Creative Commons: what’s the point?

Man, I must be really, really stupid. I have read about CC for years. I’ve read magazine articles, been to their website, tried very hard to understand the whole thing, but it still eludes me.

The bottom line on intellectual property (IP) seems to me to be this: from my understanding, anything you write, or any music you record, automatically inheres copyright from the moment of its creation. The minute you make it available; either on the internet or through any other kind of publishing, it’s vulnerable to being copied; and indeed it will be if there is a demand for it, or one develops (the demand will be already exist if you’re a celebrity or have other works that are best sellers.)

If you want to prosecute improper copying of your IP you need two things: to prove that the IP is your property, to locate the perpetrators and to successfully bring legal action against him or them. I see the problem as being exclusively the latter. Unless you have a tremendously huge budget and will, like the RIAA or Church of Scientology, you can hardly succeed. As a band, you will be better off trying to make money through live appearance, licensing, added value in your products, etc. DVDs make money because of distribution: it’s easier to buy them at Wal-Mart than to go to the swap meet and paw through stacks of ugly copies of doubtful quality.

So–what’s the point of a CC license? You’re granting some “limited” amount of legal access to your IP? Sorry, the person who wants to use your IP can already do so with very little chance they’ll be prosecuted in any way. They can attribute to you if they want, or even claim the entire production is their own. Certainly that’s not what an “ethical” person would do, but an ethical person would respect your creation even without a CC license.

I’m obviously missing something here.


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