[cc-licenses] Need clarification: What is "commercial"?
jake at countersinkdg.com
Fri May 4 11:29:20 EDT 2007
Thanks for the well documented thoughts. I understand why the branching
issues are a problem, certainly. But to me, the real question your valid
points raise is whether or not the actual implementation method is
correct. It seems like we're still thinking far too old school about
licenses (or at least the creation of them). Attributes are supposed to
be just that - attributes of something bigger. Shouldn't the core of the
licenses be the bigger thing, while the various conditions (i.e.
attributes) are easy to swap out? Its sounds like we're getting caught
up in the branding, rather than providing a simple method for someone to
clearly "express intent" of their content.
James, you said: "Here, I think that the NC license provides an okay
basis for a "no resale" license in practice; use the NC and then state
that you are also okay with companies using it for internal purposes."
This, in my opinion, defeats much of the point of CC. Look at Flickr's
implementation of license selection. Tell me where there's an option in
the licensing choices to make those kinds of caveats. And aren't those
caveats far far more dangerous than branches? You've removed the clarity
of intent from the licensing process itself. If I have to add a caveat
into my image description on Flickr saying what NC means (or any other
attribute, really) then personally I see that as a failing license.
Again, thanks for the details and the discussion.
James Grimmelmann wrote:
> Jake McKee wrote:
>> Hey all,
>> Thanks so much for the great conversation. Rather than reply inline to a
>> lot of the points raised, I'll just summarize my response.
>> Generally I don't understand the fear of "branching". As someone
>> mentioned, the more options with something like CC, the more clarity.
>> Again, CC is about helping people "express intent". Offering more
>> options/attributes is a fantastic way to do that. (Of course there's
>> absolutely a point of diminishing returns, but two flavors of NC doesn't
>> begin to come close to that point)
> Branching is one of my biggest fears with CC licenses, so I'll list a
> few more reasons to be concerned about it.
> (1) Every new license needs either to be supported for a long time or at
> some point explicitly dropped. The latter can create transition
> problems -- people using a license may be stuck with older and older
> versions, so that users have to read more and more carefully the
> language of the actual legal deeds. This happens, for example, with
> anyone who refused to switch from SA 1.0 to BY-SA when the no-BY option
> was phased out. Thus, branching as an experiment has the consequence
> that some licensors get stranded on branches that don't continue. So
> creating new licenses causes trouble if you ever want to go back to
> fewer licenses.
> (2) Branching complicates CC's communication mission. Quick: which of
> the following licenses are identical: Sampling Plus, Founders Copyright,
> Attribution-ShareAlike, Attribution-NonCommercial, Wiki, and Music
> Sharing? Especially when the naming convention gets away from the
> license elements, more licenses means a harder time figuring out what a
> given license does and doesn't allow, and a harder time designing clear
> communication schemes to explain the licenses. It's easier to design a
> comprehensible icon set when the licenses are fewer and clearer. (Just
> look at the chaos of the Adobe CS3 icon set, and on the difficulty of
> knowing what programs you get when you buy various versions of the CS3
> (3) Branching creates more and more incompatible pools. With SA, those
> pools are explicitly self-propagating and can't be combined in
> perpetuity. Even without it, the pools have a way of replicating
> themselves. If I want to use something under BY-NC, and to release my
> contribution under a CC license, by far the easiest thing for me to do
> is to choose a BY-NC license for my own additions. That's a de facto
> pool that doesn't combine nicely with, say, BY-SA.
> (4) Branching creates more opportunities for strange interactions. The
> discussion here about mechanicals under various licenses is a good
> example. You have to figure out both what NC and SA would suggest about
> whether to waive them -- and then to decide which takes precedence in an
> NC-SA license.
> There are, as you say, some good reasons to want more licenses. My
> first reaction is always to ask (a) whether there is an existing license
> that approximates what someone wants closely enough, and (b) whether
> there is a compelling case for changing an existing license.
> Here, I think that the NC license provides an okay basis for a "no
> resale" license in practice; use the NC and then state that you are also
> okay with companies using it for internal purposes. That gives the
> general public an easy CC license for personal and all noncommercial
> uses, but requires companies (which are generally in a better position
> to research and negotiate licensing issues) to come back and check with
> you before internal use. That's not ideal, but it's not terrible.
> On the other hand, I suspect that many people who use NC really mean
> only something more like "no resale" and thus that changing the license
> is not out of the question. It'd make the license more useful on
> average. There are reasons not to (e.g. previous users relying on it
> not allowing internal commercial uses, and many users who don't want to
> allow them), but it still strikes me as being more useful than branching
> a new license.
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