I am creating ebooks out of my plays and essays and posting them to my website, and this has made me think a lot about copyright.
I’ve written before about copyright and the ills it perpetuates. So, when I’ve put all this energy into creating the e-publications, do I sell them? Or do I give them away?
In fact (this line of thinking led me), in terms of the plays themselves, why not just give my plays away for production? Or, in another way of thinking it, it is more important to me to have my plays produced than it is to make money off them.
Whew! That’s a relief, a relieving thought. Really. Not to be guided by love of money or the flatulence of self-importance.
So I have announced on my website that all of my theatrical work -- my plays, essays, and what-not -- will be offered under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.
My hero in this is Nina Paley, creator of Sita Sings The Blues; she licensed that film under the same license agreement. And what she says about why she did that works for me — and which I borrow for my own declaration:
From the shared culture my work comes, and so back into the shared culture I send it.
You don’t need my permission to copy, share, publish, archive, show, sell, broadcast, or remix any play you want to do. Conventional wisdom urges me to demand payment for every use of the work, but such control offers a false sense of security. The only real security I have is trusting you, trusting culture, and trusting freedom.
That said, I will enforce the Share Alike License. You are not free to copy-restrict (”copyright”) or attach Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) to any play or anything derived from it.
There — that feels much better.