[cc-community] commons (was Re: NC/ND)

Mike Linksvayer ml at creativecommons.org
Mon Dec 19 18:08:28 EST 2011


On Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 3:03 PM, Anthony <osm at inbox.org> wrote:
> What constitutes the "commons"?  Has CC defined this?  By the standard
> definition, only PD/CC0 would be part of the "commons".

I don't know that there is such a standard definition of the commons.
Even "the public domain" is often used to refer to a much broader
category than just works not subject to any copyright restrictions,
and has to be defined down to that category if one wants to have a
clear conversation about it, eg see
http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/mdocs/en/cdip_4/cdip_4_3_rev_study_inf_1.pdf

A commons can be a fairly limited affair. One could (and presumably
there are many; certainly there are many de facto) "creative" commons'
with sharing among only some specific community or field. CC's role is
to provide some tools, and effectively set standards, which facilitate
creation and cultivation of commons, so as to maximize global social
welfare. I think there's pretty universal agreement that offering
standard tools to share on a very limited basis, say "only if you're
an ethical hacker, artist, or other craftsperson working in Inverness,
Scotland" are really suboptimal from a global welfare perspective, but
that doesn't mean sharing only among ethical craftspeople in Inverness
can't be some sort of commons.

Given that information is a global thing now, I'd prefer people think
of commons sort of things that don't offer global permissions such
than anyone can participate as equals with respect to the permissions
available, as semicommons, but I'm personally more attracted to
"optimize for maximum global welfare" than "only support unambiguous
global commons", even though I'd bet they obtain approximately the
answers with respect to CC's offerings.

Mike

p.s. Perhaps all of the above is blather. I'm inclined to think it is
important grounding to the extent it is important that CC (and other
efforts intending to promote commons in whatever form) make a real
impact, as opposed to merely seeming to be vaguely good. Please tell
me I'm wrong.


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