Six issues with licenses

Saturday, December 17, 2011
  1. Whether or not CC should offer choices of licenses such as NC and ND?

    Yes, because they offer a valuable choice to potential users who would otherwise not consider CC.

  2. Whether or not I should personally use such licenses?

    That is a personal choice, and everyone should be free to make that choice. Personally, I don’t like and use such licenses.

  3. Do such licenses discourage downstream uptake?

    I don’t have any scientific evidence of this but I believe they might. I choose to not use such licenses to avoid that possibility.

  4. Do such licenses really enable us to enforce our personal desires/viewpoints on others?

    Again, no scientific evidence, but my guess is No. On the other hand, this guess is applicable to all licenses. There is absolutely no guarantee that anyone will comply with any kind of license, and there is always the possibility that someone will be discouraged by any license one chooses. I simply don’t have the resources (time, energy, motivation) to chase anyone who might have violated my licensing terms.

  5. Should I discourage other individuals from using such licenses?

    I believe this is a personal choice. I do choose to discourage other individuals from choosing such licenses because of my unscientific but reasonable beliefs #3 and 4 above.

  6. Should I/we discourage other organizational entities from using such licenses?

    Ahhh… finally something that can actually be debated. Again, based on my beliefs 3 and 4 above, I think collectively we should discourage organizations from choosing NC and ND licenses. Put another way, we should encourage organizations to choose BY or CC0. CC0 and BY increase interoperability between datasets by lowering the impedance to mixing data. CC0 is especially suited for data. For copyrightable content, BY may be the best in most situations as it conveys the author’s desire to be attributed without carrying any other constraint. Keep in mind though, BY’s attribution requirement is legally required and not optional. I believe that encouraging people to do the right thing is more effective in the long run than trying to discourage them from doing the wrong thing. CC gives us the means for pursuing both options. I choose the former, but I do understand that not everyone shares my reasoning.