[cc-licenses] NC considered harmful? Prove it...
gmaxwell at gmail.com
Wed Mar 7 22:25:43 EST 2007
On 3/7/07, Luis Villa <luis at tieguy.org> wrote:
> While Greg wasn't completely clear, he seemed to be arguing that other
> things being equal, people would contribute to projects under less
> restrictive licenses.
> GPL is a more restrictive license than BSD or Apache, and yet is
> vastly more popular, so I think Greg's contention (if I understand it
> correctly) is incorrect.
GPL makes a value proposition:
1) Compatibility with other GPL software.
2) Expanding the commons by using terms which only allow other fairly
free works to be compatible.
With GPLv2, the only way to get both is to use the GPL. (I'm not aware
of any strong copyleft licenses with GPLv2 compatibility). I expect
we'll see a little less license monoculture with GPLv3 since it's more
NC too has a value proposition, "people who want to make commercial
use of this will have to hunt you down and pay you" .. but I think
this can be more realistically stated "you won't find out about
someone making commercial use of this without paying you", since the
transactional cost of hunting you down and paying you is probably
greater than just buying works from a traditional source.
As such it can be easily argued that the benefit to the author for NC
licenses is frequently minimal and mostly psychological rather than
This is magnified by the fact that the more popular way to monetize
non-professional created content is via advertising social sites where
the profitable exploitation of NC content is permitted by the Creative
Commons license clarification.
It's clear to see how the restrictiveness of the GPL can benefit
authors and the public alike (more freely licensed stuff = good for
the public commons). I've never seen anyone argue that the
restrictiveness of NC directly benefits the public, so if you accept
my argument that NC hardly benefits the author, then it's apparent
that it's a bad deal and you can reach that conclusion without a piece
work which you can hold up and say "this wouldn't exist if foo were
NC"... (Not that examples don't exist, but I don't want to get into a
weaselly argument, where it's countered that FOO could exist even with
an NC license just as long as X,Y,Z improbable but possible events
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