CBC

On CBC podcasts and CC-licensed music available for commercial use

Mike Linksvayer, October 10th, 2010

On Friday, Michael Geist broke the story that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had apparently banned use of CC-licensed music in its podcasts. This seemed odd, given that the CBC’s Spark podcast has long used, promoted, and done interesting projects with CC-licensed music.

It is always gratifying to see CC supporters (superheroes even!) quickly respond — see stories on Boing Boing, Slashdot, and Techdirt.

CBC Radio’s program director responded with a comment on several of those stories, excerpted here:

The issue with our use of Creative Commons music is that a lot of our content is readily available on a multitude of platforms, some of which are deemed to be “commercial” in nature (e.g. streaming with pre-roll ads, or pay for download on iTunes) and currently the vast majority of the music available under a Creative Commons license prohibits commercial use.

In order to ensure that we continue to be in line with current Canadian copyright laws, and given the lack of a wide range of music that has a Creative Commons license allowing for commercial use, we made a decision to use music from our production library in our podcasts as this music has the proper usage rights attached.

Everyone can rest easy– there are no “groups” setting out to stop the use of Creative Commons music at the CBC, and we will continue to use Creative Commons licensed music, pictures etc. across a number of our non-commercial platforms.

It is good to know that the CBC will continue to use CC-licensed works in some cases, and their explanation of why not in others. And it is true that only a minority of CC-licensed music is released under a license that permits commercial use — for example, about 26% of the nearly 40,000 CC-licensed albums on Jamendo.

However, as Michael Geist, Cory Doctorow, and many others have subsequently pointed out, CC-licensed music that does permit commercial use ought be allowed. Geist:

A better approach – one that respects the choices of both artist and producer – would be to require that programs only use music with the appropriate rights, which could include some CC licenced music.

Bigger picture: finding, sharing, and supporting music under CC licenses permitting commercial use

Hopefully the CBC will listen to the feedback of Geist, Doctorow (both Canadians, as it happens), and others. However, the incident is a good reminder of the opportunity for music under CC licenses permitting commercial use, sites and curators that facilitate finding and sharing such music — including letting people know about the many that do exist.

(Note that many musicians have chosen to release music with CC licenses containing the NonCommercial term with good reason; this post is meant to point out the opportunity for others, not a critique of those who have chosen to limit commercial use.)

Jamendo may host the largest current collection of CC-licensed music permitting commercial use. See (and contribute to) our wiki article with tips on finding commercially usable CC-licensed music for much more at sites ranging SoundCloud to Wikimedia Commons to Libre.fm.

If you’re an artist with experience sharing music, including for commercial purposes permitted under an appropriate CC license, or the developer of a site or other service for discovering, distributing, supporting such music, or otherwise add to this ecosystem, please let us know — and thank you!

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FMA Guest Curator: Spark

Cameron Parkins, April 21st, 2010

The latest addition to our guest curation series at the Free Music Archive comes from Spark, “a weekly audio blog of smart and unexpected trendwatching” from CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Centre). Dan Misener, one of Spark’s producers, helmed the mix, providing context as to why Spark uses CC-licensed music on its podcast – you can listen to the mix in full at the Free Music Archive:

We knew we wanted Spark to be more than a traditional broadcast radio program. We wanted it to be a collaboration and a conversation — a platform for exploring the intersection of technology and culture. We wanted to embrace the values of online culture to talk about online culture. And as we worked on our first episode, one question we kept asking ourselves was, “What does the Internet sound like?” As it turns out, the Internet sounds an awful lot like the best CC-licensed music: collaborative, remixable, and constantly evolving.

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Kutiman Talks to CBC; Interview Audio on ccMixter

Cameron Parkins, May 6th, 2009

thruyouIf you’re interested in online culture, you’ve probably come across the amazing THRU YOU project from Israeli producer Kutiman (see this WIRED profile for some background). Kutiman mashed together various YouTube clips of people playing instruments (many of them instructional videos) to create something totally new and unique. The result was a collection of seven songs and videos that artfully demonstrate the potential of digital collaboration.

Last month, CBC Radio’s Spark talked to Kutiman about the project and posted the interview audio posted to ccMixter under a Creative Commons BY-NC license for producers to chop up and use in their own tracks. Check it out!

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CBC Radio 3 Chooses CC as a Top Issue

Neeru Paharia, January 27th, 2005

CBC Radio 3 has chosen Creative Commons Canada as 5th of 100 contemporary issues facing Canadians today.

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