collin at xs4all.nl
Wed Mar 9 08:27:45 EST 2005
On 9 Mar 2005, at 7:49, drew Roberts wrote:
> I think the confusion is arising because if you choose SA then it says
> the derivatives must carry exactly the same license, which implies
> that if you don't choose SA then the derivatives do not have to come
> with exactly the same license, so then exactly which alternative
> licenses are allowable? For instance, what about a non CC license
> altogether that still forbids commercial use?
Keeping in mind that I am so not a lawyer...
When Alice creates an original work, copyright law forbids anybody
but Alice to copy the work. Alice is the copyright holder (or owner,
as they say in the US).
Alice can use a license that opens up some forms of copying to some
One of these forms of copying is creating a derivative work.
When Bob creates a derivative of Alice's work, the derivative has two
copyright holders: Bob and Alice. Since Bob has no say over Alice's
part of the creation, he cannot grant more freedoms than Alice has
already granted. He can only add in more restrictions, i.e. cancel
out some of the freedoms Alice granted.
Theoretically, Bob could grant freedoms for the part that is his
original invention. Say Alice's work is a three stanza song, and Bob
adds a fourth stanza, that fourth stanza could be endowed with
freedoms beyond those granted by Alice.
Share Alike lets Alice tell Bob that regardless of what he wants to
do with a derivative, he cannot add any further restrictions to the
derivative; Alice completely controls the licensing of both the
original and the derivatives, as if she were the sole copyright
Again, IANAL, YMMV.
I find the confusion understandable. It would seem Share Alike is
based on the Free Software principle. Free Software and Copyleft were
invented in a time when less and less people and corporations were
willing to share. The basic fear that is behind the idea of a viral
copyleft, is that creators of derivatives want to add restrictions to
the license, that will grant them more control. Think Microsoft
appropriating the BSD ftp client, and slapping its own, more
restrictive license on top of that.
Share Alike and CC have come in a time, though, that more and more
people and corporations wish to share. Seen from that angle, it would
seem odd that the original author would wish to control the licensing
of all derivatives. Also, CC seems (to me) far more restrictive than
the GPL, so Share Alike makes perhaps less sense, because there are
less restrictions you could pile on top of a CC license. (For the
sake of argument I am not counting a PD declaration as a license.)
(I am not saying that a viral license is bad; just because people in
a sharing environment have trouble to see the bogeyman, does not mean
he doesn't exist.)
collin at xs4all.nl
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