[cc-licenses] Parallel Distribution Statement

Greg London teloscorbin at gmail.com
Wed Dec 6 11:25:10 EST 2006

I apologize for yet another post.

I just realized that my previous position is wrong
with regard to transparent DRM and needs some
slight adjustments.

> See, er:
> http://mako.cc/copyrighteous/ip/20061115-00.html
> (via MJ Ray) for why I ask whether distribution is already permitted.

That's "transparent" DRM.  DRM attached to a file that allows
all rights, including fair use rights. (whether it exists is a
different discussion)
The idea being that you need DRM there simply to play the content
on some DRM-only player.

ShareAlike Sam creates some content.
DRM-Dave wraps it in some transparent wrapper.
Alice gets the DRM-wrapped content from Dave and
plays it on her player.


I'm going to have to adjust my position on this.

without any DRM clause at all,
Dave can monopolize the
(1) content and
(2) commercial (i.e. distribution) rights on his platform

If Alice can get CC-SA content from Dave
and then Alice can turn around and give that same
content to Bob, then that prevents Dave from
maintaining a monopoly on the commercial rights.
If Dave sells a transparent DRM version to Alice,
then Alice can turn around and resell that very
same content to Bob, allowing her to compete
with Dave.

If "transparent" DRM will allow this, then the
commercial monopoly by Dave is broken.
If transparent DRM requires Alice to ask permission
from Dave before she can do this, than this concept
is little more than a shell game.

However, once wrapped in transparent DRM,
Alice and Bob are unable to get the content
back in its original unencombered form.
For CC-SA works, this is a problem, and basically
amounts to a monopoly on "content", tieing it
to the DRM-only platform.

The CC-SA license needs to be clear that
Alice can sell/distribute transparent-DRM works
licensed CC-SA to Bob in direct competition with Dave
Dave must not be allowed a distribution monopoly via DRM
which would give him a commercial monopoly.

And the CC-SA license also needs to make sure
that transparent-DRM is not used to maintain a
monopoly on the content. Transparent DRM must
allow the CC-SA work to be extracted in an unencombered
format. If not, then the non-drm version must be
distributed in parallel.

I just realized that I hadn't considered these caveats
with transparent drm. I'll have to read the license again
to see if it covers these loopholes.

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