[cc-licenses] Copyleft business models, was Re: Founders as a module?

drew Roberts zotz at 100jamz.com
Thu May 25 08:57:51 EDT 2006

On Thursday 25 May 2006 05:08 am, Terry Hancock wrote:
> drew Roberts wrote:
> >  On Wednesday 24 May 2006 07:14 pm, Terry Hancock wrote:
> > > drew Roberts wrote:
> > >> On Tuesday 23 May 2006 10:48 pm, Terry Hancock wrote:
> I think we're mostly in agreement on the point I was originally making.
> The "business models for copyleft art" thread is separate, and I've
> mostly deflected that.

Should we take that discussion to cc-community?
> However, it's an interesting subject in itself, and I'm very supportive
> of the things you've been saying.  You've suggested some ideas that
> I haven't thought of, and I haven't given them enough thought.
> > > I have noted a lack of evidence of successful proofs-of-principle
> > > of strong models of copyleft-art monetization.
> >
> >  And I face the same problem that you do above. It seems to me there
> >  is no great effort on the part of many to create enough copyleft-art
> >  to make the necessary experiments.
> Yes, and that's always a problem.  ISTM that any way to encourage
> By-SA material to be made is good for this goal.

In general, yes.
> >  The thing is, some get paid to work on the Free ones as a result of
> >  these "free-samples."
> True of software, but I can't think of any free aesthetic examples off
> hand.

For my 2004 nanowrimo effort, I raised quite a decent sum of money from people 
I knew. The book is going to end up under a (probably) BY-Sa license. It is 
not up on the net under one now like my 2005 effort Tings as I made the 
mistake of including short bits from songs playing around here on the radio 
from the era of the novel.

Not quite an exact match. But I think I can do it again if needed.

Also, it seems to me that things like PBS and NPR are a natural for creating 
copyleft works. (Unless they are not really as public minded as they would 
like everyone to believe. Or am I missing something?)
> > > I understand that you have a vested interest in finding successful
> > > copyleft-based business models for art.
> >
> >  I think my real vested interest is in preserving my freedoms for the
> >  future. I think most people have the same interest but most don't see
> >  it. (Obviously, it could just as easily be me who sees things
> >  incorrectly.)
> The public good of copyleft works is easy to see, but the good for the
> creator is harder -- so I've spent more effort on that part.

Well, I know as a creator, I have a bunch of work that will never see the 
light of day because it stems from locked up works. If instead of being 
primarily exposed to locked up works I was exposed to free works, I would be 
more productive. I would be more efficient labour wise and my cost of 
materials would be lower.
>  > [regarding copyleft business models]
> >
> >  For instance, what about an NC on sales except physical copies at
> >  retail only on a BY-SA license. Any thoughts on the effects?
> I am baffled by what this means.  You want a By-NC-SA that exempts
> sale of physical copies?  But you want the By-SA to apply to copies
> thus sold?

No, more like a BY-SA that restricts sales only, not public performances and 
the making of derivatives, while granting an exception to the sales 
restriction to retail sales of physical goods. (Perhaps even restricts such 
sales to mom and pops only. Single location per seller?) I would keep the 
right for online sales and wholesale sales of physical goods. Something like 
that. The ratailers could buy from me or burn their own. (Is there a legal 
way to do this, and would it have beneficial effects.)

Would more models open up if CC changed the licenses such that it was not the 
"work" that I had to license, but only the instance that I released with the 
license and anything stemming from it?

See what I was trying to do here:

> > >> An artist can insist on being paid every time they "sing" and
> > >> still release all of their work as copyleft.
> > >
> > > Service model. The artist gets paid for their time performing.
> >
> >  Nothing wrong with the service model. That said, I think it is more
> >  than that. After enough copyleft mass has been built up, those making
> >  use of this have an advantage over those that don't If your band can
> >  go to the club and explain that you only perform BY and BY-SA work
> >  and so the club will not have to pay PRS, ASCAP, BMI for your
> >  performances, that is a selling point for the gig. Etc.
> Yeah, that's the value proposition of copyleft, but the monetization
> is still based on the service model.

It may be, but it is service model plus. The plus being the reduced "cost of 
> > >> Income streams that don't go away when your creative works are
> > >> copyleft...
> > >>
> > >> Gig and concert for musicians. (Plus endorsements, action figures
> > >> (had to put that in for fun) and merchandise and the like.
> > >
> > > Same: service model.
> >
> >  Just to be clear. Merchandise is not the service model.
> Yeah, there's actually a few different things included there. Merchandising
> is selling material stuff related to the work.  The free software analog
> is selling (e.g.) video cards with free-licensed drivers.
> > >> For painters, they can still sell their originals. They can also
> > >> still sell numbered and signed prints. As a matter of fact,
> > >> couldn't they reserve their signature as a part of a trademark
> > >> and not allow free use of that (sort of like what Red Hat does
> > >> with their trademarks?)
> > >
> > > True, of course.
> > >
> > > Every one of these is pretty marginal as a business plan, though.
> > > They make a lot less money than direct sale of copies of a work,
> > > and when they do work well, they do so by promoting the values of
> > > patrons (corporations, for the most part, but also rich
> > > individuals), and so are not exactly populist solutions.
> >
> >  I don't see where selling originals and numbered prints is a marginal
> >  business for painters. Where do you think they make the bulk of their
> >  money?
> You have a point there.
> I've always been baffled by this, though. The idea of paying for totally
> artificial scarcity (i.e. numbered prints) always struck me as twisted,
> though.  Also the whole concept of "real" works versus indistinguishable
> copies (e.g. *this* toy astronaut has been in space, but that one hasn't).
> I guess I'm just too utilitarian at heart.

The thing is, we don't have to fully understand or agree with each possible 
model, just recognise its existance and effectiveness.
> > > IOW, they would promote artistic works that favor upper class
> > > values.
> >
> >  Not if hte upper class can see a way to make a buck promoting other
> >  values.
> >
> > > (Not that upper class values shouldn't be represented, but my point
> > > is that biases are introduced because of the model)
> >
> >  True, but in the big money models under "all rights reserved" isn't
> >  this the case already?
> To a degree, but this relates to the "making a buck promoting other
> people's values" argument.  Selling copies of something does that: the
> distributor can accumulate enough sales to offset the cost and make
> a profit.
> But in the patronage model, the patron doesn't make direct income
> off of the work from lower class consumers, so he has little motivation
> to pay for something to their taste.

There is no reason why patrons cannot make or save money off of the results of 
that patronage.

For example. Stores pay good money to have music playing. If they would fund 
copyleft music with a part of this, they could play that instead and save. (I 
can think of other possibilities.)
> > > The thing is, copyright monopoly rules undeniably *have* benefited
> > > creative works during the time they have been in force. There are
> > > many, many writers, musicians, singers, artists, and illustrators
> > > who are gainfully employed because of the ability to excercise
> > > monopoly control over the sales of copies of their work -- the
> > > "masquerade of information as matter". So it's pretty hard for me
> > > to scoff at this model: it's a proven reality.
> >
> >  We can see the benefits, but we can't see what we may have missed.
> >  This goes back to the issue brought up very early in this post.
> Sure. And there probably was a cost.
> But do you really believe that, without copyright protection that we
> would have the vast collection of literature, music, and art that we
> do today?

I doubt it, but I think we have gone over the top now and the laws and 
practices currently in place are harming the situation now. At least in some 
> >  One difference between the public domain and the copyleft-commons is
> >  that there still exists the dual-license monetisation option for
> >  works original to the author.
> Of course, I meant that the non-copyleft free-license commons is
> conceptually equivalent to public domain.  Copyleft is conceptually
> distinct, although related, and some different aspects apply.

I am not really that interested in the non-copyleft free-license commons 
except that I appreciate those who have made the works and made them 
available to me. I personally would have preferred that they made them 
available to me under a copyleft, but the gift horse and mouth warning from 
my younger days comes into play.
> > > As such, I would argue that the benefits of a time-release are
> > > similar to those gained by sharealike licenses. But they work for
> > > different business models, which may incorporated better, more
> > > optimized coverage of artists' endeavors. Both aspects are meant
> > > to be means of restoring the original balances of copyright law.
> > > Convincing artists of the value to them of these balances is
> > > tricky, but that's precisely what CC's mission is (as I understand
> > > it).
> >
> >  Can we start a copyleft "art" registry? How about here for a start:
> >
> >  http://www.ourmedia.org/node/111124
> That's a lonely looking page.

It is very lonely indeed.
> Actually, I've been going through my old artwork, and I have decided
> that as soon as I can figure out how to scan it (it's oversize), I'm going
> to probably release my 1980-1990 work under By-SA.  I did a number of
> science fiction illustration series back then for concepts I was working
> on, but never finished.  It's not a huge body of work, and I'm not actively
> drawing anymore, but it's something I'd like to make available so it
> doesn't go to waste.

I know there is not enough time in the day.
> >  Oh, but it might. we will not really know until there have been large
> >  scale experiments to see what happens.
> >
> >  I see synergies between copyleft code and copyleft art where we can
> >  offer things that regular players might fear to compete with.
> Clearly computer games are a cross-over point.

There are other areas I have in mind as well.
> > > I'm not opposed to that, but it doesn't excite me that much.
> [to clarify 'it' means 'loss-leader/free-sample strategies using
> a copylefted work as the freebie']
> >  Are you a big user of Free Software?
> You could say that, yeah. ;-)
> I actually don't use anything else -- at least w.r.t to everyday
> tasks.
> >  This is not what I am advocating. I am advocating running a real
> >  experiment with copyleft works. See if you can't come up wtih
> >  profitable avenues that would be unavailable to you with other
> >  licenses.
> Hmm. Well, there are a few, and you've raised some ideas for models
> I haven't considered.
> >  It is how you might be able to make money off of the work of tens of
> >  thousands of other like minded creative people that I find
> >  interesting.
> Well that's what the big recording labels are interested in, isn't it. ;-)
> The point is, though, can the 10,000 make money off of the 10,000's
> work?

I think so. And as the laws and their enforcement become more draconian, I 
think it will become more and more clear to people. We shall see.
> >  Another thought, the infrastructure of freedom still has to develop.
> >  It is hard to find works by license along with type.
> This is a MAJOR problem, I agree 100% on this one.
> >  For instance, if someone knows of a good way to find BY-SA music with
> >  a high signal to noise ration on the searches, I would be very
> >  interested in hearing of it.
> I have no reliable mechanism, but I have certainly tried. So far, I find
> that there are "knots" created by individual registry sites (BTW, there's
> some useful starting points in the LinuxUser & Developer (#62) that
> should be hitting newstands just about now.  I believe the article is
> titled "Music on the Lam".
> Again though, a major problem is the "a Creative Commons license"
> problem -- CC-By-NC comingles with CC-By-SA. It's the primary source
> of the noise you refer to, in my experience.

I have a different experience. I can often find BY-SA fine, I just get text 
with a BY-SA license instead of the music I am looking for.
> >  it is early days yet and I am in it for the long haul. I would be
> >  very happy for early successes, but they are not expected at this
> >  point.
> Hmm. I guess for CC it is still "early days".  My first copyleft art
> project was under the Design Science License, because CC hadn't
> been invented yet. That was 2000.  The overall project has not yet
> succeeded, but we got some very interesting contributions. I'm
> trying to kick it off again with a GPL license on the code and a
> combined GPL2+ + CC-By-SA license on the aesthetics (for piecewise
> distribution, the CC-By-SA is superior, but for inclusion in Linux
> distributions, it's desireable to be compatible with GPL).
> (I'm refering to http://light-princess.sf.net ).

Even six years is not a long time really. These ideas have to grow and spread. 
Then there need to be some successes or a big enough body of work available 
and findable.
> I was not able to contact everybody, though, so there is still stuff
> stuck in the copyleft-conflict limbo, which is why I'm sort of sensitive
> to the problems it creates (and disjoint "commonses" in general).

> Cheers,
> Terry

all the best,

Record a song and you might win $1,000.00

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