making commercial use of non-commercial CC tracks

In the community of people interested in Creative Commons licenses there is a permathread about non-commercial licenses. Many musicians are willing to put out music with a permissive license but want to get paid if any commercial use is made of their music. Many people with a background in free software, myself included, feel that a license with a strong viral clause such as the CC Attribution-ShareAlike license is better. The Free Culture wiki has a good article on the topic.

The topic came up in an interesting interview with Victor Stone, the CC Mixter lead and a musician with several excellent releases on Magnatune. Magnatunes’ releases are commercial, so you can’t use sources with a non-commercial clause attached. This means that Victor can’t use NC sources from CC Mixter on his Magnatunes releases. Once you’re commercial the CC license has no bearing and you have to negotiate rights to samples exactly as you would with samples from big hits.

The interviewer at emxr asks:

While Magnatune artists as well as ccMixter artists give remixers the rights to work with their materials, (in most cases) that (Creative Commons) license applies to non-commercial derivative works. Since you are publishing your remixes as commercial releases, how do you go about licensing the needed tracks for your work? In the traditional music industry, that can be a dishearteningly complicated process. How does that work in your world?

Victor answers:

For Magnatune artists it’s easy, the label takes care of it all for me. The royalties of every sale or license are deducted from my account and funneled into sampled artists’ accounts. For most other cases I’m dealing with individuals so I just pay cash up front, or like with the DJ Vadim tracks make arrangements with the label. If a big license comes through on a track they sang, played on or produced then I manually pay them. But I only work with artists who have put material into the Commons because that, to me, is a green flag that they are willing to be reasonable.

His answer gets to a soft benefit of Creative Commons licensing. It’s a green flag that they are willing to be reasonable.

3 thoughts on “making commercial use of non-commercial CC tracks

  1. Three magnatune features that should be adopted as a standard:

    A. easy “plug n play” licensing, with quotes on routine matters available without waiting for an e mail.

    B. free licensing for BY NC on youtube, vimeo, blip, et al

    C. pre-arrranged pollination through royalty arrangements already set up among artists of the label, which would be like all the advantages of “studio contract players” synergy and none of the slavery.


  2. Magnatune also allows really-cheap licensing of any samples used to make new music, such as (for example) $90 to print 500 CDs.

    Project type: sampling, remix or derivative work
    Artist: Lara St John
    Album: Bach Violin Concertos
    Song name: 01-BWV 1041 _ I. Allegro-Lara St. John
    Max Manufactured Units: 500
    Price: $90


    Victor Stone has made his massive Magnatune sample library available. Every sample is already perfectly looped, and has BPM and key information, as well as metadata in the right format so that it imports automatically into sampling software.

    those samples (like everything) are CC by-nc-sa licensed, or can be commercial-use licensed.

    – john from magnatune

  3. Blue sky: it would be great to be able to follow sample sources back from remixes to the original, and this would make remixes a more powerful magnifier of sales of the originals.

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