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Creative Commons Releases "Zero" License 209

Posted by timothy
from the ain't-nothin'-to-it-baby dept.
revealingheart writes "Plagiarism Today reports on the release of the Creative Commons Zero license, which allows you to waive copyright and related rights to your works, improving on the existing public domain dedication. This follows-on from their original announcement on CC0. The CC0 waiver system is a major step forward for the Creative Commons Organization in terms of their public domain efforts. Even though it isn't a true public domain dedication, it only waives the rights as far as they can be waived (Note: Moral rights, in many countries, can not be outright waived), it opens up what is likely as close to a public domain option as practical under the current legal climate."
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Creative Commons Releases "Zero" License

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  • Heh (Score:4, Funny)

    by daxomatic (772926) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @07:21PM (#27005611) Journal
    I will Waive my First Post
  • How amusing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wjh31 (1372867) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @07:23PM (#27005641) Homepage
    I find it sadly amusing that copyright and similar concepts has gotten so far that there should be countries in which it is not possible to waive elements of it
    • Re:How amusing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MoonBuggy (611105) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @09:40PM (#27007241) Journal

      There is actually a logical backing for that. Think of the music industry, for example: they'll take anything they possibly can from their artists, if they can get away with it. Making certain rights legally impossible to waive puts a brick wall in the way of some of the more potentially abusive contracts that they would otherwise try to write up.

      • Re:How amusing (Score:5, Insightful)

        by brusk (135896) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @09:51PM (#27007303)

        Exactly. It's like certain rights under labor law: making them inviolable, impossible even willingly to give away, precludes certain abuses. Just as I can't give up my basic human rights in a contract (e.g., selling myself into indentured servitude), I shouldn't be able to give up certain rights over work I produce. For example, in France "moral rights" include the right of an artist to claim to have produced a certain work of art (which is distinct from ownership of the physical work or of rights to copy it). The artist retains the right to "disown" a work or to claim authorship of it. That could matter, for example, in the attribution of a literary prize, which depends on the authorship of a work but not on its copyright status. And it makes perfect sense that one not be allowed to sign away that basic right.

        • Of course, that ignores whether or not authors should have such rights to begin with. Copyrights only ought to be granted if, and to the extent that, they provide a public benefit, ideally the greatest possible public benefit. The creation and publication of works is beneficial, as is having those works as unrestricted as possible, as rapidly as possible. In the US, we traditionally haven't granted moral rights, and we barely do now (most authors don't get them, as it happens). Yet we manage to have incenti

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            In the US, we traditionally haven't granted moral rights, and we barely do now (most authors don't get them, as it happens). Yet we manage to have incentivized plenty of authors anyway.

            It seems to me that moral rights - ie, being recognised as the original author of a particular work - aren't about incentivizing authors. They may have that effect, but their main purpose is more like trademark law: if I see a book written by J.K. Rowling, I want to know that it's actually been written by her, and not by someone else who has been forced to give up their credit.

            I'm actually rather worried that attribution is being lumped in with distribution under the banner of copyright. I'd like to see e

            • It seems to me that moral rights - ie, being recognised as the original author of a particular work - aren't about incentivizing authors.

              If it isn't causing more works to be created and published, then it isn't outweighing the harm it causes, and ought not to exist.

              their main purpose is more like trademark law: if I see a book written by J.K. Rowling, I want to know that it's actually been written by her, and not by someone else who has been forced to give up their credit.

              So I take it that you are morally o

          • by brusk (135896)

            As the other reply indicates, this ISN'T about copyright but about moral rights. They're not completely unrelated, but they are significantly different beasts. They're just hard to wrap one's head around in an Anglo-American legal context, because the concept basically doesn't exist. Things like attribution are treated as matters of "fact" in the British system and its derivatives, not as rights.

            • because the concept basically doesn't exist

              There is a good reason that it basically doesn't exist. Indeed, it entirely should not exist; moral rights are a stupid idea, with no redeeming features. Don't confuse my hatred for the idea for a lack of understanding. Indeed, if I didn't understand them, I probably wouldn't recognize them for the crap that they are.

        • by Zarel (900479)

          Exactly. It's like certain rights under labor law: making them inviolable, impossible even willingly to give away, precludes certain abuses. Just as I can't give up my basic human rights in a contract (e.g., selling myself into indentured servitude), I shouldn't be able to give up certain rights over work I produce. For example, in France "moral rights" include the right of an artist to claim to have produced a certain work of art (which is distinct from ownership of the physical work or of rights to copy it). The artist retains the right to "disown" a work or to claim authorship of it. That could matter, for example, in the attribution of a literary prize, which depends on the authorship of a work but not on its copyright status. And it makes perfect sense that one not be allowed to sign away that basic right.

          IANAL, but what does this have to do with copyright law? Of course the author of a work can claim to have created it: that's covered by freedom of speech. And the author of a work can prevent others from claiming to have created it: that's covered by slander and libel laws. Even if you give up your copyright completely, to another party or to the public domain, you still retain these rights.

          Going through the other "moral rights":

          - The right to claim authorship is intrinsic of free speech, and is not separat

    • Re:How amusing (Score:4, Informative)

      by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Friday February 27, 2009 @04:18AM (#27009303) Homepage

      There's perfect logic behind it, and nothing sad about it whatsoever.

      If I wrote a text, then I'm the author of that text. I can't really "waive" that. No statement from my side can change the FACT that I'm the author.

      Oh, I can allow anyone to do anything they want with the text whatsoever. I can permit them to do this without mentioning my name at all, and with zero restrictions.

      But I'm still the author. So if they published the text, and for example put *THEIR* name as author, this would be a fraud. If they really did not write the text, claiming that they did, is a lie. (completely regardless of copyright-status of the text, it would be a lie even in a world where copyright does not exist)

      The law is like that in Norway: I can give you any and all rights to my works, no problem whatsoever. The only thing I cannot sign-away, is the right to be considered the author of the work.

      Reasonable enough to me, and I don't see what's "sad" about it at all.

      • by smoker2 (750216)
        What's sad is that too many people seem to equate morals with something bad. Like they're enforced on you or something. But the lack of morals is responsible for most of the criminal and economic woe we see around us today. Take the free speech argument - too many people see free speech as complete carte blanche to defame and otherwise insult anybody and everybody they choose. If they had any morals they would realise that for a society to function, we have to hold our tongues unless we have something const
  • by dmomo (256005)

    Is this similar to the BSD license for software?

    Come to think of it, can the CC licenses be applied to software?

    • goes further (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597) <.delirium-slashdot. .at. .hackish.org.> on Thursday February 26, 2009 @07:51PM (#27005995)

      The BSD license is basically, "you may use this for any purpose, as long as you retain this copyright notice". There's also an implicit, "and as long as no other law prevents you from doing so". That's roughly equivalent to most uses of the Creative Commons Attribution license [creativecommons.org] ("cc-by") (cc-by users can require that you "attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor", which could lead to more onerous requirements, but most don't).

      This license removes even the attribution requirement, and attempts to waive all of those other implicit rights, such as moral rights in some countries. It's basically an attempt to come as close as possible to: you really can use this for anything you want, absolutely no strings attached, I really mean it.

      For software licensing the difference is somewhat smaller, because non-copyright restrictions like moral rights are applied fairly infrequently to software--- they're more often applied to things like artistic works. I'm guessing that's why BSD-licensed software has never worried about it much.

      You can indeed apply CC licenses to software, though I would probably only do so with the non-restrictive ones, like this one or cc-by. If you want to apply a copyleft license to software, using something like the GPL or LGPL is probably better than the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike ("cc-by-sa"), because it makes more effort to define exactly what the viral nature does and doesn't do, while cc-by-sa leaves a bunch of stuff vague when it comes to thinks like linking.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mlinksva (1755)
        You shouldn't use CC licenses for software. There are plenty of good licenses for that purpose -- too many. Use Apache2 or *GPL3. http://wiki.creativecommons.org/FAQ#Can_I_use_a_Creative_Commons_license_for_software.3F [creativecommons.org]
        • Those come with strings attached. There is nothing wrong with the BSD license.
          • Re:goes further (Score:5, Interesting)

            by mlinksva (1755) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @08:29PM (#27006443) Homepage Journal
            Nothing wrong with BSD (or MIT), though if you want a permissive license it makes some sense to use a modern one that includes some protection from patents, like Apache2. Bruce Perens explained on a recent /.'d post.
          • by Plutonite (999141)

            There is nothing wrong with the BSD license.

            Do do hear that sound? Loud, thumping sound.. kind of like the marching of angry soldiers if they were wearing sneakers instead of boots? That has to be the army of geeks preparing for the flamewar about to ensue, triggered by that harmless little statement.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        Is there a CC0 for "You can use this for whatever you want, really, unless you plan to make money with it?

        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          i.e. a license where you don't necessarily have to include the CC info and copyright but you can use it as freely as you want so long as it is non-commercial.

          (Bah, I accidentally Submit button.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mlinksva (1755)
            No. At least not one used significantly. Around 2000 there were many public content licenses created, including the Design Science License, Ethymonics Free Music Public License, Open Music Green/Yellow/Red/Rainbow Licenses, Open Source Music License, No Type License, Public Library of Science Open Access License, and Electrohippie Collective's Ethical Open Documentation License. Maybe one of those or one even less known happens to be a waive everything only for noncommercial use license. (I didn't mention t
  • by Enleth (947766) <enleth@enleth.com> on Thursday February 26, 2009 @07:53PM (#27006025) Homepage

    Unfortunately, the concept of "public domain" is nonexistent in some legal systems. Polish law, for example, is extremely idiotic in this aspect - not only it's not possible in Poland to publish a work anonymously to give it a public domain status (because the law states that for anonymous works, the role of a "temporary" author is to be claimed by default by the "collective copyright management institutions", read "RIAA-alikes", at least until the author decides to announce himself - and their primary objective is of course making money in every way imaginable), it's not even possible for the author to waive his rights to monetary compensation for his works and control over their current and future use - that is, given the wording of the Polish law, it could be argued that, for example, a programmer could revoke a GPL license on an already published piece of code, retroactively. This, sadly, means, that in Poland the "Zero" license means almost nothing - and it could easily be used by a dishonest author to sue someone using his work as if the author really waived his rights to it, and in good faith because of how the license could be perceived.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mlinksva (1755)
      In theory, you may be right. In practice, we can test your theory. Are there no programmers in Poland releasing code under the GPL? There are. Public copyright licenses (and waivers) turn out to be useful tools for releasing work and building community even if in theory they can't work.
      • by Enleth (947766)

        Sure, in practice this particular problem is not that likely to happen and can be ignored with a decent safety margins in almost every situation. However, the general problem with laws (and many related things, especially formal contracts and agreements) is that you should never assume that a loophole of any kind will not be exploited just because of some inherent honesty of the people you're dealing with. Especially when they're not willing to fix it when pointed out, trying to reassure you in a suspicious

    • by LihTox (754597)

      In this particular case, maybe someone could set up a "Public Domain Fund", a non-profit whose sole job is to hold the copyrights of works meant for the public domain (including anonymous works). Would this work? Can the charter of said organization be written so that there is no chance of them violating the public-domain nature of the works?

  • This Post (Score:5, Funny)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @07:55PM (#27006041)

    This post is not covered under any license.
    You are free to copy it, edit it, distribute it, delete it, mod it up, mod it down, etc.

    • Re:This Post (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pfhorrest (545131) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @08:02PM (#27006133) Homepage Journal

      This post is not covered under any license.

      The problem is, under copyright law (US at least), your post is automatically copyrighted by you, and I'm not allowed to redistribute it without your permission. Giving that permission (usually with qualifications) is what a license does. So without a license, what you say below is false:

      You are free to copy it, edit it, distribute it, delete it, mod it up, mod it down, etc.

      Is this is true, then you have licensed me (and the rest of Slashdot) to do all these things, and what you said above (that it is not covered under any license) is false.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sexconker (1179573)

        Copyright != license.

      • So without a license, what you say below is false

        Not if he placed those specific rights (if not the entire post) into the public domain. That is, after all, the only real way to reconcile the two statements, what with the second statement going a bit too far to make it just a restatement of what's permitted by copyright law. Putting things into the public domain doesn't require magic words, though absolutely clear and direct statements are certainly preferable to making people puzzle it out.

        • by Pfhorrest (545131)

          Not if he placed those specific rights (if not the entire post) into the public domain.

          You are, per your sig, a lawyer, so you probably know better than I do... but I thought the whole reason for things like the CC0 license was that saying "this is now in the public domain" doesn't have any legal standing. (At least in some jurisdictions). As far as the law is concerned, you still own the copyrights until your copyrights expire, and the best you can do is just grant the broadest imaginable license permitting people to do whatever they want with it.

          When I want to do such a thing, the language

          • It may very well depend on the jurisdiction. I'm only familiar with US copyright law, but here, copyright holders are perfectly free to waive their copyrights. If you're burdened with a paternalistic government that prevents you from deliberately doing such a thing, forcing you to jump through hoops even to just approximate what you wish to accomplish, I feel sorry for you.

            From my quick skim of the CC0 faq, it appears to be first a public domain dedication, and then for anyone who would ignore that, a nearl

      • Copyright law has various parameters that must be met before something is considered a "creative work" under the legislation. A short essay would probably meet the criteria, a two sentence post is likely to fall short of being considered a "creative work". And that is before you even need to worry about any notion of "fair use".

        • Copyright law has various parameters that must be met before something is considered a "creative work" under the legislation. A short essay would probably meet the criteria, a two sentence post is likely to fall short of being considered a "creative work". And that is before you even need to worry about any notion of "fair use".

          Can you cite those parameters from somewhere? Because in my multimedia arts program we had a class especially on licensing and distribution issues, and the way it was put to us was that an 'X' scratched on a piece of paper is instantly copyrighted. Heck, not playing an instrument [wikipedia.org] can be copyrighted.

    • "This post is not covered under any license." .. meaningless in the US. especially given the text that follows.

      "You are free to copy it, edit it, distribute it, delete it, mod it up, mod it down, etc." .. this is the license.

      I always have the right to edit it, it's a copyright not a prevent-people-editing-it-right. But can I redistribute a modified version with your license, I doubt it? It was nice that I am allowed to distribute/copy, which implies the unmodified version. (I think that's how it works)

      If I

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @07:55PM (#27006043) Homepage Journal

    See thepiratebay.org for sort of an on-topic cartoon, if only at the opposite of the CC0.

  • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 26, 2009 @08:02PM (#27006125) Homepage Journal

    that change, in any society, on any issue, occurs in one of two ways:

    1. gradual, progressive, incremental change
    2. stagnation, followed by massive revolution

    #1 occurs when the system is such that it can absord gradual challenges to the status quo

    #2 occurs when some sort of challenge, say, a technological one, such as the internet, represents such a dramatic fundamental modification to the order of a system, say, intellectual property law, that there is no way for the system to digest and incorporate

    so this cc0 license, while laudable, seems to me like putting a bandaid on the stump of a severed hand: fruitless

    no, he only thing that is going to happen here is revolution: individuals, not because they are amorla pirates, but just because they want to consume their culture (and it is their culture) within suitable parameters of inconvenience, will just reject the entire intellectual property legal system

    currently, this is a very hot topic on slashdot, has been for years, but we are the canaries in the coal mine. none of this has really trickled down as a conceptual challenge to the average joe on the street. and when it does, and it is going to, the average joe on the street will, en masse, completely ignore current intellectual property law. he is doing so now, in dribs and drabs, subconsciously and not explicitly. but the tension will increase, and then boom: a veritable new legal landscape. change bubbling up form the bottom, rather than imposed from above

    • by mlinksva (1755) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @08:16PM (#27006295) Homepage Journal
      If too many people had taken that attitude over the past 25 years we'd be figuring out the best way to download Windows binaries without paying instead of having a vibrant FLOSS economy that outcompetes proprietary software in many ways. We have the same choice to make with culture now. Imagining that suddenly things will change and copyright will then disappear or be reformed (in a positive direction) is a dangerous daydream.
      • in your scenario, there's more freedom of choice. so linux would be downloaded more, and would be on more desktops. you posit that the FLOSS wouldn't exist. bullshit

        linus built linux initially not as some grand experiment in intellectual property, he built it because it was neato. so sorry, but you are wrong, we'd still have FLOSS, and we'd have more linux on the desktop. your reasoning is flawed, because you completely do not understand what really motivates people to write open source

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mlinksva (1755)
          If the people who did care about the damage being done by copyright (eg Stallman) waited for a revolution instead of acting, indeed, FLOSS as we know it wouldn't exist. Linus would've written code, as would've many others, but there would have been no structure for them to successfully collaborate in. It would have been an instance of failed sharing [creativecommons.org], even if they weren't conscious of it.
          • you are saying the desire to be free is only dependent upon dogmatic control as a contrasting agent

            i assert to you that the desire to be free is an organic desire in its own right, with no preconditions

            freedom is not a product of slavery. freedom is an original impulse

            i really don't know how else to articulate how completely and utterly wrong you are. your idea of cause and effect is completely bogus

            • by mlinksva (1755)
              I wish you would try harder to articulate, because I really would like to understand.

              Right now, I don't. I didn't say anything about the desire to be free. Please try to explain. Thanks.

              • in which my creative output, which includes code, is consumed according to a strict legal regimen

                i reject this strict regimen, i wish my creative output to be consumed however anyone likes

                so far, we are both on the same page

                this is where we differ:

                you assert that this rejection of a strict legal regimen only occurs because the strict legal regimen exists in the first place, that it creates the desire to be free of it

                i assert that the desire to be free of the strict legal regimen exists organically, regardle

                • by mlinksva (1755) on Friday February 27, 2009 @12:58AM (#27008397) Homepage Journal

                  Why do you think I make that assertion? I do not. I agree with your assertion. There is always a latent desire to be free of a bad, whether the bad exists or not. I desire to be free of zombie attacks, right now, regardless of the existence of zombie attacks.

                  Let's go back a bit. I suspect where we might disagree is how one effectively rejects the strict regimen. I say the most effective way to do so is to unambiguously free your creative output, such that even one who does not reject the regimen understands that they are free to to use your creativity. Do you disagree with this? If so, what do you think the most effective way to reject the regimen is?

      • You assume there's only one culture involved. In much of the non-Western world copyright is a culturally alien concept foisted on people as a means of economic colonialism. In many places it's worthwhile to encourage resistance to copyright instead of assuming that copyright is just there to stay and that observance of it can only grow.

        • by mlinksva (1755)
          No, I don't assume there's only one culture. If "resistance to copyright" means blithely ignoring copyright and copying Hollywood movies gratis (great, give them free advertising and cultural lock-in) in hope that somehow enforcement won't follow, that is as I said, a dangerous daydream. On the other hand, if resistance means encouraging alternatives to the copyright industries, why not actively renounce copyright so that those who live where it is enforced can cooperate with you and so you aren't screwed w
      • by quanticle (843097)

        Not necessarily. I posit that Linux would have even more traction on the desktop, since the patents on mathematical functions like MP3 compression or GIF image compression wouldn't exist. This would mean that Linux would be able to compete more equally with Windows, unlike the current situation, where Linux is crippled for desktop use due to its inability to include common multimedia software.

        Also, in the absence of copyright, you'd see much more restrictive DRM on the part of Microsoft and other software

        • by mlinksva (1755)
          I agree with everything you say above. But you miss my point. Ignoring copyright is not going to lead to no patents, the absence of copyright, or a generally looser intellectual protectionism regime. The idea that ignoring copyright will lead to positive reform or revolution is the dangerous daydream.
      • by Atario (673917)

        That all depends on how long you're willing to wait around, "daydreaming". Even if you firmly believe the revolution will come, it doesn't mean you're willing to forego a free OS (or whatever) till then.

  • It seems like not allowing the uttermost basic right of ownership/credit is a good thing though. Being able to claim something as mine even though I didn't actually do it is generally considered ... bad. Say I write a research paper and want to have be completely "public domain" with "no license attached." Ok, so now Joe can pick it up, put his name on it, and claim it has his completely legally? What happens when a school refuses to accept him for a Master's program, claiming that he didn't write it?

    • by mlinksva (1755)
      Just because giving credit is generally worthy doesn't mean it should be legally mandated in all situations. Nor do legal mandates magically prevent the scenario painted above. Nor does not legally mandating credit disallow you from claiming credit for your work. And copying without credit is not always bad in a straightforward manner. Check out some of the articles linked at http://techdirt.com/search.php?q=plagiarism [techdirt.com] for some explorations of pluses and minuses. And of course you don't have to use the ins
      • Hmm. So, can I produce something and be completely legally separated from it?

        It seems that at a very, very basic level, a "license" and "ownership" and the "responsibility for creating it" are intertwined. Hm. Thinking out loud on slashdot. Not good. ;)

        • by brusk (135896)

          Yes, under certain regimes. In France one can abandon one's "moral right" over a piece of art, for example, and artists have done this over pieces of work that they did, in fact, produce. Though I doubt this could be used a defense in, for example, a slander case.

        • by quanticle (843097)

          Yes, you can create something, and, as long as you don't violate others' rights to life, liberty, or property in the process of doing so, you can give up ownership of that work.

          Think about it - ownership includes the right to give up ownership. After all, if you can't give something away, do you really own it in the first place?

    • I'm not sure what you mean by "claim it as his".

      Can he tell the school he wrote it? No.

      Can he legally get copyright on it? No.

      Can he use your paper as a start, add another 25% to it, and then copyright that? Yes. Is it plagiarism to submit it to a school without properly referencing your work? Yes.

    • Ok, so now Joe can pick it up, put his name on it, and claim it has his completely legally?

      Only as far as copyright law is concerned. Fraud is still illegal in many cases.

    • Authorship doesn't go away just because you give up your copyrights. This CC0, as I understand it, gives up your *attribution* rights, but you still wrote the work and are still the author. If someone claims your work as their own, it is still plagarism, and in many cases, fraud.

      Hamlet is in the public domain, but that does not mean you can legally claim that you wrote it. (Except in comedy skits, etc).

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      OK. I see where you're coming from. After all, your idea allows me to reveal that I wrote 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

      I am also Spartacus.

    • by quanticle (843097)

      In that case, the school wouldn't be rejecting him because he violated your license, they'd be rejecting him because of his intellectual dishonesty. Just because you've made it legal for Joe to use your work as his own doesn't mean its right for him to do so in an attempt to gain entrance to a program for which he'd be otherwise unqualified.

  • I've always wondered why the creative commons doesn't offer a timed-release license, so to speak -- a license that kicks in at a certain future date. For example, instead of "you are hereby granted the right to do x," we might imagine, "you are hereby granted the right to do x on january 1, 2020 and any date thereafter." At one point they had something called the Founders copyright (do they still?), but it required transferring copyright to the creative commons, or some kind of nonsense like that. It see

    • by Toonol (1057698)
      Can't you simply take one of their licenses and add that clause to it? Or are you not allowed to modify their license (which would be ironic)?.
      • by mlinksva (1755)
        You can http://creativecommons.org/policies [creativecommons.org] just don't call it a "Creative Commons license"
      • by drfireman (101623)

        Sure, but that would lose two of the main attractions of the CC licenses: (1) that they've been vetted by actual lawyers who supposedly know what they're doing; and (2) that they're readily available on the CC web site for anyone who wants to use them. If I wrote my own license, it would not encourage other people to use the timed-release license, and I'd leave out some magic legal word that would probably invalidate the whole thing.

      • by drfireman (101623)

        Right, that's the one I meant, thanks for the link. You can see it's a tremendous hassle compared to slapping a notice on your work.

    • by mlinksva (1755)
      There might be legally technical problems (but IANAL) but more significantly, 1) it isn't clear such would need to be built into the licenses 2) added complexity is inherently bad 3) take as a lesson the near total lack of such practice in free software -- the only significant instance I know of, Aladdin Ghostscript, ended the practice [gondwanaland.com] approaching 3 years ago, now going straight to GPL and 4) licensing work n years in the future just isn't that valuable (consider discounted present value) -- same analysis s
      • id's games are probably the biggest remaining example of the "recent stuff is proprietary; once it's been out a while it goes free software" model.

      • by drfireman (101623)

        These are interesting points, thanks for your input. I have some quick responses. Re: 1, how would you put a piece of work into the public domain n years into the future if not via a license? Re: 2, I think added complexity is only inherently bad if it's for no reason. For example, rocket fuel is more complex than water, but rockets don't go if you put water in them. In this case, the simpler license is certainly better in terms of simplicity, but it's much worse in that it fails to grant rights that I

        • by mlinksva (1755)
          1) presumably with a statement saying the license itself becomes effective on some date, ie why bake it into the license? But as I said, IANAL

          2) Sure, there's always a tradeoff, and it's just a question of how much complexity is warranted.

          3) Yes, software is different. But in what manner is it different that time release would be significant and positive for non-software when it hasn't been for software?

          4) Analysis applies to anything, simple economics.

          Value of commons not necessary increased by a n

          • by drfireman (101623)

            1: That's exactly the question I was raising initially. If it were that easy, presumably there would be no reason for the Founders' Copyright. But the team of lawyers at the creative commons felt the Founders' Copyright was necessary, for some reason.

            3: Consider music. Music you write now might, in 20 years, still make a nice soundtrack for a school project movie you want to make available publicly, or a viral video. It might make, after a bit of processing, good background music for a free computer gam

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by mlinksva (1755)
              I can probably agree that most software has a higher discount rate than most non-software, but that changes the optimal length of time until release, not whether to use timed release or not. Ghostscript GPL versions were in fact released after what for culture would be considered a very brief window -- about a year. I couldn't find a timeline of Id releases, but considering the company started in the early 90s and IIRC GPL'd some stuff (I'm no gamer -- Doom?) in the late 90s, probably no more than 5 years.
              • by drfireman (101623)

                I find it highly likely the easy availability of timed release would cause some authors who would have released immediately under a public license or into the public domain to use the timed release instead. Consider the simplest case, where one could choose a time delay from the CC license chooser. I bet many people would select it just because they could, just as well over half of people select the NonCommercial option, even though in many cases doing so is counter to what one would hope sharing to accomplish.

                Certainly there are both costs and benefits, and we don't really know the balance. I understand your concern about the time release costing the commons a few years of access to something useful, and I'm sure you understand my concern that works may end up with many more years of copyright restrictions than their creators really wanted. I have to say, I suspect the real reason many people choose the noncommercial option is that it really expresses their feelings about what rights they would like to grant (

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by mlinksva (1755)
                  A license creator/steward has to think about the common good, or you end up with a mess of incompatible licenses and other forms of failed sharing.

                  Brad Kuhn of SFLC (formerly of FSF) put it very well [softwarefreedom.org]:

                  We in the non-profit licensing sector of the FLOSS world have a duty to the community of FLOSS users and programmers to defend their software freedom. I try to make every decision, on licensing policy (or, indeed, any issue) with that goal in mind.

                  Of course CC doesn't do software licenses and some of its lic

  • by mlinksva (1755) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @09:17PM (#27007011) Homepage Journal
    Hi, I work for Creative Commons (and occasionally get sucked into responding to /. comment threads...) --

    We soft launched CC0 recently, and will be doing a hard launch in a couple weeks. If you want to know more, I urge you to check out http://creativecommons.org/about/cc0 [creativecommons.org]

    Here's a copy of the page for easy reading. Please mod this up. :-)

    About CC0 -- "No RightsReserved"

    This tool is at 1.0 and is ready for adoption. If you would like to participate in a formal announcement, please contact legal@creativecommons.org [mailto].

    CC0 enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright-protected content to waive copyright interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright.

    In contrast to CC's licenses that allow copyright holders to choose from a range of permissions while retaining their copyright, CC0 empowers yet another choice altogether - the choice to opt out of copyright and the exclusive rights it automatically grants to creators - the "no rights reserved" alternative to our licenses.

    The Problem

    Dedicating works to the public domain is difficult if not impossible for those wanting to contribute their works for public use before applicable copyright term expires. Few if any jurisdictions have a process for doing so easily. Laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction as to what rights are automatically granted and how and when they expire or may be voluntarily relinquished. More challenging yet, many legal systems effectively prohibit any attempt by copyright owners to surrender rights automatically conferred by law, particularly moral rights, even when the author wishing to do so is well informed and resolute about contributing a work to the public domain.

    A Solution

    CC0 helps solve this problem by giving creators a way to waive all their copyright and related rights in their works to the fullest extent allowed by law. CC0 is a universal instrument that is not ported to any particular legal jurisdiction, similar to many open source software licenses. And while this means that CC0 may not be completely effective at relinquishing all copyright interests in every jurisdiction, we believe it provides the best and most complete alternative for contributing a work to the public domain given the many complex and diverse copyright systems around the world.

    Using CC0

    Unlike the Public Domain Dedication and Certification, CC0 should not be used to mark works already in the public domain. However, it can be used to waive copyright or database rights to the extent you may have these rights in your work. In addition, you should only apply CC0 to a work if you own all relevant copyright or database rights in it, or have the necessary rights to apply CC0 to another person's work.

  • by russotto (537200) on Thursday February 26, 2009 @09:42PM (#27007251) Journal

    I've just been labeling my works "Copyright 1821 by The Joseph Wind Publishing Company, All Rights Reserved". Retroactive copyright extension has a while before it gets back that far.

  • by 50_1337 (929093)

    Isn't that the same as the WTFPL [zoy.org] licence ?

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