Before actually putting up a story itself, I wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting into with the terms and conditions. More than anything else, I want to share what I’ve done with the world, and I want the world to be able to keep on sharing. I’ve learnt a lot from stories, whether written or watched or experienced through games, and I’ve built on it in myself. If something I write means something to someone, in some way, then I want that person to be able to build on that and pass it on. If you care about what I write enough to want to work with it yourself, that’s the best compliment I could ever receive. I don’t want to lock down what I’ve written. I want those who like it to be free to read it, as and when they please, and to pass it on to their friends, and mess around in my worlds without fear of retribution.
Reasonably enough, then, the ever-increasing fuss about copyright-this and copyright-that has me rather concerned. I want to make sure nobody, not even me, can wield the banhammer over my own work, and it seemed to me that the best (and most widely-known) way to do that would be through a Creative Commons license applied to each story. Then, of course, I had to decide which license to choose.
- By: Attribution. The original attribution must be preserved. Sounds good to me – I’d like to be recognised as the author of the original. That’s really all I ask. But… attribution alone won’t preserve the freedoms of others as regards my work.
- Share-Alike: Using this option requires subsequent uses of the work to use the same license that I used. In order to prevent anyone else wielding the banhammer over my work (a rather ridiculous but unfortunately plausible situation!) I feel I need to select this option. Besides, it basically ensures that any and all derivatives can freely spread through as long a chain of descent as you like!
- Allow Derivative Works: Creative Commons licenses can allow or disallow derivative works, specifying whether only the original work can be passed on. The whole point of my sharing my stories with the world is so that everyone can enjoy them as they see fit, and share and build on them in turn.
- Allow Commercial Use: I had the most trouble deciding on this one, in the end. Was I really comfortable with someone else making money off what I’d done? But – in the end, why not? I always say that I should act on my principles or they’re worse than worthless, so here’s taking the plunge! If you’ve added your own interpretation, or something else that people want, then go ahead! I get credit for the original, and at the end of the day, that’s what I really care about. No matter who makes money, I’m not going to stop writing. Besides… any reproduction or derivation has to include the Share-Alike provision! This license spreads wherever my work does, allowing derivative works of derivative works, and if [insert major publisher/film company/game company here] choose to make a book/film/game based on it? They have to put it out under this same license. They can’t ban fanfic, or insist that only they are allowed to sell related merchandise, or whatever other draconian restriction they feel like inventing. Anyone who wants to go commercial, go for it – but remember that Share-Alike provision!
I freely admit this is a massive experiment on my part! Let’s see how it all turns out. This is my work, and my dream, and I don’t want to limit other people’s enjoyment any more than I have to. I won’t see anyone else’s dreams snatched away if I can help it.