Monday, December 16, 2002

Build Your Own License.

The Creative Commons launched today. For those who don't know, the Commons provides a legal framework for releasing works with (as they call it) "some rights reserved". Really, it's a way to build your own GPL-like license out of component permissions. And since they're lawyers and you're not, there's a decent chance the license will hold up in court (as opposed to one you rolled yourself).

As an added bonus, they provide a standard snippet of RSS metadata for each license, so that search engines may eventually restrict searches to content with particular permissions.

I'd known about the modular license thing for a while, but today their site mentions a second project: Founders' Copyright. Recognizing that copyright terms are ridiculously long, this project allows authors to commit to a much shorter term of 14 years, after which (by contract with Creative Commons) the work reverts to the public domain. This allows authors to select the term chosen by the Founders, rather than the one purchased over the years by rich people trying to get richer.

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