[cc-licenses] Proposal: Derivatives-Only (DO)

David Chart bydosa at davidchart.com
Thu Dec 29 23:23:56 EST 2011

On 2011/12/29, at 11:28, Mike Linksvayer wrote:

Thanks for the thoughtful response.

> Thanks for spelling out your rationale in some detail, and pointing
> out the definitional problem.

This is going to be "no", then. ;-)

> Additional info relevant to further discussion.
> CC did try something a bit like you propose, called the "sampling
> license". If given a string of two letters as an identifier, it might
> have been BY-TO -- Transformational uses Only. Almost nobody used it,
> and it was one of the first two licenses CC retired, due to non-use,

I did look at that, years ago, and as I recall it didn't do anything I was interested in; I think the terms were too restrictive.  (As I recall, it told you what you could do, and it was basically sampling.) That may be part of the reason there was little demand.

> and because (along with the other, "developing nations") it did not
> permit at a minimum worldwide verbatim noncommercial distribution,
> which meant there were no common baseline freedoms one could assume
> when encountering a "CC licensed" work.

That's a reasonable point.

> A number of people really,
> really did not like that, because it made CC meaningless (arguably)
> and such verbatim noncommercial distribution is what people were (and
> are) trying to shut down the internet over.

Only when it's a violation of copyright. You know, like people using something under BY-SA without licensing the product as BY-SA.

I don't see anything with an ND license as being part of any sort of creative commons. I can read it for free, certainly, but I can't do anything with it; it's just as dead and locked down as Star Wars. On the other hand, something with DO would be part of the commons. If Star Wars and Star Trek were under DO, I wouldn't, certainly, be able to download The Phantom Menace for free. But I would be able to make "Enterprise versus the Death Star". Or, more practically, a whole series with new characters (because I can't afford the actors from the films or TV) in which a Federation starship encounters the Empire.

So, I feel that CC has chosen the wrong baseline freedom. CC has chosen the freedom to be a free rider on other people's work, not the freedom to use other people's work in creating your own, new work. I think that the latter freedom is much more fundamental to a creative commons. But that's surely a debate for a different list.

> Could be interesting for some other entity to address, or for brand of
> less than commons licenses stewarded by CC, but not called CC
> licenses, that NC and ND ought fall under. :-)

The follow-up question is, is CC interested in doing that? I can certainly see why DO, ND, and NC are not free, and that it would be good to restrict CC labelling to BY and BY-SA. I can also see why people might want to use the other licenses (obviously...) If the not-really-free licenses were split off, I think adding DO would make a lot of sense; you might also want to consider CO -- commercial only.

[Very quickly, because I'm not really proposing it. Perceived value is important in some fields, and if something is given away it reduces the perceived value of similar things. Therefore, you might want to require people to charge for their products if they build on what you've done, in order to maintain the value of your products.]

David Chart

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