my work is free / except for commercial use which is evil and i forbid it / was no one's figured out how to make money on the internet

12 comments to Non-Commercial

  • Let us imagine there are two cartoonists:

    a) Mr Pooge who publishes cartoons CC-NC and waits for publishers to beat a path to his door begging for commercial licenses

    b) Mr Patchit who publishes cartoons copyleft and waits for no-one.

    Now let us imagine there is a copyleft journal (a commercial publication paid for by subscribers) in need of something to lighten its pages. They can contract a lawyer to negotiate an expensive license with Mr Pooge or they can simply republish Mr Patchit’s work with zero overhead.

    If both cartoonists are sufficiently amusing it’s a bit of a no-brainer isn’t it?

    Now, if the journal finds Mr Patchit’s work produces a commensurate increase in subscription, or an otherwise enthusiastic reaction to the inclusion of the cartoons, it has a choice:

    a) Keep the profits and risk Mr Patchit’s work drying up
    b) Sponsor Mr Patchit in proportion to the value of his work to this journal

    The leads to an observation of the following outcome:

    a) Mr Pooge is still waiting for a phone call from a lawyer in the dying copyright industry to negotiate a lucrative deal. But hey, at least there are a few non-commercial publications that promote his work in the meantime – for as long as they survive unpaid.

    b) Mr Patchit meanwhile has sponsorship from umpteen copyleft publications and other enthusiastic businesses that patronise him. And MANY publications republishing his work building up his audience – and without any legal worries or overheads on their part.

    We can conclude:

    a) Mr Pooge in prohibiting commercial use by potential business customers does not get their business. He’s left waiting for major monopolists desperate for his work, and can only be promoted by people not making any money.

    b) Mr Patchit says goodbye to the traditional copyright industry and embraces commission, patronage and promotion from all who reject copyright.

  • […] This is a syndicated post, which originally appeared at Mimi and Eunice » IP. View original post. […]

  • Camilo Martin

    That’s why I don’t understand licenses like GPL or CC-*-NC.

    I mean, propaganda is propaganda. Let everyone know about you, and then think about true compensation.

  • zcat

    Comparison with the GPL is kinda stupid. The GPL doesn’t restrict ‘commercial’ use at all (Eg Redhat, Canonical, Amazon, Google, IBM etc are all using GPL code commercially) it only forbids trying to pass off a derived work as your own copyrighted product. GPL is like CC-SA, not CC-NC.

  • […] Non-Commercial Posted on October 9, 2010 by Vinny via […]

  • Rob

    I use CC-NC not because I think all commercial entities are evil, but because I wish to maintain control over where my work is used commercially. Granting all commercial entities everywhere the same automatic free access to my work I’ve happily granted the Free Culture community strikes me as a Bad Thing.

    I would add to Crosbie Fitch’s above example; say Mr. Patchit wakes up one morning to find his cartoon on the website of a company he really hates, advertising a product he finds entirely offensive. Perhaps Mr. Patchit’s cartoon even becomes wildly successful as an advertisement for said product, to the point where Mr. Patchit’s copyleft-friendly credit becomes strongly associated with said company and their product in the public consciousness. Mr. Patchit is forced to do one of two things. He can publicly address the issue in defense of his own beliefs and integrity; an action which risks seeming grumpy, ungrateful, hypocritical, and unworthy of his “success” and causing a backlash which could permanently taint his reputation and career. Alternatively he can embrace hypocrisy, stay quiet how he feels about the whole thing, never again voice his true feelings about the product or the company, and be forever stifled and miserable at his own loss of personal integrity.

    That may be an extreme and wildly unlikely example, but in my career as with all things I try to hope for the best whilst preparing for the worst. If I woke up one day to find my work advertising some product I disapprove of by some company or organization I particularly hate, the little credit back to me would just not be worth the grief; in fact it would cause more. I’m perfectly willing to live without that extra bit of automatic exposure for the sake of maintaining control over which commercial entities I’m seen to associate with, while continuing to contribute to Free Culture.

  • Rob, copyright is simply a reproduction monopoly. It has nothing to do with what are known as moral rights, e.g. against misattribution (plagiarism) and misrepresentation (false claims of endorsement, explicit or implicit).

    If people are at liberty to copy each other’s published works, that doesn’t mean they can be dishonest when they do so.

  • Rob Myers

    I’m not sure how control is freedom, though, Rob. And you haven’t granted your work to the free culture community if they can’t afford to use it except as a hobby.

  • Terry Hancock

    Weird. Can’t Flattr — seems like there’s an invalid link involved. Cute 404 page from Flattr, though.

  • Crosbie,

    I agree with you that copyright as it stands today is vile.

    But trashing CC-NC is an overreach.

    We created copyright to prevent other people from making money off of your work without your permission. Copyright has historically benefited society in that regard many times.

    What has adversely affected society is that copyright legally extends to noncommercial copying (e.g. file sharing).

    Those who envisioned copyright could not imagine the advent of technologies like computers and the internet.

    In their world, all copying of any statistical significance had a for-profit motive.

    It is not so any longer. Today we have noncommercial copying en masse via file sharing along with the beginnings of a proportional crackdown against file swappers.

    The correct solution to the problem is to legalize noncommercial copyright infringement. Not to abandon copyright entirely.

  • Gah! The whole debate shouldn’t be happening. Commercial use is not evil. Whatever it is that is evil is evil, and both commercial and non-commercial uses could be that. What if a Nazi group used your work non-commercially?? There goes your point about stopping certain use.
    If you use BY-SA, then you already stop most exploitation, and any use you really hate, you can access and modify and satirize etc. I would LOVE if Exxon or something used my song! I would be able to go out and publicly state that I think they are evil and people would listen to me because it is interesting versus me just saying it right now.

    Anyway, all of this ignores the fact that the PRIMARY thing that NC does is create a divide in the commons. If you give something an NC license, you know what you mostly did? YOUR NC LICENSE STOPS ANYONE FROM MIXING YOUR WORK WITH MIMI AND EUNICE! No commercial use of your work may even be desired by anyone, and all you did was stop people from mixing with BY-SA material!

  • randomq

    It is naive to think that commercial entities will voluntarily contribute to obtain free content. More likely they consume and profit until that source is dried up, and then move on to the next, always seeking to maximize profit and minimize cost *in the short term*.

    I cannot blame anyone for wanting to shield their work from the machinations of psychopathic locusts.

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