One thing that I noticed keeps poking its head in a rather unfortunate way: Creative Commons licenses provide an accessible, relatively easy way for folks to publish content “with strings attached” but without worrying about having their good nature abused. It’s in part a community thing — I’m making this available to everyone just as long as you play by my rules — and in part it’s a preacher-and-choir question. Folks looking for CC licensed material are usually CC license users themselves. However, it seems to be part of a bigger (transitional?) mo[m/vem]ent in the historical dialogue that is copyright law and licensing in general.
I wrote about this recently from the “who and why?” perspective not too long ago. In there I asked …where’s the moral/ethical high ground in making Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” public domain? Folks like Mariah Carey and Dvorak are not prime candidates for CC licenses. And when you draw audiences like either of them do (deservedly or not) a CC license is probably a hindrance. Unless you really think your work can and should pass more quickly into public domain. (“We Belong Together” going to go down in history alongside “Happy Birthday” and the anthems of Francis Scott Key?) My thoughts keep returning to Cory Doctorow and Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. Doctorow may be a True Believer when it comes to the CC/copyleft cause but he had some important words on the subject written right into the foreward:
Why am I doing this thing? Well, it’s a long story, but to shorten it up: first-time novelists have a tough row to hoe. Our publishers don’t have a lot of promotional budget to throw at unknown factors like us. Mostly, we rise and fall based on word-of-mouth. … And telling people about stuff I like is way, way easier if I can just send it to ’em. Way easier.
Utopian? Maybe so. But he’s also the one with the most to lose by just letting it go.
currently playing: DJ Shadow “Mongrel Meets His Maker”