Friday, November 21, 2008

Creative Commons

So, today I was going to do a quick "creative prompt" style post, on account of having a lot of work work to do, not to mention NaNoWriMo. So, I was going to post some artwork for you all to look at and say "tell me who this person is!" I had spent a little while last night looking at my favorite online artists when I realized that there was a small problem.

None of my favorite artists - but none - have put a Creative Commons badge on their web page.

This is silly. I want to give them free advertising! I want to post their beautiful pictures on my blog, encourage people to talk about them, and include an attribution and a link. It's also incredibly frustrating, because that would have been a lot of fun, and I think I have just enough readers to carry it off.

However, let it never be said that I am the kind of person to be frustrated with a problem and do nothing about it. Here is my pitch for Creative Commons:

Old fashioned copyright doesn't quite know what to do with the modern world. Traditional copyright law clashes with the realities of the internet age in two ways: you own intellectual property only as long as you pursue it (that is, chase after people who try to steal it with a legal hatchet), and ownership is binary (either you reserve all rights - and people posting your images to their blogs need to be sued - or you reserve none, and what you created basically doesn't belong to you anymore). You can't take advantage of the internet, where information is everywhere, just begging to be posted and reposted and linked to, if you aren't willing to let your stuff be copied, but if you're willing to let your stuff be copied, it won't be your stuff for long. What's a creative person of the internet age to do?

Then, along comes Creative Commons to save the day. Their licenses - human readable, by the way, which means they are written in language that everyday people can understand rather than extensive and complicated legalese - cover all the needs of the internet age. They have licenses like mine that demand attribution and forbid derivative works, and they have licenses that allow derivative works and are 'viral,' meaning that all derivative works must have the same license, and everything in between.

Best of all, it's free! Actually, that's second best. Bester of all, it holds up in court.

So, if you are a creator with a blog, you should go to their website. They even have a nifty quiz to help you figure out which license is right for you. And maybe if that spreads to those fantasy artists, we can have that creative prompt post one of these days.

Actually, while I'm at it, here are a few of my favorite online creative artists:

Fredrik Andersson is a Dutch (I think) fantasy artist. I don't believe he's been published yet, but that doesn't stop him from being awesome. His work is very clean and simple line drawings that reveal a sense of humor and drama that I admire and envy. Just one thing, be warned of teh sexeh. Some of his characters don't exactly wear enough clothing. It's all gentle and fun... but some of it is naked.

One of my favorites from the world of rpg art is Melissa Uran (that site actually doesn't work - to check out her work, go to her DeviantART page), whose stuff is common in Exalted. Her style is very rich, clearly anime-inspired. She's the artist who frequently works for Exalted who I really, really want to illustrate my contributions.

Finally, I'm contractually obligated to plug Nicole Chartrand, who the Abigail hired to do a drawing of her Exalted character Leonore, and her then-boyfriend (now husband) Last Autumn Firefly. I suppose you could see her as a happy medium between Melissa Uran and Fredrik Andersson - clean lines, rich colors, and ornate situations.

Finally, Storn A. Cook brings the comic book style. He's a frequent poster to and one of the Sons of Kryos. I actually ran into him at GenCon twice (though I don't think he remembered me from one encounter to the other), and he's a nice guy. His art is clearly comic inspired, but he has a good sense of drama, energy, and motion, able to create a great sense of movement with still shots. I also think his character design is among the best.

These are not my only favorites by any stretch of the imagination, but my list of art bookmarks is longer than my screen, so I'll share the rest of them over time. And maybe, if any of them get around to posting a Creative Commons license on their web page, I'll get to share their art, too.

Instead of a wonderful creative prompt, I will share with you my new favorite video on YouTube. The fact that this is my new favorite tells you something about me - probably nothing good.

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