[cc-community] Changing *almost* compatible licenses

Chris Watkins chriswaterguy at appropedia.org
Mon Apr 27 00:19:45 EDT 2009

Another lawyer's perspective:

It may be counterintuitive (or, come to think of it, maybe this
characterizes how people think of lawyers!), but lawyers tend to see issues
like this not in terms of *whether *you can do something, but in terms of
the *risk* involved in doing it...

Full comment at:

On Sun, Apr 26, 2009 at 12:42, drew Roberts <zotz at 100jamz.com> wrote:

> I sure hope the attorney was not right. Consider going in the other
> direction:
> BY-SA to FAL. I would not want all of a sudden, my BY-SA licensed works to
> show up as FAL and now I have to "go to" France to settle a difference with
> a
> person who misused my work.

I can understand that concern.

Though since they *technically* weren't allowed to do this, and were relying
on an assumption about your intentions, you could insist on them sticking to
the letter of the law in this case. Once they hear from you that you don't
agree to the use of a similar but different license, they can't claim to be
consistent with your intentions.

How it would work in practice, I don't know - they may disregard your
insistence, but then it seems no different from other cases where copyright
holders' rights are disregarded, i.e. I'm not sure that this flexible
approach to relicensing makes anything worse.

> drew
> On Sunday 26 April 2009 04:37:28 Chris Watkins wrote:
> > Here's an interesting anecdote about an organization I know. I won't
> > mention their name as I don't know that they want a fuss made about this.
> >
> > They are a collaborative community that has been around for several
> years.
> > They had a couple of separate collections, and one was under the FAL
> (Free
> > Art License). They wanted to make everything compatible under CC-BY-SA
> 3.0,
> > but the FAL is technically *not* compatible.
> >
> > There was discussion about doing it on a piecemeal basis - getting
> > permission from as many contributors as possible, then marking each page
> > with a template when it was determined whether or not it qualified as
> > CC-BY-SA. A huge pain, in a  a substantial number of pages.
> >
> > Then the question was raised with a US-based attorney. His response was
> not
> > to worry so much - they're the same in all key ways, and his opinion was
> > that the intention of the contributors was not concerned with the minor
> > differences between open, copyleft licenses.
> >
> > So, the manager of the site notified as many contributors as he could,
> and
> > very quickly got a response from the community. Something like 12% of
> > contributors responded, almost unanimously in favor of the change. (One
> > objected, perhaps related to a grievance with the community, - their
> > contributions were removed, and they were satisfied.) Presumably the more
> > active contributors were on average the ones who had stayed in touch with
> > the community, so this 12% almost certainly represented a much higher
> > proportion of the collection of work.
> >
> > I don't understand all the implications of copyright and fair use, and I
> > know some will disagree, but this attorney's advice seems to me to be
> > sensible and fair, and a practical, real world approach.
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Chris Watkins (a.k.a. Chriswaterguy)

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I like this: five.sentenc.es
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