Open licenses… Is someone gonna steal my books?

Cet article est disponible en français.

All my books are published under the CC BY-SA license (for the time being, all in French, sorry for that… but you may have your revenge soon). People can now share, adapt, remix my stories for any use, even commercial. They just need to mention that I am the original author and give their product the same license as mine. Let me tell you how I got there.

Free of distribution

Ever since 2014, I’ve been distributing stories for free, allowing people to share them if they will, thanks to the free distribution license CC BY-NC-ND. That means people could share my texts if they mentioned that I am the autor, if they did not remix it in anyway, and did not use it for commercial purpose.

My goal: making my web author situation accurate to how people entertain themselves thanks to the internet, by authorizing them to share my stories if they had liked it.

Indeed we need to open our eyes about that. On the internet, everything is shared, everything is distributed, legally or not. By choosing, from the very start, to use Creative Commons licenses, I mentioned my agreement to have my stories used in a certain way. It wouldn’t have prevented any person with bad intentions to remix them anyway, or to sell them… but copyright neither. However, people with good intentions have known for years that they can legally and with my benediction share my texts as much as they want.

Is someone gonna steal my books?

I have been thinking about all this for a long time now, including by going to conference and seeing new Creative Commons projects emerging, using licenses way more open than mine, which is after all quite closed.

So I asked myself: why don’t I just use an Open License? why do I authorize sharing and no modification?

I found the answer in myself and in many independent writers: I was afraid to write something good, so good that a publisher, a comics author, a movie director would have decided to use my text for a project… without me collecting any money.

How crazy is that, to be afraid of doing a good job?

Through Open Art

Today, I’m going through open art. Here are the reasons that helped me make my decision, and that will hopefully help you to make it, if you want so.

  1. Probabilities are very, very low that you or me write the next Harry Potter. Even J. K. Rowling will not write the next Harry Potter.
  2. People with bad intentions will steal your book, either you use copyright or an open license. They will do it and they will be wrong.
  3. In case of theft we can report it to the authorities. Some courts have recognized Creative Commons licenses in their decisions. Some haven’t, but in that case traditional copyright is applicable (beware, maybe not in all countries). In any case, we should be protected.
  4. Let’s admit that we write something really, really good. So good that someone uses it commercially without giving us money. It would make excellent advertising for us , we would become more visible and probably get more donators. That could open doors to other collaborations we could be paid for, and get us out of the crowd of independent authors on the web, which could only be good.

I am not saying it is easy. It’s not easy to take those risks. But in view of the four points I’ve mentioned, I have made my choice. You can now download my stories and share them, translate them, illustrate them, imagine a prequel or a sequel, all for free as long as you respect the CC BY-SA license.

You’ll have to wait a bit to get some in English though… But it’s coming soon.

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