Creative Commons Responds to ASCAP

Yesterday, we reported that ASCAP said that organizations like Creative Commons were undermining their copyrights. Today, we’ve received an official response from Creative Commons with regards to the letter writing campaign.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

In the same article, we discussed how Creative Commons was, contrary to what ASCAP said, not about undermining anyone elses copyrighted material, but rather, giving artists an option that was not the Public Domain (no rights reserved) nor Copyright (all rights reserved).

Eric Steuer, a Creative Commons spokesperson, thanked ZeroPaid for the earlier posting as being well-thought out and was happy to respond to ASCAPs letter.

“It’s very sad that ASCAP is falsely claiming that Creative Commons works to undermine copyright” Steuer told ZeroPaid. He explained, “Creative Commons licenses are copyright licenses – plain and simple, without copyright, these tools don’t even work. CC licenses are legal tools that creators can use to offer certain usage rights to the public, while reserving other rights. Artists and record labels that want to make their music available to the public for certain uses, like noncommercial sharing or remixing, should consider using CC licenses. Artists and labels that want to reserve all of their copyright rights should absolutely not use CC licenses.”

It does make sense because Creative Commons is voluntary. The creator can choose whether or not to use Creative Commons or not.

“Many tens of thousands of musicians, including acts like Nine Inch Nails, the Beastie Boys, David Byrne, Radiohead, and Snoop Dogg, have used Creative Commons licenses to share with the public. These musicians aren’t looking to stop making money from their music. In fact,” Steuer added, “many of the artists who use CC licenses are also members of collecting societies, including ASCAP. Incidentally, that’s how we first heard about this email campaign – many musicians that support Creative Commons received the email and forwarded it to us. Some of them even included a donation to Creative Commons.”

A number of ASCAP members have already expressed disapproval for the language found in ASCAPs letter. Comments from ASCAP members can be found on BoingBoing and Mind the Gap to name two sources.

Overall, though, ASCAPs attack on Creative Commons in their letter was a very bad error in judgment. One can hope ASCAP issues an apology over this.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.



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