Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Nikki Giovanni

I was listening to Midmorning today on Minnesota Public Radio and heard Kerri Miller interview poet Nikki Giovanni. What a great program. Nikki has spark and snap. During her discussion, she was talking about copyright and whether people could use her work. She said that as long as she's alive, she wants people to use her work. And when she dies, she will have left instructions with her executor that people will still be able to use her work. She believes that her art is meant to be shared.

She's a girl after my own heart. What with all the big companies clamping down on copyright, sometimes even trying to squelch fair use, it's getting so that I feel I must get permission from artists merely to be inspired by their work. It's a dreadful state of affairs. Thankfully, there's a movement afoot to counteract some of this overreaching by heavy-duty copyright owners (who have the bankrolls to lobby for themselves and hire lawyers to glare at and sue anyone who dares put a finger on their works). That movement includes something called Creative Commons. Creative Commons is a voluntary licensing program wherein the creator of a work can choose the rights he/she wants to reserve. By using the Creative Commons program and posting the Creative Commons notice on a work, those who want to use it to inspire their own works will know exactly what rights they've been allowed. I've added a Creative Commons license (CC) to my blog. The license I've chosen allows others to use my work, but they must attribute it to me, they can't use it for commercial purposes, and if they use it, they have to be willing to share it.

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