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CZ:License Essays/Aleksander Stos

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I have not so much to add; many arguments have been already recalled on the forum and Summaries of policy arguments. I appreciate the panorama of possible choices by Mike Johnson and the essays by others.

My 2 centimes

I believe a Creative Commons license is a better choice than GFDL for general sanity reasons. A major argument for GFDL was easy content management (mixing, uploading), esp. with regard to imports from Wikipedia. But my understanding is that even under GFDL we would be obliged to do *exactly* what we are doing now, that is properly acknowledge that some parts of a given article is WP-sourced. We should be doing the same in case of mixing text between articles. And we'd like to put the same WPauthor template for *not* attributing an article in some cases. Internal administration would look pretty much the same. So GFDL doesn't make life easier.

Any Creative Commons licence would encourage the proper attribution of imported texts between WP and CZ. Given the proportions and character of the two projects, I consider it very important for Citizendium (I guess I was influenced by some assorted citations). A common perception that all good stuff would easily end up on Wikipedia, even if partially misleading, could have serious consequences for Citizendium in terms of participation. And GFDL could easily lead to such a perception. Furthermore, it should be stressed that any CC licence on Citizendium does not prevent both projects from mutual positive influence on a sane basis.

NC or not NC

So let's focus on the choice between two Creative commons licenses, CC-BY-SA and CC-BY-SA-NC.

My basic instinct is still on non-commercial side. This would make CZ a perfect place for fun of writing, organizing and sharing the knowlegde. A perspective that someone can take it and resell in a cheap disguise does not make me happy. I don't mind the idea of making a real use of my/our work to do something usefull elsewhere, but all I can see around is to just take it and sell under a different label. And, AFAIK, none of 'external' commercial applications of the Wikipedia content really contributed to its improvement.

That said, I admit that there are some reasons to not be afraid of CC-BY-SA (without the non-commercial provision).

  • Free on-line access to our resources and Share-Alike provision is a real upper bound for possible commercial use and abuse.
  • Commercial services like Answers.com can bring us more participants than Google. For the simple reason that they make an 'active' choice to 'publish' something. In the present situation this could create a new inflow of CZ users -- while Google by definition only passively relflects what has already been evident to many. I note however that Steve makes a point about likelihood of such a possibility.
  • Perhaps there could be actually useful and creative applications of CZ content (other than 'reselling'). In the meatspace society usefulness is to some extent measured by money.

On forums I argued that the NC provision would be more acceptable for expert editors (who live on their expertise, shared here for free, say). However, if you look around the web you'll find that actual experts here and there, once decided to make their work publicly available, quite often release it without non-commercial provision.

There is one situation in which I prefer we allow commercial use, and that is if allowing commercial use would lead to far more contributors (Jitse Niesen mentioned the opposite). I'm not sure. This is a matter of personal preferences of many individuals. Perhaps most web 2.0 participants are attracted by 'as free as possible' kind of license.




In conclusion I'd recommend any above mentioned Creative Commons license. My take on the "NC or not NC" issue is neutral. By this I mean that both choices are defensible, each one has its specific advantages -- and most probably none of them is really bad for the project.