[cc-community] Guidance about Patenting and the best License for a Book

Terry Hancock hancock at anansispaceworks.com
Mon Sep 29 19:12:18 EDT 2008

Ricardo Nunez wrote:
> 1) I would like to make a "kind of" free book but assuring  that somehow I "
> http://www.google.com/patentsregister" it somewhere. That is, just in case
> somebody would say he/she had written something related before, I could
> prove he/she is not right. I would say this would be a "kind of patent" just
> for making everyone sure who was the real writer of it.

That is entirely covered by the "Attribution" requirement. Use the CC-By
 license (or any of the licenses including "By").

Then, be sure to register the copyright and license at one of the above

If someone attempts to patent ideas contained in your book, then your
book will serve as "prior art", disqualifying the patent (you don't need
a patent to disqualify a patent, just proof that the idea was previously

> 2) As far as I've read your web site the license would be a "kind of"
> Creative Commons one. That is:
> - If it's for non-commercial use: copy and distribute my work, give me the
> credit, allow modifications, share alike.
> - If it's for commercial use: same as the "non-commercial" BUT PREVIOUSLY

Don't do it -- don't restrict "commercial use". Instead, restrict
non-free derivatives...

1) Release under CC-By-SA.

2) Use the new CC+ option to link to a site that will allow royalty
agreements for uses which require re-licensing.

If I understand your interests correctly, this will probably come closer
to achieving what you want. The By-SA license is "free", which means
that material can be re-used in free resources like Wikipedia, etc. But
in order to make an _exclusive_ derivative (say, in a commercially-sold
book), they would have to buy a license from you.

Now, of course, they could make money selling hardcopies of your work,
without any kind of license. But in order to be competitive, they would
have to charge barely above the cost of printing (otherwise, you just
undercut them -- even if they have derived from your work, they must
also use By-SA, which gives you equal right to publish their changes).

In practice, companies can make a little money if they are very
efficient, but you don't really want to restrict that -- they're helping
you distribute your work. Other companies can make money by publishing
your work on websites with advertisements, but that comes out to the
same thing. They are making money by being good at distribution, but
since they can't claim any exclusive hold on your work.

If they do want to have an exclusive, so as to be able to charge more,
they'll have to come to you for a royalty agreement, and you'll get some
of the income.

If, on the other hand, you use an "NC" license to do the same thing,
your work will get much less exposure, because fewer people will be able
to legally distribute your work.

I suspect that as a result, the number of takers for a royalty agreement
will probably be a lot less. So it may _sound_ like you'd get more
money, but I doubt it would be true.


Terry Hancock (hancock at AnansiSpaceworks.com)
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com

More information about the cc-community mailing list