November 25, 2013. Creative Commons released 4.0 versions of their licenses. Yeah! More info on their blog.
Cory Doctorow says the following on BoingBoing, which is where I learned about the new versions:
I must say, I was always a bit annoyed when I saw the local versions of Creative Commons licenses. What does it mean for me, when I live in Switzerland, host stuff in the US, and said stuff is based on the Canadian port of the license? The FAQ now says: “Unless you have a specific reason to use a ported license, we suggest you consider using one of the international licenses.”
I also often wondered about additional rights we have here in Europe. For example, I might allow you to make copies of my face, but I can still control the use of said copies here in Switzerland using my “personality” rights. The blog post announcing the 4.0 versions of the licenses now says: “Where the licensor has publicity, personality, or privacy rights that may affect your ability to use the material as the license intends, the licensor agrees to waive or not assert those rights.”
Today I was asked via email whether the author of a One Page Dungeon released under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license could revisit the adventure and release a different (longer?) version using a different license. Here’s what I replied, slightly edited.
You can release everything you ever wrote under as many licenses as you want. Thus, you can work on your previous One Page Dungeon Contest entry, with the same map or a different map, the same or a different text and release it under a proprietary license, a Creative Commons license, or whatever other license you like. The situation is different if you’re building on somebody else’s work: somebody else’s map, somebody else’s monsters, etc. This is true for any other of your One Page Dungeons. You wrote it, you get to change it and release it anyway you want. The only thing you cannot do is prevent other people from building on those old One Page Dungeons that you released under a CC license. But that covers only that particular map, that particular text and doesn’t affect anything else you care to publish.
You’re good to go!
Feel free to send me any other licensing questions. I’m not a lawyer but I’ve been thinking about licensing issues for a long time.
I liked the Boing Boing article about the recent DRM problem: A woman living in Norway had her Kindle wiped by Amazon and was not given an explanation. What I loved was this logo:
Nice set, by the way: Librarians Against DRM.
Note to self: Today I replaced my AirPort Express with a new one. The old one was simply unreachable and resetting it made no difference. I bought it back in 2005. It lasted for seven years. That’s pretty good.
I’m once again dreaming of an OpenWlan, specially in the light of recent decisions:
I’m not happy with the Open Gaming License (OGL). What frustrates me the most are greedy publishers who declare everything important to be Product Identity.
I wanted to set up a wiki for fan generated content based on Necromancer Games’ book Bard’s Gate. To my surprise, I found the exact wording of the license precluded the reuse of anything important. That’s when I realized that the OGL can be cool, but it often isn’t. Unfortunately, the D&D 3.5 SRD came with the OGL and that’s why we are stuck with it.
No wonder the Bard’s Gate fan site promised in the book never materialized. The lock down certainly worked. The book has basically disappeared from our memory. I still have an archive of the wiki I started back then. Maybe I’ll get to use it in ninety years. Right.
Another example of how things are needlessly complicated by the OGL: The wiki Campaign:Monsters collects monsters for old school games. Making sure that the right OGL is linked is a major pain compared my fantasy alternative where the license says: “chapters bla bla and bla as well as all the magic items and feats are are in the public domain”.
When I wanted to import the Tome of Horrors with Swords & Wizardry stats into the Monsters wiki, I realized that I would basically have to rewrite all the monster descriptions because nothing but the name and the stat block were Open Content. Disappointing, again.
Unfortunately, the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (CC BY SA) alternative could be used to the same effect: requiring the listing of all the previous authors. The only thing that we would save is a page of legalese.
What I want is a viral license that “infects” the other parts of the works. No derivatives where all the new stuff is proprietary. I guess if you argued that importing monsters from a CC BY SA source into your book constitutes an adaptation and not a collection, then the CC BY SA does in fact “infect” your entire derived work.
This is a different trade-off. Perhaps no company would have jumped on the band-wagon back in the days of D&D 3.0. These days, however, as a consumer that is active online, that acts as an independent publisher like most of us do and wants to distribute derivative works in campaign wikis, blog posts, PDF documents, etc. – these days I find the CC BY SA license or the public domain to be much preferable to the OGL.
For a different perspective, check out Stuart Robertson’s Why I'm Not Using the OGL.
I was reading Stefan Poag’s post Do I know how to be a famous artist? He lists some questions he thinks artists should answer for themselves. The question “How to make sure that anyone who’s interested in your art is able to buy something, regardless of how little or how much they have to spend” reminded me of something…
What I would like to see is a simple, semi-automated process on artists’ websites. Artists would post cool pictures and they’d all include the following:
I feel that’d be better than a tipping jar but still not as convoluted as the usual process. There is no email exchange required. I don’t get to decide anything about the piece – but perhaps some people will approach the artist with adaptations they’d like to see, in which case you do your usual sales process.
I don’t know whether this would have led to a ton of sales, but I’m sure I would have spent maybe $10 or $20 on little stuff like that; things I can use on my blog, on my campaign wikis, submit to Fight On! (where upon I’d maybe pay the little extra required for a print product).
I think as a small artist it’s important to not waste money with a lawyer. Keep it short and simple. You won’t be going to court anyway – if people are not going to pay then that’s “shrinkage" on the web or whatever you want to call it. But give those people who want to buy something small an option.
Do you think it’d work?
As for my own lousy drawings, they’re available for free because I wouldn’t pay for them myself.
I just saw an email on the iCommons Switzerland mailing list listing Switzerland based netlabels and artists.
Now I just have to spend some time listening to the music… These days I usually listen to the Sounds podcast. Here in Switzerland I pay a monthly fee because I have a radio. Might as well profit from whatever they do. (I do confess, however, that I’d love to hear that none of this money goes to the entertainment industry. (Thieves! Luddites!)
Yesterday, I wrote about my thoughts on SOPA and how the USA’s legal arm had grown long indeed.
Today, I want to comment on something I’m seeing in a lot of the statements in protest to SOPA, eg. on Google’s End Piracy, Not Liberty page: “Fighting online piracy is important.” Wil Wheaton says on Today the US Senate is considering legislation that would destroy the free and open Internet: “I’ve probably lost a few hundred dollars in my life to what the MPAA and RIAA define as piracy, and that sucks, but that doesn’t come close to how much money I’ve lost from a certain studio’s creative accounting.”
I agree that SOPA and PIPA are terrible. They will reduce our freedoms, increase legal uncertainty, make it harder to do business, make it harder to host user contributed content (forums, wikis, archives, social networking and more). The goal, of course: Big Hollywood’s Big SOPA Defeat.
But while the citizens of the USA fight stupid legislation (which the USA will then most probably try to impose on other countries as well), let us not forget that the current copyright regime is stupid, too. We need less protection. We need shorter protection. We need less punishment.
I want to be a privateer!
Update: Supreme Court Chooses SOPA/PIPA Protest Day To Give A Giant Middle Finger To The Public Domain – they keep extending copyright, what a shame! I prefer the Public Domain.
Update: I love this rant: Why I'm a pirate!
Update: A step in the right direction: Another Interesting White House Petition: Reduce The Term Of Copyright – even though 56 years is still way too long and even though the president appears to be the wrong addressee.