doctormo's avatar
Which CC License should I
By doctormo   |   Watch
25 17 4K (1 Today)
Published: February 9, 2011
I had this idea for creating a short and opinionated guide to how to choose your creative commons license. As I show in the notes, I've deliberately missed the CC-BY-NC, CC-BY-ND and CC-BY-NC-SA. The first two because their pointless unless you have specific uses and the third because it's toxic to collaboration.

IANAL, please consult your legal professional for further information on what licenses would be good for your work.
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Comments17
anonymous's avatar
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Jakeukalane's avatar
JakeukalaneHobbyist Digital Artist
How is CC-BY-NC-SA  toxic to collaboration?  It is (almost) the only licence I use and I didn't have problems.  I even though it was the standard.

I see more "toxic to collaboration" the ND.
doctormo's avatar
doctormoProfessional Digital Artist
The problem isn't so much what happens when you are doing the collaboration, it's what happens afterwards. Because NC terms are not allowed in open source materials, your work can't be used for example in wikipedia or in any open source software packages without first getting /everyone/ who every touched it to relicense their part of the copyright in an open source friendly way. If that's just you, then no problem. But often with collaboration this creates a very sticky mess which is very hard to unpick creating many many weeks of work.

This isn't to say NC terms are bad in all cases, their costs are just misunderstood in terms of what the works can't do later. And often times the intent of the owner is quite a bit different to the way the license effects the work in general.

Of course I mean to say that for artwork Nc is fine. Excluding utility works which would be some sort of purgatory with NC ;-)
Jakeukalane's avatar
JakeukalaneHobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, I understand. But the works I do (where I use images that are not CC, but with permission), force all my project to be NC.

Thank you for the insight reply.

Greetings! :)
doctormo's avatar
doctormoProfessional Digital Artist
Ah! so you have a custom license from your image suppliers which includes an NC clause. You should make sure that it's appropriate to license as CC directly as there are only a few ways you are allowed to re-license dirivitive works: You own it, it's public domain, it's CC already or your custom license says so.

I have to talk with many of the artists I commission about this because a lot don't understand why I ask for an open license and don't know why I need them to say so (because I can't and one can't just use "well he knew what we all meant") :-)
0rAX0's avatar
0rAX0Professional Interface Designer
Thanks man, things like these get me confused easily, so it's nice to have it explained to you like that :)
Could you please add more? :P
doctormo's avatar
doctormoProfessional Digital Artist
What more would you like?
0rAX0's avatar
0rAX0Professional Interface Designer
I honestly have no idea! :P
IsharaComix's avatar
Nice flowchart. I never get tired of seeing these things. :D

Though, I don't understand why you have an issue with the BY-NC-SA license. I've always considered it to be one of the best middle grounds for collaborative artworks, at least when getting folks to transition from full copyrights towards CC. Suboptimal, yes... but "toxic"?

That being said, I agree that BY-NC and BY-ND are better left out, since they do seem to be quite useless in most cases and sometimes a bit confusing.
doctormo's avatar
doctormoProfessional Digital Artist
Well... for collaborative works, it's really hard to argue that the work is so important that every single collaborator must be barred from making money from the work. Which is what it amounts to.

It locks the work away in legal loops, the reason why NC has never been allowed in Open Source is because it causes legal issues when you have more than one creator.
tudza's avatar
I think the "to" should be a "the" in the box "Does to artwork..."
doctormo's avatar
doctormoProfessional Digital Artist
I agree, but inkscape is being a beyatch and won't open the original svg. anthropologies to all for typo. ;-)
Pahul's avatar
PahulStudent Digital Artist
Nice job man, it's crystal clear! :thumbsup:
DSDFox's avatar
DSDFoxProfessional General Artist
I use CC-BY-NC as a business at :iconvulpinedesignsultd: because I don't want other businesses using my ideas for their profit, but others are permitted to make derivatives provided they attribute the original to me.
Take a look at how my business operates and tell me if you can see a better license match.
doctormo's avatar
doctormoProfessional Digital Artist
Yes, the main difficulty with creating a derivative of your work is that none of them can be used for profit either. So everyone must be a volunteer making their work for the fun of it.

Although your works seem so specialised and specific that they hardly need NC protection. An Share-alike license would stop most commercial exploitation and using a strong attribution requirements is pretty good too. You could release a handful of works and see what happens, I bet nothing will happen.

It depends I guess how you want people to use your work. If you just want them to mess about with the work, play and experiment and parody. Then use all rights reserved, because copyright doesn't apply to those kinds of uses very well anyway.
DSDFox's avatar
DSDFoxProfessional General Artist
I don't like copyright in its old form, though. I'd rather use Creative Commons throughout all my work. That way I can (and do) release the occasional item under more open CC, for example my Website Under Construction page and other non-sale-worthy ideas, as well as some select designs where no-one else's trademarks are involved.
doctormo's avatar
doctormoProfessional Digital Artist
Those non-sale-worthy ideas are probably utility works anyway.

At the end of the day, you seem to know creative commons well enough to make the call.
anonymous's avatar
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