[cc-licenses] Unbundling the GPL
james at grimmelmann.net
Wed Apr 25 09:43:14 EDT 2007
Björn Terelius wrote:
> On 4/25/07, *Evan Prodromou* <evan at prodromou.name
> <mailto:evan at prodromou.name>> wrote:
> On Wed, 2007-25-04 at 12:15 +0200, Björn Terelius wrote:
> > I think it is unfortunate that CC does not extend this help to
> > programmers, and I see no reason (other than the practical) why it
> > hasn't been done.
> If you want to use Creative Commons licenses for software, you should.
> They work fine.
> But the Creative Commons discourage that.
That doesn't need to stop anyone. There are extremely good reasons not
to use a CC license if you want to release free software. The details
that CC licenses get wrong for software are dealbreakers if you want to
create free software. They would let abusive licensees break the social
compact and make the software unfree again. Fortunately, there are also
very good software licenses that get those details right. The GPL is
often the best default option.
That's the most important reason why CC discourages the use of their
licenses for software. It's not a prohibition. It's just a strong
warning that there are other licenses that do the job better. And since
free software licensing is so important in the some rights reserved
world, they phrase it as a blanket discouragement.
CC, however, CANNOT stop you from using one of their licenses for
software. For freeware, and for other software where issues such as
source code and copyleft are not really in play, the details that the CC
licenses don't really handle are much smaller issues. As Evan says,
they work just fine, and it would be just fine to create another
organization educating freeware developers in how to use them for their
If CC doesn't officially endorse the use, that shouldn't be the obstacle
that stops you. CC has a good reason to make a bright line suggestion
that their licenses not be applied to software; that helps keep the
large number of people who'd pick a CC license when a free software one
would be more appropriate from going wrong. Given that, better, as Evan
suggests, simply to educate freeware developers directly rather than
worry about going through CC itself.
More information about the cc-licenses