So now, in their infinite wisdom </sarcasm>, the ASCAP, one of the recording industry lobbyists/organizations/whatever you call them wants to do away from Creative Commons, claiming it threatens Copyright: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lawrence-lessig/ascaps-attack-on-creative_b_641965.html. But have no fear, Lawrence Lessig is here. Yeah, I guess most recognize my man-crush on Lessig by now. He serves as a Constitutional Law lawyer and works with these issues regularly.
For those of you new to my blog, here is a quick, brief discussion of why Creative Commons works and does not infringe on Copyright, even though it is a *form* of Copyright:
Creative Commons is a nonprofit that provides copyright licenses pro bono to artists and creators so that they can offer their creative work with the freedom they intend it to carry. (Think not “All Rights Reserved” but “Some Rights Reserved.”) Using these licenses, a musician might allow his music to be used for noncommercial purposes (by kids making a video, for example, or for sharing among friends), so long as attribution to the artist is kept.
As educators, we definitely should encourage Creative Commons use. When I taught, it frustrated me that for each purpose, whether for classroom use, internet, conference, etc, I needed to seek additional Copyright permission. Why not make it easy? Why not say, yeah, use my content, but give me credit and don’t use it commercially. Or use at will, but don’t crop out any part. So much easier.
At first, I do not believe the recording industry felt threatened over CC, but now, with big artists releasing content under CC, like Nine Inch Nails, Beastie Boys, Radiohead, and even authors like Scott Sigler, Lawrence Lessig, and Cory Doctorow, they are beginning to sweat a little. Even the White House releases content under Creative Commons. I think at first the ‘industry’ thought there could be no way people would pay for content if offered free, so other artists would not look to the CC model. Unfortunately, more and more artists have been finding success under that model, with no middle man to scrape off funds from the artists themselves. Heck, Sigler is now a New York Times bestseller. If you’ll remember, even though I downloaded Lessig’s .pdf version of Remix free, it was my first nook e-Reader purchase (http://www.k12opensourceclassroom.org/?p=394). I have since purchased some songs from NIN, the Beasties, and Ancestor by Sigler. I will definitely also buy more from all of those. Will I only purchase from those artists publishing under CC? No, of course not. But you better believe if there is a choice, I will go the CC route. Will I download more free CC content? Of course. And when I find something I really like (Lessig and Sigler’s entire libraries come to mind), I will work at purchasing all of those.
So time will tell what will come of this. I really do not think anything can be done to stop Creative Commons. If you want to allow others free access to your content, you as Copyright holder, can do that. It will probably get interesting, so make sure you keep up with the story.
image used, ironically enough, under Creative Commons license by flickr user libraryman