[cc-licenses] How much "agreement" is needed about the meaning of a license?

jonathon jonathon.blake at gmail.com
Wed Sep 16 14:13:51 EDT 2009


On Mon, Sep 14, 2009 at 19:46, Gregory Maxwell wrote:

> I don't know that "strong agreement on the commerciality of certain use cases" is very well supported by the NC survey data.

+1

> If an author only expects to have 7 users, why not just consider each case on its own merits and permit uses individual

Is a "user" somebody who merely listens to a tune?
Or somebody who plays it on their own instrument?
Or somebody who buys the CD?

If the third, the major labels would love to know how to determine the
number of expected users, so that they only release content that
sells.

> why don't they use the most permissive licenses? Most authors reported that they have been contacted. I am frequently contacted requesting permission for activities which are unequivocally permitted by the licenses I use.

Regardless of the license that is used, an ethical content creator
will always contact the license holder, if only to verify that the
content was distributed by the license holder, or their authorized
agent, under the license that is claimed for it.

This is because there is way too much material out there, that has had
a CC license  slapped on it, by a third party, without the knowledge,
consent, or authorization of the content creator.  (I have filed more
than one DMCA take down notice, because my material was being
distributed under a CC license other than the one I distributed it
under.)

> I can only guess that there aren't masses of disputes because people don't enforce, even when they don't agree.

If a user thinks a use is not-NC, they won't use it for that purpose.
That reduces the  pool of potential disputes by half.

> People tolerate the 'misuse', or they are not paying attention;

This assumes that the content creator finds out about the usage. That
isn't always the case.

> And… it's hard to tell from experience because most problems are created by people completely ignoring their copyright-related obligations

Part of it is ignoring copyright obligations.
Part of it is not being aware of their copyright obligations;

> At some level of disagreement about the meaning of a license, using it will do more harm than good by inspiring disagreements. Where is that threshold?

The disagreements/harm come from the lack of definitions, and
explanations of what the terms mean, imply, and require.

> Wouldn't a "private, personal use only + contact me for other options" cover the overwhelming majority of the need for NC, while closing off many opportunities for misunderstanding?

a) Some people use NC under the impression that it mandates
distribution gratis to third parties.  A "private, personal use only"
exemption would not be useful there.
(Whether or not that impression is accurate, is one of the
ambiguities of the NC license.);

b) "Private, personal use only" is at least as ambiguous as "non-commercial" is.

jonathon



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