I quite agree with your conclusions. I'm trying to put together a CD with free music to be sold at a nominal fee in order to cover production, and I can't include CC-NC material on this. Particulaly with music, most of it is NC. These musicians simply do not get distributed.
One way to get around this sort of situation would be another CC module, let's call it NP, for non-profit.
I have tried to make CC people aware of these problems, but there has been no response so far.
- I would suggest lobbying for the option suggested at the bottom of the article, i.e. to raise awareness of the consequences of NC licenses on the Creative Commons license selection screen. An NP license would help in your specific case, but it would still inherit many of the problems described in the article. Tautologically speaking, the more permissive the license is, the less friction there will be.--Erik 11:36, 25 September 2005 (CEST)
"The Creative Commons "Share-Alike" licenses require any work derived from your own to be made available as free content, as a whole. (The licenses without a share-alike clause only guarantee that the part of the work created by you remains free.) Any company trying to exploit your work will have to make their "added value" available for free to everyone. Seen like this, the "risk" of exploitation turns into a potentially powerful benefit."
I think SA as presently constituted by CC does not reach this far in fact. On a derivative, OK, but the problems start with collections.
I have a glimmer of hope that there might be an attempt to remedy this situation in the "near?" future.
all the best,
Excellent overview, Erik
I totally agree there needs to be more education about NC issues. The current FAQ from Creative Commons could benefit from your argument, especially point 2.4 from the current FAQ (http://creativecommons.org/faq). As far as problems of mixing free (software) with non-free (nc-cc documentation) goes, point 1.19 should be expanded too.
You did not mention the issues with Collecting Societies: It is deemed necessary to use an NC licence to collect statutory or other royalties (See: http://creativecommons.org/faq point 1.9 - 1.11). Although it must be added that this issue is largely moot because hardly any Collecting Societies recognize CC licensed works, but this might change in the future.
Patrick Peiffer, cc-lu www.luxcommons.lu
- Interesting point. I'm increasingly seeing a need to distinguish arguments by the type and content of media. Don't get me wrong: I don't think NC should be used at all. But arguing this in the context of music is quite a bit different from the context of science and education (and probably more difficult). With regard to collecting societies, they are a dated and frequently unfair model of distributing royalties; using an NC license to benefit from that system is rather unoriginal.
- I find it much more exciting to let new revenue and compensation models evolve around truly free content. One thing which I think could help with that is additional metadata that can be used to reward artists. A global, unique identifier would probably make sense for that. E-mail addresses seem like a natural choice, but are unfortunatley prone to spam; perhaps a registry is needed. What I have in mind is that, when you broadcast a song by an artist whose work is under CC-BY, you might be required to say: "This was The Lonely Tentacles, Commons ID 84029." This ID could then in turn be used to make a quick donation if you like the artist's work, or to support their ongoing work.--Erik 19:49, 28 September 2005 (CEST)
We have a bunch of articles in French about Creative Commons on our Web site Libroscope, notably:
- http://www.libroscope.org/Non-commercial-est-ce-cela-qui ("Non-commercial: is it important in so-called free licenses?") addresses the nocivity of NC licenses under the "social entrepreneur" POV
- http://www.libroscope.org/Des-contenus-libres-pour-les ("Free contents for free software") explains why free software needs free contents, and why non-commercial licenses (or licenses prohibiting derivative works) are not applicable for contents bundled with free software; thus creating a segregation between the world of software and other contents
I didn't want to add these links myself to the article but, if you think it is useful, you may add them. (most of our articles are published under the Free Art License by the way, which is a very clear free and copyleft license for works of art, literature... http://artlibre.org/licence.php/lalgb.html)
Antoine (antoine //at// pitrou **dot** net)
- Hello Antoine,
- thanks for the links. I added them to Licenses/NC/fr; it would be cool if a French translation could eventually be written there as well.--Erik 17:57, 28 September 2005 (CEST)
What is commercial use?
A few questions to ponder : http://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/NonCommercial_use_cases
- Interesting. It would be nice to have more definitive answers, though. ;-) Some of the listed scenarios are also fairly obvious. A version trimmed down to borderline examples with legal commentary would be helpful.--Erik 21:15, 29 September 2005 (CEST)
Is Commercial Use Possible Anyway?
"The moment you choose any Creative Commons license, you choose to give away your work. Any market built around content which is available for free must either rely on goodwill or ignorance."
You may find it difficult to believe, but this is demonstrably false. For comparison, try this: "The moment you choose to use the GPL, you choose to give away your work. Any market built around software which restores freedom to its purchasers must either rely on goodwill or ignorance."
Restoring liberty (otherwise suspended by copyright and patent) to purchasers of your work does not prevent you selling your work to them, nor does it rely upon their goodwill or ignorance. CrosbieFitch 10:00, 10 August 2007 (CEST)
What about NC and SA together?
So it seems to me that if you have both the Non Commercial and Share Alike in your license you might be covered. Eg. I publish a song under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5 . Anyone wanting to use my song would have to either adopt my license, not use it or arrange for a commercial license with me. No?
Seems to me this would help promote the expansion of CC and protect me from folks making a buck off my work without compensation... no?
- No, BY-NC-SA is worse than simple BY-NC. All the disadvantages of NC licenses outlined in this article apply to BY-NC-SA as well, with the additional factor that any derivative work must be NC-licensed as well. That is, I'm not even allowed to charge for my own improvements of the work, or let anyone else sell it, as long as I'm building on your BY-NC-SA work to begin with. BY-NC-SA does not mean that I'm allowed to make commercial use if I make my own contributions freely available, if this is what you thought.--Erik 21:47, 15 October 2005 (CEST)
Permitted to lead??
What an odd closing remark. Permitted by whom? Apologists for capital? Capitalists (like Lessig) use a disingenuous call for "unity" to subvert the movement against intellectual property. Wannabe fence-menders fall for it every time. They ought to study the consequences of Dmitroff's "United Front" and how "unity" with liberal trade unions destroyed the socialist labour movement. Some of us are not interested in fixing IP for the interests of Property, some of see the fight against IP as a part of the fight against property itself. It is very telling then, that socialists should not be permitted to lead. Is unity more important than justice? --188.8.131.52 12:20, 16 February 2007 (CET) (Dmytri Kleiner firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.telekommunisten.net)
- I'm not interested in a single "united front" unless a complete parity of values can indeed be achieved. I am interested in identifying commonalities. That includes, for example, shorter copyright terms. I have advocated the abolition of copyright and patent law for nearly a decade; that does not mean that I would not support smaller reform steps (abolishing software patents; reducing copyright terms etc.). For the record, I do not believe that copyleft should exist, either, yet I am happy to accept it as an in-between step. It is completely possible to hold on to absolute goals, and to approach them in small steps.
- There are also ideas beyond socialism and capitalism. For example, one can have an economy where entities above a certain impact factor are legally required to act towards the public interest, rather than towards profit. And one can try to work towards such an economy by building non-profit organizations that assume the roles of for-profits in the information age. We have libre knowledge, libre software -- we need libre art, libre media, and libre services.--Erik Möller 21:39, 19 February 2007 (CET)
- "There are also ideas beyond socialism and capitalism." is a phrase often used by those who have not bothered to try and understand either. I wonder if those who do not want to know the basics of political economy should be "permitted to lead" a definition of freedom while ignoring the political, economic and philosophical history of the struggle for freedom? I must admit, I am skeptical. The issue is property itself, not just immaterial "property." You say copyleft is too much, I say copyleft is not enough. Are you interested in a socialist point of view? Or, is my anti-capitalist point of view, which is fundamentally incompatible with pro-capitalists like Lessig, the reason critics of counter productive initiatives like creative-commons "should not be permitted to lead?" --184.108.40.206 11:05, 22 March 2007 (CET) (Dmytri Kleiner email@example.com, http://www.telekommunisten.net)
- Marxist entryists destroy movements, they don't lead them. You say copyleft is not enough, but the doctrinaire discriminatory licensing that you propose as a replacement ignores the political, economic and philosophical history of the struggle for freedom and can never achieve a fraction of what copyleft already has. As for whether you should be "permitted to lead", I don't believe anyone is asking you to. And I thought you didn't like ad Hominem, so why are you using it so freely? --Rob Myers 13:26, 10 August 2007 (CEST)
One major issue is that a for-profit allowable license dramatically reduces the number of images one can use, as well as bars from use many thousands of images from, for example, the Australian and UK governments, and places fair-use into serious question. This essay mentions the German WP and the few (1000) images provided by the commercial company, but fails to mention that the price of that commercial use was to delete and bar from use all fair use images on the Project. There are always trade-offs, and a stubborn insistence on for-profit allowable is always traded off in quality in one way or another. For an encyclopedia, it is purely stupid to trade-off a substantial amount of quality for a radical version of "free". 220.127.116.11 06:19, 17 February 2007 (CET)
- The German Wikipedia DVD had nothing whatsoever to do with the decision not to allow fair use on the project. I know, because I was intimately involved in that process (and argued in favor of fair use -- it was pretty close).--Erik Möller 07:14, 17 February 2007 (CET)
- That particular DVD is irrelevant. While perhaps not proximal to the decision, such use has everything to do with the removal of fair use images and the inevitable degradation of quality. This by Kat Walsh, toward the bottom of the page on this date, has a particularly enlightening and clarifying statement from Walsh: ""Free' is a higher priority than 'good'." To even be so much as close to okay with that in an encyclopedia is little other than demagoguery over "free". 18.104.22.168 22:36, 17 February 2007 (CET)
- Our draft licensing policy explicitly states that there has to be equivalent information content. Now, if the free photo of Britney Spears shows her with her face slightly turned, or her eyes slightly closed; if the free illustration of the tree of life is slightly amateurish-looking, then I fail to see how that hurts our readers -- in fact, it helps them, since they can reuse that material without worrying about the consequences. Fair use on Wikipedia will not go away, but it is a clearly separate domain from free content, with very different rules.--Erik Möller 21:24, 19 February 2007 (CET)
Why NC is exceedingly better for an encyclopedia
"Free" vs. "For non-profit educational purposes" - conceptually and grants. "For non-profit educational purposes" is koine while "free" is jargon. It is much easier to approach an expert to donate his or her time for a few articles strictly "for non-profit educational purposes". Introduce "free" and one frequently introduces a can of worms requiring the hearer to be indoctrinated, with far from certain results even at that. More often than not, a polite "no thank you e-mail" will be on it way. On the same token, certain grant funding may only be acquired "for non-profit educational purposes". This is concrete among presently known entities, and it is foregone at the expense of "free" usage by unknown future entities, i.e., a for-profit allowable license means we give up the ability to apply for certain currently available grants in favor of someone's future theoretical ability to use material commercially. Both conceptually and for grants, these are potentially serious and very poor trade-offs.
"Free" requires a trade-off with overall encyclopedia "quality" by reason of more restrictive usage of images. There seems two issues here:
1) More restrictive usage of fair use images - A plain reading of the four prongs in U.S. fair use law seems to allow greater latitude for fair use when "the purpose and character of the use" "is for nonprofit educational purposes" over and against "whether such use is of commercial nature". I imagine this is similar internationally. While it could be argued that WP does not need, for example, a photo of Ted Koppel released in his ABC promotional packet (e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Koppelpress.jpg ), anything less degrades overall quality. Now multiply that degradation to tens of thousands of articles.
2) Restriction on images under terms that specify non-commercial use only, no-derivatives only, or by permission only - this goes back to "'Free' vs. 'For non-profit educational purposes' - conceptually". The more restrictions we allow, the easier it is to obtain quality images. On the other hand, if one asks for an image (and to translate "free") "that anyone anywhere can use for any for-profit purpose" - expect the "no-thank you" letter much more often than not. This is regarding more than just private entities. I understand that vast banks of historical images held by the Australian government cannot be used in WP. Why? They are "for non-profit educational purposes" only.
"Free" is an idealistic barrier in the real world of building a quality encyclopedia. My overall impression of the whole "free" debate is that it is primarily heralded by a minority of often demagogic persons (this article is a good example thereof) with roots in the "Free" vs. Windows debate. They are bent on changing the world to operate by their preferred model. It is simply unrealistic - and very far from certain, besides - to wait around for the vast majority of the world to change to that model while in the meantime expecting to build a quality encyclopedia in a world that vastly does not operate that way. WP's "eventualism" may be willing to wait 150 years for the world to change (it still probably will not); they may be willing to create a WP "paparazzi of editors" willing to to take "free" images (often incognito) that still remain problematic. Yet this is only because of an ideologic adherence to "free" that places "free" above quality. Without CC-by-nc, the quality components to build a quality encyclopedia become increasingly available - people, materials, and monies - become more out of reach. In sum, the trade-offs in the real world that come by allowing commercial usage are simply far too costly.
Please reference Kat Walsh's statement, "free" is a higher priority than "good", at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators%27_noticeboard/Kat_Walsh%27s_statement http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators%27_noticeboard/Kat_Walsh%27s_statement#Response
That is simply an idiotic bind WP placed itself within, and one that cries out for remediation that WP seems unwilling to take. It would be a very different matter if we actually were talking about a piece of software instead of what is supposed to be an encyclopedia.
22.214.171.124 01:57, 27 February 2007 (CET)
One day, Wikipedia attracted a retired sports reporter, a golf history buff who lived through a lot of that history. He was very excited!
So he proceeded to go through biographies on some of golf's greats. He started with Jack Nicklaus, a living person.
So he wrote a fantastic introduction to Jack Nicklaus and decided that now might be the time to place a nice photo into his work. So he did.
He placed in a photo of Jack from his promotional pack, and then sat back and sipped some tea while he admired his great start. But soon, something happened.
"Woops! Sorry. Can't use that!" the retired sports reporter was suddenly told.
"Huh? Why???" he replied back.
"Well, because there is a 'free' photo available of Jack. See, its right here. You gotta use a 'free' photo."
"But that photo is miserable, surely a complete embarrassment to Jack! The most prominent feature in it is - it's his GUT! - something he lost not too long after someone snapped that photo of him without him even knowing it. And that horrible shot will show up all over the whole Internet in weeks!"
"Well, it already is all over the Internet through Wikipedia's mirrors and stuff. ;-) But Sorry. We have to remain 'free'."
"But I am donating my time and expertise here to write this article, and plan on doing scores more. I thought no was ever going to be charged to read these articles. You know, that it was free."
"Ah! No, that is a common misunderstanding. We mean 'free' as in libre, not 'free' as in beer."
"I'm confused. And I thought this was about 'free' as in education."
"Well, one thing you can do is approach Jack to see if he will release a great photo of himself for 'free'."
"But this photo is free! Jack provides it in his press packet without charge. I know he'd be more than happy to have it used for educational purposes."
"Yes, you are indeed confused. What you have to do is get him to release a photo that anyone anywhere can use for any for-profit or derivable purpose."
"Are you saying I just need to get Jack to give explicit permission to use this promotional photo in Wikipedia?"
"No, no, no. We cannot use photos like that."
"Ugh! Now I think I really am confused! And look, these people have reputations to maintain, and their image is a big part of that. Real lives can be harmed by putting horrible photos of living people like that in an encyclopedia article."
"Well that's Jack's problem, not ours. But let me make it real plain how you and he can solve it. You have to get Jack to release a great photo of himself to the whole world, one that anyone anywhere can sell, or change around in all sorts of ways."
"Um, you're kidding, right?"
"No, not at all."
"Well what about this photo? That's from when Jack was just making it big, back in the early 1960s. I was planning to write a biography article of him, after all. It really has to include his golf career in more than just words."
"Wow, nice shot! Can you get Jack to release it under a 'free' license?"
"Do you mean, Can you get Jack to release that photo to the whole world so that anyone anywhere can sell it or change it around in all sorts of ways?"
"Hey, you're catching on now! And yes, that is what I mean."
"Are you serious? You really do gotta be kidding now, right?"
"No, I assure you I am not."
"So, let me get this straight. You want me to donate my time to write articles that anyone anywhere can then turn and use to make money. And on top of that you want me to get photos for these articles that anyone anywhere can then turn and use to make money...as well as alter and change as they deem fit?"
"Exactly! Look, 'free" is a wonderful goal. We need your help to change how the rest of the world operates. They should be like us, not the other way around."
"Gosh, I am beginning to think I have wasted a lot of time here. These things you are asking me to do - they are just completely unrealistic. Not to mention the gall!"
"Or, you can just write the articles. They don't need photos, after all. 'Free' is more important than quality, ya know. Kat Walsh even said so."
"Please tell me you really are kidding this time."
"Sorry, I am not."
"Well, I am afraid I must bid you good luck - you're gonna need it - and adieu."
126.96.36.199 07:39, 28 February 2007 (CET)
- Dear anonymous user,
- you seem to be very confused about a lot of things, and very angry. I don't think I'm going to be able to address your anger issues, but let me try to sort out some of the confusion.
- You emphasize that just ditching this whole "free" thing and accepting NC content would make things easier. It is even easier to convince people to donate material "to Wikipedia", so that nobody else can use it. Whether you like it or not, the goal of the Wikipedia project is not just to create "an encyclopedia", it is to create the free encyclopedia. This is not simply dogmatic rhetoric. We want and encourage people to use our content in countless different contexts, from the classroom to the DVD version, from their open source programs (see the Wikipedia/KDE partnership) to their blogs (which may have ads on them) and their newspapers, from the local copyshop around the corner to the biggest publishers. As we improve our quality assurance methodology, more and more people will rely on and cite Wikipedia -- and we want to allow them to do so, under the terms of copyleft. Our goal is to disseminate knowledge as widely as possible, not merely to build a cool website.
- If you want to argue against the principles of freedom elaborated by Wikipedia and in this definition, then it's not sufficient to argue merely against any specific effect of these principles (which you constantly do, often severely misunderstanding both copyright law and the definition itself), but against the actual idea of a freely usable encyclopedia. We know that, in the short term, there are going to be quality trade-offs from insisting on free licensing. This is not news to us. You say we are unrealistic in expecting that the world will eventually adapt to our principles. Quite to the contrary, Wikipedia has only been around for only 6 years, and has already become one of the 10 largest websites in the world (in some countries, it is more popular than MSN). We're not here for 6 years, though. And while we've grown beyond the wildest expectations and our quality, even with a totally open editing process, has widely been found to be on par with traditional encyclopedias, the rest of the world is quickly catching up to the idea of free content.
- The open access movement in science is widely adopting the permissive Attribution License; free licenses are quickly becoming the standard for open educational resources (OER) such as WikiEducator (which endorses this definition) and Connexions, and thousands of other wiki and user generated content projects use them. The people who actively propagate NC are mainly confused malcontents such as yourself, or people who have simply never heard of the reasons against it, and the alternatives. This website is here to merely speed up that change in perception, but it has quite clearly become inevitable.--Erik Möller 20:44, 28 February 2007 (CET)
- In light of the weaknesses exposed in your position for an encyclopedia, I see that you are now resorting to ad hominen attacks, confusion that Wikipedia is representative of the real world, selective viewing of (very, very poor) evidence on Wikipedia's quality, and bald teleological assertions. 188.8.131.52 11:39, 1 March 2007 (CET)
- Clarify/summarize reasons for the whole section about copyright terms, along with other time expiry mechanisms
- More examples for NC uses one may permit: student play 
- Emphasize larger dissemination as key advantage of free licenses
- "Large, evil corporations" are often much more efficient at doing things than individuals due to economies of scale
- Reference  
- Issues of interpretation 
- Repl. ant image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Eye-diagram.svg
--Erik Möller 02:32, 14 February 2007 (CET)
- Copyleft focuses on effects; NC tries to determine intent.
- Most NC users actually have no intention to make commercial use of their work.--Erik Möller 12:55, 2 April 2007 (CEST)