Please see my lawyer

So, the project will mean writing, recording and publishing songs...

The question remains, how do I distribute the material without some shifty bastard coming along and ripping me off?

I must, at some point, have a rant about the state of the modern music recording and distribution business, but in the meantime I have to tackle the question for myself rather than following the time-honoured tradition of looking for Mr Ten Percent (Ha! Since when was it 10%?).

Anyway, to this end I've been investigating the Creative Commons Licence.

(Brief delay whilst I dismantle the wine box in an attempt to squeeze out one more glass)

I see the issues as follows:

  • I'd very much like to to be financially recompensed for making music (naive or wot!)
  • If the music I write is any good, then people will copy and distribute it without paying a penny
  • Distribution is good and increases the likelihood of being financially recompensed
  • But only if I can work out a way of converting free distribution into a reduced credit card bill

Traditionally in the music industry there are two different copyrights, the copyright of the author of the piece indicated by a C in a circle and the copyright held on the particular published recording indicated by a P in a circle. Is that distinction recognised in the CC License?

For example: one way of tackling the issue of distribution across the Internet would be to have freely available downloads covered by a Creative Commons License eg: medium resolution mp3 files and then sell CDs. But would the Creative Commons License effectively give permission to copy and distribute the CD versions too on the basis of the C rather than the P - if you get my drift (and does that matter - I've seen research which suggests that peer to peer filesharing increases CD sales)?

I'd also be quite happy for commercial organisations to use my material, but if they're making money then I want my cut. Mate.

In which case, which Creative Commons License do I choose - the non-commercial version or the commercial version?

FWIW, I think this is the model I'll be going for:

"You are free:
to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work;
to make derivative works

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution. You must give the original author credit.
  • Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
  • Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
  • For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work.

Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.

Your fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above."

As I understand it, "You may not use this work for commercial purposes" means 'unless you ask me first'.

Link: Creative Commons