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A Free Culture Quandry · Friday July 21, 2006 by Crosbie Fitch

If an artist expects to publish a work copyleft, but publishes a preview under a more restrictive license with an invitation for the audience to collectively purchase its copyleft publication, does that sit well with the principles of Free Culture?

With software we have the GPL which becomes redundant with the abolition of copyright (no incentive to keep s/w dev proprietary or weapons to prosecute this).

However, the deliberate use of copyright to preclude commercial exploitation until the copyleft release fee is paid seems to be a halfway house.

I’m obliquely referring to CC-NC-SA, which is share-alike, but asserts no commercial exploitation. It is effectively saying “By all means build upon my preview, but you won’t be able to make any money until I’ve made mine (unless you deal with me direct)”.

I much prefer the “Publish copyleft first, build up an audience who then fund the artist’s subsequent copyleft releases – without any pre-release phase”. That’s because this still works without copyright.

I’m wary of encouraging a proliferation of non-commercial culture given that this can make it particularly tricky for any artist to chase down the provenance of their work in order to sell their derivative.

One could say that this is what copyright was originally supposed to do, i.e. provide the artist with a few years in which to obtain this collective purchase, after which their ‘preview’ would automatically become public domain, whether they’d received the desired level of revenue or not.

There’s an example of someone releasing a CC-NC-SA preview here:
Free the Pig

Details here: dustrunners.blogspot.com

So, you can read the book, and if you think it’s worth procuring for free culture you can make a $20 pledge – which in this case gets you a physical, signed copy of the book too.

Scott C. said 4688 days ago :

Thanks, Crosbie—this is a great explanation of the problems with the NC clause that will be good to have as a reference—something I can pull out of my pocket to spread the word. (I followed you back here from Mr. Andrews’s web site—looking forward to reading more of your stuff.)

drew Roberts said 4563 days ago :

I think I am just as OK with it as keeping it private until the amout to copyleft it is raised.

I may even experiment with this myself at some point.

For it to be on the level though, the amount should be set and verification of the amount should be in a trusted third parties hands.

It may even need to be a combo time and amount deal so that even if the amount is not raised, the work goes copyleft in 10 years or whatever.

I was trying an experiment with photos with higher res versions going copyleft as certain amounts were collected, this was not viable because of how the CC license license the “work” so I have not puched that experiment much lately.

all the best,

drew
http://www.ourmedia.org/user/17145

(+1)/10 to send email.

drew Roberts said 4562 days ago :

I have thought about this some more and have a tweak.

I don’t lilke NC much at all as you can see if you care to track down my comments on the CC mailing lists that I am on.

NC-SA is one of the worst.

So, for a closed now, group pay a total of X to copyleft plan, NC-ND might be preferred. This would make things more clear. Don’t even try to build upon this until it goes copyleft.

I have talked on the CC lists about the possibilities of ‘built in the license’ timed release to copyleft and perhaps I have talked there about money release to copyleft as well.

Nothing much came of it though.

all the best,

drew

(+1)/10 for emailing



 

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