Jul 06

Read ASCAP’s Letter Attacking CopyLeft and Creative Commons

4751889273_d8bc6d563d_mThis photo was taken by Trey Ratcliff at stuckincustoms.com and is protected by a Creative Commons license. His stuff is pretty awesome which is why people decide to buy his prints and books, attend his workshops, and buy the stuff he says is cool. He is an artist who makes money taking pictures and letting geeks like me reference them to make points and well, spread happiness to other people.

An organization called ASCAP, an organization created to “protect” artists and composers, apparently thinks Trey’s business model doesn’t work and will hurt artists and “dry up” the work they produce. They launched a campaign to lobby against Creative Commons and the EFF. I hope I don’t get sued for re syndicating this Twitpic from @mikerugnetta, but in a letter to their members, they say,

“At the moment, we are facing our biggest challenge ever. Many forces including Creative Commons, Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and technology companies with deep pockets are fighting to promote ‘Copyleft’ in order to undermine our “Copyright”. They say they are advocates of consumer rights, but the truth is that these groups simply do not want to pay for the use of our music. They spread the word that our music should be free.

This is why your help is vital. We fear that our opponents are influencing Congress against the interests of music creators. If their views are allowed to gain strength, music creators will find it harder and harder to make a living as music shifts to online and wireless services. We all know what will happen next: the music will dry up, and the ultimate loser will be the music consumer.”

Music makers have rarely made much money with albums. Record labels are the big winners with albums. Artists make the vast majority of their fortunes touring, with shwag, and by selling the commercial rights to their music. It has always been this way. Releasing albums with a Creative Commons license only feeds these methods of making money. They aren’t the boogie men here–they are the good guys.

This concept doesn’t just apply to music though. It applies to literature, art, science and culture as we know it. The medium that is the internet feeds the distribution of information. It does not prevent us from selling goods or services–it just fuels it.

I’m a little late to add to Joi Ito’s big push, but you can still help Creative Commons educate the public as well as lobby Congress by making a donation now.

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  • http://liznessstudio.com Liz Ness

    I think it interesting that music will dry up via Creative Commons. It’s as if the music only wants money — not that we create music because we must or that our spirits drive us to sing and dance.

    What a huge discovery: There is no heart only the dollar. I never knew that! (Heh-heh…)

  • http://michellesblog.net Michelle

    @Liz Agreed. If you have something beautiful, it is selfish to keep it to yourself. Creative Commons makes the distribution easy. When you have something people want, they want to support you with their money so you keep doing it.

    It’s like people often have the equation backwards. :-/

  • -bwg

    ASCAP and groups like them whose raison d’etre is “protecting” artists rights see their own business models and revenue streams threatened by Creative Commons.

  • http://www.deysonortiz.com Deyson

    Great ideas are always being opposed by great opposition. Democracy was once thought to be a dumb idea.

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