2008.10.25

I’m never sure if I think about these issues more because I’ve been involved in publishing for over 20 years, or if it’s because I’m a big fan of Creative Commons, or because I create music and images… or maybe it’s a combination of all those things…

Chances are, if you are reading this blog, that you are a publisher too. Most us are nowadays… If you have a blog, or a Flickr account, or upload videos to the web, you are a publisher. So my question to you is, do you think about the rights of others when you publish something you created, and incorporate their work?

I’ve seen it too many times in videos… someone puts together the visuals, the part they created, and then grabs some artist’s song to drop on top of it. Often it will be a song from a well known artist, used without permission. People often say “I’m not making money from it” or “It’s just for fun, no one is really going to see it” but saying those things dismisses the value of the artist’s work, and missed the fact that by publishing, you are showing it to the world.

Worse yet, is when people do this and re-license the work. Sorry, but you can’t just grab some Foo Fighter’s song, use it in your video, and put it under a Creative Commons license… or can you?

This is where I think things get a little gray. I mean, my old pal Dave Slusher of the Evil Genius Chronicles often uses material in his shows that have different licenses, and makes note of it in the show. So while the portions of his show he creates are under a specific license of his choosing, other parts (often songs) are not.

So the question is, can you create a work, put it under a license, and use material from different licenses in it? We start to see that whole “infection” thing they talk about in the software world.

I don’t have the answer to this, and it’s one of the continually nagging parts of licensing, and copyright, and Creative Commons I think about.

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