ASCAP's Dust-Up With Creative Commons Borders On the Ridiculous
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has, for a long time now, failed to realize that music and other artistic works need new business models surrounding them, not lobbyists and lawsuits. That's why it's a shame to be seeing them targeting Creative Commons, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, and other organizations that ASCAP sees as defenders of the "copyleft" movement. The language found in a new letter supporting ASCAP's Legislative Fund for the Arts (ALFA) tells the whole story.
The letter to ASCAP members says:
"Opponents are influencing Congress against the interests of music creators."
It goes on to urge opposition to attempts to supposedly undermine copyrights. Lawrence Lessig, the man behind Creative Commons, has an essay about the effort posted here.
As Lessig notes:
"Creative Commons is a nonprofit that provides copyright licenses pro bono to artists and creators so that they can offer their creative work with the freedom they intend it to carry. (Think not "All Rights Reserved" but "Some Rights Reserved.")"
What right does ASCAP have to police forward-looking licensing models for art, music and creative content? The worst part is that ASCAP has a history of targeting Creative Commons in particular, with its eyes squarely fixed on future revenue streams protected by copyrights that it controls. It's worth reading Lessig's essay for a complete picture of how lost ASCAP is in the new digital age, where openness will prevail.