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Will the Industry Approach to “Exclusivity” be Tempered by the “New Reality”?

Mia Garlick, June 30th, 2006

In the UK, the All Party Parliamentary Internet Group (APPIG) has recently released its report on Digital Rights Management. It contained strong and welcome recommendations in relation to DRM, some of which are succintly listed on Boing Boing.

In addition to DRM, the inquiry also considered CC licensing; specifically, one of the issues for comment was:

“Whether new types of content sharing license (such as Creative Commons or Copyleft) need legislation changes to be effective.”

The report explained that it had asked this question because it was “aware that these had taken some effort to craft so as to fit within the
UK’s legal framework and wished to know if any changes would be of assistance.”

About the various submissions received on the issue of CC, the report concludes that “[e]veryone who commented told us that the licenses were solidly based on existing legislation, and that no changes were necessary.” Which is a relief and a testament to the hard work of the legal projects who adapt the licenses for varying jurisdictions around the world, and in particular in the UK England & Wales and Scotland.

Interestingly, the report continued that:

“Several of the rights-holders were rather negative about these licenses, suggesting that the creators and performers did not always understand what they were “giving away forever” and how it could affect an artist’s ability to enter into an exclusive license at a later stage in their career.”

These arguments are ones CC often encounters in discussions with different creator groups. However, it appears that these argument held little sway with the APPIG. It’s response:

“Although artists should naturally consider these matters, we suspect that these licenses are clearer than many media industry contracts. Also, should it become commonplace for bands to use Creative Commons licenses at an early stage of their career, then as they become successful and sign with a record company, the industry approach to ‘exclusivity’ will doubtless be tempered by the new reality.”

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