Well said, and I'm glad you also mention your full support for Creative Commons - I should (eventually, when we're happy with it) be one of the authors of some software published under CC-NC (Non-Commercial) terms - still not sure how we monitor or enforce those terms as a small org though!
I'm interested in your thoughts on alternative funding for creative works, such as: patronage (eg: Larry Wall and O'Reilly); crowdfunding (eg: Fabian Sanglard's Black Book series - he also operates the more traditional publisher model of selling hard copies first, then releasing a free PDF version on line later); artificial scarcity (eg: limited edition prints).
Personally I'm hoping that we gain a more enlightened view of economics that doesn't force almost everyone into wage slavery, and gives people more freedom to actually share their thoughts through published works (steps off soapbox).
Ahhhhhhhh, it feels good to read a rational response after the last round. Thanks for your thoughtful reply.
I think alternative funding is a very interesting concept, although the success of each depends entirely on the nature of the work and the audience.
I happen to know someone who is only (barely) able to survive on patronage alone, due to a debilitating medical condition that has now even taken away his ability to draw his daily comic (his former full-time job). It takes a lot of work to get such a thing started, but he'd been established long before he contracted the condition.
Crowdfunding can be an awesome way to offset the initial publication costs, with relatively little risk. However, it's still a once-off; it won't work for a second (or primary) income.
Artificial scarcity is interesting, although one has to figure out how to create something that is actually worthwhile. Signed copies and special editions can be awesome.
On a similar note, I'm pondering the idea of having some "print-only" content, like additional chapters or illustrations. Not only would that incentivize sales of physical copies, but it would also be content that would be difficult to pirate...sort of a positive response to the problem.
Of course, all of these are generally only supplemental to royalties and licensing. Even some bestselling authors I know barely scrape by. If the books aren't selling, it's hard (or even impossible) to make it. Many of my friends have sadly had to give up writing in pursuit of other careers, simply because they couldn't afford to live. So, in the end, every little bit helps!
The publishing landscape has changed so much in the past decade. More than ever, people are empowered to create and sell original works—books, music, films, games—without having to assign away their rights to traditional publishing schemes. I think that's why copyright is so important: it's the bulwork that supports creative expression. Creative Commons, Open Source, and even Free Software, completely fail to work without that international protection. It can always stand to be improved, but that's what excellent foundations like EFF fight for.
A little note on your software, I'd strongly recommend against using Creative Commons for software itself. It is not well suited to software, even according to Creative Commons. Instead, look through the licenses at opensource.org. The GNU Public License (GPL) may better suit your needs. The beauty of that is, if the license is violated, you don't have to defend it yourself...the Open Source Initiative and Free Software Foundation care very much about legal decisions regarding their licenses, so you wouldn't be in the fight alone!
Point noted on use of CC for software, we (AMateur SATellite organisation, aka AMSAT) were looking for a single licence that didn't preclude commercial terms while supporting fellow radio amateurs and allowing us to ship into Free software distro (hello Debian!) - maybe something from the Apache or MIT camp would work, failing that the dual licence route is possible (seeing this more often).
Yeah, dual-licensed GPL is pretty solid. I'd go that route, unless another Open Source license presents itself. (Just make sure it's listed on opensource.org! Some licenses claim to be FOSS, but legally aren't Open Source, and therefore lack the protection of the OSI and the right to use the trademarked term Open Source.)
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