Has anybody ever told you Creative Commons was a bad idea?
Well, let me be the first. I know already I’m one of only two people in the country who’s in favour of copyright reform but not in favour of Creative Commons. Hence I also know you think I’m wrong. I doubt you’ll still think that once I’m done.
So: What is wrong with Creative Commons?
- You’re only signing up because of peer pressure.
- It’s perpetual and irrevocable. Are you sure you won’t change your mind later?
- You don’t really know what rights you’re signing away.
- People want to remix only A-list commercial content; you aren’t actually adding value to the culture. So few people want to remix your obscure personal content you could approve each use individually – and then you’d at least know what people were doing with it.
- Creative Commons does not handle moral rights or model releases, both of which can get you into trouble.
And! Time to reassess Larry Lessig: After you lose at the Supreme Court, why not change your career?
What are these people really after?
I don’t think Creative Commons supporters are being honest.
What they really want is the public domain, not copyright lite (“copylite”). If they were honest with themselves, copyleftists would just cede their work to the public domain. Why retain any form of copyright protection if one’s goal is to enrich the commons? How are any of the protections you retain genuinely useful to you? In fact, haven’t you given away all the most important rights, like duplication, attribution, and remuneration?
Creative Commons supporters want to have things both ways, but they manage to bungle it nonetheless. Ostensibly they support the commons. Except they actually retain a few rights for themselves. Except those aren’t the really important rights. Aren’t they defeating their own purpose?
Really, Creative Commons supporters remind me of happily married husbands who insist on their right to fool around with guys on the side. Please make up your minds.
I don’t see how the entire Creative Commons project is distinguishable from a program of outright copyright abolition. I’ve read Creative Commons instigators’ and supporters’ endless writings at great length and have no memory (nor notes on my computer) of a right allocated by copyright that they support and want preserved. I see no rights under copyright that they think Creative Commons, or copyright reform, should never revolt against or just give up completely.
Lessig in particular keeps claiming he supports copyright, but I see no actions whatsoever, apart from copyrighting his own printed books in his name (Remix: “Copyright © Lawrence Lessig, 2008 All rights reserved”), that show he really supports any provisions of current copyright.
And Cory Doctorow? He told CBC Radio’s And Sometimes Y in 2007 that “copyright is a form of censorship, right? Copyright is the state saying this guy gets to tell everyone else whether or not they can say these words. And so it has to be clearly delimited. I’m not saying that it shouldn’t exist, but” that really is what he’s saying.
Copyleftists betray a pattern of disingenuousness at best and dishonesty at worst. They don’t want a few edges filed off existing copyright law. They want the law abolished – not for your benefit as a creator, but for the good of the commons (and some unspecified future life you probably will not lead).
Did none of that ever occur to you before? Ever heard anyone else say these things? I certainly haven’t, and I’ve been looking. Time for an outside analysis of Creative Commons and what it, and its leaders, really stand for. From what I can tell, this is gonna be a first.
It won’t change your mind, of course. But you should help me out anyway.