News

Music Sharing, SXSW

Neeru Paharia, March 17th, 2004

From the South by Southwest Music Festival, Creative Commons brings you the new Music Sharing License and Get Content search engine. This copyright license lets your fans know they can download, copy, and share your music online, but not sell, remix, or make any other commercial use out of it. (The license is based on the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license but now includes new music-specific language.)

Musicians already distributing their MP3s online should opt for the Music Sharing License to invite listeners to legally download the songs they love — and to get noticed with our new Get Content search engine, which points people to music free to share.

Internet music lovers should look for the Share Music logo, or the standard Some Rights Reserved logo to find music they can legally downloads.

We announced the Music Sharing License at a panel this week entitled Legal Music Promotion: File-Sharing, Sampling or Both?. We also previewed Mixter (more details soon), an application that will expose connections between different remixes of songs. The panelists described how Creative Commons licenses facilitate music distribution, discovery, and community on the Internet, in reference to their own projects. Panelist Sal Randolph from the Net label Opsound, discussed how an open-source philosophy guides Opsound to make sounds available to be remixed and curated by members of the community. Matthew King Kaufman of MP34U discussed the enourmous amount of free music on the Internet, and how groups like his are working to promote music discovery by curating personal playlists. Jake Shapiro of Public Radio Exchange, discussed how opening up content has allowed an important peer review process to enhance the value of the content. Great thanks to Chris Kelty, Professor of Anthropology at Rice University, who facilitated the whole panel. I wanted to throw out a bunch of questions to the panelists and audience, but unfortunately there wasn’t enough time. Here are just a few:

*Why use the Music Sharing License rather than put your MP3 on the Internet with no official notice — why formalize it?

*Are people really afraid of downloading — even if it’s legal — in the face of possible lawsuits? Do we really need a license to clarify this?

*Could a CD that includeds noncommercial remix rights be more valuable than a CD without these rights? For example, if you sold a Madonna CD that included the right to make a noncommercial remix, could you charge more? Would this create more buzz about Madonna? If someone does end up making a great remix that could be commercialized, couldn’t this be a great new revenue stream for Madonna?

Music authoring software applications are easier to use than ever before — will this create demand for more Creative Commons licensed sounds to play with?

If you consider new sound software, legal tools like Creative Commons, and open online communities like Opsound, you’ll see a whole infrastrcuture that allows people to create their own sounds and build off others’. What’s the demand for this infrastructure? Do people really want to create and remix?

Bloggers have proven themselves to be an invaluable source of ideas and information — will self-published music authors and remixers be next? Will consuming music become more interactive — more like a video game, where the fan can participate in the process by making remixes?

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