[cc-licenses] Parallel Distribution Statement

James Grimmelmann james at grimmelmann.net
Tue Nov 28 16:46:06 EST 2006

Discussion on the Creative Commons license drafts wrote:
> James wrote:
>> That said, the current profusion of licenses has been generating 
>> confusion, and this is not a propitious time to be splitting off new 
>> license variants.
> I suspect that most of the confusion is because:
> * The specific terms are not defined within the license;
> * The meaning of the licenses are vague in critical places;

Part of the problem is that knowledge of what places are critical only 
develops over time.  If the key places to be precise had been clear up 
front, the licenses would have been clear in them.  It's only the 
groping process by which creators look to see whether CC licenses fit 
their needs -- and complain if they don't -- that has shaken out many of 
the ambiguities fixed in the 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 revisions.  I don't feel 
confident enough about there not being serious remaining ambiguities to 
want to split even further.

> I'd suggest that creating more variants now will be much better -- both 
> short term and long term --- than doing so in the future.

More licenses also creates more incompatible pools of CC-licensed 
material.  This problem is bad enough when each attribute linked to SA 
creates its own pool that can't be combined with the other SA pools. 
Doubling or tripling the number of such pools -- especially without a 
good sense of which ones would attract significant use -- scares me.


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