New CC License Version
The 2.0 draft versions of the <a href="http://www.creativecommons.org/">Creative Commons</a> licenses are now <a href="http://creativecommons.org/weblog/archive/2004/01/#3981">up for public review</a>. The CC licenses have attracted a lot of attention to Open Content, and have really spread a lot better than other previous attempts to make Open Content accessible. Even dumb bloggers are interested, which is pretty amazing, considering what a clatch of narcissistic mouth-breathers they tend to be. (Except <a href="http://vitanuova.loyalty.org/latest.html">Seth</a>, of course.)
Creative Commons has only posted the 2.0 draft of the <a href="http://creativecommons.org/drafts/license2.0">Attribution-noncommercial-sharealike</a> license, since it contains all the license elements that have been changed. The licenses were revved to deal with some perceived faults in the 1.0 versions, including the following changes:
<ul> <li>There are provisions for automatic upgrade of licenses; that is, there's now an "any later version" clause. This was missing from the 1.0 versions, making it hard to future-proof Open Content works. <li>There are stipulations for mixing works under different sharealike (kinda sorta like copyleft) provisions, resulting in a work licensed under a combination of all restrictions of the parent works. <li>Authors can now require attribution through a link-back URI. <li>The <a href="http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/3681">controversial</a> warranty provision has been dropped. In the previous version, the licensor asserted that they had cleared the rights to publish and redistribute the work, and warranted users and creators of derivative works against problems with copyright, trademark, privacy rights, etc. This section was one of the most <a href="http://www.satn.org/archive/2003_04_27_archive.html#200212947">criticized</a> parts of the licenses. In the 2.0 version, an "as-is" disclaimer of warranty has replaced this section. </ul>
(List copied from a <a href="http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2004/1/27/12341/1514">k5</a> story I posted on the topic.)
Personally, I'm not terribly happy about most of the new revisions, at least in my persona as co-founder of <a href="http://www.wikitravel.org/">Wikitravel</a>. The lack of warranty means that contributors are no longer even nominally responsible for clearing the rights on their submissions -- making my headache that much larger, and making our content that much less useful to downstream publishers.
And the ability to "remix" sharealike licenses means that someone could take Wikitravel's <a href="http://www.wikitravel.org/en/article/Wikitravel:Copyleft">copyleft</a>ed work and re-release it under a more restrictive license -- say, noncommercial -- that would make us unable to re-incorporate their changes. Letting downstream developers take away freedoms we tried to grant to the world is pretty lame.
Anyways, commentary is welcome on the <a href="http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/cc-licenses">cc-licenses</a> mailing list. I'm pretty sure you can just send mail to <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a> without being subscribed.