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Subject: Development of Creative Commons licenses

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  • From: drew Roberts <zotz AT>
  • To: Discussion on the Creative Commons license drafts <cc-licenses AT>
  • Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] Intellectual Highway Department
  • Date: Tue, 30 May 2006 07:52:23 -0400

On Monday 29 May 2006 11:52 pm, Greg London wrote:
> >> That you don't LIKE it, is your subjectivness coming into it. It
> >> isn't enough for you, apparently. So you don't like the license and
> >> you don't like people who use it.
> >>
> >> But it really IS win-win. Authors are giving up some of their legally
> >> granted rights when they use CC-NC. The public benefits by that. And
> >> the author benefits too.
> >
> > The *objective* point is that I'm not the only one who feels this way
> > (indeed, there are quite a few people who feel quite a bit worse than
> > I do about it).
> That some people don't understand CC licences and how copyright
> works is not a problem to be solved by another license.
> It is a problem to be solved by education.

This is a belief and not necessarily a fact. Someone could have made the same
statement when we only had the GPL and LGPL. CC could have made only BY-SA
and BY and someone could have made the same statement. Why should we assume
that somehow we now magically the exact right number of licenses and that
those licenses are perfect?
> > Anyway, I personally don't think CC-NC is 'evil', but I do think it is
> > deceptive (to both artists and fans -- both tend to misinterpret what
> > it allows or disallows in my experience).
> again, education is the sauce to solve this problem, not another license.
> > No. ANY non-commercial clause breaks the commons up.
> OK, so there's some fundamental meme going on here that
> I can't quite put my finger on, and I think this sentence
> is probably a pointer to it.
> CC-NC doesn't "break up the commons".

Perhaps, perhaps not, what the different CC licenses do is create seperate
"commons" areas where works in each area are not necessarily free to move
from area to area and that have the unfortunate, to my mind, attribute that
most mixing from the area results in taking out of the more free areas and
moving to hte less free.
> There is a sequence of events that occurs that seems to
> have been lost in some of the floss propaganda espousing
> the evils of All Rights Reserved and Copyright.
> Part of the problem with most of the propaganda is the
> way they talk about the "commons" as some static-sized
> thing. The "commons" metaphor applied to copyright and
> intellectual works and copyleft and gift economies
> and market economies is not static.
> The sequence goes like this.
> Start with a commons. A pasture of some metaphorically
> managable size. the entire pasture is fenced in, and
> outside that fence is private property, proprietary
> works. Inside the fence is public domain, the shared
> commons.

This is your first mistake. How about start with all the land in the west
where the cattle could graze freely? How about the New Forest in England?

Please note, I am fairly certain that in some traditions member of the
public != commoner.

That is, not all people have commonage rights. Npt even all citizens. I could
have misunderstood some things I have read though so those with more definate
knowledge are encouraged to contribute.
> Sequence step 2. Someone creates a new work.
> This becomes their private property, metaphorically.
> It is a piece of land that exists outside the commons
> area, and the creator gets to fence it in and charge
> anyone who wants to use their land.

See, you are starting too late in the game. Legally speaking.

>Someone creates a new work.
> This becomes their private property, metaphorically.

Sure, but earlier in time... They then publish this new work and it becomes
public domain on publication. The "commons" is undivided except for those
works hoarded by their creators.

After copyright laws are passed, then your step 2 applies.
> Sequence step 3: The copyright or patent rights to the
> work expire. The work enters the public domain.
> metaphorically, the fence separating the commons
> and the proprietary land is taken down, and the
> size of the commons is expanded. This expansion is
> the point of copyright and patent law in the first
> place: to promote the progress of science and useful
> arts. To make the commons of intellectual works
> So, given that, when someone creates a new work,
> it automatically goes under All Rights Reserved.
> This does not make the commons smaller. and it
> doesn't break the commons up.

Yes, it does, the law ensures this. It was deemed a worthwhile tradeoff
to get people to not hoard and to make more new works.
> If that person decides to use the CC-NC license,
> they have decided to allow more free access to
> their land without charging for it than they
> could have, given their rights as landowner.
> They lowered the fence for some people and let
> them graze for free.
> doing THAT does not break the commons up, either.

The different licenses do break up the commons, or rather, create multiple,
non-freely intermixable commons areas.
> > I'm suggesting a practical way to bring already
> > fragmented commonses back together.
> The commons is not fragmented.

Obvioulsy, you look at things differently. I doubt that you are going to
convince me though. I can use PD, BY, and BY-SA for what I want to do. (And
anything compatible where I can end up with a copyleft work.) The rest may as
well be all rights reserved as far as I am concerned. Fragmented. And there
is a fragment that is of no use to me. YMMV.

> it is expanding over time as new works are created
> and either those works are donated immediately to
> the public domain, or the exclusive rights to those
> works expire and they are deeded to the public.
> CC-NC can be used by creators as a way to give
> up some rights in exchange for getting more sales,
> and more sales allow them to keep creating new works,
> and eventually those works go into the Public Domain.

Are you sure about that?
> This process doesn't "fragment" the "commons",
> it expands it.

Not if the current never expiring copyright game keeps being played.
> You keep using the word "commons",
> but I don't think it means what you think it means.

To use your definition, Creative Commons is wrongly named. Only the Public
Domain is the commons and there is very little of that being produced around
here if statements I see are correct.
> CC-NC does not fragment anything. it does not
> create any problems with regard to the public
> domain commons or the proprietary pastures
> that eventually get added to the commons.
> There may be misunderstandings as to what CC-NC
> does and does not allow, and that is a problem
> that needs fixing. but other than that, this
> "fragmenting the commons" thing seems to be
> an invented problem that you're trying to "fix"
> with the sunset license.

No, it is people using the term commons in a different way than you do, but
my estimation in keeping with the whole idea of Creative Commons.
> Or, on the other hand, I may be completely
> misreading what you're saying here.

I think it is first of all a terminology thing, which this post may help in
making clear. There are different takes on "commons" about and people make
their arguments based on their take.

all the best,

Record a song and you might win $1,000.00

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