What do you do when someone illegally uses your music? You thank him for his support.

Stefan Niggemeier has a nice story about the “theft” of “intellectual property”.

Here’s a video by filmmaker Jon Rawlinson, recorded in the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and watched about a million times on different platforms until now:

Kuroshio Sea – 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world – (song is Please don’t go by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.

Niggemeier tells the compelling story of this video:

A particular charm of this film is accounted for by the music, and that Jon Rawlinson actually must not use. Even though he properly names the source and even links to the title on iTunes – he has not asked the group Barcelona, by which the track is, for admission. He has just taken what isn’t his.

What happened now?

Many people who liked the track (and who could listen to it and even download it from Youtube at any time) bought the track on iTunes. And the album climbed, although it’s nearly two years old, suddenly into the rock charts of the American iTunes store; e.g. yesterday it ranked 53rd.

And the band itself had its say and uploaded a video answer on YouTube. In it they say how much they are flattered about Rawlinson choosing their music, introduce themselves, thank and advertise their tour on which they had already met people who noticed them via the aquarium video:

Niggemeier draws the conclusion that “the moral [of this story] is not that anybody may just ignore the copyright of others […]. The moral of this story is that not every unauthorized use of a work harms the artist.”

While I agree with Niggemeier on this, I think this story is above all a brilliant example of how Creative Commons licensing works for the best of artists as well as society. Had their music been CC licensed, Rawlinson had had the right to use Barcelona’s music in his video. If the Creative Commons license had been one that allows for derivative works, that is.

That’s the reason why I strongly advocate for the use of Creative Commons licenses that enable others to build upon ones own work. Giving others the right not only to share, but also to remix what one has created means providing other artists with material for their creation. The reward can be diverse – and, as we see in the case of Barcelona, even monetary.

(Ironically, this post is itself a breach of Niggemeier’s copyright.)

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