[open-science] Should scientific text be put in the public domain rather than licensed with CC-BY?

Thomas Kluyver takowl at gmail.com
Wed Jan 12 17:01:06 UTC 2011

On 12 January 2011 15:38, Marius Kempe <m.kempe at qmul.ac.uk> wrote:

> One day not very far from today, scientific texts will be the raw data of
> natural language science knowledge engines, and then the situation for text
> will be exactly the same as that for data. Using CC0 today will make this
> easier in the future, for all the same reasons that you support CC0 for
> data.

Copyright on writing protects an arrangement of words. If this hypothetical
knowledge engine reuses enough of that arrangement in some response to
potentially infringe copyright, there's no reason it can't include a link to
their source (attribution), and I would want it to. What use would it be
without pointing to its sources? If it doesn't reuse that arrangement of
words, it can't infringe the writer's copyright. I can't see a situation in
which you'd want to copy text verbatim without referring to the source.

I don't think "CC-BY for writing, CC0 for data" is too complex.

Google did get in trouble over the books, but the snippets in their web
search, from copyrighted web pages and PDFs are generally uncontroversial.

> What could we do if all scientific writing were CC-BY that couldn't be
done if it were all CC0?

To play devil's advocate: sue anyone who distributes it without attribution.
To put it plainly, CC0 potentially leads to:
- Some unwanted potential outcomes (people are free to rip your work off
without giving you any credit)
- Possibly some desirable outcomes, but I've not yet heard any ideas that I
agree would be obstructed by CC-BY.

I'm willing to be convinced, but I don't yet see the upside that not
requiring attribution for writing would bring.

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