[cc-community] Copyright enforcement and CC BY-NC licenses

drew Roberts zotz at 100jamz.com
Tue Aug 5 16:47:27 EDT 2008

On Tuesday 05 August 2008 16:14:57 Terry Hancock wrote:
> Kevin Phillips (home) wrote:
> > No, I don't object to it.  We were talking about irony, and the irony of
> > the NC license being setup to support a very commercial set of procedures
> > and organisations. None of the other licenses (including arguably the
> > most "commercial" BY) have been made "compatible with collecting
> > societies", only NC.
> The real problem is that "non-commercial" depends on who you mean.
> As used, it means that the recipient of the work can use it only for
> "non-commercial" uses.
> But the principle reason for having such a limitation is that the work
> itself IS "commercial" and that the author of the work wants to "retain
> commercial rights" in the work.
> IOW, the name of the license is user-rights centric, but the choice of
> license is author-rights centric. Thus, from the author's PoV, the name
> creates confusion, and that probably means that errors are made in
> selecting a license.
> Since the "non-commercial license" is really the "license of choice for
> commercial authors", this is indeed ironic.
> One solution might be to rename the license -- it could be called
> "commercial-rights-reserved" (CR), for example.
> One thing that certainly ought to be done is to have the license
> selection wizard ask its questions differently.
> Right now, it asks the author a user-centric question:
> "Allow commercial uses of your work?"
> This is okay at telling you what the licenses do for the user, but it
> doesn't tell you what the effect of the choice is on the *author* (the
> one who's reading and answering these questions). In fact, I've answered
> questions from some authors who get so confused they think THEY can't
> use the work commercially if they choose an NC license.
> A better -- more author-centric -- question would be:
> "Do you want to retain a monopoly on commercial exploitation of your
> work (for example, so that you alone can sell the work or collect fees
> from collecting societies on the work)?"
> I think that would make the true use-cases for NC (and ND) much more clear.
> >> I'm not understanding your objection here.
> >
> > Clarity is the grounds of my objection.  I'm not against commercial
> > artists releasing works into CC, I think it should happen more.  I'm not
> > against them being paid for their work via their CS as they've always
> > been.  I just think it's not helpful that the NC licenses has been
> > manipulated aka "made compatible" to their ends, which otherwise would be
> > (and is) very strict about non-commercial uses.
> I think the real problem is that NC is *NOT* the right license for
> "purely non-commercial uses". If you just want a work to be for
> non-commercial use, because you want it to be free and you don't want it
> to be "exploited", then you'd be much better off with a By-SA license.
> > Meantime an amateur musicians could chose BY-NC with the waiver intact,
> > because she's not signed up to a CS and she doesn't want commercial uses.
> Unless by "amateur" you really mean "semi-pro", I don't see why they'd
> want to use By-NC in the first place. Bottom line: unless you're trying
> to get revenue from selling the work, By-SA is a better option for
> keeping the work "free".
> > Bingo.  I'd love to use SA all the time, but some web sites don't support
> > it so I take what's offered.  A lot of musicians don't get the concept of
> > SA, so they choose NC thinking it will stop corporates nicking their
> > music. If I want to remix music the majority of stuff is NC.
> Both of those are severe social ills, and should (IMHO) be fought.
> Boycott those NC-only sites. Use the ones which permit free licensing
> instead. We need to support the people who support us.

But cc itself fails on this one. Go to ccMixter and see. (They have their 
stated reasons for this situation.)

Sure, you can use the Free BY or the non-Free BY-NC, but you are not allowed 
to use the Free BY-SA on that site.

Funny thing is, it was finally releasing some things on ccMixter under a BY-NC 
license which I do not like and would rather not use that got me thinking of 
these issues and led me to ask this question in the first place.

And... (Greg, are you listening) I feel cc Mixter should at least use BY and 
BY-NC-SA instead of BY and BY-NC if they are not going to permit BY-SA. 
Anyone know of any reasons why such a choice might be better for the 
community? (Greg, is this a valid use for BY-NC-SA in your thinking?)

So, I gave in and use BY-NC as I do not wish to use BY but I make a note that 
the same work is available BY-SA on the Internet Archive. Go figure. What a 
> As for musicians not understanding the licenses they pick for their own
> works, shame on them! Get educated.

True, but honestly, copyright law is way too complicated even if a general 
user cares and so many don't seem to.
> Cheers,
> Terry

all the best,


More information about the cc-community mailing list