2004 Mayday Mayday Mayday

Only one post 8 years ago to the month to refute: noting the announcement of the availability of Creative Commons 2.0 Licenses. In addition to and perhaps in part due to its hastiness, every change introduced in 2.0 was questionable, but I will only bother addressing one here.

ShareAlike 1.0 (SA) was not versioned as a result of all non-Attribution licenses being dropped. Relatively few people chose non-Attribution licenses, and this significantly simplified the license suite, reducing the number of classes of “CC licenses” from 11 to 6, and the number of incompatible pools going forward, from 8 to 4 (NC-ND, NC-SA, ND, and SA were each incompatible with any other license), and works under all remaining free licenses published by CC (BY and BY-SA) constituted a single compatible pool (though incompatible with free licenses that existed prior to CC, but that is another line of criticism for another time; the worst that can be said about 2.0 is that it did nothing to address this problem introduced with 1.0).

The loss of SA has been mourned throughout the past 8 years, not by many people, but by unusually well informed and intentioned people. I’ve defended its loss many times, giving the above reasons, especially the last, and stating that one can waive the attribution condition if one wants to. But:

  • The rationale I’ve emphasized is weak. SA 2.0 simply could’ve permitted adaptations licensed under itself or BY-SA.
  • It isn’t clear how one is supposed to communicate effectively that one has waived the attribution condition.
  • SA was special. To my knowledge, the nearest any copyleft license has come to purely neutralizing copyright, almost sans regulatory conditions.

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