Creative Commons Benefits Artists as Well as Public

Creative Commons licensing I believe can benefit authors of all the arts as well as the public who wish to use the works.  Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford Law Professor who developed the idea, believes with this kind of licensing, artists can still have control over their work.  Artists can allow portions of their work to be used by others for any purpose, and other portions not to be used at all.  They choose what they wish to have “some rights reserved rather than all rights reserved.”  Under Creative Commons licensing, work is restricted to be used for non-commercial use.  Lessig believes that by allowing others access to artists work, only builds upon the original work.  The artists name still gets out there even though they are not the ones promoting it.  And if one person likes the work they will pass it on to someone else, who will then pass it on, etc.  It creates a domino effect.  This also helps to further promote the author.  Existing copyright laws don’t allow works to get to every place that they could. This holds the artist back from their full potential.

Artists who allow their work into the public domain are able to reach a wider audience than if they kept their work under the current copyright laws.  The examples given in the article prove how this works.  Cory Doctorow’s novel sold 10,000 copies in it’s first run through bookstores.  By putting the novel online for free he had 500,000 downloads.  He didn’t make money on the downloads but he was able to get his name out to 500,000 more readers.  When he does decide to sell a novel again, he will have more people familiar with his name.  A variation of this idea also worked for producers Robert Greenwald and Jim Gilliam.  By releasing a 48 minute portion of their film “Outfoxed” online just after it was put into theaters,  they were able to get their film introduced to more than just the people who sat in the theater to watch it.  Their idea also generated sales of the film, since most who viewed the preview bought the full length version.

The article points out that Creative Commons is not just for people that we think of as artists, such as musicians and book authors.  Creative Commons has an archive of what Lessig calls “artifacts of culture.”  This online archive has assorted works that are accessible to the public.  For instance, the Creative Commons archive has “works” such as “materials from more than 500 Massachusetts Institute of Technology classes.”  Audio “works” from U.S. Supreme Court arguments since 1950 also inhabit the archives.  This type of material can benefit those doing research in a particular area or those who may just have an interest in this type  information.  By not being able to access these materials under current copyright laws, important information as well as history may never be known.  Mozilla Firefox’s plan to allow the public to search online with their browser for works of art licensed by Creative Commons, is probably the first of many other browsers who will follow in their footsteps.


  1. ktomiak25

    I believe the Creative Commons is a very interesting, and also confusing idea. It sounds great that people can choose to make their creations available to the world, wherein they maintain all credit and commercial usage. However, I don’t really think it would be as simple as it seems. Whether artists are uploading parts of songs, or whole songs, they are still letting the world use the information they created … for free. Maybe I am a greedy or stingy person, wanting full rights and such for my pieces. I wouldn’t want to see my work reproduced or changed and still all over the internet, especially if someone changed it in a way I did not agree to/with. I believe the attribution back to the creator is a good idea but I don’t think it will always happen, in the same way that credit is often lost online. Furthermore, to go back to my previous statement of not wanting a work changed in a way I didn’t agree with- what if my name was attached to that, and the so-called “bad” piece is what achieved greater success? Everyone would know my name because of something I don’t even like. I think this has its good and bad sides but I would be wary to put my own work on it. It is helpful if a blogger is looking to avoid a lawsuit by using pictures or other media from the internet, but I feel like the benefit for most bloggers (who are mostly unknown like all of our blogs so far) is not as great. I can be open to a lot of new ideas and rules but I also have a lot of respect for traditional full copyright.

  2. hillary601

    I agree that it is important to use creative commons when using someone else’s work. I know that when I am on fan fiction I see this all the time. On every chapter update they always say something along the lines of “I do not own the characters in this story they belong to (enter authors name here) I own the story line.” They say that they own the story line when they use the characters but completely change each characters back story and plot. I always knew right away that they could get sued for using something that isn’t there or for clamming it to be their own creation. People don’t want others spending money on something that they initially created. I also read somewhere that people can do this with words too. Paris Hilton got the copyrights to the phrase, “That’s Hot.” It became something she said so often that she got the rights to it and now it is her signature phrase and people have to give credit to her when they use or say it. I think that getting the copyright to a phrase like that is very stupid. I understand why people do it with books and art work though. I think that this is something that is difficult to keep track of though because how will people know that there is a copyright issue at hand. If someone takes a picture off of Google, how are they supposed to know who it belongs to if it just gets passed around? So as much as I believe people deserve their credit, sometimes it is hard to give it appropriately.

  3. hg163

    Before this, I have never heard of Creative Commons before in my life. I never even knew that a site like this existed, where someone can use someone else’s work online and somehow give credit to him or her in the process. But after hearing about it in class and using it for some of my posts, I think that it is a terrific thing to use. I not only gives the creator credit for his or her work, which is very important especially in today’s world, but it also is a very convenient way to search for different media. In an age where our generation illegally downloads different media (particularly music and movies), it is difficult to give the initial creator any credit, but Creative Commons makes it easier.
    To your point about the author Cory Doctorow, it seems weird at first that an author will actually sell more books by initially agreeing to let anyone use his books for free but it also makes sense in a way. If he never put is books online and allowing people to read his books for free, he would never have gotten the same type of name recognition as he did, or at the very least it would have taken much longer to achieve. If I produced some sort of media, such as a movie, a book, or a picture, I would admittedly find it difficult to agree to do something like this. You’re telling me that the entire Internet will the have the ability to view my art for free and I wouldn’t get much credit? But then I would just be naïve to the idea of Creative Commons, and other sites similar to it.

  4. gisellehernandez412

    I had never heard of Creative Commons before I read the article on Washington Post. The concept is pretty cool, I think. Having the freedom to share someone else’s work can absolutely be beneficial to an artist–mass sharing gets their name and their work known which can make their future work more profitable, as you discussed in your response. There’s also the enhancement of artistic growth that attracts me to the idea of Creative Commons. People build upon and draw inspiration from the work and ideas of others, which creates new art. This new art leads to further inspiration, and so on. I liked how you called this the “domino effect.” Now, while I do love the concepts of Creative Commons, I feel as though it isn’t really that revolutionary because of the way people misuse the internet. So many people share others’ work without asking permission and without consequences. It’s so popular that it almost doesn’t even feel wrong. People create youtube videos, remixes, gifs, and edit other people’s photos without permission. I think the difference, however, is that these people aren’t necessarily looking to make money from these things, they may just be sharing for fun or for a personal page or blog. Sometimes people don’t even know that they’re doing anything wrong. I didn’t even know that using an image from Google, without crediting it, on my blog was illegal until we talked about it in class. Somehow more people need to be educated about Creative Commons. This way, people will learn how to use the Internet properly and fairly. They’ll get greater artistic benefits without the serious consequences

  5. briellebuis

    I used Creative Commons in my DIY digital media class. We learned a lot about the site in that class and used it often throughout the semester. However, since then I have gone back to simply Google things. I think the idea behind Creative Commons is so great, but I also think that it is very hard to change peoples norms. So many people use Google for images and the thought of copyright is barely ever in the back of anyone’s minds. Therefore, although the idea of Creative Commons is great, it is hard to change people opinions on something.
    I think it is cool that Creative Commons acts as a gateway for a lot of people to share their music or artwork and encourages others to use their work to spread the word. If more people could start using Creative Commons, it would aid people in their ability to share content across the web safely. I think that this is a great idea, and that more people should be using Creative Commons, but that in order for this to happen, people will have to change from the normal use of Google.

  6. mjdenis38

    I never heard of Creative Commons before reading this, and I’m intrigued by the way artists can now share their material today online. Creative Commons is a good tool for anyone looking use something online, and they can use it in they way they want to, without having to fear they are using the material illegally. It is also a really good format for young and up-and-coming artists to spread their work and gain a small fanbase for when they start selling their work, like Cory Doctrow in the article. Essentially, Creative Commons operates as a social media and advertising forum for these artists. Our existing copyright laws seem overbearing, but I do think that artists should get credited for their material. Creative Commons sets the restrictions for what material can be used for, which allows the artist to strategically make decisions on how to distribute material. One of the central problems for sites like Google Images is that they don’t require or specify that people set some sort of restrictions on images they carry, opening the door for conflict in usage rights. But with Mozilla now allowing users to search their browser with content licensed by Creative Commons should usher in a new wave of searching on the internet, and hopefully end the countless copyright lawsuits that happen from using content, unknowingly illegally.

  7. Brian

    One point I really agree with you about is your observations about the domino effect. Like you said, when people use a piece of art on the internet (even if not by current copyright standards) they are promoting it and therefore spread its publicity to a larger audience. This is by no means a bad thing but yet the existing copyright laws restrict or at least limit this for authors. I actually follow someone who uses blogs to spread her music and stories rather than by trying to sell in conventional ways for this precise reason. For a couple of years she spread her music through multiple sources online all for free downloads just to gain support and popularity. Now she is able to sell her music and art through iTunes, Etsy, and other venues since here support is so large. Even if she is not selling anything at one time, there are also people who donate to her. Something like this could never happen if she were to start selling from the get-go. She would have never gotten the support since most people would have said, “why would I pay money to some random small-time artist” no matter how good her content was. However, now since she used the internet copyrighting to her advantage, she now has a fan base that continues to support her. With these copyrighting tools at her disposal, she was able to both protect her work and use it the way she wanted to for her own agenda. I believe that this is the main strength of copyright laws on the internet in comparison to laws that don’t allow the same type of exposure.

  8. moegor94

    I agree with you Karen, I think Creative Commons is a great tool for both artist and users. It brings sharing over the internet to a safe place where neither party needs to be afraid of being abused or wrongly accused. I noticed you said that work available on CC is restricted to non-commercial use, but I don’t think that is accurate. I’m pretty sure that if the author approves of it, a user is allowed to use the work for commercial purposes. The reason I wanted to point out this correction is because I feel like that is CC most powerful tool. Most of the copyright suits that develop because of internet sharing have to do with someone using something commercially that they actually have no rights to. Keep in mind that most of these suits weren’t done with malicious intent, it’s just unfortunate that most copyright laws aren’t common knowledge. When you find your media through CC, you have a clear and concise set of rules given to you so you can make sure you don’t violate any laws. I think that if more people knew about the Creative Commons, they would utilize it.

  9. evanhuaru

    Creative commons is an important resource for people in order to follow copyright laws properly. It gives the creator the power to enable users to have restrictions or not any at all over the material they produce. This process properly credits the creator for their work, giving them a greater internet exposure. Users are able to properly share, remix, or even sell the material if the creator permits it. Users and creators can fully take advantage of the resources of creative commons because it can help them collaborate. For example, if the creator creates a song that a user is allowed to remix. The user helps promote the creator while sharing the work they create. This helps promote both people and could also end up having them collaborate to create a new song together.
    I also agree on how creative commons can become even more of an advantage than people just selling their work without sharing it on the internet. If you’re an unknown artist and you release an album to sell, not that many people will buy it because no one wants to pay for someone they don’t know. If they use creative commons they are able to broadcast their work over the internet giving them a larger fan base. Therefore, the next time the artist releases another album their work will gain more attraction and sales. It’s just like how Cory Doctorow was able to have 50 times more readers by posting his work on creative commons. Creative commons is a stepping stone for unknown artists and creators to become famous.

  10. mlew210

    The concept of Creative Commons is extremely new to me. I have never heard of it before taking this class, and I’m not sure I would use it anyways. I use tumblr in my free time, and I see stuff that shouldn’t be posted on there all the time. There’s just so much illegal content that it seems like it’s too late to go and try to fix it. Creative Commons does try to fix this problem, but it’s just not big enough to cover everything. When I was looking for CC’d media during class, I could not find a single picture/gif/video that was related to my blog. It might be due to the fact that I run a Japanese music blog, but it still shows how short of a reach Creative Commons really has over the internet. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s a fantastic idea that really promotes creativity and innovation on the internet. It’s just that the internet really hasn’t embraced the idea yet. The internet was founded with such few rules that it has really come down to anarchy in regards to content. There is regulation to try and censor some of it, but the problem is still too large. Creative Commons is just one small solution. Until it gets bigger, I really can’t use it. The media that uses CC doesn’t have the content that I need. It would be like googling Spongebob, only to come up with two pictures, both of which don’t relate to what you want. It’s a cool idea, but it needs more power behind it.

  11. Miss Bombshell

    Before reading this I never knew exactly what creative commons were but I have heard of it before in conversation when my professor of Media Systems mentioned it when she talked about her personal blog. But as far as knowing what creative commons were in detail it was almost a foreign language. But this idea of creative commons is genius. Who knew that inspiring artist could be credited for their work over the internet especially since the internet has turned into the go to outlet to bootleg and illegally download and use others work. But the one thing I struggle with about creative commons is that I wonder if it’s effective. I wonder if its effective because no matter what people are always going to use works that are not their own. So how is an artist supposed to know if their works are being used especially since major record labels and artist haven’t figured out how they can stop people from illegally downloading music. So I guess my question regarding creative commons is how effective is it when we live in an age where the internet cripples well known artist and even worst it controls and destroys the lives of unknown artist.

  12. tedrihn

    I completely agree with you Karen. I believe that Creative Commons is definitely a great thing. The fact that it gets your name out there without completely having to give away your product for free just seems like a win win to me.Like you said the Creative Commons laws allow for your work to reach a much bigger audience than normal copyright laws that seem to shelter and protect your work. Also I’m not trying to say that Creative Commons doesn’t protect your work because you have to give the viewer the right to be able mix and remake your original product. So basically, either way your name follows your product and any other modification of your product around, which is what allows you to reach such a vast audience. On another note I am a big fan of sharing, and Creative Commons is just a big sharing community. You allow others to enjoy your work and you don’t expect compensation from them just to view your work. To me that just seems greedy because most people aren’t Picasso or Jay-Z, they don’t create wonderful masterpieces that everyone loves. So why would I want to pay to see or listen to something that I might not even enjoy? However when your product starts to sell or make money no matter what modification is made on it, then the original creator is then compensated for producing or helping to produce such works. However if the modification is distasteful then I would understand why more people would enjoy the traditional copyright laws. It makes for a very personal experience that can lead to the original artists being unsatisfied with how or why their name gets out there.

  13. jordannao

    Creative Commons is a tool that has changed the sharing possibilities of web 2.0 . It has allowed various people to received recognition for their unique and creative works, it has made some people well known around the web and has protected many documents that are important. Alot of artist believe in the idea of “making quick money”; however, they tend to forget that CC will not make them money, but get recognition for their work and with popularity that is where they can start selling their work and making a profit out of it. As Karen stated, CC has many important documents which is a great access to the researchers and for those that just have a tremendous amount to curiosity or wants to learn about certain things. Sharing and gettign known for your work online was very difficult and it is up to this day, but with CC around it is decreasing of he gap of unknown work to unknow artists.

  14. yadyayala105

    I think creative commons have given many benefits to both the bloggers and the readers of the internet. The Internet is this huge place that connects people form all around the world. Bloggers or anyone who puts their work on the Internet can really spread their work and receive recognition for it through Creative Commons. There are many authors that started off on the internet and received recognition for their work because they are able to be recognized but creative commons. The internet does not only connect the world but it also makes this much more conventional for people. People are able to read things on their phone, tablet computer; pretty much anywhere. Having an authors, writers or blogger have their work online makes it much easier for viewers/readers to access. This accessibility gives readers the chance to recognize the author. I think its great an all but most of us do not follow the rules of the internet. Creative commons shows us safe and original information. Most people steal information on the internet without giving the owner credit. Sometimes usually the information gets altered and claim it as their own. Yes there are benefits to this but it allows people to misuse this opportunity to get free things such as movies, tv shows, music and other things free. I usually never get to see my tv shows on time so I go online to watch them. I do not go to the official website of the channel but instead go to a site where I do not have to watch commercials. This gives people the free access to the information and the creator, or channel, in this case receives no benefits while the viewers and the provider of this misused information does. Yeah it’s great to get recognized but people on the internet just steal info anyway.

  15. wilschiu

    Like many others, before this class I have never heard of Creative Commons. I find the concept to be pretty interesting, although I still believe it is fighting an uphill battle. It is true that the database contains a multitude of media with easily understood guidelines attached on how each can be used, but it has one critical flaw; people are lazy. It can be argued that it is too much effort to have to use the comparatively small database when people are used to being able to find very specific things over the internet. The biggest problem is that there are little to no consequences in the use of media without the creator’s permission. Without any kind of deterrent, there is no motivation to go through the hassle of using the Creative Commons site.

    Regarding artists, it is kind of naive for them to think they can prevent people from pirating their work in this day and age. Almost any kind of media produced nowadays can be found on the internet. Peer-to-peer networking makes it incredibly easy for people to share all their music and books. Personally, I download all the music I listen to and all the books I read. Many of us just kind of laugh now in the face of anti-piracy campaigns(I would download a car if I could). Although it is debatable whether or not artists value circulation of their work over monetary gains, and specific to the artists themselves, it is much easier to just give in and make your work available for free over the internet.

  16. Megan Murray

    Of course creative commons is a wonderful idea! I completely agree with your post. This is so true nowadays, that making things free and available is the way to go. We see this with everything, not just pictures. For example, free games, apps, etc. Like angry birds: free to play. But it blew up, and money was made not from the download of the game, but extra things, such as merchandise. Also music that is put out for free is easily shared, known, and then wanted for t.v. commercials, ads, movies, and more – things that earn you money.
    The same thing happens with media on creative commons! Let your product get out there and people will find it, use it, and make it popular for you! It’s like free advertising! You can definitely keep a lookout for people using your stuff in ways you don’t want to as well. Just because you said your creation is free to use, you can still, at your discretion, confront someone on the use of your media.
    While there is something to be said for making sure no one uses your work inappropriately, and that no one but you makes money off your work – it really is in the best interest of you, as an artist, to have your work circulated. The more people who know about you, the better. You could have the best painting, the best book, the best movie – but if no one sees it, it doesn’t matter.

  17. lisak0

    Honestly, I have never thought deeply about Creative Commons. I remember watching another video they have produced way back, but I just brushed it aside. I’m glad that we saw and read about the Creative Commons because it has taught me a lot. Now, before using any image or video, I always ask myself multiple times, “Is this copyrighted? Is this illegal?” I thank artists and producers of visual works that are brave enough to release their hard work into the media. Without them, the media would be boring and would probably lack many users. These people who release their work into the world wide web have the courage because they don’t know what others will do with their works. I’m pretty sure I read a comic strip about illegal downloading other’s files and how the Creative Common flies in and helps. Not too sure where I read it. But because of the Creative Commons, the internet has evolved in somewhat because people probably feel more comfortable releasing their works under their own rules. I mean, it’s really not difficult to find music files, movie files, books, etc. because the internet is such a big database. We, as users, should distinguish easily on what is right and what is wrong. I hope people acknowledge these ‘artists’ because from now on, I am going to credit them a bit more.
    Karen, I agree with you that artists get to reach a wider audience through the internet. There are so many internet sensations that become super famous. It’s really great on what the Internet can do. It connects people by what type of work is released and so on.

  18. dmhgs

    I have never heard of Creative Commons licensing until this reading. I happen to love the concept. I’m always skeptical about what I put online and how it will be seen or used by other people. I do not want anyone stealing my work but at the same time I still want people to see my work. Creative Commons allows me to both protect my work while also getting it out there to the public eye.

    Regardless of whether one follows Creative Commons licensing or not all of the content that anyone puts online is available to anyone else. I originally thought there was no way of regulating all of it unless you were a big time author or some other sort of professional. And in a way I find this to still be true because there’s no real way to regulate or police everything that is posted on the internet. Music is a great example of this, people are constantly downloading content illegally. They know this, but what they don’t know is that even using some images may be illegal as well or writings from other users. I think Creative Commons is a great step into policing the content on the internet.

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