As you may have seen, we recently published a video about copyright and Creative Commons. It tells the story of a photographer who discovers ways to use both for her goals. Recently, the Creative Commons organization saw the video and asked an important question in a tweet:
Nice video on how a photographer might use #CC licenses: http://t.co/rfmG5GEf (in draft) @CommonCraft Will you CC license this video? :)
Our answer is “no” - and here’s why:
We think Creative Commons is an excellent idea. Unlike reserving all rights with copyright, it gives creators a way to make their work more sharable. Like we portrayed in our video, it makes permission implicit and that’s a great way for creators to get their work in front of more people.
At the same time, the potential of Creative Commons licensing must be viewed in terms of a person or organization’s goals. Using it responsibly creates opportunities to build awareness, brand recognition and fan base - all things that can contribute to earning a living over the long term. You could say it’s a means to an end for many people and organizations.
At Common Craft we’ve been making videos since 2007. In the early days we did use Creative Commons and YouTube for making a few of our videos free for sharing. This helped us build a great fan base and brand awareness. But over time our priorities needed to change. To keep making useful videos for educators, we needed a way to offer them for a licensing fee, which meant Creative Commons made less sense.
But that’s not the only consideration.
You might say, “Why not use Creative Commons for this one video?” It seems reasonable, given the subject matter, that we might want to provide an example and make the video sharable.
This works against our goals in another way. A big obstacle for our business is the perception, from our early work, that all Common Craft videos are free for sharing. To have a successful business, we needed to change this perception and put the focus on our subscription service, which makes our videos sharable for our members. Because our members are paying for video licensing and sharing tools we provide, licensing even a single with Creative Commons would cause two problems:
1. Create more confusion about our business
2. Lessen the value of our subscription service for members
So, we love the idea of Creative Commons, and we know it can be valuable for many - especially those with a priority on building awareness. But for our business and goals it doesn't fit.