The ccMixter experience has been interesting in terms of CC licensing. What follows is a summation of my personal views, even though I am under contract with CC these views do not represent anything remotely like official statements from CC.
There are two reasons to put music in the Commons: (1) it’s good for culture and (2) it’s good for your career.
(2) doesn’t matter that much if you’re already some kind of big famous celebrity, but if no one knows who you are you need a reason for people to listen to your music. Giving your music away in as many different contexts as possible is key to that. Besides showing a very basic respect for your (potential) audience, you simply can’t afford to mute the sound on your non-existent career before it gets started.
If your music is worth stealing then it’s already stolen. Get over it. If your music isn’t worth stealing then what harm, exactly, is there in giving it away?
I am officially off the Sampling family of licenses. Maybe if you’re a rock star like the Beasties or Chuck D and you’re really nervous about releasing tracks into the Commons this is a good baby step. But if you’re up and coming and you want to get your music out there these licenses are just too restrictive, especially when it comes to syncing the music to film and getting your tunes into advertising. It’s also highly questionable if straight-up mash-ups are even covered in this license because the remix has to be ‘highly transformative.’ Club mixes are completely forbidden. Personally I’m going to ignore the Sampling licenses for my own use.
I have grave reservations about ShareAlike. While promoters of this license claim it forces open licensing into more places I would claim anything that prevents someone from using my music is having the opposite effect. I don’t ever want to hear “I’d play/remix/sync your song but I don’t want to re-license my work as foo-bar-ShareAlike.” As I stated recently, SA does not affect podcasters, broadcasters and other collections but as a remixer it could have (and has in the case of Mixter) chilling effect on what licenses can be mixed together in sampled/remixed works. That’s enough for me to take a pass on SA.
The only place SA makes total sense (am I’m being at least half serious) is when an RIAA/MPAA entity is interested in your work. Then I would stick it to them and make them go with a SA. Someday, I should be in this situation.
NonDerivs means people can’t remix my material without asking permission. This seems counter to the larger point of putting music in the Commons in both the cultural sense (if all art is built on some thing else, why prevent that?) and in the “good for my career” sense (you want to get your music OUT THERE, no? why allow file sharing and not remixing?)
That leaves NonCommercial. Despite some recent hand wringing about the meaning of the term “non commercial” this means what common sense tells you: “money in exchange for music.”
NC does not mean “a piece of donations received at my church picnic where copies of my CD were handed out” or “a cut of the Amazon partner program take because you have a link to Amazon and my MP3 on your site.”
No. Stop that.
It means “money in exchange for music” and new license verbiage is going to make that explicit. In which case I kind of like this license. It accepts the reality of people who steal music without persecuting people who honestly can’t afford it; all the while encouraging film makers, art installations and remixers who have zero budget and who would otherwise pass on my music completely.
If you’re really making money selling my music then yea, I’d like a cut. If you refuse I’ll probably say OK anyway but either way, I guess I’d like to be notified you’re doing it. So NC works for me where I might give a shit about money.
Finally Attribution (aka BY) has actually been tricky because if I license a sample pack to remixers am I really asking for attribution because you used my open hi-hat sample? This is especially hideous on a sites like Mixter, OpSound, FreeSound where there are 1000s of samples. Do I really have to attribute each artist for each stupid micron of reverb coming off the synth patch? The answer is: the version 2.5 of BY allows for simple collective attribution. That means I just say ‘samples from ccMixter.org’ some where near my remix or collection of remixes. I can live with that.
So the answer for me is:
Attribution (2.5) in all cases, Attribution-NonCommercial (2.5) where I’m feeling full of myself.