21st Century Economy: DIY Licensing

Internet activist Cory Doctorow has published an idea on how Creative Commons licenses could be amended to account for actual license fees the moment the original work is used commercially. A simple addition to the CC license text could ask a certain percentage out of the revenue generated by a product based on the original creative work that was released under this license. This approach would leave the benefits of CC licenses – free distribution, unlimited noncommercial use – untouched, and could therefore leverage the potential of a product that people can try out and use (noncommercially) freely without any limitations. Just when they start to generate money for themselves do they have to actually pay for the material they use.

The downside of this idea is of course that it depends on people’s willingness to obey the license, as they don’t gain anything from paying for the product and/or material at the time they’re required to pay. Enforcement of the license is expensive, and depends on whether or not the user can be dragged into a court at all. On the other hand, it certainly would not hurt to add license fees for commercial use to the license text itself, therefore making the terms clear on which people can work with the material.
Full Article at Internetevolution.com


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