One day, perhaps soon, this post will be considered quaint. I’m writing it for those who don’t know what the Creative Commons license on the About page means. I’m writing it for those who don’t yet understand why I’m putting my creative genius (silence, there, in the peanut gallery!) on the Web for all to see, making no money and apparently inviting others to simply take what’s here.
There’s lots more explanation to be had than I’m going to offer. Just toddle over to the Creative Commons Web site and you can learn all you ever hoped to and then some. My focus here is on what it means to thee and me.
I have, for a couple of years, liked the idea of putting my work on the Internet for others to see. I’ve been held back by the fact that I could see no way to make money doing so and the fear of being plagiarized. The first part of that has become less important than it previously was, although I have some ideas that you may see as we go along together. The second part required a paradigm shift on my part.
As a dedicated Web surfer, I eventually ran across Boing Boing and enjoy it daily. Author Cory Doctorow is one of the panjandra there. I’d heard of him before: he was the guy who was putting his stuff online for people to read, free of charge. Letting others copy it with no reward to himself. Letting others rework it into other forms. I couldn’t understand at first, but I researched what he was doing and was led to learn about Creative Commons. After a lengthy cogitation, I decided to follow suit.
You can read an article by Doctorow at the Creative Commons site; I’m going to quote just a few lines:
CC licenses turn my books into dandelion seeds, able to blow in the wind and find every crack in every sidewalk, sprouting up in unexpected places. Each seed is a possibility, an opportunity for someone out there to buy a physical copy of the book, to commission work from me, to bring me in for a speech. … Writers all over the world are adopting CC licenses, creating an artistic movement that treats copying as a feature, not a bug.
He has quoted publisher Tim O’Reilly: “For a typical author, obscurity is a far greater threat than piracy.”
That’s what did it for me. What good it is to hide behind my copyright and my fear of being ripped off if no one ever sees my work?
So here we are: Catsignal.
What does this mean to you, the reader? It’s pretty simple, really. Everything I write – the haiku, the fiction, the posts (and my logo) – is mine under United States copyright law. I own it. But I’m sharing my words with you here under a Creative Commons license that lets you read my stuff and copy it and share it with others, free of charge. You’ve got a little space to fill in the monthly newsletter? One of my haiku may do the trick. You want to put together a collection of your favorite short stories and wish to include some of mine? Thank you; you’re very kind. Go right ahead.
There are only three easy-to-follow conditions:
1) Keep my name on my writing.
2) Don’t alter my words or do a new story based on my characters.
3) Don’t make money off my writing.
With that in mind then, as Douglas Adams wrote, “Share and enjoy.”