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The Employee's Conditions of Employment · Tuesday June 02, 2009 by Crosbie Fitch

As a condition of my employment, I retain the copyright arising in my works whether produced in the course of my employment or through my use of employer provided facilities. Any such works that I deliver to my employer, will be provided under one or more non-exclusive licenses of their choice from FSF, OSI or CC. Cases of joint authorship may be negotiated separately, however, I will not be excluded from my intellectual work nor be alienated from my liberty to utilise or communicate it.

That’s not so much safeguarding the liberty of the public so much as that of the employee (though it still doesn’t address its derogation by patent). One could arrive at conditions that would restore the public’s liberty to the employee’s work (the public includes the employee), but that probably reduces the employment prospects somewhat. For such employees able to assert their principles I daresay conditions of employment will be negotiated individually, probably stipulating the use of GPLv3 or CC-SA. But then they’d probably only work for an employer that upheld similar principles already.

Copyleft vs CopyZeroFriction · Thursday June 04, 2009 by Crosbie Fitch

I’m obliged by Lucas Gonze to reappraise CC0 having read his blog article entitled advocacy for CC 0 over BY-SA which responded to Victor Stone’s article Consider: Zero.

I think we’re seeing the crossover of friction vs constraint between software and other art.

The GPL is a license that restores liberty to the public (otherwise suspended by copyright and patent), albeit at the expense of friction (easily surmountable by coders used to it). CC-SA is somewhat similar.

The CC0 is a license/waiver that unencumbers the art from constraint by the author’s copyright, and friction due to (well intentioned) licensing conditions, albeit at the expense of not being able to liberate anyone apart from the immediate users. It may be that opprobrium will be enough to prevent derivatives of CC0 works from being re-encumbered with copyright.

There is a similar issue (and confusion) between manumission and laissez faire between the GPL and BSD licenses (as between CC-SA and CC0). The GPL is actually freer (in restoring more people’s liberty), whereas the BSD is least encumbered by licensing conditions (the licensee is free to suspend others’ liberty).

There is a FAQ for the CC0.

It is disheartening that in conflating legal rights (privileges) and natural rights (moral rights, etc.) CC is giving ‘rights’ a bad name by suggesting that CC0 is a way of surrendering/unreserving as many rights as possible, as if this was a worthy aspiration. It compounds this insinuation by saying that in some jurisdictions it is difficult or impossible for some rights to be waived or licensed. That’s because they are natural and inalienable rights, not commercial privileges!

As I’ve often said before. Artists should surrender none of their rights. They should divest themselves only of their privileges, and by so doing restore the public’s rights their privileges would otherwise annul. Rights are good (natural rights and derivatives), privileges are bad (copyright and patent).

Copyright (via CC license) may provide a holder with the apparent ability to demand attribution, but there is no natural right to it. What there is a natural right to is truth, and thus a right against misattribution. Lawrence Lessig created this confusion in the first place, and now people who are relinquishing their privilege to demand attribution will assume they are also relinquishing the right not to be misattributed.

Somehow I suspect CC has a hidden agenda in conflating the privilege of copyright (and all the ‘legal rights’ it engenders) with inalienable, natural rights, i.e. that it wishes to cement the popular delusion that copyright is a natural right, in order to facilitate legislation that secures it as if a natural right (making infringement a crime). To thus provide liberal licenses/waivers with one hand whilst reinforcing the privilege as if a right with the other hand is crypto-IP-maximalism.

 

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