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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: Sun, 28 May 2006 03:24:00 -0400 (EDT)

>> This is why I get so frustrated when people blame CC by saying
>> something like "My FLOSS project would be a huge success IF ONLY
>> creative commons would tweak the license this way". No. You haven't
>> figured out how to chunk the project yet, so the license is
>> irrelevant. If the project were chunkable, then CC-SA would be fine.
> Has anyone said that recently?

It comes up once in a while. I subscribed to the CC list
a long time ago, and when I first got on the list, it felt
like I was always fighting the "less licenses, not more"

Everyone wanted a license specifically tailored to their
project, as if the license would fix the shortcomings of
whatever part of their project was unchunkable.

>> The solution isn't more licenses. That's solving the wrong problem.
>> The problem is that the project of the moment hasn't been chunked by
>> people yet, and that's the problem that needs to be solved. Once
>> people figure out how to take a project idea and have it chunk so
>> naturally that it shatters into a million pieces that can be
>> reassembled seamlessly, then pick any standard copyleft license for
>> legal protection, buy a URL, find a host, send out some notifications
>> to the people who are potential contributers, and you're done.
> That's a solution to a particular problem, but it solves it by redefining
> 'success': you wind up with a different project than you originally
> envisioned. In short, you've allowed legal details to run the show --
> they determine your aesthetic decisions. To some degree, that's
> unavoidable, but many people would argue that you should do what
> aesthetically right, and pick a license that strategically suits that
> goal.

It isn't allowing legal details to run the show,
it's asking whether the project in question can
be built by the Bazaar model or not. If it can,
then CC-SA or any copyleft license will, for
the most part, do.

If the project does not fit the Bazaar model,
and part of the goal is a free project, then
the problem is not going ot be solved by
the license, it will be solved by figuring out
how to chunk the project so it becomes bazaar

> If we are still in any way talking about the "sunset NC" concept, then
> let me point out that it's specifically for projects that *don't* chunk
> well and therefore are poor options for bazaar development -- the
> same projects that people normally choose NC for. It's specifically
> meant to address those problems, but be friendlier to the copyleft
> commons and the works' potential "fan base", by getting rid of the
> rift between commonses that (use of) the existing NC clause creates.

The projects that people choose NC for are individual projects.
People use NC for free advertising, free samples, free word
of mouth, with the intent that it eventually lead to sales
that puts money in their pockets. And they want money specifically
because the project doesn't chunk well, and the Cathedral mode
is currently the only mode for whatever the project in quesiton is.
And Cathedral people adopt CC-NC because it surrenders one thing
(some rights to the work) in exchange for other possible benefits
for themselves (free advertising that leads to more sales)

The sunset license idea is basically making it optional for these
people to adopt shorter copyright terms. It doesn't change the
project from Cathedral to Bazaar. It's still a Cathedral model.
It's still individuals or small teams working on a project
who hope to make money in compensation for their work.

And you're asking them to adopt the sunset license in exchange
for what? Sure it will benefit the commons and the fan base,
but what can the people who did the work Cathedral style
expect to get out of it?

The sunset license doesn't solve any problem for the cathedral
person. The project is still unchunkable. They're still working
on creating something in small, dedicated teams, or as individuals.
They're looking to hopefully recover some of the time and energy
they invested in creating that work by selling it when it's done.
And you're asking them to give up the rights to their work after
3 or 7 years.

But it doesn't benefit them in any way.
It benefits you and the commons.
It isn't win-win.

CC-NC is win-win. The public wins by getting noncommercial rights
to a work far earlier than All Rights Reserved would have expired.
Artists and creators get the potential for free advertising and
eventually the possibility for additional sales that they would
not have gotten otherwise.

I don't see sunset as win-win. I see it solving a problem for
the public and the commons, but the artist doesn't get anything
out of it that they couldn't get with CC-NC.

So, rather than focus on the license, I'd say figure out what
the project is that you want to see happen, then figure out a
way to chunk it, so that the project makes it win-win for its
contributers and the project.

Barbara Bauer makes SFWA's 20 Worst Literary Agencies list

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