0, do whatever you want with it.

The Future From CC0 DAO?

Got it. So, what can we expect in the future from the cartel that you started, the copyright cartel? What’s in store? Yeah, it’s copyright cartels, what’s in store?

Emma-Jane: Right? So, we actually forked where we do a lot of engineering deployments, we actually fork, the nouns contracts, and we have daily CC0 auctions. So, every day, a different creator puts out a CC0 image, video, whatever. And that goes to auction, which has been really cool. And the DAO bids on those items as well, sometimes to really support the creators behind it. But we’re deploying soon, a purely CC0 NFT marketplace, which is really exciting. So, it means that any time anyone meets on there, that content, it’s understood that it’s in the public domain. But the CC0 DAO is also collaborating with a number of other products, particularly within the DIGITALAX ecosystem. So number of fashion brands, and designers that we have within like the global design, network DAO, and bringing more of their fashion content to the public domain, where the streetwear brand and like web three fashion label that I have a few manifestor that’s all public domain and in CC0, so anything that’s created out of that, from like, the physical fashion, to modeling images to like digital blender files, that all gets submitted as well into repository for any creator to be able to use.

So, with DIGITALAX, do you, I guess, your bet is that there’s more money to be made by making everything public domain than there is in trying to control it and spending lawyers and money on lawyers to try to fight and retain ownership and control and all that stuff. Which, if you think about it, that’s what a lot of these big brands or all these big brands kind of like bet on, it’s like the control the ownership of their IP from Disney, you named a bunch. So, I guess your bet in your experiment here is that by making everything open source, there’s more value to be captured. It’s better for the ecosystem as a whole. And, of course, there’s value to kind of be generated with that it’s opened a lot of doors for you as well for new opportunities, and what not from what I understand.

Emma-Jane: Right. So yeah, I’d say there’s two really cool things to that. Number one is network effects. Network effects gain value, the bigger they grow, and the faster they can be accelerated. And when you try and lock things down, you disable the network effects. And web three is really built around that. And so, CC0 public domain content like that viral mimetic propagation, that unstoppable propagation, it’s completely enabling that so that’s a really amazing part of it. It’s really aligned with network effects. And the other part of you knows, like you said, okay, well, this bigger bet that definitely there’s more money to be made within public domain than actually locking things down, is again, really understanding about how web three technology actually works. And like we’ve talked about with NFTs, ERC 20 tokens, they work better and they gain more value, the more people that can kind of create and form this narrative and story around what you’re putting out there and what you’re selling and when you restrict how many people can view or use that you’d use the value, like a really good analogy is what use is a car that you can’t drive. And that’s also what we’re talking about here. When you restrict or you lock something down, you’re pretty much keeping that your car in the garage saying, hey, it’s got this amazing engine, but you can never drive that I’m just going to sit in the garage. And what I’m saying is actually show the car has value when it’s in the garage. But you know, where it gains way more value, when you can actually drive that across the country?

I think that’s like a that’s like a mic drop moment. Right there. That’s an epic analogy. I don’t know how to follow on from there. To be honest, that makes a lot of sense. It honestly, it everything just clicked for me right now, like that makes a lot of sense. Makes a lot of sense. And it makes me curious and want to experiment with what I guess like mint NFTs, may look and feel like in the future. And this marketplace that you’re putting together. There’s value in curation, especially in web three. And I think kind of like introducing a marketplace on that realm. But that theme might actually end up doing really, really well, when can we see that coming to fruition?

Emma-Jane:  About a week or so.

Oh, wow. Okay. So, is this going to be like highly curated drops, like they do in music NFTs, or are these just gonna be like an open marketplace anybody can come publish, try to sell what does that look like?

Emma-Jane: So, it’d be different progressions to start with, it will really be within CC0 DAO. But then yeah, moving it out so that anyone can use it because that’s a really big part of this is keeping it permissionless.


Wow. Emma-Jane, that’s really cool. I’m watching you from afar. I’m rooting for you before I let you go. And to wrap this up. Where can we find you? Where can we learn more about what you’re up to? Give us the details?

Emma-Jane: Sure. Our Twitter’s the best one. So that’s my username is Emma-Jane 1313.

Amazing. Emma-Jane. Thank you. Hope to have you again soon.

Emma-Jane: Thanks, Adam.

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