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Edited: Oct 9, 2007, 9:17pm Top

Does anyone know the Creative Commons licenses well?

We had originally planned to license our new "Common Knowledge" feature under "Attribution Share-Alike" CC-BY-SA (link).

After some emails back and forth with my friends at Open Library, it appears that they won't use it, for fear of contamination, unless it's straight CC-BY (link).

Does anyone want to expand on the differences? As I understand it, it would mean that someone could change the license on redistribution--to anything they want. So for example, someone could make some useful but trivial change and redistribute it under a pay model, or anything else (eg., the CC-Photo-of-a-Fish-up-Your-Nose-Posted-on-YouTube license). So long as attribution was preserved anything goes.

I'm not happy with that, seeing as it's certain that someone (Google, for example) could mash up what the community is making with their own data and put it under their own, restrictive license.


Oct 9, 2007, 10:37pm Top

You basically have the correct understanding of Share Alike ("SA").

Share Alike requires that works derived from your CC-licensed work keep the same license -- similarly permitting derivatives, basically.

You could put a "non-commercial" on it, maybe, and that would stop google from appropriating, but not, say, Open Library.

I think the operative question is what are you hoping to do with Open Library, and what are they hoping to do with you?

(And btw - this is called "this would not be legal advice even if I were not under the influence of alcohol, which I am".)

Edited: Oct 9, 2007, 10:54pm Top

Damn you. I have no alcohol handy.

No, I don't want to add non-commercial. I like commercial entities, and besides that would scotch working with OL anyway. They're not commercial, but they made it clear they weren't going to accept non-commercial licenses.

As for them, I don't know if OL will come to anything or not. It's certainly not the only site we hope to use the data. But I have a lot of respect for what they're doing and want to help them out, if we can. They certainly need what LT has—dedicated, insane users. Whether they get them directly—because we're pushing them—or indirectly—because we're feeding them useful data—isn't so important.

At root, Common Knowledge is the same idea as OL, and the same technology. You'll note, however, that we're not "competing" with them. OL is all about things you find in the standard cataloging record, or in an ONIX record, at least so far. There will probably be some overlap, but we're going to try to stay away from this side of things.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 4:27am Top

You can have your cake and eat it.

If you license it as non-commercial you can still license it to commercial entities using a different licence on application. OK you have to do a bit more work when the commercial companies come a knocking but you will get to know and approve of what the commercial entity is doing.

Oct 10, 2007, 8:30am Top

I'm not clear what OL's objection to SA is? What do they mean by "contamination"?

Oct 10, 2007, 11:49am Top

Well, if the idea is to be able to move data back & forth between OL & LT/CK, then there has to be some compatibility in licensing -- an issue that gets trickier and trickier as people carve out new and various ways to have "open" content.

To riff on #4 andyl (doing (A) generic license + (B) special licenses) you could do the license you want with a special agreement between OL & LT/CK. I'm not sure what that would look like, but -- scratching my head -- I think one could structure a licensing regime that says (A) the world in general can take our content & if they derive from it they must share-alike; (B) we separately license to Open Library with simply a CC-BY.

o brave new world of licensing.

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