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Creative Commons 82

Posted by michael
from the soapboxes-for-everyone dept.
mpawlo writes "Creative Commons just opened to the public. From the initial statement: "We are building a Web-based application for dedicating copyrighted works to the "public domain," and for generating flexible, generous licenses that permit copying and creative reuses of copyrighted works." Read also the article in the New York Times." There's also an older story that summarizes the concept behind the site, although I think their FAQ's do a pretty good job. A page at the Berkman Center documents some of the development of the project (although it doesn't render properly in konqueror for whatever reason). rbeattie describes it like so: "At O'Reilly's ongoing Emerging Technology Conference today, Creative Commons gave a presentation about their new service, an "easy way for people (like scholars, musicians, filmmakers, and authors--from world-renowned professionals to garage-based amateurs) to announce that their works are available for copying, modification, and redistribution." They've provided an online wizard where you can choose the type of license and restrictions you want to put on your work, and then they'll provide a circled CC logo you can put on your website with links to the license. In addition they are providing search functionality for those looking for public domain content - the license is provided in "machine readable form" (read: XML probably) so that it can be easily indexed/searched."
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Creative Commons

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  • by blastedtokyo (540215) on Friday May 17, 2002 @09:13AM (#3536473)
    Creative commons sounds like a great idea to manage small clips that might be useful for someone's college project. But, what happens when an ad agency hears your music and wants an exclusive license?

    For most starving artists (well, at least those who have starving for some time) they'd jump at the chance to make it big and forgo sharing their works publicly.

    Once the first future star gets told by their agent or a big buyer that they love their stuff but can't support the Creative Commons license, one of two things would happen: 1. They abandon Creative Commons or 2. They abandon Creative Commons and tell the world how they screwed out of their first big 'hit' by releasing it for free. Unless open source software, it sounds like a system where, by its nature, the content is always inferior.

  • Question... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arminius (84868) on Friday May 17, 2002 @09:18AM (#3536500) Homepage
    How will Creative Commons affect the GPL or better yet how will the GPL affect Creative Commons?
  • Problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Washizu (220337) <bengarvey@NOspAm.comcast.net> on Friday May 17, 2002 @09:42AM (#3536596) Homepage
    How will they verify that a work I submit is my own? Can they ensure all material will be in the public domain? What is to stop me from submitting an unfamous, yet copyrighted peice of artwork?
  • by eyegor (148503) on Friday May 17, 2002 @09:42AM (#3536597)
    How does one prove ownership of a particular property? And... How can Creative Commons prove that to users wary of something "too good to be true"?

    What better way to sow the seeds of confustion is for someone masquarading as some obscure/forgotten author or artist (such as MC Hammer) and "giving" their works to the world. I wonder how long Creative Commons would exist after one of those little trojan horses was delivered? Not that the RIAA would EVER do anything like that.

    I'll bet that proving ownership will ultimately prove to be too burdonsome.
  • by the_2nd_coming (444906) on Friday May 17, 2002 @09:47AM (#3536621) Homepage
    if some one plans to make money on it, they can just afix the non-comercial use or any other licence feature that will allow more restricted access, but still allow for commercail use by other licences.

    if you are planing to be generous, then you probably never hoped or wanted to make BIG cash from your work.......none of the licences say that you get the work for free, you still have to pay for the origional, and if you copy left it, you can add a clause that says it must be redistributed for the exact amout you payed for it. then no one can get it for free.
  • by joneshenry (9497) on Friday May 17, 2002 @09:50AM (#3536642)
    The only thing GNUArt shares with what made GNU or Linux software successful is the "GNU" in the name. Totally lost is any concept of modularly separating out the pieces so that one can make works using the material yet not being derived works under copyright law. Two market leaders of free software are the Linux kernel and the gcc compiler. Note that the point of a kernel is a separation between the kernel and userland. A person or company can make a product that invokes only the Linux system calls and license this product under any terms. Similarly usage of the gcc compiler does not give RMS any say over the licensing terms of the resulting binary. In fact the Linux kernel's owners even permit distribution of proprietary binary drivers that work with the kernel. Ironically it was the overly restrictive license of Minux that caused Linus Torvalds to create Linux in the first place. Part of the genius of Linus is that he initiated a system where he simply doesn't have to care what people bundle his kernel with in their distributions, what applications they use with the kernel, or how much money they make doing so without sharing one penny with him.

    The control of the mass media corporations may be disburbing, but to assert that the solution is to create a "commons" where the only recompense is recognition is in contradiction to the entire history of Western art. The craftsman deserves to be paid for his work.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2002 @10:20AM (#3536816)
    If you check out the license terms, a starving artist would be perfect for a Creative Commons license, and not the public domain.

    They'd release their song with the "non-commercial" option and "attribution" options clearly marked. That would mean the world could share their work, get their name out there, and maybe into the hands of people that would want to hire this person.

    If you are an agency and want to use the work for a commercial purpose and take their attribution off it, you have to contact the author to discuss exclusive terms for that, outside of the creative commons license. The license doesn't allow for it freely, and could be a way that artists could ensure they get paid for commercial work, without having to change their licenses.

    In your scenario, the only way an artist would be "screwed out of their first big hit" would be if they released it into the public domain or didn't worry about restricting non-commercial use on a creative commons license, and then it's debateable that the artist gained nothing from it (if the first song makes money, wouldn't someone want to pay for the second?)
  • by squaretorus (459130) on Friday May 17, 2002 @10:55AM (#3537039) Homepage Journal
    There are a couple of clearcut cases.

    1: Someone who takes photos which are 'pretty good' as a hobby. You make them freely available to stop Getty being the only source for 'pretty good' photography.

    2: Someone who has made their money from a piece of work and wants to set it free before they die to stop their kids squabbling about how to milk it dry to pay for crack.

    3: Hippies. We still exist! We don't ALL pray to the almighty dollar. Give it away, give it away, give it away now!

    but other than that, no, no one in their right mind would give something away that had an earning potential if they needed the money - so I don't think this will be used too much by 'kids in the garage' or whatever. They'll just post it on whichever napster variant is in vogue right now to get 'discovered' in the hope they'll meet and shag Britney or whoever is in young chaps dreams right now.

    Can you licence a riff?
  • by FreeUser (11483) on Friday May 17, 2002 @12:05PM (#3537578)
    As I understand it, an artist will be able to tailor the license. Perhaps an artist could make the art free for noncommercial use. If a big buyer comes along they have to pay for alternate licensing terms.

    It is these sorts of licenses that are truly a big threat to the creation of a 'creative commons.' One of the reasons Free Software was able to succeed so well, and so quickly (a blink of an eye in historical terms) was because there were relatively few free licenses: X, BSD, and the GPL initially, around which a critical mass of software was able to evolve.

    In a creative commons, one would ideally be able to incorporate the work of any project into their own, so long as their work is also released into the commons for others to use. As an example, I might want to have a Star Trek episode that is particularly apropos to my project, running on a television in the background in one of my movie's scenes. I cannot do this now because of draconian copyright regimes, nor will I be able to do this within my lifetime because of copyright's no longer (practical in human terms) limitation in duration.

    But, if every clip and contribution is distributed under its own, tailormade license, I will likely be unable to do this in any project, even taking material from the creative commons.

    Maybe, for example, I do want to sell my movie on custom burned DVDs, so I can make a little money to cover my filming expenses. But, I plan to release it under a GPL-like license (GPL-like so that Hollywood movie moghuls can't take my work and then steal the freedoms I offer from their customers by making it proprietary and css-encoding it onto their DVDs, for example, which public domain and BSD-like licenses wouldn't prevent), so it is free as in freedom, but commercial in that I'd like to get a couple of bucks selling my CDs. Or perhaps commercial in that, I've become successful and well known, and coca cola is paying me a bunch of cash to place their logo in a few key scenes in the movie.

    Now I've got to wade through a dozen different licenses, for a dozen different clips or musical scores I'd like to include, any of which may be mutually incompatible with one another as well as my own project. This severely diminishes the usefulness of the creative commons.

    What is needed is a relatively few number of licenses, as compatible with one another as possible. Ideally they would boil down to a GPL-like license, a BSD-like license, and public domain, so that, depending on one's philosophy, one can license ones work, and use the work of others, in a relatively straightforward approach. Whether one is using my Free Media License [expressivefreedom.org] (still being drafted, not ready for use, and if a better, more widely accepted one a la the GPL comes along I'll use that instead), or one of the other licenses out there, as great a degree of compatiblity as possible is needed for a commons like this to work at all.

    What is really missing from the entire Free Media and Creative Commons movement is a good, solid licensing framework we can all use to license our contributions. My Free Media License [expressivefreedom.org] is one attempt to fix this, but I'd much rather be writing a novel [expressivefreedom.org] than writing a license, and most other creative people probably feel likewise, which makes addressing this deficiency difficult.

    Unfortunately, the Creative Commons website seems a little short on Licensing information as well ... a deficiency I sincerely hope will be corrected in the not too distant future. :-)

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