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Why -NC (non-commercial) isn’t a bad thing

This is another one from the 2009 draft fault that I’m dusting off *unedited*.  It’s interesting to see my thoughts from May 2009 considering:

A) I now co-host a show on remixable music.

B) Am starting law school later this month.

C) We have seen some of the fallout from the Oracle-Sun merger.


I didn’t even re-read this.  I probably say stupid things.  I probably claim to be a terrorist or something. Most people put disclaimers that the words are their thoughts and not their employers. These aren’t even my thoughts!  Well, I mean, they were my thoughts. They still could be my thoughts. There’s a reason I left it in draft…


The original post:


I was listening to the Software Freedom Law Center podcast the other day (I can get the exact episode if you’re curious) and the guy (I haven’t been listening long enough to know their names) was talking about how the GPL v2 clause 7 (pretty sure that’s the clause) was created so that their didn’t become ***two classes of users***.  GPLv3 was written to clear up the ambiguous language in v2 clause 7.  It’s a noble goal, and I totally agree with it, but I want to explain two reasons why, while it’s pretty obvious the creative commons non-commercial clause ***creates two classes of users***, I still like -NC.

1) I don’t believe in capitalism.

Ok, I work for a multi-million dollar company and I like nice stuff, so I’m either a hypocrite or simply practical.  This point is one I don’t like to talk about for two reasons; A) modern McCarthyism B) (really a subset of A) I don’t think it paints a good picture of Free and Open Source Software.  FOSS has long been branded a communist plot and I think Red Hat, IBM, OraSun (this what I’ve been calling the merger…anything got something better?), MindTouch, etc, have shown that’s not the case.  This is *not* the place to get into a political discussion, but I just want to be clear about this; neither I nor anyone I associate with wants the sort of dictatorial regimes the Russians and Chinese have produced in the name of communism.  Clearly those guys read as little Marx (or hated what he said) as much as the McCarthyites.

Now that I’ve got the huge disclaimer out of the way, down to the meat of it.  I haven’t paid much attention to the licensing issues in the past. I knew they existed but wasn’t really educated.  I may have heard the ***two classes of users*** argument before, but the lightbulb went off listening to this.  I’ve only visited the Bahamas (arguably not a separate country; our military protects them, they accept US currency and they speak English) and Canada, but I think the USA is particularly interested in “the rights of corporations” and though clearly a band of un-American terrorists, I think the FSF shows their American blood in making this argument.  Now, when it comes to software, I actually wouldn’t like a -NC license as you’ll see in point 2,

2) Software is a tool, Art isn’t (unless it’s marketing)

It may not be just about companies you don’t like, it could be about turning your art into a tool.  I guess true freedom would say this would be fine, but I understand someone having a visceral response to their art being used for commercial purposes.  Essentially, it’s the principle of the thing.  And, I don’t think this visceral response has anything to do with not being capitalistic.

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