[cc-community] Intellectual Highway Department

rob at robmyers.org rob at robmyers.org
Wed May 31 04:42:03 EDT 2006

Quoting drew Roberts <zotz at 100jamz.com>:

> Yet one thing about linux, and if you think of it as 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, the FSF wrote the compiler, debugger, C library, the shell tools and
possibly the text editor (emacs) used by GNU/Linux. They wrote them very much
on the cathedral model. This is why Linus could write the Linux Kernel "just
for fun".

gcc, emacs and gdb were written by Stallman to start with. This isn't a
cathedral model so much as a hermit model. :-) He supported this work by
working as a software cinsultant. So this does look like a gift in Greg's
economic model. But the projects were not considered or phrased as gifts, they
were considered or phrased as Freedom. And they can be sold quite happily as
well as exchanged with gift expectations.

> 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.

Well there's taxation at the state or town level. Or subscription. Or 
bonds. Or
charging people who don't car pool. Or a lottery. Or selling land along the
road. There are many ways of paying for the freedom of a road. :-)

> You can use a copyleft license and yet still get paid for every hour you work
> if you so choose. People do this now.

Yes and this is why a gift/market bipolar split simply does not work. 
Whilst an
economist can happily chunk acts contributing to Free Software into 
smaller and
smaller examples of discrete gift and market acts, the Free Software doesn't

Some countries have paid health care. some countries have state health care.
Some have hybrids. All who have health care have health care. A road is
freedom. It doesn't matter how it is paid for as long as people have that

>> This is complete fallacy.
>> You're saying that All Rights Reserved creations somehow
>> prevent the creation of new works. By that argument, I should
>> be able to look at the new works being distributed on the net
>> and on the TV and radio and see a noticable decline as time
>> goes on, since the terms keep getting extended.
> I humbly submit that it is not a complete fallacy. With the trend to
> copyrights that do not expire we are going to see this more and more and I
> especially think it is going to become apparent with melodies.

It is not a fallacy at all. The *quality* of work from major producers is
declining as they go into less risky recycling of ideas that they already own.
And the *risk* of personal expression goes up as videos get pulled from
MySpace. And the *volume* of work going into the public domain and becoming
usable is decreasing as copyright is extended.

This is quantifiable.

> So, we could write a little distributed app. Churn out all the possible
> melodies up to a certain length and submit them all to the copyright office
> as a collection of melodies. Then leave it up to anyone who has one of the
> collection copyrighted already to make that claim and then we could have all
> of the other possible melodies under a copyleft license.

IIRC a company has done the evil twin of this and is suing ringtone
manufacturers. I cannot remember the URL though. :-/

>> 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.

Note the "completely new and unrelated". The problem with the current 
system is
that having got the ringleader they set up a plea bargain that stops anyone
else going after the rest of the gang.

>> 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 it's more the case that the bounty hunters don't want me to be allowed
to arm myself. We have their protection, why would I want to arm myself?

The GPL is the right to bear arms in the Bounty Hunters scenario. :-)

> 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 in doing so but by
> adding an NC option and yet think that they would garner more goodwill if
> they could build in a sunset to straight BY-SA?

The problem with this is we already have effective ways for people to 
make money
in the way they wish to (assuming there is a market for what they are 
which may not be the case, but is never considered a problem for proprietary
projects). Solving an over-stated problem ("you can't make money off CC") with
a solution that concedes the terms of the debate is not something I think is a
good idea.

> If that is really the case, it is time for CC to drop the NC option as it has
> nothing whatsoever with the Creative Commons. End of story.

But NC is popular. Popularity is success. Therefore NC will stay.

>> So while I can see people who used to contribute stuff
>> under CC-SA changing to using a CC-Sunset license,
>> I don't see people going from CC-NC to sunset.
>> which means that any CC-SA commons will get
>> worse, not better.
> Not if it allows for the funding of more works that will end up BY-SA it
> won't.

I agree with Greg, I think that a sunset license will cannibalise SA 
rather than
reducing NC.

- Rob.

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