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Subject: Development of Creative Commons licenses

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  • From: "Benj. Mako Hill" <mako AT>
  • To: cc-licenses AT
  • Subject: [cc-licenses] ParaDist Questions
  • Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 12:43:08 -0500

None of the usual suspects have yet responded to the analogy James and I
made between DRM and other technological barriers to modification in our
essay. I think it's instructive so I'd love the response from

In the essay, we used the example of a mobile phone but I think I can do
better here:

Let's say that there is a popular piece music under a permissive
CC license. Now let suppose that a manufacturer of electronic
greeting cards and small musical snow-globes wants to use that
piece of music as part of their cards and music boxes. Neither
devices have the ability to modify the music or even to copy it

First, is this a violation of the current anti-TPM language? It seems to
me that it probably is. If you think that is not, I'd love to hear why
you think that technical restriction is fundamentally different between
a greeting card and DRM. The key difference seems to be intentionality,
but the license doesn't talk about that and probably shouldn't.

Second, if the process of building musical greeting cards *is* a
violation in the license, would parallel distribution be a acceptable
solution in this case? Is banning distribution of CC works in greeting
cards less free than shipping each one with a mini-CD of the unmodified

If not, why can works licensed under CC licenses without ND clauses be
distributed to devices that cannot modify their content (i.e., anything
with read only media)?

If so, why is DRM different?


Benjamin Mako Hill
mako AT

Creativity can be a social contribution, but only in so
far as society is free to use the results. --RMS

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