Friday, April 14, 2006

Creative liberties slice-nsing

Chris of Matchbook Films talks about the Creative liberties badge he has on his blog and what it means:
"When a video is marked with this stamp, it signifies that I've made use of someone else's copyrighted materials without obtaining their permission. If someone associated with the materials in question believes that my noncommercial videoblogging use is infringing or otherwise doing harm to their copyright, please up and say so. I'm a reasonable man.

Creative commons artists hoping to remix these works do so at their own risk. But it should be pretty obvious what's safe and what's not."
Interesting idea.

Eric Rice has talked about a similar situation and calls it Creative Commons 'Slice-nsing':
I'd want to put a Creative Commons license on *part* of my work.

Is there such a thing? Should there be a Slice-nsing model for this? How can I do this in a world where I don't own the rights to all the content on my show.


  1. I think I'll steal Chris's car and use it for my own 'non commercial' purposes -- fun and relaxation, no business you understand?

    If he believes that my non-commercial use of his property is doing harm I hope he will say so, as I'm a reasonable thief.

    My guess is he would very soon say it was harming him, because I would be denying him full benefit of a resource that is his. In fact, I would say a creative work is more valuable that car, which anyone can just buy.

    If I protect my work with standard copyright, it means I expect to be asked if someone wants to use any of it (there is no fair use of any amount of video under UK law). Also I have responsibilities to the people who help me and appear in the videos I make.

    If it ends up with a situation where people are going to a site other than my own, to see something I have made, then that is very definitely harming me.

  2. I respect the moral clarity you bring to the issue.

    With the confluence of corporate interests, legal profiteering, and republican idiocy in the U.S., I'm much more ambivalent about how copyright has been legislated and regulated and DRMed beyond all reason, and kept so much of our shared cultural history out of print and out of the public domain.

    I'm an old-time banjo and fiddle player, and that musical tradition had long been an oral tradition--a fiddler comes to town to play a dance, next week after he's gone you play his tunes again but you don't remember all the words so you make up some of your own. And so much of storytelling is retelling what you heard somewhere before.

    I like that Creative Commons is attempting to recapture some of that natural human cultural practice, but it does seem odd to me that it's still constrained by its own set of contractual obligations.

    I'm not redistributing copyrighted works via bittorrent or offshore web servers. I don't want to mess with your ability to make money. But I'm not deluding myself that I'm guilt-free. I may not be earning income from my videoblog, but of course I'm drawing emotional currency--comments, download and subscriber statistics, etc.

    So if I do opt to take your "car" for a spin around the block, I'll post a banner on the antenna for all to see that reads:

    "This car is stolen."

    That might not be enough for you, or someone else whose work I've appropriated. You or your representative have the legal right to shut me down, and to extract monetary compensation, and possibly even punitive damages. And if it's not your work, you're free to report me to the rightsholder or federal authorities.

    And maybe it'll take a costly legal action for me to adopt the scruples of my peers who use only other creative commons, or podcast-safe works.

    Or maybe just a few dozen more subscribers.