A lot of talk on copyright reform has been coming up lately. Well, I guess it has always been a subject of debate, but reform is now being given a more serious listen. Should the duration of copyrights be limited? Should congress provide more limitations on the owner’s rights. Is current copyright legislation stunting creativity…after all, there is no longer a such thing as an “original work”? Regardless of one’s position on these arguments, few proposed reformations seem to balance out the problems and gaps within our current copyright laws.
I have not come up my own copyright reform proposal (I definitely do not have that much time on my hands, and there is not enough pain killers to soothe that kind of headache), but I have always been a proponent of Creative Commons.
Most industry folks with which I’ve had the pleasure of discussing Creative Commons either love the corporation and its ideology, or pass the concept off as some abstract copyleft idea thought up by a few neo-hippies who are looking for loop holes to exploit the works of others. For me, in particular, I did not pay much attention to the idea. I was first introduced to Creative Commons years back when I created my first flickr account. I saw the (cc), added it to all my photos, and said to myself, “aw, that’s cute, way cooler than the copyright symbol!”
After I got over the visual aesthetic of the Creative Commons licenses, I found the idea absolutely genius. Creative Commons allows the owner to set the terms of the protection. Creative Commons seeks to “increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in “the commons” — the body of work that is available to the public for free and legal sharing, use, repurposing, and remixing.”
Unlike a copyright, a Creative Commons license allows the owner to choose the ways in which to protect the work – how must the work be attributed, whether or not users can exploit the work for commercial purposes, whether users can make derivative works, etc. Additionally, Creative Commons allows the author to change the protection whenever the author chooses – an ability that is not permitted via copyright.
It is unknown whether or not Creative Commons will revolutionize the statutory copyright laws. Many highly regarded businesses, artists and celebrities are utilizing Creative Commons to distribute their work, and I find the license more desirable for my own artistic and literary works. Below is a video on the usage of Creative Commons licenses by a non-profit organization that I highly admire – Media That Matters. Watch for yourself to see the inter-workings of Creative Commons.