When I first started posting my writing online, it was as much to combat my tendency to lose stories as it was to share my work. Despite the fact I’d sat through numerous copyright discussions in museum law class over a year earlier, copyrighting my own work was in a dark corner of my mind. Subconsciously, I knew my work was protected once I put it to paper, but the little copyright symbol that showed up at the bottom of each story’s page made me feel a little bit better.
By the time I started sharing my photographs online, Creative Commons had come into being. The ability to choose to give certain rights to other creative folk without forcing them to hunt me down and ask for my permission? To my Rip-Mix-Burn brain, it sounded like a great idea. Most of my photographs, some of my writing, and most of my videos have existed under some form of Creative Commons for a period. While this hasn’t worked out for some people, in my case it didn’t reduce the requests to use one of my creations. People just didn’t understand Creative Commons because it never got the traction it really needed.
When I decided to place the Dead Bunny videos into the YouTube Partnership program, I had to set them all to All Rights Reserved. It didn’t change anything. Those who want to incorporate my videos into their own projects still contact me when they want to use a video or try to hammer out a partnership. I tend to know where and how my work is being used beyond my own channel, and I feel a little bit safer letting my videos out into the wild.
Even now, when I publish something to deviantArt (or wattpad), I leave the All Rights Reserved copyright in place, because New Glory is my storyworld. I’m fine with people wanting to eventually play in New Glory once it has more substance, but it has to be by my rules. I’ve put in too much time and too many tears to let someone who doesn’t know what New Glory has been through wreck the place. (I’ve also gained a bit of an appreciation for those authors who don’t permit fan fiction and a lot of respect for those who do, even as I understand fan fiction is a useful way to learn creative writing.)
While the idea of having a way to label when a work is put up by the creator for remixing was a good one, in this day and creative climate it just makes more sense to have licensing or partnership deals or to work collaboratively with someone whose work you think would add to your own.