[cc-licenses] Parallel Distribution Statement

James Grimmelmann james at grimmelmann.net
Tue Nov 28 16:59:29 EST 2006

Rob Myers wrote:
> James Grimmelmann wrote:
>> Some authors feel it is good for their works to 
>> receive wider distribution, even on platforms that use DRM or from which 
>> it is hard to extract works.
> Are we discussing freedom or loss leaders? Do these authors feel that it 
> is good for them to *receive* work in such a format? Do you believe that 
> they will still do so when their eBook reader breaks, they buy an 
> incompatible eBook reader, or when they wish to copy some text to write 
> a review?

Speaking solely for myself as an author, I am delighted when my CC work 
is ported to another platform, even when that platform doesn't allow 
easy copying out.  (One of my essays has been excerpted in two books, 
which are not the easiest artifacts to copy from, even with scanning 
technologies.)  I would be similarly delighted if my work were ported to 
DRMed platforms.

In my capacity as a reader, I much prefer non-DRMed versions.  With 
parallel distribution, those versions would be available to me.

> I would imagine that they will feel this until precisely half a second 
> after it bites them in the ass, at which point they had better have a 
> non-DRM backup. Which of course everyone who uses dual distribution will 
> keep. You always download two versions of a file to make sure that you 
> have one that you cannot use in case you need it in fifty years time.

That some readers will not be careful about their backups and about 
acquiring non-DRMed versions does not strike me as a good reason to 
prevent them from being able to acquire DRMed copies at all.  GNU/Linux 
does not force users to keep backups.  What is critical is to make sure 
that those who wish to be responsible about their backups can be so 
without unnecessary obstacles.

> These poor helpless users can in fact install GNU/Linux on their PS3, 
> iPod or DS or even just the PC that they are using to transfer this 
> content and not just experience unencumbered media but also gain all the 
> other benefits of Free Software. We should concentrate helping them do 
> so, not helping those who would remove their freedom.

I would like for more people to enjoy the benefits of free software.  I 
don't think that Creative Commons licenses are a well-suited tool for 
encouraging that adoption.


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