[okfn-discuss] [Fwd: Re: Updates to NC essay]

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Thu Feb 15 12:07:10 UTC 2007

Having checked with Erik I'm forwarding this mail to the list as I 
thought it might of interest in that it deals with the relation of the 
Open Knowledge Definition to Free Cultural Works Definition.


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Updates to NC essay
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 12:15:22 +0000
From: Rufus Pollock
To: Erik Moeller

Erik Moeller wrote:
> Hello Rufus,
> thanks for your responses.

Thanks for the chance to respond :) I think these are really important
issues that deserve more attention.

>> 1. On a minor point I'd suggest s/free culture/open knowledge/g as I
>> think the themes run wider than simply those producing 'cultural' works
>> (for example it applies to those releasing data as well).
> Well, this is a rather major point given my role in the "Definition of
> Free Cultural Works". :-) We've just released version 1.0 of that
> definition. Please do take a look:
> http://freedomdefined.org/Definition

I have taken a look and it looks good -- though I'm still sad we
couldn't find a way to bring the open knowledge definition and the 'Free
Cultural Works' definition together ...

> Comparing it to the current Open Knowledge Definition, I see the
> following advantages:

> * Clear structural separation between free licenses and free works. A
> license can confer all the four freedoms, but the work itself may
> still be non-free.

Interesting point though I'm not sure how great the distinction is. The
FCW definition says:

This is a FCW if:
   (a) it is covered by a FCW compliant license
   (b) it also satisfies these other conditions

But then some of the items in (b) and (a) look sort of similar (e.g.
licence may not restrict reverse engineering and 'no technical
restrictions' or the general 'no other restrictions or limitations).
(The OKD has (currently) 11 items of which all but 2 (1+4) deal with the

However I think we could both agree that overall the distinction is very

> * Structural separation between required freedoms and permissible
> restrictions. All these are simply enumerated in the Open Knowledge
> Definition.

I think that is a nice distinction -- though again I've had some
requests from people saying they wanted each permissible restrictions
next to the relevant required freedom (e.g. item 5)

> * Universality. We do not exclude software, nor data, nor anything
> else. (We do consider data to be covered, insofar as it is
> copyrightable at all.)  Thanks to the distinction between licenses and
> works, we can cover the "source code / source data" problem
> explicitly.

Neither does the open knowledge defintion ... It is explicitly aimed to
include data and the exclusion of software is purely pragmatic in that
the OSI definition already exists and is functioning well in the
software space.

> * Preamble. We find it important to elaborate on the _reasons_ for
> these principles in the definition itself, so that anyone who reads it
> will be exposed to these ideas.

This is a good question. The original version we developed had a similar
structure but several people requested that the definition itself be
kept short with justifications etc in an annotated version.

> We do however encourage users of the definition to refer to any of the
> movements listed below:
> http://freedomdefined.org/Existing_Movements

Good stuff.

>> A response to a comments from Anna of transmission.cc relating
>> specifically to the use of NC for films:
>> [4]:http://lists.transmission.cc/pipermail/metadata/2006-November/000057.html 
> That link appears dad- do you remember the gist of it?

Hmmm, seems their site is down for maintenance. I'll see if I can dig my
copy out and send it on.


PS: do you mind if I forward copies of these mails to the public
okfn-discuss as others might be interested in the discussion?

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