Attribution Issue

Evan Prodromou evan at
Wed May 26 02:10:21 EDT 2004

>>>>> "ML" == Mike Linksvayer <ml at> writes:

    >> I strongly object to the removal of the attribution option from
    >> the "Choose your License Issue." I think that by removing this
    >> option, CC is appearing to support the idea that artists should
    >> claim ownership or their material and require other people to
    >> offer attribution for borrowed materials.

Artists have to claim ownership on their material to license it in the
first place.

    ML> If you want to disclaim ownership the public domain is for
    ML> you, and is a clear option via
    ML> <>.

I don't think requiring attribution is _that_ onerous a burden for
redistributors and creators of derivative works. I, personally, would
probably give attribution on any work I redistributed anyways, just as
a CYA measure ("I got this from Mike Linksvayer! He said I could
re-publish it!").

I'm stretching my imagination here, and the best I can come up with
are three arguments against Attribution:

0) Some people may want to pass off borrowed work as their own, and
   requiring Attribution inhibits that.

1) The personalization of art is bourgeois and decadent. Art needs to
   belong to all people communally. Art exists outside the construct
   of the individual artist, and naming the artist cheapens the art.

2) There may be some cases where giving Attribution actually is
   onerous. You're writing a book on the head of a pin, for example,
   and the extra 15 characters needed to put in "Mike Linksvayer" is

   Another, more realistic case is a DJ in a club who has to stop
   between each song and say, "That was a mash-up of works by X and Y,
   with a sample by Z, overlayed with a reading of poems by Q, R, and
   S, which were inspired by the novel by T. I also sampled sounds
   from A, B, C, D, E, and F, and the base line was scooped from G for
   the first part and H for the second part."

I guess I'd probably like to see some better arguments than these. I
dunno... putting the weight of CC behind Attribution seems equivalent
to solidly endorsing handshakes. Sure, you could probably think up
some reasons not to have handshakes, but you're gonna have to force


Evan Prodromou <evan at>
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