[cc-community] Orlowski vs. liblicense

rob at robmyers.org rob at robmyers.org
Wed Aug 22 11:26:06 EDT 2007

Quoting Tim Cowlishaw <tim at timcowlishaw.co.uk>:

> On 8/22/07, jonathon <jonathon.blake at gmail.com> wrote:
>> * A visual artists loses most of their revenue stream using a CC-BY-SA
>> licence;

Visual artists make most of their revenue from performance and  
merchandising, much like musicians. Well, they do when they're not  
working as lecturers or tile fitters to support their work even while  
exhibiting internationally and featuring in major publications.

Residencies and show fees replace concerts and private performances,  
and canvases and authenticated prints replace t-shirts and concert  
CDs, but the principles are the same. And so is the effect of  
reproductions/recordings as a driver for reputation and thereby for  
earning potential.

Visual artists get more government and charitable funding than  
musicians as well.

So BY-SA doesn't destroy a visual artist's revenue stream at all.

> Photographers, and those working in digital (or easily digitisable mediums)
> maybe,

Only if the demand for commissions and assignments disappear as a  
result of BY-SA. Which it doesn't.

Art photography is booming at the moment along with the rest of the  
art market. Consolidation in the image library market and competition  
from free online libraries are depressing the value of stock  
photography far more effectively than alternative licensing could. So  
photography is changing dramatically at the moment anyway. BY-SA may  
help some photographers differentiate themselves in this changing  

> but what of painters, printmakers and those whose work comprises a
> single artefact (or a signed and numbered limited edition of those
> artefacts)

Those working in autographic rather than allographic media (those  
making unique pieces rather than pieces for reproduction) are even  
less affected. Unless someone else decides they want to use their work  
as the basis for an album cover or a textile pattern, in which case  
they may lose out in much the same way they do now, only directly  
through free advertising rather than indirectly through poor copies of  
their style. And they will still have recourse to moral rights and  
trade description law.

> - surely a CC licence has minimal negative impact on their
> revenue stream, as their income comes primiarily from the sale of the
> artefact(s), rather than reproductions, or the right to reproduce them. In
> fact (as Nathaniel Stern pointed out in the Artists in Residence session at
> iSummit), the use of a CC licence can *increase* the revenue generated for
> this sort of artist, as an artefact of this sort tends to increase in value
> the more it is reproduced.

I would be *very* interested to see how much the average visual artist  
who is a member of a collecting society (e.g. a DACS member in the UK)  
gets. I'm guessing this will be a similar situation to music  
collecting societies, but I haven't investigated.

- Rob.

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