[okfn-discuss] Problems of nomenclature

Chris Sakkas sanglorian at gmail.com
Sat Mar 3 12:04:06 GMT 2012

 Hi folks,

 I’ve been trying to sort out the Wikipedia pages relating to IP minimalism
(libre, Creative Commons, copyright reform, etc.). However, I’ve run into
terminology problems for works, licences and concepts that straddle the
free/libre-semi-free/semi-libre boundary.

 My first problem is that I don’t have a term to describe libre AND
semi-libre licences that have a copyleft-like condition.

 For example, the OpenContent License is a licence that forbids commercial
reproduction and requires copies to come under the same licence. We can’t
describe it as copyleft because copyleft works are libre. I would call it
‘share-alike’, but that term seems to be used exclusively for Creative
Commons licences. I thought about ‘reciprocal’, but references to
reciprocal licences online seem to use the term as a synonym for copyleft
(and therefore wouldn’t include noncommercial licences; see for example
http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/opensource/library/os-license2/). The
term ‘viral’ seems perfect, but according to Wikipedia it’s ‘pejorative’.
Maybe we could ‘take it back’?

 What about ‘share-alike-like’? (That’s a joke)

 My second problem is that I don’t have a term to describe libre AND
semi-libre content.

 As I noted on its Wikipedia page (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_content#Definition), the term ‘open
content’ is now being used for semi-libre/semi-free licences as well as
libre/free ones. This follows the word open’s use in ‘open access’ and
‘open educational resources’, but means that open content-free content no
longer mirror each other like open source-free software do.

 That’s not a problem in and of itself, but it’s lead to a messy category
on Wikipedia: ‘open content licences’ with ‘free content licences’ as a
subcategory. Until the definition of ‘open content’ settles as either
‘libre content’ or ‘semi-libre and libre content’, I think we should avoid
using it as a category. We need an unambiguous term that DEFINITELY means
‘semi-libre and libre content’ to use for the category as a whole.

 However, I’m not actually sure what that term could be. I use ‘common
content’ myself, following from the Common Content project (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Content). However, that project is long
gone and the term is not in wide use.

 So, in summary:

 Is there a neutral term for libre and semi-libre viral licences?

 Is there a term for ‘libre and semi-libre’ that we can use instead of
‘open content’?

 Thanks folks!

*Chris Sakkas
**Admin of the FOSsil Bank wiki <http://fossilbank.wikidot.com/> and the
Living Libre blog and microblog <https://twitter.com/#%21/living_libre>.*
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