[cc-licenses] NonDerivative NonCommercial Licenses

Terry Hancock hancock at anansispaceworks.com
Wed Mar 29 21:24:24 EST 2006


drew Roberts wrote:

>On Wednesday 29 March 2006 08:52 am, Greg London wrote:
>  
>
>>Pure copyleft, such as GNU-GPL or CC-SA, are the ideal
>>license for a gift-economy project, in that these
>>licenses give the project the best chances for success.
>>    
>>
>Now, you will get no argument from me that a pure copyleft licence is the best 
>licence, and for my money, not just for what you call gift economy projects.
>  
>
If the only available choices are "One of the existing pure copyleft
licenses" or CC's NC licenses, then I agree with this statement.

I agree with it for a broader universe of possible licenses if the
work is program software, hardware design, or other objectively
measurable "tool-like" information, for which collaboration is
a clear win.

If it's "expressive art", though, I think that both CC-NC-* and existing
copyleft licenses are sub-optimal and possibly inadequate.

ISTM, this leaves three possibilities:

1) No system exists which can combine free modifiable redistribution (the
"four freedoms") with artistic expression in a system which provides
motivation and reward for contributors.  = "Free art is a failure"

2) No such system is possible by the mere use of a license. We must lobby
to change the legal structure of intellectual property laws to a better
system if we want "Free art".

3) Such a system is possible by clever choice of license terms and 
establishment
of a commons community around this new license. But no one has yet 
discovered
it.

I'm not ready to give up on #3 yet.  But I can't say that I've been inspired
yet, either, so #1 and #2 loom more ominously (I can't think of a solution
in the domain of #2 either, but I haven't tried very hard -- ISTM, though,
that the set of solutions in #2 should be almost entirely equal to the
one in #3, and #3 is much easier to implement).

CC-NC-* isn't on the map, because it isn't "Free" (or not "free enough").

Existing successes with Copyleft art, are, IMHO, parasitic. They succeed
because they are piggy-backed on some other motivation (perhaps they
are linked to a software project, motivated "politically" (in Greg's 
sense of
the word), or they work only by advertising non-free work.  This isn't
a total failure of course, so "free art is a failure" is perhaps an
exaggeration -- it might be a "niche success in an otherwise global
failure", but I'd be a lot happier to find a system that "succeeds globally
and independently".  Software projects appear to meet that goal.

To me, it still seems that artists just don't get a big enough payback
from copylefting and free-licensing their work with existing copyleft
licenses. And that's why NC remains attractive, even though (IMHO)
it's really a false hope (actually, again, it's a "niche success" -- I'm 
quite
happy to *listen* to Magnatune tracks which are CC-By-NC-SA, but
I can't really "use" them in the sense of synergistically combining them
with my work to create something better than both -- thus neither I
nor the artist achieve any creative leverage by use of this license).

And I assert that "creative leverage" is the most important value
proposition of free-copyleft-licenses like GPL and By-SA.

Cheers,
Terry




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