[cc-licenses] Articulating the commons: for the public domain, pro-noncommercial, and why require attribution?

pcreso at pcreso.com pcreso at pcreso.com
Wed Dec 28 23:59:15 EST 2011


On supposed irrationality:

In the open source world, where code is generally given away, but development time & support services are sold, giving it into the public commons is economically sound, with nothing irrational about it.

In the open data world, where the taxpayer has funded the collection & some analysis of data, releasing such data for the public good, where individuals, organizations and corporations can take them, adapt, mix & reuse, for financial profit or not, it is increasing commonplace to "give data away", and again, far from irrational. CC licences are being applied to Open Source & Data Commons as well as a Creative Commons, and generally CC is supportive of this. 

And a comment on the attribution issue:

Open Street Maps, perhaps the largest example of a data commons, has dropped supporting any data with attribution requirements. 

In the Open Data Commons, the goal is to facilitate re-use & mashups. A dataset like OSM, with hundreds if not thousands of contributors, cannot easily manage an arbitrary & inconsistent attribution for everyone. Even tracking in a map, or downloaded dataset, which bits came from who is a nightmare for potential end users. There is no real equivalent case I know of with traditional "creative" works. The closest is perhaps a medley or parody.

http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Open_Database_License

Can I urge those responsible for CC4 to not regard data (& source code as well) as just another creative work, fitting the CC model (which they don't) and that they endeavour to ensure that CC4 includes licences designed for data and source code, consistent with existing licences such as GPL & BSD for source code, & the Open Database Licence (ODbL) developed by OpenDataCommons a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation for data.

Thanks,

   Brent Wood

--- On Thu, 12/29/11, Rob Myers <rob at robmyers.org> wrote:

From: Rob Myers <rob at robmyers.org>
Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] Articulating the commons: for the public domain, pro-noncommercial, and why require attribution?
To: cc-licenses at lists.ibiblio.org
Date: Thursday, December 29, 2011, 1:03 AM

On 27/12/11 03:33, Heather Morrison wrote:
> 
> Strengthen the opportunities to contribute directly to the public  
> domain.

The public domain is a threatened and enclosable resource. Contributing
directly to it is more an economically irrational gift than the building
of a commons.

> Noncommercial means noncommercial. It does not necessarily mean, I (or  
> my organization) necessarily reserves commercial rights for myself.

That is its practical effect, though. It also does not create a commons
as it prevents anyone else using the work commercially, disposessing
them. It is enclosure that destroys a commons, not economic activity.
Copyleft/ShareAlike protects against this. NC doesn't.

> Journals with good creative commons models (all either permit or  
> require noncommercial)

Permitting and requiring noncommercial are not good models for building
a commons. If they are good models then it must be for some other reason.

> Why require attribution?

The 1.0 Creative Commons licences featured versions without attribution.
e.g.:

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/sa/1.0/

These were dropped for the 2.0 licences as people overwhelmingly chose
attribution. I chose attribution under 1.0, although I'm not sure how
sound my reasoning was.

Certainly when Wikipedia was being relicenced, the objections of some
Wikipedians to any reduction in their personal attribution was misplaced.

In Free Software there's a difference between advertising the author of
the work to the user and maintaining the author's attribution in the
source code. I think that CC is already closer to the latter.

Certainly attribution caused a *lot* of discussion on massively
collaborative projects I follow (such as OpenStreetMap), but the 2(.5 ?)
licences introduced the idea of attribution to projects rather than
individuals in order to address this kind of scenario.

I think that attribution is useful for identifying the "source" of
something, whether a project or an individual, and that this is valuable
in academia as you point out and also in other scenarios such as
checking for canonical versions of documents, finding improved or higher
quality versions of works, and finding more work by the same author or
project.

- Rob.
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