Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

If a CC Falls in the Woods

My friend Joe Merante on a proposed modification to Creative Commons licensing, which would require downstream users of the licensed work to notify the author:

While there are simple ways to find your work online, such as via search engine, Google Alert, monitored downloads via registration or otherwise, etc., the onus is still on the original author and assumes the author would be aware of such tools.

He raises a bunch of really good points in his article – it’s a must-read for anyone remotely interested in Creative Commons licensing. I mean, I publish this blog under a CC-NC-BY license, but I have absolutely no idea who’s quoting me and failing to link me. I know where incoming links (the attributions) are from, but obviously, I don’t know where the unattributed uses are. Of course, if this were published under a vanilla copyright regime, even fewer people would link back to me.

I guess both regimes (CC and vanilla copyright) end up being largely an honor system. Large IP firms obviously have the huge resources necessary to search and destroy pirates, but I’m never setting up Google Alerts for the unauthorized use of Barely Legally’s posts. I’m never hiring Righthaven (lol) to track down pirates. Really, I’m relying on the penalties being onerous to dissuade people from taking the risk that I find out they been a-piratin’ mah words.

If you set up a Creative Commons license to include a notification requirement, you could make it even more robust than the existing copyright regime. Food for thought.