Dvorak on Creative Commons

John Dvorak attempts to completely trash the Creative Common license in his new article published at pcmag.com. It’s an ambitious task, and he fails at it miserably. Over two pages, he does not manage convey anything else than “I don’t get it”.

In other words, a noncommercial site could distribute a million copies of something and that’s okay, but a small commercial site cannot deliver two copies if it’s for commercial purposes. What is this telling me?

This is telling you that I don’t want you to sell my work, or use it to promote your proprietary garbage. What is so hard to understand here? I want to give people right to copy my word for non-commercial purposes only. I could write a disclaimer and describe it in few paragraphs – but I’d rather use a stock license that allows me that (which was written by people more educated in law and license writing than me).

In fact, the suggestion is dangerous, because if someone were sued by the Creative Commons folks over normal fair use and Creative Commons won the suit, then we’d all pay the price, as fair use would be eroded further.

I call bullshit on this. Creative Commons is a way of giving up my copyright in certain circumstances. I might be wrong here, but I think it is not supposed to supersede copyright. It is supposed to be a layer on top of it. In other words – it’s like saying, I give permission to copy to group x (non commercial users), but prohibit use to group y (commercial users). I don’t think this violates copyright in any way, and it does not erode fair use. As far as I know Creative Commons does not interfere with fair use at all.

If I write something on my blog, for example, and decide not to cover it with the general copyright notice, I can simply say that it is in the public domain and be done with it.

Yes, sure you can but then you are releasing your work into the wild. This is good, but not always desirable solution. If you want to allow copying for non-commercial purposes, but retain the copyright (for example you are waiting for that movie deal, based on your novel/story) you need some compromise. Creative Commons is this middle ground solution allowing you to give a little, without loosing all the rights to your work.

I mean my grandkids will own all my writing exclusively until 75 years after I’m dead, unless I sell all the rights to someone else. What more do I want from copyright?

I guess you don’t need anything else Mr. Dvorak. But that’s because you write for living, and you can’t probably imagine that some people do this for fun, and like to reach out to people, without reaching into their wallets. You should talk to Cory Doctorow – he is a professional writer too, and yet he publishes his work under CC license. And he makes big bucks selling his books.

But Creative Commons has nothing to do with Picasso or anything else except new works.

In my best Stewie slow talking tone: Um… You do know that CC is relatively new, right? So… You know… You can’t just… Um… For example re-license Picasso… Because… You know… Picasso stuff… Well, it… It was done long time ago… By this guy… Picasso… Who is kinda famous… I guess… I guess you wouldn’t know…

Years ago, to gain a copyright, you had to fill out a form and send in the material to the Library of Congress. Now you just use the word “copyright,” add your name and a date, and publish it. What could be easier? Apparently simplicity was more than some people could handle, so they invented Creative Commons to add some artificial paperwork and complexity to the mechanism.

Are we talking about the same Creative Commons license? Last time I checked all I need to do to apply CC to my work is to say – this work is distributed under CC license, yadda, yadda yadda. I can put a little image on my site that links to the appropriate license… I have no clue how including 1 sentence and a hyperlink, constitutes “artificial paperwork and complexity”.

And it seems to actually weaken the copyrights you have coming to you without Creative Commons. Oh, brother!

OMFG! That is the point here! I don’t want full blown, “do not touch my stuff you dirty pirate” copyright – I want the “here, share my work, but don’t sell it” copyright!


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