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<nettime> Options for an author to position the "audience" when distribu
nettime's fluid author on Fri, 20 May 2016 12:51:50 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Options for an author to position the "audience" when distributing a work


This text is for confused authors, probably not for you but it is
released in a “release early, release often” manner. so you know what
you are encouraged to do...


Options for an author to position the “audience” when distributing a
work (from a free cultural perspective, so may not sound so objective,
sorry...)

you have 5 options when you distribute a work of art:

1- conventional copyright
2- non-free cultural licenses
3- free cultural licenses"
	a) non-copyleft free cultural licenses
	b) copyleft free cultural licenses
	c) dedicating to public domain
4- dual licensing
5- without relying on copyright or on any other law, you write you own
free cultural or non-free cultural license or your declaration about the
way you want your work to be experienced.

The first four have legal status, which means that you can sue someone
who does not comply with the rules stated in the license. For the last
one, you just depend on the ethics of the people and legally you have
nothing to do unless they do not comply with what you have declared. The
conventional copyright will be valid if you sue someone. You can even
sue someone who totally complies with what you have stated in your
declaration. This is it is up to your ethics.

Free culture refers to an understanding that cultural works should be
freely experienced and built on by anyone, without asking for any
permission in advance. Here, “free” refers to your freedom on the work
of art you experience. It is not about the money or selling the work.
Free culture approach conflicts with the profit motives of culture
industry and suggest new methods of distribution and economics for
cultural works by making use of new possibilities featured by
information technology. Free culture is mostly inspired by Free and Open
Source Software. Some people use “free” (or free/libre) and some people
use “open” to describe such practices. But both means that you grant
certain rights to people: to copy, to change/build on, and redistribute
their versions, for any reason, without taking permission in advance
(www.freedomdefined.org www.opendefinition.org) . If you do not grant
any of those freedoms, than it is not considered a free cultural work.
Free culture is about encouraging others to build on your work as your
peers, instead of situation them as your audience/fan/customer.

1- if you copyright your work, no one can do anything with that without
asking permission from you. They can only do what you allow them to the
through the distribution method you choose. They can only watch it if
you sell a dvd-video copy or publish it on youtube using standard
youtube license. There are certain things they can do by relying on
“fair use” doctrine in copyright law, such as using it for educational
or commentary purposes etc. But you always have the right to sue them by
stating that their usage in not “fair use”. The judge decides if it is a
“fair use” or not. So they can never be sure what they can or cannot do
with your work and this is called “chilling effect”, which discourages
people to build on your work.

2- you can use a non-free cultural license and choose which rights you
grant to people on your work. You can grant more rights that are not
granted by default under conventional copyright law but it is not
considered a “free cultural license” unless you give them all the rights
to copy, to change/build on, and to redistribute their versions, for any
reason, without asking for permission in advance. The licenses that
limit modification and commercial use are non-free cultural licenses
even if they grant you more than the copyright law. These may be more
problematic than conventional copyright.

3- you can use a free cultural license to give everyone all the rights
to copy, to change/build on, and to redistribute their versions, for any
reason, without asking for permission in advance. Using a free cultural
license is a free cultural approach. Free cultural licenses make use of
 copyright law to reverse the rules of conventional copyright in favor
of the public instead of the author and the culture industry. They are
legal agreements and all the parties are bound by law. There are 3
approaches to legal free cultural licenses.

a) non-copyleft free cultural licenses are free cultural licenses which
grant everyone the rights to copy, to change/build on the work and to
redistribute their versions *the way the like*, for any reason, without
asking for permission in advance. The only requirement is to attribute
to the author(s) and the original work, to declare the license of the
original work when you redistribute it and usually to declare your
modifications on the original work. The difference between a “copyleft”
and a “non-copyleft” free cultural license is that if you build on a
non-copyleft free cultural work, you do not have to license your version
with a free cultural license. This means that you can also copyright
your version and do not grant others the freedoms on your work as you
exercised on the original work when making your version. A non-copyleft
free cultural license renders the work subject to exploitation but
considered more “liberal” than copyleft free cultural licenses which do
not leave the decision to the ethics of the people but tries to protect
and expand the domain of free culture. If you write a book and license
it with a non-free cultural license, anyone may translate it to another
language and can also copyright his/her translation. In this case,
unless anyone else also translates the original book to that language
and license it with a free cultural license, the people who can speak
the translated language but not the original language cannot exercise
the mentioned freedoms on the book. Copyleft is a method to keep all the
contributions and work based on a free cultural work free.

b) copyleft free-cultural licenses are free cultural licenses which
grant everyone the rights to copy, to change/build on the work and to
redistribute their versions *under the same rules* as the original work,
for any reason, without asking for permission in advance. The difference
between a “copyleft” and a “non-copyleft” free cultural license is that
if you build on a copyleft free cultural work, there is another
requirement besides attributing to the author(s) and the original work,
declaring the license of the original work when you redistribute it and
declaring your modifications on the original work. You *have to*
distribute your version with a *copyleft* free cultural license. You
cannot redistribute it under your own copyright or even with a
non-copyleft free cultural license. For some people this is considered
limiting the freedom of the people but others think that this is not
limiting the freedom of the people but preventing people from limiting
other people's freedom. Copyleft also prevents exploiting the original
work, at least without contributing to it and making a contributions
free for everyone. If we get back to the book example above, the
translator who copyrights his translation may exploit the original work
by selling his translation with a very high price. But if the original
book was licensed with a copyleft free cultural license, then the
translator would have to license his translation with a copyleft free
cultural license. And if he sells his translation for a very high price,
anyone else may also copy his translation and sell it for a lower price.
And anyone else may also copy it and distribute it on the internet
without asking for any money. So the only way for someone who builds on
a copyleft free cultural work to make money is to ask for a money that
is at least equal to the value s/he adds to the original work. This will
eventually lead to an economy based on free donations of the people to
the authors of free cultural works to show their appreciation instead of
the current capitalist economy of culture industry based on creating
artificial scarcity (of both works and artists) to keep the
supply/demand balance for maximum profit in many cases. Copyleft can be
considered a radical and viral approach but it is also a good measure
against commercial exploitation of a free cultural work. Some people
choose non-free cultural licenses restricting commercial use but it does
not mean that the work cannot be exploited commercially. It means that
only the author can exploit it commercially. Copyleft approach renders
non-free cultural licenses with commercial use restrictions useless and
creates possibilities for another economics in culture.

c) another option to release your work as a free cultural work is
dedicating it to the public domain. Public domain puts the work out of
the domain of intellectual property laws and the work is threated much
like anything else in the world other than an intellectual work.
Sometimes like commons, like air. I cannot consider anything else to
give as an example of commons for today's world since even the water and
the forests are governed at least by the states. Maybe that is because
the fact that the air is the most immaterial thing in the physical world
that makes it hard to be commodified. Besides that, there is of course
the digital information, which is a phenomenon of the day that is hard
to commodify unless you rely on intellectual property laws, drm etc...
You may also consider an old chair left on the street as public domain.
You can either sit on it and make use of it until someone else takes it
home or you can take it home yourself and take the ownership of it.
There is no one or no power that can prohibit you from doing so. You can
even take it to a second hand shop or even to an antique shop, to sell
it. Dedicating a work of art of yours to the public domain may put it in
the position of the air, or to the position of the chair, mainly
according to the physicality of the work. So, when you dedicate a work
of yours to the public domain, it has no relation with you any more. No
one is obliged to attribute you while exercising any freedom on it.
Unlike in the case of using a free cultural license, you do not even
have any moral rights on it anymore. Moral rights are not covered by
free cultural licenses and the author may still sue anyone for reasons
related to his/her moral rights. To dedicate a work to the public
domain, you must be the author of it and you must declare your
dedication in a legal way. Unfortunately it is not possible to legally
dedicate a work to the public domain in some jurisdictions but at least
you will have declared your intention without being bounded by law.
There is also a difference between dedicating a work to a public domain
and a work being in the public domain. A work falls into public domain
in a jurisdiction when the copyright duration is over under that certain
jurisdiction, which can take more than 100 years in some circumstances.
Unless you want people to wait for having freedom on your work for that
long, you may dedicate it to the public domain yourself.

4- you may also choose more than one license for your work and let
people decide which one to choose to exercise the rights granted by that
license. For example you may license your work with both conventional
copyright and a free cultural license if you want to see which one the
people building on your work would prefer and appreciate. Of course
doing so has no point but dual licensing is a method being used in
free/libre and open source software (ok, mostly for “open source”) to
prevent license conflicts when incorporating many code and libraries in
a software. License proliferation is a major problem when building on
culture because one may incorporate many works when making a remix, for
example. Each license may also state many other rules while granting the
freedoms mentioned and these rules may cause license conflicts. Each
license has its own politics and dual licensing, even multiple licensing
may also be your political statement besides using it just for practical
reasons, like using the phrase “FLOSS” instead of “Free Software” or
“Open Source”. Even though I prefer to use “Free Software” and do not
use any of the Creative Commons licenses for my work as an extension of
the politics of my work, I am multiple licensing this text with all the
free cultural licenses listed now, and will be listed in the future at
http://freedomdefined.org/Licenses#List_of_licenses
So, you may choose whatever license there you prefer if you build on
this text. If you do not want the mediation of any law between you and
your peers who will experience your work, there is also no legal license
for this work but a free cultural declaration: As a peer, you are
encouraged to build on this work freely and encourage other peers to
build on your work.

5- All the options above are legal options, meaning that you and
everyone else is bounded by laws according to the rules stated in the
license of your choose. But maybe you do not want yourself and others to
be dealing with complicated legal rules or the mediation of lawyers etc.
Then you may declare your own statement for the journey of your work.
You will not be giving anyone a “legal” guarantee that they will be free
to redistribute the work that they built on yours by putting their time
and labour on it, but you will be declaring your intention. This may
create a precarious situation for your peers, since you may still sue
them depending on your exclusive rights under conventional copyright
laws. Since your declaration will have no legal status and you do not
use a legal free cultural license, your work will automatically be
covered by conventional copyright. Besides writing a declaration, you
may also write your own “license” but the licenses should comply with
existing laws to have a “legal” status and it is a work of lawyers,
rather than artists. However I think that all free cultural licenses,
whether legal or not are great works of art with their own strong
political statements. Everyone is an artist but peers are my favorite :)



This text is inspired by the works of many peers of free culture and is
built on their valuable work. None is my “original idea”. I am a peer,
as you are, and this text is multiple licensed with all free cultural
licenses that are and will be listed at
http://freedomdefined.org/Licenses#List_of_licenses and if you do not
want the mediation of any law, then there is also no legal license for
this text but my free cultural declaration: As a peer, you are
encouraged to build on this work freely and encourage other peers to
build on your work.


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