[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 00:09:02 UTC 2006


On Wednesday 26 April 2006 18:55, Rufus Pollock wrote:
> Second is all commercial usage bad? I know someone who made a
> documentary about Chavez and distributes it for free. At the same time
> he has received payments when it has aired by commercial tv stations
> (they often pay even when they don’t need to). This would make his work
> ‘commercial’ but it seems a far cry from, say, use in a coca-cola
> advert. Do you really want to prevent that kind of usage? If you do
> you’ve just cut out most of the main avenues for ’serious’ reuse of your
> work — ultimately most documentary makers would like to see their stuff
> get out to as wide an audience as possible and that means broadcast on a
> commercial network.

That becomes a personal call. I'd imagine a lot of people would think that 
hoping they might get paid, when there's no obligation, would be even more 
precarious than the arrangement they have now. It would be interesting to 
compile more examples of where allowing commercial use really does strengthen 
a copyright holder's position...

> Third for the types commercial usage that I imagine you would most
> object to (e.g. adverts) the share-alike clause should be a sufficient
> obstacle — the makers of a major ‘brand’ advert probably do not want to
> have ‘reshare’ their work. They would need to come and relicense from
> you and at that point you are in the same position as with an nc license.

I use that trick at the moment, though as Saul points out without litigation 
it's not so secure (mind you, neither is full copyright in that respect). 

It also means that we couldn't also advocate all content using free 
licenses ;-) You'd be promoting the status quo pre-internet, in some ways, by 
suggesting that the vast majority of culture underpins a corporate commercial 
world, and that commercial world rewards lucky creators who will sell out for 
the big money. Everyone else makes pennies from tours, small local 
exhibitions, book readings and the like.

It has to be a stop-gap practical step for artists to take, with a broader 
fight to reduce copyright or some similar step openly advocated as the way to 
go. Otherwise we're just being dishonest!


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