Creative Commons: Sensible solution, or accidental antithesis?
I’ve spent some time trying to understand Creative Commons and the arguments in favour of its usage. As a traditionalist, I believe in paying for access to creative product: I use iTunes, feel uncomfortable borrowing dodgy DVDs and, despite encouragement from friends (and an increasing resentment for all my favourite TV shows being gobbled up by SKY) have no intention of going Torrenting. I don’t understand why it’s seen as acceptable for artists to be devalued and their talent undermined simply because we have the Internet. Why should a writer be denied financial security and profitable recognition for their work, merely because technology makes it possible?
We appear to live in a society where an obsession with cost has overtaken an understanding of value.
I also (and this probably flies in the face of both modern thinking and the information industry as a whole) have some reservations towards the concept of open access- be it information or software- as a panacea of learning and progressive educational advancement. I’m probably coming across as a 21st Century King Cnut, waving my sword in pitiful defiance at the waves of reality crashing into my feet.
Anyway, my point is, I’m supportive of the notion of trying to safeguard the rights of an individual in regards to their intellectual property and artistic integrity; therefore, I think Creative Commons is a potentially meritorious project.
However, like my Cnut-esque protestations about the modern world, Creative Commons is an extremely idealistic concept, raising all kinds of questions in terms of its legality and practical enforcement. And, let’s be honest, we’ve all borrowed a CD from a friend, a book from a colleague and, in our darker moments, taped stuff off the radio (ah, the days of cassettes and pressing pause/record at the same time…). The fact is, if people are going to illegally share/copy/download, then they’re not going to pay much attention to a little symbol on the corner of a website, especially when the full force of the law has proved so clumsily inadequate as a deterrent.
I actually feel that the concept of Creative Commons contradicts itself in its own terms. Creative Commons seems to have been setup in order to encourage responsible free sharing of content online. Yet CC admits that it only works in concert with existing regulations. Rather than opening up content and information sharing, Creative Commons is actually helping to reinforce the established (flawed) boundaries between those who generate original work, and those who take advantage of the work of others. Copyright law is already floundering under the weight of the Internet, and yet Creative Commons wants to add another layer of, frankly, inept restrictions, on top of the problem.
I also noticed that on Flickr, many people are using the more restrictive licenses, and actually transferring their licensing controls to a corporate entity (Getty Images) in order to protect their commercial interests. In this instance, Creative Commons is failing to meet the challenge of the Internet; in addition, the Flickr/Getty setup serves as a reminder that the Internet is continuing to be colonised by major commercial stakeholders.
Apologies, I’ve probably mangled my points here. I knew what I wanted to say as I started typing, and then sort of got jumbled up in the argument. Essentially, I like the idea of CC, but don’t think it’s the perfect answer to the online copyright question.
Anyway, enough of this! Let’s get to the fun part:
This week’s first Thing was about Creative Commons, or CC as it’s known. So, I thought I’d present a tribute to some of the other famous CC’s who have gone before (extra prize if you can guess who/what they are without cursor-hovering for the answer!):
(*Actress: CCH Pounder)
(**Motorcycle: It’s 750cc…)
I must admit, I found the CC searching on Flickr awkward- sometimes it was more helpful to use the normal search as it yielded greater options. I found formatting the images on WordPress quite fiddly & time-consuming (maybe I was doing something wrong) and must say a massive Thank You to Library Apocalypse and Twinset & Purls for their discussion about using Flickr; it really helped!
(I spent ages reading the CC explanations, trying to make sure ‘I got it’- seriously, if anyone notices that I’ve applied the license instructions incorrectly: TELL ME, and I’ll remove them immediately. It’s stupidity, not an attempt to infringe anyone’s copyright. I found it a real minefield, particularly when you factor the Getty license into the equation.)
Finally, the Cool Extra Thing. And what a thang. I wish I had a better photo to use, but I had to make do. That’s not to say the results aren’t hysterical (or indeed freaky…)
Thank you for introducing me to PhotoFunia. Love it!