New license proposal in response to DRM waiver discussion.

New license proposal in response to DRM waiver discussion.

bart's picture

Hi folks.

Given the restrictions on technical measures in CC-BY and the long discussion about it, I think it's time to (ugh) introduce a new license that should address the issue.  I'm propsing an OGA-BY license, which is essentially the text of CC-BY with the restrictions on technical measures removed.  You can read the draft here:

Note that modifying the CC licenses is allowed according to the Creative Commons, provided all of their trademarks are removed.

Here's a short FAQ about it.

How is this license different from CC-BY?

  • The passages preventing technical restrictions have been removed from section 4a.  
  • Section 8g was added, allowing works under OGA-BY 3.0 to also be distributed under CC-BY 3.0.  This is to ensure that works created under OGA-BY can be used in places that only allow you to choose specific licenses, and that OGA-BY works can be mixed with CC-BY works (albeit under the terms of CC-BY).

We have enough DRM alredy.  Why are you making a license that allows it?

I hate DRM as much as the next guy.  To be honest, I can't stand Apple and their ilk; however, this license isn't about what I want, it's about what artists want.  There are a lot of artists on OGA who would like a license that requires attribution but doesn't prevent people from using the work with DRM.  OGA is not in the business of telling artists how they should license their work, or deciding whether weak or strong copylefts are "better".  There are people who have strong opinions on this either way, and what's important is that artists have the options available that are in line with what they want.

To be honest, the "technical measures" clause in CC-BY takes too many people by surprise.  Most people choose it because they want as many people as possible to be able to use their work so long as they give credit.

Will you be removing CC-BY as a license choice?


Will there be an OGA-BY-SA?

Possibly, although the terms would be a lot more complex, and I'd have to write them myself (and I'm not a lawyer).  Since technical restrictions (DRM) could essentially render the sharealike clause moot by preventing people from accessing a work, it's essentially pointless (in my opinion) to put out a sharealike license that allows for DRM.  The remedy for that would be to allow for "parallel distribution", meaning that it would be okay to release the work with DRM provided a DRM-free version could be downloaded elsewhere.  People who know more about licenses than I do have told me that this is actually complicated from a legal standpoint, so I'm hesitant to try and write something myself.

If there are enough artists who want a sharealike license that allows DRM but don't care about parallel distribution, I'll do the same thing with CC-BY-SA that I did with CC-BY, however at the monent I'm not convinced that many people would care one way or the other (that is, most people who don't mind their work being used with DRM would tend to prefer weak copylefts like CC-BY).

Will there be a "license deed" for OGA-BY?

Yes, once everything is ironed out.

License proliferation is bad.  Do we really need yet another license?

Believe it or not, this isn't something I did willy nilly.  The idea has been bouncing around in my head for well over a year now, and I've mentioned it several times.  It's just that the DRM waiver forum thread was inevitably going to result in a bunch of little "riders" to CC-BY that would all be slightly different from one another.  In terms of license proliferation, it's better to make a single standard version than have twenty people make their own versions, all with the same intent.

In short;  License proliferation was already happening, and I'm trying to keep it under control.