OpenBusiness report on UK artists and their attitude on the Creative Commons

Release of Report on ‘UK Artists, Copyright and Creative Commons’

Click on the following link to download the report:

The Arts Council England and announce the release of a
report, which represents the results of a six-month study into artists’
attitudes towards copyright, creativity and alternative licensing
practises, in particular Creative Commons (CC). Although the number of
UK artists using open licensing has been growing for the last decade
there had been no investigation into how or why such licences were
being used.

This is a timely report which tells us something about how artists are
increasingly using the law in innovative ways to distribute their work.
It flags up the need for further research into the increasing use of
open content licences not just by individuals but also by organisations
and agencies worldwide and we are delighted to have provided some funds
to allow Open Business to begin this analysis.

The focus of the report is twofold:

• to investigate how artists working in a digital environment view
copyright, which structures many commercial relationships, but often
prohibits sharing, copying and the easy adaptation of existing artistic

• to examine why some artists use Creative Commons licences, which, in
contrast, facilitate sharing, copying and, depending on the terms of
the particular licence used, allow derivative use for commercial or
non-commercial purposes.

The report suggests that one key reason for artists’ using CC is that
they perceive standard copyright as too complex and costly. CC licences
are an effective and practical tool for new media artists, who adapt
existing work. Artists are also using CC to exploit network effects and
to better market their creative work. CC is still used by an
avant-garde of mainly rather young artists; more than 140,000 websites
in the UK make use of such licences.

The survey points towards a possible confusion between evolving working
practices that involve re-use and remix and an individual caution about
their own work. In general it can be summarised that artists are in
need of simpler and more appropriate guidelines, which might be
provided not only by the law, but also through funding and policy
bodies such as Arts Council England.

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