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Re: Creative Commons Attribution license element

>>>>> "NN" == Nathanael Nerode <neroden@twcny.rr.com> writes:

    NN> Actually, I think most of clause 4b is fine; it's only one
    NN> little bit of it which is troublesome.

Thanks for your close attention. This is really helpful.

    4b> to the extent reasonably practicable, the Uniform Resource
    4b> Identifier, if any, that Licensor specifies to be associated
    4b> with the Work, unless such URI does not refer to the copyright
    4b> notice or licensing information for the Work;

    NN> Well, I think this is barely free, though it's a little silly.

It's probably less silly in light of the mechanism Creative Commons
suggests for embedding license info into artifacts with tight space
for metadata:


For file formats like MP3/ID3, there's only so much space for rights
info. So, CC recommends storing an URL to the full info.

One thing that bothers me, though, is how this becomes 'barely
free'. I realize that it may be *annoying* or *stupid*, but how is it
*non-free*? I understand how *excessive* conditions on modifications
may make something non-free, but requiring that a verbatim URL be
included with the Work doesn't seem excessive to me.

I also am having a problem with understanding how putting limits on
the modification of metadata (info about the Work) makes something
non-free. This seems to be standard issue with most free licenses (you
have to keep copyright notices, you have to distribute the license
with the work, you have to keep a change history, yadda yadda). I see
where restrictions on the content (can't change function names, can't
change the ending of the short story) are non-free, but I'm not sure I
grok why metadata "invariance" is.

I really need some help getting this straight in my head. What am I
missing, here?

    4b> provided, however, that in the case of a Derivative Work or
    4b> Collective Work, at a minimum such credit will appear where any
    4b> other comparable authorship credit appears and in a manner at
    4b> least as prominent as such other comparable authorship credit.

    NN> *This* is the problem clause.  It's unclear to most of us
    NN> exactly what "any other comparable authorship credit" means.

Yes, I see that. Is it "credit for comparable authorship", or "comparable
credit for authorship"? A failure of the appositive!

The "any other ..." part is kind of difficult, too. Does it mean "some
other ..." (credit has to be somewhere), or "every other ..." (anytime
there's credit, this one has to be there, too)?

    NN> With this ambiguity, the "at least as prominent" requirement
    NN> is then a potential interpretation nightmare.  Suppose, for a
    NN> silly and extreme example, you wanted to use a huge hunk of
    NN> material under this license in a version of ReiserFS, so that
    NN> the code under this license needed a "comparable authorship
    NN> credit" to Reiser's.  Would that mean that the credit would
    NN> have to appear in the FS name, so as to be in the same
    NN> location and at least as prominent as Reiser's credit?  Yeech.

Yeech, yes. Possibly a more appropriate example would be when I
include an Attribution-licensed quote from you (beyond the extent of
fair use) in my book, "The Autobiography of Evan Prodromou". Would I
have to change the title to "The Autobiography of Evan Prodromou and
Nathanael Nerode"?

Again, though, I wonder about the non-free aspects of this. Clumsy and
inaccurate, yes. Non-free...? Would it be non-free because it's not
possible for the licensee to comply because the license is vague?

    NN> This isn't supposed to be an actual part of the license,
    NN> according to the source code for the web page; this should be
    NN> fixed so that this is clear when *viewing* the web page (it is
    NN> *not* clear now).  That doesn't require changing the license.
    NN> It does require someone at Creative Commons noticing and
    NN> dealing with the issue.  :-P

Probably something as simple as:

    "Creative Commons", the Creative Commons logo, and the Some Rights
    Reserved logo are trademarks of Creative Commons. Their use is
    restricted by Creative Commons <trademark policy> to the extent of
    applicable law.

...would work better.


Evan Prodromou
Email: evan@debian.org
Jabber: evan@jabber.debian.net

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