Creative Commons has to be one of the most important innovations since digital publishing came of age. By including a simple link on my blog here I let you know that while yes this work is copyrighted (as is anything you write), here's what you can do with it. You don't need to e-mail me, or ask my permission to use my work you simply click on a link and you know exactly what you can and cannot do with my work. (Not that I really think anyone will be interested in copying any of this, but you get the picture.)
It's the concept of "Some Rights Reserved" instead of locking up everything. What is the point of that on the internet anyway? Wouldn't most authors or artists want their works viewed? Sure, sometimes they may not want you to incorporate their piece in something else, but go ahead and share it with your friends--spread the word. Well, with a CC license the author/artist lets them know they can do that if they wish, no problem. What a simple concept. It's when I see "ALL RIGHTS RESERVED" that I might get nervous. Opps, better not touch that or share it with my friends, might get into trouble...
So now, what if I create music, images or video and want to release them under a CC license so others can copy them, use them in their own work or whatever is specified in said license? Do I put a text file on the CD or DVD? How would they see it? Do I spell everything out on the label? What if it's posted on the internet? Do I have to zip it up with a copy of the license? There must be an easier and/or better way...
Creative Commons has developed an easy to use application for Windows & Mac (where's the *nix version?) called CC Publisher: "...a tool that does two things: it will help you tag your audio and video files with information about your license and it allows you to upload Creative Commons-licensed audio and video works to the Internet Archive for free hosting. You also have the option of publishing the licensed and tagged audio works on your own site."
I knew there was a better way! I guess you would still want to print the license or a link to the license URI on CD or DVD labels if that is your means of distribution, but otherwise this appears to be ideal for publishing multimedia on the internet.
Creative Commons licensing eliminates consumer confusion. They know what rights of reuse/redistribution/etc. they have to any given work without going through the arduous process of contacting the copyright holder for one-off permissions. They know that if they abide by the license their reuse/redistribution/etc. is all perfectly legal and they can enjoy the work without fear of frivolous litigation.
PS Magnatune is a perfect example of musical artists of various genres utilizing Creative Commons licensing to market and promote their works. As far as I can tell everyone has benefited from the Magnatune business model.