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Subject: Development of Creative Commons licenses

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  • From: Terry Hancock <hancock AT>
  • To: Discussion on the Creative Commons license drafts <cc-licenses AT>
  • Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] Founders as a module? was Re: Getting to Version 3.0
  • Date: Fri, 19 May 2006 04:45:08 +0000

drew Roberts wrote:
On Thursday 18 May 2006 09:36 pm, Terry Hancock wrote:
> drew Roberts wrote:
>> So you we need three. Time, Units, Money. Pick any one, two, or
>> three and when either is satisfied, the work moves on to the next
>> license. No real reason, other than simplicity, that there could
>> not be more than one hop between the license a work starts with
>> and where it ends up.
> Well, okay, for the sake of argument, anyway.
> But I dislike this semantics, because it implements an AND between
> the conditions (work is freed once all conditions are met). I
> prefer OR semantics (work is freed once any condition is met).

I think you must have misread me there. "when either is satisfied" is
a call for and OR and not an AND.

Yeah, okay, I see. That's because these aren't 3 separate modules,
but rather one module with 3 parameters. I still think it's too complicated,
but it could work in principle.

I am with you on the OR so long as there is more than one element in
play. If you are pusing this as a way of ensuring that CC works all
end up at some point as either a BY or a BY-SA then you would want to
mandate a time element. (Right?)

Right. I am unabashedly advocating an engineered migration path
to free-licensing (which means either By or By-SA).

> Hence, these make
> better sense to be implemented by a distributor or by the artist
> themself (they require a central authority to be contacted to
> determine license status -- hence they don't really achieve any
> free-licensing mileage).

Not really, we would just need the cooperation of someone like LULU
to have the option of showing sales for items chosen to have them
made public by the seller. It may not be as clean as a simple time
delay, but I think it is more than do-able. (So, if you have unit or
dollar + mandatory time, then people can wait, or purchase the
"freedom" sooner.)

Well, see, I don't think we're disagreeing, because in that scenario,
"LULU" is the "central authority" as a "distributor". The other alternative
is to have the author themselves act as the central authority (which
is likely to be much dodgier in practice, due to "orphaned works" -- an
established distribution point is less likely to orphan the work, especially
if the proprietary period is short. OTOH, I've lost track of artists after
less than 5 years on a real project).

Except the possibility of an earlier freedom for the work.

But of course, a copyright-assigned central authority can always do that.
The artist, or their chosen agent, can always implement this by specifying
any desired condition for conversion of the license. Since I have to go to
the central authority to determine if the conditions have been met, it's
just as easy for the authority to simply tell me if the non-free licensing
has in fact been released early. That makes it less significant for Creative
Commons to provide a framework for such a system -- but Lulu could
do it easily, as you suggest.

So, you see, I'm not arguing that total-money-earned or total-units-sold
conditions are a bad idea, but that they should probably be handled by
a chosen distributor/agent. CC could promote the idea, but it would
be tricky to create a meaningful license module to do it.

A time-based system, on the other hand, is completely objective, and
depends only on a piece information which (barring relativistic
effects!) is available to all potential users. So implementing it would
be trivial.


Terry Hancock (hancock AT
Anansi Spaceworks

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