[cc-licenses] Founders as a module? was Re: Getting to Version 3.0

Terry Hancock hancock at anansispaceworks.com
Thu May 18 11:42:41 EDT 2006

Mike Linksvayer wrote:

>On Thu, May 18, 2006 07:34, Terry Hancock wrote:
>>I haven't heard any explanation of why the "Founder's Copyright" isn't
>>simply designed as an extra module.
>"Founder's Copyright" was thought to require a contract between a trusted
>organization and the copyright holder, another beast entirely.
Hmm. I think this probably means that it is currently designed
rather differently than I imagine it to be.  Surely, just implementing
a license conversion delay would achieve the same effect for
less trouble?  (Is it really necessary for works to go into the Public
Domain to be considered "free"?).

>There should be no need to add additional modules to the licenses
>themselves to effect delayed licensing.  Just say that the license is only
>offered after yyy.mm.dd.
Yes, in principle, but in practice, it can get pretty complicated:

"This work is licensed under the Creative Commons 'By-NC-ND' license
available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5 until 
after which it will be licensed under the Creative Commons 'By' license,
available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5."

That's getting a bit long to fit into an MP3 meta tag.  Which is basically
the use-case for CC licenses: "ease of application".

Also, the wording has to be right. We already need to be pretty specific,
because we have a license changing from one CC license to another on
a specific schedule.

It is useful, I think, primarily for resolving these "non-free" issues, 
and may
need even be desireable for (e.g.) removing copyleft.

Yet, the "license grant mechanism" (as above) requires this to be quite
specific.  It is of course, the most flexible mechanism, but that's 
its problem -- it doesn't  provide much guidance as a result.  I think 
it to license module status would help with that.

If I read carefully what you actually wrote, above, for example, then I 
find that the explicit wording would really have to read:

"This work is copyrighted 2006-10-01; all rights reserved. After 
2007-10-1, it
may be distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons 'By' license,
available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5"

Your example, BTW:

>Prodigem (a bittorrent hosting service) has been doing this for awhile,
Demonstrates one reason why I think guidance is desireable. It actually
does almost the opposite of the Founder's Copyright, by preserving the
non-free terms indefinitely (i.e. for the full duration of legal copyright).

*My* point was to have something start out with NC/ND clauses and then
lose them (but keep By or SA) after a specified time-release.  By choosing
to bless a particular delayed-release scheme by making it into a module,
CC could promote that scheme, and encourage a particular "best practice".

My particular scheme would have specific CC/free-culture friendly goals:

1) it would encourage license-compatibility and reduce "license 

2) it would merge currently disjunct "commonses", thus preserving the idea
    of CC as an organization for promoting a "digital commons"

3) it would mollify existing political tensions between artists who feel 
    NC and/or ND clauses are necessary for their business models and 
    advocates who want to see a more robust commons (and they are often
    the same people, so it reduces internal conflict as well)

Also, I should like to point out that 'you can do this with the license 
is of course, technically true for *any* license terms -- you don't 
*need* CC
licenses at all!  But as a practical convenience, and as a means of creating
branding around particular licensing practices, the modules are very
useful.  I would characterize that as the whole raison d'etre for CC, in 


Terry Hancock (hancock at AnansiSpaceworks.com)
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com

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