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Paula Le Dieu pitches to uncaring world

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Creative Commons president Paula Le Dieu was in London last night to chair a panel debate on what Creative Commons licenses mean to the music industry. Judging from the views expressed by some senior music industry figures there is clearly a need for just such an explantory approach.

Le Dieu explained that CC licenses aimed to do something that existing copyright is failing to do. She pointed to 12m pages of content on Yahoo, acceptance by 70 countries and the BBC’s use of a CC-type license for its archive as evidence of the strength of CC licenses.

Although the evening narrowly avoided descending into stereotypical mud-slinging, Fran Nevrkla - ex-chairman of the British Phonographic Industry and representing the dinosaurs - did lower the tone by dismissing the importance of CC licensing, the culture it comes from and its relevance to the real world.

Nevrkla continued to insist that CC licensing was the product of “learned professors living in rarified luxurious environment supported by public funds” and that promoting CC licenses as a business model was “nonsense”.

He stuck to his guns despite the repeated, polite explanations from his neighbour Neil Leyton who runs his record label Fading Ways Records on just such a basis. He explained that part of the reason for choosing CC licenses was to allow the fans to copy and share music without being sued by over-active music industry lawyers.

Emma Pike, director general of British Music Rights, took the unusual step of recomending musicians use Kazaa rather than a CC license. She also expressed concerns, shared by others in the audience, that Creative Commons does not do enough to warn artists what rights they are ceding by signing up to such a license. Damian Tambini, who heads up CC licensing in the UK, promised to look at this for the UK version of the website currently under development. ®

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