[cc-licenses] Source Requirements

Benj. Mako Hill mako at atdot.cc
Sat Dec 2 15:10:00 EST 2006

<quote who="drew Roberts" date="Sat, Dec 02, 2006 at 02:58:39PM -0500">
> On Saturday 02 December 2006 11:55 am, James Grimmelmann wrote:
> > That is, with software, you need source code in order to make full
> > use of the relevant freedoms; with many other sorts of works, you do
> > not need the source code to enjoy those freedoms.
> I disagree with this strongly. I just feel that it is next to
> impossible to properly express such a "source" requirement in simple
> language and so have to content myself to live without it.

Really, I think I disagree with both of you. I think it's always
important and frequently very easy to include a source requirement for

In fact, I have used the GPL for many non-software works; nobody
confuses a PDF or a printed copy of a book with the "preferred form for
modification." When I, as the author, want to make a change to a work, I
pick up one copy and not the other. It's not hard for me to make that
distinction in most cases and it wouldn't be hard for a judge to either.

In practice, there are very troubling corner cases that open space for
disagreement. There are some in software too (look at the discussion
around the nv driver now). However, there is a larger number of works
for which we don't require source through CC licenses where doing so
would be both useful and easy.


Benjamin Mako Hill
mako at atdot.cc

Creativity can be a social contribution, but only in so
far as society is free to use the results. --RMS

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