Would it be hard to offer users to option of putting their posts under a Creative Commons license? November 20, 2004 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Would it be hard to offer users to option of putting their posts under a Creative Commons license? Users that go for it could have a (cc) link (to the license they chose) put in the byline of their posts.

Just a bit more copyright-friendly.
posted by Count Ziggurat to Feature Requests at 11:13 AM (24 comments total)

Would it be hard to offer users to option of

The option, that is.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 11:14 AM on November 20, 2004


I've thought about this since I started working there almost three years ago, but for community sites, the best thing I've seen is to set a blanket license on everything.

Unfortunately for that option, I have to get all the old members to agree that they'd be willing to share everything they say, forever. I haven't ever thought of a good way to do that, and while I'd guess 99% of everyone here would be down with a by-nc-sa license on stuff (which would let you legally make a mashup of metafilter, syndicate the posts on your non-commercial site, etc), I know there are probably a few people that would have a legitimate beef with the decision.

In trying to think of the worst possible outcomes, there are few ways someone's words could be used against them, but with a CC license, you can't legally stop someone from doing it. This is always "the nazi problem" that comes up in free software and open content discussions -- what would you do if a KKK site used your poem/song/film/image and they could legally keep using it -- that is tough for some to get past, even though it's an extreme edge case.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:50 AM on November 20, 2004


But why not a user by user option? Or a blanket license that people can easily opt out of?
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:26 PM on November 20, 2004


Or even just a checkbox on the posting forms...
posted by billsaysthis at 1:37 PM on November 20, 2004


I'd like to force people to e-mail me when they want to quote me. It never happens, but I'd be satisifed knowing that people occasionally looked at that requirement and thought "who would actually ask him to use any of that junk?"
posted by The God Complex at 2:02 PM on November 20, 2004


I find people to be a bit more agreeable about following the rules in place when they're reasonable and clear (i.e. CC.)

I mean, what does '© 2000-2004 The MetaFilter Network' even mean? Am I supposed to contact the author to ask for permission to use it in any way? Or am I just not allowed use it at all?

In the end, if I were a casual reader, I know i'd just ignore it and loot as I pleased.

Bjut when it looks like they've at least made an effort to be nice about it (permitting quotes, etc) I know I as a reader and blogger, am a lot more likely to respect the rules.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 2:33 PM on November 20, 2004


What is the advantage that you see, mathowie, in setting one standard for the entire community rather than providing a choice on the user page that would apply to any comments made by that user? I'm not saying there isn't one (I'm sure you've thought about this stuff a lot more than I have), but other than the coding effort required to implement it, I'm not seeing it. And I think it would be very cool for Metafilter to lead the way on intellectual property issues, since many of our members are strongly concerned with them (you included, obviously).
posted by rushmc at 2:45 PM on November 20, 2004


I'd like to force people to e-mail me when they want to quote me. It never happens

hey, i at least IMed you last time i wanted to quote your sorry butt !
posted by t r a c y at 2:55 PM on November 20, 2004


That doesn't count. You clearly have no taste ;)
posted by The God Complex at 3:18 PM on November 20, 2004


what does '© 2000-2004 The MetaFilter Network' even mean?

The site, domain, and it's layout are Matt's. So, too would be the hardware (server) end of things. He could shut the whole thing down, wipe the hard drives on the rack unit and reformat them as a MIDI workstation, and there wouldn't be a damn thing we could do about it. (Whoops - possible germ of an idea, huh?)

The comments we individually post are our own material. That is, my misspelled rantings and poorly-formatted hyperlinks are "mine" inasfar as the content driectly produced from my cortex. I do not own any of Keyser Sose's posts, or jonmc's, nor do I "own" any copywrited text which I may recklessly cut and paste onto a thread (I know better than that - at least I think i do).

Beacuse the site runs on ColdFusion compiled-code, that does not make me an equal licenseholder with matt. That would be kinda funky in a way, but the world's far more complicated than that.

While I quoted from your post, I couldn't "use" it in a number of respects outside MeFi without your consent, due to possible legal/ethical issues depending upon context, use and intent. Still, the blue, grey and green are mathowie's world. We're only incidental portions of that content, who occasionally stink up the place.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:30 PM on November 20, 2004


This is always "the nazi problem" that comes up in free software and open content discussions -- what would you do if a KKK site used your poem/song/film/image and they could legally keep using it -- that is tough for some to get past, even though it's an extreme edge case.

The point is understandable in free software circles, but I mean, really: if the KKK for some bizarre reason want to borrow my two sentences on this awesome site I found, by all means, they can go right ahead and use it for all I care. It's not like they can use it against me (especially if I use a non-derivative thing with it) or against anyone else. It's just a little piece on some site.

Unlike free software, which they could actually use against people.

But it's not really relevant, if we give users the option. They can take the risk of the neo-Nazis seizing their sentence or two about the Word Toilet Organization with nefarious purposes, or if that worries them, they can opt to keep their content All Rights Reserved.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 3:37 PM on November 20, 2004


I hereby bequeath all future posts for my username to the public domain for the benefit of mankind. Not that any of my posts will help anything.

Though I wholeheartedly agree all posts are copyright their original authors and I will go to reasonable lengths to secure their permission, should need arise.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 6:35 PM on November 20, 2004


Back in the good old days of BBS's we had these things called Macros. After coming back from school (uphill and on fire both ways) we'd make our terminal apps do funny things when certain key-chording was done, just like you would a piano.

A control-alt-whatever could produce this (cc) you sound like you really want.

/old man voice off

In other words, think client side solutions not server side. Coding time is valuable, extra buttons left and right mess up the UI, etc.
posted by skallas at 6:36 PM on November 20, 2004


MetaFilter: The Word Toilet Organization
Sorry, Count Z, you're making a thoughtful and useful contribution with this post, but that particular typo is not only funny, but so-o MeFi appropriate. Keep up the wood gurk.
posted by wendell at 6:37 PM on November 20, 2004


I would also like to implore Mr. Haughey to implement a user by user customizable setting for Creative Commons license, should he find the time. Much appreciated, thanks.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 6:37 PM on November 20, 2004


What is the advantage that you see, mathowie, in setting one standard for the entire community rather than providing a choice on the user page that would apply to any comments made by that user?

I see the value in picking one license (with no opt out) for the sake of simplicity on the part of those reusing or redistributing material found on metafilter. The whole point of CC is to make (some forms of) sharing easy. If we allowed for all 6 different licenses, or public domain, or no license at all on posts and comments, the way I would have to go about letting reusers know would be ridiculously complex.

So user A makes a post and user B through user Z leave comments. If three users in that mix allowed for commercial reuse while the others did not, I'd have to put a small license tag under every single comment, every where they appear. You license "works" in the broadest legal sense, and we'd be defining a single comment as a standalone work that could have its own license, which is kind of crazy.

Instead, I'd much rather go for simplicity. Have one bit of metadata and statement at the bottom that says something to the effect of "all original comments and post text here is provided under the following CC license" so that someone can find something they want to print in a school report, and they don't have to pick and choose which comments they are allowed to use, but anything they see on the site is fair game under a single license.

The use of CC licenses is mainly to make reuse easy but turning a community site into a patchwork of different licenses and none at all would confuse those seeking to reuse any of it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:40 PM on November 20, 2004


Back in the good old days of BBS's we had these things called Macros. After coming back from school (uphill and on fire both ways) we'd make our terminal apps do funny things when certain key-chording was done, just like you would a piano.

Just to be clear, anyone who takes to this idea and starts to include .sig lines in their comments is going to get a good strong nutsack flattening.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:01 PM on November 20, 2004


The use of CC licenses is mainly to make reuse easy but turning a community site into a patchwork of different licenses and none at all would confuse those seeking to reuse any of it.

Okay, I can see that. Thanks for the clarification. I guess I was thinking more in terms of authorial permission given on one's user page covering all content one posted to the site, with the burden falling upon anyone wishing to reuse said content to go to the appropriate user page and see what stipulations the author had chosen to make for it. So if the New York Times wants to quote quonsar beyond what would constitute fair use, they would look at his user page and see whether he had given permission for such use or whether they had to contact him directly to seek direct permission.

I can see how that might not be practical, although it still strikes me as a lot simpler and fairer in theory.
posted by rushmc at 8:18 PM on November 20, 2004


But taglines are okay, right?

MetaFilter: a good strong nutsack flattening

- wendell
MeFi member since Al Gore first opened membership
(c) 1992 Gracie Films and 19th Century Fox
Not to be duplicated or rebroadcast without permission of Major League Flatball
posted by wendell at 8:20 PM on November 20, 2004


Wendell, are you trying to get yourself in trouble?
You forgot to mention that your post was sent via:

the Ford Motor Company Limited Edition Signature bitpipe
provided by Cisco International, Thompson/RCA, Matador Records,
and the McArthur Foundation.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:09 AM on November 21, 2004


It would be a bummer if someone downloaded a bunch of Ask.Me answers and slapped ads on it like, wikipedia, and all those jerks who steal wikipedia content.
posted by milovoo at 9:13 AM on November 21, 2004


It would be a bummer if someone downloaded a bunch of Ask.Me answers and slapped ads on it like, wikipedia, and all those jerks who steal wikipedia content.

A non-commercial clause would take care of that.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 10:19 AM on November 21, 2004


I notice that on MonkeyFilter all comments are Creative Commons licensed.
posted by xammerboy at 3:01 PM on November 21, 2004


They also have a More Inside box and (I believe) a password reset.

Of course, they don't have any way to track your comments and lost most of their post-and-comment history recently. :::shrug:::
posted by rushmc at 3:07 PM on November 21, 2004


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