Friday, January 02, 2009

what is non-commercial?

Our friends at Creative Commons conducted a study on the meaning of the term "noncommercial" with respect to copyright, the dissemination of copyrighted material easily or indeed for free, etc. I wish I had come across this a month ago. I would have urged all my poet friends to fill out the questionnaire. I dare say that in the world of poetry and poetics, for the purposes of making the work as widely available as possible, a rather limited definition of noncommercial suffices.

And yet at the same time we should all want the term defined widely for general general purposes. If music and film can break the logjam, definitively less commercial realms such as poetry will be in good company as makers of online intellectual property. The more public the domain, the better. And I wonder, now** that capitalism is less adamantly said to be ipso facto self-correcting, if that economic system will continue to be used as the main reason for keeping art and creative work out of the public domain.

Noncommerical. Is the key quality (number 1 in the attributes list in dictionary definition, e.g.) that a work be unremunerative? Or that it be out of the mainstream? (These are more difficult questions than they at first seem.)

** I mean, since September or so, the many discussions about how perhaps capitalism itself is not the natural incentive-providing machine we had thought.