Benjamin Geer on Mon, 24 Jan 2005 13:36:00 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Re: What's the meaning of "non-commercial"?

Felix Stalder wrote:
> Openness and freedom are not constituted by the absence of
> rules (which are always enabling and constraining) but a particular set of
> rules that is biased to promote certain dynamics and inhibit others.

Yes, I agree.

> However, it seems to me, this critique is totally misguided. For one, it
> assumes that there is a clear boundary between the two categories which is
> not the case for two reasons. One, there are no clear definition for those
> terms and we are back to murky case-by-case decisions. [...]
> So, what the actual effect of the non-commercial clause is to lock information
> into a ghetto where production must be done for free, or, where its material
> support cannot be provided by the producers themselves

I agree that if the goal is to promote an alternative to capitalism, it 
would be better to start with a description of how such an alternative 
could work and how a transition to it could take place, and then construct 
a licence that would promote the use of copyrighted works by organisations 
engaged in a mode of production compatible with that transition.

For example, one could envisage a licence requiring works to be 
distributed (a) for free, (b) by workers' collectives or (c) by states. 
(People who favour other sorts of non-capitalistic economic models could 
no doubt imagine other possibilities.)

However, I'm not a lawyer, so it would be difficult for me to write such a 
licence.  In the meantime, using the Creative Commons non-commercial 
licence seems like a reasonable compromise, because I can still use it to 
enforce the above restriction, by granting exceptions to anyone who fits 
into the above categories.  I can even advertise the fact that I'm 
prepared to grant such exceptions.


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