[cc-licenses] Time limited CC licenses for version 4.0?

Greg London email at greglondon.com
Thu Dec 22 21:54:57 EST 2011

I found an old email here:

> but I'm less sure about the case for adding it now without
> a clear demonstration of demand

Well, it's hard to have demand for something that is completely
outside the normal paradigm. But there are a lot of people
who think copyright terms are too long.

> and theory as to why it would be a net benefit.

This just sort of adds grease to the wheels to make
people think about terms every time they pick a
license for their works.

Do you need life+70 as incentive to create this work?

No? Well, pick when you want it to enter the public domain.

Copyleft is weird and it's very presence challenges the
idea that creators must have complete control over their work
to create something new. They don't, and look at all these
works covered under a copyleft license that prove the copyright
argument wrong.

Terms are also weird. How does anyone actually justify
needing Life+70 terms when Mark Twain wrote most of his works
when terms were fixed 42 years? And made a lot of money
doing it?

An expire option is a challenge to the copyright propaganda
that says authors need Life+70 to create new works. It
gets people thinking about terms the same way copyleft gets
people thinking about rights.

And I think it has the potential to encourage and enable
people put works into the public domain earlier. The same
way creators were enabled to release some rights because
the CC licenses were there.

Could either make it "select your own expiration date" or
have it be fixed at something like 42 years and call it the
"TWAIN" option or something.

It's part political, certainly, getting people to use the license
gets them to think about term lengths. But GNU-GPL was also
part political and its opening manifesto was a bit of payload
that got carried along, and occaisionally made someone think
about copyright and copyleft.

This does the same thing in that it would make it easy for
creators to commit up front to put their work into the public domain
earlier, and also get people thinking about terms themselves.

> On Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 2:22 PM, Parker Higgins <parkerhiggins at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> These proposals remind me of an older, now-defunct CC tool called
>> Founder's
>> Copyright, which was limited to 14 years with a possible 14 year
>> extension.
>> Obviously that is no longer promoted, if it still even exists.
>> Mike, it looks like its earlier URL is now
>> gone: http://www.creativecommons.org/projects/founderscopyright. I've
>> found
>> some press releases about it and such. Maybe talking about what didn't
>> work
>> with timed licenses would be illustrative in a discussion about
>> implementing
>> them now?
> I did mention in my initial response to this thread
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/cc-licenses/2011-December/006454.html
> ... I encourage people continuing this thread to go back and read
> that.
> The only thing to add is that
> http://web.archive.org/web/20021222180218/http://creativecommons.org/projects/founderscopyright
> is older than I thought, essentially just as old as the CC license
> suite.
> Kat Walsh wrote:
>> It would be interesting for some organization that will credibly be
>> around for some time to maintain a site that registers and tracks such
>> commitments.
> It could be, and that's basically what CC was doing with "Founder's
> Copyright", in a very heavyweight manner.
> But it's not clear to me this would be necessary, at least to
> demonstrate interest, if not 100% legal foolproofery. For years before
> widely used public copyright licenses existed or were widely used,
> people used their own ad hoc statements with some (often verbatim
> copying) or all (approximately or explicitly attempted public domain)
> permissions. Has anyone ever seen something like "FooBlog content by
> Mikey released under BY-NC-ND; Mikey irrevocably commits FooBlog to
> the public domain 14 years after publication"? If so please send a
> reference, I'd love to see! If wasn't a person who uses CC0 from day
> 0, I'd go do this right now.
> Would such a thing need to be mentioned in the license at all? If
> there was demand (and no good reason to believe such a facility would
> detract from using fully open licenses in the first place) and a sound
> way to make such a promise, a license chooser could just ask in how
> many years one wants their work to be dedicated to the public domain
> (yes I know a few people would prefer copyleft, but I doubt they're in
> the audience of not being fully open from day 0), and provide an
> appropriate statement.
> I do realize a key aspect of Gregor's proposal is that expiry be built
> in (I'd also be curious to look back at the details of Greg London's
> past proposals; quick search didn't turn up). Maybe such should've
> been built into CC licenses from the beginning, but I'm less sure
> about the case for adding it now without a clear demonstration of
> demand and theory as to why it would be a net benefit. I'd love to be
> convinced (hopefully an indicator that others would be too).
> As I said in my first response, complexity can be merited, and I'm
> interested in a couple things that depending on how (and if)
> implemented, could add complexity (around ShareAlike scope and
> compatibility with other copyleft licenses). Though I find them
> exciting, I admit the proto-proposals are at best controversial. But,
> highly informed people have regularly asked for them over the years,
> and not just because they sound like cool ideas, but because those
> people want to use licenses with those features, and there's been
> analogous progress in the free software world. I haven't heard any
> such demand for licenses with expiry-to-more-freedom, and zero
> coherent interest in Founder's Copyright and abandonment and no
> copying of the Ghostscript GPL-after-next-release practice are kinda
> negative indicators of interest.
> Mike
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