Adam Fields (weblog)

This blog is largely deprecated, but is being preserved here for historical interest. Check out my index page at adamfields.com for more up to date info. My main trade is technology strategy, process/project management, and performance optimization consulting, with a focus on enterprise and open source CMS and related technologies. More information. I write periodic long pieces here, shorter stuff goes on twitter or app.net.

6/3/2005

Why the BBS documentary was released with a creative commons license and what that means

Filed under: — adam @ 12:08 pm

This is a great piece from the creator of the BBS documentary on why he released it under a fairly unrestricted creative commons license:

http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/000123.html

Now, under copyright law in the United States, I have, as a content creator, an amazing arsenal of statutes and legal decisions at my disposal to make your life, assuming you are playing the part of someone copying my films without my permission, into a bitter fucking hell. I mean, a seriously bad, stinky, horrifying pit of suck. I can threaten you with years of jail. I can sue you in civil court while pursuing a criminal case against you on a state and federal level. If I am feeling somewhat kinky I can try and drag Interpol into the whole mess. And the laws out there, approved, let me attempt to have you put away for YEARS. Absolutely YEARS of your life for videotaping a copy of my film.

In other words, I have an enormous amount of incentive to be a jerk.

And yes, it’s so easy, having now created something that has the potential to cost me a lot of money, to reach out and want to use these tools for my own end. Even though, in my own high school and college years, I made songs that used samples from professional productions, even if I took screengrabs from films and put them on a website to make a funny parody in 1995, I see my own work and the temptation is there to go “No, this is different. This is my stuff and you can’t have my stuff without paying for it.”

But that’s not what I did. Instead, I stayed true to my belief system and licensed it under Creative Commons, giving away a lot of the tools that US copyright law grants me, because they’re are By the Jerks, for the Jerks, and should perish from this Earth.

It was in some ways a tough decision, because you want to “protect” yourself, but then you realize you’re not really “protecting” anything; all you’re doing is being a paranoid twitch-bag. And once you realize this, then it becomes a little easier.

It keeps coming back to these four points:


1. People like to spend money.
2. People donít like to be treated like criminals.
3. People like to spend money on those they consider friendly or part of their community, even if itís not true (you know who you are).
4. People share with their friends.

Creative commons is not just sharing, it’s good business sense. It massively produces goodwill and exposure for your products.


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