Saturday, November 9, 2013

Copyrights and Creative Freedom

I'm not an expert on copyrights, but I think I may know enough to write this post. If I'm wrong about something, feel free to point it out.

In this post I want to explain why I chose my copyright terms for Think Before You Think. Specifically, that I allow people to distribute fan works, such as fiction, comics, and animation, for profit, as long as they give credit to what they're borrowing (The full terms are listed here). I think this is a step beyond what most webcomic creators allow. Many these days are choosing a form of the Creative Commons license that retains the right to alter their work or distribute any form of it for profit. I think the Creative Commons license is useful for people whose wants fit it, and a positive step towards creative freedom compared to a copyright that reserves all rights. However, as independent creators of original content, we can set our own copyright terms as specifically as we want to, as long as we don't claim any rights that we don't already have.

So why do I want to allow people to distribute fan works for profit? There are actually quite a few reasons:

1. I want to see fan works of my work. I know not all creators are as comfortable with this as I am, but I crave this kind of thing. I see the profit as an extra incentive. I don't want anyone to be discouraged from writing fan fiction of my work by the fact that they won't be able to profit off of it and they could spend their time and energy writing something profitable instead.

2. I don't think I would lose any potential profit from this arrangement. In fact, if people are able to distribute and promote their fan works freely, while giving credit, I think it would add to the amount of publicity that my comic gets, without me doing any extra work.

3. I want to contribute to creative freedom. I think it's limiting, not to be able to profit off of a work that you put a lot of time and energy into. And I've seen people get so immersed in writing fan fiction that it's all they ever want to do. I also don't want people to have to worry about how much inspiration they're getting from one particular source when they create something. I want to contribute to a creative world that is more fluid, where people can take the ideas they need from other creators and harvest them.

4. I want to set an example for other independent creators of original content. I don't see a lot of people specify terms like this, and I think if more people did, we'd have a creative environment more similar to the one I described above. I don't expect everyone to, because for one thing, I know some people aren't as comfortable with the idea of people taking their characters and doing whatever they want with them. But I think there are also more people like me out there, who love seeing fan fiction of their own work, and maybe this idea just hasn't occurred to them.

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