a 'mooh' point

clearly an IBM drone

Do you license your blog-content?

A few weeks back I attended an IT-architecture conference in Aarhus, Denmark and one of the sessions I participated in was about licensing your software with OSS-licensing. It was originally about software licensing, but at the end of the session, the speaker asked the audience:

How many of you are bloggers?

A few of us raised our hands. Then he asked:

How many of you have thought about how you license your blog entries?

Well, I for one didn't have a clue. Then the other day I noticed a small image on the bottom of the posts of Rick Jelliffe saying "Some rights reserved". It linked to Creative Commons and that kindda got the ball rollin'. I read about the different license-models and I have come to the conclusion that the license most applicaple to me and the content I put online is the "Attribution"-model. This is the least restrictive of the Creative Commons licenses and is says in abstract:

This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered, in terms of what others can do with your works licensed under Attribution.

One reason I chose this was that I hereby grant everyone the right to use my work commercially. You see, say I in a post made an argument that Rob Weir liked so much that he wanted to quote me on his blog. Even though I am not a lawyer, I could fear that he might not publish it if it was under a "non-commercial"-license (IBM being a commercial company and all). So to be sure that most of you will be able to use the work I publish here, I chose the "Attribution"-license for my entries.

What about the rest of you - have you thought of this? 

Comments (3) -

In the US we have a "fair use" doctrine that allows one to quote another work for purposes of criticism or commentary.  So most quotations from blogs are already legal here, regardless of your license.   I'm not sure how it is in Europe.

But the use of a broad CC license gives additional permissions, that go beyond fair use, for things like creating compilations, republication in its entirety, translation, etc.  I routinely grant that permission on a case-by-case basis.

The Creative Commons Attribution license is my favorite and I use it routinely.  I haven't added the badge to my blogs, but I should.  You can see how I use it on web sites by looking over the new http://nfoWorks.org site.  I also use it on readme files and in lots of other ways, with BSD template licenses (the OSD counterpart of CC Attribution) for code.

An interesting wrinkle is that the attribution clause involves providing attribution in a form required by the author.  So one thing I have to do is add some sort of link to my blog template, along with the badge and the RDF, that explains what is acceptable for me as an attribution for any of the content.  

Of course, I am not going to be fussy, and as the deed and license explain, if someone wants a different deal, they are free to request it of me.

Hi guys,

Thanks for your replies. I have now added the badge to the left pane of my blog and the text (with link) to each blog post.

I agree with you that there are already some freedom regarding "fair use" almost everywhere in the world, but I thought that it was important to (not just) me to make a concious choice on what I allow with my content. Just the other day we saw an example of what I would consider "not fair use" of one of the commentators on this blog, Ron House, who's comment on my blog had been copied by someone in a usenet-group posting.

I remember when I wrote my first piece of OSS-licensed software and I chose a license. Someone asked my which license I used and I asked "GPL". He asked my why - and all I could come up with was "Ahem ... it was the first on the list on osi.net ..."

So this time I actually read through quite a bit of licenses to determine which one was right for me.


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