Re: Creative Commons

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2002 23:06:47 +0000

On Thu, 14 Feb 2002, Chris Zielinski wrote:

> As the former head of an authors' collecting society, to me Lessig's
> Creative Commons project looks like nothing more than applying copyright
> in a collecting society model for digital rights management.
> For example, the licensing options/protections mentioned among the
> Creative Commons plans (the descriptive article is at
> creatcom.DTL) sound very familiar: "work not to be altered, employed for
> commercial purposes, or used without proper attribution" - the first and
> last are conventional moral rights, while the middle one is a right
> enshrined in copyright.
> It seems that the licenses proposed envisage permitting commercial
> transactions:
> "An artist might...agree to give away a work as long as no one is making
> money on it but include a provisions for requiring payments on a sliding
> scale if it's sold."
> Well, yes - if no-one wants to buy it you give it away with expressions
> of chaste virtue, but as soon as there is a rustle of the readies you
> adjust your stockings. Consider what happens when you replace the word
> "artist" in that sentence by "academic researcher", and you see where
> this is taking us (this would be an artists/authors' collecting society
> position, in fact).
> The other aspects - the bolt-on licences, the machine-readable licensing
> tag, the "conservancy" role (="let us manage your content") - also all
> seem the stuff of modern collective licensing, which is already being
> carried out for rightsholders of all kinds throughout the world.
> Any other takes on the originality of the Creative Commons?

None of it makes the slightest bit of sense unless one makes a clear
distinction between work that IS and IS NOT an author give-away.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Fri Feb 15 2002 - 23:07:13 GMT

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