Vimeo has long been a favored site for visualists sharing their work, but while sites like rival video host and photo sharing site Flickr added an option for Creative Commons licensing, it’s been conspicuously absent on Vimeo — until now.

Now, when you upload video files to Vimeo, you’ll see options for all the major CC license types. That means you can not only provide a CC license, but choose how you want your work to be used — whether people are allowed to remix it, use it for commercial uses, and so on.

As the Vimeo blog puts it:

It means that while you still retain the copyright for your work, you can allow other people to distribute it, remix it or use it for a new purpose, commercial or noncommercial. All of this while still requiring that they credit you for the original work.

Recycle, Remix and Re-use with Creative Commons [Vimeo Staff Blog]

For visualists, I think it’s big news. I’ve seen entire sets made of ripped-off videos from Vimeo. Now, for those willing to take a different path, you can assemble visual sets using work for which the creator actually wants you to remix and reuse. If creator intent is important to you, can now honor that intent.

For producers of visuals, there are two primary advantages:

Wider distribution when you want it. If visuals are a promotional tool (like the Flying Lotus and Matthew Dear vids I just posted), you can actually encourage people passing them around using tools like torrent. And you can do the same with, say, visual reels or video you shot of projection mapping, and so on.

Remixes when you want them. If you want to upload footage and see it in someone’s live visual set, you now have the option of using Vimeo as your tool. Ditto if you have an artist who wants video remixes of a music video, and so on.

The “if you want” is the important part. If you prefer to retain your copyright, you can. The problem has been that people assume that anything uploaded to the Internet is fair game – which is true, so long as you don’t care about artist intent, credit, or authorship. Once the CC badges are there, it’s blatantly obvious what people want or not. The uploader still remains the weak link – it’s easy for someone to upload content that isn’t actually CC-licensed as their own, but that’s an issue with the Web, not with CC licenses per se (because they can do the same with copyrighted works).

By the way, I asked the folks at Creative Commons if they’d seen any good content so far. Here’s one example they’ve spotted just hours into the announcement – gobs of videos from Vincent Moon / Temporary Example, with spectacular footage of lots of wonderful artists playing music live. Fan-remixed music videos, anyone:
Vincent Moon / Temporary Area

Take Away Show #100 _ SOEMA MONTENEGRO (part 2) from vincent moon / temporary areas on Vimeo.

I know that visualists using footage has been a dicey topic. Because audiences for live visualists usually aren’t terribly discriminating, and only fellow VJs know what you’re doing, there are a lot of frankly boring sets. But if readers on CDMotion are ready to join in the crusade, I’d love to see people voluntarily uploading remix-ready video footage and imagery, and talented visual artists working to truly remix that into something unique, not just dropping it in a set and cross-fading. Who’s with me?

  • Defiantly a step in the right direction. Now if I can only discipline myself to log where all this content comes from. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I've been lazy when it comes to documenting where my content comes from. Vimeo is good because I can 'like' what I use so I have some reference. I'm sure I could use Bridge to help me out, but its still a lot of work to keep track of it all. Mostly I just send message to the owners of videos and tell them I use it in my VJ sets and if its problem to let me know. I've not had anyone say 'stop'. I find video artists really happy to share.

  • Peter Kirn

    Hmmm — good point. That sounds like a job for a quick hack of an app that uses their API. 😉

  • Cool news and I will love some stuff free for my experimental electronica and Dubstep sets…

    I will love artist share me their beautyful textures and landscapes (with a little banner at downright corner or something like this!)


  • massta

    This is great news.

    Anything videos I download (freely available or ripped)are named by title_artist. Now I can go back and tag them according to their CCLs.

  • foks

    this is very exciting news!

    i am a beginning visualist and since my very first performance i didn't intend to just grab (and violate author's rights) bunch of cool content and use it. so i started with beeple's loops (CCL), later on i created my own by remixing.

    i believe this is the best ethical way how to do things right. i believe copyright in these modern digital times is really prehistoric and cannot catch up.

  • TweakingKnobs


    great !!!

  • James

    "The problem has been that people assume that anything uploaded to the Internet is fair game – which is true"

    Sorry, what?

    If you create something the work is automatically bound by copyright laws depending on your location.

    Making available content on the Internet does not change this. If there are no license details next to your work then it is treated as normal by law.

    Unless I have had it completely wrong in my head.

    The point of Creative Commons, as I understood, was to benefit the user and not the artist. If you create something with intent to share, but do not detail any license for your work, then people downloading will be criminalised due to copyright law (even though it was the artist's intent). If you instead specify some other license (eg creative commons) then basically everything works exactly the same (content available, users download) except the user is not longer branded criminal.

  • James

    And also, I don't see where the massive 'hurrah' is for Vimeo. This is just a website design change, nothing more.

    There was nothing to stop people in the past detailing whatever license they wish next to their content (unless you've automatically agreed something with Vimeo by signing up?).

    The only thing now is that license details are now designed into the Vimeo website in a way I guess that looks nice.

    I guess a positive thing is that content providers are now prompted by Vimeo to detail some license for their work, which is maybe good to help spread awareness. But really if you're serious about your work then you would have thought about the copyright issues already and come up with your own solution if you want to details a creative commons (or any other) license next to your works.

  • @James: Did you not read to the end of the sentence you were quoting? Let me paste the whole thing here for you, in case you managed to skip over it:

    The problem has been that people assume that anything uploaded to the Internet is fair game – which is true, so long as you don’t care about artist intent, credit, or authorship.

    Sometimes irony is hard to pick up on the web, but this isn't one of those cases. Cherrypicking part-sentences to create misunderstanding doesn't work when the full article is right above.

    Why this is big news is that with inbuilt licenses, it will allow searching by license. One of the main reasons I use vimeo is that it allows people to download the original, high quality/resolution files of my work. Sure, you can write "this video is licensed as Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike", but if people word their licenses differently, it'll be hard to find content under the license you're looking for.
    Check Flickr's advanced search for an example of this. Vimeo will be adding search by license very soon, I am sure.

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