The Incredible Agony of Inexactness

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The following comment caught my eye in a discussion re. the CC BY-NC license.

I thought the section "Explanations of NC do not modify the CC license" is interesting. And I have from time to time wanted to learn more on this issue. … Unlike what the heading suggests, the text seems to indicate that in some cases, explanations maybe legally effective, just that in such case the license is no longer a CC license. Am I reading it wrong? (Do)… clauses within the CC license… make such explanation ineffective?

If the license is inexact, it needs explanations, but explanations are ad hoc, and have to be accompanied with the caveat that the canonical documentation is the license no matter how fuzzy it may be. Especially if, to the really conspiratorial, it might seem that explanations could, in certain circumstances, supersede what they are explaining.

On the other hand, if the license is exact so that it doesn't need any further explanation, it will either likely cover only a handful of real world scenarios or be interminably long.

Just like in Oleanna, no matter what side we take, we are wrong.