Goldstein, Jim. "Creative Commons." Digital Photo Pro.
Goldstein begins by pointing out that "digital photography has fueled a revolution in online media consumption". Photographers need to be aware of copyright laws. Of course, there is always the problem that copyright can't keep up with the digital world- enter Creative Common's licenses, which Lessig designed to adapt to the 21st century and allow authors to provide freedoms on their work that will help enrich online culture. Goldstein explains the three layers of CC licenses: machine-readable expression, commons deed, and legally enforceable terms. Th question he then raises is whether or not CC is right for professional photographers. He believes that it is important to realize that "image availability is now taken for granted" and is therefore seen not as intellectual property but free content.
This is where Creative Commons comes in. It serves to improve the granting of permission with legal licenses that allow photographers to decide what rights to give away without the hassle of hoping internet users go out of their way to personally ask permission. The licenses are designed to be as clear as possible, so most if not all users can easily disguish what rights are given and what rights are not. CC has already developed a passionate following and even the heavyweight Flickr has adopted these licenses. The CC+ license was designed specifically for photographers; it enables publishers to pursue commercial rights and other services beyond the normal noncommercial CC license. So then, that's the answer to Goldstein's question? He doesn't have one. Instead, he argues that the use of CC is a personal choice for each photographer, but that they should consider the pros and cons of the different licenses.
While the article doesn't delve to deeply into the choices photographers have to make when deciding whether or not to use a CC license, it gives both a simple and easy to understand overview of Creative Commons and outlines the factors that affect photographers in the digital world. And while he poses more questions than he answers, it does leave readers with food for thought. In a world where content is assumed to be free and especially with photography, where keeping a name attached to an image is difficult, to say the least, what choice do you think you would make? He points out the important things to consider when deciding; perhaps most importantly, once something has a CC license, you can't change it back.
Bledsoe, Elliott. "Lessig's Use of Flickr Photos: is Creative Commons Really a Community?" Creative Commons Through the Looking Glass.
Bledsoe's blog was inspired by a comment Lessig made on his own blog about how, after using a photograph from Flickr in a post, the photographer actually came up to him in Hong Kong. According to Lessig, it was "the most amazing fact of the day". This led Bledsoe to question how, or even if, Creative Commons functions as a community since it relies not only on legal permission but on the idea of sharing and the relationships that sharing facilitates. What makes CC different is that things are not directly shared like they would be in the real world. He compares CC to borrowing a cup of sugar from your neighbor, which involves a direction need and interaction. Using a CC license, however, preempts sharing. Even though someone may not need or want to use the work, permission has been granted anyway without any direction interaction between parties. CC also lacks direct membership which even other online communities have. The point here is that with no central hub and no obvious boundaries in the community, it's actually likely that "members" (those using CC licenses) will feel very isolated. CC then becomes a community only in the fact that it facilitates smaller subcommunities which have come to use it.
This article emphasizes this idea that Creative Commons facilitates communities and, in turn, the commons. Some of the examples of subcommunities that Bledsoe mentions are Flickr and DeviantArt, places that my project hopes to emphasize as models of the value of the commons online and how Creative Commons plays a role in it. Both of them are made possible, at least in part, but the larger CC community. However, the article points out an important distinction. CC itself is not (at least not yet) a community in the same way that Flickr and DeviantArt are. No one has to sign up or login to use CC licenses. No one discriminates against who can and cannot use these licenses and therefore little is shared among users except for their willingness to share. But smaller communities that embrace CC licenses offer the boundaries and distinctions necessary for a community to really flourish.
Creative Commons. "DeviantArt." CC Wiki.
This case study is about the "world's largest, most vibrant, and relevant online community focused specifically on ART" (DeviantArt, or simply DA), which was founded in 2000 by Scott Jarkoff, Angelo Sotira, and Matthew Stephens. The site hosts around 55 million works by 4.5 million users, spanning all categories of art from skins to photomanipulations, animations, stocks, paintings, literature, and more. There are free memberships as well as subscription based memberships. Those with subscriptions enjoy more benefits, such as earning fifty percent of any revenue from prints versus the ten percent non-subscriptions members would earn. DA offers an advertising service (adCast), which gives discounted rates to "non-profit and community-related products".
DA began using CC licenses in November, 2006. The default on the site is still regular copyright, but users have the option of placing their work under a CC license. DA administrators operate under the same system of take-down notices that many places do when works infringe on copyright. If someone complains that their work has been used against their wishes, the administration deletes it. The owner of the deleted work still has the opportunity to argue that it was not copyright infringement though. CC is seen as preferable to watermarking images and though DA doesn't believe it will solve all the problems, it is excited about its ability to help alleviate them.
DeviantArt is a truly wonderful example of how CC, copyright, and online community norms come together. Many users license works under CC, mainly for the purpose of becoming part of a photomanipulation later on. The beauty of this is photomanipulation for many people would be impossible without the stock provided by other artists. This is just one of the things that DA and CC facilitates. However, as an online community, DA also has a standard of norms. The case study briefly mentions the messaging network that helps connect DA users to one another, just one of the services on the site that allows for this community to grow. More importantly, the community knows that many artists do not use CC licenses, preferring to list their own rules in journals or comments on their images when CC does not offer enough. Most artists request a link to the finished work. In this way, the artist can see how their work is being used and the creator of the new work is also able to share their work with others. DA is really a flourishing example of how online communities add to the commons, be it through CC or their own standard practices.
Goldsmith, Kenneth. "If It Doesn't Exist on the Internet, It Doesn't Exist." EPC- Kenneth Goldsmith.
According to Goldsmith, "if it doesn't exist on the internet, it doesn't exist" has gone from being a hyperbole to a truism. He points out that if you can't find something on Google, including yourself, it's pretty frustrating. His argument is that academics should publish their work online with "free and unfettered access to all". For the time being, this call is only directed toward scholarly work, but Goldsmith is certain to point out that it doesn't apply to "painters, potters, printmakers, book artists or metal workers. Yet". In short, eventually the call will be for everything to exist on the internet. For the time, he argues that one major reason works should be published online is because most people don't have access to subscription services like LexusNexus. He brings up his own website, UbuWeb as an example of a site dedicated to free distribution of avant-garde work that "never really made money in the first place" and that otherwise would no longer exist. He also mentions PennSound, which is a huge open-access poetry sound archive that was given credibility as a distribution source due to its affiliation with the University of Pennsylvania, pointing out that most academics have "institutional leverage" on their side.
He continues by pointing out the benefits to scholars for placing their content on the web. Using his own experiences as a guide, he points out that though he has never made a penny from his writings, he's traveled the world with all expenses paid, gained many awards, and connected with his readers (a peer group, as he calls them). Academic blogs, he argues, offer another type of peer group in which "peer-based consensus garners credibility" and that bloggers have benefited from the feedback of their readers before sending something to print on paper. Lastly, he argues that "CDs are dead". He wasn't joking when he believed that everything not on the internet and, almost as importantly, not capable of being shared, didn't exist. He believes that models such as Netflix won't last unless they distribute files online, instead of DVDs. Even if he hasn't called for anything beside academic research online, obviously the day for other things as well isn't far off.
Though this focuses on academic research and not art, it's the basic idea of one model of commons that exists on the web. UbuWeb, the author's website, hosts tons of avante-garde work without the permission of the copyright owners (if someone complains, they take it down) that Goldsmith's is right in arguing wouldn't exist without the web. While Creative Commons will be shown to prove a powerful model for the commons to operate on, in such cases as these where there is no market value lost, the idea of a free distribution culture might have something. Goldsmith's advocacy for filing sharing and free content on the web is an idea prominent in many younger interest users today and a model that currently dominates so much of the internet (and has sparked the fight against piracy as well). However, it's important to note that Goldsmith is advocating free distribution for things that don't really make money anyway and in such a context provides a great model for the commons.
Tushnet, Rebecca. "Payment in Credit: Copyright Law and Subcultural Creativity." Law and Contemporary Problems. Duke Law.
According to Tushnet, fan creativity "concieves of the rights and responsibilities of authorship in ways distinct from standard models of creativity under copyright." Fan cultures create a communal experience around a work that the work itself cannot offer. She outlines the growth of fandom as it grew alongside of mass media to its eventual existence on the web, which has allowed for an explosion in content and accessibility. However, this visibility has copyright holders worried about the images of their characters in these fan cultures. Next she explains how fans justify their work as legitimate. Most believe, in some way or another, that what they are doing is fair use, and even those who believe it's illegal do not concern themselves too much because their work is considerably marginal. Tushnet goes on to explain why she believes fandom is fair use. Most importantly, fans are adding their own creativity to the original work and in that way making it partially theirs.
Fandom also has its own sort of "code" which it abides by in regards to copyright. Fans originally used disclaimers that spelled out the owner of the original and often asked not to sue, but this began to fade with the internet. However, attribution is still very important, but most fans believe the creator of the original will be obvious and they actually pay more attention attributing other fans whose work they use. In short, fans have their own set of rules and norms by which they abide when dealing with the problem of copyright. She relates these to the idea of moral rights; fans often know more about the characters than corporations that are in charge of authorized works and will point out the flaws. She returns to fair use and what courts tend to consider fair use and not, explaining the satire-parody distinction and examines the commercial value of hybrid forms like fan works.
What started as fan fiction has become its own culture, and really, its own online community. What this article describes is yet another way that copyright problems have been solved by the community that needs them. Fandom "treats authorship as a question of propriety, not property". It is not the same model that UbuWeb offers, where the site is simply acting as distributor of original works. Fan culture is a remix culture, again something CC was designed to make legal. However, fan works are complicated, as Tushnet alludes to in her discussion. Even though the characters are of course copyrighted, fans are creating a new and likely transformative use. However, there is often a lack of attribution, as part of the norms of this culture, since it is assumed that the audience will know who the original creator is. Instead, they are more focused on attributing each other, the "insiders" instead out the "outsiders". It is a flourishing culture online though, and another very successful way to circumvent copyright problems.
Creative Commons. "Monkeyc.net." CC Wiki.
Monkeyc.net belongs to the former photojournalist John Harvey who now uses Flickr to display his work under a CC license. The case study offers a brief overview of Harvey's activity on Flickr- he started in September, 2004 and currently has almost a thousand photos uploaded. Some of his photos have been featured on the Explore page of Flickr due to his popularity. He uses the CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 generic license. According to Bjorn Bednarek, seeing a former professional photographer willing to use CC licenses is encouraging because it helps to "legitimize and popularize Creative Commons". To Harvey, photography is merely something he enjoys and he is glad to share it with others who would like to include it in their own visions. He writes that "the scope is infinite and it sets the images free in so many ways".
Monkeyc.net is one of the case studies featured on the Creative Commons website. It is one example of a more specific case in which CC has become popular and the way it is used is online communites. Flickr has become a huge photography site recently and it provides a great outlet for artists who would like to share their work with others. John Harvey is one of those people who shares the sentiment with UbuWeb that "information should be free to all." However, instead of simply circumventing copyright, he has embraced CC licenses and demonstrated how they can offer an effective solution, especially in a community that has quickly become CC based. Again, this source shows yet another model for online communities and how they handle the copyright problem. The commons doesn't seem so much like the vast wasteland many think it will become, but a rich environment of creative works.
Carroll, Michael W.,Creative Commons and the New Intermediaries. Michigan State Law Review, Vol. 45, 2006; Villanova Law/Public Policy Research Paper No. 2005-13.
Carroll argues that Creative Commons licenses play both disintermediating and intermediating roles on the Web. He first points out that there is currently a proliferation of them on the web, a development that was quickly followed by search engines designed to look for works with CC licenses. In this way, they have become disintermediaries by enabling end-to-end transactions and become reintermediatiares by allowing new services to be preformed and new online communities to form.
Carroll explains how CC licenses work, stating that "as of this writing, there are 16,000,000 digital objects accessible over the internet linked to CC licenses". Creative Commons not only acts as an intermediary, but enables other intermediaries as well. These include search engines, archives and libraries, producers and publishers ("which facilitates amateur-to-amateur communication"), and CC communities, offering examples of each and how they function. Under CC communities, he describes places that are dedicated to music, visual art, photographs, blogs, and education. This revolution in copyright has helped to spur Berner's-Lee and his colleagues to create a new Semantic Web, which will offer a higher degree of interoperability.
What is most important to the discussion of Creative Commons and online communities in Carroll's article is the vast list of examples he provides. This is an amazing list of the different ways that CC has facilitated different models of online communities. He cites Flickr for photography, which is the largest site for both commercial and noncommercial uses of photographs licenses under CC. It's only one model though and there are many, many more. CC has facilitated new business models as well, which Flickr is not. Magantune is a music site that has created a business in which users can listen to the works for free and then download CC licenses music at the price of their choosing. CC has, as Carroll shows, made a large impact on internet community's, and been used in different models, some nonprofit, some for profit, all based on the communities needs.
Klang, Mathias,"The Digital Commons: Using Licenses to Promote Creativity."
The paper beings with the concept of property as "mine", which at an early age is always contrasted with the concept of sharing. The new digital age tests out currently property regulation, since things are now copied with ease. Importantly, "that which is owned is no longer simply the item itself but the privileges which it provides to the owner". How, then, do we reconcile property rights and the public domain (the commons)? Property law in Western civilization tends to bestow all rights onto a single person. He defines ownership as a "collection of rights which complement each other and grant to the owner the authority to legitimately enforce conditions". The focus on possesion complicates the property law when dealing with intagible objects.
Klang offers the differing views people have of the commons, citing sources as far back as Aristotle and as recent as Lessig. The first, and considerably widespread, is the belief in the "tragedy of the commons". The second argues that the idea of the tragedy is false since it does not consider the environment in which the commons exists. The commons itself is a considerably vague term (consisting only of notions of property and sharing), and the public doman is defined only as what it is not (it is not legally protected intellectual property). According to Klang, what the public domain is "is our collective culture". He continues to explain the basics of the current copyright law and how owning the content of something limits the creativity of others. Creative Commons was developed to help ensure an ease of sharing and the creativity that the commons encourages. He explains, as most do, the basics to how Creative Commons licenses work, concluding that though copyright is a tricky game, "we can also be certain that we will always need a commons or a public domain from which we can create and recombine into new culture for us to enjoy".
This article provides a great overview of the debate that currently surrounds copyright and Creative Commons, extending into the idea of the commons itself. As we saw, there are those who believe that the commons is nothing but a vast wasteland or an "overgrazed pasture", which my project hopes to discredit by emphasizes the good things that have come out of the commons. There are others who believe in the benefit of the commons, taking into consideration the situation in which they exist and the fact that the web allows for social cohesion and trust among those involved. It is this view that conforms to the models that I expand on, showing the many different ways that online communities have been affected by the commons and vice versa. Importantly, this article explain Creative Commons licenses as well and helps to illuminate the debate about property by offering definitions of terms that are really, less than clear in the law today. It really is the basis for this project.
"The Tragedy of the Commons," Garrett Hardin, Science, 162(1968):1243-1248.
The article begins with the idea that there is a class of problems which Hardin calls the "no technical solution problems," to which he assigns the "population problem". For Hardin, the problem is that population is constantly growing in a finite world, and "a finite world can support only a finite population". This is where the tragedy of the commons comes in, which he relates to an open pasture. He believes that each herdsman will seek to maximize his gain and that there is one negative and one positive outcome from his addition of another animal to the herd. The positive is that the animal will bring in more profit for the herdsman (+1) and the negative is that it will add to overgrazing. The negative, however, affects not only him but many others so therefore it is only equivalent to a fraction of -1. The decision then is easy to add another, and another, and another animal until the pasture can no longer sustain the herds. "Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all."
He uses pollution, oceans, national parks, and overgrazing as examples of the tragedy of the commons in the world today. All of these are a consequence of population. This leads him to argue that the morality of decisions regarding the commons are "system-sensitive"; that is, morality is dependent on the situation at the time (so, killing an endangered species is no longer okay but it was before the species became endangered). Hardin calls for a limitation on breeding. According to him, in a welfare state where everyone is born with an equal right to the commons is a world in "a tragic course of action". An appeal to conscience to control breeding, however, will never work since only some will acquiesce. Instead, he argues for mutual coercion, or "definite social arrangements that will keep [something] from becoming a commons". He cites taxes as an example, since no one enjoys them, but they understand the necessity. Recognizing the necessity of something, like "abandoning the commons in breeding" is the key to finally asserting control.
This article was written long before Creative Commons came about, and even before mass use of the internet. Yet, though times have drastically changed, scholars still site Hardin's work to argue against the commons online (and more specifically Creative Commons licenses which suddenly makes this commons legal) because the sentiment found in his article still runs deep in the minds of many today. The commons seems to many a wasteful form of property and people have argued that the easy access to works, especially things like photographs that are not easily marked with a creator, will create a sort of digital overgrazing and original work will lose its value. However, it is important to remember that Hardin wrote about a finite world. The internet has created something infinite. This distinction changes the whole argument because suddenly there are fewer restrictions. However, this article remains important to the discussion of the commons because it has shaped so much of the current debate that it cannot simply be ignored.
Goldsmith, Kenneth. "UbuWeb Wants to be Free" EPC- Kenneth Goldsmith.
Goldsmith begins by preaching the benefits of poetry, which is according to him the "perfect space to practice utopian politics," meaning that information can be free so long as one is not worrying about making a profit. This is UbuWeb. Everything on the site is free, and it is constantly being updated every Monday with new submissions. The point is that nothing on the site ever goes "out of print". Ubuweb doesn't need sponsors; the ISP is provided free by those sympathetic to the goal of UbuWeb. It is able to remain free from institutions as well and the "academic bureaucracy and its attendent infighting". Most importantly, UbuWeb posts its content without permission from copyright owners. They have never been issued a cease and desist order. In fact, most artists are glad to find their works out there and offer more to the website, which happily accepts because the web provides almost infinite space. And it's no hidden site. UbuWeb has one many prestigious internet awards and become the "definitive source for Visual, Concrete + Sound Poetry" that even schools now use.
The article is actually the About UbuWeb page on the site itself, as well as an article on Goldsmith's own page. This is obviously a model that does not embrace Creative Commons (let alone copyright laws, though they will take things down if asked). It's important to remember that what UbuWeb hosts are works that lack a market value and those creating them do so for the love of it and not with the intention of making a profit. But it's a model that obviously works, and one completely counter to what copyright and CC represent. The difference here is that most works are strictly being copied onto the web, not changed like CC licenses allow, but nonetheless it's a clear violation of copyright law. CC was designed as a way to help alleviate problems with that law, yet there are obviously other just as successful ways of dealing with some of the problems copyright presents- that is, basically ignoring it. So while CC is important, other models such as this are also important to examine when looking at the commons.