Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Nine Inch Nails and Creative Commons: Share, Remix, Reuse — Legally

Nine Inch Nails, a popular alternative/industrial band, earlier this month released a 36 track instrumental collection titled Ghosts I–IV. If you are not familiar with Nine Inch Nails, the band was started in 1988 by Trent Reznor who, as the only official member, is the producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist.

For Ghost I-IV, Reznor has chosen a unique distribution method. Fans can get the first volume free by downloading off the web, they can pay $5 and download all 4 volumes from Amazon, they can purchase a double CD for $10, a deluxe edition set for $75 or buy a $300 (sold out) ultra-delux limited (2500 copies) edition set. Fans will also be able to purchase a $39 vinyl edition starting the first week of April.

What I find most exciting is the fact the album is licensed under
Creative Commons . If you are not familiar with Creative Commons licensing, here's a piece from the organization 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."

And here's more on the process from the site:

Creators choose a set of conditions they wish to apply to their work:

Attribution. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give credit the way you request.

Noncommercial. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work — and derivative works based upon it — but for noncommercial purposes only.

No Derivative Works. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.

Share Alike. You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

Reznor has decided to both give the music away and charge for it. In addition, by using Creative Commons licensing, he is giving others rights that they would not have had he used traditional music publishing licensing. Other bands, publishing companies, record companies, businesses, etc will be watching this closely.

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