Copyright license choice |

Copyright license choice

Broken copyright
Image by :

Subscribe now

Get the highlights in your inbox every week.

There is no morality in copyright, it's just a tool.  I have no problem with anyone who believes that their own best interests are furthered by refusing any licensing of their work, and I respect that decision.  Don't want your music to be shared?  That's your choice - maybe it's not smart or realistic in the digital age to think that you can control the distribution of music, but I respect where you believe the right balance is. 

Open source software is built on the premise that, if software is to be copyrighted at all, it is better to use copyright to liberate rather than restrict.  Others disagree with that philosophy, that's ok.


This web site made the decision that it would exercise the full rights of a copyright owner in the Drupal theme for the web site - no CC license, no public domain, and it's published with a copyright notice.  It might seem like a hypocritical choice for a site about open source, but the look is part of the brand identity of the site and we want it to stay that way.  So we don't give any blanket permission to use it.


We made a different choice for the content, because the goal of the site is to provoke conversation.  The default for the content published on the web site is the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License, because we want everyone to share, criticize, and build on the ideas you find here.  We make you grant the same license in your contributions too, for the same reason.  Well, also because it would be really a nightmare to try to administer different licenses from everyone; we're going to have a hard enough time trying to keep our own noses clean and not screw something up, like using licensed stock photography but not making it clear that we have.

The site,, might look like it is copyright minimalist because it grants a liberal license.  But our use is no different that a copyright maximalist, we are all just exploiting the copyright law to further our own selfish interest. Each to his own.


About the author

Pam Chestek - Pam is a Board Member of the Open Source Initiative and the principal of Chestek Legal in Raleigh, North Carolina. She works with creative communities, giving practical legal advice on branding, marketing, and protecting and sharing content. Pam has authored several scholarly articles, has a legal blog at Property,...