I had responded to David's message from a non-subscribed address, so
only he saw it. In the meantime Sebastian has written two replies,
one of which expressed most of the same ideas, the other of which
refuted one of my points. But just so we're all on the same page,
what I said was:
"I'd be delighted to have you use my work to enhance yours, but it
would be in Bad Taste for you to take something for free while
refusing to give anything back, and I'm not willing to facilitate
greed and selfishness."
This is exactly the effect of sharealike, though: setting an example
and forcing commercial people to share their stuff if they want to use
your stuff.[* refuted point]
Noncommercial sends a different message: "I assume everybody is greedy
and selfish, and I am too. If you want to make any money off of this,
I want a piece of it, and I don't care if you're giving anything back.
If you're not making any money off of your use, don't be too
ambitious: make sure whatever you're doing is worthless."
because the issue arose on this list in the context of the "TEI by
example" enterprise, I hope that it won't be considered too far off topic.
If a thread here has been started by Sebastian, James and Lou, I think
we can call it on topic. And the licensing of TEIBE is important.
[* now it's getting off topic, after what I write below]
I assume the initial -nc- choice was made to keep semi- or
holo-commercial contributors from shying away [from contributing].
But clearly, since the whole point is to allow people to learn by
example and create derivatives, it would be weird to say either nc or
Has anybody found the link for the raw TEI of Newton's Chymistry? Me
for me? Does a sharealike license permit someone to use my stuff in a
commercial product (that is, a product that they will then sell)? If
not, have I been advocating sharealike all-along, but mistakenly calling
it "non-commercial," which the entire world understands differently than
Sharealike does permit them to use your work in such a product that
they sell, but it compels them to do so ethically: if in a collected
work, they can sell it but must continue to make your work available
under the [BY-SA] terms they received it; if a derivative work, they
must make the whole work available under those terms. The reason many
people see sharingalike as ethically/functionally equivalent to
noncommercial is that sharealike does not encumber any of the myriad
ways of selling that are not nasty, evil, cutthroat or anti-community.
NC means that someone can put your work on CDs and give them away to
their heart's content, but the minute they ask for a dollar to defray
their costs in buying all these spindles of CD-Rs, their license is
Oh, before I spend the whole night on this, just read this:
("Creative Commons -NC Licenses Considered Harmful")
Noncommercial sends a different message: "I assume everybody is greedy
I don't understand this at all. My understanding of noncommercial is "I
want any compensation for my work. I don't understand how this can mean
"I want a piece of [the financial profit] when it says that I want there
not to be a financial profit for anyone, including me. But the part I
Sorry, I was expressing the caboose of a train of thought I've been on
for years. A noncommercial condition is not the end of the
conversation on a creative commons license: anyone who wants to do
commercial work with your stuff still has a chance to do so: they just
come and talk to you directly. This has even happened to my
girlfriend, for a random photo she had under by-nc on Flickr (for an
academic book, which wouldn't have been able to pay her even if she'd
been inclined to ask for it). NC doesn't eternally prohibit commerce:
it just forces the commercial entity to involve you.
The reason I frame this as inevitable and a deliberate choice instead
of merely possible (aside from rhetorical bullying) is that the
presence of NC as a condition on your thing sort of creates a
potential reality where someone is going to want to sell it. For the
most part this reality remains only potential: there is probably more
CC-NC content out there than there are people who'd want to use/abuse
it for profit. But in the event that a commercial concern comes upon
your work and decides to use it for profit -- which of course in this
case means not only selling it outright on paper, but also in an
anthology, or on a radio broadcast, or in a visual on broadcast TV, or
in an advertisement for their organic vegetables grown by Somali
refugees -- the reality pops into existence.
Under a CC-BY-SA license, they can use it without consulting you, but
they have to give you credit and let people get at the original (and
their derivative work): i.e., they have to be a good citizen like you.
You are setting the example, and asking them to follow it.
But with NC, there's the chance that they'll deal with you, and
they'll be so eager to use it that they will make you an offer you
can't refuse. And at the end of the day, with this deal made, you
would benefit yourself and the commercial entitiy, while not doing a
whit of good for the commons or the community or setting any example
of the kind you set out to set. This separate, smoke-filled-room
arrangement would be just between you two parties, and probably not
governed by a meaningfully CC license.
Whereas under a SA license someone could also approach you for
separate, non-CC licensing, and you could say yes, but the rest of the
CC and CC-SA world would not be left out: they could still sell it if
they wanted, or not if they don't, as long as they comply with your
understand least is the "make sure whatever you're doing is worthless";
what does not wanting money to change hands have to do with quality?
This is echoed also in Sebastian's:
"so go ahead, make your academic reputation by building on my work,
make lecture tours, get your promotion - but please don't make any
Part of the purpose and potential of CC is to create this whole
separate creative ecosystem, where you can sample Run-DMC under SA
without apprehension, where you can make your SA documentary without
having to blur background TV screens, etc. By choosing NC you are
supporting this ecosystem only in a crippled, hobbyist form that is
ultimately unsustainable. Want to charge admission to your SA musical
performance that samples my TEI document? SOL. Want to run Google
ads alongside your SA documentary to defray bandwidth costs? Not on
my license. Best to keep it quiet, only perform your music at
open-mic nights, and if your video gets popular, just let your web
host throttle you for bandwidth overage.
Eben Moglen has said: "The great moral question of the twenty-first
century is this: if all knowing, all culture, all art, all useful
information can be costlessly given to everyone at the same price that
it is given to anyone; if everyone can have everything, anywhere, all
the time, why is it ever moral to exclude anyone?".
You are on the right side of this question, in that you don't want to
exclude anyone from getting your work for no cost. But in saying that
*everyone* must get your work for no cost, in any form, you are
letting down the commons and limiting the potential of your licensed
work. Yes, Rupert Murdoch will be able to sell 1,000,000 copies of
your book and keep all the profit. But the book would have to tell
your readers that it is CC BY-SA, and anyone who wanted it but felt
they couldn't afford the $34.95 could still download it from you or
from your army of clones.
But maybe the kuro5hin article already convinced you...