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Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Why Creative Commons Won't Take Off (for a while)
I love creative commons - if I need to find an image for a project I browse though results from CC enabled search engines and the wonderful CC areas sites like fickr have set up. Unfortunately I don't see the commons taking off for a while. The MPAA, RIAA, and other assorted AAs have done nearly irreparable damage to free distribution, illegal or otherwise - despite the fact that CC and similar licenses (such as the slew of open source licenses) are widely accepted by these organizations.
Commoners don't get it. Not that they can't - its sort of like trying to explain to someone why you buy moleskine notebooks for $15 a pop as opposed to a 5 star mead for $3 or Why you buy a Mac or run linux when a dell is "$300 less" and "plays games" You can explain it and they'll sort of get it. Our culture puts a price on everything, and if you don't pay for it something is wrong - period. Others - usually the younger dumber ones who fail to see the point of morals and ethics (and vocalize about how such classes are a load of horse shit) think everything should be, and is, free
At least for a the larger group of people (which happen to be the more important ones in this situation) they need to pay. So when they see that CC - some rights reserved they really seem to see Copyright - All Rights Reserved : enforceable by law.
Which is why I can only see CC going so far. I hope, but don't think creative commons schemes and understanding will really reach a point where its a tornado* and we see it on CDs at Walmart, Books at Barnes and Noble or on TiVo Guides, let alone it getting to mainstreet.
Just like people feel like they need to pay, they feel the need to respect people's copyright, however lefted it may be. Most people see it as an all or nothing deal, and with so many lawsuits people seem to think everything is copyrighted and everything you have can get you sued unless you paid for it and can prove you paid for it. Its going to take a lot of people a lot of time to explain that attribution means - hey you can use this as long as you give this person credit in some form or shape when and where ever you use this - and you get to credit them how you like, or what exactly non-commercial quantifies or how strict is "no derivitives" is - can I resize it?
Despite its elegance and relative simplicity, its a hard concept for a lot of people to 1) become aware of and 2) grasp, and for a good while now, nothing I can see is going to change that. it doesn't mean I'm not trying tho'
Rant inspired by A bad Reuters story on Creative Commons, and two responses to it - one by Larry Lessig and a second at a.wholelottanothing.org
*(adoption has several phases - early adopters willing to do anything; chasm, where you have to sort out problems but there's some documentation from early adopters a barrier to implement; "bowling alleys" where you find niche markets but don't have the implementation problems; "tornadoes" which make it wide spread and then mainstreet which is simply adopted)
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