Creative Commons for All!!!
Creative Commons should be the way of the future. Let us make it so! Most of our classics are public domain, and the original authors are more famous and popular for it, which allows their estates and new contributors to still reap profit. Do not be afraid to allow fans to use your work freely from the start. Generosity should be more rewarded than selfishness.
From the unfortunate way that the business world works today, one could argue that everything should be copyrighted, because “if you don’t protect your work, someone else will copyright it, and steal profits from you“. However just because Disney/Warner tries to purchase the rights to everything, does not make it ok. No one should be able to copyright Homer, or the ‘Birthday Song’ for example. Additionally profit can still be gleaned in various ways from the fame and popularity of your work; such as commissions, deals, and hosting events; even if someone else “steals it”, and makes it ‘big’ (super-stars or best-sellers are very very rare).
This goes for writing, photography, and all arts. If you want to share your art with others, make it legal for them to use it respectfully. Your work will always be yours, to the extent that it ever was; signing the art in some way (watermark, initials, or hidden symbol) is enough for you to be able to defend it. If someone uses your art in a hateful way, you can sue for slander. It does not mean people should be able to deny that you had a hand in making something, but that is easily and respectfully done in credits, and can be proven if necessary in a court of law with public documentation of publication and witnesses. All court battles should of course be avoided by sharing work anyway; and be kind, forgiving, and generous to others; especially fans (don’t be a Lars from Metallica).
(Art by Nena Stowell – see it is just that easy!)