[cc-devel] continuing brainstorm - installing licenses by default into operating systems

Luis Villa luis.villa at gmail.com
Wed May 3 13:20:25 EDT 2006

On 5/1/06, Luis Villa <luis.villa at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hey, Jon, others-
> From reading the spec doc, it really feels like you need to flesh out
> the goals and use cases a bit more before you consider the
> requirements and implementation details. *Why* do you want licenses in
> the OS? Is it to track the license of everything installed on the OS?
> Give a list of licenses for users to choose from when creating
> content? Do license validation? It seems like you need to think
> through those issues a bit more before fleshing things out more. It is
> possible you guys have had this discussion elsewhere and I've missed
> it, but if so,

Doh! 'but if so, it would be good to document it in the wiki.'

> On 5/1/06, Jon Phillips <jon at rejon.org> wrote:
> > http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Licenses_in_Operating_Systems_Specification
> >
> > Here are the associated challenges:
> > http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Include_licenses_in_operating_systems
> It is, by the way, completely unclear what the difference between
> these pages are, at least from the URL ;)
> Some more specific thoughts:
> * "What licenses should be allowed?" Why would any valid licenses be
> disallowed? If the licensor of the code/content/whatever thinks it is
> a license, then it will need to be represented, no?
> * "Should licenses be weighted?" You mean, should users (or the
> system) be able to indicate that some licenses are preferred in
> certain situations? Or do you mean something else?
> * "How will they connect with mime-types and how will a system know
> which filetypes connect with which licenses?" This seems like
> overthinking to me- I'm trying hard to think of a situation where (1)
> the user knows enough to meaningfully discern between license types
> but (2) would be overwhelmed by the list of licenses. Seems unlikely.
> [That and most licenses don't claim to be valid only for specific
> mime-types.]
> You might look to the java-style org.creativecommons or org.fsf for
> the 'license provider' portion of this.
> * 'Forms': This is probably obvious, but CC is the only license on
> earth that provides for all three of these forms. So make sure the
> system supports them, but make sure not to make them mandatory.
> * "Provide an installation system for this that is cross-platform"
> nononono! Very good minds, with more relevant motivations, have
> foundered on this issue. Just provide simple tarballs, or zipfiles, or
> whatever, that apps can install themselves if they need the licenses
> and discover they aren't present on the system.
> * "Is dealing with possible violation too DRM-like?"
> (1) Validation is not part of a data spec. :) Solve the basic data
> problem first; and give it a shot to make sure it is extensible if
> people want to put in the bits that would be necessary for validation.
> The fact that no one is even trying to do validation right now should
> be a suggestion about its relative priority :)
> (2) It is DRM-like, in the sense that both fair use and license
> incompatibility are usually judgment calls. If lawyers can't agree
> whether or not licenses are compatible (see: openssl license) then
> software certainly can't. So you have the option of making licensing
> decisions for the user (which is the path the DRM industries have
> taken in the fair use case) or you can do the more limited (but
> potentially still very useful) 'warn but don't prevent' approach-
> 'your code might not be legally acceptable- continue anyway? Y/N'
> Anyway, this certainly seems like a very worthwhile effort, and there
> are clearly some good thinking here, but I strongly encourage writing
> down your goals and use cases some more before going further with the
> details.
> HTH-
> Luis

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