Why Creative Commons Licenses Help Rather Than Hinder Struggling Artists

from the exactly-wrong dept

Creative Commons (CC) has been with us for nearly a decade, so you would have thought people might understand it by now. Apparently not, judging by the title of this blog post: "How Creative Commons Can Stifle Artistic Output."

The author, George Howard, begins reasonably enough:

Now, the servicing of the muse is not compelled by money, but, rather, other impulses. However, absent some type of financial return for the artists’ work, bad things happen: artists begin to believe that their work is without value, and they stop; or, artists have to subsidize their artistic income by working a soul-crushing job that eventually diminishes their ability/desire/time to create…and they stop. In either case, art stops being created. This to me is unacceptable. I defy anyone to give me a good argument against the creation of more art.
Clearly from that description Howard is concerned mainly with artists that are relatively unknown and/or struggling, and his point about their need to make money is a fair one. But from that premise he then makes this extraordinary leap:
All of this is why I react negatively to proponents of the so-called “copyleft” movement.
He goes on:
As a bit of background, the copyleft movement originated from software development, where hobbyist programmers desired to make software free (or very cheap) in order to reduce/eliminate piracy.
That is wrong in just about every respect. Copyleft, which actually depends upon copyright in order to work, was invented in 1983 by Richard Stallman. Far from being a "hobbyist", Stallman was one of the best programmers of his day. Moreover, copyleft – specifically the GNU General Public License – was devized not to "reduce/eliminate piracy", but almost its polar opposite: to encourage and facilitate sharing.

The author's understanding of how Creative Commons licenses work seems equally shaky:

There are several justifications for an artist or songwriter to give up copyrights. The first is reasonable: that by providing a means for artists to more easily exchange rights, reduces transaction costs, and thus encourages collaboration.
Artists employing Creative Commons licenses do not "give up copyrights": they always retain them. But they grant additional permissions to others – to share, to adapt, to sell. That's not about "exchanging rights" – there's no quid pro quo required, and rarely does this result in any artistic collaboration; instead it's from a desire to see your work enjoyed or re-used more widely.
The second — that current copyright law enforces and encourages a restrictive permission culture to the detriment of the public good — is not. By this I mean that the idea that copyright somehow impedes creativity and artistic development is just plain wrong.
The idea that copyright on a work impedes "creativity and artistic development" refers to its effect not on the original creator, but on other artists, since by definition copyright is a monopoly that forbids them from building on the creations of others unless they ask permission – often expensive or impossible to obtain. Creative Commons licenses, by contrast, encourage this kind of activity by granting permissions upfront to everyone, making them particularly beneficial for those rising creators with limited means but plenty of ideas.

Despite this, Howard insists the problem lies not with copyright itself, but elsewhere:

what really impedes creativity and artistic development is the artist’s perception that his or her music is valueless/the inability of the artist to monetize his or her output.
And yet it's copyright that exacerbates this perception among struggling and still unknown artists that their art is valueless, not CC licenses. Copyright places obstacles in the way of sharing your enthusiasm for a creative work by passing it on so that it can be explored and enjoyed by others. All CC licenses permit this, and it is precisely this spreading of the word that is likely to lead to the creator becoming better known and appreciated.

Nor does making works more freely available preclude the possibility of earning money from them. Fans may buy the work in other formats – for example as a book, CD or LP as well as a download. People may want to make direct contributions to support the artist to encourage them to produce more. Techdirt has devoted many posts to the different ways in which revenue can be generated from CC-licensed goods that are made available online.

Howard concludes:

Artists tend to have — at best — an uncomfortable relationship with the monetization of their work, and need no encouragement to devalue it. Rather, artists need to be reminded that their contribution to this deeply troubled world is valuable. The exchange of value between an artist and his or her fans, is a means to allow the artist to continue creating art, and thus is crucial.
His own words emphasise that what is crucial is an "exchange of value between an artist and his or her fans". Copyright, with its ever-expanding range of restrictions and harsh punishments for those who overstep the mark – even unwittingly – hardly promotes that exchange. Creative Commons licenses are the true allies of artists who are struggling for recognition and remuneration, thanks to their broad permissions and explicit encouragement to share and enjoy, which promotes and enhances that exchange - and helps to generate that crucial financial return too.

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Reader Comments (rss)

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    DannyB (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:09am

    It's astonishing

    There are several justifications for an artist or songwriter to give up copyrights.

    It's astonishing that someone defending copyright and blasting CC has so little understanding of what copyright actually is and of how CC depends upon it.

    If you don't like CC licenses, then don't use them.

    Nobody is forcing you to use a CC license.

    Actually what I should say is: If you don't like CC licenses, then don't use ANYBODY ELSE's work that is offered under a CC license.

    If you don't want to give up your copyrights, then don't sign with the big labels.

     

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    Richard (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:13am

    Had a look

    at George's blog - he seems a reasonable guy. Unlike many similar blogs his has open comments and he replies to the critical ones in a constructive way. Probably the best thing would be for the musicians amongst us to go there and explain how they are making money and increasing value with cc.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 9:17am

      Re: Had a look

      I'm sorry, but I can not and will not accept that additional layers of copyright can have a positive impact on creators.

      Copyright is a tax on creativity, a burden, an impediment. There is no way you or anyoen else can convince me that a tax/burden is somehow a catalyst.

      CC is the exact opposite of "help" for struggling artists. It is precisely the problem.

      Stop trying to pretend the problem with copyright is a lack of complexity.

      CC is not a solution to any known problem. It is a solution in search of a problem, and making them up as it goes to try and convince the world that it solves something.

       

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        DannyB (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 10:20am

        Re: Re: Had a look

        Creative Commons is not an additional layer of copyright. CC is a group of licenses. Just like the movie / software / music industries and other copyright owners draft licenses when allowing others to use their materials. The CC is just a set of licenses that are pre-written for someone looking for that exact type of license.

        When CC was created, it stated exactly what the problem was that it was intended to solve. It solved it. It is not in search of problems. It might solve more problems than originally envisioned. CC does not need to convince anyone. Just be aware that CC licenses exist. Use them if the licenses are written to accomplish exactly your intent. Otherwise, use a different license.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:16am

    That people are trying to talk it down is a great sign that CC is not unnoticed in some circles and even presents a threat.

    Open culture is not just a license is an ethos.

    Value is not only given by financial status, that is the mistake. To believe things only have value if they have a price tag on it.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:20am

    RIGHT, helps /struggling/ artists.

    First obstacle is to get noticed, so put your portfolio out there widely as possible. Early work is a sort of loss leader. But if becomes popular, it's advantageous to practice copyright as usual. I suspect that very few would stick with Creative Commons IF the usual route was thereby boot-strapped and going. And citing a /few/ examples won't change the fact that so many more are currently benefitting from the strict copyright regimen. You can holler that artists and musicians are being ripped off by controlling corporations, but that's a /separate/ area: that's actually economics, who labors and who benefits. You ought to be calling for a re-distribution of the profits then, to divert them from useless slug executives and shareholders to actual artists. Your argument isn't really with copyright, big reason why you keep going wrong.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:31am

      Re: RIGHT, helps /struggling/ artists.

      I'm not seeing an actual point, nor where you're pointing out where Glyn is wrong in his article?

       

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        out_of_the_blue, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re: RIGHT, helps /struggling/ artists.

        PaulT (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:31am

        I'm not seeing an actual point, nor where you're pointing out where Glyn is wrong in his article?

        ----------------------

        Since PaulT can't and won't understand an obvious point, let me try again. I wrote: "RIGHT, helps /struggling/ artists."

        Once artists are no longer "struggling", copyright usually works WELL for them.

        FIRST TASK IS TO GET NOTICED! (I even leave out "have a good product", as that seems rare to me.)

         

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          DannyB (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 10:36am

          Re: Re: Re: RIGHT, helps /struggling/ artists.

          > Once artists are no longer "struggling",
          > copyright usually works WELL for them.

          There's nothing wrong with making money from your creative works.

          That is not mutually exclusive with using a CC license. There are multiple CC licenses that accomplish different goals.

          For example, an artist Jane may want to allow use of her work, as long as she gets credit, and nobody is making money from that use. Jane could license her work to anyone under a CC Attribution + Non Commercial license.

          Now Joe wants to use Jane's music in a movie or live performance. That CC license won't help Joe. Joe will need to negotiate a different license with Jane (a license for which Jane may want money in return).

          Now Bill wants to use Jane's music in a slide presentation to be shown at a public meeting at the local school. The particular CC license Jane has chosen would allow non commercial use, and require that Jane gets credit.

          Even a non-struggling artist might want to use such a CC license.

          Not every CC license or combination of licenses is for everyone.

          Choose what is right for you -- and for some, no CC license is right for them. And that's fine. Nobody is forcing you to use a CC license for your work.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 10:33am

      Re: RIGHT, helps /struggling/ artists.

      If the only ones really benefiting from the strict copyright regimen are the slug executives, the shareholders, and the select few artists they choose to elevate to keep the 'just need to make it' myth alive... and you're against slug executives (understandable) and shareholders (somewhat less understandable)... then why are you for the strict copyright regimen? I don't think Glyn is the really the one that keeps going wrong on copyrights.

       

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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:30am

    FIXED THIS FOR YA:

    "Copyright places obstacles in the way of sharing your enthusiasm for creative work OF OTHERS by passing it on so that it can be explored and enjoyed by others."

    Existing copyright doesn't AT ALL prohibit you from giving away your own works. Simply don't sue anyone.

    What you freetards mean is that you're prohibited from downloading for viewing, auditing, using, or duplicating or even selling the work-products of someone else. The sentence I quoted said exactly that by leaving out WHOSE work was being passed on.

     

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      JEDIDIAH, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:56am

      Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

      > Existing copyright doesn't AT ALL prohibit
      > you from giving away your own works. Simply
      > don't sue anyone.

      You're pretty ignorant for a corporate shill.

      Generally it's not the "talent" that engages in litigation.

      It's publishers and collection agencies that shake down the end users. On occasion, even the talent has been prevented from sharing their own work. The current copyright regime primarily benefits middle men.

      Cartel contracts are a b*tch in this regard.

       

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        out_of_the_blue, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 7:39am

        Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

        @EDIDIAH, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:56am

        > Existing copyright doesn't AT ALL prohibit
        > you from giving away your own works. Simply
        > don't sue anyone.

        You're pretty ignorant for a corporate shill.

        Generally it's not the "talent" that engages in litigation.

        --------------------

        KNEW some idiot would fail to get the phrase "your own works" and start talking about corporations. -- After you've signed a contract, it's NO LONGER YOUR OWN. You've given up some degree rights to it in hopes of getting money NOW, while they have the money to WAIT. That's the deal. It stinks, yes, but it's nothing to with copyright as such, only greedy corporations. Separate those out, you'll get a handle on the problem.

         

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          MrWilson, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 8:42am

          Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

          It's difficult to separate greedy corporations from current copyright law because the greedy corporations bought and paid for the current state of copyright for their own benefit. Copyright legislation is only one of the methods by which greedy corporations screw everyone else over, be they artists or the audience, but it is a significant tool in their arsenal.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 10:38am

          Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

          "After you've signed a contract, it's NO LONGER YOUR OWN. You've given up some degree rights to it....
          it's nothing to with copyright as such"

          Right, the fact that the government, with some help from the copyright lobby, has structured copyright law to work this way and enforces these contracts has nothing to do with copyrights as such. What a load of shit.

           

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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 7:04am

      Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

      Existing copyright doesn't AT ALL prohibit you from giving away your own works.

      Of course it doesn't. Especially since CC *is* "existing copyright". What seems to be lost on everyone against CC licenses is that is is simply that, a license. No one would say "SoAndSo must not value their work very much, they granted a license to use their works to Viacom!"

      All this does is remove the lawyers, arguably the most useless member of copyrights, from copyright. Instead of needing a lawyer to look over the license, you can see that it's under creative commons, of whatever flavor, and know that you have a license to do X, Y and Z with the work-- no lawyer needed.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 7:23am

      Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

      "What you freetards mean is that you're prohibited from downloading for viewing, auditing, using, or duplicating or even selling the work-products of someone else."

      ...which are the exact things that CC licences deliberately allow, while protecting the original author in ways that public domain status would not.

      So, you agree with us then? Good.

       

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        out_of_the_blue, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 7:47am

        Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

        @ "PaulT": "What you freetards mean is that you're prohibited from downloading for viewing, auditing, using, or duplicating or even selling the work-products of someone else."

        ..which are the exact things that CC licences deliberately allow, while protecting the original author in ways that public domain status would not.

        So, you agree with us then? Good.
        -----------------

        No, you don't in ANY degree have a right to dispose of "the work-products of someone else." That seems the part you guys just REFUSE to understand, as proved by that you STILL don't even after my fix to prior text.

        Give away your own products all you want. Make it orginal, don't leverage off someone else's work, you second hand hacks. Don't rip DVDs and put them online for anyone to download and then claim that you're doing the movie makers a favor by promoting them.

        When you want to "share" something ask: Is this MINE? Do I have effectively full legal, moral, or practical claim to have created it? (The effort of ripping a DVD does NOT count). -- If the answer is no, then don't "share" it.

         

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          The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 7:53am

          Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

          You didn't get many gold stars in kindergarten, did you?

           

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          The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 7:53am

          Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

          You didn't get many gold stars in kindergarten, did you?

           

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            out_of_the_blue, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 8:12am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

            @The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 7:53am

            You didn't get many gold stars in kindergarten, did you?

            -------------

            Posting the same vapidity twice doesn't improve it, nor does it suggest that you're a master of even operating a browser.

             

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              The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 8:25am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

              Sorry, I responded on my Bionic and double tapped the submit button.

              You really thinks that shows I don't know how to use a browser? I'm interested on how you make that leap, versus just assuming it was an accident. Explain. Show your work.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 8:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

              "nor does it suggest that you're a master of even operating a browser."

              JUST like /typing/ shit LIKE /this/ suggests you are not a master of the English language. But it does /suggest/ that you are EITHER a troll or stupid. Either way I am not READING your /drivel/ if you can't make a point without highlighting words.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 11:11am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

                Oh so that is what the // are for, highlighting LoL

                I thought they were "arms" or something like in the emoticons and he was flailing them around.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 11:39am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

                  You may be right, since as far as I am aware putting slashes around a word means nothing, except of course that the writer is a moron.

                   

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                  Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 11:35pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

                  maybe hes retarded? He sure writes like he is.

                   

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          PaulT (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 8:05am

          Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

          Ooh, I broke the bot!

          "Don't rip DVDs and put them online for anyone to download and then claim that you're doing the movie makers a favor by promoting them."

          I don't.

          Seriously, are you guys ever going to address the actual options and positions of people here? Those strawmen really need a rest.

          "Do I have effectively full legal, moral, or practical claim to have created it?"

          If the CC licence grants me that right, yes I do.

           

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            Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 8:12am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

            Actually, CC does not give you the right to claim you created it. CC gives you the right to share it, modify it, and even make money off of it depending on the license. OoTB is claiming that if you didn't create it, you can't share it with anyone at all.

             

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          Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 8:10am

          Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

          "When you want to "share" something ask: Is this MINE? Do I have effectively full legal, moral, or practical claim to have created it? (The effort of ripping a DVD does NOT count). -- If the answer is no, then don't "share" it."

          So basically you're saying that despite the fact the artist requests you share their work (this is what CC is), you still say that sharing is wrong. Well, I guess that just goes to show that you and your like don't give a single crap about the artist.

           

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          Gwiz (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

          Give away your own products all you want. Make it orginal, don't leverage off someone else's work, you second hand hacks.

          The CC licenses for software are supposed to be about leveraging off of previous works. Much the same way as traditional sciences (physics, engineering, etc..) work.

          Just like you don't reinvent the Laws of Gravity every time you want to calculate a decension rate of a projectile, CC licenses allow you to use a stdio library that someone else wrote, instead of rewriting tons of code to display the words "Hello world" on the screen.

           

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          MrWilson, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 9:11am

          Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

          "When you want to "share" something ask: Is this MINE? Do I have effectively full legal, moral, or practical claim to have created it? (The effort of ripping a DVD does NOT count). -- If the answer is no, then don't 'share' it."

          What if legal and moral claims conflict? What if you determine that it is morally fine to share or that you are even morally obligated to share something even though it is infringing? Morality and law are not the same and sometimes don't overlap at all. I think it's morally wrong to give financial support to companies that undermine the fundamental Constitutional rights of American citizens, much less the rights of human beings around the world for their own profit without regard for the unforeseen consequences.

          You also didn't allow for possible fair uses. Am I allowed to loan my DVD to my friend? Of course. But your strict terms would disallow even that.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 10:49am

          Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

          "Make it orginal, don't leverage off someone else's work, you second hand hacks."

          No one does this. Not a single artist anywhere has ever made anything that does not leverage someone else's work. Therein lies the problem, where do you draw the line, how fuzzy is the line, and how to you balance enforcing said line against the public interest in the creation of more art. Please stop with the ripped DVD download strawmen, that's not what this article is about at all and you know it.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 11:18am

          Re: Re: Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

          "Make it orginal, don't leverage off someone else's work, you second hand hacks."

          Disney disagrees. For themselves, at least.

           

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      DannyB (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 10:40am

      Re: FIXED THIS FOR YA:

      > Existing copyright doesn't AT ALL prohibit you from
      > giving away your own works. Simply don't sue anyone.


      The problem with that is: how do I know I won't be sued?

      Or this: who will get sued? And why?

      Why might the artist choose to sue Joe but not Bill?

      If I'm going to use your work, then I need a license. A license states exactly what I can and cannot do. ("This movie licensed for private home viewing only.")

      The word license actually means permission. Like a drivers license (eg permission). Fishing license. Dog license. The permission states exactly what is permitted and prohibited.

      So if you're not going to sue me, then why not just give me a CC license that states precisely what I CAN and CANNOT do? Or are you trying to play bait and switch. You'll allow me to believe I won't be sued, and then next year you'll sue me.

      Typical industry behavior.

       

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:32am

    So CC is bad and Copyright is good.

    Copyright benefits the gatekeepers to your work, who sometimes decide your worthy of some small fraction of the money your work creates.
    If your not the flavor of the week, your not worthy of being promoted, the gatekeepers get to decide what art is worthy not the people.

    Yes some artists can't earn a living just making their "art", but is it because their art is crap? You can pour your heart and soul into something and while you feel it is important the rest of the world might have different ideas.
    Shall we look at all of those famous well known painters who in their own lifetime were often penniless because what they created was not connecting with people. Now much later their work is heralded, but often because there are gatekeepers who care about getting paid not making sure everyone can see the art.

    There are more ways for artists to make money today than there were in the past. There are many artists looking beyond the walled garden of Copyright, and seeing the value to them not because they wrote a song but because Girltalk remixed it with something else and got more people interested in their work. Those interest people buy more, attend concerts/shows/etc., and the artists can make more bypassing the old gatekeeper model.

    The gatekeepers are mad, these young upstarts can use new methods that reach more people than radio. Radio used to be the only way to reach masses of people. Now they are reaching fewer people because there are more options available, and by trying to cut those alternate ways out they push them to find other artists who get more promotion. Radio is working so well for the old gatekeepers that they are trying to tax it to regain money they aren't making anymore.

    Mr. Howard seems stuck in the idea that the old system is the only system that can work, he ignores the possibility that something other than how we always did it can have any benefit. I would humbly suggest he try and explain Justin Beiber. Beiber violated all kinds of copyrights to get noticed and become famous, shouldn't he be in jail for these crimes against copyright? Will the next Justin Beiber be missed because the gatekeepers keep forcing the videos down to protect copyright?

     

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    Rich Kulawiec, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Here's the point where you could have stopped

    As a bit of background, the copyleft movement originated from software development, where hobbyist programmers desired to make software free (or very cheap) in order to reduce/eliminate piracy.

    Anyone so pitifully ignorant, so incredibly stupid, may safely be ignored. I recognize that you went further in an attempt to dissect and refute his comments, but really, there's little point in dealing with anyone like this.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:50am

      Re: Here's the point where you could have stopped

      Nah, I think it's useful. Like engaging the AC trolls here, *you* know and *I* know that they're talking out of their asses, but the less informed may be taken in if the account is left uncorrected. If one person gains a better understanding of the basic involved here, that's achieved far more than Howard's original article.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:53am

    The alternative

    It's funny because the alternative is to give pretty much all your rights to a record label, which is allowed to do whatever they like with your music and pay you a tiny sum in return.

     

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      JEDIDIAH, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:58am

      Re: The alternative

      ...this includes preventing you from distributing bits of free material to help build your brand. You can't even so much as release a little teaser based on material that didn't even have any value anyways. The record label will come down on you if you try.

      Artists don't even have the right to control the distribution of their own work under the current system.

       

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    identicon
    anonymous, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 7:14am

    i wonder how much he was paid and by whom to try to promote this absolute crock of shit? why didn't he do some proper research first, before making himself sound so ridiculously ignorant?

     

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    Emiliano, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 7:17am

    Wordpress + jQuery

    One thing I'm surprised at is his use of the GNU License (Wordpress + jQuery are the only two I checked for) to spread this message.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 7:57am

    That is wrong in just about every respect. Copyleft, which actually depends upon copyright in order to work, was invented in 1983 by Richard Stallman. Far from being a "hobbyist", Stallman was one of the best programmers of his day. Moreover, copyleft – specifically the GNU General Public License – was devized not to "reduce/eliminate piracy", but almost its polar opposite: to encourage and facilitate sharing.

    Stallman got 'Copyleft, All Rights Reversed,' from Don Hopkins. The phrase originates from the reprint permissions of the Principia Discordia by Greg Hill in the early 70s.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 8:02am

    Freetards ought to read all at the link.

    Including comments: many more than here, besides longer, well written, and no vulgarity. I'd say that you here are only a tiny handful of freetardists.

    There's also some actual information with /prices/ from I guess "jeff" who appears to have started Tunescore, whatever that is: apparently hosts albums and collects payments for $49 bucks a year. As whoever says there, musicians think /nothing/ of spend $50 a night on beer and pizza, but they complain that the services of Tunescore are too high! I guess that means that when tons of money didn't come rolling in, that the thrust of the linked article is right: they got discouraged.

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 8:21am

      Re: Freetards ought to read all at the link.

      In the online music market, there are places like iTunes, Google Music, Pandora, and Jamendo. The market is a little crowded. You're really going to try to throw Glyn's entire argument out because one person not making it?

      Remember (this will help in the future), the default setting for any business is failure. If you start a business and don't do anything, you're going to fail. It takes hard work to make yourself noticeable over/better then your competition.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 10:55am

        Re: Re: Freetards ought to read all at the link.

        Sounds like he's throwing the whole argument out because most people are just looking to make a quick buck. Oddly enough it's a behavior he usually deplores.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 8:50am

      Re: Freetards ought to read all at the link.

      "As whoever says there, musicians think /nothing/ of spend $50 a night on beer and pizza"

      http://www.eslgo.com/classes.html

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 10:57am

      Re: Freetards ought to read all at the link.

      Multiple 'freetards' all over the comment thread and you're going to bring up 'vulgarity' as a point about comment quality? Hypocrisy comes out of the blue.

       

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    DanZee (profile), Oct 31st, 2011 @ 9:23am

    Struggling Artists Might Make it Quicker

    All perceptive comments.

    I would just add that a writer like Stephen King wrote novels for years without making any money, just receiving rejection notices from publishers. If the Internet had existed, he would have been able to post his earlier unsold works like Thinner and Running Man (while still retaining publishing and movie rights), and he could have built an online fan base that might have made him famous and brought him money EARLIER in his life. I also give him credit for seeing the value of the Internet in writing a subscription-only story. If I remember correctly, he did make about a million dollars from the attempt!

    So other than telling a writer his work is worthless, I think the Internet can serve as an incentive to write because their fans will always ask for more. If you look the lively fan fiction category, those folks are not writing for any money -- in fact, their stories violate copyright laws and will probably NEVER be "published" -- but because they're motivated by the fans that read their works online and give them encouragement.

     

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    identicon
    George Howard, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 1:50pm

    raising the level of discourse (hopefully)

    Hi,

    It's George. First, let me say how genuinely happy I am for the discourse. All I've ever aspired to in 20 or so years of working in the industry is to raise the level of discourse. Similarly, as someone who has been (at least in part) responsible for many thousands of pieces of artistic content entering the world, I've never wanted anything more than to see artists succeed on their own terms.

    Clearly, we're in a time of great flux in the music (and other) businesses; clearly old models and paradigms either aren't working at all, or are not working effectively.

    However, there is, and has been, an undercurrent of pressure from various proponents of - call it what you will - copyleft, CC, et al. that artists should relinquish some (or all) of their rights granted when they create a (c).

    This (and only this) is my issue.

    I am *not* against artists collaborating, and I am *very much* in favor of instruments that enable collaboration; a CC license clearly facilitates this.

    What I am against, and what I will always be against is the destruction of value (either perceived or real) of artistic output.

    Clearly, our systems with respect to tracking and payment of artists' work is in dire need of reconfiguration (for more, see my recent article on the TuneCore blog entitled: "A Goal: Performance Royalty Accountability in 2012" - http://blog.tunecore.com/2011/10/a-goal-performance-royalty-accountability-in-2012.html )

    I *firmly* believe that technology will enable better tracking and payment of artists' work, and - relatedly - a new level of success for artists, and, thus, an increase (rather than decrease) of artistic output.

    My fear is that while we away tech to enable this needed improvement in tracking/accounting, many tilt towards an understandable direction: we can't collect, ipso facto, music should be free.

    It truly pains me to be painted as some sort of stick in the mud with respect to technology, innovation, etc. I believe my record stands for itself, but let me be clear: I'm *for* technological innovation; I'm for artists having a right to choose; I'm for artists utilizing efficient methods (including, but not limited to CC) to better spread their music.

    However, I'm against - and will be forever - artistic output being devalued. I'm against - and will be forever- artists being pressured into abandoning the ONE asset they have: their (c)s.

    While I'm certain there are examples out there, I would very much like to open up this conversation to some tangible examples of how CC has actually helped artists create and develop sustainable careers.

    While I don't feel Justin Bieber is a good example, I do feel an artist like Jonathan Coulton might be. I'd love to hear more.

    Thanks again for the discussion/conversation.

    We need more.

    Best,

    George

    ps: I'm also posting this on the TC blog.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 6:38pm

      Re: raising the level of discourse (hopefully)

      >My fear is that while we away tech to enable this needed improvement in tracking/accounting, many tilt towards an understandable direction: we can't collect, ipso facto, music should be free.

      Sincerely, George, this is already happening. As it stands, collection agencies can claim even playing taxpayer-funded radio in a closed room constitutes a public performance, and proceed to collect funds for artists that they don't even represent. Worse still, these agencies proceed to do absolutely poor hack jobs of locating these artists to whom these funds are owed - if they bother to even perform a search at all - and after they "fail" to locate these artists, they pocket all the money. (Refer to articles about ASCAP, PRS and SoundExchange.)

      I'm not arguing that works should be devalued, which - unless I'm mistaken - is the alleged problem that you have with CC, but even under the existing non-CC system, this is already happening. Artists aren't being valued; they're means to an end for someone else to make money that will never reach them.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 11:30pm

      Re: raising the level of discourse (hopefully)

      "call it what you will"

      I'm going to call it ice cream. I like Ice Cream.

      So then, whats with all this ice cream talk? Why would they want artist to use ice cream?

      I don't get it

       

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      Karl (profile), Nov 1st, 2011 @ 7:53pm

      Re: raising the level of discourse (hopefully)

      Hi, George! Thanks for stopping by. Hope you stay a while.

      I'm a musician myself (not a professional one, though I do earn some money from it). I release most of my work under a CC license. And I'd like to explain to you why you're 100%, dead wrong.

      For one thing, you are completely and utterly wrong about the Open Source and Free Software movements. They do not, and never intended to, stop "piracy." In fact, it is impossible to "pirate" free software, at least in the traditional sense; one can only "pirate" free software by taking open source software, and locking it up behind a more restrictive license (as TiVo did).

      The free software and open source movements are distinct, and differ by motivation. The goal of the Free Software Foundation is to promote liberty - their motto is "free as in speech, not as in beer." The open source movement, on the other hand, advocates free software because of it is better in a more practical sense. It generally results in software that runs better and is more secure. But, a big part of it is that open source software makes more money than closed source software.

      I'd like that to sink in, so I'll repeat it: Open source software makes more money.

      Not just for software companies, either. By lowering the barriers to entry - not just in software costs, but in learning costs - open source software allows individual programmers to make more money, too. There are more coders making money through open source software (e.g. people creating custom Drupal modules, website designers, Android developers, etc) than there are making money through closed-source software.

      You should be aware of this, since every piece of software that you use to write your blog, is open source. From the server (Apache), to the language (PHP), to the web software (

      This, alone, entirely debunks your notion that CC licenses "devalue" music. There is no source of income that traditional copyright allows, that is not also allowed under a CC license. The most adopted CC licenses (by a fair margin) are the various NonCommercial licenses (I myself simply use CC-NC).

      It doesn't prevent you from joining a PRO (like ASCAP or BMI). It doesn't prevent you from earning money from television shows. It doesn't prevent you from signing with a record label. It won't allow some random site to sell your music without your permission. Not even the ones that allow commercial use prevent you from selling CD's, T-shirts, or merch. None could possibly prevent you from performing live.

      There is another issue here: you are confusing value with price. Making something free does not "devalue" it. Do we put books in libraries because we, as a culture, believe books are worthless? Of course not. We believe they are so valuable, that we need to make them available to everyone.

      Furthermore, dispersing the art to as many people as possible, to use in their own expression, creates value. It is what makes art significant. Without that, your art would have no value of any kind - monetary or otherwise.

      So, what you are talking about is actually "price," i.e. the cost of a good. Let's rephrase your statement to make it more accurate:

      "What I am against, and what I will always be against is making art less expensive." Kind of makes you realize why many people don't like what you're saying.

      As far as "the destruction of value (either perceived or real) of artistic output" - I have never, ever seen anyone from Creative Commons (or the "Copyleft" movement) say that artists should not be paid, or that they are overpaid, or that they are getting something they do not deserve. That is a straw man, a caricature that is being deliberately spread by the legacy music industry. (Such as when ASCAP claimed Creative Commons "hated copyright" - Creative Commons is a copyright, and is dependent upon copyright law for enforcement; does it hate itself?)

      This is not to say I haven't heard that - just not from anyone in the "Copyleft" movement. ("Why should artists get paid over and over again without doing any more work?" is the usual refrain.) But when have I heard it? Nobody ever said this about an artist who releases CC music (even rich ones). Nobody ever said this when artists get licensing deals. Nobody ever said this when legal cases between labels and artists are settled in the artists' favor.

      The only time I've heard this is when one of the legacy industry players does something absolutely ghastly (e.g. suing Girl Scouts, creating horrifying laws like PROTECT IP or SOPA, shutting down music venues) or when discussing the ridiculous parts of copyright law (e.g. 95+ year copyright terms). The implied message: "If these horrible things are what it takes for artists to get paid, then I'm against artists getting paid."

      In other words, bad copyright laws result in the destruction of value of artistic output. Neither the public, nor artists, are "devaluing" their works because of CC or anyone in the "copyleft" movement (which most people haven't even heard of). They're "devaluing" the works because they equate "valuing" the work with evil acts. No wonder most Americans don't believe file sharing is immoral.

      Fortunately, this is entirely a false dichotomy. And it is a dichotomy that CC is there to solve. A CC license allows you to make money in exactly the same way as an artist has always made it, without using the immoral and self-destructive methods the big studios use against their best customers.

      And, in fact, prior to 1995 copyright and CC-BY-NC were basically the same thing. People who made mixtapes weren't hauled into court; tape manufacturers weren't shut down as being "dedicated to piracy" (though of course the RIAA tried). By and large, non-commercial use was legally fair use, grudgingly accepted, and even praised in many artistic circles.

      Our current problems are caused entirely by copyright law's intrusion into the bedrooms of every single American. That is what is "devaluing" art. In fact, if copyright law stayed the same in the last twenty years or so, we probably wouldn't even need Creative Commons. It certainly wouldn't be as popular as it is today; you'd have just a handful of artists using it, instead of (at last count) over 130 million.

       

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        Karl (profile), Nov 1st, 2011 @ 7:59pm

        Re: Re: raising the level of discourse (hopefully)

        ...oops, sorry about losing the sentence after "web software." Just FYI, your CMS is likely open-source as well (if you're using e.g. Wordpress or Drupal), as are all the jQuery libraries you're using, and it's more than likely being browsed by people using Firefox or Chrome, both open-source.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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