Tag Archives: CC-by-sa+DRP

Licensing our Documentation under CC-by-sa+DRP

Hi all, and contributors of documentation!

We are now at the point of licensing our documents. As some of you may have noticed, we have now licensed the Policies under Creative Commons – attribution – share alike licence, with our DRP [1]. Or CC-by-sa+DRP for short [2].

The Board is intending to do the same thing with our other documentation: CC-by-sa+DRP.

If you’re fine with this, say YAY TEAM, and read no further 🙂

Some notes on what this means:

  1. In broad terms the chosen licence is like GPL but for documents not source code.
  2. Documents are contributed under CCA 1.3 which includes this broad grant from you to CAcert Inc.:

    1.3 Your Contributions

    You agree to a non-exclusive non-restrictive non-revokable transfer of Licence to CAcert Inc. for your contributions. That is, if you post an idea or comment on a CAcert forum, or email it to other Members, your work can be used freely by the Community for CAcert purposes, including placing under CAcert Inc.’s licences for wider publication.

    You retain authorship rights, and the rights to also transfer non-exclusive rights to other parties. That is, you can still use your ideas and contributions outside the Community.

  3. At first glance, that clause CCA 1.3 looks quite fierce. There are a couple of reasons for such a complete and blanket transfer.
    1. It has been our experience that people have made contributions, and withheld transfer, preferring instead to control the results by means of copyright rights. This has put the Board, the Policy Group and the critical teams in a difficult position at times. The people making the contributions have often been thinking with all good intentions, but results of those intentions have been at least unpredictable and sometimes very costly.
    2. Secondly, it is possible that people with bad intentions could insert documents of uncertain background, and then stir up trouble later [3]. We do live in a competitive environment, and a competitor could cause this to happen. So the CCA includes a broad grant that addresses that.
    3. Thirdly, it would take an entire team to resolve the copyright mess if we didn’t have a broad grant. We’d have to have people running after every document, every post, every idea. It’s just uneconomic, and most of the contributors would not fill out the forms and return them anyway. We’ve got better things to do without creating work for ourselves following the tired old dreams of some 20th century colonialist music empire for the collection of royalties from poor starving artists.
  4. The grant is broad about what documents belong. Primarily we’d expect that to include the wiki, the SVN, the doco pages on the main website, email / list forums etc. These would all be “forums” under the above text. The point is it’s broad, inclusive. If there is any difficulty about this, then the intention is to use our Arbitration to solve the bits we missed.
  5. The quid pro quo for all of this is that CAcert Inc, now the proud owner of lots of documentation, license it back to the community. That’s today’s job.

So this email is going out to all the team leaders and so forth, from the Board, to ask for your thoughts, comments, desires, responses on the issue. What do you think? More thought required? Or full-steam-ahead? Somewhere in between? [4]

iang, informally for and from Board [5].

[1] There are some technicalities. We are adding to this by resolving all disputes in our own forum. We do this by means of the single licensing line in the document itself which now looks like: CC-by-sa+DRP. The motive for this is that our Arbitration works well across the planet, and is cheaper. It’s the same motivation for Arbitration with anything else, we protect all the members better this way.

[2] Also, we are using the Australian licence, 3.0 version, so the fuller acronym would add -AU-3.0. It is customary to not add those details. The various 3.0 licences are meant to be complementary (documents can work together under different 3.0 licences from different countries.

[3] This has been reported in the IETF groups, mostly with “submarine patents,” as a game between competitors.

[4] If you’ve got this far 🙂 Let me take this moment to conduct a quick survey: who feels more comfortable with the spelling of the word as licence, and who feels more comfortable with license?

For the noun form, the word is /licence/ in Anglo spelling, and /license/ in American spelling. The reason it is confusing is that in Anglo-english, the *verb* form uses S like licensing, licensed not C like licence. The American form then is far simpler, using S all the time, and as expected. The Anglo form is confusing … Note the RDL retained the American form 🙂

Anglo in this context means A/NZ/UK, I’m not sure about countries such as India, Pakistan, Singapore, Honk Kong and other strong users of English. Europe generally adopts British English, but I’d be surprised if they have avoided this confusion! Note that the answer to this question may feed into a wider question…

[5] which means, there is no Board motion as yet. There is board discussion minuted at: