[cc-licenses] Attribution: please do not forbid accurate credit

Francesco Poli invernomuto at paranoici.org
Sat Apr 7 12:36:09 EDT 2012

On Fri, 6 Apr 2012 15:53:57 -0400 Andrew Rens wrote:

> Hi Francesco
> I've certainly heard various claims from members of disparate software
> communities purporting to define "free" before. I am not entirely
> unsympathetic to those claims.

There must be a definition of Free Works, after all, otherwise we do
not know what we are talking about...

> But I am also from country in which the history of freedom cannot be
> separated from the struggle for dignity, a country in which colonial and
> neo-colonial oppression by the West has often taken the form of dictating
> to Africans what constitutes freedom.
> So I am not convinced that of an account of freedom that defines it in such
> a way that people must bind themselves not to assert the simple dignity of
> repudiating misrepresentations of their own expressions while still
> allowing those others to re-use their communications is either the only
> possible account or the most desirable account of freedom.

Wait, wait, I am *not* advocating misrepresentation at all.
Please re-read the already cited message [1] where I originally
suggested to fix this clause in CC licenses.

[1] http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/cc-licenses/2012-January/006602.html

> I am sure that many people reluctant to adopt Free Software licenses, may
> > be convinced to adopt a given license, when non-free restrictions are added
> > to that given license. I don't think that this should be a reason to add
> > those non-free restrictions to a given license, though.
> >
> But neither the Free Software Foundation nor the Debian community regard
> this particular feature as not free,

*I* do regard this feature as a non-free restriction.
Please remember that I speak for myself here, *not* on behalf of the
Debian Project (or of the FSF).

> >
> > I think the goal of CC-by and CC-by-sa should be to let the works
> > licensed under their terms be Free works.
> > Popularity of the license should not be a goal in itself and at all
> > costs...
> >
> Here the "cost" is that those who are given the freedom to make derivatives
> may possibly have to remove attribution on request when the Licensor is
> believes that attribution of the remix is harmful to him. That is not a
> particularly high "cost" if you believe in the account of freedom that
> you've suggested.

I believe it's a high cost, since, while preparing an adaptation, you
may strive to do things right and to comply with the license terms as
thoroughly as you want, to only find out *later* that the original
Licensor believes that your attributing to him/her the original Work
hurts his/her reputation and must therefore be removed.

Please note two important aspects:

  A) you are *forced* by the license to credit the original author,
hence you cannot preemptively omit the attribution just in case you
later receive a request to remove it

  B) there's no way to predict in advance whether the original Licensor
will *arbitrarily* consider your adaptation harmful for his/her
reputation or anyway dislike (for whatever reason!) that his/her name is
mentioned (even just as author of the original work) in your
adaptation; the clause does *not* require any justification from the
Licensor for his/her request to remove the attribution, nor any
condition to be satisfied in order for the Licensor to able to make
such a request: you just have to comply, no matter what, *simply* because
the Licensor requested to do so *after* your adaptation is already in
the wild

When the request arrives, you have to go back to your adaptation and
modify it, no matter how much spare time you may have to do so.
And there's absolutely nothing you can do before releasing your
adaptation in order to prevent this inconvenience from happening.

I hope this clarifies why I oppose to this restriction.

 New GnuPG key, see the transition document!
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
 GnuPG key fpr == CA01 1147 9CD2 EFDF FB82  3925 3E1C 27E1 1F69 BFFE
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