[cc-licenses] CC licenses version 4.0: some thoughts on noncommercial

drew Roberts zotz at 100jamz.com
Thu Dec 22 12:27:17 EST 2011

On Wednesday 21 December 2011 13:07:17 Heather Morrison wrote:

OK, having read the response, I will comment on some earlier points and then 
the most recent.
> On 2011-12-21, at 7:36 AM, drew Roberts wrote:
> > On Tuesday 20 December 2011 14:31:32 Heather Morrison wrote:
> >> I strongly advocate for understanding the need for creators to make a
> >> living,

I have no problem whatsover with creators making a living. And for those that 
want to, with them making a living with their creations. Be their creations 
art, music, literature, code, or whatever else current copyright tries to 

> >> and including those who share as much as they can while 
> >> reserving some rights so that they can make a living in the commons.

I do have a problem with saying NC and ND stuff is in "the commons" if we 
speak of BY and BY-SA stuff as being in "the commons".
> >
> > This is very confusing. Is it a commons or not. Do people share the works
> > in common or not?
> >
> > NC is not a commons way of sharing. One person gets to make money the
> > rest of the world does not. This is in no way sharing the work in common
> > is it?
> >
> > Can you explain exactly what you mean here and perhaps give some more
> > concrete examples?
> One example from the area of scholarly publishing would be a small
> not-for-profit book publisher. If there were lots of subsidy money to pay
> for salaries and rent, they may well be happy to give away all rights.

Personally, as long as we have the "crazy" copyright laws we currently have, I 
always suggest copyleft Free and not permissive Free. This does still give 
some chance for income from those who wish licenses that are not copyleft.

There is also the possibility to get paid "up front". Would that work for this 
class of person?

Something along the lines of: http://1p2u.com/wiki/What_is_1p2U%3F or using 
something like a kickstarter project for every book to be published?

> However, it is much more common for such publishers to have to recover some
> or all of their costs. In this case, reserving commercial rights such as
> the sale of print-on-demand or other value-added versions, then they can
> give as much to the commons as they can (free to read, perhaps even free to
> re-use) while still being able to publish. If we insist that this is not
> free,

It may be gratis but it is not libre.

> it is not a contribution at all to the commons,

I don't conside such works to be a part of any commons I am interested in. I 
may or may not have an interest in such works, but not in such a commons. I 
am at the point now where I make a conscious effort to give my attention to 
stuff that is actually in a commons that I do care about. Free stuff. I only 
have so many hours in a day. I only have so much attention. Why give it to 
works that may pollute my mind and end up with me in a lawsuit for 
subconscious copyright violation? I rather let the Free stuff into my mind.

Why spend my time, conversation, talking about and promoting the works of 
people making non-Free stuff? I rather promote those making Free stuff for me 
and everyone else.

The world may not be at the point yet where I can be exclusive in this but I 
can hope.

> then they may either  
> retreat to not making anything available for free at all, or they may
> follow our advice and give away their work, in which case someone else who
> did none of the work of creating the books might be better at business than
> they are, and they may lose money and even go out of business.

This is a danger that I face myself. I consider it worth the risk on my part. 
Keep in mind I go for copyleft and not permissive. Keep in mind that I am 
calling for stronger copyleft protection for the BY-SA license.
> I would argue that a healthy commons requires small independent creators.

I agree with that.

> Such creators need food and shelter like the rest of us,

I agree with that.

> and this may mean 
> reserving commercial rights to their works.

I disagree with that. 

> This is one of the reasons that 
> I think a healthy commons must embrace the noncommercial approach.

At that point it might be a healthy non-commons but I for one would not see it 
as a healthy commons.
> Another example from scholarly publishing: if publishers give away their
> journals as CC-BY, then other publishers can sell the journals.

Forget BY, use BY-SA. In my mind, it is the big corporations what want you to 
use BY. It is also the people who want to add their own NC or ARR stuff to 
your BY stuff and make exclusive money with their exclusive rights that want 
you to use BY.

> These other 
> publishers cannot of course stop the original journals from functioning -
> but there is nothing to stop them from working with others to lobby for
> laws, such as trade laws, that prevent the original journals from receiving
> needed support such as public funding.

Oh there is not doubt that the rich in this world are not content with the 
advantages that their riches give them and they feel they also need the laws 
stacked in their favour as well.

> If this happens, then the original 
> journals can disappear, and what was CC-BY can become toll access only. SA
> will help here too, but only NC specifically addresses the very real
> potential of corporate capture of the commons.

If we get there and BY-SA does not work, perhaps we will need to go here:

> Another example is my own blog, which is licensed CC-BY-NC-SA. At this
> point in time, I am fortunate enough to have a full-time job and no need to
> make money from this blog. However, in this world there are no guarantees
> for any of us, and if at some point I needed money, I would be very glad
> that I did reserve rights to sales of my work. If I were to change the
> license to CC-BY,

Again, forget BY, use BY-SA if you are going Free, protect the Freedom of your 
works for others as well as yourself.

> then someone else could legally mirror my blog and sell 
> ads on their copy.

Yes, they could do this with BY-SA too.

> This would make me angry, not only at the person selling 
> ads on a copy of my blog,

I try and wink/squint just right and look at such people as self hired and 
self paid publicists for me. I would not mind a log of them for my musical 

> but also at anyone who told me that I should 
> license my work as CC-BY. At that point, I can see myself changing my
> standard licensing practise to all rights reserved, or not using CC
> licenses at all. I suspect that many people would have the same reaction in
> this situation.

I know there is some benefit in NC over ARR but in the case of a blog you are 
already giving away copies to the world for free even with an ARR license on 
the articles. I mean, how many bloggers put their blogs behind paywalls?
> best,
> Heather Morrison, MLIS
> Doctoral Candidate, Simon Fraser University School of Communication
> http://pages.cmns.sfu.ca/heather-morrison/
> The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics
> http://poeticeconomics.blogspot.com

all the best,


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