Results of Creative Commons' "noncommercial use" study

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8 Responses to “Results of Creative Commons' "noncommercial use" study”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Does BB consider itself a commercial user?

  2. Beelzebuddy says:

    NC and it’s cohort ND are terrible license addons. They’re… the best word I can think of is poisonous. They sound like such good ideas: “Hey, with this NC thing no one can steal my shit and make money off it,” so artist after artist tack them on without a full understanding of the implications and in doing greatly limit the people who’d otherwise use and remix their work.

    The problem with NC and ND lie in the edge cases. As this survey amply shows, there’s no clear line between infringing and non-, and unlike the GPL, there’s no easy solution in case of disagreement. The only recourse artists have is to be the total litigious dicks that everyone here loves to hate. The only option conscientious users have is to contact every author every time to clear the specific usage (which negates the entire benefit of CC licensing), or not use the thing at all and settle for the next-best option.

    BY-SA, on the other hand, will show you a good time and make you eggs in the morning.

  3. hohum says:

    @2, Guess it’s agree-to-disagree time… As an artist who embraces CC, I can think of nothing more dick than restrictive SA/GPL licenses. I hate the idea of telling someone ‘yeah you can use my work, but now you have no say in how you license your own work.’ It sort of tears apart the idea of derivatives holding up on their own…

    I think it’s a Good Thing that CC is trying to explicitly state what NC means to them, and by an artist’s agreement, what NC means to that artist. By actually giving these terms a meaning, people will be a lot less afraid to use the associated work.

    I do understand what you mean re: contacting artists negating the benefit of CC… But in my experience, users are a lot more willing to contact, and the whole process is a lot more like ‘hey can I use this here?’ ‘yeah, of course’ rather than lengthy, drawn-out nonsense. Suppose that’s one of those YMMV situations, though.

  4. Beelzebuddy says:

    #4: I hate the idea of telling someone ‘yeah you can use my work, but now you have no say in how you license your own work.’ It sort of tears apart the idea of derivatives holding up on their own…

    You’re already saying that through the use of NC or ND licenses. ND in particular comes down to “mirror my work or don’t use it at all, you have no creative input,” and as such tends to be a darling for artsy primadonnas who want to seem hip and 2.0 without actually unclenching and giving up control.

    The only licensing say that SA denies is the ability to restrict others from enjoying the freedoms you just did. It’s a restriction on restrictability, which in the long run makes it more free than a simple gratis license. Another “share and share alike” clause, the GPL, has amply demonstrated that the concept works very, very well. It says “here, take the work, add to it, sell the damn thing for all I care, but allow others to do the same. I’m not being a dick about what you do with it, so you can’t be one either.”

  5. Beelzebuddy says:

    Oh damn, there’s one point I forgot to address.

    But in my experience, users are a lot more willing to contact, and the whole process is a lot more like ‘hey can I use this here?’ ‘yeah, of course’ rather than lengthy, drawn-out nonsense.

    Sure, if everyone’s being reasonable it’ll all go smoothly, just good times and noodle salad. The same was true under plain ol’ copyright as well. The purpose of an irrevocable permissive license is to step in when people are NOT being reasonable.

    When the artist and user come to different conclusions about what constitutes following the license, and neither is willing to budge. With the BY or SA licenses, infringement is easy to define and easier to correct. With NC or ND, the line is much blurrier (even if CC settles on a firm definition, it’ll probably take a third-party to apply it fairly), and there’s often no way to detect infringement until the horse has already left the barn.

    For example: A budding young editor compiles an anthology of his favorite SF shorts. One of them is BY-ND, but since it’s being reprinted untouched he figures he’s fine and prints it. The author of the short, however, stumbles across the book, objects to the foreword the editor added, and on the grounds that that constitutes derivation vengefully demands far more than a fair portion of the proceeds. The book is already printed and in stores, making it a costly effort to get back, so the editor does nothing, forcing the author to give up or sue him.

    Counterexample: A budding young editor compiles an anthology of his favorite SF shorts. One of them is BY-SA, but since he’s only making minor changes he figures he’s fine and prints it. The author of the short, however, stumbles across the book, objects to the changes the editor added, and under the guise of enforcing the SA license vengefully demands far more than a fair portion of the proceeds. The book is already printed and in stores, making it a costly effort to get back, so the editor makes a note on his website that his changes to that particular short are CC:BY-SA, complying with the terms of the license and making any suit completely groundless.

  6. JB NicholsonOwens says:

    Hohum: I don’t think anyone ever tells anyone else “yeah you can use my work, but now you have no say in how you license your own work” with copyleft licenses because the consideration to build on another’s work comes before the derivative work exists. The licensee has ample opportunity to consider the ramifications of their choice to build on that work beyond the limits of fair use.

    Are you trying to argue for being able to build on another’s work without sharing their own work under a license that allows others the freedom they enjoyed? If so, please make that case.

  7. RadioGuy says:

    It seems to me the Creative Commons naysayers tend to point out its flaws relative to the GPL or some other ostensibly “freer” license.

    They may or may not be correct, but I’ve always thought they’re missing the point.

    For example: In the pre-CC era, a bedroom artist might record a song and upload an MP3 to their website. Under traditional copyright law, a user would be permitted to listen to the song, and probably to keep a copy of the MP3 for their personal use. If they sent it to a friend, however, they would be in violation of copyright law. Everything defaults to “All Rights Reserved.”

    In the post-CC era, a bedroom artist could post that MP3 with a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND-SA license (the most restrictive CC license possible). The naysayers will rail about how this restrictive license limits their freedoms (relative to the GPL or whatever), but the point is entire categories of new uses have now been explicitly granted, whereas user the previous “All Rights Reserved” release they were implicitly denied.

    Now Joe User can send that MP3 to a friend, or even post a copy to his own website to share with the world, knowing in good conscience that he has the freedom to do so.

    Perhaps all this is completely obvious, but people seem to focus on what is “lost” compared to the GPL, instead of what is gained compared to traditional, draconian copyright law.

    Creative Commons enables artists to easily pick-and-choose what rights they wish to reserve, and what rights they wish to release. The artist is even free to use a non-CC license that is more to their liking.

    Everybody wins.

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