Tag Archives: faq

Dvorak vs. Creative Commons

In a recent opinion piece on PCMag.com, Mr. Dvorak shows off his stunning lack of comprehension of the benefits to Creative Commons Licensing.

Will someone explain to me the benefits of a trendy system developed by Professor Lawrence Lessig of Stanford?

CCL is a simple way for content creators to let everybody know what they’ll allow others to do with their work. There’s no lag time in tracking down the content creator/copyright holder/legal department and then phoning/emailing/snail-mailing them to find out if it would be okay to take their work and do X with it (whatever X might be). This simplifcation of the process allowing others to remix existing content is a wonderful benefit to the public and content creators alike. Content creators can take any CC licensed material they like, mix it up into something new and put it back out much more quickly without worrying that they’re going to be sued for breaking somebody’s copyright. The public benefits because this allows a lot more content to be created much more quickly.

A bit later in the article, Mr. Dvorak starts complaining about the optional commercial provisions in the CCL scheme.

This means that others have certain rights to reuse the material under a variety of provisos, mostly as long as the reuse is not for commercial purposes. Why not commercial purposes? What difference does it make, if everyone is free and easy about this? In other words, a noncommercial site could distribute a million copies of something and that’s okay, but a small commercial site cannot deliver two copies if it’s for commercial purposes. What is this telling me?

Provided that the content creator tagged the content as having the Non-Commercial provision in a CC license; then it’s telling you that creator does not want to use their work in a commercial fasion. How hard is that to comprehend? The sad part is you almost picked up on a key reason people use CC licenses but you had to go at it backwards. Yes, a noncommercial site could distribute a million copies (of an appropriately licensed work) for free and that’s a great thing; articularly for the non-mainstream, unknown content creator who just wants to get their work out in the public eye.

Then Mr. Dvorak comes up with this bit of nonsense:

This is nonsense. Before Creative Commons I could always ask to reuse or mirror something. And that has not changed. And I could always use excerpts for commercial or noncommercial purposes. It’s called fair use. I can still do that, but Creative Commons seems to hint that with its license means that I cannot. At least not if I’m a commercial site and the noncommercial proviso is in effect. This is a bogus suggestion, because Creative Commons does not supersede the copyright laws.

If he had done even a modicum of research on the Creative Commons website; he would have found their page detailing the Baseline Rights included in ALL CC licenses. The only thing “bogus” about this suggestion is Mr. Dvorak’s claim that it’s the Creative Commons folk who are making it. A Creative Commons license doesn’t say you cannot have any fair use rights; it simply says “Hey friend, here’s some stuff for you to play with, so long as you’re willing to play by the rules.” And then it gives you a convenient link to check out what those rules are. Along those lines, Mr. Dvorak complained that the Creative Commons folk could sue somebody and ruin what little fair use rights remain to the public and again a quick look through the Creative Commons website puts paid to that bit of nonsense.

For his next delusion, Mr. Dvorak decides the Creative Commons folks are somehow corrupting Public Domain. I would have thought having a clear & concise document specifying that a work has been dedicated to the public domain is a good thing. *shrug* Maybe that’s why I’m a no-name blogger and not an editor at PC Magazine.

There are several more examples peppered throughout the remainder of Mr. Dvorak’s article. All of these examples could have been cleared up if he’d bothered to do a bit of looking around the Creative Commons website, but probably the most basic bit of guff that he writes is in the last paragraph of the article.

And it seems to actually weaken the copyrights you have coming to you without Creative Commons.

With this one sentence, we can see Mr. Dvorak appears to actually understand what a Creative Commons license does1. I would suppose since he has the basic idea that he does not agree with the concept behind Creative Commons and so wrote this rather inflamatory article. It seems to me Mr. Dvorak is suffering from RIAA syndrome. That is to say, he’s an established content creator who just does not understand –and doesn’t want to understand– the evolving landscape of the business environment.

1 A CC license removes the specific restrictions on the use of your content that you decide do not need to be on the content. One could consider this an intentional weakening of the copyright.

Web Comic Link: Bunny

I just updated my portal page to include a web comic that I’d forgotten to add but have been reading for a while now. Bunny. It was Applegeeks that pointed me to Bunny originally and I’m very glad they did as I feel Bunny really brings The Funny.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about by The Funny, go read Websnark’s FAQ. In fact, you should be reading Websnark anyway as it’s a great resource for people who like webcomics.

FAQ to Hell

One of my co-workers/friends went to Hell* recently and upon his return sent out this FAQ regarding his visit.

Is there a highway to Hell?
Yes. It is Michigan county road D-32. And yes, I was also disappointed with this designation. For fun, the residents of Hell like to call the highway Route 666, but apparently the officials of Livingston County don’t have a sense of humor.

Is the road to Hell really paved with good intentions?
Yes. But, not surprisingly, good intentions look and feel a lot like asphalt.

Is Hell under-ground?
The village of Hell is not under-ground. Or, at least the tourist spots aren’t. It’s possible that the shop I stopped in had a back way to the under-ground areas of Hell, but apparently I didn’t have security clearance to see that.

Isn’t it true that once you enter Hell, you can never leave?
Yes, unless you are awarded an exit visa. In order to secure an exit visa, all you have to do is buy something in Hell’s gift shop.

Uh… that doesn’t make sense. If all it took to get out of Hell was to buy a hokey souvenir, wouldn’t tortured souls be leaving Hell in droves?
Tortured souls don’t have money. Duh. And besides, what can be more torturous than knowing that you could escape Hell if only you had one lousy dollar to buy a “See You In Hell” refrigerator magnet? (There is one theologian who believes that Hell exit visas did, in fact, result in a mass exodus from Hell in 1992, explaining the unusually high number of people who, in the presidential election that year, voted for Ross Perot.)

What is the temperature of Hell?
This is a very important question, as people are constantly saying things like, “It’s hotter than Hell” or “It’s colder than Hell”, clearly without knowing what they are talking about. The truth is, the temperature in the village of Hell varies, like the rest of Michigan, with the seasons. This makes sense when you think about it. Nothing says “Hell” like not knowing what to wear in the spring and fall.

Did you see any demons?
Since demons typically move about in disguise, this is an impossible question to answer. I did see a guy driving a pickup with a “Perot in ‘04” bumper-sticker on it, though.

Did you meet Satan?
No. Contrary to popular belief, Satan does not reside in Hell. No rock stars were living there either. Not above-ground, anyway.

Did Hell look anything like Dante’s Inferno?
Dante’s Inferno is a work of fiction. I suppose it’s possible that the under-ground areas of Hell, if they exist, might look like Dante’s description of Hell. But I have no reason to believe Dante would have merited access to these areas while I would not. I’m a manager, for cripes sakes.

Did you see Cerberus?
There is no gate to the village of Hell, and thus no three-headed dogs guarding it. If “lower regions” exist and there is a gate to these regions, I didn’t see it.

Did you see the river Styx?
Yes. But the locals call it Hell Creek. Hell creek is dammed (appropriately enough), creating a lake that, I’m told, is very pleasant to swim in.

Do people who take a dip become immortal, like Achilles?
Nobody will say. When Achilles was killed, his mother, Thetis, filed a lawsuit against Hades for false advertising. Ever since then, the extraordinary qualities of Hell Creek have been downplayed. I’d have tested it myself, but it was freezing when I was there, and living forever just didn’t seem worth it.

So did you see Hades, then?
No. Hades retired from public life not long after the Achilles scandal. He now runs a Hooters restaurant in Saginaw.

Were the people nice to you?
The people were extremely nice, as you would expect from a Midwestern, small-town community. If this runs counter to your hell-logical sensitivities, then consider one of the following: either the residents of Hell are demons who welcome a break from being cruel, or the residents of Hell are the human damned who welcome the break from being tortured. I reckon they’re just good ‘ol Midwestern folk, but I’m not going to force my religious convictions on others.

Hell actually sounds a lot more boring than I imagined. Is it?
Admittedly, most of the fun in visiting Hell is in telling people you’ve been there. But isn’t that true about most places? How many times have you heard people visiting the Grand Canyon say, “This is it???” Sure… it happens all the time. But I’ll visit Hell again. I thought it was fun.

Where do I get some of that premium merchandise you brought back from your trip?
You can just go to Hell.

Or you can visit Hell’s website at www.hell2u.com.

* Hell, Michigan

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