July 20, 2005

Dumbest Creative Commons Article Ever

written by one John Dvorak for PC Magazine.

It is not easy to write something even more clueless than the Orlowski attack of March 2005, but Dvorak seems to have succeeded in this challenge.

He starts out with the assumption that Creative Commons "does nothing", citing clueless Orlowski as his authority.

That is wrong.

Creative Commons licenses give some rights to licensees, while reserving some others.

He then says that Creative Commons licenses exclude commercial use. That's wrong as well, and in a lazy and complacient way.

Even the most rudimentary research would have easily shown him the Creative Commons "Choose License" page, where the first question that pops up is if people want to allow commercial use.

He then objects to people making the choice of not allowing commercial use.

That's really none of his business. It's the free choice of the copyright owner to what conditions they want to release their works, not the choice of some third party like Google who would like to commercially use the content for their clearly illegal web cache.

Then Dvorak says that "Creative Commons seems to hint" that with its license the right of citation of excerpts disappears.

Of course Creative Commons hints no such nonsense. There is nothing in the license texts, nothing in the Creative Commons website, and nothing anywhere else that could serve as a base for this stupid claim.

And, no, the "Creative Commons folks" are not going to sue anybody over normal fair use. If anybody is going to sue, it would need to be a copyright owner who used a Creative Commons license, and his use of that license would of course have no effect whatsoever on the question if a license was necessary in the first place or not.

Dvorak then rants on the "Creative Commons License: Public Domain" process.

He accidentally gets one point right here by saying that releasing something to the public domain is not something granted by Creative Commons. It is granted by the copyright holder.

However, in the Creative Commons public domain dedication process, the copyright holder leaves a public record of his dedication with Creative Commons. Third parties can rely on that record when deciding about using the work in question. This is similar to registrating a work with the Copyright Office. Of course the copyright office doesn't grant the copyright (it is forbidden under Article 5 of the Berne Convention to require "formalities" for copyright protection). That doesn't remove the usefulness of voluntary registration under Chapter 4 of the American Copyright law. It leaves a formal record. In the same way the Creative Commons process leaves a formal record third parties can rely on.

Mr. Dvorak can also rest assured that there is no need to interact in any way with Creative Commons to qualify for copyright protection (as there is no need to have a copyright notice, another point he doesn't seem to understand).

So, what we have here, is a huge pile of obvious errors decorated with inflaming language like "eye-rolling dumb" and "nonsense".

I don't approve of feeding the trolls. But this was too hard to resist.

Link found at Slashdot.

Posted by Karl-Friedrich Lenz at July 20, 2005 11:47 AM