Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing says that SFWA may have used the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to inappropriately request the removal of numerous works from a site called Scribd. (I’ll link to SFWA’s statement when they post it.)
Instead of bashing SFWA, I want to relate a positive experience I recently had with Creative Commons licensing. According to the CC website,
Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from “All Rights Reserved” to “Some Rights Reserved.”
Last year, I saw that Ben Rosenbaum had applied a CC license to his Strange Horizons story The House Beyond Your Sky. Great idea! I wrote to the SH fiction editors and requested that a similar license be added to my three stories there (Winged, The Dream Factory, and Tales of the Chinese Zodiac). Because I’m not as brave as Ben, I chose a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license, which doesn’t allow remixing.
Okay, here’s the fun part. I hope you’re still with me.
A few weeks ago, I received an email from Z. in Bolivia. Among other things, it said,
I’m writing, more or less, to thank you for making your Tales of The
Chinese Zodiac available under a Creative Commons license at Strange
Horizons [which I heard about at BoingBoing, BTW].
I work for a small organization in Bolivia called Centro Educativo
Ñanta <http://www.centro-nanta.org> that provides various kinds of
help to working children and teenagers, and it occurred to me as I was
reading the Zodiac stories that they’d be ideal material for our
English class – short, simply written, and likely to be interesting to
a broad age range.
Isn’t that just the coolest thing? I couldn’t be more pleased. With no effort on my part, I get to contribute to an organization as awesome as Centro Educativo Ñanta. (Check them out if you get a chance—we need more folks like them in the world!)
If you haven’t already looked into Creative Commons licensing, you may want to peruse their offerings. I’m hardly knowledgeable when it comes to copyright, but CC makes me feel like I have control over my own stories. Their licenses are clearly written and easy to understand. And, hey—anything I can do to encourage the proliferation of speculative fiction throughout the world (and my stories in particular!) is a good thing in my book.