The Commonistas Strike Back

Seems like Andrew Orloski of The Register is at it again. I don’t know if he has a personal problem with Creative Commons, but he seems to be on a crusade against CC. This time he is reproducing some letters and continuing his comments against the global licensing movement. We see a repeat of many of the arguments posed before, and some new ones. The first thing that we get is a selection of letters in favour of Mr. Orlowski’s views. Hardly surprising, but then he starts his article by stating that:

“The use of an irrevocable Commons license, which effectively ends any hope of the artist being compensated by the creative industries, doesn’t seem fair or sensible for most readers.”

We keep hearing this, but I see no evidence of such an assumption. The first thing to point out is that this assumes that most people create with profit in mind. This is of course, a ridiculous assumption, as the internet proves without a shadow of doubt. People will create for all sorts of reasons, including profit, but to assume that the licences are not sensible or fair because there may be no hope of future profit misses the entire point. It is also not true that the licences do not offer any hope of profit to artists. There is a growing number of successful examples of people who manage to profit even while using Creative Commons, such as the good people at Fading Ways.

In general, the entire article rests on that faulty assumption. Orloski repeats the mantra that people cannot profit from Creative Commons, with no hope of any evidence to support that assumption. The fact that the licences are irrevocable is not relevant whatsoever. If you release a work with a CC licence, the irrevocable nature only means that those who have acquired rights will retain those rights in the future. You can still change your mind and stop releasing the work with a CC licence if you want, and even remove the work from the internet altogether. You can also negotiate rights in the future for commercial uses (if you are using a non-commercial licence).

Mr. Orloski should do his research in the future. It is painfully obvious that, despite protestations to the contrary, he still doesn’t get CC.

Leave a Reply