BT et C

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Quote of the Month

"I have begged critics of the system, such as The Register's Andrew Orlowski, to explain to me how Creative Commons works or what it's supposed to do that current copyright law doesn't do. He says, 'It does nothing.'"
John C. Dvorak,1895,1838244,00.asp

Note to self: if someone's assessment of X is based on statements made by critics of X, raise red flag slightly.

"I have begged critics of formalized religion, such as, to explain how the Catholic Church works, and they say "It's a sham".

Dvorak goes on: "Okay, then why are bloggers and do-gooders and various supporters making a point of tagging their material as being covered by Creative Commons? Is it just because it's cool and trendy—a code for being hip amongst a certain elite? There is no other answer."

Um. ...

"then why are do-gooders and [whatev] making a point of getting up every Sunday and praying, etc. Is it just because they have a crush on Richard Roberts? There is no other answer." you're probably picking up on the fact that I'm not real impressed with Dvorak's analysis. He's not done.

"...others have certain rights to reuse the material under a variety of provisos, mostly as long as the reuse is not for commercial purposes. Why not commercial purposes? What difference does it make, if everyone is free and easy about this?"
AH, there it is."CC licensors are anticapitalist, blah blah blah". Never mind that many of the CC licenses allow commercial uses if that's your taste.

"There's another thing that bugs me about Creative Commons. When you see its licenses the wording will say something like 'Creative Commons License: Public domain.' This means that the item is not covered by copyright but is in the public domain"

hm... well, i tried, but the word "public domain" doesn't appear on

and at this point i got tired and assumed Dvorak was just making stuff up. If he encountered the line "Creative Commons License: Public doman" somewhere, I'd love to see a reference. Also I can go ahead and guess that what it means is that the $%@^ing license -- not the work -- is in the public domain. i.e. Dvorak and anyone else can copy the license and try to make a living off of it.

Um, but hey ... ALL those licenses contain a sentence like this:

UPDATE: I figured out, I think, that he means that if you go to creative commons and choose "public domain" as the license you want to use, you get this little icon with the creative commons logo in it, and the words "public domain". This is Definitely Something to Get Your Jockstrap in a Gordian Knot About.

Big wrapup coming:
"Apparently simplicity was more than some people could handle, so they invented Creative Commons to add some artificial paperwork and complexity to the mechanism. And it seems to actually weaken the copyrights you have coming to you without Creative Commons. Oh, brother!"

OMG pcmag needs their money back ... every cent they've ever paid this guy. Mr. D, that is the whole and entire point of the whole thing. That -- as opposed to "nothing" -- is what it does. So you didn't need to ask those critics anyway, did you? You found the answer all by your lonesome: CC licenses are a way to give people (and tell them they have) certain rights to use, distribute, and modify your work, while you retain others.

It's not that hard, man. I'm going to explain it to my 3-year-old, and I'm putting even odds that he'll get the idea.


  • I'll show it to my cat...and the cat's going to get it. and this site, rather than some random anti-CC bloke, would do much to help D in his future writings on the subject...

    I have never liked D, and I only now understand why. he has seemed something of a shill for Microsoft over the years. whether he's on any kind of payroll from Redmon, I don't know...but anyone with a pro-MS bias raises suspicion. he also seems somewhat arrogant in his criticisms of various software products and vendors, and overly worshipful in his praise of others. even as an opinion columnist, one's opinion doesn't have to assume oneself as the only user of importance.

    as for your opinion...

    aside from the less-than-ideal analogy between Creative Commons and religion (c'mon...people already have that dangerous stereotype, so we don't need to re-affirm their perceptions of open-sourcers as prophets and zealots), I'll take issue with your leap equating his dislike of the anti-commercial nature of SOME of the licenses to an accusation of D harboring an anti-capitalist perspective of the open-source community.

    this kind of stuff is very confusing, and very threatening, to people who make their livelihood on direct sale of content. and D's perception is one of commercial == direct sale of content. he writes an article for PCMag, he gets a check. it doesn't occur to him that he, or others, could write articles that generate enough buzz or interest in the proper areas to indirectly profit themself, or sponsors, commercially.

    to me, CC licenses represent a formalization of this latter approach. as such, I find the CC Attribution license to be the best. (and all of their content, including licenses, fall under this one). I assume you prefer the ones including ShareAlike, given your preference to GPL over Apache, LGPL, etc...?

    but that's what's great about open-sourcers like us - our informed perspective of commercial-neutrality, "shut up and show them the [content]," if you will. given his under-informed perspective, his criticism-as-accusation is that CC carries an anti-COMMERCIAL bias, which I would agree with....that is, until I actually look at the licenses and see that half of them are commercial-friendly.

    By Blogger luke, at 7:51 AM  

  • Alright, I can't defend my "leap". So often when someone is bashing F/OSS, wikipedia, etc. heshe drags in hippies, free love, and whatever else they want. Maybe I got the name "Dvorak" confused with "DeLong".

    If that's unforgivable, though, look at Dvorak trying (but, thankfully, giving up) to make some connection between Creative Commons and "Common Cause", the activist group. My reply:

    But I navigated through some of his work, and he's not quite DeLong. In fact he said some neat stuff about Vista (look at the LAMP bit)

    By Blogger Matt Crouch, at 12:50 PM  

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