[cc-community] Strengthening the CC-BY-SA copyleft with respect to code

Christopher Allan Webber cwebber at creativecommons.org
Tue Dec 20 16:45:53 EST 2011

So I'm not sure this is the same thing... right now content and software
are treated as separate layers, and I don't think adding compatibility
will or *should* change that.  The bigger cases where I think we need
the BY-SA->GPL compatibility is where there's a use case where content
and code are intertwined and inseperable, and avoiding licensing

So there are really two conversations going on here:
 1) A license which means that art *is* on the same layer/domain of
    copyleft as code (this is what BartK is proposing, I'm sympathetic to
    it but again think it's going to open up a worse can of worms than
    it'll fix and is possibly even considered nonfree)
 2) Accepting that code and content are generally separated as different
    layers, like:

    | CONTENT  |
    |   CODE   |

    But that there may be some areas that end up having some inseperable
    overlap, like:

    |       |scripted||
    +-------| level  |+
    |CODE   '--------'|
    |                 |

    In the scripted level scenario, this is a "level", maybe some level
    created in a GUI that's just a bunch of tiles put together.  Sounds
    like content, right?  But what happens if you have a box that lets
    you type in some scripting, and the file that comes out of it is
    *simultaneously code plus content*.  Even if we have separate
    content and code layers, which is indeed how we currently treat
    licensing, you could end up in trouble where you want to link to
    GPL'ed code and want to mix in CC BY-SA assets, and suddenly you're
    ending up with a copyleft conflict.

So, at the moment, Bart is talking about scenario 1.  I don't see how
scenario 1 really gets fixed by the BY-SA->GPL compatibility scenario,
and it opens up a huge can of worms potentially if we do start
considering things to be on the same layer... suddenly, you can't view
my image inside a proprietary browser, etc.  Maybe you can write the
license around it to something more sane, but it'll be hard.

Meanwhile, I've been pushing the BY-SA -> GPL compatibility issue, as
have some others, but that's more to address issue #2 to make sure we
don't have specific types of works that combine both worlds which are
blocked by conflicting copylefts (surely those of us in the copyleft
world don't want to block the creation of cool things that themselves
*want* to be able to comply with copyleft).

Does that make sense?  There are really two issues here.

 - Chris

Maciej Pendolski <beholder0x100 at gmail.com> writes:

> On Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 10:01 PM, Bart Kelsey <elbarto at gmail.com> wrote:
>> If an art license could specify a specific
>> set of conditions for programs that make use of the art in a non-generic
>> way, and the definition of free software could be expanded to understand
>> these kinds of provisions, as opposed to just tossing them in with
>> "bundling" (which is clearly different), then a license like this could be
>> very useful.
> Isn't this what a one-way opt-out CC-BY-SA -> GPL "compatibility"
> proposal is roughly about?
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