Are Non-Commercial Creative Commons Licenses A Bad Idea? Nina Paley & Cory Doctorow Debate...

from the clash-of-the-titans dept

Venerable author Cory Doctorow and I engaged in a friendly email debate this Summer, with the intention of sharing it to illuminate some issues confronting Free Culture and Creative Commons licenses. It's quite long, but hits on many topics of interest to Techdirt readers.

Read Paley & Doctorow argue over Non-Commercial licenses

Cory releases his books under -NC ("Non-Commercial") licenses. The -NC restriction is Creative Commons' most popular, but has a lot of problems, including incompatibility with Free licenses. As an alternative, I recommend the Creator Endorsed Mark used with a copyleft (such as Share-Alike) license. The sparks fly from there! (Actually it's all very civil, but if I say sparks fly maybe more people will read it.)

I'm curious to read how the Techdirt community weighs on on these issues, so please comment.

Filed Under: cory doctorow, creative commons, nina paley, noncommercial
Companies: creative commons

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  1. icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), 10 Sep 2010 @ 6:00am

    Re: Re: Re: The conundrum

    Karl, you seem to have an inverted idea of exploitation.

    Record labels exploit artists through copyright by DENYING everyone the liberty to produce copies (including the artist), in order to enjoy the monopoly - being the only source of copies (to charge monopoly prices). Once signed, the artist cannot sell their own work - that is exploitation.

    Labels do not exploit artists by having the liberty to produce copies of their work.

    Exploitation is about getting people to work for nothing in return, or for far less than the free market value of their labour. Have you wondered why so many artists are considered lottery winners if they receive even 1% of the revenue the label obtains through sale of copies? Most artists see nothing (any advance is 'looked after' for them).

    You should also ask why so many software engineers publish their software under a copyleft license and do not feel exploited by Microsoft consequently able to sell copies of their work for any amount they like.

    If you would use CC-NC to suspend others' liberty to exchange their labour in a free market (to reserve that suspension for exploitation by a traditional publisher), then frankly, you shouldn't complain if you end up exploited by the publisher you eventually sell your copyright to (if they'd pay you anything for it, being devalued by your market saturation of free copies). If you prohibit anyone from using your work unless they do so unpaid, then you will see zero custom from those who might otherwise like to use your work in earning their own living.

    Artists deserve to be able to exchange their labour for money, so it's really perverse that so many pay lip service to this principle with themselves in mind, but disagree in practice through their act of denying this liberty to others by using the CC-NC license.

    If I print Nina Paley's cartoons on postcards and sell them, how am I exploiting her? If she'd used CC-NC I wouldn't use them, but because she doesn't and my postcards sell like hotcakes I'll be inclined to commission Nina to produce more cartoons for my cards.

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