Creative Commons and Me

Scott has a thoughtful entry up wondering if Creative Commons licenses interfere with performing rights organizations like BMI and ASCAP. Here is my Creative Commons rant as I haven't had one in a while. As I've talked about before here, I just "don't get" the Creative Commons. They seem like good people with a noble purpose. I get asked occasionally why, being allegedly a web nerd and down with the online music, I don't have CC licenses on all my stuff.

I don't really have a good answer other than that licenses, even very gentle ones like the Creative Commons, just don't seem very progressive and/or rock and roll to me. "Here is my free music... AND NOW HERE ARE THE RULES FOR MY FREE MUSIC." What's the point?

It all just seems like artists are worrying about one potential disaster scenario: someone makes money off of their work and they don't get any. But at the end of the day, most of the people using Creative Commons licenses are so far away from this ever happening that it seems ridiculous to me to even be the least bit concerned about it. What if Madonna rips off one of my songs? First of all: what makes you think Madonna wants your songs? And as an unknown artist, what do you really have to lose if that were to happen?

Being worried you're going to lose out on the possible royalty winfall feels like lottery mentality to me. The odds are so so so SO small that you will ever win anything worthwhile or be ripped off by anyone powerful. I likes worryin' just as much as the next guy, but even I can't get worked up about something as improbable as that.

If there's money to be made in churning out crappy tracks in a home studio and putting them online, it seems infinitely more likely to me that the money will come from delivering good music and building a fan base that's willing to support you to make more. That should probably be the thing that artists need to spend a lot of time thinking about, not whether they bought a Super 7 ticket today.

I'm not against the Creative Commons by any means, I just don't understand what I as an artist have to gain by using their licenses. I'd happily put one on my music the moment I could see some sort of practical benefit to it, but right now I just don't see the use.