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

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Thu Feb 15 17:52:18 UTC 2007

Forwarding Erik's response (I believe Erik is now a member of the list 
so there shouldn't be too many more of these fwd'd messages!).


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Updates to NC essay
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 04:30:06 +0100
From: Erik Moeller
To: Rufus Pollock

On 2/14/07, Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at okfn.org> wrote:
> 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 ...

Maybe we will. One first step would be to use the same logo. Our logo
is fairly neutral:

IMHO it also looks good in small sizes down to favicon size.

> 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
> license).

Yes. Please do keep in mind that a work does not need to be licensed
at all to be free; works by the federal US government (a very large
body indeed) are in the public domain. One might want to identify them
as free/open in the same manner as freely licensed works. IMHO it's
important that people understand the difference between the public
domain and a license (PD is a concept that needs defense and lobbying
in its own right).

The split also makes it easier to maintain both lists of free
licenses, and lists of free works, as there are two different
yardsticks. Wikimedia is likely to only use the license-yardstick, for
example, because the "free works" requirements are a bit difficult to
enforce in practice.

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

I don't think the distinction between work and license is minor. I do
think the distinction between our definitions is relatively minor, if
that's what you mean. The one additional requirement we have for free
works is that they may not inherently infringe upon other people's
rights in such a manner that exercise of freedom becomes impossible.

The one thing that you have that we don't is the permission for an
integrity requirement in licenses. Makes sense as qualified, I believe
we will add that.

Regarding license requirements, it does not seem clear to me whether
performances, interpretations or displays would be clearly permissible
under your terms. Our explicit reference to related rights should
address this.

I don't much like the phrase "modifiable or convenient" and prefer to
explicitly lay out what _makes_ a work modifiable and convenient.

> 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.

I agree that it is functioning well. But I also think a single point
of reference would be great from a communications point of view. If
people identify our logo with software, music, scientific papers, and
everything else imaginable, I see that as a great strength.

>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.

IMHO, the kind of person who would read such a document at all is the
kind of person who can be expected to not be turned away by a preamble
-- and also the kind of person I'd like to reflect on more than just
"this license" and "that restriction"; I'd like them to reflect on
freedom and ethics. For those who don't wish to read much, we wrote
the paragraph summary.
Peace & Love,

DISCLAIMER: This message does not represent an official position of
the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.

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