Why Creative Commons is bad for photographers
Really excellent treatment of the failure of Creative Commons for photographers from Bay Area photographer Dan Heller who has a very thoughtful website about creative techniques and business issues for photographers:
“The reason [that Heller doesn't use CC licensing for photographs] is because the Creative Commons—and the entire concept of “free access”—simply doesn’t work for photography as it does for other things. In fact, it is such a bad fit, that the deteriorative effects harm everyone it touches, including the objectives (and the credibility of) the Creative Commons itself.”
If you haven’t seen Lessig on the Steven Colbert show promoting his new book, you should find that clip. In it he acknowledges openly that the underpinning of Web 2.0 companies like Flickr (owned by Google competitor Yahoo!) is that they get users to give them “content” for free which they they use to sell advertising against that they don’t have to share with anyone in the case of Flickr. (And–most importantly–bulk up valuations for selling the company.) Lessig doesn’t mention YouTube (owned by Lessig benefactor Google) but that is arguably the most obvious example in the space, although though YouTube does pay at least the major labels and other “big guys”.
He didn’t say this–and he wouldn’t–but ask yourself who does the CC license help to capture that value–creators (whether amateur or professional) or the Web 2.0 company?
If there is a question by the buyer of the company as to what exactly it is that the company owns, ownership can be justified based on actual licenses, or if you don’t have those pesky documents, on terms of service–or with a Creative Commons “license”.
It sounds a lot better to say to a potential acquiror that you have “licenses”–irrevocable, perpetual licenses–tends to keep the selling price up between crashes. Particularly if its one Web 2.0 company selling to another Web 2.0 company–the valuation of one promotes the value of the other, both of which are probably grossly overstated.
Creators in the music industry understand the “irrevocable, perpetual” part–just like a cramdown artist recording agreement. Including the “no royalties” part.
One thing that has always mystified me about the Creative Commons organization–why does it take so much money to give things away for free?