Hi, hallo, hola, مرحبا!

I’m Michelle. I work for Mozilla as a global event strategist, aiming to grow communities around open web projects through live events. We host small meet-ups, to larger design jams and hackathons, to an annual festival.

For several years I was the International Project Manager at Creative Commons, coordinating over seventy countries (jurisdictions) worldwide to localize Creative Commons tools and to promote legal sharing and Free Culture.

I organized the Free Culture Research Conference, an event dedicated to exploring the commons and hybrid economies, and co-chaired Mozilla’s Drumbeat Festival on Learning, Freedom, and the Web, bringing together disruptive technologists and educators to forge the future of education. I’m a trustee of the Awesome Foundation Berlin, a lightweight association to fund small projects. As a believer in making and doing things, I also helped “chaordinate” the DMY Maker Lab and other DIY projects in Berlin and around the world.

I hold a B.A. in Critical Social Thought and German Studies from Mount Holyoke College, where I completed an honors thesis on authorship, originality, and American copyright law. I’ve also studied at the University of Leipzig and grew up in Heidelberg, Germany.


  • @thornet on identi.ca / Twitter
  • i [dot] am [dot] thornet [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Leave a comment!


Presentations on SlideShare.

An Open Web. Commissioned by transmediale. Berlin: 2011. Contributors: Adam Hyde, Alejandra Perez, Bassel Safadi, Christopher Adams, Mick Fuzz, Jon Phillips, and Michelle Thorne. (Editable version) / Creative Commons Attribution Unported License Version 3.0.

Thorne, Michelle and Cobcroft, Rachel. “Capturing the Commons: (Ways Forward for) The CC Case Studies Initiative”. Free Culture Research Workshop, Harvard Law School, 23 October, 2009. (PDF) / Creative Commons Attribution Unported License Version 3.0.

“Strengthen the Commons – Now!”. Manifesto from the Interdisciplinary Political Salons of the Heinrich Böll Foundation‘s Time for Commons. Berlin: 2008-2009. Translation: Michelle Thorne, Silke Helfrich, David Bollier. (PDF) / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Germany License Version 3.0.

Thorne, Michelle. Copywritings: Technology, Authorship, and Originality in American Copyright Law. Honors B.A. thesis, Mount Holyoke College, 2007. (PDF) / Creative Commons Attribution Unported License Version 3.0.

Thorne, Michelle. Copywritings: A Eulogy for Authorship. Mount Holyoke College Senior Symposium 2007, South Hadley: Mount Holyoke College. April 2007. (PDF) / Creative Commons Attribution Unported License Version 3.0.


If you were expecting to find the homepage of my Googlegänger, the more infamous Michelle Thorne, you’d be mistaken here. Alas, I am not a woman of her…um, *ahem*…caliber. But I am trying to beat her Google rankings.