Free Culture

Require Attribution, Allow Commercial, Share

I will be licensing most of my art back catalogue and new work under a Creative Commons license. For obvious reasons I will not license work that is derived from found images. I will also not license work that is not easily edited or sampled, or commissioned work if requested not to. I will provide graphic units, palettes and preparatory work as well as finished work where possible (I’ve been watching a lot of Disney DVDs recently as well as always having enjoyed sketchbooks).

I’m doing this to solve problems of production and distribution that I have always faced with my work, and because I believe that it is culturally worthwhile, indeed that it is the only way for art of any cultural value to go.

The License I’m considering is “Require Attribution, Allow Commercial, Share And Share Alike”. Coincidentally I believe this to be the closest to the GPL.

“Require Attribution” because this adds value for me in terms of publicity, contact and feedback.

“Allow Commercial” because this allows other people to get direct value from the work as well. By not precluding any use of the work, commercial or otherwise, this may encourage use of the work, encourage distribution (adding value by Require Attribution), and encourage derived work (ensuring that the value grows).

“Share And Share Alike” because this is what I would like from other people’s work. I’d love to be able to download, photograph, sketch or copy people’s work, take the idea and run with it (“plussing” to use a Disney term) without the yawn-inducing politics of appropriation. As more and more people start plussing thanks to open art, more and more work will be created that builds on the work of others, growing value rather than extracting it by stunting or duplicating forgotten art from a generation ago.

Free Culture

Opening Art

Digging through my archives I found an unfinished license drafted for an abandoned project from 2001 which I present here for your amusement. It’s inspired by the BSD and OGL licenses. IANAL so don’t try to actually use it – you wouldn’t try to use heart transplant instructions written by an artist would you? 🙂

The Open Artwork License V1.0 (Draft)


The following text is Copyright © 2001 Open Arts.

Copyright © by

The moral right of the author(s) has been asserted.

The author(s) represent that the Artwork is their original creation and/or that they have sufficient rights to grant the rights conveyed by this license.

You are hereby granted a free, perpetual, non-exclusive, worldwide license to display, reproduce, distribute, incorporate into larger works, create derivative works from, and/or sell copies of the Artwork, and to permit persons to whom the Artwork is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright and moral rights notices and this permission notice shall be displayed and distributed with all copies or substantial portions of the Artwork.
The Artwork, or elements of the Artwork, covered by the license shall be clearly identified.

If any provision of this license is held to be unenforcable, such provision shall be reformed only to the extent necessary to make it enforcable.

Open Artworks may publish updated versions of this license. You may use any version of this license with any Artwork originally distributed under any version of this license.

You may not market or advertise the artwork using the name of any copyright holder unless you have written permission from the copyright holder to do so.


Free Culture

Successful Open Source Art

Successful open source software projects tackle well-defined tasks
with a sense of shared purpose, good acceptance criteria and good
public rewards. Open source art projects need to be the same. Just
setting up a CVS server or studio and letting people walk in won’t get
anywhere (although such resources will be needed). A show theme, a
mural/installation/public art call or other focus is what is
required. And a good firewall to prevent trolls sabotaging the work.

A good example of a small but practical open source design
project is the SVG Flag repository.

SVG Flag Repository article

The flags are actually in the public domain. An equivalent artistic
project might be a library of motifs or graphical elements. Perhaps
colour schemes, compositions or compositional elements, images to be
modified or sampled. Set a theme each month and let people vote for
the best.

Themes for the Linux desktop projects are open source, and are the
contemporary equivalent of religious art or of still lifes. Religious
art because they are icons of faith (work). Still lifes
because they are objects of regard and show absent wealth
(information). This, rather than the backward “art museums need
something to fill them” of gallery art is the art of the future, but
its Sistine Chapel Ceiling is some way off yet.