Free Culture

New R.E.M. Videos Under Free Software License

R.E.M. Releases New Videos Under Open Source License – ReadWriteWeb

R.E.M. today released 11 videos for the first song from their forthcoming album, all in MP4 format in HD and under an open source license. “Supernatural Serious,” is the first single from the bands next album, “Accelerate,” due to be released April 1st.

They’ve used a software licence, the Perl Artistic License Version 2, rather than a cultural works licence such as CC-BY. Which is a strange choice but it is a Free licence so woohoo!

3 replies on “New R.E.M. Videos Under Free Software License”

Will this start a trend for random free licence choices? How about Madonna going for an Apache Version 1 License, or Elton John on a CC-GNU LGPL? After all, who cares about all the details if they’re free?

Jonathan, you are astute in this.
To a very large extent a licence is simply a statement about the good intentions of the artist and a demonstration of their cultural enlightenment.
The selection of a free/free-ish license is not to be interpreted as “These are the various conditions that will trigger my team of lawyers to sue you for copyright infringement, with minimum settlement fees of $10,000”.
Really, artists simply need to say “I’m not going to initiate any litigation against you, but I have selected a license that can be used in defense of anyone using my work should you resort to illiberal copyright litigation against them”.
A free licence is primarily selected according to how best the artist believes it protects users of their work.
On the other hand many non-free CC licences are selected by self-publishing artists who want their audience to freely promote them and their work, but still enable them to prosecute anyone using it in ways they still don’t yet believe they should be free to (for those self-publishers who believe they will soon be so extremely wealthy they will both be able to afford such litigation and retain the goodwill of their audience).
Eventually, copyright will be abolished entirely as everyone realises how pointless it actually is. Remind me again why an artist should prosecute someone for unauthorised distribution?

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