I heard an interview with an author (Cory Doctorow) who was describing the Creative Commons and how he used their licensing for publishing, freely, his work. This is an interesting idea. I downloaded one of Cory’s books and in the preamble he talks about the Creative Commons and uses this Woody Guthrie quote:
This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.
This is very cool and from someone whose life I found fascinating. And I can see how it applies to Guthrie’s music. But a book? I would argue that isn’t the same thing. Guthrie wanted his songs yodeled to bring about the political changes he wanted. Now what is the motivation of those using the Creative Commons?
Cory tells us he’s making enough money on his print books that he has no problem simultaneously releasing his books electronically into the Creative Commons. He likes the ideal. He also says that many who start reading the electronic version of a book go and buy it if they like it. I can see that… I prefer a real book any time.
I’ll say it again, the idea is interesting and I applaud it. You can read more about the organization here while I see what Cory’s book does for me.
I like the idea of getting work out there. For a new author who hasn’t had much published and isn’t getting anywhere with publishers this may be a great alternative (as long as they can make their living in other ways). I, for example, might think about using the Creative Commons. I can certainly agree with Guthrie in that I write for myself first. And the audience? Well the audience will have to wait.