Friday, December 20, 2002
If you run a search engine, you might use license metadata to highlight public domain and generously-licensed works. If you write a public file sharing server, you might offer to search the user's hard drive for works that allow distribution. If you write a magazine, you might use a CC-enabled search engine to find pictures of candy bars that you can legally include. ... Of course, this metadata only provides a first approximation of the license, for information use. Users are encouraged to read the full license to make sure it meets their expectations. [Why We Have Creative Commons Metadata]In other words, the metadata is informational. It helps with the location and dissemination of licensed works. It's several layers removed from the actual license. At some point, courts may be inclined to enforce a license that exists purely in machine readable form, or that is largely or completely invisible to a casual observer. We're probably a long way off from that day however, and it seems to me Creative Commons takes this into account by implementing a plan designed to include obvious visual and text cues in proximity to licensed works. *Here's another that Matt's page highlights: notwithstanding the intent of Creative Commons (at least for the time being) not to have its licenses apply to software (see Larry Lessig and the CC FAQ), this is happening anyway. I don't see a "no software" disclaimer in the licenses themselves -- a "work" is defined as "copyrightable work of authorship" -- and thus don't see why these could not form an enforceable software license (??). It would have to be free software, as the CC licenses aren't designed to help collect fees or royalties from use. [Update]: Woah. Seems folks much closer to this issue than I on the technical side also are intrigued.
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