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Subject: Development of Creative Commons licenses

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  • From: "Greg London" <email 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: Wed, 24 May 2006 00:53:55 -0400 (EDT)

Founders's isn't being adopted in any significant numbers.
I think any sort of term-limit-non-commercial license
would fare even worse.

CC-NonCommercial is a market economy license. It is a
license that a creator can use to trade non-commercial
rights in exchange for the possible benefit of generating
word-of-mouth about the work, getting the fans involved,
and eventually making more commercial sales.

If CC-NC sunsets to either CC-BY or CC-FC, then any artist
who is using CC-NC strictly for the personal benefit it gives
them has no incentive to adopt CC-sunset. They are using CC-NC
to try to get more sales. So they have little incentive to
commit to a sunset license.

If the creator is not strictly in it for personal benefit,
but may want to give something to the community, they
would be open to using CC-Sunset, but they might just as
likely switch from CC-NC to CC-BY on their own.

And creators interested in contributing to gift economies
would be more like to use CC-BY or CC-SA straight out of
the box.

I don't see how offereing the sunset license will enable
people to change their behaviours any more than the existing
licenses already do.

> The NC licensing scheme is the most popular CC license -- and while
> I think that's evidence that artists don't fully appreciate the limits it
> is placing on them, I also think it indicates that the artists are not
> prepared to take the risk on unproven and largely untried business
> models proposed for fully free-licensed aesthetic works.

A sunset license doesn't change this fear. And if they're in it
for personal gain, then they'll never want to give their rights
up. And if they're in it to make some money and contribute to
a greater project, then they'll likely do it on their own timeline,
when they've felt they've made enough money.

If people are afraid of taking a risk on an unproven and
largely untried business model, then getting them to commit
up front about how many years before they'll make enough money
to put their work in the public domain isn't going to calm
those fears. It will make them worse, to no direct benefit
to the creator that I can see.

> counter-examples that have been raised (e.g. "Wikipedia") are
> "successes" at creating content, but they are not "successes" in the
> sense of paying the contributors. Now, I acknowledge that this

That is the point of a gift economy. Poeple contribute freely.
The cost to contribute is lowered so much that people can
make contributions on the side, in their spare time, and it
doesn't impact or hinder their day jobs, etc. Proprietary
jobs hire 500 people to work 2,000 hours a year to create
a one-million-man-hour-per-year result.

Gift economies work by making it so easy to contribute that
one million people can each contribute one hour, and you end
up with a one-million-man-hour-per-year result for free.

It might be interesting if you could figure out a way to
handle micropayments for contributers in some meaningful
way that couldn't be easily gamed by folks who would
otherwise churn the text for money. But then suddenly
you've added a ton of overhead that needs to be handled.
so a million hours of contributions yields half a million
hours of result. And you also would ahve to figure out
a way to pay contributers, meaning you'd have to be profitable,
and if you have a profitable business model, you'll be
pulled to go with All Rights Reserved or some more
restrictive license. Micropayments and more restrictive
licenses sort of dulls the altruistic reasons that people
contribute to gift economies in the first place.

> empowerment of amateur creative work is desirable, but do we
> really want to destroy the niche of the "professional artist"?

hm, that's an interestingly ambiguous question.

If there is a form of expression that *could* be handled
completely by gift economy projects that are FLOSS from
the get-go, why, exactly, would there be a need to pay
someone to do the exact same thing?

Which then begs the question as to whether that is possible
or not. The only expression I know of that could possibly
eclipse proprietary versions is operating system software,
but even Linux hasn't managed to kill Microsoft, so perhaps
the question is a red herring.

i.e. the only way a gift economy can "destroy" a
professional niche is if profesional work has been
eclipsed by the gift economy.

At which point, this is basically asking whether or
not we want the printing press to put the monastic
scribes out of work, only with different players.

Bounty Hunters: Metaphors for Fair IP laws

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