[okfn-discuss] Removing the nc: why license restrictions on commercial use are problematic and (frequently) unnecessary

Tom Chance tom at acrewoods.net
Fri Apr 28 00:02:00 UTC 2006


On Thursday 27 April 2006 23:30, Saul Albert wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 27, 2006 at 09:10:37AM +0100, Tom Chance wrote:
> > Maybe. Or maybe if you spoke to more people who use NC you'd realise
> > that, for many of them, CC BY-NC-SA represents an ideal social contract
> > that ensures they will benefit from the fruits of their labour most
> > fully.
> It's not a social contract. It's no 'better' or 'worse' and has no moral
> dimensions beyond any other method of regulating information-based
> labour.

I've heard quite a few artists refer to it that way, even if they're not quite 
correct to use the term. But to claim there aren't *any* moral dimensions 
that distinguish NC licenses from full copyright is quite a strong claim! Is 
granting the freedom of noncommercial use really no better than denying it?

This is just another mailing list, fair enough, but to dismiss the issue with 
some cryptic remarks about "information proles" and discourse gentrification 
doesn't really wash. Or rather, it's intriguing but will hardly interest the 
sort of people uninterested in the kind of essays published in the recent 
node.L reader, who I'd say are the vast majority of copyright holders! I've 
read it and found most of it a load of repetitive babble.

Lots of copyright holders are, however, interested in CC because it's plain 
English (ahhh, bliss) and speaks about issues they face. Maybe in the higher 
echelons of OpenCongress discussion groups CC is construed as wilful 
misdirection, but at least Rufus, Mako Hill, myself and others are trying to 
bring a wider audience into the discussion by discussing the shortcomings in 
more accessible terms.

I had an interesting chat with an artist at the opening of our (Remix 
Reading's) latest art exhibition this evening. We talked about the 
no-derivatives clause, the legal issues surrounding photos of copyrighted 
works, other bread and butter issues for your average artist. Unless we're 
happy to contain our discussions in trendy meetups, magazines and mailing 
lists we need to be relevant to these people.

I'd say that there are very real ethical concerns surrounding IPR raised by 
CC, and significant distance in between CC BY-NC-SA and full copyright. Maybe 
they're too liberal, too bourgeois, too reformist or too far from a real 
information commons. But before this ramble goes toooo far from Rufus' 
original post, to dismiss the popularity of the NC clause as "misdirection...  
a way of isolating certain kinds of labour from certain kinds of exchange" is 
just completely unhelpful to my mind! Either tackle the issue from a 
practical point of view, or draw a *clear* line between the bread and butter 
issues and your wider radical arguments against copyright.

Anyway, I'm going to respond to Rufus' three points now...


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