Unsigned Podcast Network
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
  Why John C. Dvorak is Dumb.
Actually, I don't think he's dumb. In fact, in my opinion, he is a very intelligent person. So why the title? It will grab readers. Why not? That seems to be the only motivation for his latest rant, um, article regarding the Creative Commons license. http://tinyurl.com/aehro In his article he opens up with:

"Will someone explain to me the benefits of a trendy system developed by Professor Lawrence Lessig of Stanford?".

Maybe if he asked someone nicely, they would answer him. But instead of doing this, he states:

"This is one of the dumbest initiatives ever put forth by the tech community. I mean seriously dumb. Eye-rolling dumb on the same scale as believing the Emperor is wearing fabulous new clothes.".

PCMag journalism at it's finest. Stay tuned for his next article, "Why Lawrence Lessig is a poopyhead".

For those of you who don't know what Creative Commons is, let me summarize it. At Creativecommons.org, I can hit the really big square that says publish. Click on whether I want to allow commercial use, allow modifications of it, what country, if not the world, do I want this in, and what kind of work it is. I hit the button that says select a license. It then says:

" You have selected the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License".

What does this mean? You can click on " See how the license will look to your site's visitors". It will take you here:


That is your new license all gift wrapped in easy to understand language that does not require a lawyer to decipher, decode, and charge you for. It is basically telling people that they have a right to copy and use your work for non commercial use. They can alter it as long as it is used with th,e same license. They must also give credit to the original author.

Now, I encourage people to try this out for themselves. There are many different licenses available. They are pretty basic, yes, but are meant to be, so that we can explain to people what can and cannot be done with our work.

Under standard copyright law, at least in the U.S, I would have to have an understanding of copyright law in order to write something myself. Again, it really isn't that difficult, but you have to do a bit of reading and may need some help understanding all the legalese. That is where a lawyer comes in. I don't want to deal with, nor pay a lawyer just so I can allow people to use my work in a restricted manner. That is why I use a CC license.

Now John goes on to say:

"I have sent notes to this operation and never received a reply".

So why write the article? Maybe you should have waited longer than the 5 minutes it took you to write it. Seriously, without adequate research, at least a poll to the community, no wonder you couldn't come up with anything useful to write about. If I wanted to know why people are using it, why not ask them, right John?

" I have begged critics of the system, such as The Register's Andrew Orlowski, to explain to me how Creative Commons works or what it's supposed to do that current copyright law doesn't do."

I know, I'll go to people who don't like Creative Commons, so I can get an objective opinion. Great job John. Way to use a source to write an objective and intelligent article. But I can answer that question for you. It makes it easier. It doesn't bypass the current copyright laws, it just simplifies what people can and cannot do with the original work. Otherwise, you have to contact someone regarding the work, get permission to use it, and hear the demand of that person or persons. That takes time. And yes it is necessary to do this in order to make sure that you are legally in the clear. Or you can have a CC license.Fai

John states that a CC license is not needed, because fair use already covers this:

§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use38

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

That is fair use people. Really easy to understand isn't it. And notice that it is number 107 under a long list of items in the copyright laws. So now you can write your own license just from reading that. Fair use does not clarify intent, nor does it give people a clear license as to what the owner considers fair use. The copyright owner can still take you to court if their perception of fair use is different from yours. Why not just spell it out in plain english, or whatever language you happen to speak, and make it easy for your audience to know where you stand.

Mr. Dvorak, you can have it. I will continue to use CC for my licensing needs because I am the average person who does not sit down and crack open my copyright law for a good read. I prefer to have a life. I want to let people use my work freely. I don't want their people to contact my people, cause frankly, I don't have any people. I want the whole world to be able to use and share my work. Explain to me, Mr. Dvorak, how your copyright law covers the whole world. Explain to me, under fair use, how, a the whole world can take your article and use it. That is what you would have to do every time someone wants to use it. Or you can use a CC license.

All the quotes from Mr. Dvoraks article are used under fair use at least in my eyes ;)

Until next time,

you are right. main thing is that clearing rights is a hell of a job. CC makes this MUCH easier.
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