One More Day of Thought – Introducing CC-One (Formerly CC-Infinity)

I am totally geeked and somewhat histrionic that CC took a look at my plight. Elliot Harmon of CC commented on my post about CC-∞ (Infinity) from yesterday.

… Thinking about CC Infinity, I worry that it would create an infinite number (sorry) of incompatible bodies of work. The exciting promise of OER is the ability to seamlessly mix content together from different sources. Navigating a complicated set of restrictions would make life much more difficult for educators and content creators….

Since my response is really long I decided to make it whole post.


Elliott,

Thanks for your comment. I feel good that the topic is receiving some discussion at CCHQ. When I say “content slums” – I mean any cloning of material for the sole purpose of making money off ads, getting into search results or taking away views. YouTube is not a content slum – but a YouTube channel with nothing but cloned content is a slum (in my vernacular). But my definition hardly matters.

The problem in a sense is the kind of thing that happens when something like CC-BY is very successful – I used it on everything. But at some point my fragmentary bits come together in something like a whole book or whole course and after years of development and promotion my work starts to get some attention. But that very moment that I get attention for my work is the exact moment when bottom-feeders can gain the most advantage by cloning those materials.

There comes a time where one needs something that is more precise than the CC-BY series. One might say “use NC” and that will keep people from cloning content on YouTube with ads. But if they are caught – they turn off ads for a few days and then when no one is looking they turn them back on. If all they are doing is cloning materials, they are complying with ND. And they are not trying to limit others from spamming – so they are complying with SA. So all the CC additions are pretty much useless in the face of those whose intention is to clone (and not remix or add value to) materials.

The answer is ARR with pre-granted permissions. In order to avoid the “incompatibility” you speak of above, I would word all the permissions in the following form:

If you are printing a limited number of copies of this book for use in a course,
then you are granted CC-BY license to these materials for that purpose.

If you translate this book into a language other than English,
then you are granted a CC-BY license to these materials with respect
to the publication of your translation. In particular you
are permitted to sell the resulting translated book commercially.

If you are hosting these materials on a server not connected directly to
the Internet (i.e. behind a firewall) to better serve a local population,
then you are granted a CC-BY license to these materials for that purpose.

If you are creating a derived work that includes more than 50% and less than 90% of
this content then you are granted a CC-BY-SA-NC license to these
materials for that purpose.

If you are creating a derived work that includes more than 5% and less than 50% of
this content then you are granted a CC-BY license to these
materials for that purpose.

If you are creating a derived work that includes less than 5%
this content then you are granted a CC0 license to these
materials for that purpose.

By limiting the statements to when a non-ARR license can be used but insisting that those licenses be from the existing CC set hopefully means that the only complex legal interpretation will be the “when to apply” parts of the statements and not the “what happens” part of the statements. Of course I am not a lawyer… :)

You can sit in a room at CCHQ and convince yourselves that such a thing would somehow confuse the CC brand. It indeed might. And so CC might decide not to do it. But just because CC does not build such a thing, it does not mean that thing thing is not needed and it does not keep someone else (i.e. like me) from building such a thing.

I have decided that CC-Infinity is a bad moniker for the idea. Yesterday I was in a hurry and trying to figure what the “opposite” of CC0 was. My new “opposite of CC0″ is CC1 – CC-One.

With the addition of CC-One, there is a delightful slider bar of options on a number line. CC0 would be at 0.0, CC-BY would be at 0.25, CC-BY-SA would be at 0.5, and CC-SA-NC would be 0.75, CC-BY-SA-ND-NC would be 0.85, and CC1 would be at 1.0. It is beautiful – CC1 completes the set perfectly. CC0 starts from PD and works up while CC1 starts from ARR and works down while CC-BY populates useful stopping points in the middle.

I love the symmetry – as an engineer it feels like it is now complete.

I also understand if CC thinks that if you make CC1 it will be come too popular and folks will abandon CC-BY, preferring CC1 even for little things like a Flickr photo. This might reduce the overall amount of CC-BY.

I would disagree, I think that CC1 would mean more people would find one of the CC licenses suitable for far more materials. Some might start with CC1 to dip their toes into CC and then after becoming more educated and comfortable know when they want to use the CC-BY series. I think that CC1 might lead to a short term drop in the use of CC-BY and friends – but in the long run – by making the CC language more expressive and widening the range, we can involve far more content creators in CC overall. Every crack we can put in ARR is a step in the right direction. And frankly something like CC1 might give mainstream publishers and content producers a way to loosen their grip ever so slightly in a way that more slowly achieves our common goals – but does so for a far wider range of materials.

Comments welcome.

P.S. You really need to look at the Bill Fitzgerald post on Creative Commons and Human Nature where he talks about the recent improvement in the Createspace policy that addresses the rights of the copyright holder when the copyright license is “non-exclusive”. It is a beautiful thing – the policy was changed from “first in wins” to “copyright holder wins” early last year. If CC had something to do with this – outstanding. If not, you should say nice things about it and try to get other distribution channels to adopt similar policies. I had a very unhappy run-in with Createspace back in 2010 that caused me a lot of pointless work – back when the policy was “first in wins” and the material was CC-BY-SA.

P.P.S. If I do build this “something less than ARR” framework, I won’t call it CC1 because then I would be sued (rightfully) for trademark infringement. I would love to call it “ARRGH” but I don’t yet know what the “G” and “H” stand for to make the acronym work. :)

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