Why is this space CC-licensed and should we keep it that way?

I am not yet sharing my thoughts for or against the statement made in this thread’s title, I have more so created this thread to open up this conversation here, which will also act as documentation for our decision on this topic over time.

This decision was prompted by @daviding so maybe he can better explain?

Will people be more or less likely to contribute here once they realize that everything they share is being licensed CC BY-SA 4.0 ? Our fedwiki wiki.openlearning.cc also uses this CC-licensing, but our other chat spaces like the following list, do not.
https://t.me/open_learning_commons (telegram)

I ask because this tool of ours, discourse, also has other wonderful affordances like groups and direct messages which can be configured to be both public and private… should we use those affordances? what does it mean to be storing private messages on a server that is in some ways claiming to be a free cultural work?

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@Robert_Best The major reason for CC licensing is that, unless otherwise declared, the default license on all work is copywritten by the author.

This means that, despite the fact the the text (words or images) are affixed to electronic media, they can’t be reproduced (i.e. copied) anywhere else (i.e. on any other platform or domain). If someone writes a paragraph, that paragraph technically can’t be copied over without explicit permission of that author.

It’s actually accepted practice to link to copyrighted works, rather than reproducing them. However, in a long conversation with multiple parties, the proper way of reusing that content would be to get permission from everyone (i.e. if there are 3 authors, there would be 3 copyright requests required).

Extending CC on any other medium (e.g. Mattermost, Matrix.org), is technically possible, but probably not advisable. People normally presume that individual-to-individual communications (or small group, as in an e-mail list) isn’t being broadcast to the world. I don’t think that you would like if I did an audio recording of every time i see you, even if I asked your permission every time.

The general style of communications is that people are generally more casual in private conversations than public conversations. If someone told you that your words would be public forever (as they effectively are, on the open Internet), you might think twice about how you approach some sensitive topics.

Having multiple communication media permits a choice of ways to communicate.

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It’s really easy to quote people’s messages here on Discourse… like I have just done above. I guess that all the other discourse instances on the web are conversely technically under copyright by default, even if most people don’t realize? I’m guessing a quoting someone like this is fine because it fits under something like fair use?

The other neat affordance of discourse is that a thread can be turned into a “wiki”, which basically just means that anyone can edit the first post to the thread, and revision history is saved… and I guess the rest of the thread then effectively becomes like Wikipedia’s chat pages, except in this case it would be more prominent and out front than on Wikipedia.

I’m wondering if we might use this space also as a wiki to keep things simple? I guess this is tangential to this thread (I’m actually not a long time forum participant, so likely I’m not versed in the netiquette here :stuck_out_tongue: ), anyhow… I only raised the wiki point because I just realized that DokuWiki has this simple statement by default at the bottom of its pages:

Except where otherwise noted, content on this wiki is licensed under the following license: CC
Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International

Do you think we should also use something like “Except where otherwise noted”, and then on pages like direct messages etc, the CC-licensing wouldn’t apply?

I had previous thought this practice was sort of unique to fedwiki, which simply puts this link at the bottom of each page CC BY-SA 4.0 . I guess that’s enough to indicate that the all content is under that license?

I also ask because how we’ve done ours at the bottom is fairly verbose and doesn’t really work well or look good, particularly when using this space on the mobile app.

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@daviding is spot on, and this default copyright situation has disastrous consequences. What really would be the “open commons” here that invite, legally permit learning? There’s a reason why the Wikipedia and Federated Wiki could never work if it weren’t for a libre-free license. With the question of the original post, if insisting on libre-free licenses encourages more contributions or discourages some from contributing, well, what’s your main goal/priority, is it accumulating contributions no matter what, regardless of digital ethics and legal usability of the result? Some people indeed don’t really want to contribute to the commons, they think that in the digital world, they can maintain/demand some effective control over what others can do and can’t with their work just as in the good old print industry days (but not before), after they shared it with absolutely everybody and given that cheap electronic copying devices are on every desk and in every pocket. The US Fair Use law doesn’t apply in my jurisdiction (laws are only always national), and honestly, I think it’s a bad change to begin with, because it avoided a sound copyright reform and instead added more special case exceptions, for which no-one can have any legal certainty, of how courts would decide what uses are considered fair and which aren’t, as it’s actually much narrower than most people realize. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA isn’t a free license, because of the NC non-commercial clause, as free licensing isn’t against commerce, instead invites every co-contributor, everybody from the community, everybody outside (general public) to make a (non-exclusive, non-restrictive, therefore more ethical) business out of it to the best of their ability. A copyright notice at the bottom indicates to the reader/visitor that certain rights have been granted (and others carefully retained), but the actual mechanism is to have an agreement on the edit + upload page that requires the user to only submit if in possession of the rights and if consenting to grant them. You as the operator are also liable for copyright infringement done by users of your services, so you better have something in place (which is likely already the case) to make sure that you’re not knowingly complicit in the violation of the copyright demands of others.

Another difference in regard of the activity here and in chat is that a chat allows for better “curation” in terms of directing messages to a single individual or a channel/room with members who share the same interest, and it’s a little bit harder on forums/boards to manage notifications and federate messages, to not spam/pollute everybody else’s reading with posts that are likely of no interest to them. Also, private messages are hardly ever of concern in terms of copyright and the commons, because despite they’re surely copyrightable and might sometimes be interesting content-wise (and keep in mind digital posterity/legacy), they’re not sent to a distribution channel for publication, and addressed to only one receiving party, usually on the assumption/expectation that the content remains confidential/private (which might be why there’s no reason to bother to replace the restrictive, exclusive “all rights reserved” default for them), also phrased/written specifically to the particular audience of the single recipient reader, and while that too doesn’t grant at all any effective control over what people can and can’t do with it any more, it’s also clear that the original author didn’t intend to share it with a wider audience and publish it for the general public to read, so it shouldn’t be assumed that such exchanges can be part of a generally shared/stewarded commons. Even in this thread here, we’re in dialogue with each other, not necessarily directly addressing the random readers of the public unknown to us and optimizing for them, so it’s always nice and useful to have this licensed under a libre-free license, but it’s not necessarily useful on the content-level, or the exchange of opinions or works of art/entertainment don’t necessarily need the same digital rights granted than works of practical use do, but who knows, this is already pretty much converging on the latter. If it’s not copyright versus software, you may consider https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eginMQBWII4 for other types of works, and of course https://archive.org/details/StealThisFilmII

Setting the licensing of a web site is one of the first things that a webmaster or system administrator should do when setting up the site. If there’s no other explicit terms, copyright (in the jurisdiction where the server is located, that’s complicated) would apply. See Who owns the content you post on a forum? aka, User Content Licensing

Uhh… were you looking at a Dokuwiki that I set up? If so, that’s something that I set up in the Configuration Setting:license. I did that as an administrator before I let others loose on the site.

There’s actually a lot of social practices that happen behind the scenes in converging on a “single version of the truth” amongst a group of people. On Wikipedia, there’s an aspiration for a Neutral point of view that can lead to a NPOV dispute.

Discourse is well-suited to interactive communications, where multiple individuals can express themselves in their own language, their own style, and their own beliefs. This brings us to The Design of Inquiring Systems by C. West Churchman. (Wow, I just noticed an “Chapter VIII – Design of Inquiring Systems: Singerian Inquiring Systems” | C. West Churchman | Internal Working Paper No. 122, Spaces Sciences Laboratory, University of California Berkeley | October 1970).

On the other hand, @Robert_Best , you’ve already received a copy of The Unbounded Mind: Breaking the Chains of Traditional Business Thinking directly from the author, Ian Mitroff, so that’s an easier entry into the topic. Discourse allows for multiple realities (a Kantian inquiring system, the third way of knowing), whereas wiki tends to rely on an inducitive-consensual inquiring system (the first way of knowing).

That’s your call, in the role of a system administrator. Most of that footer is boilerplate, and I added additional wording for precision. If someone doesn’t want their words or works to be licensed explicitly under Creative Commons licensing, they shouldn’t claim that they “didn’t see” that.

So as it seems entirely irrelevant what I’ve written here (which is perfectly fine), I’m just going to address the remaining points/questions, so I can check this thread off as “resolved”, for peace of mind.

Again, as they’re not published, their license doesn’t matter much because nobody can get hold of a copy anyway. It does matter for the people involved in the conversation and you as the operator of the site, because each of you get the permission from the other to share/publish, modify, etc. the material. Still, copyright law and licensing aren’t about privacy or censorship, other agreements/laws still apply nonetheless (moral rights for the integrity and of the author and protection from misrepresentation, expectations of confidentiality, terms of service).

Technically they can, it’s just that the legal permission for doing it doesn’t extend over to regular site visitors. Robert likely got a permission too because I can’t imagine that the terms of service default doesn’t say that he’s allowed to use it for the purpose of operating the service and probably beyond. The main question is if you have any intentions of using the material collaboratively, for which you don’t want to find yourself investing in curation only to find that one participant easily torpedoes the entire project by starting to persecute you and downstream users/distributors for copyright infringement.

Only as long as one has or can get a shareable copy in the case of linking, and in the case of quotations (= copies), they’re permitted by the limitations to copyright (US Fair Use doctrine might say something about it too, but then again, doesn’t apply here). However, dialogue/conversation is almost always just throw-away chat/communication anyway.

That’s true, with the “all rights reserved” as the default, you as a site visitor aren’t permitted to re-publish the content (and because that’s not what most people want to do anyway, these restrictions go largely unnoticed). The original author grants the site operator the permission to use the material for purposes of providing the service (and likely beyond), and the site operator makes use of this for granting site visitors the permission to obtain/read/consume a copy, which is the whole purpose of the “service” and the author posting it to the site in the frist place (maybe even implicitly so, if not explicitly stated in the terms of service, because the author likely decided in full awareness of the publication whether to post or not). None of this covers or extends to re-use, translation, etc. for regular visitors. There’s also the problem that the permission from the original author granted to the site operator might not migrate over to other operators of the site, or other future use cases the two parties weren’t aware about at the time of the posting. Another quick note: libre-freely licensed content too is under copyright, just not under restrictive licensing. Only works which entered Public Domain with copyright expired 70 years after the death of the author are.

Imagine somebody would post a message on your site that embeds/links a restrictively licensed image from a remote source, giving the impression as the Web inherently does that there are no copyright issues here because the site visitor gets it loaded with permission from the original source. Now imagine if you get accused of creating the impression that this image is licensed under CC BY-SA because it’s obviously on your site with a footer license notification that claims so. Imagine you want to re-distribute the posts to only find out that you don’t have the permission to share the image as well. Imagine the original source vanishes and with it the embedded image on your site/post. And more stuff like this.

Erm, NPOV is never about a single version of the truth, but that the encyclopedia (that’s basically its editors and contributors) has to neutrally represent multiple views and not take a position of its own.

Creative Commons Licence Contributions to the Open Learning Commons are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Please honor the spirit of collective open learning by citing the author(s) in the context of a dialogue and/or linking back to the original source.