[cc-licenses] Subject: Re: Version 3.0 - List Discussion Responses

rob at robmyers.org rob at robmyers.org
Mon Oct 2 07:27:57 EDT 2006

Quoting MJ Ray <mjr at phonecoop.coop>:

> rob at robmyers.org wrote: [...]
>> One solution for CC and Debian, based on the Scottish license language
>> that MJ Ray has mentioned, would be for CC to allow only ineffective
>> DRM to be applied. This would be DRM where blanket permission to
>> circumvent has been given *by the DRM vendor*, as is included in the
>> GPL-3.
> or where the DRM does not restrict the recipient, or other situations
> we're probably not clever enough to think up ourselves.

I'm sure there are many situations we're not clever enough to think up. 
But I do
not believe that the ones we have to go on make the case that the reworded CC
anti-TPM clause will be more harmful than dual distribution.

>> This would mean that GPL-3 DRM can be used on CC work, and would be a
>> synergy of the kind I have in mind between code and content. It would
>> also not restrict Free Software hackers from using CC work freely even
>> with those DRM systems, which would answer Debian's concerns.
> I think it would.

That would be ideal, then. The problem that has emerged since I wrote this is
the legal issue that Mia points out: it may be the case that only 
authors could
do this, not recipients of the work.

> [...]
>> If Debian are proved right that CC licenses cannot prevent DRM and will only
>> reduce freedom, that can be tackled when it becomes a problem.
> We seem to agree on the basic requirements of freedom to enjoy, study,
> adapt and share,

We do. And I recognise that those people arguing in favor of dual distribution
are arguing for what they believe to be the greater freedom.

> so why should it need blood before this loose cannon of
> anti-TPM language is secured?

Because I am not convinced it is a loose canon and that it will cause blood to
be shed, certainly not more blood than the alternatives that have been 
so far.

We should leave the CC licenses as they are in the new draft and 
concentrate on
helping people to use CC work on non-DRM media and Free operating 
systems. This
way we have a practical way both of preventing the licenses harming people
unfortunate enough to be on a DRM platform, and of helping free software.

But I think that we are not going to be able to resolve this without more
empirical data than it is currently possible to have. And by the time we have
it, it will be too late. :-(

> If the pro-format-discrimination

DRM is law, not data. People can put CC licensed work in whatever format they
like. They just can't add a string saying "all rights reserved" or "play only
if key present" to it. If those strings are hardcoded into a format in an
attempt to disguise this legal matter as a technological one then the 
is not altered, and we must recognise that format discrimination is being used
against us.

I do recognise that format discrimination is silly. I have argued against some
of GNU's "transparent format" provisions in the new FDL consultation process.
And a format-specific license could be used very harmfully by an organisation
such as Microsoft. But the problem is that DRM is in effect a format-specific

> voices persuade CC to again refuse to
> fix an obvious *potential* problem before it becomes an *actual*
> problem, so causing overloaded volunteers yet more work, then I think
> that's inconsiderate beyond belief.

The hard work of individuals on debian-legal, this list and elsewhere is not
sufficient reason to adopt a strategy if it is wrong or reject it if it is

> I wish I knew the detail of any other reasons for CC's formal rejection
> of source distribution as an option.

Dual distribution is not source distribution. This comparison is an intuitive
one, but is flawed in practice.

CC have not rejected dual distribution. They have correctly recognised that it
is a contentious issue and have put it forward to the community for 
Even after extensive discussion it remains a contentious issue.

> Complexity can be handled by
> importing a past solution from a working CC licence.  The effectiveness
> against monopolies is well-known from the GPL.  Practical problems like
> the size required for two copies will be reduced with time and also
> provide a strong incentive for non-TPM systems.  Where's the beef?

The beef is that the comparison between source distribution and dual
distribution is flawed, and that the effects will be more harmful than the
current language. Greg has worked this through in great detail, for example.

>> But the genie cannot be put back in the bottle. A bit like that
>> official trademark Debian have that isn't DFSG-free.
> IMO, it's fairly obvious how to fix that one, but it is not easy getting
> the relevant executives to act and the general resolution system is
> unseasonably busy just now with more widely-vexing matters like overall
> project leadership and what can honestly be put in the next release.

Genie, bottle. Oh never mind. ;-)

- Rob.

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