Ze Frank debates value of Creative Commons

The Institute for the Future, a Palo Alto based nonprofit research group, held a day long research exchange yesterday titled “The Future of Video.” During the Q&A of the “Authorship, Appropriation, and Control” panel, creative genius Ze Frank responds critically to the utility of Creative Commons for guys like him. Ze feels that others rip off his work, make lesser quality derivative works and profit from them at his expense. Panelist David Pescovitz of BoingBoing and IFTF, argues for CC with counter examples and panelist Alexander Cohen, Professor of Film Studies at UC Berkeley, also argues for the utility of CC for remixing & critiquing society. Leprechauns enter the story as well.

Here’s Ze earlier in the day laying the groundwork responding to Mimi Ito at an earlier panel, on the “fundamental split” he sees between how amateur and professional content creators contextualize their work.

Tags: , , , , , ,

  • the second video is marked as “private”, so it can't be seen without being that persons youtube friend.

    The first video was interesting, but I was wondering if the Play Him Off cat was CC licensed.

  • thanks Doc, fixed!

  • i dont know how a good argument can be made against cc.
    cc is not the cause of blatant rip-offs.
    thats just going to happen with or without cc.
    and everything borrows and influences everything else.
    i dont get his core argument. yet. would need to read/listen to more.
    cc does not need to carry the role of facilitating the monetization of net video.
    that is left for the creator(s) to figure out.
    a video on the internet is never going to be controlled.
    a style is never going to remain soley yours. and likely was never soley yours to begin with.
    only your most loyal fans will even consider paying you money direct for the pleasure of consuming your net video.
    money can come in more indirect ways if you are good at what you do and you are consistent. you can license your content to tv networks if its that good.
    but your video is often going to be more like an ongoing portfolio that grows and takes you places. it's not food that you buy. its not clothes that you buy. its not a cup of coffee. its a video that becomes a cultural artifact. its not a tangible product. some may think or wish it was, but it is not. if a $200million film on DVD can barely pass as a product today, then how is a short witty video of your mug going to do?
    if their is an upside, it is probably in the interactive video segment. if you create something that is more than a linear video… something that a user interacts with and is entertained by that interaction… then that is harder to copy and more than just the content. it can become the content unique to the user experiencing it.

  • Rusty

    The problem with CC is not the CC license itself, it's the fact that CC proponents want to force all content creators to CC license their work.

    You like CC, you release your stuff that way. But it's not right to force others to release things that way.

    What if the owners of BoingBoing.com put up all the BoingBoing.net content without ads, and put in light grey text on a white background the attribution notice. Then they promoted boingboing.com as the ad-free version of BoingBoing.net and people started going to it and the real site (.net) started massively losing pageviews and hence ad revenue.

    Just because you're doing something non-commercially doesn't mean that it doesn't have a negative impact on the original creator's value.

    And I get tired of hearing the excuse about Cory D giving away his books but still selling tons of them. He's getting press because he gives away the book online, and that translates into sales. If everyone was doing it, the novelty factor would be gone and he wouldn't generate the press. And frankly, most people aren't going to read a book on their laptop (or print it out, etc). All he's giving away is a mostly less convenient facsimile of the original book. A free sample if you will.

    In 20 years from now when everyone has ebooks, I bet he won't be giving them away.

  • I agree that Creative Commons licensing is choice each creator must make when publishing online. Ze can choose to publish with a full copyright. Not sure why he's so concerned.

    But the danger of full copyright is the lack of enforcement. What's Ze going to do is someone copies his work? Hire a lawyer and sue? Doesn't seem feasible for any independent.

    At least a Creative Commons license gives some permission for reuse under certain restrictions that work well online. Yes, someone could still break a CC license, but then you have the community to help you police. I'm surprised Ze hasnt reached out to his large, loyal fanbase to get his work respected.

  • Rusty: That's a sweeping generalization, and like most, is bullshit. I use CC, but I don't care if you or Ze don't. Totally cool by me.

    As for BB.com mirroring BB.net, that's a different issue than content licensing. I'm betting the name BoingBoing is trademarked and actually calling yourself that would bring up trademark issues, not copyright. There's already a ton of blogs which DO mirror BB's content but they don't get the traffic, probably because their google juice is much less sweet and copycat sites are not authoritative, how do u know it's really an accurate mirror?

    I agree with you on the books thing, I hate reading books on a laptop. BUT I do think being able to read a chapter or two online does fuel sales. I bought Little Brother after reading a bit of it online first.

  • I'm so glad you captured this. Thank you!

  • I'm a fan of Ze's work but I was surprised by his comments. I didn't understand why he thinks that creative commons licensing is related to someone allegedly ripping off the format of his vlog and adding “beer and boobs.” The “format” of a show isn't copyrightable anyway. Also, he's clearly incorrect when he says that the bulk of Boing Boing is commentary on something else, not original material. I still think he's a pretty funny guy though.

  • Thanks Eddie. It's a stormy transition! Can't wait to see the dust settle and see the new and old ways entertainers/informers figure out how to get paid.

  • I'm not sure what CC has to do the problems being addressed here. I'm not certain that they're even internet/digital problems. I think this is about respecting the work, which is much more ethereal. And, if anything, CC helps with that.

  • I agree that Creative Commons licensing is choice each creator must make when publishing online. Ze can choose to publish with a full copyright. Not sure why he's so concerned.

  • I wish you continued success thanks eddie

%d bloggers like this: