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September 27, 2011

Why Creative Commons?

Why does Fwonk* use a Creative Commons license? Hell, what even is a Creative Commons license?

Simply put, Creative Commons is a licensing format that – instead of the traditional copyrighting laws – is built for the modern, web based world. All Fwonk* releases are released under what is called the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License. This means that the public (i.e. anyone) is free to share, re-use and – crucially – remix the work as they see fit, provided three conditions are met.

Firstly, the original artist of the work must be given credit for writing it. Secondly, the music must not be used for commercial purposes – this ensures that CC licensed music isn’t nicked by TV/film/music executives to be the cheap-skate soundtrack to the new series of CSI: Taunton, Z-Factor, or whatever tat they are peddling. Thirdly, all resultant products – remixes, DJ mixes, short films – created using these works must also be shared for free via the internet (and preferably licensed with a Creative Commons license). Other types of license are available via Creative Commons, but we feel that this best serves the interest of Fwonk* artists and listeners.

Unlike the recent changed to Copyright law across the EU, which permits Cliff Richard to sit on his bony arse, watching the tennis and continue to make money on 69 year old records, and sue mere mortals for copyright transgressions, the use of a Creative Commons license is a spur to creativity. Do you want to take apart my carefully constructed glitchcore masterpiece and make a blasting gabba version of it? Do you want to use that melancholy piano concerto in your new short film? Feel free, as long as you give credit, make no money from it, and share it on the web.

It is this difference that has allowed musicians – many of them amateurs, or based in their bedrooms – to make music that can be heard around the world, remixed, remastered and brought to audiences in new ways. A whole network of Creative Commons sites have sprung up (see the Netaudio Index for one), including each and every Netlabel, fostering unprecedented amounts of creativity. And Fwonk* is proud to be part of that.

For more netlabel music, see our Netlabel Index.