[cc-community] NC/ND

Mike Linksvayer ml at creativecommons.org
Wed Dec 14 00:43:50 EST 2011

On Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 3:31 PM, Chris Sakkas <sanglorian at gmail.com> wrote:
> I don't think it's feasible to remove the 'Creative Commons' label from NC
> and ND licences.

It may not be feasible in the end. But, I say it is a discussion worth
having. The CC 4.0 license suite is going to set the standard for
sharing non-software works for the next decade. I certainly hope it
does. Hence, it makes sense to be at least a little visionary and not
only consider what feels feasible right now. What if that's not what
will best grow and protect the commons for the next decade? Lost

(This need to look ahead a bit is not only with respect to NC and ND of course.)

It's also not off the path CC has been on for the past decade, just an
acceleration. I don't know how perceptible this path has been, as
movement has been slow, but it is there:

* CC's messaging used to be much more focused on giving copyright
holders choice; that's still there, but building a commons that is
effective across education, science, culture, government, is also
strongly present
* Relatedly, interoperability has become a key part of CC's messaging
* CC has actively retired some licenses that didn't prove effective
and interoperable
* CC has more strongly recommended some licenses in various
communications mostly pertaining to public funding/interest
* There has been slow but fairly steady growth in fully open licenses
as a % of total used

Some of these could be taken as indications that we should stay the
course, things are getting better without making any hard calls. But
again, I think it's worth starting off discussions of something that
is going to be the worldwide standard for sharing with an eye to just
a bit of risk and vision.

> One thing that makes CC distinctive and - I suspect -
> successful is that it offers a range of licences all united under the CC
> brand.

It is one thing CC is known for (and also something people who want a
stronger push for fully open licenses complain about -- the brand
muddies openness; there's always a flipside ;-)) but I think it is at
best impossible to tell how important to CC's success this has been.
My suspicion is that some other factors have been more important.

Other broad-range-of-licenses under a brand for content schemes
started both before (green/yellow/red/rainbow open music licenses) and
after (coloriuris) CC started haven't gotten much adoption. The most
successful software licenses (*GPL) constitute a range under a brand,
but it's a rather narrow range relative to all those CC has published.

Ok, that's really weak evidence regarding the importance of licenses
united under a brand. But I think the two things that really set CC
apart in terms of success aren't about the particulars of licenses at
all. First is timing. Lots of public licenses intended for content
were created (but most very little used) in the 1998-2002 timeframe
just before CC launched. Wikipedia and a number of OER and OA
initiatives had just started or were just starting. Some open content
license(s) were going to get broad adoption, the question was which
licenses, and how broad. Second is ... ooomph? There was just nothing
remotely close in the space to what the people who started CC had
assembled (which includes those people) in terms of funding,
credibility, fame, connections, ability to promote and energize (of
course Lessig's presentations and other efforts, many behind the
scenes, stand on their own), and probably other dimensions not
occurring to me right now.

[I realize the FSF created the FDL in that timeframe and the FSF has
plenty of credibility etc of its own; for better or worse the FDL was
just too narrowly targeted at software documentation, even printed
software documentation, to be of really broad use; yes the specifics
of licenses can trump other factors.]

> However, I think NC and ND licences could be discouraged by explicitly
> noting that they are non-free, non-libre, non-open licences. Free, libre and
> open are terms that have a lot of cachet that are more narrowly defined than
> most people think. If people were made aware that their CC NC book isn't
> 'open source', that may encourage them to use CC BY or BY-SA.

Yep, I think there's much broader agreement on that objective than on
the feasibility of particular ways of achieving it. :)


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