Copyright Text for my Python Book

I just found out that last remaining barrier to publishing my Python for Informatics book on CreateSpace has been resolved – so I am furiously preparing to publish the book.

Of course at the moment of publishing, one must decide which copyright license to use on the book.

My travails, fears, concern, and angst that I feel around the use of CC-BY for some of my most precious bits of IP are documented here, here, and here. So I don’t want to use CC-BY. And CC-BY-SA does not fix the problem of unscrupulous print or spam-farm re-publishers, so I find myself pushed into CC-BY-NC-SA. Adding the NC gives me a better chance to force takedown of scumbag no-value-add print republishers but blocks certain uses that I explicitly do not want to block.

So I have added the following text to an appendix of the book in hope that I can walk a fine path and do what I want. I am inspired by the CC0 technique of recording the author’s intentions. This stops short of the CC1 idea I proposed in an earlier blog post when I was really angry. It really is CC-BY-NC-SA in most situations and CC-BY or CC-BY-SA in some specifically listed situations. I am curious to know if it works.

So here is the text of my copyright appendix from the new book. Comments and review welcome.

Copyright Addendum

This work is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

I would have preferred to license the book under the less restrictive CC-BY-SA license. But unfortunately there are a few unscrupulous organizations who search for and find freely licensed books, and then publish and sell virtually unchanged copies of the books on a print on demand service such as LuLu or CreateSpace. CreateSpace has (thankfully) added a policy that gives the wishes of the actual copyright holder preference over a non-copyright holder attempting to publish a freely-licensed work. Unfortunately there are many print-on-demand services and very few have as well-considered a policy as CreateSpace.

So I regretfully added the NC element to the license this book to give me recourse in case someone tries to clone this book and sell it commercially. Unfortunately, adding NC limits uses of this material that I would like to permit. So I have added this section of the document to describe specific situations where I am giving my permission in advance to use the material in this book in situations that some might consider commercial.

  • 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 are willing to translate this book into a language other than English, contact me so I can grant you a 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.

Of course, you are welcome to contact me and ask for permission if these clauses are not sufficient. In almost all cases permission to reuse and remix this material will be granted as long as there is clear added value or benefit to students or teachers that will accrue as a result of the new work.

Charles Severance
Ann Arbor, MI, USA
September 7, 2013

P.S. Many thanks to Lauren Cowles of Cambridge Press and Alan B. Downey for helping me with the IP issues with this book over the past few years.