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.