This blog used to be licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike license (CC-BY-NC-SA). That changed today when I decided to remove the NC and SA clauses and just make it CC-BY.
As part of the BCcampus open textbook project, I’ve been digging deep into researching the various types of CC licenses. After seeing this chart on the CC website outlining compatibility of CC licenses with each other, I realized that the chances of someone being able to reuse my stuff is virtually nil because of the restrictions I had in place.
The problem is the Share-Alike attribution. When I chose the option to force people to “Share-Alike” (SA) I imagined that this would require people to use ANY CC license for anything they created using my material. I thought this would be a good way to prompt the adoption of CC licenses if someone wanted to use things I create.
What I didn’t realize was that, in fact, what I was forcing them to do was adopt a CC-BY-NC-SA license. The SA license doesn’t mean Share-Alike with any other of the CC licenses – it means that the license of the adapted work has to match my license exactly. Therefore, if someone wanted to use my work to create a derivative work (say translate this blog into another language) , they could not license that work with any other license other than a CC BY-NC-SA license and by forcing people to adopt a restrictive CC license, I am actually limiting the reuse of my material. My original good intention of adopting a Share-Alike license to try to promote the use of ANY CC license doesn’t make sense.
As for the NC (Non-Commercial) clause. When I first choose the NC clause, I picked it for 2 reasons. First, I didn’t want people taking my content and selling it – somehow make money off it. Really, I could care less about that anymore. I mean, you’ve read what I write. To think someone would actually pay for this stuff. Heh. I am more than a little embarrassed by the hubris of the 10 year younger me. Besides, I can’t see why people would pay for something they get for free right here.
The second was that I wanted to have SOME kind of recourse (however naive this belief was) that I could use against someone who republished the content of this site to drive traffic to another, unrelated site. It is not an uncommon practice for unscrupulous websites to republish content harvested from sites to drive traffic to another site – a practice known as blog scraping. or splogging (spam blog). I thought that by adopting an NC license that might somehow someday protect me by giving me some kind of legal recourse. Well, truth is, my content gets splogged all the time, and I don’t have the energy or time to try to chase the shadows to even attempt to identify who is doing it. And, again, quite frankly I could care less anymore. In the 10+ years of publishing content on the web, that fear I may have once had has left the station aboard a trainload of meh.
Go ahead. Use and reuse.
CC license compatibility chart from Creative Commons used under Creative Commons Attribution license