Creator Royalties #005: CC0 - Is It Right For You?

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🤗 This week's edition of Creator Royalties is on CC0, how you can use it to expand your reach, and what you should consider before doing so.

Scroll down for our usual rundown of weekly updates, artist grants and opportunities, how to use NFTs for good to support Turkey-Syria rescue efforts, art drops, and our creator spotlight featuring illustrator Tiffatronn.

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CC0 - Is It Right For You?

Over the past year, we’ve seen an increasing number of NFT artists and projects release their work as CC0. This week, we shed some light on what exactly CC0 is, how it can be beneficial to you as an artist, and key considerations to have before waiving your copyright.

What is CC0?

Short for “Creative Commons Zero”, CC0 is one of six different Creative Commons licenses.

Creative Commons licenses provide a standardized way for creators to grant the public permission to use their creative work under copyright law. Quite simply, these licenses help those who intend to reuse others’ creative work (otherwise known as ‘reusers’) answer the question, “What can I do with this work?”.

When applying CC0 to their work, creators opt to give up their copyright and put their works into the public domain. This allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format... no strings attached.

This also means that a creator is allowing others to commercialize their work, with no attribution required.

Overview of all six Creative Commons licenses (to learn about the other Creative Commons licenses, check out the full list here).

Benefits of Going CC0

There is one clear benefit of going CC0 — that is, exponential reach.

In fact, that’s why a number of well-known NFT projects, including Moonbirds, Goblintown, and Nouns, have opted for a CC0 license. By allowing anyone to build, these projects empower their communities with the creative and commercial freedom to extend their brand presence through innovative application via products, content, and more.

A range of hot sauces produced by Hot Wings Collective within the Moonbirds community.

Similarly, we have seen artists release some of their work as CC0. In September 2022, digital artist Tjo released BLeU, which at first glance looks to be just a blue rectangle… one that eventually sold for a whopping 69.42 ETH.

Tjo's BLeU and derivatives by Grant Yun, Tiffatronn, and Samuel Gray

Yet, BLeU was not just any blue rectangle, it epitomized the through line that had been present in Tjo’s work, and to him, represents the color of self dialogue. By releasing BLeU as CC0, Tjo immediately inspired hundreds of different pieces of art produced from the original, fueling greater distribution and awareness of him and his work.

Other notable artists who have gone CC0 include XCOPY, Grant Yun, and most recently Pho with his artwork The Spiral, which resulted in over 1400 derivatives in just a few weeks, all of which can be seen here.

Pho's The Spiral and derivatives by YuserCMPLXAmirabbas Sadeghi

Considerations for going CC0

Before jumping headfirst into making some or all of your work CC0, here are some must-have considerations.

  1. Going CC0 is irrevocable Once you go CC0, you can’t go back. If you are looking to make your work CC0, you will need to be 100% sure of your decision, since you will not be able to revoke the license even if you stop distributing your work.

  2. Be aware of and be comfortable with the lack of control By allowing anyone to make derivatives based on your work, you have to be comfortable with a lack of control. It is possible that creations by others based on your work may not be aligned with your personal brand or how you want your work to be portrayed.

  3. Profits could be inequitable Similarly, since CC0 allows anyone to commercialize various interpretations of your work, you are waiving the claim to any of those profits. While it is reasonable to assume that you as the original creator could sell the CC0 artwork for more than the resulting derivatives, there is also a likelihood that these derivatives may sell for more or worse, devalue the price of your original artwork.

  4. Some artwork could be more CC0-appropriate than others While artists like XCOPY have chosen to make all their (non-collaborative) artwork CC0, CC0 may be a better fit for certain types of artwork. For example, abstract pieces that can be applied or interpreted in different ways may inspire creations more easily than others, and help you get that reach you are looking for.

Artist Robness to make a statement about CC0 minted XCOPY's artwork as an open edition and has made thousands of dollars without having to compensate XCOPY. 

How to Apply CC0 to Your Work

If after these considerations, you've decided CC0 is a good fit, it's time to apply it to your work. Wondering how to do so? You're in luck! Applying CC0 (or any other CC license for that matter) to your work is simple.

All you have to do is communicate your choice of license in a way that is clear to people who come across your work. As part of this communication, it is also good practice to include a link to the license you have chosen, like this:

© 2023. This work is licensed under CC0.

Closing Thoughts

As always, just because other artists are looking to go CC0 doesn’t mean you have to.  Your artist journey and you value is unique, so always do what makes sense to you.

Want to learn more and understand the rationale behind the decision to go CC0? Join us on Twitter Spaces as we speak to artist Amber Vittoria (who is releasing her very first CC0 piece this week!) and co-founder of Goblintown, Alexander Taub, on Thursday, February 8th from 2:30PM ET.

In the News

Minting Tools and Marketplace-Related News

  • Manifold announced a new fee structure that will charge buyers of NFTs collected through their apps a $1 flat fee per item, in order to continue serving the broader creator community while ensuring a path to sustainability for themselves. Contract changes are expected to go live on Manifold Claim Pages and Burn-Redeem later this month.

  • Foundation announced that Drops, their no-code minting tool for large collections is officially live and available to all. Learn more about Drops here.

  • OpenSea will be rolling out the next phase of its Drops feature, which will include a new suite of tools for creators that launch their collections in partnership with OpenSea. These tools include configuring drop mechanics, personalized landing pages, and more. Read their announcement here.

  • On the other hand, Coinbase NFT has announced that they are pausing creator Drops on their NFT marketplace in order to focus on other features and tools that creators have asked for, while clarifying that the Coinbase NFT marketplace remains in operation.

Notable Creators

  • Jack Butchers’ Checks VV, a social commentary artwork inspired by Twitter Blue charging $8 for a blue check, has risen sharply in value (from $8 to $3,000 at time of writing), as he reveals additional burn mechanics which challenge collectors’ interpretation of social status and motivation online. Read Jack’s interview with One37pm here.

  • Looking for inspiration on how artists are involving their community in the creation of work? Check out how Steve Aoki and Seth Green plan to let NFT holders shape their animated short.

  • Renowned digital artist, Beeple, will be live minting 200 editions of an EVERYDAY NFT at the upcoming PROOF of Conference event in LA in May. Read his announcement here.

Op-Ed and Resources

Artist Grants and Opportunities

  • Nyla Hayes, the artist behind Long Neckie Ladies, has partnered with Color A Smile, a non-profit organization to distribute cheerful drawings to senior citizens and military service members stationed overseas. Contribute your very own Long Neckie Dino, and learn how you can make a difference here.

  • MacDowell encourages artists from all backgrounds and all countries in the following disciplines to apply: architecture, film/video arts, interdisciplinary arts, literature, music composition, theater, and visual arts. The sole criterion for acceptance is artistic excellence. Apply here by February 10th.

  • The Field offers unrestricted cash awards of $5,000 to artists who have children. Apply here by February 24th.

  • Applications are open for Meta Angels x Adobe’s artist-in-residence program, which gives you a $1,000 grant, access to Adobe Creative Cloud, mentorship, and more. March’s artist-in-residence will be shortlisted by February 15th. Learn more and apply here.

  • Post your best work to Creatively every week, let the community vote, and stand a chance to win a $5,000 cash grant each month.

NFTs For Good: Support Syria-Turkey Earthquake Rescue Efforts

A devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Syria and Turkey early on February 6th, killing and injuring thousands. Here are a few ways that we can come together as a Web3 community to support rescue efforts.

  1. Mint Jack Butcher's Humanity Check (Open Edition, 0.0066 ETH). 100% of proceeds go towards Doctors Without Borders to provide financial and technical support to local NGOs.

  2. Mint Utilify's Unsung Heroes (Timed Open Edition, 0.003 ETH). 100% of proceeds go towards AHBAP, a Turkish organization that is coordinating on-the-ground aid through cash transfers and in-kind support.

  3. Contribute ETH directly to this effort coordinated by Turkish AI and new media artist Refik Anandol. 100% of proceeds are split evenly between Republic of Turkey's Ministry of Interior Disaster and Emergency Management, and AHBAP.

  4. Support affected artists in Turkey and Syria. Photographer Meric Aktar's home was tragically destroyed in the earthquake. You can find some of his stunning work available for sale here.

This Week's Art Drops

  • At The End of The Start by Amber Vittoria (Timed Open Edition, 0.07 ETH) - follow Amber on Twitter: Inspired by her tinkering with artificial intelligence, this painting is Vittoria’s first CC0 piece. The edition goes on sale for 7 minutes on February 8th, and the physical painting will be raffled to one lucky holder.

  • Fairy #17 Julie by AlextheArtist (Limited Edition, 10/10, 0.01 ETH) - follow AlextheArtist on Twitter: Part of the Fairies and Magic collection, Julie is the 17th Fairy dropped by AlextheArtist, and portrays a striking mythical creature.

  • Ox Princess by Arya Wirawans (Timed Open Edition, 0.012 ETH) - follow Arya on Twitter: Ox Princess is inspired by one of the characters in the well-known East Asian story Journey to the West, and represents how justice and kindness can emerge from anywhere.

  • Be My Valentine by Vera Suleimanova (Timed Open Edition, 0.009 ETH) - follow Vera on Twitter: Part of a #ValentineWeb3 initiative, Be My Valentine is an opportunity for collectors to show appreciation, gratitude, and fondness towards people that matter. All holders will also receive a surprise airdrop at the end of the campaign on February 10th.

  • Ascension by Britney Walker (1/1, 0.13 ETH) - follow Britney on Twitter: A 1/1 by multidisciplinary artist Britney Walker that is inspired by magic, mystery, and the unknown.

  • A demon to myself by Albert Soloviev (1/1, 0.45 ETH) - follow Albert on Twitter: A 1/1 by Spain-based artist Albert Soloviev inspired by the following words, "I am an angel to everyone... but I became a demon to myself.”

  • Signature Sneakers by Dan Freebairn aka Kickposters (Timed Open Edition, 0.012 ETH) - follow Dan on Twitter: Renowned sneaker illustrator Dan Freebairn drops a 48 hour timed open edition featuring his trademark illustration style on February 9th.

  • Waterfall by Mariana Blatnik (Timed Open Edition, Free) - follow Mari on Twitter: Waterfall is a piece that reminds us to embrace our emotions as they wash over us. Created by alcohol ink artist Mariana Blatnik, it is free for all HUG and Meta Angels holders to mint until February 7th.

🤗 Fancy being part of our creator spotlight? Have an upcoming art drop you’d like to share? Or an upcoming exhibition or opportunity for your fellow artists? 

Hit reply or email [email protected] and share it with us, so we can share it with our readers.

Creator Spotlight: Tiffatronn

Tiffatronn is an Australian artist creating digitally hand-drawn work that explores themes of identity, the human experience, big feelings, inner worlds, and alternate realities.

Learn more about Tiffa via her HUG Artist Profile, or follow her directly on Twitter.

We asked Tiffa...What inspired you to incorporate other artists' CC0 work into your own and what do you enjoy about it?

"CC0 won’t be suitable for everyone, and artists should definitely understand the implications before releasing work as CC0, but it can be a great way to get your work out there by allowing others to use + reinterpret in their own way. I’ve yet to release anything CC0 myself (maybe one day!) but I’ve really enjoyed participating in some of the invitations to remix CC0 work by artists like Tjo (BLeU) and Pho (The Spiral). These events around  CC0 pieces feel like a celebration of art - always fun + positive + really brings the art community together."

We hope you enjoyed this week's issue on CC0! If you found this interesting and useful, do subscribe and share this to a friend. Additionally, if you are interested in what we are building at HUG and want to get additional community updates, sign up for our other newsletter below, Weekly HUGs.

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