Creative Commons

May 7, 2006

Talking about win-win situation, it is welcoming to see a major record label taking the first step towards Creative Commons (CC). Pearl Jam is offering the full length of their new music video “life wasted” for free download at Google Video until 1st June 2006. After that, the video goes on sale. The group is under J Records, owned by media giant Sony BMG. This is supposedly the first time a video produced by a major label to be CC-licensed where the public can legally copy, distribute, and share the clip. This MTV is released under CC’s Attribution-Non-Commercial-NoDerivs license, meaning:

1) You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor.

2) You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

3) You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

A check at Google Video found many other MTV released by Sony BMG, but with only excerpts available, usually around 29 seconds. Sony seems to be using this video-sharing site as a marketing tool, to release many of its “teaser versions” of full-length MTVs. At the end of the short clips, it informs the viewer to “Buy this video to view the full 4min 57sec”. And the right panel on screen displays an option to “Buy High Quality” at $1.99.

The bold step to release Pearl Jam’s full length MTV under CC will be an important test for Sony. It will also have implications for the record industry, general public and the CC movement. It is encouraging that Sony is taking a long term, pragmatic view of the music industry and taking into account the implications of new media technologies. If this move proves to be a win-win situation for both consumers and the recording labels, hopefully it will set the trend for the music industry to be more open and collaborative in future.

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