Hollywood Lawyers Illiterate?

May 22, 2005

Ah. Suddenly it all becomes clear — apparently entertainment industry lawyers just can’t read.

Reuters has picked up a Billboard article with a quote from a “founding member of the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers” which essentially paints Creative Commons as a “serious threat to the entertainment industry.” It then goes off on some extremely bizarre tangents which manage to completly miss the point of Creative Commons.

Fortunately, Lawrence Lessig has gently and calmly delivered them a detailed fisking in the way only he can.

The hyperbole from Mr. Sukin — a lawyer — was funny. But what struck me in the article was the assertion by Butler that “Creative Commons urges creators to give up their copyright protection” in exchange for $1. I couldn’t begin to understand what she was talking about. Obviously, our licenses enable artists to choose to waive certain rights — while retaining others. (Remember: “Some Rights Reserved”). But they are licenses of a copyright; they couldn’t function if you had “give[n] up” copyright protection. The vast majority of creators adopting Creative Commons licenses keep commercial rights, while giving away noncommercial rights (2/3ds). It’s hard to see how waiving noncommercial rights would do anything to “U.S. copyright income.”

As usual, Lessig’s entire post is a great read – be sure to check it out.

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