Our new Public Lead Mandy Henk introduces herself

Kia ora koutou New Zealand! I’m Mandy Henk, the new Public Lead for Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand.

Getting involved with copyright is a bit like joining the mafia–once you’re in, you’re in. There’s no way out. I was first inducted back in 2004. Back then, I worked for Vanderbilt Law Library. As the Access Services Librarian, I was in charge of a smart new service–electronic reserves. Student readings! Delivered on the internet! It was easier for students, easier for instructors … there was just one little issue we had to sort out. It was then and there that I started my journey around copyright, fair use, the public domain, orphan works … and all the rest.

Here’s the thing about copyright–I’ve spent my career hearing regular groans and exclamations of frustration when the topic comes up. Which it does–we live in an era where written communication has taken on the ease and informality of verbal communication, one where copying is as easy as clicking–but one with the legal infrastructure of an earlier era. The thing though is that copyright is important and relevant for all of us–whether we are artists or scholars or teachers or students. Copyright matters to us because democracy matters, because creativity matters, and because the rule of law matters.

We need a legal infrastructure that supports innovation, that supports artists, and that supports the work of teaching and learning. I am so privileged to have the opportunity to work for Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand where we are working hard to develop and advocate for a healthy and vibrant legal Commons. One where we all respect and follow the law, because the law makes sense for how we live and work and supports what we need to do.

If you’re here reading this and you don’t yet know how to use and apply one of the six free licences we support, have a read. If you aren’t even quite sure what a copyright licence is, that is OK! We can help with that. I’m here to make this easy for you, to make it easy for your audience, and to work with you to showcase for the world what an amazing community we are here at the bottom of the world. New Zealand is a small place, but we are at the leading edge of developing a healthy and vibrant legal Commons.

If you want to be a part of this work, get in touch with us–we want to work with you to build a legal Commons for all Kiwis. One that enables business innovation, supports a thriving arts and cultural sector, and one where teachers and learners can share material freely, without feeling intimidated or frustrated.

I’m looking forward to working with all of you.

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