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

drew Roberts zotz at 100jamz.com
Wed Dec 21 11:33:50 EST 2011

On Tuesday 20 December 2011 15:49:17 Christopher Allan Webber wrote:
> Bart and I have spent some time talking about this on IRC before in the
> past with him, and I agree with him, I think it's a problem.  In fact,
> let me copy-pasta a bit of that exchange:
> <BartK> also, check this out:
> <BartK> http://pastebin.com/a9D00XKG
> <BartK> that was created completely in a text editor
> <BartK> so there's no original image source
> <paroneayea> yes, data inside code
> <paroneayea> and code inside data
> <BartK> sure
> <BartK> but the GPL applies to it
> <BartK> why is it that if I can create it in a text editor, I can get a
>         copyleft that works with code, but if I create it in an art
> program, I can't?
> I think that's an interesting question, and I *do* think it's worth
> considering seriously.  I've talked to multiple people in the FOSS
> gaming communities and many of them feel frustrated that the scope of
> copyleft can't apply to them.  In this way, artists who are involved in
> both the free software and the game content communities often feel like
> they are second class copyleft citizens because their works aren't
> considered part of the copyleft of the main work, and they get upset
> about the idea that their work could be included with proprietary games
> whereas it's the free software community they really care about.
> That said, I'm not sure there's a clear way to be able to address it.
> In fact, I suspect there's no way to address it without a separate
> coypleft license (I doubt the GPL applies there either because the
> "linking" isn't really happening anyway), which I think would be
> disasterous for reasons I've said in other emails about
> one-copyleft-per-domain is the primary way to keep copyleft useful as a
> concept.  But also, I think actually including this in CC BY-SA might be
> *worse* and would expand the scope of copyleft for most things beyond
> where we intend it and result in a lot of things being out of compliance
> that we don't want to be.
> So I think it's a serious issue, and we should consider it
> seriously... but I'm not sure there are any solutions.  I can't think of
> any. :\

What problems do you see with the approach suggested here:

>  - Chris

all the best,

> Bart Kelsey <elbarto at gmail.com> writes:
> > I addressed that exact point in a previous paragraph, although perhaps
> > I wasn't clear enough.  Here's what I said about that:
> >
> > Now, what about something like a generic 3d model viewer?  Wouldn't
> > this sort of change prevent a program like that from being distributed
> > with CC-BY-SA licensed models?  The answer to this is that if the
> > program you're distributing is a 3d model viewer, then that program
> > itself is the work, whereas if you distribute a game that uses a 3D
> > model, the entire *game* (including the assets therein) are the work.
> >
> > There's a clear distinction there between a generic application meant
> > for viewing any content, and a game where the content is part of the
> > work.  I'd appreciate it if we could actually spend time *really*
> > examining this, because it gets dismissed out of hand far, far too
> > often (and this is the exact argument used).  I don't see where this
> > argument holds water, honestly.  You can always come up with weird
> > edge cases for a specific license, but in general it's very clear
> > whether a piece of art is part of a game, or whether it's just
> > something that's included with a viewer.
> >
> > Bart
> >
> > On Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 2:50 PM, Alan Cox <alan at lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk> 
> >     > At any rate, right now if an artist wants to create art for use
> >     > only in open source software (or at the very least, software with a
> >     > sharealike license), they have no viable licensing options.  This
> >     > is particularly frustrating since those protections *are* available
> >     > to people who write code.
> >
> >     Actually not, and for good reason.
> >
> >     The question you are heading for I think is the question of when is
> >     something a single dervied work or not.
> >
> >     In the software case I can't use copyright law to write an editor
> >     and forbid you from writing proprietary software with it. In the
> >     artwork case you can't stop me loading your NC photo into a non-free
> > paid for app.
> >
> >     There are cases its annoying, there are cases where the boundary in
> > law may well be dubious, and certainly the boundary in question is at
> > best a fog not a line. There are however lots of cases where such degree
> > of control would be objectionable to society. Imagine if Windows could
> > forbid viewing CC content !
> >
> >     I would personally be very surprised if a game that was no use
> > without that artwork was in fact multiple independent works but I am not
> > a lawyer and this area is definitely a lawyers minefield.
> >
> >     Also if the issue is the boundary of copyright and what is a work
> > then a copyright licence cannot I think fix the problem.
> >
> >     Alan
> >
> > --
> > --
> >
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