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Old March 12th, 2005
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verdyp verdyp is offline
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While there are still some controversy about the CreativeCommons and OSI-approved evolving policy (that will include some licences that are not fully open-source), this is a necessary evolution, because there are too many attacks now against the free licensing systems where the GPL licence has paved the way.
Now with the EU about to authorize patents on softwares, with the intent to create an international policy for protecting LOTS of contents, even those created based on public finances and resources and initially made to be freely available for all as a common benefit for the world, it's high time now to protect the users rights by clearly labelling those contents that are freely exchangeable, including derivative (something that has become more and more weak, when on the opposite the supporters of intellectual property rights are pushiong towards more control on the access right to knowledge).
I like it, and I strongly support such initiative to protect common public free assets for all, and keep equal access to intellectual productions and medias.
I expect that the CreativeCommons initiative, along with OSI will now have great support, to protect our commons, and that more and more free medias will now be explicitly labelled by such explicit licence that keeps our common rights.

If only there was a concensus about the licencing system to use between all supporters of free licences... CC should interest all software developers and free media creators, so that no other commercial company will take a patent or severely limitating restrictions about the right to use, share, and derive free productions.

(I see today too many abusive restrictions on some commercial forums, where those hosting companies take their full rights on our own speech online, restricting us to reuse our own common creations and discussions to create derivatives; I accept the fact that the hosting company will get an unlimited free licence for the content they host without payments, but I refuse the fact that this hosting company will now forbid us to create derivatives, as if it had created the content that made their success and created by their visitors and contributors. Yahoo! Groups is on the border edge where we still keep our own rights, but other places are really abusing).

I am very pessimistic about the current evolution of free speech, which I consider is a constitutional right in all democracies. Some future day, you won't be able to create photographs of your last holiday trip and share them with friends or your family, or keep them for years for your children; or you won't have the right to redistribute your discussions by phone using any form like tape-recording, because the media will be protected with limitating licences, that you'll have to pay to keep it.

We have the right to keep and share our own memories, and knowledge. It's fundamental for the preservation of our own history, and the transmission of culture, and not acting now will mean that in some future, knowledge will be kept in some giant database with expensive access rights; so people will be placed in two categories: a minor one with enough resources to get this right, and a majority left without any decent access to culture, education, science.

This evolution has already started and created a huge gap between advanced societies and poor countries, notably in Africa where its own cultural heritage is now being preserved by commercial museums or libraries in western countries that are the only one to have enough resources to preserve them.

Conclusion: to keep the freedom of speech, we must take now the same arms used by the defendants of restrictive commercial licences and patents, and make sure this system will have at least the same protection by laws: it's no more enough to contribute freely in some free place, because these places are pillaged everyday; we need to label and protect all free content we create, or contribute within places that have clearly made public that they will protect the user rights!

The time of "public domain" contents is over...