[Cc-uk] FS vs CC?

Tom Chance lists at tomchance.org.uk
Wed Jun 22 13:02:35 EDT 2005

Dear Andres,

Thanks for your considered and timely post :)

A quick thought, however. Let's say that there is an organisation, 'DD', that 
is promoting a purely reformist, purely legal solution to certain problems 
copyright poses for creativity. It uses proprietary software, it distributes 
its materials in closed formats inaccessible to many people. It eschews any 
political of ethical discussions that its work raises in favour of creating a 
legal framework.

I don't want to be part of anything that promotes DD's vision or the endpoint 
that DD is working towards. If I feel that DD will get us all closer to where 
I think we should be, then I'll support DD to a limited extent as a useful 
reformist tool, almost.

I am personally a *free* culture advocate. I think that there are important 
ethical, political, legal, sociological, etc. etc. issues raised by 
information-based institutions and cultures. So when CC moves from limiting 
themselves to legal aspects to help them achieve a useful reformist step 
towards free culture, I applaud and support them. But when they start 
*endorsing* proprietary software, closed document formats and closed/unfree 
music licensing, and when they start *raising funds* from the grassroots to, 
in part, bankroll payments to a multinational for the right to use 
closed/unfree music... then I really take issue. I ask myself: what am I 
supporting here? It'd be like an anti-war activist supporting a group that 
happens to work with and give money to Lockheed Martin under the guise of 
publicity stunts.

You're right that we shouldn't collapse in on our own petty internal disputes. 
But that's only true so long as we all feel that we're able to move in the 
same direction.

After this brief exchange, and others like it, I'm still convinced that CC is 
a good thing, and that I want to continue promoting CC. But I'm also 
increasingly aware of the extent to which the organisation and the movement 
are heading in what is in my opinion a really wrongheaded direction. As soon 
as people start saying things like "the battle must be won with quality and 
usability", or "free culture is a legal rather than an ethical movement", it 
makes me want to jump ship.

Kind regards,

On Wednesday 22 Jun 2005 16:50, Andres Guadamuz wrote:
> Dear all,
> I was hoping to keep some of these comments to my blog where they would go
> unnoticed :), but I guess that this discussion is really unearthing some
> deeper problems that I wanted to comment on.
> I am afraid that the arguments that we have been seeing here in the last
> few days are a continuation of the Free vs. Open debate in software. It
> seems clear to me that there is a growing number of criticisms coming from
> the FS camp against the direction of CC, and these remind me of some of the
> heated debates between FS and OSS proponents. I must admit that I find this
> development disturbing because I strongly believe that we must present a
> united front. I think that the next year is going to see an increase in
> organised attacks against CC from the creative industries, and internal
> bickering will get us nowhere. This is not to imply that there should not
> be criticism against CC! By all means, there should be. My problem is that
> I have been noticing a tendency to imply that CC is not kosher from the FS
> perspective, that FS is better, that FS has a more centred philosophy, that
> FS has clearer goals, etc.
> These criticisms may respond to the possibility that FS proponents are
> finally realising that CC is more akin to OSS than to FS. In my view, it
> should be clear that Creative Commons is not Free Software. Both movements
> have different stated goals and have different target audiences. CC is
> attempting to reach and educate the mainstream, and when you do that you
> must be prepared to compromise. There is no reason why CC staff should not
> use proprietary software, and there is no reason why CC should not use
> proprietary standards from time to time if it can be used to reach the
> target audience.
> The mainstream uses proprietary software, this is a fact. We cannot force
> people to use non-proprietary software, even if we think that they should.
> , and we all have to be
> honest that large quantities of FLOSS are not particularly user friendly.
> CC is one of the good guys, it is a step in the right direction (I'm
> running out of clichés). Let's keep that in mind.
> Regards,
> Andres
> -------------------------
> Andres Guadamuz
> AHRC Research Centre for Studies in
> Intellectual Property and Technology Law
> Old College, South Bridge
> Edinburgh EH8 9YL
> Tel: 44 (0)131 6509699
> Fax: 44 (0)131 6506317
> a.guadamuz at ed.ac.uk
> http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrb/
> http://technollama.blogspot.com/
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