Post Public Domain

NFL IP

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers by Gregg Easterbrook is a fine article, adding to the not nearly large enough pile of articles criticizing the U.S. professional sports civic extortion racket. With a bonus explicit connection with copy regulation. I’ll quote just the directly relevant paragraphs:

Too often, NFL owners can, in fact, get away with anything. In financial terms, the most important way they do so is by creating game images in publicly funded stadiums, broadcasting the images over public airwaves, and then keeping all the money they receive as a result. Football fans know the warning intoned during each NFL contest: that use of the game’s images “without the NFL’s consent” is prohibited. Under copyright law, entertainment created in publicly funded stadiums is private property.

When, for example, Fox broadcasts a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game from Raymond James Stadium, built entirely at the public’s expense, it has purchased the right to do so from the NFL. In a typical arrangement, taxpayers provide most or all of the funds to build an NFL stadium. The team pays the local stadium authority a modest rent, retaining the exclusive right to license images on game days. The team then sells the right to air the games. Finally, the NFL asserts a copyright over what is broadcast. No federal or state law prevents images generated in facilities built at public expense from being privatized in this manner.

Baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and other sports also benefit from this same process. But the fact that others take advantage of the public too is no justification. The NFL’s sweetheart deal is by far the most valuable: This year, CBS, DirecTV, ESPN, Fox, NBC, and Verizon will pay the NFL about $4 billion for the rights to broadcast its games. Next year, that figure will rise to more than $6 billion. Because football is so popular, its broadcast fees would be high no matter how the financial details were structured. The fact that game images created in places built and operated at public expense can be privatized by the NFL inflates the amounts kept by NFL owners, executives, coaches, and players, while driving up the cable fees paid by people who may not even care to watch the games.

Easterbrook’s idea for reform also involves copy regulation (emphasis added):

The NFL’s nonprofit status should be revoked. And lawmakers—ideally in Congress, to level the national playing field, as it were—should require that television images created in publicly funded sports facilities cannot be privatized. The devil would be in the details of any such action. But Congress regulates health care, airspace, and other far-more-complex aspects of contemporary life; it can crack the whip on the NFL.

If football images created in places funded by taxpayers became public domain, the league would respond by paying the true cost of future stadiums—while negotiating to repay construction subsidies already received. To do otherwise would mean the loss of billions in television-rights fees. Pro football would remain just as exciting and popular, but would no longer take advantage of average people.

This idea would have many loopholes (team owners are excellent at extracting public subsidies even for “privately financed” stadiums), but would be a step forward. It is good to see the principle of public funding means public domain applied in new domains (it is as yet a mostly unrealized, but accepted by many activists, goal for domains such as public sector information, cultural heritage, and academic publication).

While on the topic, another mostly good recent article is Death of a sports town: What does a city lose when its pro teams leave? Oakland just might find out. Two caveats. A questionable story about a kid who sees a football player turned police officer as a role model. Any reliance on such a coincidence for role models shows just how badly Oakland any many other cities are policed — residents should be demanding performance and compliance from police such that most officers are obvious role models for youth. The article also repeats the specious claim that “pro sports are the city’s plumb line, cutting across class and race and elevation.”

While on that claim, Doug Whitfield republished my article, (original) with commentary on top:

I’m going to try something new today. Over at his blog, Mike Linksvayer dedicates his posts to the public domain. That means I don’t have to give attribution to his work, but obviously I’m doing so. I think he’s wrong that art brings all classes and cultures together. How many “red necks” or “thugs” do you see at the opera? How many women wearing Prada do you see enjoying the finer arts of graffiti or break-dancing? I also think he’s wrong about groceries. There are plenty of people that can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods (or choose not to because of their anti-union policies).

But that’s not the point. The point is that we as sports-enthusiasts need to highlight amateur athletics and player-owned and supporter-owned clubs to combat these stereotypes about athletics. Not all athletics are bad.

It is worth thinking about how sports can destroy communities and relationships though, even if you don’t think it’s happening in your life or even if the positives outweigh the negatives. Either way, please enjoy what is probably a different view than your own.

Whitfield is wrong about art and groceries. Yes, various forms and genres have fans concentrated with various demographics. But there are also huge and increasing crossovers, especially when it comes to popular art. It’s acceptable and unsurpriing for anyone to be a fan of anything. With regard to groceries, I know plenty of wealthy people who shop at Wal-Mart (or locally, Grocery Outlet) and plenty of poor people who shop at Whole Foods (or Berkeley Bowl), and even more who shop at all. Note the trend in both culture and shopping is exactly the opposite of stadium attendance — increased mixing vs increased stratification.

Whitfield is right about the point. Athletics is good. How can arrangements which do not destroy communities and increase inequality compete with the extortion racket?

Whitfield also republished a shorter article on pro sports civic extortion (original) of mine, and on another of his blogs, on post on the federated social web (original). I appreciate the experiment, which the latter is tiny bit relevant to, mentioning that blog technology (and culture) failed to compete with “social” silos, or failed to form the basis of the “social web”, depending on whether your glass is 90% empty or 10% full. One of the things blogs generally failed to compete on is “sharing” links, sometimes with brief commentary. One can do that with a blog of course, and people do, but it isn’t central to blogging.

Public copyright license readability metrics

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Promised boring topic blog post in form of README snapshot.

The README with tables removed has a Flesch Readability Ease score of 48.5, slightly worse than the average license text. I did not try to write intelligibly, though I should. The topic may have subconsciously restrained parenthetical discursiveness.


Automated readability metrics for public copyright licenses. Give style a list of plain license texts, generate HTML table containing metrics.

In Debian, style is available in the diction package.

License texts are referenced from the SPDX licenses list. Other license curiosities are included in licenses-other.

sh license-readability-html-table.sh licenses-spdx/*.txt licenses-other/*.txt

Background

Part of one of the goals of the Creative Commons (CC) licenses version 4.0 effort is to make the licenses "readily understood". One way to test that is with automated readability metrics, on which CC licenses version 3.0 score poorly (previous versions scored much better). I checked an early version 4.0 draft, and scored much better, more or less back to version 2.5 scores, quite an accomplishment given it is a more sophisticated license in many ways. I did not check again until the near-final 4th draft was published. Its score is not as good as early drafts, probably to be expected as details were settled, but still a big improvement over 3.0. I intended to blog the early 4.0 draft improvement at that time but didn’t get around to it.

In the meantime I’d peeked at the readability metrics for various free/open source software licenses, in part to see if copyleft-next scored better than comparable licenses (probably, though comparability is problematic). With the CC 4.0 licenses nearly final, I started a blog post about readability of various licenses, and ended up with this README and associated files.

See Caveats and Output below for readability metrics for about 228 licenses. There probably will not be any big surprises awaiting anyone familiar with the usual relatively popular licenses. A small selection of licenses not in the SPDX licenses list (including CC 4.0 drafts and copyleft-next versions) are at the end.

Next

Drafters understandably try hardest to "get the legal details right". But if "licenses are the constitutions of software communities"12, even a little bit (I think a casual reading of that quote makes licenses far more central than they are, or implies impoverished communities, but will take its repetition as an indicator of licenses’ social importance), perhaps yet more effort ought be put into making licenses more understandable.

  • There is probably a large literature on readability and understandability of contracts, legislation, regulation, and other legal texts, which ought be digested for lessons for the public copyright licensing community. Apparently many jurisdictions have "plain language" requirements for contracts. Some U.S. states require insurance forms to have a minimum Flesch Reading Ease score. Is this an indicator that readability metrics are useless, or should free/libre/open/software/knowledge communities be embarrassed that they have failed to self-regulate to this level?
  • Cloze testing and subjective evaluation (both requiring humans) and natural language processing/machine learning based metrics are suggested by a readability tools site in addition to simple automated readability metrics. The site, by Michael Curtotti, is presumably discussed in his forthcoming paper The Right to Access Implies a Right to Know: An Open Online Research Platform for Assessing the Readability of Law. Could some of these tools be useful for evaluating licenses? Barriers would include lack of interest needed to pay for human testing, and a relatively small corpus of license texts. Hopefully the source code for this platform will be made available.
  • Attempts to increase readability and understandability outside of changing the words in a license text could be evaluated, including summaries, FAQs, choosers, and typography and other design elements around web publication of the license text itself.
  • There are many additional obscure licenses intended for "content", "data", "government", and "hardware designs" not included in the SPDX license list that could be analyzed.
  • Non-English license texts could be analyzed with language-appropriate metrics. In addition to the few CECILL licenses included in the SPDX licenses list, targets could include the many official language versions of EUPL versions, unofficial translations of GPL versions, License Art Libre, various public sector-focused licenses, and hundreds of CC license "jurisdiction ports".
  • To what extent is understanding of licenses social, gained via hearsay, not based on reading license texts at all? If social learning currently predominates, does this indicate that license readability and understandability are unimportant? Or that their lack constitutes an obscurantist barrier to participation by people not socially connected to existing communities, and increase other risks, such as non-compliance through ignorance, and being ignored by policymakers?
  • Would it be valuable to use readability metrics to test other texts important to free/libre/open communities, e.g., documentation, codes of conduct, contributor agreements?

Caveats

General, with respect to the metrics:

  • Metric explanations are available in the style man page. All are problematic.
  • Lower numbers indicate better readability for all metrics except Flesch.
  • None of the metrics incorporate text length, so correlations with character count ought indicate that longer texts tend to use more or less readable language. But 3 of the metrics positively correlate readability with longer texts, and 4 negatively, which might indicate no overall correlation (taking the numbers at face value, with no further validation).
  • Not sure why Coleman-Liau’s correlations with other metrics are much weaker than among others; at a glance the formula is measuring the same types of things.
  • Arbitrarily choosing to focus on Flesch, as it seems widely used, and its more is better makes for an easier combination with text length, "Chars/(Flesch>=1)", to indicate how painful reading an entire license might be.
  • Flesch can be negative, so a minimum value of 1 is used for the pain calculation. This is arbitrary too.

The following tables are calculated in scratch.ods.

Readability metric correlations: nothing really surprising, no gross errors?
Kincaid ARI Coleman-Liau Fog Lix SMOG Flesch Chars/(Flesch>=1)
Characters 0.12 -0.10 -0.27 0.13 -0.15 0.25 -0.25 0.96
Kincaid 0.89 0.04 0.99 0.81 0.90 -0.91 0.32
ARI 0.30 0.89 0.97 0.70 -0.67 0.10
Coleman-Liau 0.07 0.41 0.11 -0.09 -0.20
Fog 0.82 0.93 -0.90 0.33
Lix 0.63 -0.59 0.04
SMOG -0.95 0.43
Flesch -0.43
Aggregate metrics: compare your favorite license to the masses and outliers.
Characters Kincaid ARI Coleman-Liau Fog Lix SMOG Flesch Chars/(Flesch>=1)
average 8318.7 12.8 16.0 14.5 16.1 59.1 13.4 50.7 177
median 7321.5 12.6 15.4 14.4 15.9 57.9 13.2 50.4 160
stdev 6864.8 2.9 3.5 1.4 3.1 7.4 1.8 11.1 152
min 209 4.5 8.2 10.3 7.0 42.5 7.6 -25.8 2
max 36285 37.0 45.7 18.0 40.3 116.8 24.9 83.3 806

With respect to particular licenses:

  • The CECILL licenses, except 1.1, are in French. These readability metrics may not be tuned for French, though the results do not look weird.
  • The CC by-nc-sa-4.0-drafts are drafts. Every other license analyzed is "released".
  • GPL-[version]-with-[exception name]-exception are not complete licenses, should be appended to the relevant GPL-[version]. However, standalone (as provided by the SPDX licenses list) provides an idea of how readable each exception is.
  • LGPL-3.0[+] incorporates GPL-3.0 by reference, so it is not directly comparable to GPL-with-exceptions above, nor with other licenses.
  • Some licenses (most notably [A]GPL and FDL) have a preamble or addendum which explain the license’s purpose and how to use the license. This makes such a license longer, but arguably increases understandability in a way not captured by an automated readability metric.
  • The only license with a negative Flesch score is the Historic Permission Notice and Disclaimer (HPND), which is deprecated. It deserves the score, basically being a template with many optional and fill-in parts.
  • The longest and also most "painful" to read license, the Adaptive Public License (APL), is also basically a template with options and fill-in parts.
  • The shortest and also least "painful" to read license, the Fair License might require too much imagination about what "usage" means to actually be easily understandable.

Output

SHA1 License Characters Kincaid ARI Coleman-Liau Fog Lix SMOG Flesch Chars/(Flesch>=1)
f53aa44a98a67f79d79bb061a39ac0694c017d88 AAL 2347 14.7 20.8 16.1 17.9 69.6 13.7 49.4 47
b26853ef3e258172c7bc9e7a69e9582d651c0269 AFL-1.1 3827 11.1 15.9 15.3 15.1 59.6 12.8 59.7 64
54f83bc9e70424af32e5a133c47e76698086369c AFL-1.2 4059 13.7 15.8 15.2 18.3 58.8 15.4 41.1 98
735e1f8b4613292d7d80e51e5a586e34ac852a74 AFL-2.0 7105 12.8 14.4 14.7 17.0 56.5 14.6 44.1 161
fedb7d79211a6e58a65b46985f47fa834b00ee6f AFL-2.1 7103 12.8 14.4 14.8 17.0 56.4 14.6 44.0 161
5b400f7a1518b5e43a913085fa338e3df1e9e241 AFL-3.0 8314 13.8 15.6 14.4 17.8 58.2 15.0 42.2 197
ecf6b4a3803b9706a0c38d30b0d07b0c624001ed AGPL-1.0 12578 19.0 23.4 12.5 21.9 71.9 14.8 38.0 331
c34c24e89e6c26506a4aa9535425afe6af4ab700 AGPL-3.0 27208 14.4 16.8 13.4 17.5 59.1 14.2 44.8 607
2b6ca3805481833fddead9c45f92fe4c81d4017d Aladdin 9270 13.6 16.9 13.2 17.0 60.1 13.5 51.6 179
295765ae399d1a9ced2bc4e1fb096e83e529cbfa ANTLR-PD 792 10.3 11.4 12.3 13.8 43.6 12.3 58.4 13
acc3577130a1e528970142d1e5180f554b7fdad9 Apache-1.0 2021 10.7 15.8 16.2 13.9 55.5 12.0 60.0 33
81d8a4169126e0af11b4d51449b6c420880c6d40 Apache-1.1 2017 11.0 16.5 17.9 14.0 60.0 12.3 55.7 36
8ffe2c5c25b85e52f42fcde68c2cf6a88b7abd69 Apache-2.0 8310 16.8 19.8 15.1 20.7 64.6 16.6 33.6 247
4f97e77af1aac9f8ef6500cd2a08915741c37f2c APL-1.0 36285 14.2 17.7 14.8 18.1 62.4 14.9 45.0 806
158031d76c5611507e81870b0a649461eb74be7f APSL-1.0 15302 12.5 15.2 13.7 15.7 55.9 13.1 51.9 294
e444feb210ce2096e565fb0613f98d04f2d97f91 APSL-1.1 15735 13.1 16.0 13.8 16.2 57.1 13.4 50.2 313
a19d874fcde9c037e40cd41916697ac5aac2e220 APSL-1.2 15603 13.1 16.1 13.9 16.2 57.6 13.4 50.0 312
b64068ced2da810cdadd07ac9053c192271e0a56 APSL-2.0 15945 12.4 15.4 14.0 15.4 56.0 12.8 52.2 305
c11ec559ebca765ba8f8d16634e288cdc75dff81 Artistic-1.0-cl8 3689 11.7 13.8 13.9 14.0 55.0 12.1 51.8 71
bcd8b4d1a1af706aaa1337811786a9dc6673c822 Artistic-1.0-Perl 4308 12.6 14.8 13.6 15.0 57.1 12.6 49.9 86
17c9069548d063de8fefb58b995be99c1d08bd45 Artistic-1.0 3421 11.6 13.7 14.0 13.8 54.8 12.0 52.2 65
8e42910d467b06d6af9a008678122dc61a245fcc Artistic-2.0 6949 13.1 16.1 14.5 15.4 60.7 12.8 48.3 143
d82c8eb2abc453fbd4a56aca46b22fe9fdad780d BitTorrent-1.0 19085 20.9 25.7 14.2 24.3 79.0 17.2 27.7 688
d183df8131a7114052fc3c3de647dca5fbdcb79a BitTorrent-1.1 22188 12.3 14.4 14.3 15.5 56.9 13.3 48.9 453
f45386af24b0d36976c96eac8baf5d205bed1570 BSD-2-Clause-FreeBSD 1240 11.5 18.5 16.5 15.2 66.3 12.1 62.9 19
a61e0646333b20301525695918aae3656344f611 BSD-2-Clause-NetBSD 1137 10.2 17.3 16.4 14.1 61.6 11.4 68.2 16
0fa6c43e2345f4768176f63ad24e469b832a40ac BSD-2-Clause 1046 12.3 20.3 16.5 16.1 68.0 11.9 63.8 16
cab0ab541f4f5f1ecf493b9259617df33dcbfa3d BSD-3-Clause-Clear 1372 11.5 18.1 15.9 14.9 64.8 11.8 63.3 21
54f1eeb17a7341ea0a0261a59bc5170b23137eb9 BSD-3-Clause 1200 12.5 20.0 16.3 16.0 68.2 12.0 61.5 19
f579ecea35ef059d706b32108097a960990b777d BSD-4-Clause 1325 11.9 18.0 17.0 15.5 65.1 12.8 57.0 23
837b0df8f4d995591d45c939cf567d6db8ba03d8 BSD-4-Clause-UC 1448 11.9 17.9 17.3 15.9 65.3 13.4 55.7 25
388fa291da4bd074a17d7b33334696eb71bf5ff8 BSL-1.0 1084 21.8 29.1 14.5 25.3 87.3 15.8 33.0 32
0302aaced8d1dbe1916fa0281c6a717069fda16f CATOSL-1.1 15220 15.6 18.9 15.3 19.3 65.0 15.7 38.1 399
74286ae0dfea38c489437bf659b209737945145c CC0-1.0 5116 16.2 19.5 15.0 19.5 66.3 15.6 36.8 139
c766cc6d5e63277e46a3d83c6254e3528082587b CC-BY-1.0 8867 12.6 15.5 14.1 16.4 57.8 13.8 51.3 172
bf23729bec8ffd0de4d319fb33395c595c5c762b CC-BY-2.0 9781 12.1 14.9 14.3 16.1 56.7 13.7 51.9 188
024bb6d37d0a17624cf532bd14fbd42e15c5a963 CC-BY-2.5 9867 11.9 14.7 14.2 15.8 56.3 13.6 52.6 187
20dc61b94cfe1f4ba5814b340095b4c3fa23e801 CC-BY-3.0 14956 16.1 19.4 14.1 20.4 66.1 16.2 40.0 373
e0c4b13ec5f9b5702d2e8b88d98b803e07d65cf8 CC-BY-NC-1.0 9313 13.2 16.2 14.3 17.0 59.3 14.1 49.3 188
970421995789d2e8189bb12071ab838a3fcf2a1a CC-BY-NC-2.0 10635 13.1 16.1 14.6 17.2 59.5 14.4 48.1 221
08773bb9bc13959c6f00fd49fcc081d69bda2744 CC-BY-NC-2.5 10721 12.9 15.8 14.5 16.9 59.0 14.2 48.9 219
9639556280637272ace081949f2a95f9153c0461 CC-BY-NC-3.0 15732 16.5 19.9 14.1 20.8 67.2 16.4 38.7 406
9ab2a3818e6ccefbc6ffdd48df7ecaec25e32e41 CC-BY-NC-ND-1.0 8729 12.7 15.8 14.4 16.4 58.6 13.8 51.0 171
966c97357e3b529e9c8bb8166fbb871c5bc31211 CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0 10074 13.0 16.1 14.7 17.0 59.7 14.3 48.8 206
c659a0e3a5ee8eba94aec903abdef85af353f11f CC-BY-NC-ND-2.5 10176 12.8 15.9 14.6 16.8 59.2 14.2 49.3 206
ad4d3e6d1fb6f89bbd28a44e263a89430b575dfa CC-BY-NC-ND-3.0 14356 16.3 19.7 14.1 20.5 66.8 16.2 39.7 361
39b2ef67be9e5b4e743e5269a31ad1691515eede CC-BY-NC-SA-1.0 10228 13.3 16.3 14.2 17.0 59.7 14.2 48.4 211
5800ac2d32e35ace035cdcae693423cd9ff5bb6f CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0 11927 13.3 16.2 14.7 17.1 60.0 14.4 47.0 253
e5f44c2df6b1391d1ddb6efb2db6f90670e4ae67 CC-BY-NC-SA-2.5 12013 13.1 16.0 14.6 16.9 59.6 14.2 47.7 251
a63b7e81e7b9e30df5d253aed1d2991af47992df CC-BY-NC-SA-3.0 17134 16.4 19.7 14.2 20.6 67.0 16.3 38.8 441
e4851120f7e75e55b82a2c007ed98ffc962f5fa9 CC-BY-ND-1.0 8280 12.3 15.5 14.3 16.1 57.9 13.6 52.4 158
f1aa9011714f0f91005b4c9eb839bdb2b4760bad CC-BY-ND-2.0 9228 11.9 14.9 14.5 15.8 56.9 13.5 52.7 175
5f665a8d7ac1b8fbf6b9af6fa5d53cecb05a1bd3 CC-BY-ND-2.5 9330 11.8 14.7 14.4 15.6 56.5 13.4 53.2 175
3fb39a1e46419e83c99e4c9b6731268cbd1591cd CC-BY-ND-3.0 13591 15.8 19.2 14.1 20.0 65.6 15.9 41.2 329
dda55573a1a3a80d294b1bb9e1eeb3a6c722968c CC-BY-SA-1.0 9779 13.1 16.1 14.2 16.8 59.1 14.0 49.5 197
9cceb80d865e52462983a441904ef037cf3a4576 CC-BY-SA-2.0 11044 12.5 15.3 14.4 16.2 57.9 13.8 50.2 220
662ca9fce7fed61439fcbc27ca0d6db0885718d9 CC-BY-SA-2.5 11130 12.3 15.0 14.4 16.0 57.5 13.6 50.9 218
4a5bb64814336fb26a9e5d36f22896ce4d66f5e0 CC-BY-SA-3.0 17013 16.4 19.8 14.1 20.5 67.2 16.2 38.9 437
238de92eb09c2e33e4e5fb438fe578fe5179276b CDDL-1.0 12605 11.6 13.9 14.9 14.7 55.1 12.9 50.4 250
8c7adc36e1b6f20e0cfa5fc40cefe6a427fb2cb6 CDDL-1.1 13407 12.0 14.4 15.0 15.1 56.0 13.2 49.5 270
46ebe8c487ec3e321842ed1325d98d757f965e14 CECILL-1.0 14796 11.9 12.3 11.1 15.5 51.1 13.3 53.4 277
052845a59dca83a104558addc1fdfb2cff82d328 CECILL-1.1 15874 12.0 14.1 14.3 15.4 54.3 13.4 49.9 318
c8ddd94454934cb1869ef96bddc93ff44039c591 CECILL-2.0 15163 13.2 14.0 11.1 17.0 55.0 14.1 49.9 303
04e73e027c1f47dbf743cb013480bbc974e3a8c3 CECILL-B 15337 13.4 14.2 11.3 17.1 55.5 14.2 49.2 311
1308e5090e66dcba2e594950dc4a8021551fa540 CECILL-C 15646 13.9 14.7 11.0 17.7 56.2 14.5 48.0 325
10ae2b5540f376c8cac9ccedc38ddc3435207efa ClArtistic 4511 12.5 14.8 14.0 14.8 57.3 12.6 49.6 90
cebccd48cf2bad04b29e863c564d8fd1c1f5ee15 CNRI-Python-GPL-Compatible 3172 13.0 17.8 15.6 16.2 62.1 13.1 52.7 60
18756dcb45d9598b5281368a7d35cd5e9a88306b CNRI-Python 2699 12.0 16.4 14.0 15.1 59.0 12.1 59.0 45
4bb47f04bcd1c7afb44ceb13c3bd2f62b9e0af6e Condor-1.1 4855 12.3 16.1 16.0 14.8 59.8 12.6 50.5 96
a4ece6afe1e4e92ba5985bba6f1ce76d2ee24dbb CPAL-1.0 22039 12.7 14.7 14.4 16.2 56.2 13.9 47.0 468
433089094810035bd296b27931ff68464676ed5b CPL-1.0 9273 14.8 18.1 16.6 18.3 63.6 15.3 37.7 245
251beebfa122c0c58abf32bb8224e1b9ebb6db59 CPOL-1.02 9216 10.7 13.1 13.1 14.0 49.9 12.1 59.5 154
a529e9bff1eb4f976a9bf1eb3ef8054e52967a91 CUA-OPL-1.0 18086 12.1 14.3 14.3 15.3 55.0 13.3 49.6 364
0a5785a9fe34a8f779ee79f8333ee766d5c0676e D-FSL-1.0 12123 11.4 14.0 17.2 13.9 49.2 12.5 45.1 268
04ed6736b16995b2bbd3fd7b4fb1cb6efa44b6a6 ECL-1.0 1949 15.2 18.9 15.6 19.4 67.7 15.8 40.2 48
2a3706dec618b5198ba177691bbf30d97becc7a8 ECL-2.0 8955 17.0 20.0 15.2 20.9 65.4 16.8 32.5 275
8d7c74721fac21d583f9bffafb5747ad6994f695 eCos-2.0 1148 11.0 12.7 11.2 14.0 49.4 11.7 60.7 18
7b8021b0d18d9fd4f5ac7bac3a5584c9fb4d5966 EFL-1.0 521 6.6 13.1 14.9 9.6 58.0 7.9 83.3 6
530270003ac19b54a548e13b08108c1abf166a09 EFL-2.0 630 6.3 11.5 14.4 8.7 56.6 7.6 81.0 7
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c5808e5f27b516498eda66cd03e8f073e224e1e6 copyleft-next-0.3.0 7653 13.6 15.9 14.6 16.9 58.3 14.3 43.7 175
adb5c8b02580ff23f959a9a4a36f9d53a24cef38 FAL-1.3 6641 9.8 11.4 12.6 12.8 47.1 11.4 61.0 108
98064c6b9d40c4e43206c5343daae933155bd63a OGL-UK-1.0 4577 15.2 17.9 15.4 19.8 62.5 16.3 37.2 123
c7539d2f3a5edb8fd71e4714db0aa36e87ece9e8 OGL-UK-2.0 4555 14.4 17.0 15.4 18.7 60.7 15.7 39.6 115
02fa56fef253718abfd8756f43b322f250a515f5 TAPR-OHL-1.0 10481 13.3 15.9 14.2 15.9 55.9 13.2 47.4 221

License

Original files in this project are disjunctively licensed under all licenses in the SPDX licenses list 1.19 (215) and those included in licenses-other (13). Take your pick of any or all.

License texts purport to be under various terms; see each individual license text.

Abolish Foreignness

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Searching for background info for a forthcoming post on a boring topic that should be forgotten, I found the research of Michael Curtotti, and was tickled to find he also has papers on human rights and freedom of movement, and runs a website called abolishforeignness.org.

I’ve only read the oldest (2002) paper so far, Barriers to International Freedom of Movement: A Lacuna in International Human Rights Law?, and recommend it. The gap is real, and huge. A large proportion of humanity is excluded from escaping poverty and oppression. Curtotti quotes a book on my to-read list, Closed Borders: The Contemporary Assault on Freedom of Movement:

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries represent the closest approximation to an open world in modern times. … With immigration restrictions at a minimum, real freedom of international movement was a fact. The right of personal self-determination was reasonably secure for residents of Europe and the Americas, if not for other peoples ruled by them. Passports, which had fallen into disuse in much of the West, were required only in the Ottoman Empire, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria and Bosnia/Herzegovina.

Why were borders then closed? In part Curtotti writes:

The growing influence on public policy of racist ideologies seeking to promote racially segregated national communities – including by excluding all regarded as incompatible with the prevailing racially defined national character.

All the more ironic:

We may note also further explicit and implicit reservation of state freedom in regard of freedom of movement and citizenship. The International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination provides that the Convention does not prohibit discrimination between citizens and non-citizens. Further matters of citizenship, nationalisation or naturalisation remain at the free discretion of the state (subject to the requirement of non-discrimination between non-citizens) (art 1.2, 1.3). This is of course an extraordinary provision in such a Convention. It suggests that a state has virtually no obligations of “non-discrimination” to persons outside the legal and geographical boundaries of the state – notwithstanding the correlation between race and nationality, the fact that historically many states have racially discriminated to influence their ethnic composition and that the very idea of the nation-state is strongly linked to the idea of race and ethnicity. The explicit inclusion of such exemptions of course merely serves to underline that the drafters were well aware of the correlation between race and citizenship. Discrimination against foreigners is given international legal sanction by this Convention.

Curtotti concludes noting the tension between state prerogative and the universality of human rights, and that discussion, then recognition of freedom of movement as a fundamental human right, rather than an glaring exception, can be the beginning of a very long process of rights implementation.

I hope to soon read and review the rest of Curtotti’s papers, and everything on abolishforeignness.org. As noted a few months ago, I also want to read and review all of openborders.info. It appears these two group sites come from different perspectives: Open Borders, libertarian/negative rights/economics; Abolish Foreignness, progressive/positive rights/humanitarian. That’s good: all sorts of arguments are needed to abolish the monster of international apartheid.

Speaking of which, I am mildly tickled to see that the authors of the Manifesto for the Abolition of International Apartheid use the CC0 public domain dedication.

Flow ∨ incentive 2013 anthology winner

Thursday, August 29th, 2013
Anthology Future of Copyright 2.0 cover

The Futureof Copyright 2.0 contest has a winner, published with 8 other top entries. Read the anthology PDF/EPUB/MOBI ebook, listen to an audiobook version created by me reading each entry (for the purposes of judging) on sight aloud, or individual entries linked below in my review.

A Penny for Your Thoughts by Talllama is the winner, unanimously selected by the jury. It’s a fun transposition of exactly today’s copyright and debates (including wild mischaracterization) into a future with mind uploading. Quotes:

“My mom and dad would get upset at me.” He sent her a copy of his anxiety.
“Well my dad says copyright is stupid,” Helen said, sending back an emotion that was pitying yet vaguely contemptuous. “He says anyone who won’t pirate is a dummy.”
Timothy scowled at her. “My dad says that piracy is stealing.”
“My dad and I have trillions of books and thoughts, so we know better than you,” Helen said.

“You see, Timothy,” his father continued, “If people didn’t have an incentive to think or dream, they wouldn’t. And then no one would have any new thoughts. Everyone would stop thinking because there wouldn’t be any money in it.”
“But you said people had thoughts in 1920 even though there was no copyright.”
“Yes, you’re right. What I mean is that there were no professional thinkers in those days.”
“It would be bad if people stopped thinking,” Timothy said.

Lucy’s Irrevocable, Colossal, Terrible Mistake by Chris Sakkas tells a story in which releasing stuff under a free license has amazing results. Unfortunately free licenses aren’t magic, and it isn’t clear to me what the story says about the future of copyright. Quote:

An alternative bookshop in Sussex, on the other side of the world to Lucy, created a video ad with her favourite song as its backing track. The ad ended with a thanks to Lucy for releasing her music under a free, libre and open licence and a hyperlink. Hundreds more people visited her site, the passive consumers of big business! They used the donate button on her site to spray her with filthy lucre.

Perfect Memory by Jacinto Dávila describes a world of 2089 mediated by perfect memory of all non-intimate events and voting for assignment of credit; copyright plays what role in such future? Quote:

[Socio-mathematics] was also the source of an unprecedented and fundamental agreement. All the stakeholders of the world came, after many unfortunate and even bloody events, to negotiate a new framework for producing and sharing common knowledge. And the basis they found was that to preserve freedom, but also the health of the whole planet and its species, that knowledge had to be shared, easily and readily, among all the stakeholders.

That led to a rebuttal of so-called intellectual property and copyright laws and their replacement with a body of global law acknowledging our common heritage, codependent future and the fundamental right of knowledge everyone has.

Copyrights in Chopin’s future by Krzysztof Blachnicki (English translation by Wojciech Pędzich) has Chopin resurrected in 2015 through unspecified but expensive means, then exploited by and escaping from the current recording industry. A fun idea, but ultimately a stereotypical anti-recording-industry rant. Quote:

I hope that more people will have their own opinions instead of listening to the hissing of those snakes, sucking money out of artists to pay off their new automobiles. Wake up, folks, a good musician will earn his daily bread even if he decides to let his music go for free, for all to share. A poor man will be able to listen to real music, while a wealthy man will make the artist’s effort worthwhile. Isn’t it all about just that? Each may benefit, except the music companies which become redundant, so they turn to lies in order to keep themselves afloat.

What is an author? by refined quotes is a story in which all legal ideas are closely regulated and bland, “old art” outlawed so people consume new, legal stuff, the good stuff and real artists are underground, and with an additional twist that ideas take animal form. Quote:

You see? An artist is a little like an art producer. But he deals with the genuine ideas, as you see. He doesn’t buy them, like the law says he should. He just comes to places like this and spends his time with them. It’s a slow process. No one knows why precisely, but this crazy little ideas are in love with him, well, with all the artists.

The Ambiguous Future of Copyright by HOT TOCO is a snarky take on where copyright and computing are headed, presumably meaning to project ambiguous reception of Ubuntu/Canonical ten years into the future. Quote:

Friend2: “If I can extract info from this rant, I think Commonible, Ltd, is saying they’ve perfected trusted computing, fully protecting you from hacking and making ALL media available, fully compensating all value chains.”

Friend3 (quiet one): “I read about sth like this, Project Xanaxu. Real old stuff. The inventor thought the Web failed to transclude micropayments.”

500 Years of Copyright Law by Holovision embeds current copyright factoids in description of future eras. I can’t tell what its “Copynorm Exchange Decentralization Entente (CEDE)” regime consists of, but maybe that is also a current copyright factoid: someone reading a pamphlet describing copyright and mentioning a few acronyms (eg TRIPs) would not have much sense of the regime. Quote:

Attempts to put digital rights management into 3D printers were sooner or later unsuccessful against hardware hackers. There were open sourced 3D printers but many perceived them to be inferior to the commercially patented ones. When the commercial 3D printers were used to make other printers most companies left the marketplace. This left many still infringing the 3D printers with the excuse that the printers became “abandonware”.

Copyright Protest Song by Tom Konecki doesn’t seem to say anything about the future, but does capture various bits of complaint about the current regime. Quote:

Everybody wants only money and success
And none remembers the idea of open-access
To acquire knowledge and gather information
That is now the object of companies’ manipulation.

Copyright – Real Vision or fantastic vision? by Arkadiusz Janusz (English translation by Kuba Kwiatkowski) contains a proposal of the type “metadata and tracking will get everyone paid” explained in a parent-child lecture. Quote:

The file doesn’t contain a price, only points. In other words, the price is quoted in points. A point has a different monetary value for every country. Here, the minimum wage is about 1000 dollars. We divide the minimum wage by one thousand and receive the amount value of 1 point. If you download a movie, the server checks in which country you are, and converts the points into the appropriate price.

That’s why in our times, pirates are at on the verge of extinction. Most frequently, they’re maniacs or followers of some strange ideologies.

You can also read my review of last year’s future of copyright contest anthology, which links to each selection. This year’s selections are notably less dystopian and take less of a position on what the future of copyright ought be.

I enjoyed judging this year’s contest, and hope it and any future iterations achieve much greater visibility. Current copyright debates seem to me to have an incredibly short-term focus, which can’t be for the good when changes which have supposedly produced the current debate are only speeding up. Additionally, and my one complaint about the contest other than lack of fame, is that “copyright” is a deeply suboptimal frame for thinking about its, and our, future. I will try to address this point directly soon, but some of it can be read from my contest entry of last year (other forms of info regulation with different policy goals being much more pertinent than quibbling over the appropriateness of the word “copyright”).

You may see an embedded player for the audiobook version read by me below. Some of the durations shown may be incorrect; the winner, A Penny for Your Thoughts, is actually slightly less than 15 minutes long. Sadly the player obscures the browser context menu and doesn’t provide a way to increase playback rate, so first, a default HTML5 player loaded with only the winner:

“Admit it! You’re freaked out by my robot hand!”

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

The Open Hand Project looks like a good idea, and realistic — I couldn’t discern the latter at a glance, but it seems several projects to greatly decrease the cost and enhance the functionality of prosthetic hands through use of 3D printing exist (e.g., another advanced project and a mechanical-only one).

Via and because Chris Webber’s film reference needs highlighting.

How many widely shared cultural references spring from recent free cultural works, apart from [citation needed]? Zero? If anyone was to pursue a kill hollyweb project as I sketched out, manufacturing many — and reviving more found in old public domain works — would be part of the plan.

I’ve mentioned in writing peer production of (free) cultural relevance a few times over the past couple years, and probably will more soon. I think it may be a major missing tool holding back freedom. Clearly most knowledge goods can be created without exclusivity (and if we can’t build or perform the knowledge equivalents of pyramids or mass games without, consider what we gain instead), but creation is not primarily what proprietary vendors offer — rather promotion and distribution is. Isn’t it time to compete directly?

Futures of Copyrestriction 2.0

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Last year I was impressed with Modern Poland Foundation’s crowdfunded (the prize set by donations) Future of Copyright contest — my entry and review of the winners/contest anthology. I’m honored to be on the jury for this year’s contest. Please donate (deadline July 7) to support the prize, enter your text or audiovisual work (less than 15,000 characters or 10 minutes; deadline July>August 1), and spread the word.

I really encourage reading last year’s anthology (each entry linked from my review, or all as a pdf) and note how broadly and provocatively “future of copyright” might be construed. Also, all entries are BY-SA licensed; some may be useful as remix material.

Previously I noted Modern Poland Foundation’s excellent Right to Culture campaign; also tangentially I recommend Usta (archive.org), the music of MPF president/contest juror/poet Jarosław Lipszyc, and Circulations of Culture, a report on informal sharing by another Polish NGO.

Addendum 20130706: The deadline for entering a work in the contest has been moved to August 1. The deadline for donating to support the prize is still the end of July 7, pacific time: 35 hours from the time I write this. Rules and donation info both on the same page, http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/future-of-copyright-contest-2-0

The nominal goal of US$500 has been met, but more support is welcome. If you’re into patron rewards, the $50 level is probably worthwhile — good for a printed book of the top entries. Last year I donated at a similar level and was surprised to receive a thin large format volume in hard binding, scanned above. (But I have no idea what the organizers have planned this year.)

I’m looking forward to selecting the best of this year’s entries with my fellow jurors Beatriz Busaniche, Shun-Ling Chen, Jarosław Lipszyc, Joe McNamee, and Jérémie Zimmermann. Maybe yours?

List of Wikimania 2013 Submissions of Interest

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Unlikely I’ll attend Wikimania 2013 in Hong Kong (I did last year in DC). In lieu of marking myself as an interested attendee of proposed sessions, my list of 32 particularly interesting-to-me proposals follows. I chose by opening the proposal page for each of the 331 submissions that looked interesting at first glance (about 50) and weeded out some of those.

I suspect many of these proposals might be interesting reading for anyone generally curious about possible futures of Wikipedia and related, similar, and complementary projects, but not following any of these things closely.

A “kill hollyweb” plan

Friday, May 3rd, 2013
May 3 is the Day Against DRM (Digital Restrictions Management). Please sign the petition against DRM in the HTML5 standard. Then come back and read this post.

Recently I wrote in Why DRM in HTML5 and what to do about it:

Long term, the only way the DRM threat is going to be put to rest is for free cultural works to become culturally relevant.

I’ve complained many a time that rearguard clicktivism against bad policy is not a winning strategy — especially when such campaigns don’t also promote free-as-in-freedom software and cultural works — because as I put it one of those times:

In a world in which most software and culture are free as in freedom there would be no constituency for attacking the Internet (apart from dictatorships and militarized law enforcement of supposed democracies)

But I’m at fault too for not laying out a specific plan for making some free works culturally relevant, let alone carrying out such a plan.

OK, here’s one plan I recently mentioned offhandedly:

‘free-as-in-freedom ~netflix’
  • crowdfund minimum number of subscriptions needed to begin
  • subscriptions used to really nicely package/stream and promote free as in freedom video
  • start with 1 feature-length video selection each month (perhaps even quarter during a beta phase)
  • mix of contemporary (of which there isn’t much yet) and older public domain movies
  • limited, promoted releases concentrate subscription audience: focused increase of cultural relevance, one work at a time
  • given enough subscriptions, start funding new free videos
  • obviously videos would be DRM-free, in free formats, all software used free software, and all ancillary material also free-as-in-freedom

Good idea? Run with it, or if you’d like to subscribe or otherwise help create it in any way, fill out this 3 question survey. Bad idea, but still care? Let me know via the survey. Or mail ml@gondwanaland.com or contact user mlinksva on some other usual channel.



“Kill Hollyweb” is in part a reference to the Y Combinator Request For Startups 9: Kill Hollywood. The plan above isn’t really a Kill Hollywood plan as it isn’t about replacing movies with some other form of entertainment.

Best Creative Commons infographic ever

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Best Creative Commons inforaphic ever

By Falkvinge on Infopolicy columnist Zacqary Adam Green (also creator of the excellent Your Face Is A Saxophone cartoon).

Already used in my presentation today at the Linux Collaboration Summit, (pdf, odp, slideshare).

April 1 birthday gifts

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Wish me “happy birthday” on Facebook, “endorse” me for “scalability” on LinkedIn.

More seriously, why not give a gift to all? Extrapolate a bit from notices found on individual works (examples abound, often stipulating a public license, but a see classic one, stipulating public domain):

Unless stated otherwise, everything by me, Mike Linksvayer, published anywhere, is hereby placed in the public domain.

Evocation and scalability before equivocation and specification of edge cases and mechanisms to handle them.

Other random acts of kindness, calculated acts generating positive externality, and atavistic art, all welcome.