[cc-community] Intellectual Highway Department

drew Roberts zotz at 100jamz.com
Tue May 30 23:36:00 EDT 2006

On Tuesday 30 May 2006 08:33 pm, Greg London wrote:
> On 5/30/06, drew Roberts <zotz at 100jamz.com> wrote:
> > On Tuesday 30 May 2006 03:28 pm, Greg London wrote:
> >
> > According to your beliefs, NC is not a commons license,
> > if we accept that (and I persoannally may) then Creative
> > Commons has no business offering a license that has
> > nothing to do with the commons under its banner. Start
> > another organization to promote such non-commons
> > licenses? As it is, it is a metter of confusion.
> heh. you should have been around when CC first started.
> I was probably just a tad more combative back then
> and let them have it with both barrels on a couple
> of occaisions as to all the references to "commons" that
> was on their site and nothing to clarify that a bunch of
> their licenses weren't. They cleaned up quite a bit,
> but the name of the site had already been picked and
> advertised and everything, so that one never went.

Gotcha on your take on a commons. If you checked out my reference to the New 
Forest though and if I understood what I read correctly, you might equate the 
forest as being "owned" by the king, who had more rights and certain 
exclusive rights (wink just right now and equate him with the copyright owner 
who licenses his work CC BY-NC-SA) and then there were people living in adn 
around the forest who had certain commonage rights but not equal rights to 
the king.

In any case, probably irrelevant to the underlying issue but again, I think 
there may be mental image issues if people hold widely varying ideas as to 
what a commons actually is and how one operates.
> I don't mind the name. CC-BY and CC-SA are commons
> licenses. and their philosophy page is pretty clear that
> they're more about a "spectrum of rights" than a
> commons manifesto. But no, I don't think CC-NC is
> a commons license. And yes, I wouldn't mind some
> clarification somewhere on teh CC website as to that
> distinction.
> I think the color coding rainbow would do it.
> the Blues could be Public Domain
> Green could be ShareAlike
> and the warning colors such as yellow, orange and red
> could be reserved for non-commons licenses.

Something like this, as I too have expressed before, would be a great idea. I 
personally want an "in your face" indication as to which CC license a work is 
under without having to go clicking around. (How lazy can we get?)
> there's a black and white I did of something like this here
> http://www.greglondon.com/dtgd/html/draftingthegiftdomain_html_m79d0709.gif
> Oh, and here's my rendition of the cathedral and bazaar
> http://www.greglondon.com/dtgd/html/draftingthegiftdomain_html_m68001423.gi
> > People are motivated by many things, not just money or profit
> > in the economic sense. It is unclear in the "games" you bring
> > up that you take this into account.
> Yes, I do. The only reason that someone would contribute
> to wikipedia is because it serves some motive other than
> money. Maybe they are simply motivated by the idea
> of making information free to the world. Maybe they are
> motivated by their interest in a particular subject. Whatver.
> The main thing is that when you have a wide base of
> contributers giving small contributions for free, their
> reason for doing so will be motivated by the fact that
> the project is in alignment with some higher motive
> than money or personal reward.

That being the case, I think you may be underestimating the amount of work 
people are willing to put in on projects they want to work on, or on how much 
copyleft work needs to be produced to make an appreciable difference in the 
lives of many.

As an example, one of my cousins is big time into running the Richard Burgi 
Fan Club site:


He puts in a hugh amount of time from what I can see and has been doing so for 

I still agree with a central idea of yours which is that the more chunkable a 
project is the easier it is to run as a bazaar project and the easier it is 
to get produced with a copyleft license. I am just unwilling to concede at 
this point that these are absolute controlling factors.
> Which is yet another reason that I say the license doesn't
> spark the project. The idea behind the project, the end goal,
> is what sparks the contributions to come in. And FLOSS
> is not good enough of a goal by itself. THe goal needs to
> be whatever the project creates as work, not the fact that
> the work is CC-SA. And the goal needs to be big enough
> to be motivating but have short enough milestones so
> as to not be overwhelming.

Again, that may or may not be true, but if the history of the GNU stuff I have 
read is correct, the timeline went something like this:

Problem with non-free printer driver leads to idea that free software is an 
ethical (moral?) issue. GPL designed to ensure the software freedoms. GNU 
project begun to create  Free replacement for unix. GCC and emacs (I don't 
recall the order) and all of the other GNU userspace programs written. GNU 
kernel (hurd?) last piece of puzzle still missing. Linux kernel written and 
at some poing joined wit the GNU stuff to make a complete OS. (linux was not 
originally GPL but at some point was released as such and things have been 
cooking ever since.)

So, up until the linux kernel, I would say that in this seminal case, the 
license did spark the project. Or more properly, the "abuse" resulting from 
the lack of the license protections lead to the formulation of hte freedoms 
and the writing of the license which protected the project.

(There are possibly serious errors in that little off the cuff history. I am 
not a Free Software historian by any means and I went completely from my 
admittedly faulty memory.)
> If the terrain is too steep, find a flat spot in the mountains.
> Go around, rather than going up.

If we can find a flat spot, great. if we can find the way around, great. In 
the mean time, if some want to go over or build on the slopes, more power to 
> > gnu/linux this is more apparent, is that it had a hugh head start of
> > all the gnu code developed by the FSF (is that right?) under the GPL
> > and some LGPL and developed mugh more along the lines of a
> > cathedral model.
> Yes. Those first applications were important seeds.
> They served as proof that the concept could work,
> they acted as "milestones" to show people progress,
> and they also happened to include two of the most
> important tools in developing software: an editor and
> a compiler.
> > > I mean charging a direct toll to pay for the road versus
> > > building the road, allowing people to travel on it for free,
> > > and then building a gas station and trying to make back
> > > your road construction costs by selling gas.
> >
> > The option that is being left out is charging people to build
> > the road in the first place. We should also keep in mind that
> > these are not mutually exclusive options.
> Yes, the service model, too.

So, is all employment nothing more than a service model? Are all real product 
business actually nothing more than a service model?

If I make wooden bowls for sale based on a freely usable plan that others also 
use to make wooden bowls for sale, we are not therefore using a service 
model. We are insisting on getting paid for our labour or the direct fruits 
thereof. If I want more income, I can work more and make more bowls for sale.

If I choose to charge for every improvement I make to my GPL program, that is 
not far removed from the wooden bowl example. If I want more money, I make 
more improvements. Or, put another way, if you want me to make some 
improvements for you, I can say no-way unless you pay. Do it yourself or get 
someone else to do it for you for no charge, when it comes to my work, I 
charge for it.
> some projects are more compatible with finding
> vendors who you can quote a price to do a job
> than others.
> > BTW, why do patents last so much shorther than copyrights.
> > Is it rally so much harder or of such a greater value to mankind
> > to make a song versus some useful invention?
> The power of patent rights is far more powerful than the power of
> copyrights. Patents grant exclusive rights on functionality and don't
> care if the functionality is created with a different expression or
> independently. So, to compensate, the term is much shorter.
> http://www.greglondon.com/dtgd/html/draftingthegiftdomain_html_71ca25a2.gif

I understand and don't argue with such reasoning, I just wonder how the 
"intellectual property" proponents explain the anomaly.
> > > Try the bounty hunter metaphor. Disney catching
> > > a bunch of bad guys doesn't prevent you or anyone
> > > else from catching a completely new and unrelated
> > > bad guy. Even that metaphor fails to some extent,
> > > but that's the problem with metaphors.
> >
> > With an unlimited number of bad guys and an
> > unlimited amount of reward money,
> > OK. Is that the real world though?
> I think for the forseable future, the number of
> possible new, unique intellectual works can be
> approximated as limitless. Maybe in a century or
> two, someone might want to re-evalutate that.

Novels, ok, I agree, although I remember reading where someone is trying to 
patent the plot of a novel and seems to be making some progress to that end.

But what about melodies? Do you have any comment on my little program and what 
stops someone from doing that today?
> > Again, it is the Creative Commons people themselves who
> > equate NC stuff with a commons, not use "end users" of
> > the CC licenses. Is it your words that it was
> > never meant to do that, is theirs?
> I say NC is not a commons license.
> I don't think CC says anything either way
> as far as the concept of a commons goes
> and how it might or might not relate to their
> licenses. I haven't looked at their mission
> statement lately.
> > > I also think that were CC to create a sunset license that
> > > started out as CC-NC and switched to CC-SA, then the
> > > people who would adopt it would be fence-hangers to
> > > CC-SA, not CC-NC. That's a fundamental problem.
> >
> > What is the issue with making a license for people who want
> > to make BY-SA works but can see no other way to support themselves
> Because if the project is such that you have too small
> a number of people contributing CC-SA works to
> make the project exothermic, and the alternative is to
> increase the number of contributers by creating a
> monetary incentive but extending terms to N years,
> then you go from one approach that doesn't ignite
> to another approach that doesn't ignite. A turn around
> time for derivatives of 3 years means, potentially,
> you get 10 revisions after 30 years.

I would certainly prefer to figure out some way of funding BY-SA works without 
having to deal with NC or other complications in any way.

I just think experiments may still be in order.

It may be that we just have not figured out who uses art as a tool in making 
money as opposed to something to sell to make money. If we can identify them, 
perhaps they can cut down on their tool aquisition costs by funding the 
development of said tools in a copyleft and bazaar model manner.
> The thing that makes gift economy projects killer apps
> is their capacity for instantaneous derivations.

If you drop the gift economy label and substitute copyleft or libre projects, 
I agree strongly.

> If you've ever watched an article on wikipedia go from
> zero to several pages in a couple of days, you'll see
> that its a whole bunch of people working off of each other's
> work, instantaneously. You'll get multiple people editing
> the same piece and the software will say you've got a
> submission conflict because two people tried to change
> somethign at the same time. And in a short time, those
> derivitives can result in a great work.
> I suppose if you have a project that has few contributers
> to begin with, that doesn't chunk well, is generally made
> by individuals doing a lot of Cathedral work and then
> submitting it, then the Sunset license model fits the
> project terrain. But I wouldnt be convinced that the
> thing would go exothermic and become self-sustaining.

Well, I think it will take off in a big way once there is a sufficient variety 
of copyleft stuff out there to make building on it extremely tempting. We 
shall see. If this is the case, the sunset idea, if it is needed at all, may 
only be needed for a certain time to jump start the action.
> Figuring out a way to change the terrain would.


I do think tweaking the licenses may also help at least for certain types of 

I was starting to run experiments with freeing a low resolution ("quality") 
version of a work while selling the higher resolution version with a stated 
dollar sales volume at which the higher resolution version would be "Freed" 
but then someone pointed out that it was the work which I was licensing BY-SA 
and not the version to which I applied the license. This effectively shot 
down that "business model" experiment. Granted, I could have dropped all 
reference to CC and tweaked the license as the zotz Commons license and 
continued, but I don't like the idea of fragmentation either. I think CC can 
do great things. I spend enough time creating my CC works and on these 
lists... ~;-)

all the best,

Record a song and you might win $1,000.00

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