[Foundation-l] [Commons-l] [cc-licenses] Requirements for a strong copyleft license

Brianna Laugher brianna.laugher at gmail.com
Tue Dec 4 05:32:41 UTC 2007

On 04/12/2007, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:
> The reason that we in the world of free content group should tolerate
> its imposition at all is because when used correctly copyleft has a
> substantial pay-off. Copyleft can create that little bit of friction
> needed to move people into the realm of freely licensing their own
> works.
> In either of these cases, programming or educational materials, the
> majority of the copyrighted works created are never intended to be
> sold as a product. Freely licensing them is harmless. But because of
> the weak possibility of future income from these works, and simply
> because of the power of the default people usually do not choose to
> freely release these works.  Copyleft can create the needed incentive,
> and at the same time allow everyone feel like they are getting a fair
> deal.
> It's true that many copyleft licenses have additional characteristics.
> For example, they might help ensure that the original unmodified work
> doesn't somehow fall out of the free world.  But these effects can be
> achieved without copyleft.
> A copyleft that doesn't substantially encourage people to make more
> freely licensed works is just another copyright related imposition,
> it's harmful and without public or even private benefit and should be
> avoided.

I find Greg's arguments on this topic very persuasive (and concisely
stated to boot).
IMO the best course of action would be to NOT introduce any more
licenses, strengthen CC-BY-SA to be "strong copyleft" in the manner he
describes, and encourage people like Jimmy, me and others to offer
additional freedoms on top of the license if they wish.

That way, CC-BY-SA is strong copyleft as default (and that's surely
the best thing for the growth of the commons -- all of them), and
people who want to extend "weak copyleft" still can. And we don't get
confusion caused be an extra official (CC) license.

For the good of the commons we need the default to be strong copyleft, no?


They've just been waiting in a mountain for the right moment:

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