Creative Commons: GPL-Copyleft versus Share Alike

Ward Vandewege ward at
Wed Mar 19 09:17:24 UTC 2003

Hash: SHA1

On Wed, Mar 19, 2003 at 12:38:48AM +0000, Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 17, 2003 at 07:01:05PM +0100, Wouter Vanden Hove wrote:
> > Last Fosdem the FSF gave the Free Software Award to Larry Lessig for the 
> > advancement of Free Software.
> > But what is the official stance of the FSF's on the Creative Commons 
> > Share-Alike License?
> I mailed FSF when Creative Commons was announced, asking if they'd
> publicly comment on it.
> I got a reply saying that the goals were too different for them
> to comment.  CC isn't for software.

Hmmm, not so sure about that - the GPL is my software license of choice, but
there isn't all that much difference with CC's Share-Alike license.

> Lessig is a good man, he's worked along side FSF in the past,
> gave them $20,000 last year, and Stallman reads his work.

Lessig is one of my heroes - as is RMS - but I do think you're mixing up
Lessig and Eben Moglen, the FSF legal council, who donated $20,000 to the FSF
last year
Unless Lessig *also* gave them $20,000, of course :)

> I reckon they'd give a project of his the thumbs up.

I'm pretty sure they do.

> > Shouldn't the Creative Commons be urged by the FSF's to include the GPL 
> > as their preferred copyleft software-license?
> I agree that they should have a note somewhere about it.
> Maybe Lessig sees simplicity as a main aim in making the CC system work.
> ...or maybe you should send the CC guys a mail to suggest it.

I think CC and the FSF are complementary in the way that CC is much more
accessible to the masses. One can actually point non-programmers/non-lawyers/
copyright novices to their site and say 'choose a license' - which they will
be able to do quite intuitively.

I've asked CC about dual-licensing things (GPL & their BY-SA license), and
here is what they said:

>Thanks for your questions.  First off I am required to say that we are
>not lawyers and are not able to give legal advice, however I can give
>you my perspective on this.  Ultimately you can do what you like, but I
>think you could run into problems if there are any conflicting terms in
>either of the licenses.  However in the case of derivative works you
>can specify that the user has the option to use either one of the
>license, just make sure it's clearly written somewhere. Thanks for the
>note, we should put a more in depth FAQ on this.

So that is probably what I will do with the software I write. For
non-software, I'll probably go for CC licenses with their pretty icons and
straightforward definitions.

Bye for now,

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