Libre knowledge/discussion topics/Protecting the Commons and Inclusivity

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Imagine a company using proprietary software intelligent agents to find, aggregate, package, attribute, summarise, translate and sell resultant content under an all rights reserved license, restricting access only to whom the company chooses (typically paying clients).

Enclosing the commons
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For these aggregation services discuss the following:
  • Would it be (legally) permissible to include content licensed
    • PD
      • Yes
    • CC0
      • Yes
    • CC-BY
      • Yes (provided the included resources are attributed as required)
    • CC-BY-SA
      • No. Resources licensed cc-by-sa may only be combined with other resources similarly licensed (i.e. under licences similar in intent, which preserve the core freedoms) which cannot be exploited in this way. From a pro-freedom perspective, with copyright law as it is currently, it would be preferable for the service to work only with libre share-alike resources, and for the software providing the service to be available under a libre licence such as the GNU Affero Public Licence.
    • Any other Creative Commons licenses, and if so, under what conditions?
      • BY-ND
        • An unmodified copy may be included
      • BY-NC
        • No. The company is using the aggregated resources commercially.
      • BY-NC-SA
        • No. The company is using the aggregated resources commercially and even if it wasn't such resources may only be combined with other BY-NC-SA resources.
  • Discuss: If such services became pervasive and generally superior to free and open searches (for example), what would be the implications in terms of
    • the values associated with open education and libre knowledge?
      • In essence, all the benefits would be restricted to those who could pay. The ideals/values would be compromised: diversity, freedom, innovation, transparency, equality, inclusivity, empowerment, human dignity, well-being and sustainability. (discuss further)
    • Incentive to contribute to the commons.
      • Some may feel that their efforts contributing to the commons are being exploited by such companies making money from the resources not in the spirit intended.
  • Minimising such exploitation?
    • Which Creative Commons license maximises freedom to use, copy, adapt and share a resource while protecting these freedoms in the long term in future derived works?
    • Does fewer "restrictions" always imply more freedom in the long run?
      • No. CC-BY-SA includes the SA "restriction" which is not included in CC-BY. However, CC-BY-SA preserves the freedoms downstream in derived works. CC-BY resources may be included in more restricted derived works.
      • One could also "restrict" resources to being stored and shared in free file formats (as suggested by the libre knowledge definition). This would facilitate freedom to modify resources using libre software available to all (inclusivity).
    • If the SA clause in CC-BY-SA is a "restriction", what is it "restricting" exactly, in terms of users' freedom?
      • The freedom to restrict the freedom of others by insisting that derived works carry the same license (CC-BY-SA) or a licence similar in intent which perpetuates the core freedoms.
  • Would it make any difference if
    • the agent software was open source?
      • No. The licensing applies to the content.
    • the DRM software was open source?
      • No. Access would still be restricted. Open source DRM software exists but is frowned upon by the free software and libre knowledge communities.
    • use of the service was entirely free, and BY-NC resources were included (the aggregation service itself not restricting the users)?
      • Aggregations including NC resources should exclude BY-SA resources (and other incompatibly licensed resources)
      • The users would have to be more vigilant and (e.g.) get permission where applicable for commercial uses.

  • Discuss the above. Are the embedded answers correct?


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