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Dvorak on Creative Commons 522

Posted by Zonk
from the lots-of-opinions dept.
pHatidic writes "In a recent article, John Dvorak trashes creative commons as being, '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.' His main arguments are that CC unnecessarily complicates copyright law, and that the name sounds dumb."
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Dvorak on Creative Commons

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  • Creative Commons (Score:5, Insightful)

    by matt21811 (830841) * on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:00PM (#13106538) Homepage
    I've always thought of Creative Commons was a simplified DIY copyright kit. When I create a work (i.e. write in my blog) it automatically is covered by full copyright law. I can't think of a simpler way to make sure I retain the controls I want but still let other people use my work in limited ways without the need to hire a lawyer.

    It doesn't complicate Copyright law. It makes it simpler and more accessible.
    • Like Dvorak said....can't you just stick a copyright notice on there? My understanding of copyright law is that your notice is all thats required? I don't think creative commons will embark on a lawsuit for you either if your work is violated?
      • Re:Creative Commons (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You dont need to add a "(c) 2005 Me" thats implied on all you write. CC gives a way to easily give away some rights to others while keeping most.
      • by matt21811 (830841) *
        Sure, I could stick a copyright notice on my work.
        The problem is knowing how to word one in a way that says people can use it for non comercial purposes but not comercial purposses so that it will hold up in court.
        After all, IANAL!
        • Re:Creative Commons (Score:3, Interesting)

          by geoffspear (692508)
          "You may use this for non-commercial purposes". Then, if anyone does, don't sue them. Are you fearing that someone else will try to sue someone for using your works?
      • by ThinkingInBinary (899485) <thinkinginbinary&gmail,com> on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:14PM (#13106711) Homepage

        The point was that Creative Commons gives you an easy way to express your wishes as to what rights to grant people. Without it, you have to figure out the legalese to write yourself, and chances are you'll leave a loophole and won't have the time or money to fight someone if they take advantage of it. With Creative Commons, you are sure that your choices are expressed properly, both in legalese and in English. Basically, if you want to selectively share your works, Creative Commons is like those "Living-Will-and-Testament-in-a-box" thingies--it gives you pre-written legalese so you don't have to hire a lawyer.

        • by Miros (734652) * on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:18PM (#13106763)
          That being said, if you truly have something you want to protect, it's always a good idea to see a lawyer about it. Poorly written or misunderstood licenses and contracts have been causing mankind grief since pen was first put to paper. A few minutes of a good attorney's time is an excellent way to ensure you dont repeat other peoples mistakes, and you can usually learn a few interesting things from them as well.
          • by n0-0p (325773) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:42PM (#13107087)
            Except a good attorney bills by the hour plus retainer, and that will cost you at least several hundred. Which is, of course, fine if you have the intent of doing business based on your idea. But I genuinely appreciate the value of boiler-plate licenses. They are an attempt to bring the law down to the layman's level and not continue paying lawyers to further complicate it.
      • Re:Creative Commons (Score:5, Informative)

        by BiggyP (466507) <{gro.dcnepoeht} {ta} {hlihp}> on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:57PM (#13107294) Homepage Journal
        Creative commons allows you to stipulate how you wish your licensed works to be used, if you want to let people know that they're allowed to use all your stuff for non-commercial purposes, for free, you can do that quickly and easily by attaching a CC license. The automatic protection under copyright law doesn't give you any such benefit.
        • by Haeleth (414428) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @04:59PM (#13107926) Journal
          Creative commons allows you to stipulate how you wish your licensed works to be used...

          While your statement is correct, sadly that sort of phrasing leaves a loophole for trolls like Dvorak to twist your words.

          A better way of saying it would be that "Creative Commons helps you", not "allows" - that makes it clear that CC is not doing anything funky, it's just providing a simple and straightforward framework that empowers ordinary people to share their creative works on their own terms.
      • Re:Creative Commons (Score:3, Informative)

        by PierceLabs (549351)
        Do you know what rights you have as someone who might want to distribute those works if all you run across is a copyright? None. Do you know what rights you have if you run across a creative commons notice? Click on the notice and it will tell you.

        The creative commons effort GIVES you some limited rights where you would have absolutely none otherwise. CreativeCommons isn't about saying "hey don't take my stuff" (if all you want is 'no use' then sure, just put a copyright notice on it). CreativeCommons is a
    • Yes, CC copylefts are alot easier to decifer than the GPL for example... However, copyright law doesn't need to be simple, there are numerous ways to use it, so it should be fairly complex to handle them all. Is he just dissing on CC or all open source licenses I DFLRTFA (Don't Feel Like RTFA)?
      • Is he [Dvorak] just dissing on CC or all open source licenses [...]

        I certainly hope this is not the start of trying to give the open source movement more credit for work it did not do. Creative Commons licenses are not licenses approved by the Open Source Initiative and for good reason. CC licenses are not to be used for computer software [creativecommons.org]. The Creative Commons organization lists the GNU GPL and GNU LGPL as licenses to consider for software. People on /. routinely cite the GPL as an "open source" license despite that:

        • the Open Source Initiative merely lists the GNU GPL as an approved license. This is nothing compared to writing the license,
        • the GNU GPL was written many years before the open source movement began and is therefore clearly independent of the open source movement,
        • the GNU GPL talks about software freedom -- a different philosophy than the open source movement holds [gnu.org] -- and the open source movement takes pains to avoid discussing software freedom,
        • and the GNU GPL was written by the Free Software Foundation, not the Open Source Initiative. Richard Stallman, the GPL's chief author, takes every opportunity to clarify that he is not now nor has he ever been a member of the open source movement. He wishes people would stop lumping the FSF's work in with that of the open source movement.
        • by Some Random Username (873177) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @07:00PM (#13109044) Journal
          The GPL IS an open source license, despite RMS's ludicrous blathering to the contrary. The source code is open, so it is open source. Its simply a descriptive term, it does not imply or require any sort of membership in any kind of club. The OSI guys do not own the words "open source", nor can they redefine the meaning of these words.

          Saying open source is not the same as saying OSI, so you and RMS can both quit getting your panties in a bunch over nothing and trying to redefine the english language to suit your agendas.
    • Re:Creative Commons (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RealityMogul (663835) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:27PM (#13106889)
      Ok, so lets say you take a photograph. You decide to put it online and you want to use the Attribution license from Creative Commons, like many people do on Flickr. According to that license, people have to give you credit for your picture.

      Now, lets say that I find your pic and I plan on using it on my website. Lets also say that you're like everybody else on Flickr and don't specify "HOW" credit is to be given to you. Can I just assume that a 1pt font is ok? How about a comment in the HTML source. I don't know what I can do with it without having to go through the trouble of contacting you. So how has that simplified anything?
      • by BlackStar (106064) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:51PM (#13107221) Homepage
        It's that sort of attitude that spawns the two billion lawyers running rampant throughout the world. There is a general principle, even in law, about intent and whether it is reasonable to expect that a one point font conveys the source to the audience and viewers. I'd put pretty good odds that a jury would say that it doesn't, and that 95% of the people looking at it would say that sort of attribution is being an ass.

        The HTML source is a lot more interesting, as it is there, easy to read, and viewable if you look for it. I would point out that the copyright notice on a book is just inside the front cover, and not slathered over every page, so it is quite legitimate in my opinion, as it's where it can reasonably be expected to be. Much like a book, people aren't going to see the © without knowing where to look or doing a very thorough search.

        The law is intended to be used and interpreted by reasonably people. Unfortunately, reasonable is subjective, so theres going to be disagreement. But if you respect the author, the work, and the spirit and intent of the law, I think the "trouble" of contacting someone should at least be attempted. You are using a work that is copyrighted in total in the case of the image. In classic copyright law, you need written permission to do that. So fine, don't use the CC, and see how it's so much easier to follow classic copyright law. Then you might agree that Dvorak is being a bit narrow-minded on this. Or at least, he's not acting like a reasonable and respecting individual. Not that he usually does in the articles, but that's his style in his writing.

      • Re:Creative Commons (Score:5, Informative)

        by alfedenzo (233177) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @04:09PM (#13107416)
        The actual legalease of the Attribution CC license actually specifies the mimimum requirements for attribution.
        To summarize, you have to name the author and title (if any), and if applicable, the URI and the license. If it's a derivative work, reference what it's a derivative of. Attribution should be with any other credits, and should be as prominant. The attribution should also be represented in a manner appropriate to the medium. In other words, the HTML source would not be a reasonable place to stick the attribution for an image. It would, however, probably be appropriate for some CC javascript code.

        The legalease for Attribution-No Commercial-Share Alike can be found at here [creativecommons.org], with the attribution clause being 4.d. I would assume that the other Attribution licenses would be similar. I am not, of course, a lawyer.
    • Re:Creative Commons (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:27PM (#13106904)
      Apart from his snark, Dvorak's argument seems to be "what's the big deal, anything I write is already protected and my grandchildren will own it?" He doesn't understand that Creative Commons is a way of *giving up* some rights. But without giving up *all* rights.

      With Creative Commons, a content creator can specify clearly that they wish their work to be shared collaboratively, which is the real point of "non-commercial". It's not about peace love and sprouts, it's about getting information quickly into the hands of peers. This intermediate status is an emergent necessity, previously unknown to law.
      • by Harbinjer (260165) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:58PM (#13107302) Journal
        Its like he's looking at a parka from a Hawaiian's point of view: "You want to wear clothes that make you hot? I don't get it."

        Clearly its not for him. He's looking at it completely backwards, and obviously doesn't understand. Maybe someone can explain it to him.
        • Re:Creative Commons (Score:4, Informative)

          by tdonahue (896080) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @04:31PM (#13107637)
          John Dvorak not understand?!?!?!? Oh my , what is this world coming to? Dvorak always gets everything he blabers about

          Come on, this is John Dvorak that you are talking about, from everything I have EVER read by him, I would have to say he is the second-most incompetant technical columnist that has ever graced this world.

        • That's just it... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rbochan (827946)
          ...obviously doesn't understand...

          He _does_ understand. He's just trolling for ad hits.
      • Re:Creative Commons (Score:5, Informative)

        by jhoger (519683) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @04:07PM (#13107393) Homepage
        Well I won't give Dvorak a page hit; I don't think he's really a drooling idiot, so it must be a troll.

        But I'll counter his argument with one example where CC worked beautifully:

        I asked Leo Brodie author of Thinking Forth to allow republication of his book under a Creative Commons license. We discussed different options... he chose a "non-commercial" clause, but allowed derivative works and share-alike.

        So what we have is a LaTeX repub and PDF downloadable from SourceForge by anyone. And he is selling hardcopies of the book through a print-on-demand publisher.

        A project is in the works to update all the classic Forth examples to modern Forth usage. Also a translation to Spanish of the LaTeX repub is underway.

        How could Dvorak be so obtuse? Of course Brodie could negotiate a separate license with each person who wanted to make some use of Thinking Forth, or just sell copies. But without granting additional rights, he wouldn't have gotten the free labor and TF would have stayed out of print and an orphaned works for 70 PLUS YEARS.

        The Creative Commons licenses are just a legal tool, that's all. It's like going to the bookstore and buying a bunch of standard contracts. It reduces the time, if any, you have to spend with a real lawyer in order to grant rights to use your work beyond what copyright allows, safely, to a wide audience without negotating with each user individually, one-on-one.

        Simple, understandable. Dvorak, you're just a troll.

        -- John.
    • Re:Creative Commons (Score:5, Informative)

      by Eric Giguere (42863) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:36PM (#13107022) Homepage Journal

      No, it's not a simplified DIY copyright kit. Creative Commons is about simplified licensing of copyrighted works. One of the hardest things about getting permission to use someone else's copyrighted work (and Dvorak's arguments about fair use should be read in light of Ivan Hoffman's fair use article [ivanhoffman.com] and the realization that "fair use" varies greatly from legal jurisdiction to legal jurisdiction) is actually tracking down the owner of the approriate rights in order to ask them for permission.

      Don't believe me? Check out the copyright clearance section of Project Gutenberg [gutenberg.org]. Who has control over which rights is not always clear, nor is it clear how to contact them. A Creative Commons or similar license removes the need (under appropriate conditions) for explicitly obtaining permission from the rights holder.

      Now, it's true that the early CC site wasn't very clear as to the purpose and use of the CC licenses. But not anymore.

      Eric
      Another random blog to look at [makeeasymo...google.com]
    • by Unequivocal (155957) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @04:11PM (#13107444)
      Looks like I need to add another quote to my long standing list of jack-assery from Dvorak:

      1998 Folks, the Mac platform is through - totally.
      1990 I think Windows 3.0 will get a lot of attention; people will check it out, and before long they'll all drift back to... DOS.
      1986 UNIX is dead, but no one bothered to claim the body.
      1984 The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a mouse. There is no evidence that people want to use these things.
      - John Dvorak
    • Re:Creative Commons (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DigitumDei (578031) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @04:20PM (#13107514) Homepage Journal
      Exactly. Although I guess it complicates things for Dvorak, I mean, he'd have to actually read it.

      He doesn't seem to have a clue. For examnple, from the article:
      "as far as I can tell, does absolutely nothing but threaten the already tenuous "fair use" provisos of existing copyright law."
      and
      " It's called fair use. I can still do that, but Creative Commons seems to hint that with its license means that I cannot."

      from the creative commons licence:
      "2. Fair Use Rights. Nothing in this license is intended to reduce, limit, or restrict any rights arising from fair use, first sale or other limitations on the exclusive rights of the copyright owner under copyright law or other applicable laws."

      Damn Dvorak, click the CC icon, it takes you to the human readable summary, click the legal code link and read. Its not hard. Really.
  • by saitoh (589746) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:00PM (#13106539) Homepage
    he's just stiring the pot folks, gotta print something to save his job...
  • Dvorak: -10 Troll (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nweaver (113078)
    It is a Dvorak story. Dvorak himself should have a perminant -10 Troll moderation tattoed to his forehead.
    • It is a Dvorak story. Dvorak himself should have a perminant -10 Troll moderation tattoed to his forehead.

      I second the motion, all those in favor?

      But seriously, let's reword the article a little bit:
      'one of the dumbest men 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.' Our arguments are that Dvorak unnecessarily complicates keyboarding, and that his name sounds dumb."

      Much better in my opinion.
    • by krgallagher (743575) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:14PM (#13106709) Homepage
      "Dvorak himself should have a perminant -10 Troll moderation tattoed to his forehead."

      He is not really a troll. He just publishes flamebait. It is not like anything he publishes is offensive in itself. It is just lacking in insight and is intended to create controversy. As such, it really is not that different from a lot of the posts here on /.

  • by mbrother (739193) * <mbrother.uwyo@edu> on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:02PM (#13106564) Homepage
    There are legitimate uses for Creative Commons that this humbug is missing. For instance, I've released my first novel Star Dragon online under CC. It's a real, published novel, still available in hardback and paperback, by Tor, a major U.S. publisher of science fiction and fantasy. No one can distribute my book under "fair use" copyright law, because it wouldn't be, and certainly commercial distribution is right out. The publisher has agreed to try it in a promotional effort, the idea being I will make more sales than I lose. Early tech adopters like Cory Doctorow and Charlie Stross have been doing it, too (and while I've gotten great reviews both sell a lot better than me, but are more advanced in their writing careers).

    One additional thing. The humbug would claim that in many instances Creative Commons does nothing that isn't already done by existing copyright, except be trendy. Well, don't overlook trendy, I say. Many younger people on the internet these days have a clue what Creative Commons means, and know little to nothing about copyright. They may respect something labelled Creative Commons, and that's worth something. Also, it's nice to see that certain material is expected to be taken, and the author's permission is explicit and clear. It's possible to end up in court with legitimate fair use when the author and the user disagree about what that means.

    And finally, even Dvorak is clueless when it comes to copyright. He says you have to add "Copyright 2005" to something to copyright it. You don't. It's automatically covered (you can still do the paperwork and register it, but in principle you don't). So here's a guy writing an article related to copyright who doesn't know the law, criticizing Creative Commons under the assumption everyone already knows the copyright laws.
    • He says you have to add "Copyright 2005" to something to copyright it.

      I don't see any "Copyright 2005" in his article, so I guess that means I won't get in trouble for posting the article text about five minutes ago.
    • by sharkb8 (723587) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:18PM (#13106769)
      It's a good thing you're a professor of astronomy, and not copyright law.

      No one can distribute my book under "fair use" copyright law, because it wouldn't be, and certainly commercial distribution is right out.

      Just because you're book's still in print doesn't mean that there is no fair use of your book. In fact, the fair use doctrine is what allows people co minimally infringe on your copyright, while the work is still relevant. I can quote parts of your book, even if it is still in print, especially if the parts are relatively short, and I am doing it for teaching, critical or satire purposes.

      But you are only partly correct when you state that no one can distribute your book under fair use. If you sell your book to me, and I in turn sell it to a recycled book store, that's legal (First sale doctrine and all, you already got your bucks). The recycled bookstore can resell it, and at a profit also. Can I publish and sell your entire book myself? No. You need to be paid.

      And creative commons doesn't change anything about copyright. It's a license, just like the GPL. you still own the copyright to your work, there are just conditions on people using it.

      I will agree with your statement about attaching the Copyright notice. I think Dvorak probably heard something about taht in the 1970's. One way to get around copyright for certain works published before 1976 (IIRC) is to find a version published pre'76 without the copyright symbol. Doing so meant it was dedicated to the public. THe Berne convention forced the U.S. to move away from the annoying formalities.

      But I agree with you that Dvorka has his head up his arse, He's a frequent understudy in the Billy Goats Gruff.
  • by trackzero (532476) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:02PM (#13106572) Homepage
    As an author, I like the options that Creative Commons offers me. I can share while retaining different kinds of rights.
  • But do you think Dvorak thinks that Creative Commons is dumb? Its kinda hard to tell from his article...

    </sarcasm>
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:05PM (#13106593)
    From TFA:
    I mean my grandkids will own all my writing exclusively until 75 years after I'm dead,
    Oooooooh...lucky, lucky grandkids. Imagine owning the collected works of the great John Dvorak...that and a quarter will buy you half a candy bar.
    • Hey... don't underestimate the power of the Collected Works of John C. Dvorak. That's big money right there.

      Just imagine how many of us nerds will buy a copy just to burn it? And if it's printed on quality paper, it might even be the perfect quality to wipe your ass with!

      And now for something completely different: Why is the underline tag not allowed?

  • by pHatidic (163975) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:05PM (#13106594)
    My first ever front page article. Time to start drinking! :)
    • by Momoru (837801) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:29PM (#13106926) Homepage Journal
      Other ways to get a front page article on slashdot:

      1) Mention Google....is it rumored that Google may buy a company that searches pictures of toenails online? Front page baby.

      2) Link to any article proposing a bug or flaw with anything Microsoft. Some 15 year old writes a blog saying he thinks the next version of Windows has "a bajillion security holes"? That's not only front page material, you're maybe even looking at duped front page material

      3) Paul Graham wrote an article about his flower garden, and how he's a "hacker" for using fertilizer? You know that baby is front page material.

      I'm sure i'm missing some others here....
  • by intheory (261976) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:06PM (#13106600) Journal
    Other than the blog software than allows so many to take part in the wonderful world of information sharing, Creative Commons is one of the most important developments to really help people create, share, and improve without the expense or fear of complicated and cash-mongering copyright lawyers and the like. Dvorak probably just Doesn't Get It, as usual, and as others have said, is simply trolling for attention.

    What happened to the days when journalists knew a little about what they were writing about? Did they end the day bloggers started mopping the floor with has-beens at the NYTimes et. al.?
  • ... sounds dumb too.
  • His main arguments are that CC unnecessarily complicates copyright law, and that the name sounds dumb

    So does Dvorak
  • by The Bubble (827153) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:07PM (#13106615) Homepage
    Why does slashdot time and time again reward Dvorak's senseless grumblings with links and an enormous readership? Until he has something worthwhile to say, we should stop supporting his constant dissidence. From where I sit, this guy is nothing more than a flamer.
  • Really now.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by sH4RD (749216) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:07PM (#13106624) Homepage
    Who really cares what Dvorak thinks? Yeah yeah, "Score: -1, Redundant", but I'm making quite a different point here. Most people so far are pointing out that Slashdot sure links there a lot, and boy is Dvorak negative, but really now, what has Dvorak done in the past that lead us to at least listen to his b*tching? I'm actually kinda seriously asking that question, as opposed to just rhetorically, because I really want to know what he did that somehow made some people respect his judgement as a pundit. I seem him everwhere it seems, but he never seems to make any sound statements, so what was the sound statement that gained people's trust? Or is his just another media-hyped, uptight, over critical whiner?
    • What really surprises me here is the response this has received from the Slashdot readership. I've only seen a few people point out the fundamental truth behind Dvorak's flamebait, and I can state it very simply--perhaps simply enough that even Dvorak might understand.

      Creative Commons is neither a replacement for nor a substitute of Copyright Law. Creative Commons, like the GPL, is a license that works separately from Copyright. For instance, Microsoft owns the Copyright to the Windows Operating Shi^H^
  • Awareness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by edmz (118519) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:08PM (#13106634) Homepage
    At least, having Creative Commons license included in a growing number of web apps makes it easier to find content with a license suitable to our use.

    Hadn't the selection of a license been included in these webapps (flickr, some bloggin software, etc) I really doubt the users would think about these matters, less pick a license for their content.

    It has made it simpler for the publisher and the "consumer".

    Quite different from what Dvorak says:

    "Creative Commons actually seems to be a dangerous system with almost zero benefits to the public, copyright holders..."

    Dvorak is definetly trolling there.
  • Firstly: John Dvorak is a pompous ass. Secondly: what was the topic again?
  • by charlie763 (529636) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:09PM (#13106650) Homepage
    This guy is an asshole. Going to his site will just make him look as if he has a good readership to his bosses. Read the article text below:

    Creative Commons Humbug
    07.18.05
    Dvorak
    Total posts: 36


    By John C. Dvorak

    Will someone explain to me the benefits of a trendy system developed by Professor Lawrence Lessig of Stanford? Dubbed Creative Commons, this system is some sort of secondary copyright license that, as far as I can tell, does absolutely nothing but threaten the already tenuous "fair use" provisos of existing copyright law. 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.

    If you are unfamiliar with this thing, be sure to go to the Web site and see if you can figure it out. Creative Commons actually seems to be a dangerous system with almost zero benefits to the public, copyright holders, or those of us who would like a return to a shorter-length copyright law.

    I have sent notes to this operation and never received a reply, in case you're wondering. Meanwhile, according to its Web site, the Creative Commons organization has money from the Hewlett Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. For what?

    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. He says, "It does nothing." Okay, then why are bloggers and do-gooders and various supporters making a point of tagging their material as being covered by Creative Commons? Is it just because it's cool and trendy--a code for being hip amongst a certain elite? There is no other answer.

    There are several things that bother me about this initiative. First, Creative Commons is similar to a license. You sign up with the group and post a message saying that your material is protected or covered by Creative Commons. This means that others have certain rights to reuse the material under a variety of provisos, mostly as long as the reuse is not for commercial purposes. Why not commercial purposes? What difference does it make, if everyone is free and easy about this? In other words, a noncommercial site could distribute a million copies of something and that's okay, but a small commercial site cannot deliver two copies if it's for commercial purposes. What is this telling me?

    This is nonsense. Before Creative Commons I could always ask to reuse or mirror something. And that has not changed. And I could always use excerpts for commercial or noncommercial purposes. It's called fair use. I can still do that, but Creative Commons seems to hint that with its license means that I cannot. At least not if I'm a commercial site and the noncommercial proviso is in effect. This is a bogus suggestion, because Creative Commons does not supersede the copyright laws. In fact, the suggestion is dangerous, because if someone were sued by the Creative Commons folks over normal fair use and Creative Commons won the suit, then we'd all pay the price, as fair use would be eroded further.

    There's another thing that bugs me about Creative Commons. When you see its licenses the wording will say something like "Creative Commons License: Public domain." This means that the item is not covered by copyright but is in the public domain. So what's Creative Commons got to do with it? Public domain is public domain. It's not something granted by Creative Commons. Yet you see this over and over as if it were!

    A good example is found on this page of the Prelinger Archives--a site that has a slew of old training films and miscellaneous campy productions. An information box at the start of a film review includes the notation: "Creative Commons license: Public Domain." Either this is incredibly pretentious or people do not know what public domain means. If I write something on my blog, for example, and decide not to cover it with th
  • Creative Commons describes John Dvorak as "eye-rolling dumb". Film @ 11.
  • by Mrs. Grundy (680212) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:12PM (#13106693) Homepage
    He says he doesn't get it--and he's right he doesn't. From TFA:
    In other words, a noncommercial site could distribute a million copies of something and that's okay, but a small commercial site cannot deliver two copies if it's for commercial purposes. What is this telling me?
    This is telling you that if you want to make money by selling my creative work, then I need a peice of that pie as the creaotr. I don't understand what is so difficult abou this concept

    This is nonsense. Before Creative Commons I could always ask to reuse or mirror something.
    If my policy is that anyone can reuse, alter and build upon my work for non-commercial purposes isn't easier just so say so--to encourage people--rather than replying to emails? I say everyone here on slashdot should send Dvorak an email asking if they can resuse his work and see how long it takes for him to see the point.
    "Creative Commons License: Public domain." This means that the item is not covered by copyright but is in the public domain. So what's Creative Commons got to do with it? Public domain is public domain. It's not something granted by Creative Commons. Yet you see this over and over as if it were!
    It is not something granted by creative commons, but it can be something granted by the holder of the copyright and an easy way to communicate this is via public domain statement--kind of like--you guessed is--the one creative commons standardizes.
    • Wonderful idea. His email seems to be john@dvorak.org. I'm sending him the following:

      Mr. Dvorak,

      I just read your article, "Creative Commons Humbug", and would like to reprint it on my blog as a tutorial on how to wax indignant about a subject without performing even the most basic research about it beforehand.

      May I?
  • by BenjyD (316700) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:14PM (#13106708)
    Please please please would Slashdot stop giving this idiot so many page impressions. Time after time he writes this shit, all straw-man arguments and half truths, and Slashdot predictably links to it. He hasn't said anything insightful yet or made any useful predictions: why keep posting links to his drivel?

    If we ignore him, he will go away. As it is, every time he posts one of these articles his employer gets a nice big boost to their advertising revenue.
    • If we ignore him, he will go away.

      No he won't. Even if everyone who hates him stop linking to him (which won't happen), many others (like magazines) will still pick up on it.

      Consider this: The guy writes something that's completely wrong. (Done with the jokes yet? Good. Let's keep moving.) If Slashdot links to it, there will be thousands of people who other people trust to know this stuff that have had time to go through his argument or disinformation and be able to counter it. Would you rather have peop
  • by MythoBeast (54294) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:16PM (#13106731) Homepage Journal
    The Creative Commons isn't about binding your property rights closer to you, it's about specifically allowing people to use your work for certain purposes. He's somehow thinking that it's supposed to add restrictions to use, but it is actually all about decreasing restrictions.

    Certainly the principles of fair use allow you to use excerpts from people's work for media purposes, but it doesn't allow you to recombine pieces into clips, it doesn't allow you to use it as background music for an informational broadcast, it doesn't allow people to re-mix your work in with others to create something new. Creative Commons DOES allow these things.

    It also has a very effective proviso that allows you to specify that others can't use your work to make money off of it through this license. If they want that, they have to make special arrangements with you. This fits many people's philosophies much better than current copyright laws do. "Give my stuff as much airplay as you like, but if you earn money off of it, I want my cut".
  • by Cerebus (10185) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:17PM (#13106744) Homepage
    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.

    Nice to know he seeks independent, unbiased views. Next up, Dvorak interviews Steve Ballmer on the benefits of Linux...

  • The one tiny good point Dvorak makes here is that the CC licenses should have a (purely informational) clause noting that "none of these limitations should be construed as eliminating any Fair Use rights granted by U.S. copyright law." That's a clarification to the license that is at least worth discussing.

    Other than that point, though, the article is worthless. The same principle that always must be pointed out with the GPL applies to CC as well: by default, copyright gives you *no* rights to copy except fair use, so any of these licenses can only *add* rights. In the case of the GPL, they add "you can copy this freely as long as you publish the source to any changes you redistribute", etc. The CC licenses work exactly the same way, with a different set of rights given.
  • fair use FUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chrystophe (900955) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:19PM (#13106781)
    Did he even read the CC licenses? Or even their 1-page blurbs? He claims that CC tries to subvert fair use:
    • "[it] does absolutely nothing but threaten the already tenuous 'fair use' provisos of existing copyright law"
    • "I could always use excerpts for commercial or noncommercial purposes. It's called fair use. I can still do that, but Creative Commons seems to hint that with its license means that I cannot."

    Yet every single CC license clearly states "Your fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above."

    Lessig wrote a very interesting book [free-culture.cc] on the subject. An articulate response to that would be great, but Dvorak is just spreading clueless FUD.

  • by BigZaphod (12942) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:21PM (#13106812) Homepage
    Seriously. Sometimes he sounds smart, but that's just because he says so much crap he's bound to say something intelligent now and then. It's a statistical thing.
  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:21PM (#13106813) Journal
    Dvorak is such a tool (and not a useful one). Please, Slashdot editors - stop posting John Dvorak stories. The man is so wrong he isn't even wrong. This is the man who moaned about Windows saying the performance sucked because the idle process was using 98% of CPU. The guy is incredibly ignorant. I bet his rant on the CC licenses is from a position of total ignorance, too.
  • by AnObfuscator (812343) <onering@@@phys...ufl...edu> on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:22PM (#13106829) Homepage

    to quote from his "column" (used in a very loose sense of the word):
    There are several things that bother me about this initiative. First, Creative Commons is similar to a license. You sign up with the group and post a message saying that your material is protected or covered by Creative Commons. This means that others have certain rights to reuse the material under a variety of provisos, mostly as long as the reuse is not for commercial purposes. Why not commercial purposes? What difference does it make, if everyone is free and easy about this? In other words, a noncommercial site could distribute a million copies of something and that's okay, but a small commercial site cannot deliver two copies if it's for commercial purposes. What is this telling me?

    What it's telling you, John, is that you're a dumbfuck who hasn't figured out that the CC license is a MODULAR license.

    The basic CC license is, essentially, "public domain" -- there are no restrictions on your reproduction of the material. CC then offers legally defined exceptions. With all of the CC terms in place, you have essentially the full standard U.S. copyright restrictions.

    What CC does is it gives you a legally well-formed copyright system that lets you protect your work, yet lets it be redistributed somewhat more freely than typical material, but not-quite public domain free.

    it just so happens that one of those optional restrictions is "no commercial distribution". I'd like to point out that this does not in any way trump "fair use", something that Dvorak would know if he had the IQ of a pet rock.

    as to why I use CC: I want to allow my works (should I actually get around to putting some content on my website... any day now, folks... ;) to be distributed, and I want to encourage their distribution -- however, I want them to be protected. Namely, I want credit for what I do, and I want more people to release their work freely. So I have a "By, Share Alike [creativecommons.org]" License -- Commercial derivations are perfectly ok.

    Can we please not have any more Dvorak on /.? He's just so mind-bogglingly stupid, he makes me feel physically ill. Seriously.

  • by gsfprez (27403) * on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:24PM (#13106857)
    i have released two works so far - a CD and a DVD - under the Creative Commons license. I have made plenty of money on these, and my sales have been beyond what I thought i was going to make.

    gsf.org/copyright

    the worst part of this is...i fscking clicked on his link...

    crap, frazzel ,bar, baz... damnit....

    shit.

    aw hell, i guess the damage is done, i might as well read what he has to say.
  • by tetrahedrassface (675645) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:25PM (#13106867) Journal
    As a fairly lazy but extremely serious songwriter, I use creative commons quite a lot. I have not released a cd, but unlike some folks covered here, I do release my studio stuff up on the net. With creative Commons i am assured that it won't be altered, or sold commercially, or profited from. The songs can be performed by someone if they wish, but even those performances cannot be shipped and sold for profit. I like CC because it lets me set something free, but on my terms, in a way that won't affect the ability of me to maybe one day get a check for one of works..

    This Dvark is an ass.. Power to the commons!

  • missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kallahar (227430) <kallahar@quickwired.com> on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:28PM (#13106910) Homepage
    As usual, Dvorak misses the point completely.

    The whole reason CC exists is because people are getting sued left and right for using someone else's work. He says "Creative Commons tries to insert itself as another layer into a system that already protects content developers like me to an extreme.", but CC is set up the other way. If you write something and want to make sure people understand that they can copy/redistribute/etc *without* worrying about getting sued, then they use CC. If you want to be a dick and restrict the crap you create then you can stick with traditional copyrights.

    CC is *not* a way to retain *more* rights, it's a way to clearly share your work with others.
  • Summed Up (Score:5, Informative)

    by paul.dunne (5922) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:30PM (#13106953)
    "John C. Dvorak's modus operandi is to instigate. He is a button-pusher, seldom if ever trying to inform, preferring instead to inflame. And he's pretty good at that. A decade ago, he was the back-page columnist for the now-defunct MacUser magazine; almost every month, the MacUser letters-to-the-editor page contained at least one angry message asking "Why do you publish this guy's column?" The answer, of course, was because it was the sort of column that inspired people to write letters-to-the-editor.

    "Dvorak is a pundit, not a reporter. When he makes a prediction, it is usually based on nothing more than his own conjecture, not actual sources. And looking at his track record, his conjecture usually has more to do with what he thinks will be controversial, rather than what might actually happen. (E.g. he's often predicted that Apple was about to go out of business, a prediction which never ceases to get a rise out of the easily incensed.) There's nothing wrong or dishonest about that, but it's something you need to keep in mind with everything he writes. To the best of my knowledge, he's never had a serious scoop regarding Apple -- a significant prediction that turned out to be right -- and he's been on the job for at least two decades."

    -- John Gruber [daringfireball.net]

    Next!

  • by nizo (81281) * on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:31PM (#13106962) Homepage Journal
    You can read the original Andersen fairy tale (with pictures) for free here [mythfolklore.net]. made availble with a Creative Commons License. Or you could fork over money and go buy a copy of Andersen's Fairy Tales like Dvorak must have.
  • Please ban Dvorak (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lulu of the Lotus-Ea (3441) <mertz@gnosis.cx> on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:31PM (#13106967) Homepage
    Seriously. I'm not the only one in the thread who points this out. But maybe with enough voices (hah) it will get through the minds of the editors.

    NOTHING by Dvorak has any place in a /. article. It is uniformly garbage, and has been since about 1991 (he did some adequate writing before that; though nothing spectacular). Don't feed the trolls by giving such tripe frontpage billing! Just don't do it.
  • by rmdir -r * (716956) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:57PM (#13107285)
    From TFA:

    There are several things that bother me about this initiative. First, Creative Commons is similar to a license. You sign up with the group and post a message saying that your material is protected or covered by Creative Commons. This means that others have certain rights to reuse the material under a variety of provisos, mostly as long as the reuse is not for commercial purposes.

    The emphasis was mine. Now, check this out from the Creative Commons web site:

    Offering your work under a Creative Commons license does not mean giving up your copyright. It means offering some of your rights to any taker, and only on certain conditions.


    What conditions? Our site will let you mix and match such conditions from the list of options below. There are a total of eleven Creative Commons licenses to choose from.


    Ahem. First: IT IS A LICENSE. Just like the GPL, the MPL, the BSD license and ten thousand others. It.Is.A.License. Which means that I can release my work, explicitly tell people what they can do with it, and under what terms. The CC guys are releasing pre-written licenses that cover common situations, which is a Good Thing(tm) because every dweeb who writes some crappy web novel isn't forced to write his own license, and because it promotes explicit licensing of individual's work before it becomes an issue- like when some other dweeb steals it and puts their name on it.

    There, see Dvorak? That wasn't so hard. It has a purpose. To promote explicit licensing (a prophylactic, to be sure) and to promote sane licensing so content can be re-used.

  • by daviddumas (775096) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @04:10PM (#13107433) Homepage
    When I first read the article I felt angry.

    But then I realized, at some point you need to sit back and remember that people have different motives for doing things. For example, when Dvorak writes a column, his goal is to generate ad revenue for his employer. Factual accuracy and an even-handed approach to the issues don't do much for that goal.

  • Consent and Fair Use (Score:4, Informative)

    by natrius (642724) <niran.niran@org> on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @04:15PM (#13107472) Homepage
    Dvorak harps on about how Creative Commons licensed works hurt his ability to ask someone for permission to copy their work. It does nothing of the sort. If you want to use a Creative Commons licensed work in a way not approved by the license, you ask the creator just like you would otherwise. The reasoning behind the noncommercial license he derides is that the author wants commercial uses to be paid for. That's no different from works under full copyright.

    You can still quote Creative Commons licensed writings all you want. The license doesn't affect fair use at all. The only time you need to worry about getting a license to copy a work is when it exceeds fair use.

    If you're going to denounce somethign with such vitriol, you should probably at least understand it first.
  • by writermike (57327) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @04:56PM (#13107907)
    Despite some protests to the contrary, Dvorak used to write some pretty interesting and technical stuff a long time ago. (A long, LONG time ago.) But he and many of his colleagues have simply turned from interesting insightful commentary to writing anything that will get eyeballs.

    I used to be very naïve about this. I used to believe that columnists, through their transparant attempts for readership, tried to be fair and honest about what they did. Then I heard an interview with a pretty prominent columnist at an even more prominent newspaper say that she routinely wrote things SHE disagreed with because the point of writing a column is to get people talking.

    So, they can and will say anything to get readers. Many of you may think this is a "duh" moment, but it was amazing for me. Dvorak could write an article about how "some people" think that, for instance, Linus is evil and should be dead. (Hey, it's plausible. I'm sure in the entire world there are two people that don't like Linus enough and wish he were dead.) That'll generate a lot of controversy and get more readers. But is it right?! Where's the line?

    More and more often, it seems like there isn't any line.

    It's clear to me now. Columnists are professional trolls.

    (Heh. I guess this means that all those folks that get modded down will wind up working in "journalism" some day. Quite possible. Imagine! A G.N.A.A. feature. Some trolls can dream.)

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