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Subject: Development of Creative Commons licenses

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  • From: Sarah Pearson <sarah AT>
  • To: Development of Creative Commons licenses <cc-licenses AT>
  • Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] Draft 4 discussion period: license drafts and open issues
  • Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2013 14:50:43 -0700

I think you are right that it ultimately is a balancing act -- does the potential for abuse of this requirement outweigh the benefits? After d3, we were persuaded that the pros of including the requirement won out. One factor was certainly that authors that host their own content often like to point people back to that host, but there were others as well. We heard a significant amount of feedback from people in the open access arena, emphasizing how important the original source is for provenance and for business models. Another factor is compatibility with prior versions. Since there was a significant amount of support for the URI requirement, the fact that it would make the requirement consistent with 3.0 helped tip the scales. We're certainly interested in more feedback on either end of the argument, however.

Another thing to note is that the URI requirement has an extra qualifier -- it is only required if it is "reasonably practicable." It is fairly easy to imagine situations where it is not reasonably practicable to include the full chain of specified URIs. This is not a change from 3.0, but I point it out here to the extent it helps alleviate some of the pain in the massive collaboration scenarios you raised.

One last thing I wanted to mention is the possibility of re-inserting the language from 3.0 that required the URI to lead to the copyright notice or licensing information. We removed that because it seemed redundant to require someone to retain a copyright notice and licensing information and then also link back to the source of that information, but it might be one way of helping to prevent abuse of the requirement. Thoughts welcome.


On Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 10:38 AM, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell AT> wrote:
On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 5:40 PM, Rob Myers <rob AT> wrote:
> I'm torn. This ability has been there since 2.5, and exists as I
> understand it to avoid burdensome attribution for Wikis.

It has a ... uh. somewhat sordid history.

> But as an advertising attachment exploit it is clearly unacceptable.
> There's a difference between contributing work to a massively
> collaborative project and using (to take CC's example) an image hosting
> service. Can this be made clear in the license?

I thought the prior drafts addressed this, without the URI-barnacle problem:

[draft 3]
> indicate if You have modified the Licensed Material and if so supply a URI or hyperlink to the Licensed Material in unmodified form if reasonably practicable; and

My understanding of Drat 3 is that if you remove the the URI you
received it under you must (subject to it being practicable) supply a
hyperlink to the material in unmodified form.  The simple thing to do
is to just provide the original one. ... but if the original source is
problematic, or if there are contributions from many viable paths, you
can host the original material yourself and link to that.

This appears to avoid asymmetry between contributors and first vs
later hosts (since "anyone" can offer the original work at any time).
... but also sets up an easy path to compliance for the single
canonical source case that will usually do what people usually want.

I'm not sure why it was changed away from this text, except perahaps
was the wish of people who are thinking exclusively about the very
direct model where the original author picks a host (which they like
and likely control) and ... a little URI-barnacling is really not so
harmful in the one-author, one-canonical-host, no ToS imposition of
URIs, etc. model.  But it becomes a huge mess once you start trying to
collaborate and you adapt or combine works from many sources.

I think some balancing here is required, and that the best that can be
done is making it so that the default encourages the thing thing for
the cases where the URI isn't a problem, but gives equitable access to
alternatives to all future users and collaborators of the work.

[In general, I think the attribution behavior is vastly improved in
4.0, I don't want my complaints here to make it seem that I don't
think that 4.0 is enormously better constructed than 3.0 in this
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