Use cases for NonCommercial license clause

Wyl Newland wylnewland at
Thu Apr 21 19:00:07 EDT 2005

Discussion on the Creative Commons license drafts
<cc-licenses at>
On 4/21/05, Greg London <email at> wrote:
> Legally, it might be possible to do this.
> Realistically, what you've implemented is a commons
> and the incentive will be for people to put their
> name on the list of benificiaries even if they've
> made the minorest of edits.

Assuming some downstream commercial producer must distribute
royalties, they distribute whatever portion they choose to each of a
mix of beneficiaries.  Assuming the commercial producer can see the
entire trail upwards, a simple diff will enable them to decide whom
they will benefit.  Perhaps simple tools measuring the extent of each
edit in the chain, and community voting mechanisms, can make
transparent a greedy editor.

This does not prevent a greedy commercial producer first entering the
chain as an editor and then again as a commercial producer and paying
everything back to themselves as editor.  Unless all money flows are
transparent and arms-length royalties are contractually agreed to, the
mischief of such a variable beneficiary chain is too complex.

> If the idea is to avoid paying downstream authors
> altogether, but to guarantee that you can benefit
> from their work commercially even though they
> cannot, then you've created a nice little loophole
> to your benefit and everyone else's detriment.
> And that's not something I can support.

Ahh.  I see your point. The issue is that nobody can remove the
originator from the list.  One answer would be that anyone forking the
originator is permitted to remove them.  Another would be that any
downstream editor can remove the originator.  This class of solutions
fails because it merely moves the mischief down the chain.

My entire goal is attained when I can assure that my initial
non-profit beneficiaries remain in all downstream beneficiary lists. 
Fairness would say that any downstream editor should be able to add
non-removable non-profits to the list.  But that opens an entirely new
class of mischief.

[scratches head] Perhaps the only answer is to place the cut point
after the opening non-profit list.  Naah! that doesn't help much. 
Point well taken.  In order not dump on Mr. Prodromou's original
excellent thread, I will start a new thread with a related new idea
proposing an alternative to a daisy chain.

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