In 2008, Matthew Poole posted a short piece on a talk by Lawrence Lessig on Russell Brown’s Public Address website, and thus spawned what would come to be known as The Great Copyright Thread of Doom. Spanning “89 pages, 2202 comments and [a] dozen or so separate flame wars,” the thread captured the sturm und drang typical of many online copyright debates.
While the thread, in all its novelistic glory, covered a range of issues, one of the more tempestuous topics was that of compensation: To wit, if New Zealand artists use open licences, how are they supposed to make a living?
By way of response, many Creative Commons supporters tend to riff on that famous aphorism of Tim O’Reilly, arguing that obscurity is a far greater threat to New Zealand artists than misuse or piracy. Others outline new ‘business models’ for artists, made possible by dwindling costs of production and distribution.
While it can be fun and enlightening to dive into the murk of online copyright debate, it’s worth pointing out that the idea of New Zealand artists using Creative Commons licences to share their work is not some futuristic, speculative fantasy. In fact, a bunch of New Zealand artists having been doing so for a while now.
As many of you know, Bronwyn Holloway-Smith and Jem Yoshioka both use Creative Commons licences. Other artists that have featured on Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand include Disasteradio and Knives at Noon.
We’ve also got:
- Painter and photographer Andrea Eve Hopkins
- Painter and installation artist Gary Peters
- Dylan Horrocks, author of Hicksville, has licensed his website–which includes many of his latest comics–CC-BY-NC
- Painter Megan Collier
- Photographer and painter Ann CT Braunsteiner
- Playwright Gary Henderson has given several scripts a Creative Commons licence
- The Wellington music label Postmoderncore has a range of Creative Commons licensed albums, available for download
- A variety of musicians appeared on the National Library’s Turnbull Mixtape in May 2012
Of course, this is just a quick sample. What other New Zealand artists are using open licences? Let us know!