[cc-licenses] NonDerivative NonCommercial Licenses

Greg London email at greglondon.com
Tue Mar 28 00:00:16 EST 2006

> Greg wrote:
>>for people looking for restrictions against commercial uses, and yet
> these people think they're working towards something Free or Open like
> Linux is.
> The basic software models are:
> i) Free speech, free beer;    Linux
> ii) Free speech not free beer;  ( value added Linux vendors )
> ii) Not free speech, free beer ;  Shareware / freeware
> iv) Not free speech, not free beer;    Windows
> For copyright, these roughly are:
> The CC-SA attempts to be the "free speech free beer" licence.
> The CC-NC-SA attempts to be the "value added vendor" licence.
> The CC-NC-ND attempts to be the "not free speech, free beer" licence.
> "All Rights Reserved" is the "not free speech, not free beer" licence.
> What are the grounds for assuming that the CC-NC-ND or CC-NC-SA don't
> recognize that they are trying to be either "value added vendor" or
> "not free speech, free beer" licence?

The grounds are very simple:
what you call (ii) "Free speech, not free beer"
above (value added Linux vendors), you associate
with a CC-NC-SA license. The problem is that
Anything that any vendor does with linux must
remain GNU-GPL. If the vendor is distributing
some add-on work that is copyright All Rights Reserved,
and if they distribute it as a collection with Linux,
and if the user is given a makefile to combine the
two works, then the Linux piece can be GNU-GPL
and the vendor-specific piece can be anything they
want, including All Rights Reserved.

But it isn't "Free Speech, Not Free Beer",
because the vendor-specific piece isn't Free.
If it is licensed anything other than either
Plain Copyleft (GNU-GPL or CC-SA) or Public
Domain (a la BSD), then it has too many
restrictions to be called Free. End of story.

>>so they haven't been forced to look at their flawed assumptions about
> gift economies.
>> Small projects can use the ShareWare approach and succeed because
>> they're small. CC-NC-SA can succeed in small projects because small
>> projects never scale beyond the point where the licensing fails.
>> BTW, the software that your documentation covers, how is it licensed?
> One program has a dual licence -- LGPL & something else.  [The
> documentation I wrote for this one is CC-BY-SA  ]
> The other program has a licence based upon Matthew 10:8.  [
> Distribution within a commercial context is prohibited. ) [The
> documentation I wrote for this one is CC-SA-NC ]

"Freely you have received, freely give."

This is politically motivated licensing.
The license was chosen not for what would
help the project succeed the most,
but for a particular restriction that the
user wanted to impose.

It's all within the author's right to do so,
but it isn't FLOSS. And while I would guess
their intent would not include using the
comercial rights to compete against the
SA-NC version, there is no guarantee that
they won't or that the downstream rights
holder's won't. And there wouldn't be any
reason to waive the commercial rights
except to make a political style statement.
It wouldn't help the project.

If Vendor could sell copies of the work on CD,
they still have to make copies freely available
online. And if they make modifications to the work,
those mods must remain copyleft, and anyone can
get a copy and then redistribute it as much as
they want. So, even selling something for money,
the vendor is still required to satisfy Mathew
10:8 in some way, shape, or form.

Lastly, no license can prevent commercial
vendors selling add-ons that the user
builds or links on their PC with a makefile.
Not GNU-GPL, not CC-NC-SA, not even All Rights Reserved.
So, no license can completely enforce Mathew 10:8
in all possibilities around the original work.

>> How much work did you put into the documentation versus how much has
>> been from contributions from other people? 90-10? 50-50? 10-90?
> CC-SA Licence documentation:  Probably 500 hours of my time
> to write & edit it. Perhaps as much as 10% of it is from
> contributions by other people.
> CC-SA-NC Licence documentation:  Probably 2 500 hours of
> my time to write & edit. At least 25% of it is from
> contributions by other people.

2,500 hours or 500 hours? some kind of typo there.

In either case, the CC-SA-NC work is for the Bible Study
program which has the Matthew 10:8 implicatin tied to it.
So, you have contributers who are politically motivated
(religiously motivated as it were) to contribute.
People tithe money to their church, they donate time and
energy to church projects, they bake cookies and donate
them to bake sales to raise money for their church.

You could probably start another christian software project
that is licensed All Rights Reserved, and still find people
who would donate their time and energy to help it, if you
had everyone sign over their copyrights to a church and
said all money from sales goes to that church as a fundraiser.

As I said, there isn't anything wrong with that.
It's just that it doesn't follow the standard
approach for FLOSS projects for reasons that have
nothing to do with the license. In FLOSS projects,
the license enables the project to succeed in any
venue (commercial or free) becuase it prevents
proprietary forking of the work while allowing
commercial sales. This gives the project itself
the biggest possible advantage in being successful.
Contributers who see GNU-GPL or CC-SA will know up
front that their contributions can never go into
a proprietary fork that can compete with the freely
available version, so they are incentivized to contribute.

If you have contributers who are sufficiently motivated,
the license no longer matters. If contribution is already
part of the culture, then it can occur under a license
that could even be "All Rights Reserved", if the rights
to the work went to a cause the contributers deemed
"worthy". But these are politically motivated contributers.
The cause to which they contribute motivates them enough
that the license is irrelevant (or at least secondary)
to the project.

You could probably have a project for the
Democratic/Republican (choose your political) party
and use "All Rights Reserved" and find a few hundred
folks who would be willing to contribute some time.
They might even do physical labor, like passing out
flyers, standing at street corners with signs in
their hands, marching in support of protests, etc.

But in a situation where the project itself is
the priority, where there are no political motivations
in teh contributers, then the license that most
empowers the project is key to signaling to potential
contributers that you intend to protect their contributions
to the project and to see that the project itself is
as successful as it can possibly be.

Linux started out with some political motivation
of "Putting Microsoft out of business", but for
it to survive in the long run, thankfully the
GNU-GPL license was chosen, so that when the
political motivation went away, the project was still
empowered to succeed as as possible.

wikipedia doesn't have any political motivation
other than the project itself. As far as I know,
there isn't any overwhelming movement to put
Encyclopedia Britanica out of business. Wikipedia
contributers are motivated to make information
freely available, or they are motivated to make
sure their political point of view is represented
in a particular article. In any case, the project
itself has highes priority, so GNU-GPL or CC-SA
is the kind of license to protect the project and
let contributers know that their time and energy
will remain freely available.

And while 2,500 hours of effort into a documentation
project is nothing to sneeze at, if you did 75% of that
and 25% was done by other contributers, that's still
fairly well lopsided that it is still essentially
your project. For projects like wikipedia or linux,
the contribution made by the original people has been
far exceeded by the total combined contributions of
people who came on after them. And that's who copyleft
is for: the downstream contributers.

So, I think the basic idea of copyleft still applies
as being the best for gift economy projects.
But this can be outweighed by politically motivated
contributers on sufficiently small projects.
Your results may vary.

Bounty Hunters: Metaphors for Fair IP laws

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