Exploring the sociotechnical dynamics of the Creative Commons Licenses: the case of Open Content filmmakers
Networked information technologies and especially the internet, have brought about extensive changes and re-‐arrangements in cultural production, distribution, commercialisation and consumption of creative content. As an attempt to create a type of copyright licenses better suited for the online environment, the Creative Commons (CC) organisation has launched a license suite that allows creators to openly distribute and share their work under varying levels of restrictions. This thesis aim is to explore the motivations, expectations and understandings of both users and non users of CC licenses within the Independent Filmmaking Community. The research maps out the strategies and diverse business models that users of the licenses develop around their implementation but also the problems and conflicts that arise for both users and non users of the licenses. It therefore sheds light on the processes of adoption, implementation and subsequent fragmentation of the socio-‐legal innovation that is the CC license suite. While Free and Open Source models of software development (FOSS) have been thoroughly researched, little is known about how other content creators incorporate open licensing strategies within their creative fields. This research aims to address this gap in the literature through the examination of the use of CC licenses by Open Content Filmmakers. Building on theoretical and empirical research in Science and Technology Studies my aim is to analyse the legal innovation of CC licenses by focusing on how they are embedded within the everyday practices of open content filmmakers. By applying the Social Shaping of Technology framework and more specifically the Social Learning perspective, I examine the ways different actors ascribe meaning and conceptualise the role and usefulness of the licenses for their creative practices. Filmmakers negotiate the licenses’ significance through their interactions with diverse actors. These negotiations entail conflicting interpretations as different actors often have different agendas, commitments and resources, resulting in the transformation of both the licenses’ stated goals and of the perceived affordances of digital technologies. Drawing on multi-‐sited ethnography and rich qualitative data, this thesis captures the processes of learning by doing and learning by interaction, as filmmakers seek to find an appropriate way of applying the licenses, situating them within their localised creative endeavours through trial and error practices. The analysis of empirical evidence reveals how independent filmmakers navigate between ideological imperatives and practical considerations in order to form distinct, heterogeneous configurations that work for them, instead of outright adopting a homogeneous generic vision for how copyright should be applied in the digital environment.