creative commons / culture

Creative Commons in Austin

In trying to think of the first post, it seemed strange to mention a workshop introducing creative commons because surely everyone knows what that is. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. One common experience that emerged from those attending the workshop was that so many people who should know about creative commons don’t.

Even while so many people kvetch about the horrors of patents and copyrights, creative commons grows by being incorporated into Yahoo, Flickr, Google and many others. Many blogs we visit every day have the creative commons logo and license attached. Yet the average person doesn’t know about this solution to sustaining cultural creativity while still protecting artist rights.

Perhaps it’s because the average person lives off line while so many of us trying to change the world never unplug and face the people in first life. Or maybe we still need to develop advocacy skills?

The average artist or culture participant doesn’t have the resources of the RIAA to lobby for laws. And while they restrict our access to culture more and more over the years, education and awareness among the public might be the only way to create a swell to counteract that. Fair Use and Public Domain is shrinking. Companies like Disney made fortunes off of our folklore (Pinocchio, Snow White, etc) and yet tries to restrict their ideas from entering the public culture like the works they made millions from by remixing.

Creative Commons allows artists and producers of work to give the public access to disseminate those works while the creator can retain as little or as much rights as they want. It personally reminds me of the concept of signifying. Like the musical dialog of Jazz and even the body dialog of capoeira, creative commons allows for a dialog of art and community. It allows me to put a call out to the world and hear the response. I can answer back, or watch it grow.

Let’s grow the commons and make sure our children have folklore and a public culture to pass on to their children.


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