Dutch Copyright Collective Embraces Creative Commons

There are many perceptions about artists whose creative works are found online.

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

Some might think that downloading music online is simply copyright infringement – claiming that it’s the equivalent of stealing an album off the shelf. However, some artists purposefully put their music online and on various P2P networks for distribution. This carries the connotation that the artist isn’t being compensated. This perception may be changing, particularly considering the latest news coming from the Netherlands.

Creative Commons Netherlands issued a press release (PDF) announcing that members of the copyright collective known as Buma/Stemra can now pay royalties to its members who choose to use a Creative Commons license to distribute their music. The license of focus is the “non-commercial” clause. The clause effectively says that if you use the work, you can only use it for non-commercial purposes. This means that if it’s played on a commercial radio, royalties still need to be paid to the creator.

Lawrence Lessig, the founder and chairman of Creative Commons International, said “This unique and innovative collaboration between Buma/Stemra and Creative Commons is the first step towards more freedom of choice in the field of exploiting music works in the digital world.”

Ronald Plasterk, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science applauded the initiative.

“The pilot is in line with the growing need of creative people to distribute their own works through digital networks. Music authors are now entirely free to place their works before a national as well as international public. At the same time they still have the benefits of collective management. The collaboration between Buma/Stemra and Creative Commons is unique and without equal in the field. The collective rights organisation Buma/Stemra shows that it is open to innovation. With this collaboration the Netherlands confirm its leading position as a country for creative entrepreneurs to settle.”

The page for the pilot project can be found here (not in English).

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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