Daily Thoughts 158: Where did I park my rocketship?

Post cover art

I’m sure I left my rocketship around here somewhere. I need to find it. Have you seen it? Tall, slender, and shiny orange with black accents. It’s called the Bradbury. After I made my first replicator I was able to design better parts to make a new replicator and that one produced the rocketship. Sort of like a 3D printer, only better? Anyway, you might not see my rocketship right away. It’s the quantum invisibility field, you see? Well, you don’t, I know. Neither do I. If I could find it, I could deactivate the field with a touch.

You know what’s worse? I put my replicator on board rather than making a new one. Now I don’t know what I’m going to do.

Developing Next Steps

If only I did have a rocketship. That would be amazing! I’m always envious of the shuttles, roundabouts, and personal space yachts that make it easy for characters to jaunt off to another planet or moon. Well, not jaunt, but they can make those trips so easily. Jump in and fly up into the sky, get where you’re going a short time later. I’d love to head off and visit the planetary bodies in our solar system. Do some fossil hunting on Mars and Venus to see if complex life developed before the planets became inhospitable. Take a trip to Europa and see what might be swimming around beneath the ice. Sounds like fun! As long as it turned out I wasn’t in the Alien universe. I don’t fancy face hugs.

The only rocketship I do have is my imagination. I’m working on putting that to work. I have the challenges that I already defined to think about. The massive reboot, but that’s not the next thing. I want to write stories and post those regularly, I know that much. Obviously, I need to work on my drawing. That’s key. I can’t do the reboot I imagine unless I level up my illustration skills.

I also have several library-related projects to tackle. Some involve coding, which means more learning. Likewise, I want to do different things with my websites. I’m still working all that out as well but it’s a big project that involves everything that I do online. I’ll start small.

Creative Commons Thoughts

Cover artHere’s where I’m at right now.

I finished reading Made With Creative Commons. I just started listening to Free: the Future of a Radical Price. I’ve read a number of other articles about CC licenses and I’ve looked at what other writers are doing in this area.

Each writer tends to have their own reasons for using CC licenses—or for not using CC licenses. Many fiction writers and artists may be put off by the ‘no take-backs’ aspect of the license. Once under a CC license, you can’t turn around and remove it and tell people they can’t share under the original license. People also seem concerned about the commercial use licenses, releasing titles with a CC-BY-NC or CC BY-NC-SA license. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with those licenses. That’s certainly a choice to consider.

Commercial vs. Non-Commercial?

The “BY” part of the license means that attribution is required if someone redistributes, remixes, creates derivatives or otherwise uses your work. They need to give you credit. A Non-Commercial (NC) license means they can only do so if they aren’t making money off of your work, and a Commercial license (no NC) allows those using your work to make money off of whatever use they make of it.

Let’s use the example of an author who releases a fantasy trilogy under a CC license. If the author used an NC license someone else could redistribute copies, remix or write new stories based off of your work—but they couldn’t make money off whatever they created and they would have to give you credit. CC license or not, this is what you see in fan fiction. Fans create other work based off an author’s work and share it with each other. The difference is that the CC license requires that attribution, while allowing fans to feel okay with engaging in normal fan behavior.

What does this do for the author? Many things. If people enjoy the author’s work, the sharing, remixing, and engagement builds a steady fan base. Some writers, musicians, and arts have seen success using this model. Folks like Amanda Palmer or Cory Doctorow have seen it work well. Doctorow has shared copies in other formats on his own site. So someone takes the ePub of a book and creates a copy in a LIT format, for instance. Treating fans as friends rather than thieves tends to work better.

Okay, so why allow commercial use?

For many people, this is trickier. Someone could take work that allowed commercial use to repackage it, alter it, create derivative works, and make money off it without paying the author. Say a filmmaker wanted to make a movie based on the writer’s fantasy series. Under a CC BY license, they could do so and it could become a hit blockbuster and the author would never see a dime (although that can also happen with contracts and creative accounting). Someone could take the work and do something the writer objected to, editing or changing the work, and sell copies of the modified book. With a CC BY-NC license, they wouldn’t have the economic incentive to create such works.

So the issue is that the writer feels they’ve been taken advantage of by not sharing in the revenue from these other projects.

On top of that, the creator of the new work would own the rights to that new work and that introduces new complexity. Say someone wrote a prequel to the writer’s fantasy series. Later the writer writes their own prequel and the publisher of the derivative prequel sues the writer for copyright infringement, claiming that the writer borrowed elements from the derivative work. Far-fetched? Maybe, but a lawsuit could make a mess for the writer in any case.

There’s another license to consider.

Sharealike

The BY-SA or BY-NC-SA licenses require that any copies distributed, or any derivative works distributed, must do so under the same license as the source material.

This changes the game somewhat.

Now if someone made a movie based on the book, the movie must be distributed under the same license as the book. Which means that the freedoms protected spread to any other versions or derivative works created. And anything created based on those also inherits the license, and so on.

Dawn of an Ecosystem

With the addition of a sharealike license, commercial use allowed, an ecosystem is created. The writer might have created the universe, but now others can create new works within the universe and benefit economically from their work.

Nothing prevents the original writer from benefiting either. They could still sell print copies, for instance. Or create a crowd-funding environment in which the fan base pays for each new book the original writer contributes to the growing community.

That’s what I’m looking at by using the CC BY-SA license. I’m starting with some of my stories, and I plan to branch out. I’ll explore different ways of making money. After all, making money helps support creating new material!

This is going to be fun.


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

Author: Ryan M. Williams

Writer and artist, Ryan M. Williams, author of more than twenty novels, writes across a range of genres including fantasy, science fiction, romance, paranormal, and mystery. He holds a Master of Arts from Seton Hill University in writing popular fiction. His short fiction has appeared in anthologies from Pocket Books, WMG Publishing, and in On Spec Magazine. He currently attends San Jose State University, pursuing a Master of Information and Library Science degree.