[cc-licenses] Regarding SA and "strong copyleft" question
zotz at 100jamz.com
Tue Feb 27 08:44:53 EST 2007
On Tuesday 27 February 2007 05:22 am, Terry Hancock wrote:
> drew Roberts wrote:
> > On Monday 26 February 2007 08:47 pm, Terry Hancock wrote:
> >>Trying to get a By-SA license on photographs to apply to text that is
> >>merely associated with the pictures is a very bad idea for many
> >>different reasons.
> > Please explain these to us. I think having people use my BY-SA photos in
> > ARR works is not to my benefit. I need to see that the problems you refer
> > to outweigh the benefits.
> Freedom issues aren't primarily about your benefit -- they're about the
> users' benefit.
This I know, but I also deserve some of that freedom as a user which is being
denied me in the examples we are discussing.
> A creator is always, in a game theoretic sense going to
> be motivated to seek more and more control. But that's not what we're
> supposed to be about here (or if it is, then I have to abandon CC
It is not what I am about. Hey, if I were even a BY guy, I would not be having
this discussion, it is precisely because I am a copyleft guy that this
concerns me at all. (On top of that, I have been trying more to explain the
concerns I see others expressing and comment on the possibility of a tweak to
the license from a legal standpoint, not expressing my own desires in the
form of a call for action.)
> The problem that free licenses are supposed to solve is the enormous
> overhead associated with “rights-clearing” a creative production, and
> the resulting chilling effect on creative activity generally.
Well, I don't see that as the primary purpose for my being involved with the
BY-SA side of CC, but it is a nice result and one that we would want to
> Too many
> constraints creates an environment where it is no longer practicable to
> create content.
Indeed, but these would only really apply to people creating content which
denies me the very freedoms they want with my works.
> It is in the common interest to avoid this situation.
> Images create a number of special problems because of the way they are
> used. For example -- what if you collate a set of images into a neat
> block for web layout purposes, combining them into, say, a 3x3 grid.
> This is for example necessary to create any kind of meaningful
> juxtaposition of images in the blogging software I use at Free Software
> Magazine (it doesn't have any way to create a figure composed of
> multiple image files, so if I want a combined figure, I have to
> pre-process the result into a single image).
Can you explain why this makes a new or derived work as opposed to copies of
the original works glued together?
> This is irritating enough,
> and it is created by the existing license. However, I've learned to live
> with that, even though it has made it impossible for me to publish
> certain images in my blog that I've spent time creating.
> This has some annoying consequences. Suddenly, it matters *which* free
> license the images are under. Ordinarily, I can use By, By-SA, GFDL,
> GPL, Public Domain, and even "fair use" ARR images under certain
> circumstances. The articles are usually By-SA, but I occasionally use a
> "Verbatim Only" license. The latter is useful if the article is very
> precisely stating an opinion which may be controversial and which I
> don't want misrepresented.
I do understand the desire for verbatim only in these situations, but fair use
would allow them to quote only parts in any case. Still, you are not making
Free works in that case.
> I also use it for articles in which I've
> incorporated fair use materials, because modifying the article may
> affect the fair use status (that's mostly to protect the person copying
> it, as I wouldn't be accountable for that -- I figure this will get them
> to email me if they need more than that, and I can explain what I think
> the problems might be).
Mixing content, even fair use wise, is a big area of concern for me with
respoect to licensing works under a copyleft license.
Can you release a photo of someone under a copyleft license? Do you need a
different release signed than you would for an ARR photo? What about a crowd
scene on a public street?
Does the re-user need to know that more than just copyright law applies if
indeed it does?
> There are a lot of complex reasons for choosing these different options,
> and the conflicts between licenses simply create too many constraints.
This is one of the big problems copyleft licenses have in general. If anyone
has a general solution, I am sure many would be very interested.
> Now I know that some people have suggested a license that required only
> that "semantically linked" content be "under any free license". On the
> surface, this seems somewhat reasonable, but in practice, I think it
> would be a legal nightmare.
It could be, but it will not hurt to explore the possibilities. Someone may
hit on a brilliant solution that none of us can see right now. On the other
hand, we may hash it out and decide that the costs do indeed outweigh the
benefits and that despite the problems,we need to stay pat. Or in CC's case
where they like to offer a range of options for creators, perhaps there will
be two versions of BY-SA.
> First of all, what does "free licensed" mean? Creative Commons, Debian,
> Free Software Foundation, and the Open Source Initiative all have
> slightly different ideas about that definition. None of them consider
> the Verbatim case I mentioned above.
I freely admit that this can be a complicated discussion. I don't yet think we
should not have it because of that.
> If we were to apply the suggested rule, then we would have the shocking
> case where I can use copylefted material under "fair use" in an ARR
> work, but I *can't* use ARR work under fair use in a copylefted work!
Can you do this now? Is it safe to do? You might be getting your downstream
users in a good amount of trouble by doing this right? From what I
understand, fair use is iffy enough that I would not want to knowingly use an
ARR work in a fair use manner in a work I was to release under a copyleft
> More to the point, I can't write my own article and use a combination of
> illustrations from different sources with different licenses.
I see this more as a general problem with copyleft. Look at how the FSF deals
with license classifications.
Non-Free, Free but not GPL compatible, Free and GPL compatible. If you are
making a GPL work, you can not use non-Free code in it and you cannot use
Free code with a GPL incompatible license in the work either. This is one of
the costs of copyleft.
> certainly can't do so if one of the pictures is only available under a
> verbatim, press publicity photo, or fair use terms (but otherwise ARR).
> That happens a lot. When companies provide images of their products,
> they are usually under more restrictive "non-free" terms. And yet this
> is the obvious way to identify/reference their products in an article.
> If I want to talk about the "SpaceMouse" and you don't know what I'm
> talking about, the press photo from the company is the way to go.
> Needless to say, I check Flickr to see if I can find By or By-SA images
> of the device, but they weren't that popular (it's a high-end accessory
> for things like engineering workstations). I don't have one myself, so I
> can't take an original photo (and they are WAY expensive). So, I use the
> press photo.
> But uh-oh, according to your plan, I'm in a deadlock. I have By-SA and
> ARR photos in one article. Can't publish. You've muzzled my free speech
> rights! And remember, my article text is normally under By-SA anyway.
Ithink you wouldbe laying the blame on the wrong person. It would be that ARR
guy and the people who wrote the copyright laws that did that to you.
> I just don't think you can call that "free" anymore if you do that.
I am not sure why not, your article would not be free anymore is what I am
sure of. If I wanted to let you use my works to make non-Free works, I would
use BY and not BY-SA. Or BSD and not GPL. Personally, up to now, I have been
using copyleft licensesas my preferred Free licenses and unlike some people,
I do consider copyleft Free.
Still, that is why I am having this discussion.
On a big picture note, isn't this a similar problem that people wanting to use
the GNU Readline Library face?
> So, on the one hand, even if you can solve the "definition of freedom"
> question, there are significant cases where such a rule would interfere
> with my freedom of expression.
Hey, my using BY-SA on my text right now does this to you with respect to my
text being used in your non-BY-SA articles, why should my other BY-SA works
be any less of an issue?
> And on the other, I am extremely
> skeptical of reaching an agreed-upon definition of freedom that we can
> all be happy with.
This may indeed be true. Still, perhaps other wording will be found by some
brilliant person or even by some ordinary person with a flash of insight.
> It's also relevant to point out some issues with concept of "semantic
> linking". What exactly does that mean?
Again, this is under discussion no? What should it mean? Are there better
words to express what is actually wanted?
> Remember when the CSS folks were suing people for merely *linking* to
> pages describing or providing DeCSS? That's almost certainly a "semantic
> link" (and from a software perspective, it is nearly identical to the
> way an image is identified from HTML code -- the text and picture do not
> actually come together except within the user's browser. No "copy" of
> the combined work is ever actually made!
A straw man in the case of the CSS example unless you stipulate where the
image resides and who makes the copies of the image.
> Then there are programmer's blogs, who, apparently having no visual
> sensibilities at all, simply link random pictures of mountains and bunny
> rabbits into their blogs to "prettify it" or "add some space". These
> pictures often have nothing whatever to do with the text.
I did mention this possibility.
> So, do we have to apply a test of deciding "how linked" the images are
> to the text? Yuck. What a lawyer gravy train that would be!
Firstly, surely no worse than the dreaded NC.
Secondly, only for people not wanting to make their works BY-SA.
Like I said, the simple thing to do would be to not allow even mere
aggregation. Probably not the right thing, but surely the simple thing.
> Then there's the question of transformative use. If you take a really
> nice picture of a fork, it may be a wonderful work in its own right, but
> if I make a clever pun in my article about "forking" a project, and use
> the fork picture as the punchline, do you really feel that my work is
> sufficiently dependent on your authorship that you should have the right
> to tell me how to license my work?
No, just the right to tell you not to use my picture of the fork in your work.
Like I said earlier, I can already do thatwith my BY-SA text, why not with my
> Again, I would find it difficult to regard such terms as "free".
> You all are right of course, that there is a negative consequence to be
> found here in that people may suddenly decide to retract commercial
> quality By-SA work. But you know what? In my experiences on Flickr, I
> find that much of the *best* photography is actually under the "By"
> license. So I don't think it's as big of a threat as you make it out to be.
Well, if the best stuff is BY, then this change will not really hurt. Honestly
Terry, you can't really have it both ways here.
> And as for your wanting to trick or pressure people into making their
> content free-licensed, I think that is seriously wrong-headed.
It is not a matter of trickery. It is a matter of their using my copyleft
works in non-Free works.
> There are
> enough good reasons to create free-licensed content, and enough of us
> doing it everyday anyway, that it's not going to go away.
Yes, and I am one of them, and I do it all the time myself. I also promote it
quite a bit.
> Free licensed
> images help to enable that content by providing freely distributable
> images to go along with freely distributable articles. The fact that
> there are also some edge case free-rider situations is really a pretty
> minor problem, in my opinion, and it simply isn't worth all of the
> problems it would create.
So far, the problems are mostly (all?) with creating non-Free works. It is not
a hugh concern of mine with respect to this discussion if problems are
created for people wanting to use my copyleft works in their non-Free works.
> Also, I expect to create By-SA content commercially as much as I can get
> away with, and I have serious doubts about someone with the sorts of
> motivations you envision being happy with that.
Well, I for one and happy for you to make as much as you honestly can based on
my copyleft works. It would be nice if I and others could turn around and do
the same with your resulting works though. This is one of the points of
copyleft after all.
> The fact that I'm making
> money, partly enabled by their content is going to piss them off, if
> they really have this "I'm giving to charity" and "I don't want to
> undercut commercial competition" idea in their heads.
Could be, but not necessarily. You could just be wording this in the worst way
you can think of for the other side.
> If that's what
> they are thinking, then they are really thinking in terms of NC, not SA
> There are, of course, a LOT of people who are free riding on my free
> licensed editorial content. A number of my blogs get mirrored or copied.
> So long as the rules are followed, though, I don't have a problem with
> that -- it just spreads my message further, and I think that's a good
The key is as long as the rules are followed. (But I think the spirit comes
into play as well.) Or why would there be this GPLv3 process going on now?
> But if I were to worry about their making money off of my content
> or something, that would just get silly.
Indeed. Make all you honestly can from my stuff.
> Free software and free culture work, though, because free riders don't
> really cost you anything. The *problem* is when your work gets taken
> away from you, because somebody modifies it and sequesters it in some
> way so that you don't get to benefit from it.
If it were this simple, the GPL wouldbe happy to let people take GPL code from
one program and use it in a non-Free program which did something completely
different. That is not the case.
> There's a fundamental
> fairness issue here, and trying to bind associated media, IMHO, steps
> over that boundary. IMHO, the existing terms are a good compromise.
If we are talking fundamental fairness, what is fair about you being able to
use my work which I have placed under a Free license while I cannot use your
work because you have chosen a non-Free license?
Don't get me wrong, I do see your point but I am not sure it will necessarily
step over the line if we can find a way to do it well. At this stage, I think
it is at least worth some effort to look for that instead of only fighting it
from the break.
all the best,
(da idea man)
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