When big corporations produce content (or more likely, package and market content), that content is clearly under copyright and must be protected by heavy-handed measures from “pirates”.
But when the public, perhaps embracing marketing for digital cameras and web photo services that tells them to unleash their creativity, decides to produce and disseminate their own content, corporations turn around and snap up that content. To use in ad campaigns selling the “real” and “genuine”, no less.
That’s what is happening, according to an article in the Washington Post:
Under the banner of “intellectual property,” record labels warn you not to bootleg their songs. Hollywood studios warn you not to download their movies. Intellectual property has lately seemed the concern of corporations trying to protect the artist from the grabby public.
But in an increasingly user-generated world where the public is the artist, sometimes it’s the big boys who get grabby. And the questions that arise are about ownership, but they are also about fairness, and changing culture, and ultimately, the search for authenticity.
I just hope that these stories don’t scare people away from Creative Commons licenses. While some of the content used without permission was posted with a CC license, other content was not and thus “all rights reserved” by default. The corporations ignored both CC licenses and traditional copyright.
A CC license doesn’t mean you don’t have any rights to your content. It means you have decided to allow certain uses, as defined in the license. For example, DIY Librarian uses a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. You are welcome to republish my content as long as I get credit, you don’t alter it, and you’re not making money off of it. It’s win-win: you get to use my content, I get recognition and a wider audience. You want to use something I made in an ad campaign, you need to talk to me. I want to make sure anything I create is used appropriately and that I am fairly compensated, and I have the right to refuse other uses.