Billboard Reporter Suggests The Creative Commons Can Kill?

from the seems-a-bit-extreme dept

We missed this one earlier in the week, so thanks to Copyfight for bringing back some attention to a bizarre and misleading story from Billboard magazine discussing Creative Commons. As Larry Lessig points out, most of the article seems to weave back and forth between supporters of Creative Commons and detractors. While a few of the arguments made are a little odd or misleading, it’s not that bad of an article. However, at the end, it concludes with a ridiculous anecdote that has angered some. The article talks about one musician who wrote a hit song in 1970. Apparently, he’s still living off of royalties from that one song — and it helped him to pay for medical treatments that he needed more recently. The implication is clear: if he’d used a Creative Commons license then, he’d be broke and dead. Of course, this is ridiculous for a variety of reasons. First off, as is pointed out in one of the responses, if he’d used a “non-commercial” license, he’d still be receiving the same royalties. Second, there’s no telling what else might have happened if he had used a CC license. Perhaps others would have taken the song and remixed it, giving his career a second life — so that he wasn’t just living off the success of one song written 35 years ago. Perhaps he would have gone on to do something else, or been inspired to write more hit songs rather than just living off his one big hit. This brings up a final point: why do people assume that if you write one good song you should be able to live off of it for the rest of your life? If I had a particularly good work day five years ago, it’s not going to matter today at work. It might help my reputation, and open up new opportunities, but I still need to work today.

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