Creative Commons-ense? An analysis of tensions between copyright law and Creative Commons

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Legal context: The Creative Commons (CC) movement operates as an important counterpoint to the expansionist copyright regime in the digital environment relating to recorded music by seeking to create a free and simple licensing mechanism that operates to construct a pool of content that creators can use without charge. It creates an alternative model for creators to use in order to authorise the use/reuse of their work that circumvents the traditional market for copyright content as well as fostering its own CC-orientated intermediary outlets. CC depends on copyright’s underlying proprietary system. However, CC arguably constrains creators in terms of the content they can use to produce new works and does nothing to necessarily overcome the complexities posed by copyright infringement should a licence be breached. Nonetheless, there are a number of intermediaries that provide CC-licenced content which suggests that the movement has traction. Following an analysis of the CC-orientated intermediaries in comparison with those engendered by copyright, it may be argued that the CC licensing system makes it difficult to transition from an amateur to a professional context. Nonetheless, its symbolic value remains important. This piece will address the intermediary market structure for CC works as well as the potential difficulties commercial exploitation in order to evaluate whether or not it can be seen as a beneficial system for content creation and dissemination. As is CC inherently limited by the intermediary structure built upon ‘free’ use, this may hinder a transition to revenue-generating creative activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-383
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice
Issue number5
Early online date31 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2017

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