Monday, February 18, 2013

The Creative Commons License

A common concern with digital publishing is the loss of revenue from pirate copies. Truth is, there has always been piracy when it comes to books, the only difference now is that the digital age makes it easier. That said, I doubt most books, or authors, will ever face that concern as they won't be popular enough to pirate.

As authors, we can either embrace the digital age, or try and lock it out.

Many gaming companies use Digital Rights Management (DRM) software to ensure their digital goods are not copied, but it doesn't work. Any determined pirate can get round that, while it causes grief to some users and is part of the cause for the decline in sales of PC games.

Other ways to lock people in are proprietary formats, such as the Kindle file format, which prevents a purchaser from using the file on another ereader. This, too, can cause irritation among people who have bought a book to read and want to lend it to a friend.

What all the anti-piracy measures fail to take into account is that most people are not crooks and have no intention of making money out of another's work. They just want to read the book, then file it, give it away or, occasionally, sell it.

There is an answer: The Creative Commons License (CCL)

The books I issue use this and it has several layers allowing people to use it in various ways depending on what you allow. For books, I allow people to share with friends and family, but not to sell or adjust it, which is the highest level. Essentially I am allowing people to do with my ebooks, exactly the same thing they do with print media.

Crooks will always be crooks, but by refusing DRM on an ebook and using the CCL, I'm not assuming everyone is a potential thief.

Sometimes, I feel, I have to give a little to get a little. For me, that means trusting my readers.

More information can be found on the Creative Commons website:


Al Diaz said...

Sadly, piracy is very common in Mexico. It happens with everything, books, music, software, whatever. I don't think here artists could go on trust. :(

Magical Mystical MiMi said...

I agree with your idea, you do have to give a little to get a little. It's a shame that the thieves ruin it.

Martin Willoughby said...

Al: China's another case in point.

Mimi: Lock the thieves up I say...if we can find them.

Rena said...

I hate that people can be like that, but if you have a product people want, plenty of people will pay for it. And you can only get readers by having people, you know, read your work. I think it's a good idea.

Martin Willoughby said...

Rena: Share and share alike!

Julie Luek said...

Good thoughts on this topic. I hadn't really thought about it or about controlling the level with which people can "borrow" our work. I shall go away and ponder this more. Thanks for sharing.

Martin Willoughby said...

Julie: To some extent we have no control over who borrows, the best we can do is to allow people not to feel guilty for doing so.

Chloe said...

Thanks for this - it's really useful to know!

Martin Willoughby said...

Chloe: You're very welcome.