New Creative Commons Licenses

In the last couple years, I’ve earned something of a reputation for giving Creative Commons a hard time. This fact hit home a few weeks ago when a reporter for the San Antonio Current called me up to get "the other side" on a story he was doing on CC. Apparently, the journalist had found my name in the criticism section of Wikipedia’s Creative Commons article.

Now, while I’m not happy with CC’s reticence to take a normative stance of any kind and I’m not thrilled with many CC licenses that don’t respect what I believe are essential freedoms, I should give credit to CC where credit is due.

Over the past half year or so, I’ve had the pleasure of helping represent Debian in conversations between a Debian team and folks at CC to help iron out a number of nits with the CC licenses that seemed to be (unnecessarily) creating barriers to Debian blessing some more permissive licenses as DFSG free. Throughout this process, folks at CC have been helpful, responsive, flexible, and seriously willing to make changes based on our suggestions.

The first and hardest stage of this work culminated with CC’s release of the discussion draft of their 3.0 licenses. Evan Prodromou published a great in-depth report on the talks between Debian and CC that helped shape these drafts. While we didn’t get 100% of what we were asking, I’m personally quite confident that we have or will get all of what is necessary to ensure that the licenses are DFSG free both in letter and spirit.

Not only does CC build several great licenses, they are willing to work with the community in difficult meaningful ways. When we build a real social movement around calls for essential freedom of culture and content, we’ll be lucky to have CC writing some of the licenses that help make it happen.

One Reply to “New Creative Commons Licenses”

  1. Also, non-free licences that you can understand are much better than non-free licences you can’t, so I think it is good that that option exists in CC, although I’d like for them to carry a distinctive warning icon.

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