Friday, May 21, 2010

modifying a CC license

Lucas Hilderbrand, Inherent Vice: Bootleg Histories of Videotape and Copyright

A good read, but right now I want to talk about the copyright statement, which has a few things going on. It reads: “© 2009 Duke University Press, All rights reserved…. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License …. ‘NonCommercial’ as defined in this license specifically excludes any sale of this work or any portion thereof for money, even if the sale does not result in a profit by the seller or if the sale is by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or NGO.”

I found this variation—for it is, I think, a variation on the CC license, with all that means for standardization—on a few other books, Ian Condry, Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization (Duke) (which despite the license was not, as far as I could find, available for download, and was only previewed on Google Books), Christopher Kelty’s Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (also Duke) and Ted Striphas’s The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control (Columbia). It may well be on others that didn’t turn up in my search.

The meaning of noncommercial, of course, is hotly debated in the CC community. Is this addendum a bit of norm entrepreneurship? A fragmentation of the license that makes it less-than-machine-readable? And how are we supposed to understand “all rights reserved” other than as contradiction?

3 comments:

jsl said...

Wouldn't it be best/most easily understood as first a reservation of all rights, and then a selective grant of some of those rights under CC A-NC-ND? Though there's no longer a requirement of official notice of copyright, it's certainly cleaner to explicitly state that you reserve all rights your copyright grants you prior to conditionally licensing those rights to others.

Kasumi Ghia said...

Re: all rights reserved

If you're in a Berne convention country then the phrase "All Rights Reserved" means absolutely nothing, and can be ignored, since it's the default. pre-Berne a previous treaty required that phrase to establish copyright in countries that followed that treaty, but that didn't follow one of the other competing treaties. It's my understanding that it's never had any legal effect in the US.

bjmacke said...

I love the lack of commas in that final clause, but that's for a judge to figure out.

I struggle almost daily with trying to pin down what "Commercial Use" means, which seems even more fluid than "NonCommercial". Every copyright holder I speak to has a different idea of what would be considered commercial, usually contradicting each other. What I've noticed is that until an appellate ruling puts something out there to clarify it, it'll come down to a layperson's judgment. Scary as that seems.