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cc-licenses - Re: [cc-licenses] Color-coding

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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] Color-coding
  • Date: Fri, 19 May 2006 14:04:01 +0000

robinp AT wrote:

Why not blue for copyleft with next four colours pushed down a row so
that EULA can be "visible" too? After all, "All Rights Reserved"
isn't a complete full stop as at a red light - it's just a stern

Small problem - how many people know what indigo looks like and can
instantly distinguish it from violet?

Bigger problem - lots of people are colour-blind in one way or
another. At traffic lights the light's position gives them the info;
so "position" should be part of this scheme.

That's not a problem: CC already has icons for each module, so I would assume
they'd be incorporated into the design. Color blind people already know they
have to look for non-color cues for things. (Intriguingly, red-green colorblind
people would see a distinction between blue-green and yellow-red which
corresponds to the free/non-free border in either the VIBGYOR or BGYOR schemes,
so the color cue would still work to distinguish "free" from "non-free" which
is what I personally care about ;-) ).

The color-coding would be a purely mnemonic aid, and a marketing tool (that's
why color psych would matter).

There's no reason why each license would have to be a different color, in fact.

If you went with the LinuxTag system, for example, there'd just be green, yellow,
and red variants (in which case, I would argue for anything that is "free" by one
of the readily available free-license standards to be green, non-commercial and
no-derivative licenses which nevertheless allow redistribution to be yellow, and
anything more restrictive to be red).

However, since there *is* a long-standing conflict even within the free software
community over the utility of copyleft, I thought blue would work well for that.
It also has the advantage that, while both green and blue are psychologically
associated with freedom -- they both come to mind when considering a wide-open
uncluttered grassy plain under a blue sky (an image which, because it presents
few constraints on human action and a comfortable environment in which to act
is an apt metaphor for any kind of freedom), it is unclear which is more so. That
helps to deflect any argument about which of the two deserves the right to be
called "more free".


Terry Hancock (hancock AT
Anansi Spaceworks

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