Response: Creative Commons is Rewriting Rules of Copyright


Creative Commons was created by Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford University law professor. Lessig said he created Creative Commons in order  “to create a body of digital work, which he calls ‘artifacts of culture,’ for the public domain, accessible to all.” Since then, artists, writers and musicians alike have used Creative Commons to release their work, whether it be in full or just pieces, with the hopes of sharing their creations with the public.

One of the problems facing artists then, that is even worse now, is the ability to get their work into the hands of their fans, for little to no cost. As is explained in the article, Chuck D and the Fine Arts Militia released their single, “No Meaning No,” through Creative Commons, and were blown away by the fan base the free release of their music created. After this success, the band then released their entire album under creative commons licensing.

So then, I am left wondering, even with such a successful fan base, how is this band making money? Creative Commons allows anyone to use, edit and redistribute the material on the site. Although this is great for exposure, especially for new musicians and artists, how are these people supposed to make money? At the time this article was written, Apple Inc. had proved that people were willing to pay 99 cents to download a single song, I’m not convinced that’s the case now. I don’t remember the last time I purchased a song on iTunes or even bought a DVD. Nowadays, we can find everything for free online, though most of these are illegal versions. Think about how you consume media. Whether its music, tv shows or movies, do you always pay to listen to or watch them?

On the contrary, there is something to be said about the fact that these artists and musicians are willing to give their art away for free, and not only give it away, but let users turn it into whatever they want. The article points out that this is becoming the new norm as more and more artists warm to “the idea of the Internet as a friend instead of foe and race to capitalize on technologies such as file-sharing and digital copying.”

The internet can be such a beautiful thing, if we allow it to be. Opposite from last week’s discussion about trolls and the hurtful things they can say to anyone they want, without even saying who they are, Creative Commons is one of the most positive places on the internet. We all know the saying, “sharing is caring” and Creative Commons capitalizes on that notion. The creator, fans and supporters of Creative Commons are all a part of this community that lets anyone access and use art for free and do whatever they want with it. These people aren’t necessarily concerned about the money, but rather care so much about the art, and their art, that they will let anyone have it for free. This really makes you think — why do we have to pay to listen to music, or to watch movies, or look at pretty pictures? Is the obsession with making money off of all of this taking away from the art itself?

Regardless of where you stand on the money debate that I laid out above, Creative Commons, in my opinion, is a lifesaver for a lot of people. Just the other day I introduced my coworker to Creative Commons and she couldn’t stop thanking me. She needed music to add to the background of a video she was making, but had no idea where to get music that she could use legally. Creative Commons allows anyone to use media or art to do whatever they need, saving them time, money and a whole lot of effort.



  1. I like the point you bring up about money taking away from art. I agree with the idea that Creative Commons allows art to be shared for the pure love of art, without any influence of money. I think that is a great way to look at Creative Commons media and another reason why more people should use it.

  2. I do not think that the money takes away from the art but then again I am not a huge art enthusiast. The people who usually love their jobs the most are the one who get paid for doing what they love. So for instance, artists are one of the workers. Besides that, these are the few people who are so good at what they do that they are famous for it. Anything that is that widely shared should get credited and I think the best credit is monetary credit. If an artist is sharing something so personally with the world I think it is worth getting paid for in my opinion. Why should everyone have access to something so huge for free? Nonetheless I figure that would be harmful to the economy in the terms of generating money. I like that this post shows both sides and is not opinionated! Good job!

  3. You made an interesting point about the money debate: should money be any artist’s primary concern? I believe that if an individual is truly dedicated to his trade, his motivation for his work should be driven by his love for the work. Otherwise, it is difficult for an artist to produce work of the highest caliber. A concern for money may actually hinder this process rather than expedite it. For instance, an award-winning artist who initially rose to fame by love for his work and little to no pay, may no longer be inclined to produce such works if he feels he is being “cheated” out of due payment. Such a sense of entitlement can be dangerous to a professional’s quality of work.

  4. You imposed a very interesting question in the end. I do not think that money takes from the art. I think that money allows artists to continue creating art without the worries of how they are going to pay their bills. For example, many successful youtubers establish a partnership with youtube. Youtube pays them depending on how many subscribers and views their channel gets. This allows the youtuber to make videos as full time profession.

  5. That’s a really interesting question you posed. I stumbled upon a website about a year ago that allows people to download EPs and even whole albums that artists have agree to be distributed for free. Once they get more of a name, however, they no longer release their music on the site. I tend to agree with you that money can take away from the art, but it’s a really tricky line we’re talking about because technically this is their job.

  6. I agree that Creative Commons can be a life saver for people who want to share their art with others and people who want to use it. My only reservation with it is that people will start expecting every artist to contribute to it out of the idea that a real artist doesn’t do it for the money, but for the love of the art itself. It’s totally fine for some artists to believe in CC for that reason, but I think it’s really unfair to expect every artist to do the same because we don’t want to pay.

  7. You bring up some very valid and pressing points in your response to the article. It never really occurred to me how people, myself included, actually consume media online. The fact that many of us get our music and television shows for free, mostly illegally, is one that is taken for granted. It was a good play on your part to shed light on that. Creative Commons is a place that not only allows people to use other works for free, but also allows you to modify them when allowed. The original producer of their work must have a lot of faith in the public to allow their work to be used, sometimes even misused and misrepresented, in such ways.

    I also agree that Creative Commons can be a lifesaver. Especially for people like us who are only beginning to understand the rules of blogging and all the rules and regulations that goes with publishing content online. We wouldn’t want to get sued.

  8. I really like the point being made here about money and art. I personally do not think that it takes away from the art because some people use their artwork to make a living. I do agree that Creative Commons is definitely a lifesaver as well. It makes it much easier for me to find photos related to my topic without taking any artwork that I am not allowed to use. Creative Commons is also a great way for people to share their art that want it to be shared. It definitely does save me a lot of time because without it I’d be so concerned about finding pictures for my blog. I really enjoyed this post and your thoughts on the matter.

  9. I really like that you brought up whether or not money ruins art. I think that money CAN take away from art and many times it does, when something is made for mass consumption and media attention instead of genuine interest. However, artists need to make money as well because many art trades cost money to maintain.

    As for your question posed about paying money for iTunes, I would say this: people are never going to pay for music that they don’t LOVE. When we were younger, we didn’t own thousands of thousands of songs or albums. We bought the CDs we really liked and we were resigned to listen to other songs on the radio. I think this remains true today. If I really love a song (and I can’t find it elsewhere for cheaper) I will buy it on iTunes. If it’s a song I somewhat like and I can download it illegally, I will. But if songs were wiped clean from the internet and there was no way to get anything on my iPod, I wouldn’t suddenly want to buy all the songs that I currently own. I would just buy the ones I loved.

    But either way, I do agree that creative commons is a good idea and makes sharing and consumption of music easier.

  10. Everyone should be using creative commons media, because without it, I would not be able to distinguish from the artwork I would or would not be able to use for my blog. It is really easy to use and it also provides a benefit for photographers or other artists to have their work shared. This allows them to receive recognition for their work and therefore more people are aware of their art work when it is shared.

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