Dan Bull Reaches Charts Using CC0

, April 30th, 2012

Dan Bull has reached number 9 in the Indie charts with music to which he has waived copyright using CC0.

Dan Bull.  Photo by Tim Dobson

Dan Bull. Photo by Tim Dobson

Dan Bull (@itsdanbull), the British Geek rapper who found fame by using YouTube for distributing his rap videos such as SOPA Cabana, has achieved chart success by commercially releasing his new track ‘Sharing is Caring,’ whilst also making it available for free legal downloads. You can either buy it from ITunes, Amazon et al or legallydownload a copy for free.

Other British musicians such as Curt Smith, solo artist and founder member of Tears for Fears have used Creative Commons licensing for their music. Musicians often choose to use a non-commercial licence for easy legal sharing online but prohibit commercial use. All CC licences require attribution to be provided. Curt Smith used a CC Attribution Non-Commercial Sharealike licence.

Interestingly Dan Bull chose to use CC0 which waives his copyright to ‘Sharing is Caring’ therefore requiring no attribution, and imposes no restrictions on how that copyrighted work may be reused.

What is CC0?

CC0 gives, those who want to give up automatic copyright protection, a way to do so, to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Once the creator or a subsequent owner of a work applies CC0 to a work, the work is no longer his or hers in any meaningful sense under copyright law. Anyone can then use the work in any way and for any purpose, including commercial purposes, subject to other laws and the rights others may have in the work or how the work is used. Think of CC0 as the “no rights reserved” option.

We were interested to hear from Dan why he chose to release Sharing is Caring with CC0 rather than using a CC licence.

Dan told us:

I chose to use CC0 because I don’t believe in the validity of intellectual property. A piece of music is an idea. In its digital form it’s a sequence of ones and zeroes. Who am I to say that another person should be forbidden from having an idea, or computing a certain sequence of ones and zeroes merely because I did it before them? That kind of thinking seems perverse to me. The first person to have an idea is not necessarily the best person to utilise it, and yet copyright laws are enforced with this fallacious reasoning as their premise.

We also asked about Dan’s views on the choice that musicians face in the UK if they wished to use CC licences and sign up with a Collecting Society. Musicians are required to assign their copyright to the Collecting Society therefore losing the freedom to use the CC licence as a means to share their work online, and CC licences being a copyright licences, means only the copyright owner can licence the work.

It’s up to the individual musician what they want to do and it depends on their principles. In the past I have gone the way of having no licensing on my music at all, or where licensing is necessary, I make it known that I have no problem personally with people copying or remixing the music. If you want to encourage fans to engage with your music, re-interpret it and redistribute it on your behalf, then Creative Commons is a good direction to look in. If you’re more concerned with absolute control over your IP then a Collecting Society may suit you better.

By signing up to a collecting society, the collecting society may exercise absolute control of the IP on behalf of the musician but the musician may no longer own that IP. Musicians have to weigh this up in deciding how to exercise their copyright. The Guardian reported yesterday how some young musicians are looking at new ways of getting their careers off the ground by crowd funding their albums.

We finally asked Dan about whether he felt there was any cause for optimism from the UK Hargreaves IP review and related consultation.

I fully welcome the proposed parody exceptions. For my musical style, a parody exception is absolutely necessary, and would allow me to do so much more. Lately I’ve actually been afraid of writing and publishing parodies and cover versions for fear that the hammer of the law will smash down on me for daring to commit such a sin. How is this helping creativity at all?

Dan told us last night that: “the song got to #9 in the UK Independent chart, and #35 in the UK R&B chart“. Many congratulations to Dan!

Sharing is Caring

Want the single?, download links available here



One Response to “Dan Bull Reaches Charts Using CC0”

  1. Pam Fisher says:

    Learn more about the CC0 license here: http://creativecommons.org/about/cc0

Leave a Reply

9 + six =