So a few days ago I floated my suspicion that the RIAA wants to discourage the downloading of free music more than infringing downloads of their own music. Taking the opposite tack of most of this stuff, which is all about clamping down on the unauthorized, Creative Commons is promoting a method by which musicians can flag their music as CC licensed. This is not just theory but has a proof of concept available now, in that the iRATE P2P/streaming/collaborative filtering client can now flag songs based on their CC licensing status. The upsides of this are many, particularly for those musicians who jump on board this train fast. The early CC embedding adopters will feel some benefit in the attention economy as people find out about this scheme and want to check it out. The downsides are that it doesn’t do that much for you until most or all of the clients use it. Perhaps soon there will be a WinAmp plugin that does this verification and shows the licensing status, and the P2P networks will add similar things to flag the files for which downloading is an explicitly granted permission. No matter how you slice it, one positive benefit of it is that it makes the people giving away MP3s aware of the importance of filling out the damn ID tags! That’s what makes this all work, so completely fill out your metadata!