[cc-licenses] Yet more on NC (was: Re: New Generic and ports)

Henri Sivonen hsivonen at iki.fi
Tue Oct 10 05:08:23 EDT 2006

On Oct 10, 2006, at 09:39, Jonathon Blake wrote:

> One organization has a policy of using your local process server as
> your first notification of a possible copyright violation. Several
> others are well known for their enforcement of alleged copyright
> infringement.

Makes you want to quote the KJV, doesn't it?

> Something like that will evolve when people figure out what a creative
> commons for _text_ means.

Software documentation needs to evolve with the software. Educational  
materials can evolve over time and be collaborative. I can imagine  
that religious commentary could be collaborative in a wiki style.

>  The best current example is Wikipedia, and its relatives.

And they are not NC.

> Copy edits and translations are probably the only significant
> derivatives for text.

And updated versions of software documentation and educational  
materials. And audiobooks. And movies. (An organization here in  
Finland that desires to become the monopoly ARR licensor of books for  
purposes other that the initial printing also talks about PowerPoint  

> My personal experience has been more of both of those for the
> CC-BY-NC-SA than the CC-BY-SA licenced material.

If the text is NC, the translator has a hard time making money.  
That's not cool.

> For non-profits, the revenue model is not the primary function.
> My sense is that most organizations that us the NC licence are either
> non-profits,

Surely it has to be an important consideration if the monopoly of  
potentially making money off the work is held. If it weren't, why  
should a non-profit care about someone else making a profit?

> * Software support can generate revenue.  That doesn't exist for text.

It seems to me that teaching courses based on textbooks is a support- 
like service for text.

Considering what kind of software license is known as "the MIT  
license" and that potential MIT authors are primarily in the business  
of providing the teaching service, I find it strange that MIT is  
pushing NC and all the ambiguity it entails.

>> NC prevents others from building business on what is potential  
>> usefulness for others but unused surplus for the licensor--or any  
>> attempt degenerates to the permission culture.
> I haven't done a survey of the type of material that is slapped with
> an NC licence.

Flickr has lots and lots of NC photos. I'd bet that most  
photographers did not take the photos because they were motivated by  
potential royalties but instead took the photos for personal  
enjoyment. Hence, any usefulness to anyone else is surplus.

There are also lots and lots of blog posts out there that have NC  
slapped on them but whose writers were not motivated by potential  

> Most of what I've seen has either been educational, or
> religious orientated.  In both instances,
> the only restriction is selling the derivative product --- if there  
> is one.

At e.g. Helsinki University of Technology, hard copies of course  
material is sold to students. This operation has been externalized to  
a privatized company that was previously the government printing  
office. (Often the parts of the material written by the lecturer are  
available to the world free as in beer on the Web and you would be  
allowed to print it on your home printer but not on the university  
printers. It isn't about collecting royalty to the lecturer.)

This means that NC is a problem for educational material. To me, it  
seems to make more sense to get rid of NC than to weasel it so that  
doing business with NC is OK for educational purposes.

> You are assuming that income generation is the driving force behind
> the selection of the NC licence.  I'm not convinced that it is.

No, I am assuming that a knee-jerk desire to deny income generation  
for others is the driving force for the selection of NC.

> For
> both educational and religious material, the driving force is to
> maximize the distribution, at the lowest cost to the original author,
> and the end user.  [This gets back to the dual licence: "All Rights
> Reserved" for the hard copy, and "NC" for the e-text.]

If a tenured educator is paid on a monthly basis, one has to wonder  
if the royalty extracted outweighs the collaboration and distribution  
that is lost due to not being Free as in Free Software.

> For a commentary on _The Gospel of
> Judas of Keiroth_, the insight it provides are going to be more
> important than the licence.

But could such commentary be massively collaborative under CC-by-sa?  
Could such a commentary be more insightful?

> ND is as restrictive as NC, perhaps more so.

ND is restrictive in a different way, but even RMS agrees that ND  
makes sense for some works like expressions of political opinion. (I  
believe that many bloggers who are using CC-by-nc had reasons that  
should have lead to CC-by-nd instead.)

Henri Sivonen
hsivonen at iki.fi

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