Fun fact: when I was a freshman in college I thought my most useful contribution to free software (I was not a programmer at the time) would be to make a webcomic about two people mod'ing their house and it turning it into what we would now call a "hackerspace" (that term didn't exist then) where the whole house was slowly automated (IoT didn't exist then either). I never finished it or even got what we would call "far" at all.

But you can still find it... not that it's good...

@cwebber you might be interested in this little project of a friend of mine:

@rysiek I guess since you linked your thing, I'll link my awful unfinished comic

The one thing I'm proud of about it was the level of experimentation I was doing at the time in each page. It did influence a lot of my future artwork and experiments.

Part of the reason I never finished it was "imposter syndrome" though I didn't know the term at the time. I was afraid I didn't understand the tech I was describing enough. The upside is I started learning more...

@rysiek But really, for *years* I thought I would come back to it and this would be my major life's work.

Time changes you...

@rysiek Also I'm super, super embarassed to see I had an *NC* license at the time. Gak!

@Shamar @cwebber

The problem with the NC is that it's counter-productive and does not achieve what artists want it to achieve.

It does nothing to stop people who do not care about licensing from "stealing" your work.

OTOH it stops people who feel strongly about licensing from using your work, making derivatives, making it popular.

It's terribly vague -- what does it even mean? If I use this CC By-NC picture in a presentation funded by a grant, is that "commercial"?

CC By-SA is way better.

@rysiek @Shamar Nobody agrees on what "noncommercial" means, and you will either block uses you want or be surprised to hear that others consider uses you feel should be prohibited they believe are allowed. Worse yet: noncommercial licenses don't compose. What happens when 100 entities later contribute to a noncommercial license, if they hope to enforce it as a revenue stream?

"noncommercial" licenses always fail.

@cwebber @rysiek @Shamar

I'm gearing up to release what I've written thus far on the web under a CC license, and I'm going with BY-SA-NC because I don't expect people to write fanfic based on my setting or adapt my work for other media, and if they do I sure as hell don't want them making money off it without coming to me first and offering me a piece of the action.


@starbreaker @cwebber @Shamar so, disclaimer: obviously I do not want to go and tell you what to do.


1. "I can't imagine people doing anything with X" is something I've seen in debates about Open Data (government officials saying "who would do anything with X kind of data?"), copyright, art, etc. Each time it turned out that indeed there would be people doing something.

@starbreaker @cwebber @Shamar ...Here's my favorite example:

This exists, because everyone from Linux kernel devs, through webserver devs, through OSM devs, up to OSM editors released stuff on open licenses. Nobody had this outcome in mind, and yet here we are.

I feel it makes sense to not limit the potential, not limit the possibilities, with an NC license.

@rysiek @starbreaker @Shamar Notably the Linux kernel itself was originally under a noncommercial license and that changed.

Imagine how much worse the world would be if the Linux kernel were under NC!

@cwebber @rysiek @Shamar

Tempted to say that maybe BSD would have taken over instead, but IIRC when Linux first came out BSD was still under legal threat.

@Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker @cwebber but you don't have to be commercial.

Think of it this way: "non-commercial" is undefined, it *will* block a number of different uses of your work that *you* would consider noncommercial, but the authors (and lawyers) might be afraid that could be considered commercial by a court.

Why define your work via the lens of whether or not something is considered commercial?

@Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker @cwebber share-alike is much better defined and easier to verify and comply with.

If something is licensed NC, and somebody breaks the license, do you make them destroy their work? Do you make them pay you? What if they can't afford it?

If somebody breaks an SA license, the only thing they need to do is release it under SA for everyone. Everybody wins.

@Shamar @cwebber @rysiek @starbreaker

NC licenses prevent non-profit organizations from making use of the work, too.

@Wolf480pl @kaniini @Shamar @cwebber @starbreaker it happens because "non-commercial" is not well defined, and in fact is not possible to define in a precise way.

And non-profits or not-for-profits have to play it safe, so they will stay away.

@rysiek @kaniini @Shamar @cwebber @starbreaker
hm... why didn't someone make a license that specifically allows use by registered non-profits?

@Wolf480pl @kaniini @Shamar @cwebber @starbreaker because it would not solve the problem.

What would stop LargeCorpX from registering a child organization as a non-profit?

@rysiek @kaniini @Shamar @cwebber @starbreaker
don't non-profit need to have a mission statement or something?
Or, maybe not non-profits but public benefit organizations (like OPP in Poland)?

@Wolf480pl @kaniini @Shamar @cwebber @starbreaker here again ShareAlike or other forms of copyleft are way more elegant and effective than NC. You don't care if it's a company or a non-profit -- if they're okay with releasing their derivative work under the same license, that's cool.

If not, it doesn't matter what the organizational structure we're talking about.

It's clean and effective.

@rysiek @kaniini @Shamar @cwebber @starbreaker

What if a company uses your art in an advertisement? They may as well release the advertisement under CC, it doesn't change the fact that your art was publicly used to advertise an evil corpo.

@Wolf480pl @kaniini @Shamar @cwebber @starbreaker it is entirely possible. However, if they release the advert as CC By-SA (as that's what we're talking about here) that means now *I* can remix it, and so can everyone on the Internets. If it's an "evil corpo", that is not going to end well for them.

Hence, they will not release it under CC By-SA. And hence they will not use by CC By-SA artwork either.

There are other reasons too, obviously (like: rigidness of evil corpo's legal departments).

@rysiek @kaniini @Shamar @cwebber @starbreaker
But remixing an ad for critical/satirical purposes is already fair-use in many jurisdictions, so I don't see how the ad being released under CC BY-SA would change anything

@rysiek @kaniini @Shamar @cwebber @starbreaker
Indeed, I have not. I have only met one lawyer in my life, and he wroks for a non-profit, besides he doesn't like being a lawyer.
So, what are lawyers like?

@Wolf480pl @kaniini @Shamar @cwebber @starbreaker extremely, impossibly cautious. That's their job.

And extremely anchored in corporate, commercial business models. "Let's release an ad on CC By-SA" is a non-starter, nobody would even consider suggesting that perhaps a discussion could be had regarding potentially thinking about proposing this.

@Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker @rysiek I'm skeptical of and concerned about commercial exploitation too. Problem is, "noncommercial" doesn't fix the things you'll expect it to, and will prevent things you want.

Here's a question: if Linux were noncommercial, should a community run nonprofit be legally allowed to run it in a commercially run hosting service / datacenter? Even if the hosting service profits from it? Can the cooperative collect dues?

@Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker @rysiek Note that I said Linux and not GNU here because Linux was once under an NC license and GNU never was ;P

@cwebber @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker @rysiek If I recall correctly, it was GNU/FSF who encouraged them to be less strict in that regard. Kind've goes against their reputation but totally makes since given their writing.

@cwebber @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker here's another question: if I support Gargamel on Patreon, does mastodon/social suddenly become a commercial instance? Does that mean he cannot use NC emojos here?

@rysiek @cwebber @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker NC licensing is a problem for exactly this reason... it's a shaky legal foundation and it also doesn't port well internationally.

CC's interpretation of NC is purposefully vague to be flexible:

In my opinion, that doesn't make it very useful; NC is mostly a barrier to combining with other FOSS licenses, especially the big copyleft licenses.

In some cases, artists and musicians feel more comfortable with CC licensing... 1/2

@rysiek @cwebber @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker ...that has the NC clause. Perhaps it's useful from a sociological/activism standpoint, as sort of a "gateway license" into the Free Culture world.

But, back to your example - I think a reasonable interpretation would allow use of those emojis as "not primarily intended for or directed towards commercial advantage or monetary compensation.", which is the CC interpretation (though not actual legal advice, precedent, or ruling). 2/2

@diggity @rysiek @cwebber @Shamar @starbreaker

For another weirdness, the BY (attribution) part of CC licences are vague too, which has caused problems for #OpenStreetMap users who want to use CC-BY-SA data

@ebel @rysiek @cwebber @Shamar @starbreaker interesting... attribution can be difficult for artistic works too, e.g. combining CC graphics from multiple sources for print works or merchandise (where do you put attribution on a one inch button?).

OSM should probably also ask the contributor to license any of their original work under ODbL when they submit; dual licenses would probably make life easier in the long run, but also new versions of CC licenses can address this compatibility directly.

@diggity @ebel @rysiek @Shamar @starbreaker I do agree that attribution can be hard to accommodate on large collaborative projects

@diggity @rysiek @cwebber @Shamar @starbreaker
"Where do you put the attribution?" Sec 3(a) of the CC-BY-SA licence covers this.
Copyright holder gets to define a "reasonable manner" (3.a.1.i)
#OSM has a form letter ( ) which asks the holder to agree that a mention on the page suffices.
Also CC licence forbids use with DRM (2.a.5.c), OSM licence allows it if you offer parallel download.

@cwebber @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker @rysiek

Have you seen the peer production license?

I think its a bit better than a blanket NC license. What I really want is a license requiring income from a commercial entity be used to improve the software. Either by spending time working on it, or paying for others time.

@alienghic @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker @rysiek I think the Peer Production License is a license with good intents and good people that is unfortunately doomed like every other NC approach

@cwebber @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker @rysiek

So far the hybrid GPL/commerical license seems to be the most likely to generate funding for developers while still being "Free software"

@alienghic @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker @rysiek by that I assume you mean copyleft with proprietary relicensing?

It has some problems sometimes but I'm generally good with it. :)

@cwebber @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker @rysiek

Yes I've seen Qt and the Ada compilers use it. Either your end product is GPL or you pay us.

@Shamar @cwebber @alienghic @kaniini @starbreaker @rysiek copyleft, Affero-style licensing, etc. are your best bet.

I don't think we'll ever see a license that keeps a work free and freedom-respecting in every possible scenario, for every person on Earth, until the end of human time. That's too tall of an order.

Remember, license enforcement is the flip side of the coin here... and it's difficult or discouraged, usually. There are very heated battles over FOSS enforcement strategy right now.

@diggity @Shamar @cwebber @starbreaker @rysiek

If I don't think eternal copyright is a good idea for creative works, why should it be appropriate for software?

Admittedly I'm not sure we're going to see a penguin books reissue of the first fortran compiler, but still, it should be released to the public domain.

@alienghic @Shamar @cwebber @starbreaker @rysiek I agree, but public domain has proven not to be "good enough" for works that people care strongly about keeping alive... public domain allows locking down of derivatives.

@diggity @alienghic @Shamar @cwebber @rysiek

> public domain allows locking down of derivatives.

AKA the Disney Business Model.

@diggity @alienghic @Shamar @cwebber @rysiek

Which wouldn't be as big an issue if copyright only lasted ten years and couldn't be renewed, thus ensuring that the derivatives themselves quickly entered the public domain, but that's now how copyright works.

@starbreaker @alienghic @Shamar @cwebber @rysiek in my opinion ten years is too long. We need patent-free copyleft just built into the copyright system as the default unless there's compelling evidence to the contrary.

@diggity @Shamar @cwebber @starbreaker @rysiek

I had been wondering what it means to copylefted software when its copyright term expires.

Legal consistency implies that copyleft should end, just like commercial copyright should end.

@alienghic @diggity @Shamar @cwebber @starbreaker and that is indeed the case, but as long as the copyright is in force, copyleft is in force.

And most of the time that's entirely enough, because derivative works become licensed anew. The original's copyright might expire, but the derivative work is still under copyright -- and that's usually where the interesting stuff is happening and what people would like to use (or lock down).

@shamar @rysiek @starbreaker @cwebber @diggity @alienghic @kaniini If you want to prevent yourself from the opportunity to take your project proprietary, make sure to get more contributors, and have everyone retain their copyright to their contributions.
@shamar @rysiek @starbreaker @cwebber @diggity @alienghic @kaniini I'm not saying give away anything. I'm saying use copyleft, invite others to join, and don't ask them to give away anything either.

Then, barring someone buying up the whole community, the project and all its derivatives is perpetually free software.

@alienghic @cwebber @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker and this (as a licensing scheme) is 100% fine, because anyone has a clear choice -- either you go with GPL, or you pay.

Notice there is nothing about "noncommercial" in the GPL.

That's my point, NC is not necessary to achieve what people think it's needed for. And it's counter-productive and problematic in general.

@rysiek @cwebber @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker

I thought Stallman explicitly wanted commercial activity to be allowed. Though he usually used the example of CD distributors.

@alienghic @cwebber @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker yeah, but I don't think it was for the commercial activity per se, it was more of a "why block good uses of the software if they happen to be somehow related to a money flow"

@Shamar @starbreaker @cwebber @alienghic @rysiek

please for the love of all things holy untag me from this thread, i did the whole FSF vs Creative Commons non-commercial debate a decade and a half ago.

@cwebber @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker @rysiek right. IMO all licenses that try to dictate organizational / commercial behavior to this level will see limited spread and evolution.

There have been, for example, attempts to use licensing models to dictate use of software in weapons, in animal testing, and so on.

@cwebber @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker @rysiek on the cooperative note specifically, there is the PPL and a whole history and culture behind it, discussed at length in this P2P wiki:

...and then there's the JSON license, with the infamous "Good, not Evil" clause. That kind of thinking is good but leaves room for almost any moral justification; just ask Google ;)

IMO the friction introduced outweighs any benefit from these unenforceable clauses

@diggity @rysiek @starbreaker @cwebber @shamar @kaniini

You probably heard this, but for anyone reading this who didn't, it's too good an anecdote to leave out of this conversation.

JSLint, the JavaScript syntax checker, is under the JSON License and therefore must not be used for evil. Except:

> So I wrote back – this happened literally two weeks ago – “I give permission for IBM, its customers, partners, and minions, to use JSLint for evil.”

@cwebber @Shamar @kaniini @starbreaker @rysiek

Relevant distinction: commercial and capitalist are different things. Cooperatives are the perfect example.

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