Draft License 2.5 - Now open for discussion

Greg London email at greglondon.com
Tue May 31 10:36:25 EDT 2005

Your argument seems to boil down to this:
+ Centralized attribution can be "abused" because the wiki-project
+ could put a URL to a page that advocates their political or
+ religious or university cause.

But as far as I can tell, CC-BY-SA has the same problem only
WORSE because EVERYONE can put in a URL to their political cause.

If one project has a thousand contributers who all have linkback
bombs to various political causes, and another project has ONE
linkback bomb to one political cause, then it seems that the
worst-case abuse would be less for CC-Wiki than it could be
for CC-BY-SA.

The thousand contributer project might decide that since there is
so much attribution that it decides to bury it in some page that's
off the beaten path. Put all those linkback bombs in a seldom-visited
sub-page on the project website.

And if that REALLY is the way wikis will handle attribution,
then people need to wake up and DROP ATTRIBUTION. If attribution
gets buried, then you might as well be up front about it and
make cc-wiki have NO attribution requirement but retain the
sharealike piece. It then makes sharealike incompatible with
cc-wiki, but it's honest and it solves the attribution abuse
problem by dropping it.

What we're doing is comparing the worst-worst-cases and seeing
which license is better. if everyone is an attribution devil
then the best solution is to drop it entirely.

But if you compare the best-case scenarios, then people wont
be abusing attribution, cc-wiki could have centralized attribution,
and it would have the advantage of still being compatible with

I have said for years that attribution is a market-economy
license and doesn't belong on gift economy licenses like ShareAlike.

Creative Commons made the huge mistake of rolling it into
be "on" by default for all licenses and making it impossible
as far as anyone has been able to demonstrate to turn it "off".

So, what I see are a couple of options:

(1) all cc-3.0 gift economy licenses drop attribution completely.

This would mean CC-SA-3.0 would be the same as CC-SA-1.0.
It would also mean that CC-Wiki-3.0 would be CC-SA-3.0.

This would require CC admit they screwed up 2.0 by including
it in every friggen license they offer. It would also make
all CC-BY-SA-2.0 projects incompatible with CC-SA-3.0 projects.
But if we want to think about the longest-term benefit, this
is probably it. Gift Economy projects such as wikis and such
should NOT have attribution overhead. Wikipedia demonstrates
that it is possible to be massively successful without attribution.

CC-wiki-3.0 has centralized attribution.

this would make wiki compatible with CC-by-SA projects.
But would have possible problems with abuse.

CC-wiki-3.0 has no attribution
CC-sa-3.0 has attribution.

This would fix abuse problems for cc-wiki
but would make it incompatible with cc-sa-by-2.0

drop the cc-wiki idea completely.
have everyone use CC-BY-SA-2.0

My preference would be for option 1.
I think that if CC wants to focus on the
best long-term benefit for gift economy
projects, they would drop the attribution

It would create some incompatibility problems
with current projects that have attrbution
turned on. But I think any new project would
quickly realize the benefit of not using


> http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/5457
> When cc-wiki was announced I was worried that allowing attribution to
> an organisation would allow WMIMWYIM (What's Mine Is Mine What's
> Yours Is Mine) for the 'reputation economy'. The first use of cc-
> wiki, to ensure that dozens of people's names don't have to appear on
> the cover of Code 2.0 bore this out, and I can imagine how popular cc-
> wiki would have been for non-wiki projects.
> So a license that requires attribution to an organisation may be
> dangerous, even if it fits the social contract for Wikis (I cannot
> comment on this as I'm not much of a Wikitarian). It could also be
> confusing for enforcing license violations, as only the copyright
> holder can enforce a license IIRC, and if the license says "MyWiki"
> but the work was submitted by psuedonym at dead-isp.com, there's a problem.
> The cases Mia lists of colleges or journals requiring attribution
> show that attribution can become even more of an "advertising
> clause" (as in the original BSD license). I don't want to derive from
> work that has a political party, activist outfit, particular church
> or another interest group's members sticking a plug for their pet
> cause in on a work I want to derive from via 2.5 attribution. Having
> a URL you have to give is bad enough (you can create a "linkback
> bomb" to advertise your cause), being able to list a cause in the
> license block would be terrible. Is this a possibility with 2.5
> attribution?
> If I submit work to a German (for example) wiki and the 2.5
> attribution is to the wiki, my Moral Right of Attribution is still
> inalienable, and I can still demand to be identified as the author of
> the work, I think.
> But then the language is voluntary or customisable, then we are right
> back to where we were with waving attribution. People have to be
> asked, or it has to be arranged up front, or people forget.
> I think this is a maturity issue for Wikis (in the sense that many
> are now mature projects and have some work to do to reflect this)
> rather than something that requires creating a potentially misusable
> clause in the core CC licenses or a definitely misuable cc-wiki license.
> I do see how enabling Wikipedia-style projects to keep their low
> barrier to contribution whilst removing bookkeeping headaches could
> be good. But this will affect projects other than wikis, possibly in
> undesirable ways, and wikis are the projects that can best keep track
> of complex attribution anyway.
> *If* attribution is important to Wiki users, and *if* people
> contribute to wikis on the understanding that their work will be part
> of the wiki, then arguments about what happens for the book version
> (for example) are arguments about  how best to misuse contributors
> work. Would the wiki operators who want attribution to their project
> rather than to individuals be happy with a scheme that transferred
> copyright to CC and attributed the CC-Wiki-Real-Commons-License
> rather than any given wiki? If not, why not? It would solve more
> problems than having to attribute to people's wikis.
> - Rob.
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