Creative Commons

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The Creative Commons parametric license regime is a more flexible alternative to GFDL. Its nonprofit .org was founded by Lawrence Lessig which attempts to:

  • advocate for rights of creators to share their work with each other - without the strict requirements or flaws of Open Source which many creators reject
  • provide a parametric license with predictable terms to simplify use of works by others, similar to what prevails in the music industry where there is no need to seek specific permission for certain types of pre-cleared uses (though Creative Commons does not at present have a royalty handling system and deals only with free use)
  • define exact legal Share Alike terms to encourage share-alike that goes beyond free software and extends into music, writing, reporting and arts
  • define exact legal NoDerivs terms to permit artists who do not want work to be changed by others, e.g. as in the film industry where directors resist such modifications, to find common cause and work to defend common contracts
  • encourage open content by developing the idea of Common Content which is more exactly legally defined as anything under any of the above licenses

The Creative Commons attribution-sharealike or CC-by-sa license is normally considered to be the closest equivalent to the GFDL used here at Consumerium:Itself. Some advocate dual-licensing open content under both so it would be easier to swap text between these two share-alike content licenses.

beyond GFDL

There are serious problems with the GFDL and especially its extreme bad-faith interpretation by the highly questionable Wikimedia "Foundation" which has so twisted the license's intent as to put all of Wikipedia in public domain, and confiscate what the GFDL Corpus contributors believed they were putting in FSF's hands - not Wikimedia's. Accordingly it is time to look for licenses beyond GFDL, and the CC-by-sa is one of the very first considered, e.g. by Wikitravel.

The Green Documentation License expected to be a Consumerium License may actually fit within the parametric options that the CC license provides. Thus, the GDL would *be* a CC license, but it would not be the GFDL license. Talks are ongoing to dual license most of the GFDL text corpus under something that might end up as a variant of the CC by-sa license, which is the most useful consortium license - requiring attribution and share-alike, with possibly additional terms to deal with moral rights, which the Front-Cover Texts, Back-Cover Texts, Secondary Section and Invariant Sections are supposed to help express (though some claim that they do so imperfectly).

It is also possible that the GDL could simply require certain Invariant Sections and other Secondary Sections and citation in full, which might actually be possible under the GFDL or some future variation of it. By permitting these, the GFDL is in effectively also a parametric license if these capabilities are used in certain ways, especially to reinforce moral rights - such as to add a non-deletable statement that the work is not to be used in some way. Note that most of the GFDL text corpus does not have such moral rights expressions within it, and mediawiki does not support managing them, though nothing prevents other users from picking up texts and adding such terms. Their expressed desires would only apply to their own texts of course.

There are ideologists who oppose even the simple moral rights terms of the GFDL, and will probably destroy the integrity of the GFDL regime in the long term by demanding that everything "be free", meaning, you can change "X is a Nazi" to "X is not a Nazi" and no one who was involved in exposing X as a Nazi can even object. This is, in a word, stupid. But so are many free software aficionados, most of whom don't actually write any useful code.

It's possible that all three licenses (GPL, GFDL, and GDL) will specify terms under which material licensed to one can be released under the others. The Green regime would be the most restrictive, and probably sufficient for Consumerium. If not then the even more restrictive Consumerium Software License could be applied by CGO to our work, or, we could propose a new Creative Commons license to deal with the messy situation above.

See faction license for a proposal to optimize the flexibility of this.

External links