Tue, 05 Jul 2005

Creative Commons Licensing: Just Say Yes

So I've joined the Australian Blog Licensing Frenzy and formally licensed my blog under Creative Commons. (I realize that blogging about changes to one's own blog risks taking blog-masturbation to new levels). Note, however, that I've licensed under the most liberal terms available short of public domain: Attribution. I like attribution on works because it allows me to find other works by the same person; it's not arduous to ask other people to maintain this information as they copy.

Why not share-alike? Because I want to maximize the usefulness of my work, and others have chosen more restrictive licenses: this would block them from copying. They'd just end up wasting their own time because they can't just copy my work: it's unlikely to force them to change their license.

Why not no-derivs? Because that's not actually helpful: "you can mirror my work for me, but you can't actually change it in any way". In the Open Source world, this corresponds to the Raymondian (aka "free labour") school of thought.

Why not non-commercial? "Non-commercial" is a trap much freely-distributed software fell into before we congealed around a handful of licenses: Linux itself had this restriction before changing to the GPL. It reminds me of 1999 when a reporter asked if I was envious of how much money the founders and CEOs of IPO'ing companies were making relative to us techies. I'd honestly never thought about it before. People who think it's unfair become CEOs or found companies, I guess, and more power to them!

So to me it seems a strange line to draw: as long as you obey my license, why shouldn't you make money on it? You're not costing me anything, so why should I put any "ask me for permission" barriers in your way?

When your neighbour wins the lottery, do you complain it's unfair? After all, you might have won the lottery if they didn't! Or do you congratulate them and ask to borrow the Ferrari on weekends? If the latter, and you're not making money on your blog, I'd suggest dropping non-commercial from your CC license, and wishing those who try to make money all the luck in the world...

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