[cc-licenses] Version 3.0 -- It's Happening & With BY-SA Compatibility Language Too

Terry Hancock hancock at anansispaceworks.com
Mon Feb 12 09:28:38 EST 2007

drew Roberts wrote:
> On Monday 12 February 2007 06:34 am, Javier Candeira wrote:
>>>>In most cases, there is no problem with the existing licenses. A game
>>>>engine's copyleft license does not affect the content it plays, nor does
>>>>the sharealike content license affect the engine used to play it.
>>Nobody says that. What we say is that the game *is* the content, not the
>>engine. So we would like to have completely modifiable games, not just
>>games whose engine can be modified.

Absolutely. That's why you should use a free content license like the
CC-By-SA ("Attribution ShareAlike") for the content (NOT to be confused
with the CC-By-NC-SA, which I regard as a "non-free" content license --
the BIG problem with "CC licenses" is with these non-free licenses
flying the same "Some Rights Reserved" banner as important free licenses).

There are really two SEPARATE points here:

1) ETHICAL POINT: freedom to modify and distribute is essential. (BOTH
GPL and By-SA satisfy this ethical (or "ideological") requirement).

2) LEGAL POINT: copylefts on content and code are not binding on each
other. Thus, it does not matter whether GPL and By-SA are LEGALLY
compatible or not -- they are compatible because they each make no
claims on the others' territory.

The issue of "GPL compatibility" is NOT an ethical or ideological issue.
In ethical/ideological terms GPL and By-SA are completely compatible (or
at least, I believe this is true -- some people may quibble over details).

You've heard that GPL is LEGALLY incompatible with By-SA, but you are
arguing against its use on ETHICAL differences. But there basically
aren't any -- it's merely a legal problem, and in almost use cases that
I can construct, it ISN'T a problem because of the non-binding copylefts.

This would be true even if the content license were non-free. But I'm
not promoting non-free licensing for game content.

> I agree. I think the point that the person was trying to make is that you 
> could have one copyleft license for the engine and another copyleft license 
> for the content and the two licenses which would not allow you to mix works 
> of each would not cause a proble mas you are not actually mixing the works in 
> a way the license addresses/prevents.


>>Back on the topic. That CC-by and CC-by-sa are compatible with the GPL and
>>free-enough-for-Debian is, however, a full solution to all my (real or
>>perceived) quibbles on this matter.
>>Thanks for the hard clarification work,

It wasn't THAT hard. ;-)

To be fair though, we are actually white-washing the current situation
between CC and Debian. The fact is that the jury is still out on whether
CC's concessions to the DFSG are adequate to satisfy Debian.

The CC attribution requirements were regarded as too stringent for DFSG,
and CC has softened these slightly to satisfy Debian. I believe this has
been a complete success. However...

There is a group of people within Debian (I regard them as a small
minority, and don't think they will sway the consensus of the whole
organization -- but it's never possible to say that with surety until
there is a vote) who are both highly hostile to the Creative Commons
organization and stuck on what I consider a highly broken interpretation
of how the DFSG terms apply with regard to "Technological Protection
Measures" (TPM) a.k.a. "Digital Rights/Restrictions Management" (DRM).

They insist that DFSG requires the right to distribute works in an
obfuscated/cryptographically-locked format that permits the creation of
sequestered "platform monopolies", allowing derivative content to be
locked away from general distribution. They base this on the claim that
disallowing such distribution is a "use restriction".

The opinion of CC supporters (including myself) is that this is a
violation of the concept of copyleft, and that  a requirement to
distribute "in clear" is perfectly in line with free/copyleft principles
(and the DFSG). DFSG has always been interpreted to allow restrictions
on the "uses" of "copying" and "distributing" works for the purposes of
ensuring future freedoms of the work (i.e. "copyleft") -- IMHO, the CC
wording is consistent with that.

Fortunately, Debian has already approved the GNU Free Documentation
License (GFDL) which has an even stickier "in clear" distribution
requirement, so it would seem totally inconsistent for them to decide
against CC. However, there's a lot of "bad blood" between free software
advocates and the CC, which stems primarily from CC's promotion of
"non-commercial" licenses, so from a political perspective, it's not
impossible to imagine them singling CC out.

So we're currently still keeping our fingers crossed. ;-)


IANAL, etc...

Terry Hancock (hancock at AnansiSpaceworks.com)
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com

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