Further Southdown

Not only is Southdown, one of Shannon and Scott Andrew’s Blogathon songs, a really good song, written for a really good cause, it’s also the first really good example of use of a Creative Commons license I’ve seen, at least in my narrow circle. CC licensing of weblogs just didn’t excite me that much, since my (IANAL) feeling is that you could make a good case for republishing single entries in their entirety as fair use, and republishing an entire weblog, archives and all, seems a bit pointless. But thanks to the CC license on Southdown, Eric Ostrom was able to do his own version of Southdown, which is also cool, in a rather different way, and to my surprise made me hear things in the song that I was missing in the original (and, remember, I put a new song by Shannon on repeat until I can feel it vibrating in my bones).

I’m going to have to go back and look at what’s happened around the things that worried me the last time I thought about Creative Commons licenses, because I’m a lot more interested in making them workable, now that I’ve seen what good can come from them.

[via Lawrence Lessig]


Comment by Erik Ostrom #
2003-07-30 23:22:58

Glad you liked the cover! Although I won’t make any claims for my own recording, I’m a big fan of cover versions in general, for exactly the reason you state–they can help you hear things you didn’t hear before, or even create things that weren’t there before.

(Best example I know: M. Ward, in concert and on his latest album, transforms David Bowie’s snarky, ironic funk-pop song ”Let’s Dance” into a wistful, yearning, and utterly sincere serenade.)

Another thing the CC license makes easy: Just as a good cover version brings something new to a song, another singer-songwriter could literally add something new to it–a verse, a new chord progression, a different turn of phrase. Now, the original songwriter might find this a little creepy. But before mass-produced recordings, this is the way popular music worked–people would adapt the songs they heard to reflect their own environment and perspective.

And something I had in mind when I started my cover, although I haven’t mentioned it before now–remixes. I took care to follow Scott and Shannon’s timing precisely, which in theory would make it possible to add my synthesized bass line to their acoustic guitars, or Scott’s harmonica to my electric piano. I don’t think anyone would want to do this, but I’m pleased by the idea that someone could. (If anyone asked, I’d gladly make the individual tracks available.)

Anyway, yeah. Concurring with your opinion about blogs, I’m not that excited that open licenses just let you copy stuff around. What excites me is how works can be combined, recombined, adapted, and added to.

(Disclaimer: IANAL either, and I don’t know for certain that the uses I described above are really allowed by the license. But I hope they are.)

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-07-31 00:13:30

I am not a musician, either, but the first thing I’d fold in from your version is the vocal at 3:34. For people like me, who are from a Southdown, that really sells the song.

Comment by Matt Haughey #
2003-07-31 14:38:03

Disclaimer: IANAL either, and I don’t know for certain that the uses I described above are really allowed by the license. But I hope they are

Yeah all the things you describe sound like derivative works, which are allowed under their chosen license, as long as you turn around and license your remixes under the same license.

Comment by Dorothea Salo #
2003-07-31 06:01:48

The CC licenses also license derivative works, which is not something to be sneezed at. :)

Trackback by jenett.radio #
2003-07-31 08:17:01

Indie Music and Creative Commons

What a perfect example of how ”the Creative Commons license was designed to encourage reuse.”  One of the two songs created by Shannon Campbell and …

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