Soyuz Launch Suite – Music by Butterfly Tea
Here is a suite of three tracks by Butterfly Tea (“Rise of the Titans”,
“Back to Adventure”, and “Andorria Main Title”) which will accompany
the Soyuz launch sequence in the pilot episode:
Policy Issues About Music Licensing
A few questions have been raised about this music and its licensing, which I feel I should probably answer here:
- Yes it is true that Butterfly Tea has also released a number of tracks (perhaps most) under the more restrictive
CC By-NC-SA license.
- It is not legally possible to retract any CC license once it has
been given. If an artist re-releases a work under CC By-NC-SA after
publishing it previously under By-SA,
it just means the work exists thereafter under both licenses (if
free-licenses could be revoked, the result could be disastrous!)
- Theoretically, an artist could attempt to defraud the public by
removing evidence of having released a work in good faith under a free
license (I’ve written about this — it does happen). It can also happen that
the original release was fraudulent, in which case the work was never
really free-licensed (this happens too!). However, it is standard procedure
for us to collect basic evidence of the licensing for the works we use.
Also, most artists are honest and wouldn’t do this.
- In fact, I have contacted the artist in this case, so he knows his
work is being used in “Lunatics”, wished us luck, and gave us permission
to use his PR photo. I am reasonably sure he does not object to this
- I contact artists for several reasons. One of which is to get payment information for the
artist to receive a share from “Creator Endorsed” sales of our work. We don’t do that
because we have a legal-obligation to the artist, but because we have a trust-obligation
to the fans who are buying merchandise with the legend “PROCEEDS SUPPORT
THE ARTISTS”. That is to say, it is a selling point for the work that
we are going to share proceeds with contributing artists.
- I do not believe that supporting an artist who uses a mix of CC
licenses by using only their By-SA works “encourages” the use of NC
licenses. In fact, I think the opposite is true — by providing income
from By-SA works only, we are (if anything) encouraging them to release
more material under that license.
- Even if it does not have this effect, however, I am not overly
concerned. Many people do non-free work to pay the bills and release
some work under free licenses. It’s not my place to judge them for that.
As far as I am concerned, we have enough in common once they’ve
released a work under a compatible license. I don’t feel that I also
must evangelize them into being free-culture purists — unless perhaps
by setting an example to emulate.
It is my belief that focusing on the positive value of free-licensed work
and providing artists with a revenue stream from that work will help
to increase the perceived value of releasing under free licenses, and
ultimately provide a wider pool of material for us to draw on in the future.
As with many other aspects of the “Lunatics” business plan, this is all about sustainability.
In fact, most of this also goes for the 20-odd artists whose work is represented in the
“No Children in Space” soundtrack. In general, the response to my
queries has been quite positive whenever I’ve been able to get in
contact with the artist (not all of them have responded). Most artists
— especially the ones who’ve already released their works under
Creative Commons licenses — are fully aware of the amplifying effect of
their work being reused and popularized in this way. So, they are
generally happy to find out we’re making use of their work.
I’ve run into only one exception to this, and that was possibly due partly to
a language barrier. His work was not already under a By-SA compatible license,
and he refused to change it, possibly on the grounds that we couldn’t promise
him it would not be used for “immoral” purposes (I can’t promise that because
once we’ve released it under a free license, we have no control over what the next
person might do with it — I could only speak for our own use of the
work). I might have been able to resolve this with further negotiations,
but I decided that it was better to let it go and replace the track
On the other hand, in three other cases, I got special permission to release works
under By-SA as part of the “Lunatics” soundtrack which were not previously
under compatible licenses.
In any case, I generally prefer to respect the wishes of
the artist, even when there is no legal requirement for it. Another
reason I contact artists is to give them a chance to tell me if the
licensing information was fraudulent.