Techdirt’s Mike Masnick is perhaps the most prolific blogger on the ill impact of overly restrictive legal regimes, including of course copyright and patents, but also trademark and even employment law (seeNoncompete Agreements Are The DRM Of Human Capital) and often on people delivering real value to customers (sad that these are considered “alternative” business models) instead of replying on protectionist legal measures — as blogged here,Masnick’s case study on NIN is an absolute must read/watch — and he hostsawesome guest authors.
So it’s a little disappointing to read Masnickwrite
I don’t use any of their licenses, because I don’t necessarily see the point. We’ve declared in the past that the content here is free for anyone to do what they want with it, and thus I feel no need for a Creative Commons license
The need arises from the reality that sharing without standardized legal toolsdoesn’t scale. It doesn’t scale socially — if I wasn’t a regular Techdirt reader I wouldn’t know that Masnick had declared Techdirt content is free for anyone and for any purpose (and even now I could only find one suchdeclaration because I remembered that Masnick had written about it in a post that mentioned CC!), nor depending on wording would I know what that meant. It doesn’t scale technically — there’s no way for software such as search engines to recognize ad hoc declarations. It doesn’t scale legally — any community or institution that requires legal certainty (eg due to risk that the community’s work will be suppressed or that the institution will be financially liable) will avoid ad hoc declarations.
It’s no surprise that in the more developed field of free and open source software (which has a10+ year head start on free culture/open content) anyone who claims that making an ad hoc declaration is good enough and did not release their code under anestablished license would be laughed at and their code not allowed in other projects, distributions, and repositories, not to mention getting no attention from IBM, Google, Red Hat and thousands of other corporate contributors to and adopters of open source software.
Continues @ http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/17422