< The Origin Of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of This Really Long Title
Beautiful Soup >

[Comments] (7) Sharealike Thoughtcrime: So I got an email which deals with a topic not explored on this weblog for some years: the minutiae of various Creative Commons licenses. Specifically, the chilling effect that my choice of a BY-NC-SA license for Thoughtcrime Experiments might have on authors who don't want their stories hacked into derivative works. I would like to hear the thoughts of random people who read this weblog entry.

I chose BY-NC-SA for Thoughtcrime Experiments for three reasons: 1. that's the license Cory Doctorow uses, and it works out pretty well for him; 2. translations and adaptations to different media are prohibited under BY-NC-ND, and I want those to happen; 3. if you say it fast it sounds like "By NCSA", which makes whatever you're doing sound high-tech.

I also have a philosophical problem with BY-NC-ND which is that it doesn't enrich the commons beyond decriminalizing the act of copying. Imagine if it were suddenly okay to copy all those orphan works from the 20th (and by now the 21st) century. That'd be great news because large organizations could legally digitize all that stuff and we wouldn't lose it to Stanislaw Lem's paper-eating bacterium. But you still couldn't really interact with it until the copyright expired; it'd feel like it was behind glass. That's what BY-NC-ND feels like.

(Actually I'm being a bit hypocritical here because I originally put "Mallory" under BY-NC-ND, but I think I've talked myself out of that now, so I'll change it unless someone talks me back into it soon.)

So that's why I chose BY-ND-SA for Thoughtcrime Experiments. I'm interested in hearing additional arguments pro or con. Also note that I'm okay with negotiating the license even on the level of individual stories, though BY-NC-ND really is the baseline (otherwise it gets really confusing).

Pragmatically, I think most of the hypothetical undesirable uses of your work take place in a copyright grey area anyway, and won't be deterred by your choice of ND instead of SA. But I understand that pragmatism is not the main driver of peoples' (including my) feelings about this.

Filed under: ,


Posted by Riana at Tue Jan 06 2009 00:24


Posted by Leonard at Tue Jan 06 2009 00:25

Can you be more specific, your lawliness?

Posted by BOB at Tue Jan 06 2009 08:33

Could you perhaps release the book in parts under multiple licenses? The cover and other metadata are under by-nc-sa, and stories be under whichever (or a subset of whichever).

Using Cory's stuff as an example of what people do with a sharable CC-licensed book - with the cool people that like the more flexible license, those individual stories could be turned into other things, reused, translated, etc. The others could not. If an author did not want to share, then that story would not be included in a translation, or video-game adaptation.

What gains does someone have when using NC-ND?
* I guess they can release it again in the future, modified, for monetary or emotional gain. (i.e. "Get you exclusive Polish Translation here only 3 payments of $19.95")
* They know that they cannot be misrepresented in a sneaky way. (because someone won't edit their story and re-release it in a way that makes it less than obvious that it is a derivative.)

Posted by Lancer Kind at Tue Jan 06 2009 12:57

The NC attribution makes things pretty reasonable. Why get in the way of not for profit derivative art?


Posted by Leonard at Sun Jan 25 2009 22:10

Just to clear up a misconception. Nobody is giving up their copyright. What I want to buy is the right to publish your story on a web page under certain rules about redistribution. If someone wants to do something outside those rules, I can't give them that permission. They have to get it from you, the copyright holder.


Unless otherwise noted, all content licensed by Leonard Richardson
under a Creative Commons License.