[Foundation-l] What's wrong with CC-BY-SA?

Milos Rancic millosh at gmail.com
Sun Dec 2 02:07:40 UTC 2007

Gregory, thanks for explaining what do others think.

I DON'T BELIEVE to Creative Commons (to Lessig, and if Jimmy continue
to argue for CC licenses, I'll stop to trust to him, too) and I don't
want to "share" may work under the terms which may help only to a big
companies and which would prevent other people to use it.

The only usable CC license is CC-BY. At least, it doesn't prohibit anything.

So, if WMF wants to switch from GFDL/SGFDL to CC-BY-SA, I would start
to think how to move GFDL work into another project as well as I will
try to forget for WMF projects.

On 12/1/07, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Dec 1, 2007 3:03 PM, Anthony <wikimail at inbox.org> wrote:
> > What problem do you have with CC-BY-SA?
> My reasons for deciding not to use the CC-By-Sa licenses are fairly
> long and complicated.  I don't have the time right now to really dive
> into it as I'm rather busy.  For the purpose of the Foundation's
> announcement it was enough to say that I have explicitly rejected
> those terms.
> Your question is interesting and deserves a response. So I will
> provide some quick examples now, but by no means is this my complete
> position on the reasons I have decided to not use those licenses for
> my work.
> 1)  Laurence Lessig has posted multiple times claiming that it is
> acceptable to take illustrations licensed under CC-By-SA and produce
> combined works which are not freely licensed. For example, if I wrote
> a since instruction book and created illustrations on how to safely
> use a bunsen burner a commercial textbook publisher could use my
> illustrations in their textbook without giving anything back the the
> world of free content.
> I use a copyleft license for my content because copyleft licenses
> create an incentive to release works under a free license. I see this
> both as the 'payment' for my works and a way of ensuring that my
> contribution stays free and isn't captured for the sole profit of
> another party. With my works copylefted someone creating a new work
> could choose to purchase commercial stock photography, or they could
> choose to freely license their work and build off mine.
> When someone is really unwilling or unable to freely license their
> derivative I am willing to license my rates under typical commercial
> stock photography rates. This provides me with, well, lets just say
> that I make enough doing this that I report it to the IRS.
> Some people are happy with using very liberal licenses (e.g. releasing
> their work as 'public domain') for all their work and I support their
> decision, but I've seen first hand how the small friction of copyleft
> increases the pool of content that is freely available for all, and I
> wouldn't want to lose that for my illustrations. (For my own works of
> trivial merit, I 'PD' them because I don't expect any copyleft gains)
> Mr. Lessig's position on "share alike" and illustrations isn't well
> supported by the text of the license, but his position naturally
> carries a lot of weight.
> 2) The Creative Commons licenses come with misleading front cover
> text. If I released my work under these licenses I would be at
> constant risk of suffering disputes resulting from reusers
> misunderstanding their rights and obligations.   We've experienced the
> reverse of that  numerous times at Wikimedia when people using CC-By-*
> expect to be able to exactly stipulate how attribution is provided.
> 3) Speaking of 'attribution', the Creative Commons cc-by and by-sa
> licenses at version 2.5 and beyond contain a serious issue with their
> attribution.  The attribution clauses in these licenses reads, in
> part,
> "If you distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, or publicly
> digitally perform the Work or any Derivative Works or Collective
> Works, You must (...) provide, reasonable to the medium or means You
> are utilizing: (i) the name of the Original Author (...), and/or (ii)
> if the Original Author and/or Licensor designate another party or
> parties" (...) (through) terms of service or by other reasonable
> means"
> So these by-attribution licenses don't actually provide attribution if
> a service provider specifies  so in their terms of service.  Jamesday
> (en User:Jamesday), a Wikimedian old-schooler, wrote a lot about this
> back when these terms came out.
> Obviously the issue of attribution for collective works in a space
> limited medium is important, but it can be addressed without giving
> service providers the ability to take attribution for  all freely
> licensed content distributed through their systems.
> The exact implications of that text aren't entirely clear: If the
> clause only takes effect at the first point of submission it breaks
> the right to fork, and fails to resolve the collective attribution
> problem (i.e. you end up with "This article contains material by
> Wikia(tm), WikiHow(tm), Wikipedia(tm), GregPedia, Planet Math ...").
> Or, alternatively, if any down stream service provider can invoke it
> .. it allows anyone who could claim to be a service provider to remove
> attribution at any time... which many consider to be morally
> offensive, and which present practical problems for people trying to
> keep works free.
> Years ago when these terms were first released I was seriously
> concerned with the implications of giving an author's service provider
> a special rights in free content licenses. In these days of real
> concern over net-neutrality my worries on these matter are even
> greater.
> And from here, we could go into the issues with the Creative Commons
> branding,  which many people feel is exploitative, and which Creates
> Confusion with respect to the licenses. ... which is a matter of great
> concern to anyone who thinks Free Content should be more than
> CC-NC-ND.... but I've run out of time.
> Thanks for enduring my verbosity,
> Greg.
> > Personally, I like the basic
> > concept (do what you want as long as you attribute others, derivatives
> > must be under the same license), but I'm not familiar with the
> > nitty-gritty details.  There were some complaints in particular with
> > the newer versions of CC-BY-SA, which I don't recall, but which
> > possibly could be addressed before the compatibility is put into
> > place.
> >
> > But, in order to have any chance of this, we need to get a list of
> > complaints.  What problems do people have with CC-BY-SA?  I'm asking
> > this of everyone on the list.
> >
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