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Posts Tagged ‘Creative Commons’

More Perils of Reusing Digital Content

February 7, 2016 1 comment
Some time ago I wrote an article and blog post entitled “the perils of reusing digital content” looking at the key challenges facing users of digital content which thanks to the power of computing and the Internet has become more easily available, transferable and modifiable. It says a lot about the age in which we live that this is still not universally perceived to be a good thing. It also explored the Creative Commons model as a complementary alternative to a woefully inadequate and somewhat anachronistic copyright system in the digital age. Since then the situation has got even more complex and challenging thanks to the introduction of newer technologies (e.g. IoT), more content (data, devices and channels), and novel trust / sharing mechanisms such as blockchain. 


I’ve written a soon-to-be-published article about blockchain, from which the following excerpt is taken:  “Blockchains essentially provide a digital trust mechanism for transactions by linking them sequentially into a cryptographically secure ledger. Blockchain applications that execute and store transactions of monetary value are known as cryptocurrencies, (e.g. Bitcoin), and they have the potential to cause significant disruption of most major industries, including finance and the creative arts. For example, in the music industry, blockchain cryptocurrencies can make it economically feasible to execute true micro-transactions, (i.e. to the nth degree of granularity in cost and content). There are already several initiatives using blockchain to demonstrate full transparency for music payments – e.g. British artiste Imogen Heap’s collaboration with UJO Music features a prototype of her song and shows how income from any aspect of the song and music is shared transparently between the various contributors.”


The above scenario makes it glaringly obvious that IP protection in digital environments should be focused more on content usage transparency rather than merely providing evidence or enforcing copying and distribution restrictions. The latter copy and distribute restriction model worked well in a historically analog world, with traditionally higher barriers-to-entry, whereas the former transparent usage capability plays directly to the a strength of digital – i.e. the ability to track and record usage and remuneration transactions to any degree of granularity, (e.g. by using blockchain).


Although it may sound revolutionary and possibly contrary to the goals of today’s content publishing models, in the longer term, this provides a key advantage to any publisher brave enough to consider digitising and automating their publishing business model. Make no mistake, we are drawing ever closer to the dawn of fully autonomous business models and services where a usage / transparency based IP system will better serve the needs of content owners and publishers.


In a recent post, I described a multi-publishing framework which can be used to enable easier setup and automation of the mechanisms for tracking and recording all usage transactions as well as delivering transparent remuneration for creator(s) and publisher(s). This framework could be combined with Creative Commons and blockchains to provide the right level of IP automation needed for more fluid content usage in a future that is filled with autonomous systems, services and business models.


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Creative Business in the Digital Era

March 18, 2008 Leave a comment

This is the title of a day seminar, organised by the Open Rights Group (ORG), to explore some of the ways in which the commercial / creative stakeholder can build and operate a successful business model based on free / open Intellectual Property. Now there are those filthy (to some) four letter words again, but seriously, can anyone explain this fascination with “free” and “open” when it comes to future business models in the creative industries?

Is it because the dawn of the Internet age has brought with it the hitherto unthinkable prospect of getting something for what we might consider to be nothing (e.g. a tiny bit of our time / attention / information)? This is especially true for some of those business models built on things like: Open Source, free software, Open IP and free content. The above mentioned seminar provided, among other things, three veritable case studies and examples of successful business ventures based on what ORG has termed Open IP. The industries covered include:

1. Publishing Industry – The case study of blogger / author, Tom Reynolds, and Friday Publishing (presented by Tom Reynolds himself) showed how he was able to turn his blog musings into a successful book, published by The Friday Project, by making available free electronic versions of the book, alongside the commercial printed version, using the Creative Commons license.

2. Music Industry – John Buckman, the founder of music label Magnatune, presented the case study of how his company used Creative Commons licensing to build a successful creative enterprise based on the concept of Open Music and principles / mechanisms like: variable pricing; provision of music ‘source code’; support for derivative works; and making free shareable music available for non-commercial uses.

3. Automobile & Media Industry – David Bausola and Rob Myers, the creators of cult sit-com, Where are the Joneses? presented a case study on how they developed a commercial media production model based on Open IP. They produced some 90 short films published via multiple web 2.0 channels like: blogs, wikis, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter. The venture was funded by Ford and the output was published under a Creative Commons License that allows for sharing and even commercial reuse.

A common trend in the above studies is their use of Creative Commons licensing to implement innovative business models that may appear counter-intuitive to some; and rightly so, because we are in a time of change where even long established models often do not work so well (Also there is no mention of DRM). It remains to be seen if these examples will gain momentum, and more converts, to become mainstream practice instead of the unique one-offs that they are today. Do send in your comments and thoughts on the use of Open IP by creative businesses as a way for the future.

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Note: This post was previously published on my BCS DRM Blog, where you can find the original post, and reader comments, in the archives.

Free as in Free – Really!?

January 25, 2008 Leave a comment

More authors are now looking to give away free electronic copies of their works. Is it all just a gimmick or will the publishing industry be the first to ‘see the light’? Just what the hell[o] is going on?

Professor Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford professor and renowned author / advocate on Copyright and cyberspace, has just made his fourth book free to download under a Creative Commons license.

Now this may not sound like such a big deal given his enlightened stance on these matters, but it appears that the idea may be catching on. For example, in January 2008, Charles Sheehan-Miles, an author and Gulf war veteran, made his book ‘Republic‘ free to download (right alongside the Amazon.com order information and links) on his website.

Another author, David Parrish, has also made his creative business book, free to download from his website.

In both cases the authors rapidly came to the conclusion that they would rather face piracy than obscurity, and appear to have implemented this strategy with the underlying, and contrarian, hope that it could actually end up making them rich (now where have we heard that one before?).

However, concrete proof of this outcome may well exist in the shape of author Paulo Coelho according to thisslashdot article. This trend seems to be accelerating, and publishers (at least in the above examples) appear willing to give it a try.

Perhaps other content industries should borrow a leaf from them and give this model a chance. However, I do wonder what would happen if this became the norm. Will anybody still buy books, and how will publishers make any money in the meantime?

I would really love to get your comments on this, so get writing.