Extra restrictions on derivative works
email at greglondon.com
email at greglondon.com
Sat Feb 7 00:32:28 EST 2004
On Fri, 06 Feb 2004 12:54:59 -0800, Mike Linksvayer wrote:
> I think the goal in offering a more flexible SA is to increase the pool
> from which a derived work can pull from. We aren't naively pursuing
> only that goal, or we'd offer nothing but a PD dedication. _Personally_
> I'm more comfortable with a SA that that preserves freedoms rather than
> restrictions, but my sympathies tend towards the libre software world,
> so that's expected. I suspect most creatives don't harbor such
> sympathies, and as such it may be worth offering a SA with a slightly
> different nature. IMHO, FWIW, IANAL, etc.
So, if I license my work CC-SA, you're telling me that people
can take my work, derive it, and tack on any two-letter
acronym they want onto the license, turning it into
CC-SA-NC or CC-SA-BY or CC-SA-ND ????
Is this what you're saying?
If I wanted my work to be non-commercial, I would have put the
two extra initials on myself.
> offering a more flexible SA is to increase the pool
> from which a derived work can pull from.
The problem you're running into is license incompatibility.
NC works can only play with other NC works.
That's just the way it goes. But that's how the author
wanted it. Or they wouldn't have contributed their work
with a CC license in the first place.
I've been around the open source software for a while,
and license incompatibility is a problem there.
GNU-GPL can only play with other GNU-GPL works.
But that's the way Richard Stallman wanted it,
and the people who thought they could bring
Microsoft to its knees thought so too. It was
a strong belief a couple years ago that Linux
would eventually kill the evil microsoft, and
GNU-GPL would lock the greedy Bill Gates out of
using the code.
But I work with Perl a lot, and the Perl artistic
license doesn't fly with GNU-GPL. Sometimes people
try to work around incompatible licenses by dual
licensing, but that has problems too.
Creative Commons offers a multitude of licenses.
Bascially mix and match the two-letter acronyms.
And several combinations are incompatible with
So the license you're proposing is effectively
using the dual-license approach to solve what
some perceive to be a problem of
incompatibility. SA can mean SA or SA-NC.
But some people won't contribute their works
if your force them to use a license they dont want.
The people who wanted to slay Microsoft wouldn't
have contributed their code under the Perl artistic
license because it wasn't copyleft. the perl artistic
license is essentially CC-PD.
GNU-GPL allows commercial use, but derived works
must be GNU-GPL'ed as well. and a court ruling
decided that when you compile code together, you
are making one gigantic derived work, so ALL the
source code had to be GNU-GPL if ANY of the code was
I was actually surprised that Creative Commons had
a No-Commercial use option on their license selection.
It's an idea that was abandoned in most software
open-source licenses some time ago. GNU-GPL, as restrictive
as it is, allows commercial derivatives. And RedHat is
a company that has made money off of Linux and even
contributed to the effort. Red Hat Packages (RPM's) are
software bundles that allow for a consistent interface
to ANY software installation in a Linux system, and it
was contributed by the Red Hat company.
If Creative Commons wanted to do ANYTHING that would
help its cause, it should probably seriously consider
removing Non-Commercial as an option on its licensing
and greatly reduce the license incompatibilities among
its license combinations.
A re-education might be needed, for contributers, and
even for Creative Commons people themselves. Non-Commercial
is Non-Sense. As long as any derived works remain 'public'
through some Copyleft or Sharealike license, the community
This might be a brutal analysis, but there is only one
type of person who contributes a work under a Non-Commercial
license, and that is someone who wants free distribution,
word of mouth, derived works to attribute their names to
get someone to notice them and then PAY them for their work.
These kinds of people will not use your share alike license
if it allows commercial use, they'll just pick a different
license. So changing the license won't help your incompatibility
problem. You will always have a compatibility problem with
their works, because they want it that way.
Well, there is a second type of person, and that is someone
who mistakenly believes that anything COMMERCIAL is in
some way EVIL. these people simply need to be educated
beyond their simple Robin Hood fairy tales where all
rich people got that way by stealing from the poor.
The RedHat example is a good place to start.
GNU-GPL, as strict and rigid as it is, was almost required
for what it was trying to accomplish, namely a massive body
of work that required a decade of work, countless man hours
of work, and millions of lines of code. And it allows commercial
use. The one thing it did was add Copyleft to its license.
If Creative Commons wants to cultivate a rich body of works
that people can pool from, it should seriously consider
reducing the options to two licenses:
CC-BY-SA : attribution sharealike
CC-BY-ND-NC : noderiviative noncommercial
The BY-ND-NC is for the people who are looking to get paid
for their work, and want free distribution to get the
The BY-SA is for people who want to contribute to the pool
of works that other people can use. Commercial use is
allowed but since it is sharealike, any derived works
whether commercial or education or whatever is still
usable by the public pool.
The "education" mailing list had some discussion going on about
a license limiting the work to 'educational' purposes only,
or something like that, which is just silly, and another
option that will create more incompatibilities among licenses.
People are either willing to contribute their works to a
pool that other people can use freely or they're not.
If they are, BY-SA will expand the pool. If they are not,
use the BY-NC-ND license.
GNU-GPL created a massive "pool" of code that works together.
people contributed to it because they wanted to, and some
contributed to it because they could make money off of it
in other ways (selling books, installation CD's, selling support).
ANd the license basically locks all the code into the same
A massive pool of music and movies and text that anyone can
use and modify will only be achievable via BY-SA. All other
options simply splinter the pool into incompatible little
Anyone who argues otherwise needs to take a serious look
at the hard lessons learned by open-source software,
and the success of GNU-GPL. They also need to take a
serious look at their personal motivations and prejudices
that makes them want to exclude certain groups from the
"public" pool. (commercial, non-educational, etc)
Oh, you could offer CC-PD as well. for people who are
truly altruistic and wish to give their works to the
world with no strings attached.
sorry for the rant.
I am not a laywer,
this is not legal advice,
do not operate heavy machinery while reading this post.
More information about the cc-licenses