Now for the Creative Commons license part. I promised I’d explain what that is, so I’ll try. If anyone has any questions or comments, please do leave us a comment on the post. If you’re not interested in music law, then you might prefer to ignore the rest of this article! Okay, here goes…
Copyright law hasn’t really changed much since the early 70s. The Berne Convention states that unless explicitly stated otherwise, all rights are reserved. A copyright law may not require any formalities as a condition for copyright protection. “All rights reserved” has no legal significance since 1971 when the convention was last revised.
There have been a few technological developments since then, not least in terms of music. We’ve gone from records pressed onto vinyl, records stamped onto plastic discs, to records… mmm… digitally arranged onto miniscule solid state hard drives that people wear on their shirt while jogging. Songs can now be sent from one corner of the globe to another in seconds, shared with friends via Facebook, Twitter, etc. And there are new developments to read about every time you open up your internet browser. It’s a brave new world out there. Copyright law, or rather our interpretation of it, really hasn’t caught up with the new realities.
Rather than lobbying to change and update and adapt the copyright laws, the major labels and even some major bands, have been trying to clumsily enforce these ancient laws. It just doesn’t make sense. The internet has been the best and worst thing to happen to the music industry. But rather than trying to sue everyone that crosses their path, the music industry should have gathered together, agreed a standard with the electronics manufacturers and tried to move forward. They had the opportunity. They had the time. They certainly had the money. But they just didn’t bother.
Anyway, rather than getting into a cure-all for the music industry, I wanted to address just one aspect of the business… As it stands, our use of music is illegal (or at best residing in a large legal grey area). The vast majority of music use on the web is. And I’m not just talking about bit-torrents and file-sharing sites. Creative Commons licences can address some of these issues. They have a variety of different licences available, but I’ve opted for one of the more restrictive ones.
The licence is a CC BY-NC-SA licence. Basically it means that you can share, spread, use and remix the music, as long as you give us credit. Also, it’s a non-commercial licence, which means that the license is valid until money is being made. If you want to use the music for commercial gain, you have to come and strike a deal with me. So under this licence all normal social media usage is legal, while still preserving my right to earn money from commercial exploitation.
So that’s it in a nutshell.