[cc-community] Switching my book to a CC licence?
hancock at anansispaceworks.com
Sat Dec 1 14:57:50 EST 2007
Christoph Schiller wrote:
> However, you are not allowed to charge money for anything
> containing any part of this text; it was and remains free for
> everybody to read, to print for personal use, and to store
> and distribute electronically in unmodified form.
CC's NC license term is even more draconian in its measures than your
It would not even allow the file to be made available from a site that
runs ads to cover its hosting costs, for example.
The truth is, though, that it really is a bad idea to try to restrict
selling of a free text -- there are very good reasons why you might want
to allow it (such as recovering costs of media, etc). You might naively
think "Oh, well then, I'll just allow 'reasonable costs for media'", but
then what are those? What about handling it, putting it on a site for
download, etc. Do you REALLY want to spend time in court proving what is
"reasonable" and what isn't?
Distribution may be cheap, but it isn't zero cost.
I'm sure that what you fear is that someone is going to somehow "make a
profit by exploiting your hard work", but that kind of fear is
unfounded. They only do that if they have an EXCLUSIVE right to
distribute your work (or can create the illusion that they do by
stripping your attribution notices). All you need to ensure that
distribution comes very close to the marginal cost (i.e. what it
actually costs to distribute) is to insist on attribution and
preservation of licensing -- which is what CC-By-SA (or the GFDL or the
GPL) provides. Then it will always be possible for potential readers to
quickly find the free (or at distribution cost) version of your work,
thus eliminating the opportunity for a scalper to charge more.
The use of an ND clause is also somewhat questionable -- no doubt you
feel you know the subject better than anyone who might modify your work,
but you're probably wrong. Physics, like any other science, is a moving
target, and large enough that no one can possibly understand every
aspect of it in perfect detail. Yet, your terms insist that your errors
For myself, I think this conflicts fundamentally with scientific ethics.
Better to create a work that allows modification so long as a proper
attribution trail is kept so that it is possible for the user to find
out when and by whom any change was made. That way, errors can be
corrected, but introduced-errors can be traced and eliminated. Needless
to say, you needn't assume the burden of endorsing the final result (the
GFDL has specific terms for this, CC's attribution right includes the
right NOT to be attributed for changed works).
That is much more consistent with the scientific method (and traditional
publishing practices in science).
Terry Hancock (hancock at AnansiSpaceworks.com)
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com
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