[cc-licenses] ¿Dual licensing a bad idea?

Prodromos Tsiavos p.tsiavos at lse.ac.uk
Tue Jul 3 10:06:14 EDT 2007


Just to add to Rob's point, I think there is also a practical compatibility 
problem when you dual license a work. Consider the following scenario:

A is a dually licensed (under GPL/ CC_BY_SA) work which is then mixed with 
work B  (which is only CC_BY_SA licensed).

Work AB that will come as a result of such mixing is now miscible ONLY with 
CC_BY_SA works and cannot be dual licensed since it originates from B (which 
is a CC_BY_SA only licensed work), unless B's licensor agrees to such new 
form of licensing making B dual licensed as well.

I think Evan has commented on this issue quite extensively on this list in 
the past.

thnx
pRo

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rob Myers" <rob at robmyers.org>
To: "Discussion on the Creative Commons license drafts" 
<cc-licenses at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 4:30 PM
Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] ¿Dual licensing a bad idea?


Javier Candeira wrote:
> Rob Myers wrote:
>> If you are the original licensor you could dual-license under BY-SA and
>> GPL, but that's a very bad idea.
>
> ¿Rob, can you please expound/expand?

BY-SA and the GPL are both copyleft licenses but they are designed for
different kinds of work and protect different kinds of use. They are
also incompatible.

Software really shouldn't be licensed BY-SA. It doesn't protect user
freedom as well as the GPL. In particular you don't have to provide
modified source code. And if a user makes a BY-SA derivative of the
software it cannot be used with GPL licensed code (such as libraries).

Art shouldn't generally be licensed GPL. There is a web site of
GPL-licensed art, and "software art" (programs that are art) should
definitely be licensed GPL, but media shouldn't be. Since GPL-licensed
code can work quite happily with BY-SA licensed media assets (icons,
sounds) and documentation, there is no real reason to separate these
from the rest of the BY-SA commons.

I agree with Evan that more and more art is being represented as
software (and data), but I think it is still important to distinguish
between executable software and cultural works. Ultimately we may need
some kind of polymorphous license that requires that you publish the
source of your novel when it's published as a LaTeX document and
requires that you not add a shrinkwrap license when it's published as a
dead-tree book.

- Rob.
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