Thursday, April 26, 2012

Creative Commons Licenses on Audiotool


I thought I'd take the time to write about what I've basically been able to sort out from the Creative Commons licenses with regard to Audiotool just to clear up any misunderstandings or confusion there may be about them. It's important that each of us on Audiotool takes the time to understand what the licenses mean for our music. The legal code can, at times, sound like a bunch of gibberish, so I thought it would be good to lay this out in a way that hopefully, we can all understand. Here it goes:

What is a Creative Commons License?
A Creative Commons license is a type of copyright license that allows other people to use your creative work in different ways. Depending on how much "permission" you want to give someone to use your work, you can choose from several different types of licenses.

Which License should I publish my tracks under in Audiotool? 
 Audiotool has 3 different licenses that you can publish under. They are:

1. CC BY-SA (Attribution-ShareAlike)
This license gives other people a lot of freedom on how they can use your creative work. This means they can remix it, make copies, adapt, perform it, and even sell your music WITHOUT your permission. Some people choose this license for the purpose of gaining more exposure. However, if you do not want your music to be sold by someone else without your permission, DO NOT publish your music under this license.

2. CC BY-NC-SA (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike)
This license still gives other people some freedom to use your work, but with one restriction. They can remix, make copies, adapt, and perform your music, but they CANNOT sell or make money off your music unless you give them permission. If you want to have control over whether your music gets sold or not, then use this license. Just be aware that this license does allow people to use your music, adapt, and distribute it freely as long as they don't sell it without your permission.

This license gives you the most control over your creative work. No one can make copies, perform your music, adapt, or sell your music without your permission whether they do it for free or not. If you want to have complete control over your creative work, this license would be the one to publish under. However, if you choose this license on Audiotool, other people will not be able to remix your tracks.

*NOTE: All of these licenses require anyone who decides to use your work to properly credit you, the creator. That's what the "BY" part of the license means, which stands for "Attribution." If anyone tries to say they are the creator of your work, they are breaking the rules of these licenses and are using your work ILLEGALLY.

Another point to note is that if anyone uses your work in a way that is derogatory or damaging to your reputation, they are also breaking the rules of these licenses.

Also, if you plan on publishing a remix or using anyone else's work, it's important to know that "SA", which stands for "ShareAlike", means that they are to be published under the same license. In Audiotool, that means certain samples and loops that have been uploaded under a certain license by another user will restrict you from publishing your track using a different license.

What else should I know about these licenses?
You can change the status of your license anytime. However, if someone is already selling your work in their collection or on their web site and if they have followed all the rules of the license you had it under previously, then technically, they have the legal right to continue to sell the work because you originally published it under that particular license. In other words, you cannot revoke or take back the license terms for works already in circulation. You can only change the current status of your license which prevents future works from being used in a manner that you don't want them to. Still confused? Here's an example:

Let's pretend I published a track titled "Happy Song" under the CC BY-SA license. Let's say a user on Audiotool  named Mr. Moneymaker decides he wants to sell "Happy Song" on Amazon and puts it up to make a profit. Let's say I get unhappy about this and change the license of "Happy Song" to ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Technically, Mr. Moneymaker can still sell "Happy Song" on Amazon because he started selling it BEFORE I changed the license. However, let's say another user named Miss GetRichFast decides to also try to sell "Happy Song" on Amazon, but AFTER I changed the license to ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. In this case, Miss GetRichFast would be breaching the terms of the license (breaking the rules) because she tried to sell "Happy Song" AFTER I changed it, and she could get into trouble for doing so. Mr. Moneymaker, however, is legally safe... even if he is a scheming money-making jerk-face. ;)

That's why it's important to be completely aware of what license you publish under so that you know what you may be getting yourself into, how much control, and what rights you have over your own music.

(See under "For Licensors", 3rd bullet point.)

So that's the gist of it. The licenses are designed to give permission to others to use your works in various ways. Be sure to choose the one that best fits what you want with regard to your own music.

Please understand this information is not intended to discourage anyone from publishing their creative works under certain licenses. Nor is this, in any way, legal advice. I'm definitely not a lawyer. lol. The purpose of this is to inform people in a way they can understand so that they know what their options are and how they may be legally bound when they choose a particular license. Hopefully, this somewhat lengthy narrative makes things a little more clear and helps you make the choice that is most appropriate for your own music.

Also, if you notice anything that I've overlooked or that is incorrect in what is written above, please do let me know. Thank you kindly!


Happy music-making! :)



  1. thanks for that oedi! :)

  2. You're welcome mystery person! :)

  3. Oh this might have been useful to see before! Someone's putting my stuff up on, so I probably should start publishing as All Rights Reserved instead.

    Thanks for clearing all that legal crap up! :D