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Creative Commons: An introduction for filmmakers

“Obscurity is a far greater threat to artists and authors than piracy” Tim O'Reilly

Copyright law was originally created to settle a dispute between English and Scottish publishers in the early 18th Century and has grown today into a fundamental aspect of the creative 'business'. Some would argue that the development of copyright law has been driven by the needs of distributors to protect investments in their 'products' as opposed to the needs of creative people to create, develop and distribute their work. Online where millions of people create text, photos, music and film without an investor, the priority is often to get as wide an audience as possible as opposed to making money. Not that making a profit would be a bad thing, which is where Creative Commons comes in - a set of off-the-shelf licenses for anyone involved in creating things which you want to distribute widely but don't want to be unprotected legally. In just six years since their launch by Lawrence Lessig, Creative Commons licenses have been applied to over 170 million creative works, and were recently the subject of a major report from the Arts Council of England, investigating (and supporting) their use. You decide how open you want the license on your work to be: no limits over copying, selling or re-editing the work, through to a more restrictive license for non-profit reuse.

"In theory copyright represents the ability to make a living off my work. In practice it represents the threat of myself or my children not being able to express themselves without fear of the rich and powerful invoking their copyrights to silence us."  Contributor, to Arts Council report


TV's Tipping Point: Why The Digital Revolution Is Only Just Beginning

Ashley Highfield looking into the digital futureWith more people in Britain now watching TV on digital sets rather than analogue, this seems a fitting time to revisit what the BBC's digital chief had to say about the future for the industry that he foresaw. This is the text of the speech by Ashley Highfield, Director of BBC New Media & Technology, at the Royal Television Society on Oct 6 2003


Changes: Screen Trends Stateside

Film reels fighting a falling audience2005 was a turning point in the entertainment industries, the year that Hollywood's tried and tested methods of reaching the masses finally had tio give way - to iPods, TiVos and Xbox 360s. What lessons will 2006 bring? The lesson of changing markets, that's for sure. The best admission of that came from NBC Universal TV chairman Jeff Zucker; "The overall strategy is to make all our content available everywhere."