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What licenses to use for Fractal Future content?

Continuing the discussion from Collective worldbuilding project:

Good point. We need to arrive at an agreement about licensing. I’d want the licensing be as liberal as possible. After all, I want our ideas to be used as widely as possible.

What reasons do you see for using any kind of license restrictions?

I also think we should use a liberal license.

My vote goes for creative commons

I think the most appropriate would be to use an “attribution only” license. That way, people know that the Fractal Future world is used and who’s behind it, but apart from that everything goes. Commercial works, remixes, movies based on what we write, … a wide range of activity, all pointing back to the Fractal Future world and its team.

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I think creative commons qualifies as what you’re saying.

Do you have any other particular license in mind?

Yes, alternatively we could choose to have a CC-0 license which basically pushes our works directly into the public domain, so that there are no copyright restrictions at all. If all what matters is just our ideas and that people should use them as freely as possible, that approach would be the best, I think. I actually love this approach, because it allows for total freedom and the most unrestricted flow of creativity.

One thing, our collective work should be regarded and respected as much as any open source software is.

“Give back to the community that which you use”. That is a prime directive of the GPL, which ensures that the use of the work must guarantee basic freedoms of any version which comes out of work based on the original: “The freedoms to use, study, share (copy), and modify”.

There is a draft of a format that we could use that is very respectful of these freedoms:

But one license that is already complete is the LGPL, that conforms these expectations without much hassle, and I suspect that ensures what you asked about been freely used, in any way we think:

Once again, forgive me to give a long introduction to this topic, but is very important we discuss this early in our work.

Among other things to state, are proper references to the content makers, but only where this is possible, pointing appropriate allocation over who did what to avoid any conflict of entitlement someone could bring, but without giving out freedoms.

One reason I advocate the LGPL is that solves our needs with versatility because it can be used for other than software:
https://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0-faq.html#GPLOtherThanSoftware

And that we may be able to change it later to suit our needs:
https://copyleft.org/guide/comprehensive-gpl-guidech3.html#x6-250002.6

We can choose now the license, but being us three the firsts, we can later talk out a reformatting of the work later. Right now, I would like you to consider using LGPL:
https://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl-2.1.html

What do you say?

What reasons do you have for preferring a LGPL over more streamlined licenses like the CC-BY? What do you have to achieve with licensing after all? Which freedoms or restrictions are important for you?

Just to state my priorities clearly. Because I mainly wish to spread our ideas as widely as possible I would prefer the licenses in the following order:

  1. CC-0 (public domain equivalent)
  2. CC-BY (attribution only)
  3. Anything else

I find the use of licenses which are optimized for use in open source software problematic when trying to adopt them for “open texts” only. After all, we don’t want to turn this into a software thing. And if we actually want to include software parts, it make sense to license them under a license appropriate for that software. That would be totally compatible to the general licensing under the Creative Commons.

I mean to the specific part stating than any work based on previous collaboration has also the freedoms to “use, study and share”.
That is my concern, and that is why is better a model on which anyone can use Fractal Future, as long as they agree on providing these same freedoms on any work based on it.

With LGPL we can guarantee that only the work based upon Fractal Future is going to be under this, and any author can still include parts of this work on their own without having to release their entire work under this license too, because this license permits including pieces inside closed source works.
What Stallman did is stating clear that only derivatives fall on the category, allowing stuff like open sourced shared libraries to be included in non open sourced work.

Therefore, LGPL is not GPL, one is more permissive, and the other is what is called a “strong copyleft”.

I would say the order on which I would agree is:

  1. LGPL
  2. CC-BY
  3. CC-0

In that way CC-BY would be our closest agreement thus far until Joao states his position.

Let me remark than this debate will make clear why we took the decisions we made for future reference. Anyone that joins can now on understand and be pointed to what has been spoken over the subject.

Let me give you an example of what my concern is. In some countries like my own, creative commons are less respected, and they probably can’t make the work enter into the public domain. So this is not going to be a solution for all places, and is probably one thing to take into account.

Here is a short mention on this:
http://opensource.org/faq#cc-zero

Ok, the difficulty of moving our works into the public domain may be a real issue. And what do you mean by Creative Commons being less “respected”? You mean that people tend to violate CC copyright/left while refraining from doing so when they see other licenses?

Copyleft is not enforced in some countries like my own. For example a group of copyleft activists got it denied when trying to leave their music free, an institution didn’t let it and still charged third parties for using the music (and charged an extra fee for the “service” plus taxes).

And is not the only thing to take into account. After all, we are trying this to be freely used, and safeguarding the freedoms of remix. Is also important to make a precedent for these things, and moving forward the culture of open source by making the same thing that Stallman did with free software.

One can argue that GPL is restrictive, therefore LGPL can be a wonderful way to overcome the need for a guarantee of the freedoms aforementioned while making the work available for using it how one sees fit.

I wouldn’t argue more than that, I think you now know why I take my position over the reason I favor LGPL over other licenses. I hope that deciding to take either LGPL, CC-BY or CC-0 will be now on the basis that basic concerns have been spoken.

I’m not sure that enforcement of copyleft would be easier with LGPL than with a CC license. Would the musicians have won their case, if they had used a LGPL license instead of whatever they have chosen? Is there any evidence for LGPL being actually more effective than CC?

The advantages I see with CC licenses is that they seem to gain in popularity, that they are relatively easy to understand, and that they can easily be applied to contents other than software.

I agree for their popularity, but also GPL has a fanbase on software engineering. But in distinction with CC, GPL appears to be less understood and therefore less accepted and even less implemented in other than software.

I agree that even LGPL may look not much different, and that is why we probably are going to have a creative commons license, but some day I hope someone sit a precedence and use a license like the GPL, that protects not only the work that has been done, but also that accumulates a massive amount of cooperation. Which we can agree the GPL is a champion of that.

I do believe that LGPL could have (and still can) fight back legal loopholes.

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So, it looks like we will compromise on starting with a CC-BY license. Unless there are other voices who want to share their opinions. Or if someone is really unhappy with that choice.

Make it official, post it in the main thread.
PS: If you want, make it CC-0.

Yes, really, I mean this discussion to made clear what path we are taking.

You can make it CC-0.

Thanks, that would be awesome. But now that you go so far I get aware of a certain problem with this approach: If we release some stuff under CC-0 and some potential new team member wants to join, but dislikes CC-0 then we would have a problem. Changing the license later on might be problematic, especially with CC-0. In that respect, CC-BY would be a safer option.

Oh, now that I realize we will be doing most of the content of a wiki, there’s the problem of how to do attribution anyway. After all, this is a totally collaborative effort and it would be a dreadful task to try attributing each piece of text to each author. So, CC-0 would be actually most convenient. Most people will probably go ahead and say what they’ve taken is from the Social Future Wiki anyway.

Finally, I want at least a third opinion on this. @Joao_Luz, what do you think about licensing? Would you prefer CC-0 or CC-BY?

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Don’t worry, we can still have a record of edits and contributions to please anyone who wishes to get credit without leaving th CC-0.

In fact, that will happen if we take care of making backups of the conversations. And if someone wants to change something over the main project, they can still do an associate universe with content remixed in another license, is possible if we decide to.

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