By Matt McGregor
In 2010, Jem Yoshioka decided to enter Mix & Mash, then a new initiative from DigitalNZ and the National Library of New Zealand. Reusing Katherine Mansfield’s poem ‘An Opal Dream Cave,’ Jem produced a short comic of the same name.
With this entry, Jem won the Creative Commons category of Mix & Mash. As Jem relates, “That was when I began to think about how I could use Creative Commons material in my work, and also start licensing my own work under Creative Commons.”
“I then decided to open up my Flickr stream. Now, everything I put online I licence under Creative Commons.”
The comics on Jem’s website, including An Opal Dream Cave and Sunshine, are all made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike licence. Many more photos, illustrations, comics and sketches are made available under the same licence on her Flickr stream.
As Jem explains, “I use Creative Commons for many reasons, one of them being that I really do believe that copyright is outdated, especially given the way we can share things online. It becomes more of a burden than anything. Instead of encouraging creativity, it begins to block it.
“By using an open licence, it actually gives me a lot more freedom to say what I want done with my work. I don’t have to worry about people infringing on my rights, as it’s very clear what can be done with my work.”
Jem chose to use the Share Alike licence so “everyone that uses my work is also contributing to Creative Commons. It’s a ways of increasing the pool of work and encouraging the conversation.”
“The Share Alike licence is a way for me to contribute to the Creative Commons environment.”
Unlike some artists—like Dylan Horrocks—Jem chose not to apply a Non-Commercial licence to her work. As she explains, “People can make money off my work. I’m really not too fussed about that, as long as it’s got my name on it, they can do whatever they like. I’d rather it be shared.
The ShareAlike aspect of the license means anything that is made, even commercially, also has to be ShareAlike. If a big company wants to use my work, they’re doing so while contributing to Creative Commons.”
“Being a part of a community also helps me to get a bit more traction for my freelance work. This model doesn’t take money away from you. It engages and connects people even more with what I do.”
Recently, Jem became a trustee of the Creative Freedom Foundation, joining other Creative Commons supporters, including Dan Untitled, Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Matthew Holloway Smith and Luke Rowell of Disasteradio.
Jem’s next project idea is an interactive story that will use Creative Commons and Public Domain works as well as original illustrations. She will be blogging her progress over at Jemshed.