Releasing Charles Norris-Brown's art to the world

BELLOWS FALLS — Beyond the interaction invited through the exhibit of Charles Norris-Brown's art, the Canal Street Art Gallery welcomes volunteers to assist, as the gallery's website puts it, “in digital cataloging of all works pertaining to Thunder Basin to be available during the Distant Thunder Studio show, including artworks, sketchbooks and notebooks.”

Those efforts will “help bring one artist's vision to life of developing his graphic novel into a Creative Commons–licensed work to be accessible for community-based projects worldwide.”

So what does that mean?

Creative Commons is described on its website as “a nonprofit organization that helps overcome legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity to address the world's most pressing challenges.”

The organization has developed multiple licenses that allow users to copy and distribute a creative work like writing, illustration, or photography according to clear parameters spelled out in advance by its copyright owner.

A creator can put a work into the public domain, letting the world do anything. Or a creator can release the work to allow noncommercial use or use under the condition that it not be edited, adapted, or otherwise changed. In any case, those boundaries are clearly established and encourage confident reuse.

In a 2018 blog post, Norris-Brown announced that he had acquired the rights to his 2016 children's book Did Tiger Take the Rain? and would make it available under this license.

“A major criteria of the Creative Commons strategy is to bypass the controlling, profit-based capitalist market,” he wrote. “Putting my book out there under Creative Commons means that the book can be made available to children around the world who would otherwise not be able to afford it. It will be downloaded, copied, printed, distributed and even changed by anyone, virtually the whole world.”

It is available at

“The book is yours,” Norris-Brown wrote. “Share it with the children of the world. A book in every child's hands.”

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