W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webed@w3.org > November 2011

Re: Licensing: feedback wanted

From: Richard D. Worth <rdworth@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2011 12:55:25 -0500
Message-ID: <CAMi93MW0DZE-JYb+VRBJ4zncZaa6-scpsOoTb_5euQQVFoc7Ng@mail.gmail.com>
To: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Cc: Chris Mills <cmills@opera.com>, Karl Dubost <karld@opera.com>, public-webed@w3.org
On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 12:17 PM, Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org> wrote:

> Hi, folks-
> On 11/30/11 11:15 AM, Chris Mills wrote:
>> On 30 Nov 2011, at 15:50, Richard D. Worth wrote:
>>> On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 9:16 AM, Chris Mills <cmills@opera.com
>>> <mailto:cmills@opera.com>> wrote:
>>>    On 30 Nov 2011, at 13:35, Richard D. Worth wrote:
>>>>    On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 8:18 AM, Karl Dubost <karld@opera.com
>>>>    <mailto:karld@opera.com>> wrote:
>>>>        Le 30 nov. 2011 à 07:36, Chris Mills a écrit :
>>>>        > shall we go with by-sa. or just by? I think by-sa is best,
>>>>        as I worry what would happen to our material if we didn't
>>>>        include SA. We want the material and any evolution of it to
>>>>        be open, surely?
>>>>        We have a very similar case here. We want the content to be
>>>>        widespread by people and reused be it in a commercial context
>>>>        and/or an open context. As long as the source stays open,
>>>>        people have always the possibility to use it. It's why I'm in
>>>>        favor of CC-BY
>>>>    If we were authoring all the content ourselves, I think I could
>>>>    be in complete agreement, as CC-BY is most analogous to a
>>>>    permissive code license, such as MIT or BSD, which have shown to
>>>>    permit sufficient adoption and use (surely due in large part to
>>>>    their simplicity) amongst all the most popular JavaScript
>>>>    libraries for example (the software I'm most familiar with
>>>>    writing and licensing).
>>>>    However, deciding to license our content CC-BY would preclude us
>>>>    from using any content from MDN, as just one example. Is that
>>>>    worth it? I'm not sure it is.
>>>    This is not necessarily the case - a licensor can waive certain
>>>    license conditions if they see fit. And we are intending to talk
>>>    to the different content holders about using their content on the
>>>    site, rather than just using it and not telling them. This needed
>>>    for etiquette and goodwill to be maintained.
>>> Great!
>>>    Of course, we could perhaps go with CC-BY-SA but then state
>>>    clearly in the license material that if you want to use our
>>>    material in a commercial project of some kind but don't want to
>>>    put it under the same license, then contact us and we will review
>>>    your particular case - if we approve then we will waive the -SA-
>>>    condition?
>>> We'd only be in a position to grant such a waiver if we had lined up
>>> waivers from the above content holders. If we go through that effort,
>>> I'd be just as happy having our license be CC-By from the start, but
>>> if there were an overwhelming majority that wanted CC-By-SA as the
>>> default and CC-By as an exception, I agree, this is a good way forward.
>> Thanks for your further feedback. I think this is going to be the
>> problem in the end with this kind of solution - constantly worrying
>> about whether we have all the permissions we need to make sure waivers
>> and changes dynamically.
>> I think I am still leaning towards CC-BY, as long as it doesn't create
>> problems with accepting content from our major contributors (eg MDN,
>> hopefully)
> Strong +1 to everything that Karl said, for exactly the reasons he said it.
> Big +1 to Richard's comments on having a very liberal license on the code
> samples, for maximum reusability, and to having a clear page explaining the
> licensing to contributors and consumers, along with the rationale for this
> licensing.  I will write this page, and solicit comments and changes from
> all of you.
> Just to amplify this a bit, I think the license is just as important as
> the quality and breadth of the content itself.  Our chief goal is to spread
> high-quality content, improve skills, and encourage best practices to as
> wide an audience as possible, and if there is any confusion at all in the
> mind of someone who might reuse the content (teachers, students,
> administrators, lawyers, managers, whomever), then that may be enough to
> perniciously hamper the spread of the content.  If the content were under a
> share-alike (CC-BY-SA) license, then there would be ambiguity in whether
> our content could be reused and combined with other content, and so our
> content wouldn't be used.
> In addition, removing ambiguity in the minds of contributors is equally
> important.  We want to set expectations correctly, to prevent any ill will
> when the content is used in ways even we didn't expect.  We also want to
> incent and reward contributions, thus the attribution; attribution is
> important also to consumers, so they know who to thank and to blame (that
> is, so they can be aware of possible bias).  Simply having CC-BY isn't
> enough, though... we will need a clearly-stated policy on precisely how
> reusers need to provide the attribution at a fine level of granularity, and
> for a variety of media (printed material, websites, etc.); I will also do
> this, and we can revise it incrementally.
> Further, I believe that having a clear, unambiguous, permissive license
> from the very start is more important than any content or source of
> content, no matter how high-quality it is.  So, should there be a problem
> in bringing over content from MDN or any other source, I would like to err
> on the side of making content from scratch rather than introduce ambiguity
> about how the content can be used and reused.  We have over 60 participants
> in this group, and I've heard from several W3C Working Group participants
> that they are also interested in contributing, so I think it will be less
> work for us to build up new material than to deal with the fallout from
> less-permissively licensed content.
> To be clear, I put value (financial and societal) on the effort put
> forward by individuals and organizations in making content that meets the
> needs of an intended audience, and I think people are wholly entitled to
> charge for their content; I buy lots of books on programming, design,
> information visualization, typography, and so on. I don't think all content
> needs to be free.  I simply think that all the content on *this* project
> needs to be free (which is not to say unrewarded... attribution has
> exchange value too).  That may even take the form of commissioned articles,
> if we find a way to fund that.  So, with no offense intended to writers who
> feel they need to be directly compensated for their work, I think there are
> plenty of other venues for that to happen in, and I look forward to
> contributions of those who are willing to agree for their work to be used
> under the CC-BY license (or public domain for code).
Well then, a big +1 right back at everything Doug just said. Now I'm
*really* excited about this group :)

- Richard
Received on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 17:55:54 UTC

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