[GOAL] Re: Responses to Martin Hall on Finch on "Neither Green Nor Gold"

Heather Morrison hgmorris at sfu.ca
Thu Feb 14 19:41:30 GMT 2013

The Creative Commons community held an extensive discussion on the definition of "noncommercial" for the version 4.0 draft, in which I participated. There were many suggestions for changing / improving the definition, but in the end it was decided that the existing definition is actually the best one. In other words, this definition will not change in version 4.0.

This was only one of many areas of intense discussion. It is important to keep in mind that Creative Commons serves a very broad range of communities, and the licenses are used in different circumstances and with different types of materials developed for different reasons. 

One example that is highly relevant for open access is the idea that scholarly works should be CC-BY so that works can be included in Wikipedia without seeking further permission, since Wikipedia uses CC-BY-SA. For me, this raises three very important questions:

1.	What is the Attribution element of CC-BY? In scholarship, what is important is Attribution of the scholar, journals, etc. For Wikipedia, anonymity is the norm, and Attribution is of Wikipeda per se. So a simplistic CC-BY for scholarship to permit CC-BY-SA in Wikipedia is not straightforward.

2.	There are definitely benefits to including scholarly materials in Wikipedia - this would certainly improve Wikipedia - but potentially downsides for scholarship as well. In Wikipedia the default is that anyone can edit anything; this means that the authoritative work of a scholar can be changed by anyone. This is an interesting experiment, but  it is not one that all scholars should be required to participate in, in the near future.

3.	The Creative Commons response to the BIS Committee's consultation is a good reminder of the strong moral rights provisions inherent in all of the Creative Commons licenses. Creative Commons assures us that CC-BY does not permit uses or alterations that the author does not approve of. It is hard to see how this perspective can be reconciled with the idea that CC-BY permits "free and unrestricted use". It seems clear, for example, that these strong moral rights provisions would give an author using CC-BY the right to demand changes if the work is included in Wikipedia and changes are made that the author does not approve of. 

In other words, the potential for misunderstandings with the CC licenses is not limited to the NC element. There is plenty of scope for misunderstandings with CC-BY, too. These potential problem areas may become more apparent as CC-BY is required by RCUK. That is, authors who voluntarily choose this license may be more understanding of re-use and derivatives than authors forced into this choice.

It is ironic that the Students for Free Culture are adamantly opposed to noncommercial licenses, when the open access version of the seminal work in this area, Lessig's Free Culture, was released under a Noncommercial license. If we were to apply some common recent arguments, we would have to say that Lessig's Free Culture was a horrible travesty of free culture. 

Some of those who are opposed to Noncommercial are equally opposed to any requirements that CC licensed works be free of charge. For some, "freedom" means "my freedom to use a paywall".


Dr. Heather Morrison

On 2013-02-14, at 8:54 AM, Marcin Wojnarski wrote:

> On 02/14/2013 11:24 AM, Peter Murray-Rust wrote:
>> MU indicates that he would like modified CC-* licences for humanities, 
>> etc. 
> What's the reasoning behind this? Why do humanities need special kinds 
> of licenses?
>> I am on the Science Board of Creative Commons and we are in the midst 
>> of reviewing for CC-* licences so it is a valuable time to make 
>> suggestions. It is not, however, easy to use CC licences for limit 
>> downstream us. People who argue that CC-NC does this are general mistaken.
> The best thing Creative Commons can do is to fix *-NC licences by giving 
> a clear and precise definition of "commercial purpose". Ideally, they 
> should narrow the NC exclusion to direct *resale* of the work and its 
> derivatives, permitting other uses, like providing additional paid 
> services on top of -NC works. I believe that resale of copies or 
> inclusion in paid products (sale of derivatives) is what majority (99%) 
> of authors understand by "commercial use" - they don't realize that the 
> limitations imposed by CC-NC licences are much wider and may seriously 
> impact dissemination of the work. Fixing this would be a step in the 
> right direction.
> Best,
> Marcin
> -- 
> Marcin Wojnarski, Founder and CEO, TunedIT
> http://tunedit.org
> http://www.facebook.com/TunedIT
> http://twitter.com/TunedIT
> http://www.linkedin.com/in/marcinwojnarski
> TunedIT - Online Laboratory for Intelligent Algorithms
> _______________________________________________
> GOAL mailing list
> GOAL at eprints.org
> http://mailman.ecs.soton.ac.uk/mailman/listinfo/goal

More information about the GOAL mailing list