Post Cover Art

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Creative Commons Licenses.

Creative Commons helps you legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world.

Cover art for bookA new book comes out May 5thMade With Creative Commons by Sarah Hinchliff Pearson and Paul Stacey. I didn’t know about the Kickstarter project but the book release (a printed book) comes at an opportune time. I’ve been aware of CC licenses for a long time. I’m familiar with Cory Doctorow’s work in this area. As a librarian, I see tremendous value in the power of sharing. It’s interesting and I can’t wait to read the book. I’m figuring out exactly how using CC licenses for my works in my massive reboot will work.

Along with ideas from Kevin Kelly’s book The Inevitable, I’m going back to some of the ideas that I had at the beginning of my writing effort. Doctorow was one of those writers that inspired me in the beginning of my work as an indie writer. My focus and interests have shifted over time.

Why Use Creative Commons?

It’s an interesting question, justifying sharing. “It’s simply not what one does.”

Sharing often ends up equated with piracy. “Argh, ya mateys, you’ve drawn yer last breath fer sure!”

I don’t know how “piracy” ended up associated with unauthorized copying of intellectual property. It seems an odd word to use. In any case, Creative Commons licenses help creators to provide sane licensing terms to their work. Sane, because copyright laws as they currently exist serve as a weapon against both creators and the public alike. Laws mandate severe penalties and have become so complex that the average person easily runs afoul of the law without realizing it. Creators sign contracts with enormous media corporations with armies of lawyers crafting contracts that strip creators of rights. Copyright laws have extended the duration beyond all reasonable expectations.

When it comes down to it, though, it’s less about all of the issues around copyright and is really just about sharing. That’s something librarians do. People do. I tell you about a book I read and offer to loan you my copy. Or you hear about an author and go to the library to borrow a copy. Ideally, the library would have any book you want. Often they do or are able to obtain it by borrowing a copy for you from another library.

Why wouldn’t you want to share? Typically, because you want to make money. Imagine this conversation.

A friend of yours claps you on the back. "I finished the book! I'm really excited about it! I can't wait for you to read it!"

"You finished! Congratulations! I'd love to read it."

"Thank you, that'd be great. Ten bucks."

Your drink goes down wrong. You clear your throat. "Excuse me?"

Unlikely? Maybe, but that’s essentially the way it goes sometimes. I’d rather a different conversation.

You sit down next to your friend and lift a finger to get the bartender's attention.

"You read it?"

You struggle to keep the grin off your face and give up. "It was great. Congratulations, it was fantastic. Really, well done."

"Thanks! I wasn't sure, you know?"

"Drinks are on me tonight, to say thank you for letting me read it. I'm going to tell everyone about it. How did you come up with it? You have to tell me all about it."

I’m happy to pay authors for their work. I’ll buy favorite books in multiple formats. I recommend books I enjoy to others. People want to support creators. The easier you make it, the more likely they are to support your work. That’s what I want to do. I want you to be able to enjoy my work, to share, and to support my efforts if you’re able. I’m still figuring out how that will look, but it’ll be part of my massive reboot.

Creative Commons License
This post by Ryan M. Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.