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Author Topic: Creative Commons License
Rhaythe
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Has anyone released any work under any of the Creative Commons licenses? I'm curious as to what the general feedback is for this particular community concerning such licenses.

I've released two short stories to the Attribution-Share Alike license (which releases the concepts and ideas to the community to utilize, provide the derivative work credits the original author), and one thus far to the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license (which forbids derivative works, and is essentially a "share only" license). My thought behind doing so was that these stories were mostly just hobbywork for me, and not works that I ever expected to be published anyway except through self-publishing means. At least, in this sense, my work is "out there" in some fashion, and it was very cool to have someone email me at one point and ask to do a derivative work in a world I created.

What are the general moods concerning such licenses, as they are strictly counter-intuitive when it comes to the traditional write-for-compensation mentality?


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Could be no one's ever heard of them.
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Wolfe_boy
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I've never seen the point in publishing fiction that no one will pay for under a Creative Commons License. It seems more of a way to promote your work through non-traditional means, but in a method where you bypass the typical "Quality Gatekeepers" of the writing industry, typically editors. If it excites you, though, to have someone ask to write a story in the world you created (someone who is, I'm assuming, not creative enough to come up with their own world), why couldn't this happen if you simply opened up a blog and posted it there? If the piece where you received a request for permission to write a derivative work had the ShareAlike license, why was he asking you? If it had the second licence you mention (which is too long to bother typing out, but oh look how much I've typed saying I won't type it. Oh well too late now) then how is that any different than the standard copyright assumed by simply publishing your own works on the internet for public consumption?

I think Kathleen is 99% correct - most people don't know what Creative Commons Licenses are, and further, I really don't see how it would benefit an unpublished author to obtain these licenses.

Jayson Merryfield


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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What! Only 99%?

I must be slipping.


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Rhaythe
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quote:
I've never seen the point in publishing fiction that no one will pay for under a Creative Commons License.

As mentioned, they were mostly hobbywork stories that I never expected to make any kind of profit off of. Wanted to do something with them, but make sure no one else profited off the ideas, so the CC license seemed ideal.

quote:
It seems more of a way to promote your work through non-traditional means, but in a method where you bypass the typical "Quality Gatekeepers" of the writing industry, typically editors.

Possibly, depending up on the author and the effort thereof. I'll agree, what I published did not go through the normal editing process, so you have an excellent point there.

quote:
If it excites you, though, to have someone ask to write a story in the world you created...

Going a bit far on that one.

quote:
...why couldn't this happen if you simply opened up a blog and posted it there? If the piece where you received a request for permission to write a derivative work had the ShareAlike license, why was he asking you?

Because it was the story under the no-derivative license he wanted to use.

quote:
then how is that any different than the standard copyright assumed by simply publishing your own works on the internet for public consumption?

One of the things I was curious about. Is it any different? The Creative Commons are publicly-available, fully-fleshed legal licenses, so I figured the use of these would be far more secure in ensuring no one profits off work that I wanted to be available, but didn't bother pursuing in a publication.

quote:
I really don't see how it would benefit an unpublished author to obtain these licenses.

Fair enough. Kind of the response I expected to receive, but was curious regardless. Thanks.


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JustInProse
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I'm in the 99%.


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JeanneT
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I can see someone who is a hobbyist being interested.
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Wolfe_boy
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A little info on Creative Commons Licenses...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons

And a critique of Creative Commons (by an old codger I don't normally agree with, but in this case is pretty spot-on)...

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1838244,00.asp

Jayson Merryfield


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ChrisOwens
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I hear the term every episode of Escape Pod. Every week, Steve Eley has the diclaimer to the listeners, "You can freely distribute it, but you can't sell it or change it."

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oliverhouse
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It's probably worth reading this:
http://www.baen.com/library/
...even though it's not directly about CC and has to do more with established authors than with newbies. The ideas it discusses are worth thinking about.

I haven't looked closely, but I know that e.g. Jay Lake publishes his stuff under a CC license on his own Web site after they've been published elsewhere.

Regards,
Oliver


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smncameron
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I'm suprised no one has mentioned Cory Doctorow yet, so I will fill the void. Doctorow is a noted science fiction writer, an editor of boingboing.net, and an advocate for the liberization of copyright laws.

Most notably, for the purposes of our discussion, he publishes his works for free online (under the creative commons license) as well as through a regular publishing house. His novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, was a Nebula Award Nominee.

Because reading books online is a pain, publishing them offline as well may remain profitable. The idea being that people get a free 'sample' then finish the book the normal way.

You could aslo use short stories as 'loss-leaders', getting your name out and hopefully building buzz for a published novel.

Finally, if your story is good enough, you might be able to sell merchandise. Even ff J.K.Rowling hadn't made a single dime through book sales, she would still be incredibly wealthy. (this is of course a rather extreme case)


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JeanneT
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Doctorow may think he gets something out of posting it--although I can't even imagine what. Maybe as Dvorak says, looking cool. Doctorow's work is copyrighted, of course. He can distribute it if he wants as long as it is within his contract to his publisher just as Baen distributes free books. They don't use some CC license because it would serve them no purpose. The material in their Free Library is under copyright, just as Doctorow's is. They're just a bit more professional about it.

This has nothing to do with the question of whether the distribution of free material on-line increases sales. Baen believed it did, and Flint continues to believe that it does as does Doctorow. Some writers disagree. Elizabeth Moon disagrees and is quite outspoken on the subject. This has nothing whatsoever to do with CC or even the Fair Use laws since a complete work is not distrubted under Fair Use.

The question of the distribution of free books increasing sales is an interesting one. It's noticeable that Tor is now also doing a very limited distribution of free books as well. But that would be a discussion for another thread.

While you might need to tell someone they don't have the right to sell your copyrighted material because they don't realize it, the fact is that selling a copy--in print on on-line--does not convey that right.

In what way if any does CC change that? Dvorak is an interesting man, but he's not an intellectual properties lawyer. I seriously doubt that he's correct that CC has any effect on Fair Use. I don't believe that CC holders have the right to supersede the law with their little license.

It does give the people who use it a feeling of security. It keeps novices from going out and spending money to uselessly register a copyright. I don't see that it does much else but I don't see that it would do a lot of harm for a hobbyist to use it.

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited March 27, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited March 27, 2008).]


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smncameron
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Doctorow gets a smug sense of self-satisfaction. I should have been more clear, he's doing it out of principle, not out of any belief that it would increase his sales.

He is, however, an example of a writer who's managed to make a decent living despite having most of his writings available for free on the internet.


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TaleSpinner
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"would be far more secure in ensuring no one profits off work"

There's no no security at all in the license itself. If people are going to copy work, they'll do it regardless of whether it refers to copyright or creative commons.

My understanding is that it's a wording that should stand up in court but it relies on copyright law. The only security is your ability to (a) spot people copying your work and profiting from it, and (b) your ability (i.e. willingness to pay lawyers) to take them to court. And success will depend upon the country they're profiting in, because copyright law and its enforcement varies around the world.

Hope this helps,
Pat


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Rhaythe
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quote:
The only security is your ability to (a) spot people copying your work and profiting from it, and (b) your ability (i.e. willingness to pay lawyers) to take them to court.

It's a mental placebo for self-publishers, essentially.


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JustInProse
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Kill me now.

I'm selling my books on the street corner!


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JeanneT
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I didn't express myself clearly.

Doctorow is known to post his books to increase sales. Many writers such as Larry Flint do the same. Doctorow was one of the writers who had a hissy-fit and stated that his sales had been hurt when the SFWA went after Scribd for posting some SFWA member material without permission and forced some pages to be taken down including some of Doctorow's. This entire episode was a huge deal in the SFWA, for those who didn't follow the brouhaha.

I meant I don't know why he includes the CC license which gets him nothing.

Here is a quote from an article Doctorow wrote on the subject:

quote:
I'm a dues-paying SFWA member and past volunteer who relies on the free distribution of my books to sell printed books and earn my living.
(bold added for emphasis)

Sorry to have been unclear in my response. I honestly don't understand what he gets or thinks he gets out of including a CC licnse statement. *shrug*

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited March 27, 2008).]


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rickfisher
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I suspect that what he thinks he gets is additional distribution. If I download an on-line copyrighted book, I am not allowed to distribute it, although I can tell other people to go download it for themselves. If I download a CC book, I can (LEGALLY) email it to all my friends and say, "Hey, read this!"

There are certainly people who would refuse to send copies out without legal permission, as well as those who wouldn't. But how many would actually do this? and how many of their recipients would actually read it? Personally, I can't see this legal ability increasing readership in the slightest over simple free on-line availability of the work. I don't suppose it's impossible, but you'd have to show me facts and figures to convince me.


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Robert Nowall
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I'm inclined to say that my most satisfactory writing experience in the last ten years involved violating somebody's copyrights in one sense (or parodying somebody's stuff in another, and that's what I'm sticking with).

Writing-for-markets hasn't satisfied near as much in this same time period...


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JeanneT
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Who knows why he'd use CC. It has no real effect on the right to transfer material. Why not just put the copyright statement.

But Doctorow has his odd moments. LOL

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited March 28, 2008).]


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