[cc-licenses] Version 3.0 -- It's Happening & With BY-SA CompatibilityLanguageToo
hancock at anansispaceworks.com
Wed Feb 14 10:13:16 EST 2007
tomislav medak wrote:
> it seems to me that we would get again a confusion if we would create a
> free and non-free category, which would produce a somewhat similar,
> though ideologically quite different effect we had when all licenses
> were under one brand - CC license. for two reasons:
> first reason would be: how do you define 'free'?
> second reason would be: 'free' is a lot less precise in practical terms
> than BY and BY-SA, and 'non-free' is yet again a lot more less precise
> than BY-NC, BY-NC-SA, etc. this would be a step back from what we have
> gained with new buttons.
No one is advocating removing the branding distinction between By and
By-SA, or indeed, eliminating any of this information.
We are asking for a prominant sign that says "HERE YOU STEP OFF OF THE
CC makes that awkward by having "not quite free" licenses that cause
confusion and dilute the "free" brand.
This confusion is orders of magnitude greater than any caused by
The difference between NC and Free licenses also represents a
fundamental economic model break-point (Greg London loves to talk about
this -- ask him ;-) ): that is, the distinction between a "fringe
hanger-on to the traditional copyright monopoly-based marketplace"
(CC-By-NC-*) and a "embracing a new free-license-based model of content
creation" (CC-By, CC-By-SA).
IOW, this is a natural point of economic regime/paradigm change.
CC straddles this breakpoint, which creates enormous confusion for:
1) Users of the license (i.e. licensors)
2) Users of the works (i.e. licensees)
3) Analysts who wish to track and understand the dynamics of "free culture"
Understand me carefully: NC usage is an interesting phenomenon in
itself. However, it is a DISTINCT phenomenon from "Free Culture" and
should not be labeled as a member of that set.
Doing so requires me to make endless digressions on why CC doesn't
really follow the trends of other "free" phenomena and why it does not
provide the same enablement of individual commons-based production, and
What is needed is a *distinct brand image* for "free" and "non-free"
licenses. Color coding would be one way to attempt that, but it might
well be inadequate. Within each brand image, it's perfectly reasonable
to maintain distinct variants.
> i really understand the problem with the example you give, but someone
> creating FLOSS should really know better than confuse ND with free software.
The real problem, however, is for users. If I want to create free
cultural content, I must do so either independently (in which case, I'm
no better off with CC than without it) or by using exclusively *free* CC
licensed material. Non-free CC licenses are just noise in the searches
when I'm looking for content to build on, and the longer it takes to
distinguish them from valid source material, the harder it is to create.
Thus, non-free CC licenses, without distinct brand imaging, retard my
own efforts to produce free cultural materials.
Furthermore, they confuse some artists who imagine that they are
participating in free culture when they are not. This can result in:
1) Disillusionment (why don't I get the common magic?)
2) Misunderstanding of what can and cannot be done with the work
3) Opting to use NC by people who would otherwise try a free license
This retards the introduction of seed material into the free commons.
These are the reasons free culture proponents don't like CC-NC and why
there is so much bad feeling about CC for creating this situation.
In short, NC was a bad, bad, BAD idea.
What doesn't help is CC constantly patting itself on the back saying "NC
is our most popular license" and "look at all the pretty license
adoption charts" when in fact these facts are meaningless.
Of COURSE NC is the most popular CC license -- it is the most like ARR.
If CC included ARR in its figures, *that* would be the most popular
license (dwarfing all others). Would that justify promoting ARR as
Likewise, the license adoption figures mean nothing about free culture
unless the NC numbers are weeded out.
Sure, the file-sharing culture likes NC work better than ARR. But this
is a different phenomenon than "free culture". That's just "handout
All of this would be solved if you can just draw a line that says "this
side is free / this side is not". You can do that by having two
different brand images: two different logos, two different names or
imprints of CC, and two different sets of licenses on two different
license documentation pages. People must KNOW when they are stepping
across that boundary. Because it is a REAL boundary, with real-world
consequences for crossing it.
It's not just "a line on a map" -- it's a natural boundary, like a
mountain range or a river. It *means* something to be on one side or the
other of it.
But right now, the CC logo means *nothing*.
That's the essence of RMS's criticism of it. And I agree.
Terry Hancock (hancock at AnansiSpaceworks.com)
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com
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