free software, free culture, free hardware
nc and nd arent that great[lit]
the freelabs federation is built on a platform that is pro-business and pro-user. if the user wants to create a business, thats great. if the business takes good care of users, also great. we encourage both.
monopolies and user freedom dont co-exist very well; monopolies want control, and people that want freedom obviously dont want to be controlled. thus our platform isnt very friendly to monopolies.
you might have noticed that quite a few small businesses just end up being acquired by larger businesses, and you might decide that commerce itself (or whatever thing you choose to call "capitalism") isnt your thing, and thats totally fine--
free software (which we didnt invent) allows commercial use, and free culture also allows commercial use.
creative commons was built on the idea of letting authors and artists choose how much freedom to give to the user, as alternatives to "all rights reserved."
on the opposite of that spectrum is the public domain: "no rights reserved."
in the united states, copyright was created as a way to strengthen the public domain by creating "incentive" for people to create works; the united states constitution (article 1, section 8) requires that monopolies on creative works exist only:
1. "for limited times"
and arguably must also:
2. "promote the progress of science and useful arts"
whether this second item is a requirement or not is a subject for a fun constitutional debate. unlike britain, which has done away with most perpetual copyright, the constitution does not allow perpetual copyright at all.
article 1, section 8 predates the bill of rights, which say that congress may pass no law abridging the freedom of speech. for most of its existence, american copyright did not have scope that necessarily abridged the freedom of speech, but the scope of modern copyright law may arguably do that as well.
we arent constitutional law experts-- mr. lessig is, so perhaps he would comment on this. in fact, he was the one that argued before the supreme court in "eldred v. ashcroft" that disney was getting "perpetual copyright on the installment plan."
even if you dont live in the united states, it is a fact that the u.s. exports its copyright regulations to other countries in exchange for reduced tariffs, as "free trade agreements." so if you care about the negative effects of copyright laws in your country, changes to copyright law in the united states may affect you later, if your country trades with the u.s. or if your country belongs to the united nations.
the non-commercial or -nc licenses that creative commons promotes are problematic, in that:
1. creative commons was founded to make it easier for artists and others to share and re-use creative works
2. the -nc licenses are confusing, vague, and make it much harder for artists and others to figure out what people can and cant do
there is very little clarification on what "non-commerical" even means.
1. if you use a free webhost that puts ads on your pages, can you add the -nc work or not?
2. if you are in a commercial environment, are you allowed to play -nc works on speakers or not?
3. are you allowed to do that as the business itself, or as someone who works there that isnt an owner, or both, or neither?
-nc leaves too many questions open, when using a cc license should make these questions easy for everyone.
and indeed, if you avoid -nc licenses, these questions are much easier to answer:
1. yes! you can add cc-by and cc0 and cc-by-sa works to your website, even if it has ads.
2. yes! you can play -nc works on the speakers in your workplace, although jamendo built part of its commercial model on vetting works for you so "you can be certain." but the license at least, most definitely allows it.
3. yes! the license grants you the right to use the work in a commercial setting. even though playing music in a workplace is very complicated legally and a license can only guarantee so much in this regard, the license at least does not add limits to that.
if you use licenses from creative commons because you want to make it easier for artists and authors (and others) to share and re-use works, then we do not recommend -nc licenses, because they do so little to improve the present situation.
similarly, there are lots of misconceptions about the advantages of -nd (no-derivs) licenses.
the freelabs federation exists to promote works that can be freely remixed, while -nd prohibits remixing.
"fair use" and "fair dealing" are country-specific limitations on copyright scope, and do not do enough to give you "the right to remix."
if you want people to be able to remix (and thus co-own) their own culture, then building a culture on -nd is self-defeating.
we discourage the use of "verbatim copying" notices and "no-derivs" licenses.
copyright in the united states is not a good mechanism for "protecting" people from being misrepresented-- this is a common misconception.
if stallman writes an essay, the copyright doesnt stop anybody from rewriting it in their own words, and saying theyre his words.
there are laws that do help him in that situation, but leaning on copyright for that purpose doesnt work the way most people probably think it does, and is misguided (not to mention unnecessary.)
when copyright law isnt the thing that protects you against such reuses, the strongest arguments most people could make for using -nd arent very valid arguments. there is no true "need" for verbatim copying notices, or for -nd.
if you want to promote free culture, we recommend using free culture licenses, or at the very least, explicitly offering the same terms as free culture licenses:
0. the freedom to use the work, for any purpose
1. the freedom to study the work, to learn how it works (at least slightly more relevant to software)
2. the freedom to share the work
3. the freedom to change the work
-nc licenses limit freedoms 0 and 2, at least.
-nd licenses limit freedoms 0 and 3, at least.
we recommend offering all 4 freedoms, and -nc and -nd do not offer those.
our organisation exists to help people find and create (and collaborate) on software and cultural works that have all 4 freedoms. we dont require our members to create those types of works exclusively (that would be nice!) but we do exist to move towards a society that does this more often.
if you use -nc or -nd as a stepping stone towards an actual free cultural work, you can argue that it is "better than nothing."
consider something better than just "better than nothing." if you can, consider moving towards making your work an actual free cultural work.
we are not the first free culture organisation to say this-- [lit]freedomdefined.org[lit] links to essays against -nc and -nd, including a "rantifesto" by nina paley which we quote here, and copy here: [[nd-rantifesto]]
"""you do not know what purposes your works might serve others. you do not know how works might be found “practical” by others. to claim to understand the limits of "utility" of cultural works betrays an irrational bias toward software and against all other creative work. it is anti-art, valuing software above the rest of culture. it says coders alone are entitled to freedom, but everyone else can suck it."""
"of course people can abuse that, just like they can abuse anything. but i want people to see the value in sharing over the fear in sharing. the fact is, it's much more likely that somebody is going to use these pictures for something positive, rather than for something negative. the benefits greatly outweigh the risks." -- joi ito, from [url]https://freesouls.cc/essays/02-joi-ito-just-another-free-soul.html[url]