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  • From: James Grimmelmann <james AT>
  • To: Discussion on the Creative Commons license drafts <cc-licenses AT>
  • Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] Parallel Distribution Statement
  • Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 12:41:52 -0500

Rob Myers wrote:
James Grimmelmann wrote:

Speaking solely for myself as an author, I am delighted when my CC work is ported to another platform, even when that platform doesn't allow easy copying out.

How about when it allows no study, modification or sharing?

If they can easily get a version that does, fine by me.

(One of my essays has been excerpted in two books, which are not the easiest artifacts to copy from, even with scanning technologies.)

Does the book have a EULA or does it respect Fair Use?

No EULAs, and if there were and they purported to restrict reuse, it would be a CC license violation to have them, under the "offer or impose terms" clause.
I would be similarly delighted if my work were ported to DRMed platforms.

I would not.

Possibly we are viewing DRM laden devices differently. You seem to be viewing them as a souped up CD player. I seem to be viewing them as a broken general purpose computer. I have no problem with iPods as read-only devices any more than I think that the average home not having a record re-presser is a limit on freedom. But you do not need DRM for iPods and DRM on general purpose devices or for *distribution* is harmful.

I am thinking both of iPods and of deliberately restrictive software on general-purpose devices. I would be happier to have my work go out in unrestricted formats. But if it shows up in a DRM-locked download from a time-limited PC service, so be it. The parallel unencumbered copy answers my concerns here.

Parallel distribution is, by the way, still a strategy designed to remove incentives to use DRM. The DRMed copy will need to compete with free, so the distributor might as well not use the DRM. It's really primarily in the case of platforms that have been engineered from the get-go to be DRM-only that the difference between pure anti-DRM and anti-DRM with parallel distribution kicks in. In that case, while I'm mournful that there are such platforms, given that there are, I see parallel distribution as a fair response (and don't think that not havig parallel distribution would significantly affect the adoption of such platforms).

In my capacity as a reader, I much prefer non-DRMed versions. With parallel distribution, those versions would be available to me.

At the moment of initial distribution. The GPL requires that source be made available for longer (if we must use that comparison), and why.

This is an important issue. If you think that the parallel distribution clause should be rewritten to require longer availability more explicitly, that's a great topic to discuss. I have no dog in this fight about the precise wording of the parallel distribution clause.

That said, my understanding of the GPL's availability clause is that one can either "accompany" the work with source (and thus, the availability can terminate immediately) or offer to provide source for three years (still well shorter than many of the "all unencumbered copies have been lost" scenarios being offered to argue against parallel distribution).

CC covers cultural works. If Free Software is a means to the end of cultural freedom this is good. If it does not then it is damage to be routed around.

You are consistently taking a read-only view of culture, an impoverished "use" that doesn't even encompass Stallman's freedom 0. DRM prevents the very "redistribution" that you mistake for freedom, and prevents freedom after the point of its introduction.

Just to be clear here, are you talking about cultural works that have some software component, so that freedom 0 is implicated because the software must be run as part of experiencing or interacting with the work? Or are you not just talking about cultural works? Or are you taking freedom 0 in a larger, metaphorical sense?


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