Add Common sense to CC


Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor.


I think everyone understands this. But things get more complicated when adding other Creative Commons attributes to the license. For example NC, non-commercial, to protect the work from being used in commercial works, or from being sold for money.

I know many people, including artists and record-labels, who find Creative Commons licenses complicated because of this. Also many people are confused by the term non-commercial.

Why not make things more simple then?

My advice: add some common sense to the licenses! And yes, I am serious.

I would LOVE to use just the BY/attribution attribute in a license because it is simple, clean and everyone truly understands it. The only issue is that it’s perfectly legal to use the works for commercial projects without compensating the artist. So artists who would like to make a living with their music are not in favor of using it!

But what if Creative Commons would add something like this to the license:
“Please use common sense and consider a compensation when using the works for commercial purposes.”

That would be SO simple and so cool. I mean Common Sense – Creative Commons, makes perfect sense.

So the only thing I want from Creative Commons is to add this line of text. It will make the licenses more simple to use while offering common sense to ‘protect’ the works against rippin’. People can still rip your work, but would that make sense and would that make them happy? Some of these people would probably rip people even using the NC license. So BY could become the common sense license, simple, clean and maybe most used license for the comming years. 100% open and the works can be used by anyone. Think about the exposure it generates for these artists! Totally win-win, right?

Please let me know what you think of it. If you can help promoting it, please do so. Blog about it, discuss it, promote pimp it seriously!


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I am a huge believer in the “attribution only” license. I love the collaboration and exchange.

Yet for me, music creation is truly a Creative Commons-type experience.
It’s not that I mind that people sell their work under restrictive copyright protections. It’s that I am all about collaboration (the “collective of people at large”, if you will) and less about making money. I am less interested in violating others’ copyrights, than in creating a new culture in which so much BY material is available that copyright becomes irrelevant.

I believe that the problem with the NC license is not that “it exists”, but
that we need an easy license clearinghouse for those CC att/nc matters.
If one could go to xyz site, and easily license NC works, then most of the problems I see with the commercial license required issues, that is, the problem of tracking down authors and negotiating prices, disappears.
I’d like to see the CC people or some other worthy group set up a clearinghouse with readily predictable costs. It might be fun, by the way, if DiSfish’s site had a readily accessible “license fee list”, as I think that many
indie folks are intimidated about licensing things because they just don’t like to or don’t know how to negotiate.

I like your idea, though, of a “use common sense” sentence in the BY license.
It’s a good approach, I think.

CRiSPyToWN -=- Blog of useless info»Blog Archive » Add Common sense to Creative Commons says:

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Thanks Bob for your thoughts.

You are right about the clearinghouse ideas. It’s up to the labels I guess.

And yes, DiSfish also needs to work on this. Personally I don’t think we should not do it like some other labels are doing it by asking millions of questions before you get to see the licenses. I want to make that process a whole lot easier and transparent!

I have looked at some of these clearinghouses and noticed several strange things. For example: when an artist is credited at the start or end of the film you need to pay more money. Makes no sense to me, I would give them discount. Mentioning the name of an artist/label is good promo. So my ideas in general are: showing options + bonus options for discounts. Like the one by crediting the artists etc. But there are many cool ideas.

Like I say… 2006 is the year of DiSfish hehe πŸ˜‰

But the whole thing with this BY-attribute is all about simplicity. I guess still many people don’t fully understand all these other attributes. I also hear many people complain about the NC-attribute because you can end up in exactly the same problems as with ‘All right reserved’ systems: the hastle of clearing rights. Think: hastle, time consuming, uncertain, problem, slow process etc.

So therefore I truly believe that it would be great if I could find some examples of released music/art using nothing but the BY-attribute BUT with making a bit of money.

Maybe I should simply change my own licenses and make everything available as BY-only. That might be the best showcase.

What do you think?

It’s all about common sense and respect I guess. I simply can’t imagine anyone doing a major film, using someone’s work released under BY and then paying nothing. But maybe my way of thinking is not as common as I think it is… πŸ™‚

Good thoughts, Marco.

Here’s a few replies:

You said:
“Personally I don’t think we should not do it like some other labels are doing it by asking millions of questions before you get to see the licenses. I want to make that process a whole lot easier and transparent!”

I completely agree. The license fees at every site should be user-friendly and easy. So many of these “20,000 questions” things are off-putting. Instead, a simple price list with a simple place to e-send the money is the way to
make it work.

“Maybe I should simply change my own licenses and make everything available as BY-only. That might be the best showcase.

What do you think?”

I have struggled with this in my mind. For me, it is easy, because attribution is my key goal. I’d love to see DisFish get some donations from my work, but that’s only because I want you and Cezary to succeed. I’m not saying I’m averse to money, but I have a day job already :).

Yet the struggle is that the NC license has a purpose for people like you, Marco. In your Reason support endeavors, it’s easy to see how important it is to keep some IP protections, so that you are compensated for your work.
I think that with your music, as well, NC protections let you avoid that rare company that will take your work and not pay for it. It’s that little “margin of distance” between someone like me–an eccentric non-commercial music maker, and someone like you–a real musician and developer, that makes an NC important for you but not for me.

I believe this will be the year of DiSfish, too. I’ve also suggested, by the way, that it will be the year of Lisa DeBenedictis, but I believe it can be both :).
To me, what DiSfish will accomplish is to communicate this sense of “community collective”–that we do ‘real music’, but we do it in ways that are more accessible and less expensive for consumers and commercial users alike. This is the key to the DiSfish idea–that if one cuts out the middleman and liberalizes licensing, everyone can win.

I opine that you should keep the NC, but that DisFish and your other endeavors should have more accessible price list and explanatory text
on how it works and how it works inexpensively and well. I know you’re
already thinking this through, and i’m sure it will all work.

To make a point, though, which illustrates your own point–on mixter, there are so many pieces I’d love to incorporate into songs on DiSFish, but the NC tags slow me down a bit. If the world were all BY, I’d donate to artists, and
we’d never need NC. The question, though, I guess, is whether I am a naive idealist or the wave of the future.

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