[cc-licenses] NonDerivative NonCommercial Licenses

Greg London email at greglondon.com
Wed Mar 22 20:14:26 EST 2006

> Sorry for chiming in late, but
> Greg London wrote:
>> Again, in my opinion, taking a work licensed NC and
>> adding ShareAlike is pointless.
>> Unless you expect fourth, fifth, and sixth generation
>> derivatives of your work (or more), then Share Alike
>> doesn't actually come into play. If you write it and
>> license it CC-NC-SA, and then Alice makes a derivative,
>> then Bob takes Alice's vesion and makes his derivative,
>> and Charlie takes Bob's work and makes a derivitiave of that,
>> then Share Alike may make a difference.
> You forgot, that Alice could license it under BY or even PD, then Bob
> takes Alices and uses it commercially which would be the opposite of the
> original intention of the creator.

Bob can't make a derivative that is any less restrictive than Alice.
If Alice licenses her work NC, then all downstream versions
must include NC. Bob could ADD restrictions, but he can't wave
a magic wand, take Alice's NC work and suddenly make it
CC-BY. You cannot remove letters from a license once they are there.

If Alice simply licenses her work CC-SA, then
no one can change the license either MORE or less restrictive.
All downstream derivatives of Alice's CC-SA work
must also be licensed CC-SA. No other license option
is allowed. As usual, you can't remove letters. But with  SA in
the mix, you also cannot ADD letters either. Once SA-blah,
always SA-blah.

Which means that if Alice wants her work to go through
many derivatives, then CC-SA is the way to go.
Even commercial users must abide by the CC-SA license
and any changes they make must be CC-SA.

On the other hand, if Alice wants to restrict the work
to be NON-COMMERCIAL only, then adding ShareAlike on
top of NonCommercial means Alice is only kidding herself.
There is no encouragement for Bob or Charlie to derive
Alice's work because their derivative must be CC-NC-SA
as well, and at any time, Alice can come out with a
commercial version that out-competes whatever work
Bob and Charlie did for free.

As soon as you add NonCommercial to a license,
you are talking about the author retaining an
advantage over everyone else, including people
who might create derivatives of his work.
This is fine for fan fiction and free advertising
and allowing fans to pass works around freely,
but an author who adds ShareAlike to his NonCommercial
license is kidding himself, because ShareAlike
implies many, many contributions over time,
and ShareAlike/Copyleft licenses are needed to
protect a work that evolves over a long time.
But the author is keeping themselves at an advantage
over their fans, which means if you put the two
together, the author is basically saying:

"Here you go guys, Here's a copy of my work
that is CC-NC-SA. Feel free to spend lots of
time and energy to create a long derivative chain
of the work, and when that gets really, really
popular, then I'll take my NonCommercial version
and sell it to Hollywood and leave you guys in
the dust."

ShareAlike and Copyleft is for "many-derivative"
works, with many contributers, over a long period
of time.  Fan Fiction isn't that sort of thing.
There is no incentive for a massive fan base
to take a CC-NC-SA work (or even a CC-NC work)
and spend thousands of hours creating a kick
ass derivative, because the author can then sell
a commercial version of their original work
to Hollywood or the Record Company and leave the
fan base in the dust.

If the artist is NOT going to pull such a dirty
trick, then they need to give up the NonCommercial
rights and let the fans and anyone else make money
off the work.

If the artist won't give up commercial rights,
then they are signaling their intent to make
money off the commercial rights at some point
in the future, and fans have little incentive
to try to make the original work better, if
the artist will simply sell out once the fans
make him famous.

ShareAlike => for massive projects, many contributers,
many generations of derivatives, and prevents
proprietary forks from competing with the project.

NonCommercial => Reserves the right to make a
proprietary fork that has commercial advantages
over the CC-NC version that the author/artist
made available to his fans. Allows fans to freely
trade the work, in exchange, fans generate word
of mouth advertising, and buzz about the work.

CC-NC-SA => ShareAlike means the artists expects
fans to make many contributions and and many
generations of derivatives of the work.
But NonCommercial means the artist also plans
to sell the commercial rights to the work to
a big studio once the fan-based version makes
them famous enough to get noticed.

In short, NC-SA is sending mixed signals to
your fans.

Copyleft and Sharealike are used to prevent
proprietary competition from forking a derivative
into "All Rights Reserved." I explain the difference
between BSD style licenses and GPL style licenses here:


ShareAlike also protects from competition and proprietary forks
as well. But in the case of CC-NC-SA, the author is reserving
teh right to fork the original work at a later date and
compete directly with the version that the fans created.

Which is why fans have no incentive to put a lot of work
into CC-NC works, whether they have SA added to them or not.

Bob might not mind hosting Alice's CC-NC song on his fan site for
free, assuming he's a fan. But he aint gonna make a video
for it, or turn it into a 12 hour TV miniseries. Alice will
simply come along and sell teh studios her verion of the
work and out-compete whatever Bob created.


Bounty Hunters: Metaphors for Fair IP laws

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