Thursday, May 10, 2012


I'm building a small website to show off my recent projects, so recently I've started thinking about applying a free culture license to the work I put up. (I am quite the navel gazer.) Creative Commons is the biggest name in this space. [Link.] It seems wise to use a more well-known license because the more obscure licenses might never be legally tested. I initially chose the attribution and share-alike caveats and put them in my templates. A couple of days later, I watched this video with Mark Hosler of Negativland talking about Creative Commons, and I realized that I hate rules too. Who am I to tell someone else what to do. Now I am leaning towards CC-Zero, which is the most permissive of the Creative Commons options. I'm still considering including the share-alike clause ... I am torn. The WTFPL is attractive also, for its bluntness and irreverence. [Link.]
[Link] to a quite good Mark Hosler lecture.

Edit: Does anyone know of a good resource that explains how the law views collage?


Pete said...

[Link.] This site has some good commentary.

I'm waffling about this. It's fun to think about. With software, I consider myself a copyleft guy, not a libertarian. I prefer the GPL, which requires derivative works to be free also, to the BSD license family, which has no such restrictions. CC-by-sa (the Creative Commons commercial share-alike) has the least number of restrictions but keeps derivative works free, which might not be such a bad thing.

Don J. said...

Creative Commons is by far the most well-known. High profile pop stars, as well as droves of independent graphic designers are using it . . . I think it is all still relatively untested in courts but I think that is kind of the point - a mechanism to avoid litigation.

In answer to your question about collage I think the only guage there is right now is high profile court cases with blue-chip artists. Jeff Koons has had a couple: won one, lost one, a while back his handlers filed one lawsuit and then withdrew it due to outragously bad PR . . . also the Richard Prince story from 2011 with injunction against the sale of all pertinent works through Gagosian is a big one. Unfortunately due to the mixed results in these cases the precedents remain somewhat fluid.

I have had my own minor and major issues both positive and negative with the publishing and legal worlds with some of my work. (Far too long of stories to recount here . . .) I would suggest just making the artworks and then worrying and making informed decisions about licensing when inquiries come up.

As you start researching you will find that the general rule of thumb is that if you can argue that you intervened and changed the source enough you are protected (usually, see the case that Jeff Koons lost). Unfortunately, these laws vary widely depending on what country you are dealing with.

It is all rather vague and muddled right now. When in doubt find a copyright lawyer.

Pete said...

Yeah. We're not talking 80's style "appropriation" here. I'm just using photographs to seed drawings.

Pete said...

I can get into compiling footnotes. But you're right about it being peripheral to art making. As we discussed, there'll be two a public and private side to the site. I'll just keep works whose licensing I am unsure of private... problem solved.

I still haven't decided on a blanket license for the site. I change my mind every couple of days. It changes based on which half of me is dominant that day, the socialist half or the anarchist half. I like the CC share-alike clause because I can see how seeking out and using such material based on license creates a positive feedback loop among creators. The anarchist half of me wants the work to be an genuine expression of freedom (That's the aspiration, anyway. I'm sure the reality is different.). So CC-Zero seems appropriate, then.

Don J. said...

Are you worried someone is going to come after you?

Or do you just want people to know that they have your permission to re-mix your work?

Pete said...

I'm not terribly worried about getting sued. Though I think litigious web spiders that use image recognition aren't that far off.

I was more thinking about the different philosophies that underpin these different licenses.

I found another one in the Inkscape Document Settings Dialog. The Free Art license. [Link.]