[cc-licenses] Attribution license

Greg London teloscorbin at gmail.com
Mon Oct 2 15:18:53 EDT 2006

On 10/2/06, Terry Hancock <hancock at anansispaceworks.com> wrote:
> (I wish that Greg could be less confrontational about this point, he
> appears to think you are "misunderstanding on purpose" -- please don't
> let that interfere with understanding his reasoning.  And yes, Greg does
> have some weird economic theories, but this isn't one of them).

I don't think anyone is misunderstanding on purpose.

I have brought up some issues with Debian's view
and it feels like those issues are consistently ignored.
I also grow tired of being accused of opposing DRM
for some political reason, that I woudl be naive enough
to think that having the anti-TPM clause would force
the world to stop using TPM. I am not that stupid.

I'll admit part of the problem is that I did not have
a good alternative to Debian's view that
DRM->Parallel distribution is equivalent to
Binary->Source code.

Part of the problem is that Debian had something
familiar to frame their view, but I had nothing familiar.
But I think I've fixed that now that I've had to hash
through it a few times.

The problem is that DRM does not accurately map to
a binary. Parallel distribution leaves some problems that
source code distribution solves in teh binary metaphor.

Instead, I think the accurate way to describe DRM is
that it is like a software patent in GPL. Both allow the
possibility for an outsider to put up a fence in the
community project, to monopolize some piece of the
commons. A software patent monopolizes some
functionality that wasn't in the original community project.
DRM monopolizes some hardware platform and excludes
the community from exercising their freedoms on that

Hopefully, Debian and anyone who favors the
parallel distribution idea will better see that parallel
distribution does not solve the monopoly of a software
patent, anymore than it solves the problem of a platform
monopoly. That the response to a DRM platform monopoly
needs to be more like the response to a software patent:

Either the software patent must be licensed freely
so the community can use it like any other GPL code,
or the patent holder must be prohibited from using
the community works to implement his patent.

Likewise, DRM must either be transparent, so that
all rights normally available to the community are
available with the DRM-enabled work, or the platform
must not be allowed to use the community works on
the platform.

Hopefully this makes the problem of DRM more
clear to the poeple who have been advocating
parallel distribution.

Some folks seem to view a hardware monopoly as a
non-issue, and hopefully some real world examples
of attempted and current hardware platform monopolies,
such as the encrypted ink cartridges and the garage door opener,
will better highlight that platform monopolies are a significant problem
to Freedom.

This is the reason I took the idea of
DRM'ing free content into a hardware platform monopoly,
and compared it with somethign like a printer that
uses encryption and DMCA to establish a sole
source monopoly on who can build and sell
replacement ink cartridges.

Hardware platform monopolies are threats to basic Freedom.
It is not enough to have access to the content or the ink
if you are prohibited from putting your content on the
platform or putting the ink in your own printer.

In the case of ink cartridges for printers, a CC license
is not the place to address this issue.
But in the case of a CC-SA license to be used for
content which might end up on a DRM platform monopoly,
I believe the platform monopoly takes Freedom away from
the community and uses the monopoly against the community,
similiar to the way a software patent could be used against
the GPL community, and so should be dealt with in the

Not to oppose the idea of TPM in general.
I keep saying I actually support the idea of allowing
TPM in CC-BY because CC-BY allows proprietary forking.
But in teh case of ShareAlike, the idea is to protect the
community from monopolization of the playing field.
And a platform monopoly coudl do just that.


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